1 Stars Out Of 5
Absolute Massacre of the Church Fathers
August 28, 2014
I have to admit that I am very disappointed in this product, in several regards.
Quality of Object
The object itself, the book, is rather substandard such that, when I took the dust jacket off, I found glue on the cover, and it won't come off. Further, the binding is a bit weak and the paper quality less than optimal.
Quality of Material
As to this being an Orthodox study Bible, I am also disappointed.
The preambulatory material claims to follow represent the Greek text (Septuagint) of the Old Testament, and they do so to a level that most would find satisfactory, but it is not satisfactory to me. For one, they simply borrowed the NKJV whenever its OT was close enough to the Septuagint. This means that some mistranslation of the Greek have occurred. For example, the literal rendering of the Greek of Genesis 1:2 should be "Yet the earth was invisible and unformed, and darkness was over the abyss, and a divine wind was being carried along over the water" (NETS), but the Orthodox study Bible reads with the NKJV in saying "Spirit of God" instead of "divine wind." The difference may seem slight, but the implications are not. That is, the Greek reading allows for God to be distinct as to person but not as to essential essence (the Greek differentiates between the "what" of God and the "who" of God), but the NKJV reads with an overemphasis on person, making it seem like the Holy Spirit is a completely separate entity or force, which is not the Orthodox understanding, nor is it an accurate reflection of the Greek text. Second, the text claims to follow the Alfred and Brenton editions of the Greek text, but this produces an inconsistency for the Orthodox in that both of those texts rely heavily on Codex Vaticanus. Where is the inconsistency? Well, Codex Vaticanus reads along with the Alexandrian text for the majority of its New Testament text, but the Orthodox reject the Alexandrian text in favor of the later Byzantine text. Consequently, this Bible uses what is essentially a forbidden (strongly disliked) for its Old Testament but rejects that very same text when it comes to the New Testament. This is a huge inconsistency as to the academic honesty of the producers of this study Bible.
As to "study" material itself, I find it woefully lacking in that the vast majority of passages are left untouched. Instead, the primary focus is on those passages wherein a difference of understanding occurs between the Orthodox and Protestants. Because of this obvious singular focus, this Bible is not so much a study tool as it is propaganda.
As to the value of the footnotes themselves, I also find a dirth of worth. For example, this Bible misrepresents St Chrysostom's understanding of I Corinthians 15:29 such that his understanding of our new life in Christ was not even discussed. Further, this study Bible failed to address controversial passages well at all (like Mark 16:9-20). In fact, they made stuff up about John chapter 5 in saying that the pool of Bethesda was used for washing sheep, despite all of the evidence which shows it was either a human Mikveh (ceremonial washing place) or a pagan healing pool (which makes sense especially if John 5:4 really is inauthentic).
Overall, I am sorely unimpressed with this Bible. it's propaganda, pure and simple. It is not an honest nor accurate analysis of the Bible in light of the Orthodox faith. In my opinion, if a Bible either (a) refuses to acknowledge and seriously consider those things which light in disputation or (b) misrepresents the statements of the church fathers, then I have no use for it.