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The book of books

Throughout the ages, images have contributed to a better understanding of the biblical texts. The Belser Verlag ties in with this tradition with its Vatican Bible. It was created in collaboration with the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana.

The Bible is a book of books in a double sense. On the one hand, it is so called because it is still the best-selling book in the world. On the other hand, the Bible is not only divided into the Old and New Testaments: the Old Testament itself contains 46 books, the New 27 - if one takes the Catholic view as a basis. The Protestant churches do not recognize as canonical seven books of the Old Testament that are only available in Greek translation and not in the original Hebrew or Aramaic version: Jesus Sirach, Tobit, Judit, Maccabees 1 and 2, Baruch and the Book of Wisdom . This corresponds to the Jewish “Tanach”, a name that is composed of the abbreviations of the words “Torah”, “Nevi’im” and “Ketuvim”, which stand for the individual components. The Torah contains the five books of Moses, "Nevi'im" translates as "prophets" and contains their books, "Ketuvim" are the "scriptures" from the time of the Babylonian exile.

Somewhat thicker than the Catholic Bible is that of the Eastern Churches, where three or four books of the Old Testament are more canonical. The opposite of canonical is apocryphal; this is used to describe books that, according to their own convictions, do not belong to the Bible. That is not to say that they are therefore immediately considered heretical. This is how Luther judged what from his point of view are apocryphal books: "These are books that do not conform to Holy Scripture and yet are useful and easy to read."

The Belser Verlag's Vatican Bible is based, as the name and the collaboration with the Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana suggest, on the Catholic canon. Accordingly, it contains the following books in the Old Testament: the five books of Moses (Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy), the books of the history of God's people (Joshua, Judges, Ruth, Samuel 1 and 2, Kings 1 and 2, Chronicles 1 and 2, Ezra, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judit, Esther, Maccabees 1 and 2). This is followed by the books of doctrinal wisdom and the psalms (Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Wisdom, Jesus Sirach). The "books of the prophets" include Isaiah, Jeremiah, the Lamentations, Baruch, Ezekiel, Daniel and the books Hosea, Joël, Amos, Obadja, Jonah, Micha, Nahum, Habakuk, Zefanja, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi.

The New Testament includes the four Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), the Acts of the Apostles, the letters of the Apostle Paul to the Romans, the Corinthians (1 and 2), the Galatians, the Ephesians, the Philippians, the Colossians and the Thessalonians (1 and 2). The two letters to Timothy, the letter to Titus, the letter to Philemon and the letter to the Hebrews are referred to as “pastoral letters”. This is followed by the “Catholic letters”: the letter of James, the first and second letters of Peter, the three letters of John and the letter of Judas. The revelation of John marks the end of every Christian Bible.

In the Vatican Bible, the illustrated works of art from the collections of the Papal States are always assigned to appropriate biblical passages, provided with information to understand the picture and the associated verses ... A central element of the Bible are the five books of Moses. In the Sistine Chapel, Luca Signorelli created a cycle of frescoes on the life of Moses. The right part of the sixth of these frescoes shows him reading the laws and regulations given by God (Deuteronomy 12: 1). In the background an angel can be seen giving Moses a view of the Promised Land on the other side of the Jordan from Mount Nebo. The Old Testament people of Israel are dressed in splendid Renaissance robes. In the foreground a woman breasts her child under the gaze of two putti. Contemporary viewers undoubtedly recognized the Mother of God with the Christ child ...

Literature The Vatican Bible published by Belser Verlag is available as a “Golden Magnificent Edition” and as a “linen edition”.

In the “splendid edition”, all of the motifs originally designed with gold are reproduced true to the original in a special gold foil embossing process, printed on ivory-colored art paper. The edition has a handcrafted full leather cover with real gold embossing, hard gold-plated corner fittings and clasps. The band is delivered in a velvet-covered jewelry case. The "linen edition" contains the image program and Bible text as in the magnificent edition. The edition has a gold-embossed linen cover, the text is printed in five colors on high-quality art paper.

Both editions contain the Old and New Testaments with the text of the ecumenically responsible uniform translation of the Holy Scriptures as well as an introduction to every biblical book. The extensive explanations of the pictures, which put the works of art on display in the biblical context, are particularly helpful. In the appendix there is, among other things, a complete list of the artworks shown. All images shown in the post are from the Vatican Bible. http://www.belser-verlag.de

Further literature on the topic: Christian Cebulji / Frauke Dobek / Ursula Rudnik, The Bible. The key to the scriptures. Munich 2009.

Prize riddle for the Vatican Bible The readers of DATAS can prove their firmness in the Bible with this prize riddle: From which books of the Holy Scriptures do the following quotations come - please include chapter and verse:

Quote 1 "On that day the mountains are oozing with wine, the hills are overflowing with milk, and water flows in all the streams of Judah"

Quote 2 “Whoever loves money can never get enough of it; those who love luxury never have enough income - that too is a breath of wind "

Quote 3 "The dead were judged according to their works, according to what was written in the books"

We are giving away a copy of the cloth edition of the Vatican Bible, published by Belser Verlag in Stuttgart, among the correct entries.

The closing date for entries is December 18, 2009

Please send emails to:

[email protected]

or by post to:

Konradin Medien GmbH editorial office THEN z. H. Uwe A. Oster Ernst-Mey-Strasse 8 70771 Leinfelden-Echterdingen

The judges' decision is final.

The correct answers and the names of the winners will be announced in DAMALS 2-2010.

Uwe A. Oster

November 20, 2009

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