Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Catholic Bibles Page Layouts

As many of you know, I feel that the way in which a particular Bible translation is presented is almost as important as the quality of the translation itself. A particular translation may be the greatest thing since sliced bread, but if it is presented in an unreadable, unhelpful way, who will bother reading from it on a regular basis?
For me, the page layout is always an important issue I look at before I purchase any Bible. The first question I always ask, while I am flipping through a Bible, is: "Do I actually want to read from this?" There are of course many issues that go along with that question. What is the typesetting? How are the study tools, like cross references and notes, organized? Ultimately, is what I am holding in my hand pleasing to the eyes?
So, what Catholic Bibles out there do you like to read from? Most of us are aware that the NAB comes in a pretty standard page format. The NJB is one of the few that is done in a single-column. What about the RSV or NRSV?


Anonymous said...

When it comes to format i still prefer the old JB or NJB, especially the single column psalms.

Timothy said...

I didn't want to hint that in my post, but I agree with you 100%. In my opinion, the NJB has the best layout of any Catholic Bible. There are very few single column Catholic Bibles out there, it is a real shame!

Theophrastus said...

You're talking about the Doubleday fully annotated edition of the NJB, right?

I'm less fond of the NJB layout than you are. My primary complaint is the dots used to separate verses. They interrupt the flow of my reading, especially when a more than one verse is translated as part of sentence.

While it is nice to have the verse numbers outside of the text body, the text still includes lettered footnote symbols to refer to the notes.

I also find the side margin information makes the pages "busy." It's useful for study, but distracting for lectio divina.

Finally, although it is not a layout issue, I wish Doubleday had used slightly thicker paper, as Doubleday's (out-of-print) single-volume hardcover slipcased edition of the original JB had done.

Anonymous said...

the older JB does not have those annoying dots as the NJB has.

rolf said...

My favorite Bible page lay out is the RSV-2CE, it is a vast improvement over the Ignatius RSV-CE. I like the quality and the thickness of the paper, it is one of the best in reducing bleed through (though some think the paper is too glossy). The paper is off white and has very sharp print. The print size is 9, but it is very well spaced. The other improvement is the addition of chapter headngs which it borrows from the NRSV. The cross references are on the bottom of the page, with very minimal notes. It works very well as a reader's edition (or for prayer) without the distracting notes.

Anonymous said...

correction,the psalms dont have the annoying dots, sorry theophrastus.