Friday, October 29, 2010

Review: NRSV Go-Anywhere Thinline Bible w/Apocrypha

As some of you know by reading this blog, I have been championing a proper Catholic thinline Bible for a long time. As far as I know, there has never been a specifically "thinline" edition of the NAB, RSV-CE, NRSV-CE, JB, or NJB on the market at any point. (If I am wrong, let me know.) I am happy to report that this apparent oversight is being remedied by HarperOne. While the edition I am reviewing today is the NRSV Go-Anywhere Thinline Bible w/Apocrypha (including the Orthodox OT books), a Catholic thinline edition will be released by HarperOne in February 2011. (No details yet on if there will be anything different, besides the ordering of the OT books.) Before going any further with this review, I must acknowledge that I am grateful that HarperOne is publishing so many different editions of the NRSV, including Catholic editions. One does not have to be a fan of the NRSV translation to realize that HarperOne is, in many ways, being creative and daring in the editions that they publish. I would like to see a little bit more of this from some of the Catholic Bible publishers out there.

OK, so on to the review. First off, what does this Bible include:

Less than 1 inch thick
The Apocryphal and Deuterocanonical books of Scripture
Easy-to-read 9-point type in a double-column setting
Bonded leather with craft-sewn binding for added strength and long life
Fine Bible paper to maximize readability and portability
Concordance for finding key verses
Gilded edges and a ribbon marker
Presentation page and maps
Those of you who own HarperOne's NRSV Compact Thinline will notice immediately that the type and font are the exact same, only bigger. You can get a closer look at this, besides my first photo, here. Personally, I really like the size and look of this 9-point font. It is pleasing to my eyes and truly does make reading from this Bible enjoyable. Prior to this edition's release, I had actually gone back to the compact edition and in many ways was hoping it would be the same. Of course, this is just my opinion, so people may be free to disagree on this.

Next, the bonded leather cover can be seen as being good or bad, depending on what you like. It is not the same as the compact edition, nor have I seen this type of bonded leather used on any of HarperOne's other NRSV releases. Would I prefer genuine/premium leather or even Italian Duo-Tone? Absolutely, since I am not a big fan of bonded leather. However, this bonded leather edition isn't too bad. It opens up fairly flat, and I can see a point in the near future, with continued use, that it would be much more flexible. There is always the worry with bonded leather covers that they will not hold up after years of regular use, however the fact that pages are held together with craft-sewn binding may make up for it. Again, only time will tell.

So what are some of the details about the extras in this Bible? The presentation page is pretty standard. I wonder if it will be more expansive in the Catholic edition, perhaps including places to indicate a person's Sacramental history. I have always liked having that in my Bible. The maps, while still being the Zondervan black and white ones, are more numerous than in the compact edition. In total there are 7 maps, compared to the two in the compact, ranging from "The Exodus" to "Paul's Journeys". A map of Jeruselem would have been helpful, but it wasn't included. Of course, it would have been nice for them to include full-color maps, which many other thinline editions contain. In any case, there is enough of them to get you by if you needed to look up a location. Also, this Bible contains a helpful 30-page concise concordance.

So that is basically that for the description. Looking at what seems missing, the most obvious is the lack of cross-references. I hate to be a broken record, but they really need to at least indicate what OT references are being referred to in the NT. Surveying a number of thinline Bibles over the weekend, almost all of them included cross-references. This glaring omission continues to hinder HarperOne's NRSV in my eyes, which is a shame since I think, overall, they are doing some really great things.

However, since I am planning on using this Bible regularly over the next three months, I have decided to take matters into my own hands. Those of you that own the HarperCollins Study Bible will notice that at the end of the New Testament section there is a table of OT references in the NT. I decided to make a copy of this table, shrink it, then attach it to the thick blank pages that immediately follow the map section.

Why wait? Unless there is a copyright issue with the SBL, who authors the HarperCollins Study Bible, I wonder why HarperOne doesn't simply add this table to their NRSV Bibles. It would be very easy to do and at least provide the reader with tools needed to cross-reference a verse in a crunch.
Overall, I am fairly happy with this thinline. I plan on using it regularly over the next three months, until the Catholic edition is published. Depending on how things go, and whether or not there is any additional helps in the Catholic edition like the Sunday Mass Readings, I may pick it up as well. I would encourage anyone who is unsure whether or not to buy this to try and see it for yourself first. Places like Barnes and Noble, Borders, and Cokesbury should all have them in stock.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

NRSV Thinline

A review of this fine product will be forthcoming. Needless to say, I have been a bit busy over the past few days. I actually received the HarperOne NRSV Thinline w/Apocrypha on the day we headed to the hospital. So, enjoy one of the photos that I took of it today on my I-Phone. More to come....

Monday, October 25, 2010

Collins NRSV with Grail Psalms

Yea, so I missed this comment at the original post on the Collins NRSV with Grail Psalms to be published in the UK. Thank you Sam for the following info.

Sam Richardson:

Hi there, I'm the editorial director at Collins, I can confirm a few points about this Bible. It will contain the current versions of the NRSV and the Grail Psalms that are used in the UK - if and when CBCEW approve revised versions for a new lectionary (as is happening in the US with the Grail Psalms and in Canada with the NRSV) then we will update this product accordingly. However, as the timings on this seem rather up in the air at the moment, we have decided to push ahead with this Bible now, as our survey data suggests catholics in the UK are now mostly buying NRSV for their personal study rather than JB. The Grail Psalms will be added at the back rather than in place of the NRSV Psalms.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Proud to Present My Daughter

I am very delighted to announce the birth of my first child, Gianna Maria. She was born on Friday at 1:38PM. We named her after one of our favorite saints, St. Gianna Molla.
As my wife went into labor on Friday morning, one piece of Scripture immediately entered my mind and has remained with me over the past few days. Although my wife did all the heavy lifting, we both found great comfort in these words of our Lord:

"When a woman is in labor, she has pain, because her hour has come. But when her child is born, she no longer remembers the anguish because of the joy of having brought a human being into the world. So you have pain now; but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you."
-John 16:21-22 (NRSV)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Your Favorite Non-Catholic Bible?

Yes, perhaps a strange question to ask, but with the upcoming release of the revised NIV it seems appropriate. The NIV has been one of, if not the, most widely sold English language Bible on the planet for the past 30 years. Back when I was doing campus ministry at a local community college, the vast majority of students who came to our Christian Bible study used the NIV, even some Catholics.

So, I am eager to hear which non-Catholic Bible you tend to like and why. I would ask that you stick to translations that haven't come out in a Catholic edition, which would obviously rule out the likes of the RSV and NRSV. The ESV would be an interesting case, since there isn't, nor do I suspect ever will be, a Catholic edition, although the Oxford edition with the Apocrypha does exist. There are certainly plenty to choose from!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NIV Update

According to published accounts on various internet sites, it appears that the revised NIV will be released on the web in November on the Bible Gateway site, with full paper publication due sometime in March. This edition will be an update of the NIV (1984) and the TNIV, ultimately replacing both. There will be no Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical edition available.

On a side note, it is interesting how quickly the NIV committee was able to revise their translation. ;) We are talking about a few years, not decades.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

CS Lewis Bible

As mentioned a few months ago, HarperOne will be publishing The C.S. Lewis Bible in November. Containing the NRSV, apparently without Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals, this Bible comes in a hardcover, as well as two bonded leather editions. You can now view some excerpts from it here.

More features:

* Over 600 Scripture-linked devotional readings from * Lewis's spiritual classics, essays, and correspondence
*Introductory essays on Lewis's view of Scripture and his journey of faith
*Indexes to guide you to each reading from C. S. Lewis
*Double-column format
*Presentation page
*Ribbon marker
* Gilded page edges

Does anybody think a Bible like this is necessary? Would you buy it?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Used Bookstore Finds

Thought I might share some "finds" from over the weekend:

The New English Bible with Apocrypha: Oxford Study Edition (hardcover, slightly used)

RSV New Testament (Hardcover, First edition 1946)

Bible Translation Differences by Leland Ryken

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Swedish Catholic Bible?

I received an email from an American reader who is looking to find a leather bound Swedish language Catholic Bible for her exchange student. I know that there have been a few people from Sweden who have stopped by this blog in the past, so I throw this question out to you or anyone else who may be able to help. If you can provide any helpful information or links in the comment box, that would be appreciated!

CSSI Bible due mid-November

After contacting the publisher, I was told that the new Catholic Scripture Study International Bible is due to be released in mid to late November. I also asked if there would be cross-references included, but the person I talked with was unsure of the answer. I would hope so, since I am not sure that I would be willing to dish out over $50.oo on a study Bible without cross-references. Seems kind of silly to do so.
As a reminder, this study Bible includes:
This high-quality RSV-CE Bible seamlessly integrates Sacred Scripture with extensive study materials and reference guides. Includes 76 full color pages, Holy Land maps marked with significant events and places, and extensive biblical apologetics and topical indexes, all beautifully bound in our Classic Black Bonded Leather with multiple ribbon markers, gold edges and beautiful foil stamped cover.

Monday, October 4, 2010

New RSV-CE Audio CD

This sort of snuck up on me, but coming next month from Zondervan, is an all new audio version of the RSV-CE. It looks quite fantastic! The Truth and Life audio Bible may be the first fully dramatized audio Catholic Bible on the market. I hope we get to hear and see more about this in the coming weeks.
The Truth and Life website contains some sound/visual clips for you to experience. If interested in pre-ordering this new audio Bible, you can check out the Zondervan site for more information.
Here is a brief description from the product's website:
The Truth & Life Dramatized audio Bible™ New Testament is endorsed with an Imprimatur from the Vatican and includes a foreword by Pope Benedict XVI. Voiced by internationally-renowned actors including: Neal McDonough, Kristen Bell, Sean Astin, Michael York, Blair Underwood, Malcolm McDowell, Stacy Keach, Brian Cox, Julia Ormond, John Rhys-Davies and many more. The Truth & Life audio New Testament is a first of its kind dramatized audio Bible from the RSV-CE translation and distributed by Zondervan.
From Chicago to Hollywood to New York and beyond... over 70 actors, 20 audio engineers in 10 studios over 3 continents contributed to the creation of this unique audio New Testament.
More than 100 media development experts and 10,000 production hours were needed to complete this ambitious project.
The complete audio New Testament is 22 hours shipped on 18 CDs.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Online Virtual Scavi Tour

The Vatican Necropolis, which is under St. Peter's Basilica, can now be viewed via an online pilgrimage thanks to the Vatican website. I was fortunate enough to be able to go on a tour back in the Jubilee year 2000. It was simply amazing! I am glad I can now re-live some of those moments with this great tour.
So, head over to the Vatican website and check out St. Peter's tomb!

CEB: The Beatitudes

Continuing with our periodic look at the new Common English Bible, we now turn to the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5.

Below is how the CEB translates this famous passage into English:

Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up a mountain. He sat down and his disciples came to him. He taught them, saying: “Happy are people who are downcast, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad. Happy are people who are humble, because they will inherit the earth. Happy are people who are hungry and thirsty for righteousness, because they will be fed until they are full. Happy are people who show mercy, because they will receive mercy. Happy are people who have pure hearts, because they will see God. Happy are people who make peace, because they will be called God’s children. Happy are people whose lives are harassed because they are righteous, because the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Happy are you when people insult you and harass you and speak all kinds of bad and false things about you, all because of me. Be full of joy and be glad, because you have a great reward in heaven. For, in the same way, people harassed the prophets who came before you." - Matthew 5:1-11 (CEB)

Some thoughts:

1) The decision to go with "happy" over "blessed" is not as jarring as it once was since there are a number of modern translations that do this. For the CEB's rationale in doing this, you can go here.

2) Verse three and five each have unique ways of translating the more traditional renderings of "poor in spirit" and "meek". Instead they go with "downcast" and "humble" in hopes of making them understandable to the modern ear. Hmm..... Changing "meek" for "humble" maybe, but I am not sure that "downcast" accurately captures "poor in spirit." I might have to do some more thinking on this one.