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.


Anonymous said...

Great review. I should get mine in the mail today. Have been hauling my New Interpreters Study Bible to study class and am looking forward to getting this one. Looks like the type should be better than the NISB. Thanks/Sharon in Texas.
P.S. Mary Elizabeth Sperry is answering questions on the Facebook USCCB site. I asked the other day about a publication date for the REVISED NAB and she would not be pinned down, "sometime during the first part of 2011". I guess we'll see.

Timothy said...


Cool, let me know what you think about it.

As for the NAB, who knows? I am not sure even they know when they will publish it. Would it surprise anyone if it was postponed?

Anonymous said...

Re: thinline RSV-CE and NAB, look at the offerings from St. Benedict Press. Come to think of it, didn't you review these?

Timothy said...


Yes I did:

I wouldn't call those editions "thinline" which usually means the book has a thickness of less than 1 inch. I think the closest to thinline editions that I have seen would be Oxford's RSV-CE readers edition and some NAB versions by Catholic Book Publishing.

Anonymous said...

Also, the RSV-2CE from Inatius is a mere 1&1/8 inches in the leather-esque version.


Anonymous said...

Timothy & Readers:

I love your site. I know there
are many readers out there exploring the world of Bibles. So, this question is for anyone familiar with Spanish language Bibles.----
Sorry this is a bit off topic, but I too have been looking for an elusive bible edition.--My father is slowly coming to the faith and I
am looking for large print New Testament in Spanish (his native tongue). I want something comparable to the RSV but in Spanish. He has a Reina Valera
(Spanish Protestant) Bible,
but I am looking for a Large Print New Testament (even if its Protestant) as long as the language is more traditional.
It's been difficult finding
a Large Print Spanish NT in an older rendering. (1960's or earlier) Any help is appreciated.
(I don't care for the Jerusalem Bible)---Thanks everyone!

Anonymous said...

Anon. There is a parallel Catholic English/Spanish bible listed on Amazon from the American Bible Society. Sharon

Unknown said...

Are 3 Maccabees, 4 Maccabees, and Psalm 151 included in this bible?