Monday, December 14, 2015

Guest Review: SPCK NRSV-CE

Thank you to my friend Owen for this review.  I am so excited that this edition is available, since it is sewn NRSV-CE with cross-references.  This may be a possibility for rebinding, or perhaps a publisher like Allan's might consider turning it into something even better.

This is a review of the Catholic Edition of the 2015 NRSV by SPCK, Society Promoting Christian Knowledge, "since 1698" - who knew? Not me.
Overall impression: a very good daily reader in a quality economy edition with bonuses; sewn, ribbons, and cross reference system all in a comfortable size that is easy to hold and not too heavy to take-with.
Things I think are self evident from the photos: ghosting (minimal), kerning & leading (both excellent), binding (again, sewn), margins, page settings.
Yes, Anglicized. Amen!
Publication page details: published in the UK / printed and bound in India, "produced on paper from sustainable resources" / carries the 1991 Imprimatur of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops, Washington (as differentiated from the USCCB body) and of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops in the same year. Curiously, being produced in the UK there is no Imprimatur from other English language countries, like um, the UK.
Size = a good "personal" bible size / 14.8 x 3.5 x 24.5 cm / 5.8 x 1.3 x 8.6 inches
Weight = I haven't put it on a scale but it is very comfortable in the hand, no problem reading it in hand or carting it about.
Smyth sewn: opens beautifully flat from the word go. This one will stand up to extended use. *If* it had rounded page edges it would make a nice volume to have rebound.
Notes = none beyond translator notes. No concordance. No book introductions or other explanatory notes. With the exception of Esther
Ribbons = yes! Of pretty average quality, may fray (I have tips on how to prevent that if you like) but hey, there are two ribbons(!) and ribbons of any kind in an economy bible is a solid.
Paper = smooth, typical HC thickness, note-takers will find it takes pencil and pen well with minimal ghosting on the reverse side.
Font setting = style and size are not mentioned (nor found anywhere online by me to date). I'm going guess 10 for the main text, footnotes 8-ish and references 6 and 7.5 in a very clean, readable setting even for mid-life eyes.
Printing = very, very good. Consistent and dark text. I've had more expensive bibles with far less impressive print readability and consistency.
In terms of the reference system it appears to be one used earlier iterations. It is not comprehensive. It is not as detailed as I recall in the NRSV Cambridge Reference and I no longer have that edition to check (sold it at a give-away price to someone who needed it more than I though I do covet that lovely Moroccan leather - sigh). At a basic look-through, most references move "forward" but do not complete a detailed "backward" loop except in cases of very well known/generally accepted Christological passages. Deuterocanonical/Apocryphal are given a good treatment both "from" and "to" the overall canon including the N.T. Nice.
At point of manufacture: 1] page crimping (minor partial fold) in certain signatures from top center down to nearly a quarter of the page both left and right. 2] Rough edging, poor page cut at top third of the pages from Exodus 30 through Lamentations. 3] Genesis opening pages are poorly aligned with more space at the bottom of gutter to text than at the top. Quality control anyone?
Post point of manufacture: Dog-ear dents at top corner through most of the first three gospels. Frustrating, even when paying "economy" pricing.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. Nice to see a new NRSV CE edition being published.

Since I'm not a fan of the Anglicized Edition (personal preference only, no substantive objection to it), I'm not tempted to buy this one.

Michael P.

Jeff S. said...

I often like to go to the actual publisher's website and read the details there. Well when I went through the checkout procedure and
attempted to buy both the "complete(with Apocrypha" NRSV
and the Catholic NRSV that you and Owen reference, the SPCK
website would NOT let me buy them because they weren't authorized
to sell this material to the United States.

But when I went to the Book Depository website (England), it was
quite willing to sell those Bibles to a United States address.

And on the Amazon link that you provide, it appears that all the booksellers are pretty much from England, Ireland, or France, and they all seem quite willing to sell to someone in the United States.

Lots of intrigue I'm sure between various authorizing groups.

Deacon Dave said...

The Amazon description says it is beautifully illustrated. Possible to post a pic or two showing this?

Jason Engel said...

It's not illustrated.

Jason Engel said...

This is the same text block as published by Collins in 2007 and used by R.L. Allan in their wonderful goatskin NRSV in 2012. It interests me to note that Collins only published Protestant and Ecumenical editions of this block at that time, so while this is the same layout in all ways as that previous edition, it is new in that it is the Catholic version of the NRSV.

For those hoping for beautiful Catholic Bibles, there is hope: R.L. Allan has stated they have been in contact with SPCK regarding buying the unprepared pages so that they can give it their signature goatskin rebind. It will be interesting to see if SPCK cooperates and we see something wonderful by this time next year.

rolf said...

Whats the latest on R.L. Allan possibly using the SPCK NRSV-CE book block in 2016? I was browsing around on 'the fans of the NRSV Bible' facebook page and it sounds now like are going to use a NRSV with the 'apocrypha' in between the OT and the NT instead? Anybody heard anything new?

Timothy said...


It is happening. Allan's purchased the book blocks for the NRSV w/ apocrypha by SPCK. There is no news in regards to when it will be available for pre-order, but my contacts suggest later in the year. But yes, there will be a premium NRSV w/ apocrypha (and cross-references) available in the very near future.

rolf said...

Timothy, do you have a copy of this Spck NRSV Bible? I was wondering if it is about a 10 font size?