Friday, November 4, 2016

A Future RSV-CE?

There has been a bit of talk in the comments of this blog about Scepter Publishers coming out with a newly deisgned edition of the entire RSV-CE.  This would not necessarily be a compact Bible either.  Hopefully their recent Pocket RSV-CE NT will be a success and encourage this to actually happen.  Well, I thought it would be interesting to hear from you, my loyal readers, as to what you would like to see in a future RSV-CE.  I have some ideas, but I would like to hear from you first.  So, consider sharing your ideas in the comments of this post.  Also, make sure to pick up a Pocket RSV-CE NT!


Anonymous said...

Personally, I think it would be great if they could include the best of the notes from the Didache RSV/CE and the Navarre Bible. That won't be possible if this new Bible is some sort of compact edition, of course.

Tim Brennan

Timothy said...


I don't think it will necessarily be a compact bible. It could be a readers sized edition. Also, I doubt they would be able to get the rights to print one with all the Didache notes, since those would be copyrighted.

Mike Borges said...

The hard truth of the matter is that this "new" edition will NOT include any of the Didache notes because they come from a different publisher. My hope is that this text only edition will be a single-column Bible in a leather cover with a very readable bold font. Basically, the Navarre Bible minus the notes.

Jeff S. said...

I did my part;
having bought four(4) copies of the Pocket RSV-CE from Scepter so
me and a few friends will each have a copy!

And by the way, I'm absolutely delighted to have found this website up and running again. I had been checking almost daily since June and
discovered about 4 weeks ago that you'd opened it up again Tim.

My favorite part is when discussions and information are brought out
regarding possible new translations/printings. In other words, I'm
one of the people that Leighton was talking about in his great cartoon!:)

By the way, in that vein, what would people think about having
a KJV-CE ... remember, the original King James Bible of 1611 had all the deuterocanonicals, and a few extra. It was only in the late 1600s and then 1700s that they were removed. In the last decade or so, Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press have begun selling KJV WITH all the complete Apocrypha as they call it
which does have the "extra" books that Catholics want.
So if it could have the certain passages changed to be more "Catholic", just as was done with the RSV, what would people think?

I know Peter Kreeft of Boston College has advocated that.
You can find an article by him in the New Oxford Review (a theologically conservative Catholic newsletter I subscribe to

You either have to have a subscription or pay $1.95 for the article.
I have a subscription and so I've got it.

Jonny said...

A high quality medium sized RSV-CE would be a popular item, but has sadly never been available to my knowledge. The RSV-CE continues to be available in a variety of formats from small to large, and with or without study helps, but none of these really fit the bill. I am talking about a high quality, easy to read edition that one wants to get cozy on a recliner with and just read. There are a few essentials that need to be there:

1. High quality cover. Either durahyde or premium leather, but preferably options for both. Calfskin is fine, but please no bonded leather. Bonded leather is OK on the pocket NT, but not for this one. Yes, premium leather is more expensive, but people would buy such an edition just for the cover, and I believe it would be really popular. Even after multiple different modernized variations, the original RSV-CE remains popular after 50 years. Let's finally get an edition in a worthy format for this classic!

2. SEWN BINDING!!! Seriously, it is an absolute deal-breaker without.

3. Medium sized with generous sized print. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 8 x 5.5 with 9.5-10 point type. Also, the text must not run to the edge of the page or into the gutter. A point of reference for what I am talking about is the Cambridge Concord King James Reference Bible. This is the first Bible I got (as a Protestant) that really WOWed me. Having had so many sub-quality Bibles, this one made me think "this is what a REAL Bible looks like..." See also the "New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha Expanded Edition Revised Standard Version" (copyright 1977) with the genuine leather cover for a point of reference. This edition is still in print, and is very nice, although the genuine leather is more like French morocco, but a calfskin edition would be much better.

4. Gilt gold edges and two ribbon bookmarks.

The above mentioned features would guarantee a winner, but there are a few other options that would be desirable, and I list these in my opinion of their order of importance:

1. Pronunciation markings for the proper names, at least for the accented syllable, if not full phonetical pronunciation. Some Bibles have a pronunciation guide in the back, but having it in the text (at least for the first appearance in a paragraph) is so much handier, and makes reading out loud so much easier. Both the Ignatius and Oxford editions retained this feature, and I think this one should too.

2. Dedication page and family record section. Any artwork that can be included with these types of sections is good. A Bible should be a beautiful as possible, even if that is just one portrait of Christ: icon, crucifix, or anything. Having pages to record sacraments and dates makes the Bible a lifelong companion.

3. Cross references. Even just a few is better than none, but that is not a deal breaker since study/reference resources are available separately. At minimum, it would be nice to at least see OT quotes referenced, as well as synoptic passages in the gospels.

4. Maps. See the Cambridge Concord KJV again as a point of reference. The Cambridge maps are colorful, attractive, and easy to read.

5. Dictionary and/or Concordance, Table of Weights and Measures, gazetteer for the Maps. Basically any extra goodies are always appreciated! Some might also want apologetics, prayers, and Mass readings, but my vote is to leave those out of this edition. It is so much more convenient to use a separate resource for these kinds of things, and for most of us it is probably as handy cell phone. No need to flip back and forth in the Bible when one could probably get a more accurate result from a missal or the USCCB website.

I hope someone from Scepter sees my ideas here: and thanks in advance, and thanks for the RSV-CE NT! I have strict orders from Santa not to buy myself anything before Christmas, but I hope to find a NT in my sock! :D

Kent G. Hare said...

Right about them not being able to include notes from some other publisher's edition, Didache or Navarre or whatever. They'll never get those rights. But I would love it if they could somehow get SOME kind of decent notes in there. The basic RSV's/RSV-CE's are pretty much nonexistent, and it deserves something. Probably not going to happen, though.

As to format, really I don't think they could do much better than what they had about a decade or so ago when I got my Sceptre RSV-CE, black leather (maybe bonded, I'm not sure), gilded edges, with nice thumb-slot-indexing, except for one thing: ADD SOME BLOODY MAPS!


Timothy said...

Y'all are posting some fantastic ideas. Keep them coming.

Timothy said...

Please no glossy insert pages!

Kent G. Hare said...

Straying a bit from the overall subject of this thread: Jeff S., you could put me down for wanting a KJV-CE. A convert who grew up on the KJV, I find myself going back to it more and more for the sheer beauty of the translation, especially in the last few weeks after a recent guest post mentioned THE THIRD MILLENNIUM BIBLE "New Authorized Version" which has the Deuterocanonicals in it. I picked up a slightly used hard-cover which is fairly nice (but no maps :( ), although something about the overall format just screams "1990s" (when it was published), and not in a good way. One nice feature, however, is the single-column format.

In any case, I was not aware that Kreeft had endorsed the idea. Suddenly the idea of a "King James Version-Catholic Edition" -- which at first glance seems like an oxymoron that only I would have ever conceived of -- sounds a lot more possible.


Daniel said...

I would just like if it had a minimum amount of ghosting. I don't know if it's hard to accomplish but I like Bibles with line-matching, where the lines on the front of the page line up exactly with the lines on the back of the page, this really helps with the ghosting issue. That really is a nice feature in some high-end Bibles.

Jonny said...

I just have one other idea I wanted to share. I find this recurring theme when people are discussing Bible translations on this blog and other discussion forums, that of Catholics who enjoy reading the King James Version.

Someone referenced an article in the above comments written by Peter Kreeft for the New Oxford Review. He was suggesting that the Catholic Church approve a Catholic Version of the KJV and use it for the Liturgy. If one wants a good explanation of why Catholics might desire a Catholic-approved KJV, then read this article. I believe his intentions are good, but perhaps not thought through completely. Please humor me to explain what I mean, and then I will give my suggestion.

First, a complete overhaul would be necessary to make the KJV usable for Liturgy. It would have to be extensively edited to conform (in structure) to the New Vulgate, which is itself a critical edition. It would also have to have many language updates throughout as many words have changed in meaning since 1611. If one is familiar with pre-modern English that is not much of an issue, but it can't just be transplanted into the Mass in 2016. If one wanted to make a liturgical edition of the KJV, it would actually make more sense to start with the 1895 English Revised Version (aka Revised Version with Apocrypha.) So with the question of liturgy aside, one still might desire a KJV-CE, that is, a KJV with minor changes with some sort of Church approval. But who is going to tinker with the KJV and to what extent? I think there would be many people, Catholic and Protestant, that would consider this an abomination, and the whole project would be surrounded by scorn and controversy.

So here is my suggestion, for Scepter or any other publisher who might consider publishing a KJV with all the books, with Catholics in mind. Make a parallel Bible, KJV on the left column, RSV-CE on the right- (and no one would argue against cross references in a center column.) This would be an unprecedented opportunity to have a KJV with the books in their proper order, and the Greek additions to Esther and Daniel in their proper order, instead of being set aside in a separate "Apocrypha" section! Also it would give readers of the KJV a quick reference to archaic words and phrases via the RSV, and would be much more effective than trying to include language notes at the bottom of the page. I actually think this would be a popular product, and useful for Catholics and Protestants, and useful in evangelization. See my above comment regarding the criteria for a high quality, attractive Catholic Bible.

Tim, it might be interesting to have a poll of some sort on your blog about what features would be popular in a new edition of the RSV-CE. Perhaps a parallel Bible could be an option to vote on? I would like to see the results of that poll, and your opinions as well.

Jeff S. said...

I like Jonny's idea very much, and I'm the one who brought up the KJV
in the earlier post. My nit-picking on this idea is that the RSV-CE
is a derivative of the KJV. Remember back in the 1880s there arose
the English Revised Version(ERV) and then the American clone of that in 1901 called the American Standard Version(ASV). And then in 1946(NT) and 1952(OT) the Revised Standard Version was released.
And then in 1965-1966 the RSV-CE.

So my point is that in many places the KJV will look almost identical to the RSV / RSV-CE. Given that the KJV will be on the left, would there be a better Catholic version to have in stead of the RSV-CE?

As suggestions: Douay-Rheims but with corrections made for obvious gaffes such as found (literally not found!) in Mark 8:6 where most modern copies of it leave out Jesus commanding the crowd to sit down.
I have a copy or two printed back in the early mid-1940s by Catholic publishers that have that corrected and the sentence added back in.
There are a dozen or two of such situations in the Challoner version.
By the way, in the Harvard Dumbarton Oaks release of the Vulgate
in 2010-2013, they have it corrected also!

Rev. Hugh Pope, O.P. documented all this in his 1950-1952 book
English Versions of the Bible. I give the dates as shown because in the front of the book it has dates ranging from 1950 to 1952. It should be available on old book sites like which I just verified.

Or the Knox version which has no such problems and is a direct translation from the Vulgate by a very esteemed Catholic scholar, especially on this blog! :)

Jonny's concept is great: parallel Bible with KJV on the left and
a great Catholic version on the right. My own vote is for an older
classic that's purely Catholic. I have no theological issues with the RSV-CE; it's just that it's very similar in wording to the KJV since it's a direct descendant of it.
What an awesome parallel Bible with no distractions of too many Bibles; only two great classics of Protestantism and Catholicism.

Let this blog's voters decide ... Looking forward to the excitement!

JDH said...

I would like to see a RSV-CE Bible without extensive notes, but with other things handy to have in a Bible. The table of liturgical readings, for example (and not just Sunday!). Also, some basic reading plan(s), so that one can know roughly how to pace one's reading to complete the Bible in a year, or the NT in 2 years, etc. Scepter's Confraternity NT has that. Finally, some prayers. One thing I loved about the Oxford/Ignatius Reader's edition of the RSV-CE was the short but incredibly handy collection of traditional prayers from the Catholic tradition that was in the back. (That is one of the best Bible's I've ever owned, except for the small print and the defect in the binding. I'd get it fixed and rebound if the print were just a bit bigger.)

I know all of this stuff is easily available on my phone, but so are full commentaries. If you are going to include stuff beyond the biblical text, make it stuff that one will actually use while doing devotional reading and as part of one's prayer life.

Kevin Daugherty said...

I would like to see them publish a simple RSV-CE with cross-references. The RSV and NRSV are sorely lacking in the reference Bible department.

Jonny said...

Thanks to Jeff S. for mentioning the book "English Versions of the Bible." The section about the Challoner revisions was very illuminating. I found the book online, and was able to download the PDF to print out the entire chapter.

When I mentioned a parallel Bible with the KJV I knew that this was probably something that a Catholic publisher wouldn't be willing to do, despite its historic influence on the literature and culture of English speaking people. Still, it was an interesting idea. My thought was there would also be a benefit in seeing both side by side when using for devotional reading or study, in that the KJV is in general a more literal rendering. But I also had to consider that there are a lot of negatives about the Catholics embracing KJV too, especially due to its anti-Catholic origins and textual basis. The Church considered the Vulgate to be more reliable than the original language manuscripts at the time, and I do believe that was an accurate assessment. The reader is again directed to the book referenced above for more details.

As I considered the benefits of such a parallel Bible, I realized that a version with the Challoner Douay Rheims and the RSV-CE would be much more desirable for Catholics in general. I think the practical applications of this team-up would greatly outweigh any ecumenical applications of a version with the KJV. Also, having the Challoner DR would mean you automatically would get cross references and basic apologetic and explanatory notes. But most importantly, a parallel Bible such as this would make this beautiful and peculiar part of our Catholic heritage, the Challoner DR, more accessible to those who would not otherwise have the courage to delve into the strange territory of this older English classic.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure why anyone would want a KJV-CE Bible when you have the D-R? To each their own I guess. Not that any Bible publisher is listening because if they were we'd see some changes in the utterly horrific quality of Catholic Bibles that they have given us.

My dream Bible? RSV-CE or how about an ESV-CE(?) Bible that is made with quality.
Basically I want a JB/NJB style Bible with just as many notes and cross-references as the JB/NJB. Wide margins, empty pages between books, three ribbons, reference tables, daily readings, prayers, with a few different cover options from hardcover to leather, leather bound, and zippercase. Artwork optional. No glossy pages. I look at the quality and formats, study aids, etc. of non-Catholic Bibles and literally drool. Maybe if publishers actually got it, put out an attractive and informative product Catholics may actually want to buy it. I also would like to see the usccb overhaul the NABRE. I would like to see a brand new NABRE with new cross references and new notes. With the exception of a few verses, many scholars don't mind the translation. Just the notes. They can't stand the notes. But alas, the NABRE is a cash cow for the bishops and things aren't about to change.

just my thoughts.