Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Physical Comparison of The Catholic Study Bible 1990 + 2016

Over the past few years, I have slowly been gifting away most of the bibles I have accumulated since this blog started in 2008.  Two bibles I have kept, however, are the 1990 and 2016 The Catholic Study Bible (CSB) published by Oxford University Press.  They represent the first and the most recent update in this venerable edition.  I am not going to spent that much time discussing the content in both of these bibles, but rather I am going to look at their physical and visual qualities.   However, as we get started, it is important to note that the 1990 edition contains the original 1970 NAB OT (including the original NAB Psalter) and the 1986 NAB revised NT.  The 2016 edition contains the now branded NABRE, with fully revised OT and 1986 revised NT.  (The 2016 edition is also important since it finally updated the extensive reading guides to reflect the NABRE OT, which was not reflected in the 2011 edition.)  The reading guides in both editions are a little under 600 pages in length, but the content is different reflecting updates to scholarship and translation.

The first thing you will notice is the size.  The 2016 is thicker than the original, even though its length is a tad bit shorter.  There are two reasons for this: The first is that the 2016 has considerably more study helps included compared to the original 1990.  When the original came out, it was praised for the extensive reading guides, essays, appendix materials, Sunday Lectionary Readings, and Oxford Maps that accompanied the NAB translation and notes.  Yet, times have changed and the demand for "more" in a study bible have continued to increase.  The newest edition contains all of what the previous edition had, but also more essays, full lectionary readings, updated Oxford Maps, concise concordance, and dozens of in-text mini-essays, charts, drawings, and maps.  The second reason for the size difference is that in the early 90's Oxford created their study bibles with generous margins.  I own the 1991 New Oxford Annotated Study Bible (NRSV) and it too has the same generous margins. 


The cover materials have also changed in the years since 1990, at least for these Catholic editions.  My 1990 CSB was bounded in genuine leather.  Being almost 27 years old, it still has a nice feel to it and continues to have no structural issues.  The sewn binding allows it to still lay open flat, just like it did when I first got it.  The 2016 is made of a fairly stiff bonded leather.  No genuine leather edition is available currently.  A genuine leather cover was not available for the previous edition as well.  Now, if you are suggesting that Oxford isn't doing quality genuine leather editions any more, I will point you to their most recent NOAB NRSV 4th Edition.  That is a beautifully crafted cover, which may be the nicest genuine leather cover I have ever held in my life.  So, it can be done.  The only reason I can think as to why Oxford hasn't done the CSB in genuine leather is the fact that Catholics simply don't buy premium bibles in the numbers that will allow most publishers to make a profit.  Over the many years of this blog, I hate to say it, but I think that remains true for the most part.  


Lastly, the differences in the page-layout are striking.  The 1990 has much more space to it and feels less confined and cramped.  The 2016, while still attractive to read from and enhanced by the many in-text maps, charts, and essays, just isn't as appealing compared to the original.  This, I know, is completely subjective, but I also feel the same way about how the page-layouts have progressed in the NOAB NRSV's as well, which in many ways parallel each other.  


Overall, these are two very different study bibles from Oxford.  Over the span of 26 years, the translations changed, twice, the reading guides were updated, more material was added, and the physical/visual quality morphed into something different.  If I were to sum it up in one sentence, it would be this: While the content improved in almost every way, the packaging of that content decreased in quality.  


As always, your thoughts?

Friday, May 19, 2017

Older NAB College Bible on Big Discount

My friend Paul, at the Pastoral Center, is offering a pretty massive discount on the Saint Mary's Press College Study Bible which utilizes the pre-2011 NAB.  Each of these editions are on sale for $5.00 in their softcover version.  I own one and appreciate that it does include a ton of extra information and articles.  Although it is intended for college students, I think it could also be used for high schoolers as well.

Some of the features of this edition:
  • Introductory articles on how to read and understand the Bible, along with the Vatican Council II document Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum)
  • Scholarly introductions to each section and book of the Bible, written and edited so that unfamiliar concepts and customs are easy to understand
  • Ninety short articles that address the social concerns, life issues, and spiritual needs of a student
  • Colorful in-text maps, illustrations, charts, biblical art, and photos throughout
  • Additional study aids, including a glossary of biblical terms, table of Sunday lectionary readings, and biblical history timeline.

Catholic Children's Bible App

Monday, May 15, 2017

The Message Canvas Bible

c/o The Message Canvas 

The Message Canvas Bible is a fantastic resource for those interested in purchasing a journaling/coloring bible.  At this time, it is only available in the original The Message translation, minus the deuterocanonicals. I decided to purchase a copy a few months ago.  It is wonderfully produced and the illustrations are so lovingly rendered that the text begs to be interacted with.  I have also come to use The Message translation daily in my prayers and duting times of practicing lectio divina.  I love the fact that it is rendered in such a different way from the majority of other translations.

I have owned a number of journaling bibles over the years, yet I can honestly say that it is this one that has quickly become my favorite.  The one I previously owned was the now out-of-print NRSV Notetakers Bible which included the deuteros.  The fine folks at NavPress have created a helpful website with additional prints and opportunities to show-off one's creativity.  I even printed off one of their prints for Ezekiel 34 and used it for an extended prayer experience for my high school students last week.  It was well received.

Hopefully there will be a full Catholic edition one day.  However, until then, this edition of The Message Canvas Bible will be used often.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Miscellaneous Stuff

Thanks to Emilia and Mike for these two bits of info that might interest some of you:

1) Bibliotheca set giveaway that ends on June 6th:



2) I thought I'd pass on that there's an ebook format of The Catholic Study Bible, 3rd edition on sale at Google Play for $9.80.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Sirach: Catholic Women's Bible Study & Journaling Bible

Description:
I believe any book that begins with the sentence, “Wisdom comes from the Lord,” needs to be read. And not only read, but studied and lingered over. How? Well, that is entirely up to you. You may feel called to journal through the Book of Sirach—old school, pen and paper style. You may feel called to get your art on with the creative process of Bible journaling using various mediums from colored pencils, acrylic paints, washi tape and stickers. Or you may you choose to dig deeper into the Book of Sirach by verse mapping your way through. Either way, this book will encourage you, help you and give you the room you need for whatever journaling style you choose. You can find more Bible journaling resources as well as Prayer journaling resources at TheLittlestWay.com.  You can find it at Amazon here.

Thanks again to Emilia for spotting this one!  She reports that the translation used is the RSV-CE.