Thursday, August 14, 2008
The NRSV Catholic Edition: Readers Text (Leather Bound)
Here is the info given for this edition by the publisher, Oxford University Press:
In addition to U.S. and Canadian imprimaturs, the Reader's Text contains "The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation", 64 in-text maps, 12 in-text charts and line drawings, a unique NRSV Catholic concordance, a Presentation and Family Record Section, eight pages of full color New Oxford Bible Maps, Prayers and Devotions of the Catholic Faith, and a Table of Sunday and Weekday Lectionary Readings for the Canadian NRSV Lectionary.
I must say that I find this edition of the NRSV a true joy to read and use daily. I own a burgundy berkshire leather edition, although I am still unsure as to what berkshire leather actually is. It doesn't feel like the rather cheap bonded leather that you sometimes see used in Bibles, but it certainly is not lamb-skin either. (The fact that I paid a decent amount for it suggests to me that it is a better quality leather binding.) The Bible fits nicely in the hand and will open up flat when placed on a table.
It's size is 9.9 x 7.5 x 1.8 inches and it weights only 3 pounds, making it very easy to take with you to Bible studies, Holy Mass, or Panera. In addition, the text size is very readable, the print is clear, it containts paragraph headings, and there is a fair amount of space to write notes if desired.
Probably the main reason I like this Bible is that it contains a lot of Bible extras, something that most Bibles of this size do not. One thing that I love the most is that it contains a lot of maps and charts. Not only do you get the standard "Oxford Maps" in the back, but there are a ton of in-text maps placed throughout the Bible at appropriate places. For example, if you are reading through 1 Samuel about David fleeing from King Saul, you will find in 1 Samuel 22 a nice in-text map of David's escape route to En Gedi. In the New Testament, there are some wonderful maps of "Jerusalem during Jesus Time" as well maps of the individual cities that Paul visited.
In addition to the maps, there are some very helpful charts placed within the text, like a "Harmony of the Gospels" and "Chronology of the Postexilic Era" in the Book of Ezra. The appendix includes the full table of Mass readings for Sundays and Weekdays, which is really nice to have when taking this Bible to Mass. There is also a nice 6 page section on Catholic prayers and devotions. Finally, there is a concise NRSV concordance in the back. This 100 page concordance, which helps you to find familiar phrases and words in the Bible, is the most thorough concise concordance that I have seen for a Bible this size. It is particularly helpful when looking up a Biblical name or place.
The one drawback to this Bible is that it doesn't contain any cross-references. Certainly having the concordance helps that a bit, but overall it would have been nice to have cross-references for those passages that are explicitly quoted elsewhere in the Bible.
Overall, this is a great Bible! I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for an NRSV Catholic edition.