Friday, March 6, 2009

Leather Catholic Bibles

Yes, true leather, not imitation leather or bonded leather. I am looking to catalogue the best made, genuine leather Catholic Bibles. Why? Well, I honestly don't think there are many out there. (In some ways, this current post is a continuation of one of my first.) In any case, the origin of this post comes from a recent thread on the Catholic Answers website. Let me display two excerpts from my responses so far:

1) Like I mentioned in a previous post somewhere, we have very few quality leather Catholic Bibles to choose from. It is a real shame. I own a pretty large collection of Catholic Bibles and the only ones that "say" that they are genuine leather are the Oxford Catholic Study Bible NAB 1990 version and the Oxford RSV-CE Readers Bible of recent years.

I also own a 1960's original Jerusalem Bible that is supposedly in "leather", which is of course bonded leather. If I wanted to use it everyday, it would probably fall a part in a month or so. I also met a seminarian who has been using the Igantius RSV-2CE "leather" edition for well over a year and he commented to me that he was going to have to get a new one because it was falling a part.

Finally, like I mentioned in that previous post, the nicest Bible I own is a French Moroccan leather edition of the NRSV, which includes the Deuterocanonicals/Apocrypha: For the most part, Cambridge publishes some high quality leather Bibles. It would be nice to see them publish some more Catholic editions.

2) I just spotted this NAB "genuine leather" edition from Oxford: It looks pretty nice, with the additional benefit of having the notes and cross-references at the back of each Biblical book. May be the best option for those who use the NAB regularly.

That is what I have so far. My question to you, my fellow lovers of all things Catholic Bibles:

1) Have you spotted any high quality genuine/calfskin/Moroccan leather Catholic Bibles?

2) Do you own and use a genuine leather Catholic Bible? What is it?
Let me also mention that if you would like to see a website devoted to premium bound Bibles, go to Bible Design and Binding Blog by J. Mark Bertrand.


Anonymous said...

The only quality leather bible i have found is the oxford NAB. I purchased mine about a year ago and feels new. A month ago i read your thread regarding the Oxford NRSV CE published in 2000 and found one on The leather is berkshire but feels genuine. I am still waiting for the Oxford edition of the revised 2009 NAB and the 3rd edition of the Jerusalem Bible!!

rolf said...

I have the Oxford Catholic Study Bible (2nd edition) in genuine leather and the large print Oxford NAB Bible the you referenced here. Both are good quality, I like the feel of the leather on the Catholic study Bible is the best.
I also have the Ignatius RSV-2CE that I bought in 2006, and I have had no problems with it, and its been one of my most used Bibles.

I think as Catholics buy more Bibles (unlike the past), the market will accommodate. Just go to any Christian bookstore and look at the wide range of choices out there for any of the Protestant translations, that is because they buy Bibles.

Michael said...

There is a revised 2009 NAB coming out? Not according to any of my sources. Where did you get that information?

Timothy said...

As for revised NJB and NAB, here are some links:



Michael said...

That link doesn't say anything I don't already know, the revised NAB Old Testament was supposed to be completed in 2003.

However, what it doesn't note is that the revised OT was rejected, deemed insufficient, and sent back for further review. There was no indication given of why it was rejected, but the apparent reason is because the new English Missal is coming out soon, and the revised OT didn't meet the standards of that missal.

Timothy said...


I have tried to find more info on the NAB, but it is like trying to get into Fort Knox. I even emailed the CBA, but they never gave a reply.

I am guessing the new rules via Liturgiam Authenticam may be playing a role here. But who knows, since we are all left in the dark.

Michael said...

Right, Liturgicum Authenticum is probably part of it, but there is probably more to it than that.

The OP referred to a '2009 edition' coming out, from the looks of it, this is not the new edition with the revised OT, but rather the publication of a new breviary using the actual text of the NAB used in Mass, which is different from the NAB text available in stores. The Vatican rejected the 1991 NAB for the liturgy due to the use of inclusive language, so in 2000 they released a new version, which is used during Mass, but is not available in print.

Theophrastus said...

I can recommend the quality of the Libreria Editrice Vaticana's leather bound Nova Vulgata Bibliorum Sacrorum editio.

In English, until recently, Baronius press had some nicely bound D-R translations, and I own a number of (now out of print) beautiful leather editions of the NRSV. However, a wide variety of English-language leather Bibles are available on the used market.

Here is a nice leather bound edition of the third edition of the Bible de Jérusalem. An search ("leather" in French is "cuir") will yield many more entries.

This is just a tiny sampling of leather bound Bibles available in Italy.

Note that outside the American market, leather Bibles are often hard-bound (which I prefer to the typical Protestant "floppy" soft-cover leather binding.)

Timothy said...


Thanks for your links. I hope that whenever the next edition of the NJB comes out in English that it will come in some quality leather bindings.

Anonymous said...

In regard to the revised NAB. I emailed the USCCB re the release date and whether the 1991 Psalms would be updated or replaced with the Grail Psalms. The response i received was that the OT will be revised w the exception of the 1991 Psalms, the Grail Psalms will not be replaced the 1991 Psalms and they do not have a release date yet. The USCCB website states an early 2009 release date but we will have to wait and see. Hopefully they will change "the garded of good and bad" to the "the gardend of good and evil" in the just doesnt sound right. The NT will not be revised.

Anonymous said...

Question: Would you buy a combo RSV-CE/CCC?

The problem would be finding the publisher, in the states that would be doubleday for the CCC, maybe NJB w CCC? or NRSV w CCC?

This would solve the problem of having to find a good catholic bible since the catechism is the most reliable source to finding out what the mind of the Church is.

Anonymous said...

Ooppss! The link got cut off, the item was the The 1979 Book of Common Prayer and The New Revised Standard Version Bible with the Apocrypha in one binding.

Timothy said...


Thanks for the info on the NAB. I have heard some rumors about the Psalms remaining the same like you, which would be a major dissapontment. They are just so bad, that even an improved/revised OT wouldn't make up for it.

As for the RSV/CCC combo, it might be a bit too big! What I would like to see, however, is a Catholic Bible that is not only cross-referenced with other scriptural passages, but also with the CCC. The work has already been done really, since the appendix of the CCC has a list of scriptural references in the CCC.

Overall, however, I think we are still waiting for the ideal Catholic study Bible. Unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be much innovation in this area coming.

rolf said...

I just hope the notes in the revised Old Testament of the NAB will be a little more complete, in their current form they are very thin. I wish the USCCB would do like the the British did, and release a version of the NAB with the Grail Psalms that reflects the version that is used in the liturgy (The CTS New Catholic Bible). What a thought!

Timothy said...


That would make too much sense!

PaxCarmel said...

I just want to say that it is so totally gratifying reading this blog and these comments regularly and just knowing there are other wierdos like me out there who don't think it's too much to ask to find the perfect Catholic Bible. :)

I've been obssessively trying to figure out how to make a rSv-CE/CCC or -- even better for me--- an RSV-CE / with Short form Breviary (as in, with the antiphons etc but referring back to the Bible text for the passages for each hour)/ Chart with the daily mass readings that resembles the Book of Common Prayer/NRSV that's out there-- I have a copy of that and guiltily love it even though I know it's full of utterly heretical nonsense and that, techinically, I "shouldn't."
Ahhh. Anyways... carry on! :)

Deep South Reader said...

The Book of Common Prayer & the Holy Bible, NRSV, Black [Leather Bound]

Anonymous said...

I have a couple of Jerusalem Bible's which are Special Editions printed by Eyre & Spottiswoode.
Two of them are Bound in Arizona Sheepskin.The Arizona Sheepskin Bound Bibles are lovely and soft... Very Floppy if used often.
E & S stuck small labels on the end papers at the back of There Bible's with Codes printed on them.
The Code for The Black Arizona Sheepskin ones is: JB 2379 .
These Bibles are also Smyth Sewn and where Printed & Bound in England.
They're very nice.
Remember you could always get an immitation or genuine leather one ReBound into Highland Goatskin by Allans Book Binders.