In a previous post back in November of 2008, I gave some of the details of the CTS New Catholic Bible. At the time, I had received the small travel edition which was even smaller than I had anticipated. For me, it was a little tough to read, and last time I checked I had 20/20 vision. Therefore, I sort of pushed it aside and never gave it a proper review. Well, during my honeymoon in Roma, I stopped in a Catholic bookstore and spotted the larger, presentation edition of the CTS Bible on the shelf. I figured that it would be a shame if I didn't buy at least one Catholic Bible while in Rome, so I made the purchase. I am very glad I did!
The standard size is very similar to the size of a typical Liturgy of the Hours or Christian Prayer volume. This means it isn't too small to be considered compact, yet is not as large as a standard medium sized Bible either. Overall, the size is very portable, yet big enough to be used as an everyday/every occasion Bible. The page format is also well designed, much like most editions of the Jerusalem or New Jerusalem Bibles. It is single column, with cross-references on the sides, paragraph headings, and commentary at the bottom. In many ways, I think this is the best page layout that I have seen in any recently published Catholic Bible. The page layout truly invites the person to read and stay with the text.
The main text of the CTS Bible is the Jerusalem Bible, with two exceptions. First off, the Psalms are not from the Jerusalem Bible, but are rather the Grail Psalms. Most of you in the United States who pray the Liturgy of the Hours will be familiar with them. Secondly, by request of the Pope, all references to "YHWH", which was one of the unique features of the Jerusalem Bible, have been changed back to "the LORD". What does all this mean? Well, basically this Bible is exactly the what one would hear at Mass in the English speaking world outside of North America, where the NAB and NRSV are used. Nice concept huh?
The CTS Bible also comes with multiple study helps, including four Bible maps, full book introductions, including when a book is read during the liturgical year and why it is important in Christian liturgy, and verse commentary/notes. The book introductions and commentary were newly produced by NJB editor Henry Wansbrough OSB, member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission. The commentary notes often highlight historical-critical issues and they are not as plentiful as in the standard edition of the NJB. There is also a very helpful appendix with information on historical framework of the Bible, weights and measures, Sunday and Weekday Mass readings, and Psalms/Canticles for 4 week Breviary cycle with Office of Readings. Also, they added the nice touch of including not one, but three ribbon markers. Thank you very much! Overall, the CTS Bible has within it plenty of information, both scholarly and liturgically, to keep you satisfied.
The CTS Bible is a fine Catholic Bible. Although the translations used are over forty years old, the presentation and tools included within its covers are very up-to-date and most welcome. If you are looking for an all-purpose Bible, this is definitely a top contender. If you live in the UK, then it is a necessity, since you can feel comfortable bringing this Bible to both Mass and Bible study. If you are living in the USA or Canada and want a new edition of the Jerusalem Bible or if you really like the Grail Psalms, then this Bible is for you. In my opinion, I think it would be a very good thing to see publishers of the NRSV, RSV, or NAB learn from what the CTS has done for future publications.