Let me start by saying that this review is going to focus on the Saint Benedict Press NABRE paperback, itself, and not the actual NABRE translation. Translation issues have been discussed in the past already and we will continue to do so in the coming days, once more people are able to get their hands on a copy.
So, what do I think of this edition? Well, being that this is the first edition of the NABRE that I have set my eyes upon, I think that Saint Benedict Press has done a really nice job. Immediately upon opening this Bible from the package it was shipped in, the beautiful cover art of "Pentecost" by Titian stands out. This cover image was chosen on the Saint Benedict Press Facebook site, where people could vote for one of three cover options. I prefered the "The Baptism of Christ" by Fra Angelico, but this one will do. The cover material is both sturdy and glossy. The overall size of this Bible would probably be classified as medium, although I would say that it is slightly smaller than most medium Bibles. This is to its benefit, making it more portable, without being compact.
When you open up the Bible, those of you who have purchased one of the RSV-CE’s that Saint Benedict Press has published will notice that the page format is very similar. For those of you who haven’t, you can go here to see what I am talking about. I find the print to be very readable. It is nice to see the NAB in a different font and type than they are found in almost all other NAB editions on the market. The text is on the top half of each page, with the textual notes and cross-references at the bottom. Depending on what book you are reading, for example Genesis, the textual notes at times take up half the page. One other unique feature of the layout is that the words of Christ are in red. This is something that Saint Benedict Press does with many of their Bibles. I am neither pro or against red letter Bibles, so that is up to the individual Bible reader to decide.
Included with the paperback edition is a nice essay on the “Succession of the Popes” followed by a list of the Popes, which is at the front of the Bible. I would have liked to have a picture of Pope Benedict inserted there, since he is in many ways one of our most Biblically literate Popes in history. Following the Book of Revelation, there is a ‘Calendar of Readings’ for both Sundays and weekdays. Why any Catholic Bible wouldn’t include this is beyond me. If you want to read the Scriptures with the mind of the Church, including the Lectionary readings is a must. This ‘Calendar of Readings’ section is nicely ordered and easy to use. Finally, there are a few pages in the back devoted to popular Catholic prayers, including traditional prayers, prayers to the Holy Spirit, a morning offering, and prayers to Our Lady and the Saints. All in all, a nice way to end this Bible.
A couple of miscellaneous points:
**Nice to see that this Bible was printed in North America. Canada to be exact.
**Would have liked to have seen some Bible maps or some of the nice art work that are included in some of the other editions by Saint Benedict Press, however I understand if there were reasons why they didn’t include them in the paperback edition. I ordered the Ultrasoft edition of the NABRE, as well, so I hope these omissions may be included in that version.
Overall, anyone who is looking for a basic, paperback edition of the NABRE should probably pick up this edition by Saint Benedict Press. (If you want an NABRE right now, this edition is the easiest to get a hold of.) I continue to be impressed by the product Saint Benedict Press continues to put out. I think they are the only Catholic publisher who publishers their own editions of the Douay-Rheims, RSV-CE, and the NABRE. Keep up the great work!
Thank you to the fine people at Saint Benedict Press for sending me a review copy.