Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Review: Saint Benedict Press NABRE Paperback

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.


Theophrastus said...

Photos please.

Timothy said...


Just added a picture from Jeremiah. It is not the best, but it will give a decent look into the NABRE. Notice that they placed the crossreferences at the bottom of the page, which I think is a nice feature, not often found in most NABs.

Jules Isaac said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Timothy said...


That has nothing to do with the topic of this post.

Colleague said...

The comments on this blog have just gotten bizarre over the past couple of weeks.

Tim, maybe you ought to consider implementing a system where you review the comments before they are posted. It's obvious that as this blog becomes more and more public, the more tangents we'll unfortunately encounter here.

Timothy said...


I am considering doing just as you say. It is a little more work for me, but some of the comments have been either bizzare or offensive. And those are just the ones I didn't catch immediately. There are others that haven't even been posted.

We will see.

Anonymous said...

Hello Timothy,

Thanks for sharing your observations on the on the NABRE. I have a few questions though:

1. Can you estimate the text size of the main text and the notes?
2. Are the text size consistent throughout? I ask because on the previous NAB, some paragraphs of the main text appear smaller than the others, especially in some NT books.


Theophrastus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Theophrastus said...

Thanks for the photo Tim.

Looking at the image, it looks like this is a nicely laid-out book, although it certainly has some bleed-through on the pages.

At $25 for a paperback and backlisted at Amazon, the price is a little high -- the basic paperback Oxford NABRE is priced at less than $10 at Amazon (although the Oxford edition won't be out until next month.)

I wonder if the Oxford edition will put the cross-references and notes at the end of each book (like the Reader's Edition) or on the same page as the text (like the Catholic Study Bible).

Javier said...


offensive comments can be a problem. But I think when bloggers review comments before they are posted, their blogs lose a lot in terms of immediacy and spontaneity.

Theophrastus said...

Javier, Tim's troll problem has gotten so bad that he has had to shut down comments on several posts. While this is completely understandable, it is arguably even worse than moderating comments.

Javier said...


I didn't know that (I usually read Tim's posts but not the comments).
I see your point.

Javier said...


I know of a blogger for whom not allowing anonymous comments, pretty much solved the troll problem.


Tim B. said...

I hope that Saint Benedict comes out with a genuine leather version of the NABRE. I have already have their NAB (non-revised) in genuine leather and it is a beautiful bible.

I also think all of the trolling comments as of late are strange. I love this blog and it is disheartening to see all of these comments.

MP said...

I noticed that on the Barnes and Noble website, Fireside has their leather (or fake leather) Catholic Answer Bible in the NABRE available on April 1st. I can't find it anywhere else, though. Maybe it's an April Fools joke?



Anonymous said...

I'd like to compliment the publisher for layout of the text. The notes in much smaller font and the faint lines delineating different areas of the page really help the eye to track the different features properly. It is a much cleaner and more pleasant layout than any of my current NABs. Nice details.


Timothy said...


I also like that the cross-references are all at the bottom, under the textual notes.

Theophrastus said...

Above, I asked if the new Oxford edition would put the footnotes at the end of each book, or under the text page.

I should have just looked at the OUP description, which clearly states:

Translators' notes and references are positioned at the back of each book for ease of reading the Scripture text

Yuck. Well, I'm definitely not getting a fancy Oxford edition -- I think I will buy a cheap edition for reference, and wait for the 3rd edition of the Oxford Catholic Study Bible.

James McColgan said...

Hi, i was wondering if this does have the Imprimatur and Nihil Obstat? I'm thinking about to purchase this I think it looks good. I just like Bibles with Imprimaturs and Nihil Obstats. Thanks for your helps cheers

Timothy said...

Yes it does.

James McColgan said...

Timothy, thanks cheers