Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A Few Additional Comments on the Catholic Bible: Personal Study Edition

I want to first off thank Geoffrey for last week's review of the Catholic Bible: Personal Study Edition (CBPSE)from Oxford. Since then, I have received a copy, in the burgundy bonded leather version. I thought I would make a few points to supplement what Geoffrey contributed last week.

I will list them below, in no particular order:

**As Geoffrey pointed out, this edition has a ton of information, so don't let the description of "this is a beginner" study Bible fool you. Oftentimes, I think the CBPSE tends to get overlooked in comparison with its older brother the Catholic Study Bible. Yet, it does retain a fair amount of the same material found in the CSB reading guides, while supplimenting it with quite a few more charts and diagrams that the CSB does not include. While I haven't had a chance to compare the two reading guides exhaustively, I can say that my reading throught Joshua, Judges, and Ruth indicated to me that the essential material found in the CSB was also found in the CBPSE. One thing that is unique to the CBPSE reading guides is that at the end of each Biblical book are found questions for discussion and reflection, much like those found at the end of the individual volumes of the ICSB.

**Also it needs to be repeated that the reading guides in the CBPSE are keyed to the NABRE translation, unlike the current CSB. This was obvious to me when examening the reading guide for Leviticus on page 76, where the offering of Leviticus 3 is called a "communion" offering, which the NABRE goes with, and not the previous NAB "peace" offering. While I am sure that the may be a few places where things slipped by the editors, I think I may have spotted one, overall it is up to date with the NABRE.

**The CSB totals 1949 pages, while the CBPSE comes in at 2029 pages.

**The CSB has a additional helpful introductory articles, including ones on "The Biblical Texts and Their Background", "Bible History and Archaeology", and "The Challenges of Biblical Translation". The introductory articles in the CBPSE are bit more basic and less technical.

**Both editions contain an essay on the lectionary, full lectionary calendar of readings, a concise concordance, glossary, in-text maps, and New Oxford Maps in the appendix.

**In the appendix of the CBPSE is found a one page essay on Catholic interpretation of the Scriptures according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church and a four page listing of Catholic beliefs in the Bible. The latter includes references for the Sacraments, the cardinal and theological virtues, faith and works, among others.


Theophrastus said...

Thanks! In this review you list several features of the PSE that are better than the CSB. I am naturally curious about the other question:

Does the CSB have any advantages over the PSE?

Timothy said...


As I mentioned, the introductory articles are better in the CSB than the CBPSE. Also, the reading guides do contain a bit more information overall, including a further reading section at the end of each reading guide.

My comments make it sound that I prefer the CBPSE over the CSB right now. And that is basically true for two reasons: 1) The guides are keyed to the NABRE which is a HUGE problem for the CSB as you know. Even with their reasoning, I still cannot comprehend how the people at Oxford could justify publishing the CSB as is. Makes absolutely no sense to me.

2) While including much of what is found in the CSB, the CBPSE includes material which tends to be a bit more pastoral. This is found not only in the questions at the end of each reading guide, but also the additional info in the appendix I mentioned and quite a few in-text boxes in both the reading guides and text itself that tend to be more about application to the modern Catholic reader's life. For instance, RG 419 has a section on the "Pastoral Letters for Today", which emphasis the communal dimensions of Catholic life, and there is a section in the Hebrew reading guide that discusses the pilgrim nature of the Church, according to Vatican II.

Dwight said...

Timothy, would you be so kind as to point me to where you purchased your copy? The only versions I'm able to find on Amazon are paperback and hardcover, but I'd prefer leather (or even the imitation variety).

Timothy said...


Here is the Amazon listing:


Dwight said...

Thanks, Timothy! (My Amazon search skills obviously require a little fine-tuning...)
I think this former Southern Baptist has finally found a Catholic study Bible he can sink his teeth into!

Timothy said...

Enjoy! Let me know what you think of it once you get it.

Dwight said...

Will do, Timothy!

Russ said...

As always, thanks for the information. I'm tempted to get it...I have the Little Rock version...if I bring another translation home my wife may..oh, never mind!

Anonymous said...


Based on your review, I'm inclined to get the CBPSE rather than the CSB, even if the CSB had an updated reading guide. I have the CSB 2nd edition now (before the NABRE was released) and the few differences you mention cause me to wonder who would prefer the CSB over the CBPSE.

The few introductory articles you mention and "for further reading" sections that are absent the in the CBPSE are no great loss. And it appears from your review that the reading guides are substantially the same. While you note that the CSB guides may be more technical in some respects, more technical isn't always better. Also you mention some things the CBPSE has, which I think would be more helpful to a Catholic wanting to learn more for spiritual growth and understanding, whereas it appears the CSB is more for students, regardless of faith, wanting to learn the subject matter in an academic, non-believer, sense.

Just my thoughts.

David Garcia said...

Tim & Dwight,
I assume that being an Oxford product that the bonded leather is sewn?

Timothy said...

It is. But the paper is slightly different. While the CSB is white, this one has a bit of a more cream tint to it.

David Garcia said...

Is the cream tint harder on the eyes?

Timothy said...

For me slightly. I prefer the white of the CSB.