Thursday, January 26, 2012
Geoffrey's Review for January
This month, permanent guest blogger Geoffrey has prepared a concise review of Oxford's Catholic Bible: Personal Study Edition 2011.
This is not a study Bible for the timid and can be quite dense in places, but for those dedicated souls willing to slog through it and put their heart and soul into truly internalizing its scholarly riches, the rewards far outweigh the work.
As far as scholarship goes, the Catholic Bible, Personal Study Edition is "middle of the road"--neither overly conservative nor overly liberal. Essential truths of the faith are affirmed, but in a positive way that respects other points of view and emphasizes a historical-critical approach to Scripture without neglecting theological and inspirational methods of reading. Moderates like myself will feel right at home, however, those who are seeking a more traditional interpretation of Scripture should probably look elsewhere, such as Dr. Scott Hahn's magnificent series of commentaries.
Format-wise, I was afraid the two-column layout of the text would prove regrettable, but after spending time with my new Bible, I've actually come to like it. Essays and side notes are separated from the main text in clean, simple ways which are very pleasing to the eye. Also, all study materials, unlike in the Oxford Study Bible, have been updated to conform to the NABRE text. The font is also a decent size. The only negative thing I can think of is that the pages are a bit thin, so I'd imagine habitual notetakers will be disappointed; I have a taboo against writing in Bibles, so I don't really care.
If you're a Scripture student going for a degree in religion or history, or if you're preparing to enter the clergy, or if you simply desire to become a hardcore hobbyist, this Bible is essential, just as it purports to be. What are you waiting for? Buy it!
Some features of this edition include:
•Available in hardcover, paperback, and bonded leather
•Marginal references in the biblical text that point to specific pages in the Reading Guide are screened for greater visibility
•A 25-page glossary defines biblical terms with which students may not be familiar
•A 36-page section of authoritative, full color New Oxford Bible Maps (with place name index)