Friday, June 29, 2012

My Favorite Bible 2.0

Back in October 2009, I posted on this blog that my favorite Bible edition was Cambridge's NRSV Reference Bible with the Apocrypha--French morocco leather.  Almost three years later, I feel the same way.  While we have certainly seen some improvement in the quality of Catholic Bibles, none match this edition.  Granted, this is technically not a "Catholic" Bible in the sense that it isn't the NRSV Catholic Edition.  However, it does contain all the Deuterocanonicals and the translation, itself, is the exact same as found in the NRSV-CE. 

The original edition I had received back in 2009 was a used copy purchased from Christianbook.com.  It had been returned for some reason, but was in pretty good shape.  The only real issues were that there was a name imprinted on the cover and some of the pages were worn.  It was still in very good condition and it was purchased at a great price.  I had used this NRSV often over the past three years.  In fact, this was the one that I used for many of the major exams I took during the course of my S.T.B. studies, due to all the cross-references.  During the past year, however, as I have been spending a bit more time with the NABRE, my Cambridge NRSV has seen only occasional use.  Recently, I have felt the need to return to this edition, due to its clear text, copious cross-references, useful glossary, fine maps, and quality binding/premium cover. 

When I began to flip through my original edition, I found that it had gotten wet somehow, thus some of the pages weren't in the best condition.  Also, the fact that someone else's name was on the cover always kind of bugged me.  So, I decided to contact my friend Louis, of Baker Book House in Grand Rapids, to see if he could acquire a new copy of Cambridge's NRSV.  (It also helped that I had a gift card to use!)  He was successful, and I received my new edition, with my own name inscribed on the cover, in the mail on Wednesday.  Expecting an identical, albiet new, edition of the Cambridge NRSV, I was suprised to immediately notice a number of differences between the older and new Cambridge NRSV. 

At first touch, the cover felt different.  While my older edition had a rather stiff morroco leather cover, this newer one, though still morroco leather, was more limp.  It had a more smooth feel to it as well, and when I bent the cover it recovered its shape better.  The next thing I did was to get my older edition and place it next to the newer one.  As you can see from the first photo, the bottom one, which is the newer edition, is clearly thinner than the older one.  The other dimensions of this Bible are the exact same and include the same pages of material.  Next, I decided to open up my new Bible to the first few pages.

Taking a look at the copyright, I noticed that my new edition was a 2006 reprint of the 1997 first edition.  I had no idea that my older edition was the first edition, since I didn't know that it had been reprinted.  (It is not like you see this Bible at local secular or religious bookstores typically.)  In addition, I had never seen anyone else carrying this Bible in order to compare mine to it.  Needless to say, the reality of a second printing of this edition was news to me.  As I have been spending some time comparing the two versions since Wednesday, I am very happy to have purchased the reprinted (2006) edition of this Cambridge NRSV.  In my mind, it is clearly a better product overall.

One other difference that I noticed was that the print, although still the same typset, was noticeably darker than the older one.  It is difficult to tell by my second picture earlier in the post, but it is clearly darker in person.  Again, another positive change from the original printing.
All in all, I am very happy with my new edition of the Cambridge NRSV Reference Bible with the Apocrypha--French morocco leather.  The changes to the first edition, though slight, are much appreciated.  This edition remains my favorite Bible and it fits perfectly with my favorite daily prayer book: The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1962 edition). 

(I wonder if anyone finds it strange that I am Catholic who prefers the Ordinary Form (Novus Ordo) Mass, prays the 1962 Little Office daily, and uses the NRSV?) 

Again, thanks to Louis (and Mason) at Baker Book House in Grand Rapids for their wonderful customer service!

57 comments:

Anonymous said...

Timothy,

How is the paper thickness and bleed through of text in the new edition?

Anonymous said...

Timothy,

I think the fact that you prefer this "non-catholic" edition of the NRSV speaks volumes as to the quality of catholic bibles being printed.

Timothy said...

It is ok. Better than the HarperOne editions of the NRSV, but could be a bit thicker.

Timothy said...

The lack of quality/premium Catholic Bibles remains a mystery. The main issue is that no Catholic translation is currently being published by a publishing house that produces high quality Bibles. Just consider not only how few Catholic Bibles come in premium leather editions, but also with sewn bindings.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Tim. Is the paper thickness the same as the first edition?

Anonymous said...

Is the Apocrypha in the middle or back of the book?

Timothy said...

It is equal to or maybe a tad thinner.

Timothy said...

It is in the middle, divided up by each Church's OT canon. Thus the first section consists of the 7 Catholic Deuterocanonical books together first, Tobit to 2 Maccabees. After which they go to 1 Esdras and the others. I should note that this Bible, along with 15 full color maps includes 3 helpful black and white ones which deal with the time of the Maccabees.

Colleague said...

I've frequently wondered about the suppleness of the leather on this Bible. There were some criticisms a couple of years ago about the decline in quality of Cambridge Bibles, but I think they've heeded some of those concerns and are, again, really producing some great, quality Bibles. The recent KJV New Cambridge Paragraph Bible personal-sized edition with Apocrypha is, in my opinion, one of the best designed Bibles on the market today.

I, too, have sort of a soft side for the NRSV.

I think it's great that you've found a Bible which you're comfortable with. Does this mean the end of the blog, though??

Timothy said...

Colleague,

Hmmm.....the end of the blog???

No. As long as the Lord still gives me the time to do this, I plan on being around a bit longer.

Hans said...

Hi Tim,

Do the cross-references include the deuteros? And does it have "Catholic" cross-references (e.g., Matthew 16 and Isaiah 22)?

Many thanks for reminding us of this bible.

Hans

Timothy said...

Hans,

That particular reference it does not have. There are cross-references in the Deuteros, mostly to other OT books. If you have some examples, I'd be happy to look them up.

Timothy said...

Hans,

I should mention that the glossary entry for 'key's' does reference Mt 16. It is a fantastically helpful glossary, almost 60 pages long.

Biblical Catholic said...

Actually, I think the lack of Catholic Bibles does make good sense, even though it is not something we want...

For one thing, Catholics are a religious minority in the United States, 25% of population, but only around 10-15% of all Christians....

Second....Catholics tend not to be 'Bible collectors' the way that evangelicals are, Catholics find one or maybe two Bibles that they like, and that's that...they don't buy Bibles by the bucket the way that some evangelicals do...

Catholics do buy tons of missals, commentaries and that sort of thing...but Bibles proper not so much....

In addition, when it comes to buying Bibles, Catholics tend to just want whatever Bible is read during Mass...which in the United States is the NAB and in the rest of the English speaking world is the Jerusalem, New Jerusalem or NRSV....this is the in some sense 'official Bible' for Catholics....and that's the one that Catholics want..the 'official' one but once you buy one copy of the NRSV or the NAB...why buy another? But in some Protestants churches, the pastor will read from a different Bible practically every week, there is no 'official' Bible and so many may feel an obligation to buy up everything...

In addition, there aren't that many 'Catholic Bibles' out there to buy....you have the NAB, the Jerusalem and New Jerusalem...and the Douay Rheims.....everything else is just a Protestant Bible which has been adapted for use by Catholics, but is not really a 'Catholic Bible'....the Catholic Editions of the RSV and NRSV are nice...but they are still 'Catholic Editions' of a Protestant translation, and not a Catholic translation proper...

And of course many of the best selling Bibles have never had, and probably never will have, either a 'Catholic edition' or even a 'with apocrypha' edition, such as the NIV, the NASB, Holman's Christian Standard, and so forth....Catholics just aren't going to buy many of those....

And finally, this is key....Catholicism is not a 'Bible only religion'.....so the sense that you have to buy up as many Bibles as you possibly can is not there so much with Catholics....Catholics want to know what the Bible says, but they more so want to know what the Church teaches....which is why the best selling Catholic book of the last 50 years or so is the universal catechism....

A faithful Catholic is just not likely to buy tons of Bibles....

Obviously, those of us here at this blog are different...but in my experience Catholics who buy lots of Bibles tend to be former Protestants who never gave up the habit of buying half a dozen Bibles every year that they learned as a Protestant...

So...really it makes sense that the Bible market is directed towards evangelicals for the most part....

rolf said...

My version of this Bible is the older version. I like the thickness and quality of the paper in this Bible, combined with a clear a sharp print, it is easy to read despite the print size being about 9. The French morocco cover despite being a little stiff, lays flat well on a hard surface. But I like a leather cover to be a little stiff, so that is a little easier to place in in one hand and read it without the sides of the Bible flopping down. I like the Cambridge maps also, and the size of this Bible is about perfect.
Now Cambridge, when are you going to publish an NABRE!!! This is our only chance to get one published with a quality binding and paper!

Timothy said...

I agree with pretty much everything you wrote, although I wouldn't classify the NRSV as a 'protestant' Bible since there were a number of Catholics on the translation team. It remains the ecumenical translation of the twentieth century.

Theophrastus said...

However, it does contain all the Deuterocanonicals and the translation, itself, is the exact same as found in the NRSV-CE.

Is this true, though? All of the NRSV-CEs I see are based on the Anglicized NRSV, a point you also observed four years ago here.

Why are so many NRSV-CE's Anglicized?

Timothy said...

Theophrastus,

All of NRSV-CE's from HarperOne are te Anglicized versions, yet this one from Cambridge is the original, non-anglicized one. Kind of strange since it is published by Cambridge?

Does it have to do with purchasing the rights to that edition? I am trying to remember of the St Mary Press Catholc Youth Bible NRSV is the anglicized one. Hmmm..... I wonder if it has anything to do with Canada, which may prefer a more Anglicized NRSV?

Biblical Catholic said...

I imagine it is because the NRSV is used in Mass in Canada and much of the rest of the English speaking world that uses British spelling....

I'm not sure what it is in use in the UK, but I know Canada uses the NRSV...

Francesco said...

The thought of someone needing to buy several Bibles a year for their entire lives is deeply strange to me. Is that really how the other half worships? From this blog and others I got the impression that the point of "high quality" features is durability, that is, you buy a premium Bible so you can use it a lot and it won't break down on you. That doesn't seem to match up with buying lots of throw-aways.

Jonny said...

I also find it strange that the NRSV-CE's I see in the bookstores are the Anglicized edition. I wish I would have kept my copy from Nelson, which was a small purple and pink hardcover with phonetical pronunciation marks for the proper names. But alas, I gave it away back in my Protestant days. I did not realize the NRSV-CE I bought at BAM was the Anglicized version until I opened it at home, and it was for that reason and for the lack of cross-references I decided to order the Cambridge version which is the subject at hand.

I do like this particular Bible a lot (I do have the "new" version), but I was a little disappointed that the leather was not like my Cambridge KJV Concord. The Concord has thick, gummy-but-glossy calfskin that I have not seen on any other Bible. The French morocco is nice too, and looks great, especially with the gold-stamped letters on the front that seem to glow in 3D. I might have even gone as far as to say this is the highest quality Catholic-approved edition of Sacred Scripture available, but not after getting the latest print of the NOAB RSV from Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/Annotated-Apocrypha-Revised-Standard-Expanded/dp/019528335X/ref=tmm_hrd_title_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1340990894&sr=1-1).

The NOAB RSV has also been redone (as well as the price tag.) The leather on the redone edition is comparable to the Cambridge NRSV (thin, glossy, genuine leather), it has a sewn binding (leather version only, I think), two ribbon bookmarks, and extensive maps. The advantage the Oxford RSV has is its extensive introductions, notes, and essays, and that it received an imprimatur (expect on the few non-canonical books that were added later.) Also, the type font of the Bible text is bigger, and I do prefer the non-inclusive language in general. I wish it had the full pronunciation marks like the RSV-CE, but it at least has the accent marks. The cross references are more extensive in places in the NRSV, but in the RSV they are built into the notes, which is nice. But neither edition has notes from the Protocanonical to the Deutrocanonical books. The NABRE cross-references are helpful in addition to either one of these for that reason.

Despite my preference for the RSV translation over the
"N", I do admit that the NRSV can be more accessible and easier to read to those who are new to the Bible in general. Also the gender-language barrier is a reality, and the NRSV can break through that when necessary to present the intended meaning by the inspired authors to sensitive or misinformed readers.

Biblical Catholic said...

No, one 'doesn't have to buy half a dozen Bibles a year forever'.....but let's face it, new translations and revisions of old translations are released constantly...anyone who is serious about keeping up is going to be buying a lot of Bibles....

Just since the turn of this century, we have seen:

The ESV in 2001, and new revisions of the ESV in 2007 and 2011

The Massage in 2002 (this is a very 'loose' translation at best, but is wildly popular in some quarters)

The Holman Christian Standard Version published in 2004

A second edition of The Living Bible in 2004 and another new edition in 2007

The Today's New International Version in 2005

The New English Translation of the Septuagint in 2007

The Orthodox Study Bible in 2008

The Common English Bible in 2011

A new edition of the New International Version in 2011

The NABRE in 2011

The Kingdom: A Contemporary Translation of the New Testament by NT Wright in 2011

International Standard Version in 2011

The Modern Literal Version which is a new translation of the New Testament in 2012

And I've only listed the bigger, more important ones....I could easily double or triple the length of that list....easily....

And there is a large number of evangelicals who buy most or all of the major translations as they are released, and they read them too...and not only do they read them, but they can go on and on and on talking about all the differences between them...

And if you can afford it and have the time to read them all, there is nothing wrong with this, it can even be good and honorable....

Catholics tend not to be that way because we aren't 'Bible only'...but many Protestants are like that....

Francesco said...

Like I said, the mentality is very foreign to me. I'm trying to imagine someone who needs to own a NETS and a Message, as one seems like a hyper-academic (and probably wouldn't even count as scripture to that audience) and the other is more "interpreted" than most translations.

I think the quality difference between Catholics and Protestant Bibles pre-dates the recent proliferation of Bible versions, though.

I can see the office-holders of various churches feeling a need to stay abreast with the latest Bible publications, and I can see controversies about translations spilling over to the entire church community (like various pastors decried the NIV2011 and tried to switch to something else like the ESV). But what are the odds that the New X Version will be so much clearer, so much better, so much more spiritually enlightening than the old X Version in order to warrant buying a premium edition?

Like I said, very strange to me.

Anonymous said...

Quirky or eclectic, not strange.

Mike Demers

Biblical Catholic said...

What can I say? People collect the things that matter to them....

I can proudly say that I own the COMPLETE run of the Fantastic Four, dating from the first issue released in 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby up to the most recent issue, and I even own the really bad runs too....like Tom Defalco's run....and...well...the current run...

And I own Batman and Robin on DVD, in a special editin, and its sitting right next to my 'Deluxe Edition' DVD of Supergirl.....

When you're a collector, you want everything, even the stuff whicb is really bad that no one else wants....because an incomplete collection is....just....wrong...

Many evangelicals have the same attitude towards Bibles....

If something matters to you, you devote a lot of time and attention to it...

Either you understand the collector's mentality, or you don't I guess...

Biblical Catholic said...

Anyway, I guess I shoudl comment on the NRSV which is supposed to be subject of this thread....

Since I discovered this translation, sometime in the early to mid 90's. I've been up and down about it...

When I first bought it, I was excited because I love the RSV and I thought it would be even better....

But then I started reading it and noticed all the really bizarre, contorted readings rhat are the result of its inclusive language philosophy and I put it aside, I did not read ir, or even open it up, for more than a decade.

I concluded, like a lot of people, that the NRSV is a 'liberal Bible' and just isn't for me....and whenever I discussed it, I frequently bashed it...I thought it was terrible..

But around 2006-2007 when Harper One began making a new push for the NRSV, and starting making tons of really great looking editions, and started seriously pushing the Catholic Edition, I decided to give it a second chance...

I read it from cover to cover around 2007-2008, and I rather liked it this time...I still think the excessive inclusive language creates some very bizarre, awkwards readings which I would like to see fixed in a later revision...for example....I don't much mind the word 'people' or 'human beings' in the place of 'men'....most of the time....but the word 'mortals' is pathetic.....this isn't a fantasy novel, this isn't Tolkein or George RR Martin here, this is the Bible, the word 'mortals' is just dumb...and trying to singular nouns and singular verbs into plurals is just painful....

Anyway, I've come to conclude that the NRSV's reputation as a 'liberal Bible' is mostly undeserved....and people who accuse it of being 'anti-Christian' or whatever are really stepping over the line...

And while there are legitimate doctrinal concerns, especially in places like Psalm 1 about inclusive language distorting the message of the Bible.

I think that it is disappointing that most of the opposition to 'inclusive language', as well as much of the support for it, is not based on substantive theological or even literary concerns, but is just a knee jerk reaction based on ideology, not genuine concerns about translation...

Only rarely do I read a discussion of the 'inclusive language controversy' that really covers substantive ground, instead debate all too often turns into a proxy war about completely different issues...



Anyway, the NRSV is readable, easy to understand, has a nice flow, and still has a lot of the dignity of the RSV....I can totally understand why the bishops in Austrailia and wherever else wanted to use the NRSV in the liturgy and considered the ESV a second choice....if the NCC would have allowed the changes the bishops wanted to make, I would prefer a lectionary based on the NRSV to the ESV I think....

Theophrastus said...

I did find a non-Anglicized NRSV that called itself a Catholic Edition: this edition from Thomas Nelson. (You can use the "look inside" feature of Amazon to inspect the book.) I believe that this may have been the first NRSV-CE to be printed.

What is odd to me is that the copyright page clearly says "The New Revised Standard Version Bible: Catholic Edition - copyright 1993." I wonder why it took so long to release a Catholic edition, after the imprimatur was granted in 1991.

The Anglicized NRSV was produced in 1995, and it seems since then, the vast majority of all "NRSV-CE" editions are based the Anglicized NRSV.

Anonymous said...

This looks like a nice edition of the NRSV. I'll probably end up getting it. It will complement by leather NOAB RSV Expanded edition nicely.

How do you like Oxford's leather edition of the NRSV w/Apocrypha (not their NOAB version)?

FYI: HarperOne's "Catholic Faith and Family Bible" is not Anglicized. I think it's the only one they print that is not. It is also the only one they publish that is printed in the United States.

Theophrastus said...

Anonymous (comment at 6/9 4:16PM):

Interesting comment about that HarperOne Catholic Faith and Family Bible.

As far as I know, the only (non-annotated) leather Oxford NRSV w/Apocrypha Bibles that are currently sold by Oxford are the compact and pocket editions (such as ISBN 0195288319). They are nice for what they are, but I prefer the fake leather (e.g., ISBN 0195288297). They have a concordance, but no cross references.

The Oxford Cross Reference NRSV that I like most is ISBN 0191000167. It is hardcover, but very well laid-out with extensive cross-references -- both in and out of the Deuterocanon. (If I recall correctly, the Cambridge NRSV does not contain cross-references to the Deuterocanon.)

Unfortunately, that Oxford Cross Reference is now out of print. If you see a used one for sale, make sure it is a version with the Apocrypha.

Anonymous said...

What about this one from Oxford:

http://www.amazon.com/Revised-Standard-Version-Bible-Apocrypha/dp/0195283600/ref=sr_1_16?ie=UTF8&qid=1341021215&sr=8-16&keywords=oxford+nrsv+leather

ISBN 0195283600

Any one know (and like) this one?

Javier said...

Biblical Catholic,

I think you've got your percentages wrong:

"For one thing, Catholics are a religious minority in the United States, 25% of population, but only around 10-15% of all Christians...."

It is probably the other way around. Christians are a subset of the whole US population. Then, Catholics, which are a constant quantity, have to be a larger percentage of that subgroup that it is of the whole.

Javier

Anonymous said...

Anon,

I think the Oxford ISBN 0195283600 is the Anglicized version. Anyone else know for sure?

Timothy said...

There is also this Catholic Readers Edition from Oxford, which is genuine leather and sewn binding. It is quite a little Bible:

http://catholicbibles.blogspot.com/2008/08/nrsv-catholic-edition-readers-text.html?m=1

Anonymous said...

Tim,

I think that Oxford edition is the Anglicized version. Is that correct?

Timothy said...

Indeed it is. Plus the inclusion of the Canadian lectionary readings makes something of a connection with the anglicized version.

Biblical Catholic said...

My percentages are a little off, but I was mainly guilty of sloppy wording....

Catholics make up about 25% of the population of the country, they are about 30% or so of Christians in the country....but only about 10-15% of all Bibles sold are sold to Catholics....and only around 5% or so are actually 'Catholic Editions'

The point I was trying to make was that even though there are a lot of Catholics, per capita, Catholics tend to buy far fewer Bibles than our Protestant brethren...

Catholics are 25% of the general population, but we don't buy 25% of all the Bibles, but far less than that...

Proportionally, Catholics buy far fewer Bibles than the numbers would suggest....

That may be partly because there just aren't that many options for Catholics, but I think it mainly because Catholicism is not as 'Bible centric' as Protestantism

Anonymous said...

The 4th edition of Oxford's NOAB w/ apocrypha appears to use the non-Anglicized NRSV. The paper is thin as a wisp of smoke but I can write all over it in pen and highlighter with minimal intrusion to the other side of the page (at least it does not bother me at all). I had originally purchased it as my carry-about study Bible, but I found I need to be so very careful with the pages, so I picked up one of those compact thinlines from Harper for portability.

If you want a quality NRSV with thick archival paper, sewn binding, and a rock-solid cover, and don't mind spending the money, I recommend the print edition of the Saint John's Bible. It uses the NRSV-CE, though they seem to switch between Anglicized and American in different volumes.

Theophrastus said...

Well, if money is no object, why not get the NRSV St. John's Bible Heritage edition for a mere $145,000?

Another artistic NRSV is this stunning version with art from the Vatican library. Of course, these Bibles are not really suitable for day to day reading -- but they are pretty to look at.

Thanks for pointing out the larger leather Oxford editions, which I had forgotten about. Unfortunately, it seems that the leather NRSV-CE is out of print, althought the NRSV w/Apocrypha is still in print.

I would like to speak up for one of the merits of the NRSV w/Apocrypha over the NRSV-CE. Not only does the NRSV w/Apocrypha contain all the canonical books, but it also contains the so-called "Catholic Apocrypha" -- books included by an appendix to the Vulgate by Clement VIII: Prayer of Manasseh, 3 Esdras, 4 Esdras.

Anonymous said...

Theophrastus,

Nice point about the "Catholic Apocrypha" in the NRSV w/Apocrypha edition.

The only drawback for me with Apocrypha editions is having the "additions" to books like Esther and Daniel in the Apocrypha section rather than reprinting the entire book in Catholic form. Flipping between the book and the additions in the Apocrypha is a little annoying. Are their any editions of the RSV or NRSV that do this - reprint the whole book in the Apocrypha section rather than just the additions to the book?

Thanks.

Michael P.

Theophrastus said...

Michael P.:

Good news rgarding: Esther -- the NRSV w/Apocrypha includes both a complete translation of Hebrew Esther and a complete translation of Greek Esther -- so you can either in its entirety with no interpolations.

For the additions to the book of Daniel, the chapter of Susanna and the chapter of Bel and the Dragon come at the end of Hebrew Daniel, so there is no need for interpolation there (even in the NABRE, for example, they are marked as "III. Appendix".) One just reads them as additional chapters at the end.

I should also note that in the NRSV w/Apocrypha, chapter 6 of Baruch is usually printed as a separate book, "The Letter of Jeremiah", right after the first five chapters of Baruch. This is because in the Greek Orthodox Bible, those two sections of Baruch are separated into separate books.

For me, that is no more of a problem than the separate book divisions of 1-2 Kings, 1-2 Samuel, 1-2 Chronicles, Ezra-Nechemiah, or Luke-Acts. These are each multi-part books that form integral wholes, but they are separated into different books in almost all contemporary Bible translations.

(By the way, if you are interested in Daniel, I can highly recommend the the excellent New English Translation of the Septuagint (NETS), because it translates Daniel in parallel from both the Old Greek and Theodotion, and it is fascinating to see how those two Septuagint versions differ. Note that the Vulgate is based on relatively late second century Theodotion version rather than the Old Greek!).

However, you will need to interpolate the prayer of Prayer of Azariah between Daniel 3:23 and 3:24. This is perhaps the only notable inconvenience for Catholic readers of the NRSV with Apocrypha.

Francesco said...

Theophrastus,

You raise a good point about the books of the Vulgate Apocrypha. There is also the fact that for Eastern Catholics those books aren't Apocryphal at all, and really shouldn't be taken out of their OTs.

Things get a little messy with Esther though. Catholic translations either put the the Greek additions at the end (like the Vulgate did, so they exist in chapters 11-16) or interspersed between sections of translations of Masoretic Esther. In both cases the Greek version is only used for the "additions" not for the whole book.

This is mentioned in the NABRE's introductory essay to Esther:

The book may be divided as follows:

1. Prologue (A:1–17)
2. Esther Becomes Queen (1:1–2:23)
3. Haman’s Plot against the Jews (3:1–13; B:1–7; 3:14–15)
4. Esther and Mordecai Plead for Help (4:1–16; C:1–D:16; 5:1–5)
5. Haman’s Downfall (5:6–8:2)
6. The Jewish Victory and the Feast of Purim (8:3–12; E:1–24; 8:13–9:23)
7. Epilogue: The Rise of Mordecai (9:24–10:3; F:1–11)

The order of the Vulgate text in relation to the order of the Greek text is as follows:
Vulg. 11:2–12:6 = A:1–17 at the beginning of the book.
13:1–7 = B:1–7 after 3:13.
13:8—15:3–19 = C:1–D:16 after 4:16.
15:1–2 = B:8, 9 after 4:8.
16:1–24 = E:1–24 after 8:12.
10:4–13 = F:1–10 after 10:3.

Anonymous said...

Theophrastus,

Thank you. That is very helpful. I'm now much more inclined to get this Cambridge edition of the NRSV w/ Apocrypha. I have the NOAB RSV Expanded Edition (and I agree with you, Timothy, and others as to the merits of this edition) and a nice edition of the NRSV w/ Apocrypha would also be well used and enjoyed.

Michael P.

Theophrastus said...

Francesco --

You are right that is what the NABRE says.

However, you may be interested to note that the Nova Vulgata integrates the Greek addition with the text. See here.

As a literary matter, I think that the NRSV translation of Greek Esther has a very different feel than Hebrew Esther, and not just because of the additions. I also think that the Septuagint, like the Vulgate, has a special place in Christian Scriptural tradition.

In the case of the NRSV w/Apocrypha, one can read Esther in at least four ways:

(a) Hebrew-only. (Included.)

(b) Greek-only (Included.)

(c) Hebrew, followed by Greek additions (Greek additions clearly marked in NRSV).

(d) Hebrew, with Greek additions interpolated (Printed in NRSV-CE, requires back-and-forth in NRSV w/Apocrypha).

Besides the NRSV w/Apocrypha, I can only think of one other English translation that allows all these ways of reading Esther: the CEB.

goulablogger said...

Belatedly: I posted some photos of the Oxford NRSVA Cross-Ref edition here for those interested.

Chuck Grantham

Timothy said...

Chuck,

Thanks for the link. The Oxford cross-references are superior to what is found in the Cambridge, most notably with the Deuterocanonicals. It is too bad that the Oxford edition is only available used and never came in a leathe edition with similar study aids as the Cambridge. It deserved a wider audience.

Anonymous said...

Timothy,

Often, our favorite bible has a lot to do with the physical aspects of the edition with a secondary consideration as to translation because we all enjoy more than one translation and each translation has its merits. So here's a question for you: if you could get this edition (with same cross-references, maps, cover, layout, etc.) in any translation, which would you get?

Michael P.

Timothy said...

Michael,

Tough question! You are right that the physical aspects of a particular edition play a major role in deciding on a Bible overall. With that said, my choice ideally would be between the NRSV, NABRE, and RSV-2CE. The NRSV is a reality, the NABRE could eventually be a possibility, and the RSV-2CE is unlikely. Now, back when I did my top 5 favorite translations last fall, I had these three ranked at the top, with only a half point between them. So I like and am comfortable with all three.

So which one would I pick right now: I would choose between the NRSV and NABRE. And since I have an NRSV, I'll go with that one at this point.

Anonymous said...

Timothy,

Thanks! Only fair that I answer my own question. I plan on getting this edition, as I too am comfortable with the NRSV, but if it were also available in an RSV-2CE version, I'd get that instead. As you said, unlikely to happen. I like the NABRE too, but overall, not quite as much as the various RSV versions.

Michael P.

Timothy said...

Michael,

What keeps me coming back to the NRSV are these:
1) Textual notes
2) It is literal, while also being literary and readable
3) I don't know what the future of the RSV-2CE and NABRE will be, which impacts in which translation I am going to invest in a Bible like this. The RSV-2CE, while more literal, seems to be a niche translation while the NABRE is again going to be revised.
4) The NRSV has a ton more study tools keyed to it.

Anonymous said...

Timothy,

I agree with all your points. Like others, I have more than one bible for different purposes: studying, prayerful reflection, "just" reading, etc. and I'll use different translations depending on which I'm doing because of the reasons you state. I gave up a long time ago trying to have one bible satisfy all my purposes.

I think it you're right about the RSV-2CE being a niche translation. Without publishing various, and nicer, editions of the RSV-2CE, it will probably be primarily used by some (like me) for study purposes with their study editions and will never be embraced as a mainstream translation.

The NRSV came out when I was in college and was the first translation I used for everyday reading and reflection, so I too, tend to find myself always going back to it. Once I get this Cambridge edition of the NRSV, I will probably end up using it as my "go to" bible, but still continue to use the ICSB, NJB Saints Devotional Edition, NOAB RSV Expanded Edition, and to a lesser extent, the NABRE, at the same time, depending on what I'm doing.

Michael P.

rolf said...

If I could choose any translation to be published by Cambridge in this format I would choose the RSV-2CE. I don't mind if it remains a niche translation as long as Ignatius keeps publishing it. One change I would make to this Bible would be at least a size 10-11 font size. I don't care if it makes the Bible larger! Right know I would rather have a bonded leather Bible in a large (or Giant) print size, than a premium Bible with a size 8-9 font size.

Anonymous said...

Rolf,

If Ignatius Press made a "Cambridge" edition of the RSV-2CE and other various editions, such as large print, compact, family editions, reference, gift editions, etc., I'd recommend the RSV-2CE to everyone, every time. But they don't, so I recommend other translations/editions more often than not. Think about it: if they did, probably every bible study group at every Church parish in the U.S. would flock to it. The one I'm in recommends it, but most don't get it because of one reason or another (not large print, not compact enough, not "nice" enough, etc.)

Michael P.

Biblical Catholic said...

Only have the RSV CE-2 in that cheap paperback edition, whike the first edition is available is so many different editions does make it almost seem like Ignatius is not trying very hard to promote it.

Timothy said...

Michael P,

I have been thinking about your question more over the past week and would like to say that I would like both the NRSV and the NABRE from Cambridge. Of course, we already have the NRSV, but I do like the NABRE quite a bit as well.

Anonymous said...

Timothy,

If there could be a Cambridge NABRE without the NABRE notes, I would agree with you. As it stands, there are nice enough editions of the NABRE to satisfy my needs for an NABRE edition (not as nice as the Cambridge, but passable compared to what's available in other Catholic translations). For me, there are times when I don't want the notes, so a nice, no-notes, edition would be welcome (but I know that will never happen due to the requirement that notes be printed in all editions of the NABRE).

Michael P.

M. Costan said...

I am not catholic, I come from a protestant background and recently have been worshiping with Episcopalians.

That being said, I collect books. Lots and lots of books. I have a whole theology section in my home library with surveys, commentaries, and different translations of bibles.

I like quality. Why would I skip quality in my bibles?

I used my different bibles for different uses. I have wide margin ones for study and note taking. I use my nice leather ones for daily office readings. I just purchased the one we are discussing so I could have an apocrypha in nice leather. I can't wait to receive it!

So count me too as one puzzled by the lack of quality catholic bibles. I guess there is more to the publication process I don't understand. I have a new Jerusalem bible in hardback, a nice leather edition would really be appealing to me, especially if it were nice and readable.

Just my thoughts.

Timothy said...

M. Costan,

It is an unfortunate reality. However, I do believe there is some hope for optimism here. Baronius Press makes some very nice Catholic Bibles in the Douay-Rheims and Knox translations. There are always the editions produced by Oxford University Press, most notably the NABRE study bibles and compact editions. There may also be something in the works at some more high-end Bible publishers for 2014. We shall see.