Monday, May 6, 2013

Knox Rebound: Goodbye to My Knox Bible

Surely it won't be gone forever, but rather just for a short trip to Leonard's Book Restoration for a bit of a makeover.  For a long time I have been looking for an everyday reading Bible that would meet a number of my personal preferences.  As we all know, for just as there is no perfect translation out there, neither is there a perfect Bible edition.  However, the Knox Bible, published by Baronius Press, comes really close.  The hardbound leather cover is really nice, but possibility to have this Bible bound in premium leather is just too great!

In the end, there are three main reasons why I am having my Knox Bible rebound.  First, I really enjoy reading from the single-column page format, including the absence of paragraph headings found in most Bibles.  As mentioned on the Baronius Press website, the Knox Bible is "set in a single-column format with verse references placed at the side of the text in order to provide a clear and easily readable Bible."  I can't think of any other Bible that I own that I have enjoyed actually reading large portions of Scripture from more than this edition of the Knox Bible.

Secondly, the notes and cross-references provided by Msgr. Knox are helpful, well-placed, and not overbearing.  They provide just enough information, relating both to textual and theological issues, thus making them simply an aid, not a distraction, from reading the Sacred Text.  There are also cross-references which, as you know, are necessary for any Bible I am going to use daily.

Finally, a note about the translation itself.  I mentioned a few posts ago that the Big Three (NAB, RSV, and NRSV) are more similar than different.  I still stand by that statement.  Clearly the Knox Bible is more dynamic than literal, but I have increasingly become more comfortable with it for everyday reading.  I have enjoyed many of his fresh renderings, which depart from the standard construction found in the Big Three.  The biggest issue is the archaic English that pops up from time to time, however, I haven't been as distracted by it as I might have thought.  The New Testament reads really well and some of Knox's renderings I have used in the CBSM classes that I teach. I sort of understand now why there is an attraction to translations like the (New) Jerusalem Bible or New Living Translation.

So, what am I having done with my Knox Bible?  Well, I am going to have it bound in soft-tanned flexible goatskin.  The color of the leather will be a dark brown.  I am going to have three places where there will be blind imprinting: On the spine there will be "Holy Bible" and "Knox Version", while on the bottom right of the cover will be placed my full name.  In addition, I will have three brown ribbons added while the original (red and yellow) ones will be removed.

As the project moves forward, I will continue to blog about my experiences with Leonard's.  I look forward to sharing with you the finished product in the coming weeks.

I would like to thank Margie at Leonard's for putting up with a flurry of emails from me over the past week, as well as Corey, our Catholic Bibles Blog rebinding expert, for consulting with me on this project.  I also would like to really thank my wife for allowing me to do this as well!  :)


Theophrastus said...

I am looking forward to seeing photographs of the result of this project. It seems you have several advantages in choosing this Bible: namely, it is already Smyth-sewn.

I hope you can publish photos that let us see: (1) whether the re-bound book will lie open flat and (2) the fit-and-finish -- both on the outside and inside-- of the resulting book. These are my biggest anxieties about having books rebound.

Timothy said...


There will be plenty of pictures I can assure you. I plan to blog about the whole process.

Anonymous said...

I can see temptation on the horizon. If this turns out well I'm going to send you my VISA card for safekeeping so that I do not fall into the same trap.

Peter Brennan

Biblical Catholic said...

It is such a well made book I'm surprised anyone would want to rebind it

Timothy said...

If you end up getting your Knox rebound as well, I would love to share any photos of it on this blog. So yeah, you should definitely do it! ;)

Timothy said...

The Bible is really well made to be sure, but I just have a preference for a premium leather Bible to use for my daily devotional reading. This edition fits my needs, thus it seems fitting that it should get the Leonard's treatment.

Deep South Reader said...

Biblical Catholic:
the Bible is an A+ Bible with a B- cover. It's bonded leather. Once you go premium goat or calf, bonded leather feels like cold plastic.

Theophrastus said...

Corey (Deep South Reader):

Sometimes teachers talk about "grading on a curve." For example, a teacher might assign the top 10% of a class an "A" grade. If that is our standard, then the Baronius publication deserves an "A", because it is easily in the top 5-10% of commercially available Catholic Bibles.

Usually, when someone says "bonded leather Bible" to me, I think of some poorly bound Bible of the type we see all the time in bookstores: they look cheap, they feel cheap, and the sharp edge of the bonded leather can even hurt us if we accidentally mishandle the book.

I believe you are right: Baronius used bonded leather, but they used it over hardcover, so it feels different to me; not so plasticky. It is Smyth-sewn so it should last a long time. One thing I very much appreciate about the binding is that it opens flat, for easy reading.

It is an especially nice binding considering the price: Christianbook sells the Knox Bible for $46.

Personally, I think that a cloth binding or a high-quality synthetic material might have been even nicer, but Baronius produced a fairly high quality product.