Monday, December 30, 2013

What Catholic Bible Edition Would You Like to See in 2014?

In the area of Catholic bibles, 2013 was a relatively quiet year.  The only real new Catholic bible that we saw published was The Message: Catholic/Ecumenical Edition.  There were certainly other editions of existing translations that were published, the various offerings from OSV come to mind.  In many ways, however, we are sort of in a holding pattern, particularly when you consider the continued waiting for a complete  Ignatius Catholic Study Bible and the continued revision of the New American Bible.  Who knows, maybe we will see a premium leather edition of a Catholic bible produced in 2014 or perhaps even Oxford University Press will get around to updating the NABRE Catholic Study Bible reading guides.  In any case, it will certainly be interesting to see what is actually produced in 2014 for Catholic bible readers.

So, let's take a moment to look forward to 2014 and use a little bit of our own imagination.  Here is the proposal: If you could produce your own Catholic bible edition, using an already existing translation, what would it be?  Which translation would you use?  What would be the theme of this Bible?  What would be included in it?

Here is mine:

The Saint John's Bible: Visio Divina Edition (NRSV)

Product Information:
Format: Goatskin Leather (I'd be happy with a nice genuine leather too)
Dimensions:  9.75 X 6.75 X 1.5 (inches)
Vendor: HarperOne/Liturgical Press
Pages: 1800
ISBN#1234567890 (not really)
Price: $125.00

Product Description:
HarperOne and Liturgical Press have teamed up to produce the first ever personal Bible edition that combines the language of the New Revised Standard Version: Catholic Edition and the majestic illuminations of the Saint John's Bible.  The Visio Divina edition combines Scripture passages and sacred artwork from The Saint John's Bible in order to facilitate the powerful prayer process of visio divina. This process encourages participants to "listen and meditate on Scripture, see with eyes of faith as they gaze on illuminations, pray to God, contemplate the Spirit's movements, and reflect how they might further become Christ-like."  To enhance this process, the NRSV text is laid out in a very readable single-column setting, enhanced by textual notes and cross-references in the margins.  All 160 illuminations from The Saint John's Bible are reproduced on thin glossy paper and placed at the appropriate places near the biblical text.  On the back of each illumination page is a brief reflection, including scriptural cross-references, authored by Fr. Michael Patella, OSB, SSD, chair of the Committee on Illumination and Text for The Saint John's Bible and author of Word and Image: the Hermeneutics of The Saint John's Bible.   Also includes: Vatican II document Dei Verbum3-Year Cycle of Sunday and Holy Day Readings, 16 pages of full-color maps, two ribbon markers, and a concise concordance.


Theophrastus said...

I'm a big fan of original language tools -- so ...

The Bible I would most like to see is a parallel edition of the NETS (New English Translation of the Septuagint) along with the closest version of its Setutagint Greek text sources (from Rahlfs or the Göttingen, as appropriate.)

But I would be even happier if the parallel version also included the corresponding NRSV (matched up to correspond to the Greek text) and (where it exists) corresponding BHS Hebrew (and Hebrew versions of Deuterocanonical books, e.g., Sirach) text.

Now, this may seem like a pipe dream, but it has actually appeared for one biblical book: Psalms. Oxford published a version of this with a preliminary version of the NETS, and I just love it. (Sadly, Oxford let this go out of print!)

Such an NETS/LXX/NRSV/BHS edition would greatly improve popular study of the Septuagint and would be of wide interest not only to Catholics to but to a broad community interested in Biblical studies.

Eric Barczak said...

If I had to pick one, I'd love to see Catholic Book Publishing Company reprint the New Catholic Edition Douay-Confraternity Bible with the Douay OT, the Confraternity NT, and the English translation of the New Latin Psalter approved by Pope Pius XII (the 1951 edition).

For format, I would like it in what they printed as their 'large text size' (basically, standard size 8.5" x 5.5" - it was so nice to read) in a nice flexible genuine leather cover with sewn binding.

I know Scepter publishes a Confraternity NT, but I'd really like to see it backin print as a whole Bible, along with the new latin psalms (the only in-print edition right now I think is the My Daily Psalm Book by Fr. Frey, and I prefer the CBPC version of the psalms).

rolf said...

I would like to see a couple different Bibles produced this year.

1) A large or giant print Ignatius RSV-2CE (in genuine leather... who am I kidding, I would take cardboard at this stage.) It would have two ribbon markers, verse references and maps.

2) A Cambridge NABRE in the Reference Bible edition (like the NRSV), the notes can be at the end of each book. Offered in Morocco leather as usual, with calf or goatskins covers as options.

I am not asking too much am I?

Russ Stutler said...

A pocket New Testament which actually fits in the pocket, either RSVCE, RSVCE2 or Douay-Rheims. I have the Confraternity New Testament which IS pocket size, but I prefer the other two translations.

If the Revised Grail Psalms were included, it would be an incredibly beautiful dream, but the chances of that happening are ...

Anonymous said...

I would like to see a completed version of the Ignatius Study Bible released with the same cover and illuminations as Rolf's 1953 Douay-Confraternity, Gregorian Edition. With larger dimensions and a bigger font size. 


Anonymous said...

I'd love to see a pocket/compact sized edition of the Knox Bible and/or the Douay-Confraternity Bible.

Happy New Year!

Steve Molitor said...

It won't happen, but I'd love to see a New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha, English Standard Version, in leather. I love my RSV edition, and would love a version that loses the thees and thous, with mildly updated English.

Unlike many, I actually like the ESV translation, and would love to see it done up by Oxford with the RSV edition notes - maybe update the notes a bit, lose some of the drier articles (i.e. "How to Read the Bible with Understanding", etc.), and add a short glossary. I have the latest New Oxford Annotated Bible with the NRSV translation, but I prefer the more minimal notes of the RSV edition (and I prefer the RSV translation).


rolf said...

Not bad Steve, but how about this:
A New Oxford Annotated Bible with the RSV-2CE translation with all Catholic books in order. Everything else would be the same; genuine leather cover, two ribbon markers, etc!

Steve Molitor said...


Yes! That would be awesome. I was going to mention that too but it seems even less likely than an Oxford RSV. I have the table of contents in my New Oxford RSV marked up with the Catholic order, and pointers back and forth to the apocrypha sections of the additions to Daniel, etc. Of course the order of the books isn't really that important (it has varied in Catholic bibles over the centuries) but still.

Basically I'm happy with the RSV but wouldn't mind losing the thees and thous - so either the RSV-2CE or the ESV are good enough for me.


Jonny said...

I would love to see a reformatted edition of the Challoner DR, in paragraph formatting and the verse numbers out to the side, like the Confraternity NT. If there were language notes to assist the reader with the archaic words and usage, that would be awesome. Even better if there was a list of lectionary readings based on the DR numbering. It is sad that this Catholic classic has been so long neglected!

Timothy said...


It would be nice to see the DR get the same treatment hat the KJV gets, which is available in so many different editions and styles. Baronius and Saint Benedict have produced some attractive editions, but nothing comparable to what the many Protestant publishers have done with the KJV.

rolf said...

Ok, how about a D-R Bible with the thees and thous and the Latin spelling of names and places removed. Put it in fine leather with comprehensive maps and a couple ribbon markers!

Anonymous said...

How about the ESV Catholic Edition??? I know it's not gonna happen but one can dream.

Tom said...

I'd be glad if I could get Knox Bible on LOGOS software and the New Jerusalem Bible on Kindle.

Also be nice if NJB with notes came in goatskin or genuine leather edition.

Gerald Champion said...

I would like to see an English translation of the Nova Vulgata. If that happened would the world end?

I also love red letter editions if the shade of red is a good one.

What would happen if all the notes were conservative ones? Could the world take it?

I also like thumb index bibles with gold leaf of course.

Also have lots and lots of the best maps and also have a self pronouncing version so if you read the text aloud you would know how to pronounce the names.

The leather needs to be soft and flexible with a choice of white, black, burgundy, and a great looking brown or tan.

Also how about one with olive wood covers from the Holy Land?

RussNY said...

I'd like to see the tablets that Moses came down the mountain with. Seriously, I always hoped someone would come out with a RSV/NRSV parallel edition with art work from Ariel Agemian.

Jason Engel said...

NRSV-CE text in single column paragraph format (similar to the Oxford Notetaker's Bible), translation notes at the bottom of the page, cross references in the gutter (basically like the ESV Personal Reference Bible as updated last July). Art-gilt (red under gold) page edges, with the page corners properly rounded not merely trimmed. Smith-sewn binding with overcasting. Firebrick-red goatskin cover with something between semi and full yapp, calfskin or perhaps lambskin leather lining inside. HOLY BIBLE embossed in gold on the spine with New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition below that also embossed in gold. I really like the stylized cross used by HarperCollins on their NRSVs, but I am torn between having that also gold embossed on the spine, or blind-stamped on the front of the cover (or both). Not sure about paper thickness, but definitely must use line-matching to minimize ghosting.

Book introductions similar to those found in the NOAB RSV (detailed yet concise, no more than one page in length). 16 pages of maps. Harmony of the gospels. Generic 1-year reading plan. Concise concordance. Tables for weights and measures. Pronunciation guide. Explanation of Hebrew and Greek calendars. Timeline of kings and leaders. 32+ blank, ruled pages for notes.

Selection of prayers & readings. Various creeds. Personally, I would also like to see an edition that would include the illuminations of the Saint John's Bible with commentary from Fr. Michael Patella and Susan Sink along with related guides from the Seeing The Word program, and a brief article about the whats and whys and hows of both lectio divina and visio divina. To be honest, including the illuminations would be difficult in this size because a lot of the detail would be lost, especially for the full-page illuminations and even more so for the few two-page spreads like those found at Mark 6 or several times in the Wisdom Books.

Jay said...

A four-version, 4 column parallel New Testament:

1. The DRC, to help with the
2. The Vulgate
3. The Knox, to help with the DRC!
4. The New Jerusalem for a modern translation avoiding "Biblish".

Honestly, sorry to be controversial, but I don't get the fanship for the DRC without the Vulgate that I've read on this board. The DRC is great for helping me follow the Latin, but in itself its English is too antique, and if I must struggle with syntax and vocabulary, I prefer to spend the time struggling with *Latin* syntax and vocabulary (or one day Greek).

Another interesting NT combination would be:

1. Knox
2. New Jerusalem [or Revised English]
3. NAB

Or how about a Knox NT alone? (Better yet, in the "thou-less" version.)

Timothy said...


How about this:

From your post it seems you like the Knox, as I do. If so, what do you like most about it?

Jonny said...

I can tell you why I like the DRC: I enjoy reading it! There are other reasons as well; being Catholic, tradition is pretty important to me...

I don't mind the thees and thous, especially since the singular and plural forms of "you" are in the original languages. Honestly, there are difficult archaisms in the DRC occasionally, but for the most part, it has been a joy to read, especially out loud in lectio divina and family reading.

James Ignatius McAuley said...


Thanks to you my wife bought me the NRSV apocrypha in leather for Christmas. I am enjoying it immensely. AS for my ideal bible, it would be:
Binding: Genuine leather premium calfskin available in black, red, blue, burgundy and green, gilded edges, thumb indexed, with four sewn ribbons of red, gold, blue and white, and a Chi-Rho embossed on the front and back covers.
Content: New Testament: Knox side by side with the NABRE, but notes from the Ignatius Study bible. In the appendix I would include the Epistle of Clement and Those of Ignatius of Antioch, as well as the Didache. I would provide the 3 year lectionary of the 1970 Roman Missal, the 2 year cycle of the 1970 Liturgy of the Hours, the one year cycle of the 1962 Roman missal and the one year cycle of the Byzantine Rite, along with the order of reading for the Byzantine/Orthodox Horologion
Old Testament: Knox and NABRE with Ignatius Study Bible notes. All of the Catholic and Orthodox deuterocanon with 4 Macchabees, 1 Enoch and 2 Esdras in the Appendix
With the psalsm I would take the Baronius Breviary translation of the Vulgate psalms (Superb, best I have ever seen for the Vulgate), along with Knox, the NABRE and the revised Grail. For Knox and Baronius I would continue with the Septuagint numbering, while using the Masoretic numbering of the NABRE and Grail. At end of the psalms I would provide the following cycles: The 20 Kathismas of Orthodox/Byzantine Catholic use, the four week cycle of psalms for the Liturgy of the Hours of 1970, the one week cycle of the 1911 Breviary of Pius X and the pre 1970 version of the one week Benedictine Breviary.

Timothy said...


That would be massive, both in quality and size. I like the way you think! Glad you like the NRSV.

CJA Mayo said...

"I would love to see a reformatted edition of the Challoner DR, in paragraph formatting and the verse numbers out to the side, like the Confraternity NT. If there were language notes to assist the reader with the archaic words and usage, that would be awesome. Even better if there was a list of lectionary readings based on the DR numbering. It is sad that this Catholic classic has been so long neglected!"

This certainly is doable because this has been done -- albeit in two separate editions -- with the King James Bible. The TBS Westminster Reference is verse-by-verse but has language notes, and the Clarion is paragraphed. They could certainly be combined as the language notes would add not more than 30pp to the Bible at the max.

The problem with the DRC (market-wise, not translation-wise) is that virtually no market exists for it, from what I can tell, outside of a small subgroup of traditionalist Latin Catholics. Few other Bibles have a $20 paperback edition and very few other ones. "Young's Literal", "Amplified", and other obscure translations come in nearly as many editions as the DRC. There has to be a market for the result -- and a profit likely -- for a publisher to be interested in doing it. Based on the actual editions out there for decent Roman Catholic Bibles, the market for them is very small -- it seems to be mostly saturated by many poorly-bound editions of the NABRE and your standard liberal academic study Bibles such as the Coogan NOAB.

CJA Mayo said...

Mr McAuley,

That would be a small library (I'm estimating it running to about 6,000pp if done like the Book of Common Prayer - KJV combination from Cambridge) -- not a Bible! Much like the Bible, in the classical world, was itself a small library (and, insofar as the Tanakh goes, still is to a large degree in many orthodox Jewish synagogues.

Right now to get all of that you'd need the first volume of the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Charlesworth), the first volume of the Ante-Nicene Fathers...

Not to mention trying to add the Breviary and the Horologion both!

Theophrastus said...

Jonny -- you may be aware that the original Rheims and Douay translations were in fact printed in paragraph format. (See here for an example). Unfortunately, it seems that by the time Challoner's revisions, verse formatting had become dominant, and later editions have followed similarly.

Nonetheless, there is an advantage to verse formatting -- it is quite favorable when reading the Douay-Rheims-Challoner as an aid to understanding the Latin Vulgate. This is particularly true when reading a diglot, such as the Baronius diglot or the Harvard diglot. One can read in the Latin, and when reaches a bump, quickly find the corresponding English.


Jay, besides parallel Latin-DRC editions I mention above in my comment above to Jonny, and the (fine) parallel Apocrypha mentioned by Tim, I want to bring these parallel editions to your attention:

* Precise Parallel New Testament: UBS4/KJV/DRC/NIV/NRSV/NAB/NAS/Amp

* Catholic Comparative New Testament: DRC/RSV/NABV/NRSV/JB/GNT/NJB/CCB

* Complete Parallel Bible with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books: NRSV/REB/NJB/NAB


CJA: As you probably know, paragraph editions of the KJV have been popular at least ever since the 1873 Cambridge Paragraph Bible; and they reached something of a high-water mark with the splendidly edited New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, which is a terrific reading edition. Of particular note, Penguin sell a paperback version (sans notes) of the New Cambridge. For those desiring usage notes, I recommend the Norton edition of the English Bible, which is not only boasts an attractive lay-out in single column paragraph format, but also has by far the most scholarly notes of any of the major academic study Bibles. (It is, however, bound in two volumes and paperback.)

Dave said...

I know this post is a couple of months old, but I have two dream Bibles:

1. The original 1966 Jerusalem Bible, with the Jerusalem Bible Psalms, however with "Yahweh" subustituted with "LORD". It would be the same size as the Cambridge NRSV Reference Edition and bound in either Calfksin or Goatskin Leather. It would retain the exact same layout as the original JB1966 (single column with verse numbers and references in the side columns and the notes at the bottom of the page) and would contain 3 ribbons. Very choice!

2. The Cambridge Clarion Reference Edition NKJV with the deuterocanonical books translated in the NKJV style (including cross references) and inserted in their 'proper' Catholic place (i.e NOT in between the testaments). Calfskin or goatskin leather. 3 ribbons. Again... CHOICE. :)

Jonathan said...

Hi Timothy - What is the beautiful bible pictured in your blog's header?

Timothy said...


It is HarperOne's NRSV-CE standard edition.

It is a really lovely edition. I wish they would publish it with cross-references and in leather.

It has served as our family altar Bible.