So, since it has been a couple years since my last "Favorite Bible" post, has there been anything published that could compete? The answer, which many of my loyal readers know, is yes and the edition I am referring to is the Baronius Press Knox Bible. This leather hardcover edition is a real beauty. As I mentioned in my review from 2012:
What immediately stands out is the craftsmanship involved in producing this volume. (I have experienced this type of quality production before with their Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Maryvolume.) The quality of the binding, the paper, ribbon markers, and endpapers make this Bible standout from all of the other ones I own. This Bible is sturdy, yet very comfortable to read both by placing it flat on a table or by holding it in your hand or lap. This is the case no matter where in the text you are reading, from Genesis to Revelation (the Apocalypse). While this is not a portable, compact Bible, it can easily be brought to study and prayer groups, even Holy Mass. It is simply a standard sized Bible. I wonder if Baronius Press will eventually make different editions of the Knox Bible, like in a compact form or flexible leather, similar to what they have done with their Douay-Rheims editions.
I was so impressed with this Bible that I even gave it a bit of an upgrade by sending it off to Leonard's Book Restoration to be rebound in goatskin. It was a tough decision, since I really liked the leather hardcover. I prefer, however, to have a premium leather cover on my Bibles, so it ended up being the right decision. While it truly is a great Bible edition, with or without the upgrade, the question is whether or not it surpass the two-time champ in my opinion?
The answer is no. There are two main reasons for this which, in the end, tip the scales for the NRSV from Cambridge. First, I simply use the NRSV in more situations. While I really like the Knox translation, and use it often for personal reading, I just can't use it when teaching, either to high school students or adults. The translations are just too different. The NRSV is a modern translation which is close enough to the RSV and not too distant in style to the NABRE. Any issues relating to inclusive language or alternate translations are easily figured out in the NRSV's textual notes, which are an integral part of the translation itself. Secondly, the Cambridge NRSV comes with some truly helpful extras. Those extras, which I love to have in a reading (or study) Bible, are found in this edition. I complain a lot on this blog about the lack of cross-references with the NRSV Bibles, well this is one of the few editions that have it. I also really like the center-column positioning of the cross-references, which I know is not everyone's cup of tea.
This leads me, again, to remark that as Catholics it would be great to have some better options, no matter the translation. This reminds me of one of my earliest posts (rants) entitled: Catholic Bibles Stink. While some things have changed since then, there is still a great need to have some premium Catholic Bibles available. Maybe the problem is that, as Catholics, we are
more willing to buy a leather Missal for Mass, but but happy to settle on a paperback Bible. I am not sure.
I have read many-an-article or forum post which decries the various translations for Catholics, often arguing that Protestants don't take Catholics seriously in issues related to the Bible because of it. Well, I wonder if this supposed problem is due to the overall quality of most of our Bibles. I think we have a number of fine translations to choose from, including the NABRE, RSV, NRSV, and Knox translations. I hope we will see a time when these translations get the treatment from publishers that they deserve.
If you are of the same mind, I recommend you contact some of the better Bible publishers out there. Many of them have Facebook sites, as well as email contacts. Let them know that Catholics would like some premium Bible options.