Monday, December 8, 2014

OUP's NRSV w/ Apocrypha (Genuine Leather)

Premium Bibles that a Catholic can utilize remain an endangered species, as you know.  So, from time to time, I like to point out an edition that some of you might enjoy purchasing.  Today, I want to show you an early (mid-90's) edition Oxford University Press NRSV w/ Apocrypha in black genuine leather.  Over at, it is currently available in both black and burgundy genuine leather for only $49.95.

This is a very nice reading Bible, which also has a lovely feel and look to it.  The text is the standard NRSV, not the anglicised edition.  The page-layout is very clean, without any paragraph headings.  For a reading Bible like this, I think that is a good thing.  There is, however, at the bottom of each page a short few words indicating the main event or message of that page.  While the genuine leather is not exceptional, it is truly genuine leather and actually feels like it.  The binding is sewn, which will provide a lifetime of reading, as well as making it a good candidate for having it rebound in a more premium leather if so desired.  Some other highlights of this Bible are the two ribbon markers and gold edges, along with full-color Oxford Maps and generous ninety-six page concise concordance.

As usual, my only complaint with most NRSV editions is the complete lack of cross-references.  This continues here and remains to be a major issue which plagues the NRSV.  Someone will surely correct this at some point right?  Maybe even in a Catholic edition?  (Yes, I am aware of the Cambridge NRSV Reference Bible w/Apocrypha.)

A few weeks back a friend gifted me this same Bible, but in an early edition.  That early edition, which dated to the time of the NRSV's first publication, is almost identical, minus the inclusion of the concise concordance.  So, if this is a Bible you might like, I'd recommend you pick one up soon.  It makes not only a fine reading Bible, but also a gift for Christmas.  It also comes in a really nice box!


Jonny said...

Hi Tim:

I think the ongoing issue of the lack of quality (N)RSV-CE's is due to several reasons.

First, I believe that Thomas Nelson holds the copyright to the original CE editions with cross references and isn't sharing it. Hence the reason no other publisher includes them. St. Benedict Press responded to this question as being a copyright issue (I did read this info secondhand in another blog when their edition of the RSV-CE first came out.) I am not sure of the details surrounding Ignatius press' permission to use them in the RSV-2CE, but I think it is no coincidence that the original edition of the RSV-2CE was printed by Thomas Nelson.

So, these copyright issues naturally lead to my next point, which is simply supply and demand. There isn't the demand for TN to republish these, let alone for another company to publish them while giving TN royalties! Even the blue "Ignatius Bible" was printed by TN with an Ignatius cover slapped on!

And that leads to my final point: the futility of another publisher to create a fresh set of cross references and obtain another imprimatur. Ignatius Press is taking this idea light years ahead of a simple cross reference Bible. And the NABRE already surpasses the (N)RSV's in reference to using the latest critical editions, and continues to do so more and with greater accuracy through its revisions. Again, supply and demand.

I am at the point now where I just want ONE edition of each translation, and that being the best edition with the most features. One can always disregard the supplemental material when reading for devotion, the problem is that it is often during or after these times one really needs to have that handy!

Michael Demers said...

As Timothy also mentioned somewhere, the NRSV committee seems to have shut down. It's been 25 years now since the NRSV first appeared. Something doesn't look right to me.

Timothy said...


My guess would be that it is a funding issue.

David Garcia said...

I think one of the other considerations is that the NRSV is not approved liturgically in the U.S. (as we know, the U.S uses a modified NABRE for liturgy). So of course, even though a personal NABRE will not match the Mass readings exactly, it will be close enough. So I think most Catholics who want a Bible will purchase a NABRE before a NRSV.

Having said that, the NRSV is very popular among Anglican/Episcopalians as the NRSV is usually the translation used in the lectionary in that denomination. But given the considerably lower number of Episcopalians vs. Catholics in the U.S., and then an even smaller number of them who desire a NRSV with cross-references, it all points towards a complete lack of demand for it on all fronts.

Plus, there is a big push for the CEB (Common English Bible) in those circles and there is even a CEB study Bible (which is truly an ecumenical effort) AND pew bible both with the 'Apocrypha'. If the day comes where the Episcopal Church finally moves away from the NRSV (and I DO think it's coming), I think the CEB might be poised to be next in line due to its ecumenical involvement, the different formats AND cross-references AND Apocrypha present in some editions.

So.... the question becomes, WHO is going to save the NRSV from oblivion???

David Garcia said...

BTW... what makes a NRSV a 'CE' edition anyway? I know the RSV-CE as some changes in the NT to make it a CE. But what is in the NRSV to make it thus?

Michael Demers said...

Basically, it's a Catholic edition if it contains Tobit, Judith, all of Esther, 1 & 2 Maccabees, all of Daniel, Wisdom, and Sirach. Lamentations, too.

Timothy said...

They are placed within the Catholic OT, as oppose to being at the end, between the OT and NT. Also, Esther contains the Greek portions places within the Hebrew.

TS said...

Unrelated, but cool to see Jeff Cavins offering fine Italian leather covers for certain Catholic Bibles here:

Timothy said...

Thanks TS!

Jason Engel said...

I have this edition in the burgundy leather, which for me was a "unicorn" because Oxford made so few of the NRSV in any color other than black (indeed, even though I had been searching for a similar edition for nearly 3 years, I was completely unaware that this edition even existed).

Oxford discontinued their NRSV with Apocrypha a year ago, and basically every single vendor, both online and brick-n-mortar, almost immediately stopped carrying them. may very well be the last possible place to pick up a brand new copy, and at $20 under original MSRP (which is amazing considering the same edition at the only other market I've found will sell used copies for 10 times as much, and new copies for several thousand dollars!).