Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Guest Review: USCCB NABRE


Take a look at the new USCCB NABRE Personal Edition. Also available in gift and paperback editions, this is finally a Catholic Bible that doesn't need to be rebound.  The bonded leather cover flexes nicely to lay flat, the typeface is clean and a decent size, and the two-color inks make for easy navigation, especially with the book introductions and chapter guides at the top of each page.  One of my favorite features of this Personal Edition is the way it (accidentally?) blends gilded pages with printed navigation tabs without cutting thumb tabs into the pages. Lay it flat, and its a beautiful gold-edged volume. Flex it sightly, and you see all the red tabs.


The only thing that keeps this Bible from taking the prize is the unwieldy way it manages the textual notes. Personally, I am not one who objects to the NABRE notes, though I understand those who do. The 2010 NABRE OT is actually my favorite modern Edition in English, and having gone to an academic Protestant seminary, the content of the notes don't strike me as at all problematic. That's just what Biblical studies is, for me, and what led me to Catholicism as an adult. What bothers me isn't the content but the format. For some reason, instead of a single common asterisk, the publisher opted to give each subsequent textual note it's own distinctive footnote marker at the bottom of the page. I suppose the internet is to remove confusion about which text reference tracks to which footnote, but the result is a rather confusing connection of scribbles. I'm never sure if the notation is a call out to a footnote, or just a reference to a parallel text. I would have preferred a plain asterisk throughout, with clear verse references at the bottom of the page. The font size in the footnotes is a little too small to be comfortable.  


The text, of course, is the NABRE, consisting of the 2010 OT and Psalms, with the 1986 NT (currently under revision by the Catholic Biblical Association of America). Devotional fluff are minimal: just a presentation page, and maps at the back. For my use, I'll still default to the Didache NABRE because of the addition of the catechetical notes there, but I sure wish it was bound like this!


In this volume, the USCCB seems intent on providing the very thing we do often mourn the lack of on this blog: a basic Bible text, decently and sturdily bound, with uncluttered design for everyday Catholic use. Basically, a Protestant lap Bible for Catholics. Making its own translation available under its own imprint and in this format, the USCCB is finally doing just that. This is, quite literally, a full Catholic Bible translated and published by the Church for the Church.


Christopher Buckley holds an M.A. in Religion from the Claremont School of Theology. He began as a United Methodist and passed through the Episcopal Church before being confirmed into the Catholic Church as an adult. He lives and works in Seattle with his wife and two children, and blogs occasionally at StoryWiseGuy.com. Connect with him on TwitterGoogle+PinterestFlickr, and LinkedIn, and Bible.com.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with both Tim and Christopher's review/comments regarding the recently released USCCB edition of the NABRE. I received my copy last week. I purchased the personal edition. It has been a pleasure reading from it. The spacing within the texts makes for easy reading. The burgundy headings with the side tabs makes it easy to find the a particular book and paragraphs. My only (minor) regret is that I wish it had 2 ribbon markers and that it included the references for the lectionary readings. I still give this Bible top rating. This will certainly become my reading bible however I will continue to use the Didache NABRE for daily study and prayer with the LOTH.

Lenny V

rolf said...

Yeah this looks like s good deal, flexible bonded leather cover, sewn binding and readable text for a few dollars more than a paperback NABRE!

Neil Short said...

In these pictures, it looks like the line-matching isn't all that wonderful. What in the hands-on impression of the line matching?

Timothy said...

It isn't Neil. Yet the print is dark enough which helps a bit.

Jeff S. said...

What does "line-matching" mean? I've never heard the phrase before?

Timothy said...

From Crossway:
Line-matching is a process that aligns the text on both sides of a page, minimizing the see-through of text. If you look at your current Bible, chances are you'll notice slight deviations in how the text was placed on each page. This is because Bible printing presses run the paper at incredibly fast speeds, and it's very difficult to get the text printed exactly the same on each page. Line-matching is a process that solves the problem and leads to a more visually appealing, readable edition.

Neil Short said...

Who sells this Bible?

Timothy said...

The United States conference of Catholic Bishops

David Garcia said...

TWO(!) reviews on this Bible and STILL no book dimensions! What size is this thing fellas?!?!

Timothy said...

9 1/2 x 6 1/2 with a thickness of almost 2 inches

ELC said...

That style of footnoting used to be typical, if not exactly common.

"Typographical devices such as the asterisk (*) or dagger (†) may also be used to point to footnotes; the traditional order of these symbols in English is *, †, ‡, §, ‖, ¶."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Note_(typography)

I wish the Didache NABRE used that style instead of always asterisks, which I find difficult to distinguish.

David Garcia said...

That's way too big. Might as well get the Harper or Oxford!

Steve Molitor said...

"9 1/2 x 6 1/2 with a thickness of almost 2 inches" -- ooh, almost exactly the size of my beloved NOAB RSV! Perfect size for me.

What's the font size?

Steve

Anonymous said...

I received this personal size bible today. It measures 6.25 x 9.25". I would guess the font to be 9.5-10. It weighs 3lb. susan

Timothy said...

Anon,
You like?

Anonymous said...

Yes, so far so good. Ive been on a quest to find my every day bible and this just might be it. The NABRE is the translation I prefer (readable, lyrical, just the right amount of foot notes), but it is also about the fit and the font. This one is not too heavy or floppy. The font size is adaquate but as you said very crisp with alot of white space between lines. The paper is not too thin. In the pictures it looks like there is alot of ghosting but I didnt even notice any in person. I love the thumb indexing! So easy to find things. Also, in case this might tip the scales for anyone considering this bible, there are a number of blank pages in the front and back you can use for notes. This is my fourth NABRE (StJoseph delux, Fireside personal librosario, HarperOne and Oxford) and so far I like this one the best. susan

citizen DAK said...

++ printed nav-tabs, FTW!
:-D

citizen DAK said...

(but I'd prefer the sequential-letters style of footnote markers, like the Didache Bible has)