I would like to thank Steven for giving me permission to post his review of the Catholic Study Bible. Steven is Mormon, which makes this review very unique.
Title: The Catholic Study Bible, Third Edition
Editors: Donald Senior, John Collins, and Mary Ann Getty
Publisher: Oxford University Press
Genre: Bible/Study Bible/New American Bible Revised Edition
Year Published: 2016
Number of Pages: 2560
Size: 6 1/4 X 9
Reviewed by Steven Ray Montgomery for the Association for Mormon Letters
I try to meet people on common ground, and search for ways that we can agree on, rather than differ.
So, while I, as an active Latter-day Saint, have obvious and glaring disagreements with Paganism and the Pagan origins of Easter for example, at least I agree with them on the aspects of rebirth, new life, preservation of life, that accompany the Spring of the year. And I can celebrate those aspects in spite of other doctrinal differences.
I'm trying to treat the recently published Catholic Study Bible, Third Edition, in the same manner. First, the translation itself. The NAB (New American Bible) was a decades long work of 100 "scholars, including translators, editors, and a subcommittee of Catholic bishops who provided extensive review of the biblical text over" that period. A revision of the NAB then took place. The NABRE (New American Bible Revised Edition) is the first major amendment to the New American Bible translation since 1991. It takes into account recent archaeological and textual discoveries.
As to the common ground, mere belief in the Bible is an area of agreement between Catholics and Mormons. And the Catholic Church has been actively promoting Bible readership among its members, admitting that "biblical focus was lost" when "philosophical analysis" overwhelmed "biblical foundations."
But the Catholic Church is seeking to remedy that, this Catholic Study Bible being one of the tools to restore the balance. And as contained in the Reading Guide, "the purpose of this newly revised and updated Catholic Study Bible is to enable the reader to read the scriptures with new understanding and depth." The world sorely needs that understanding: Catholics, Mormons, the entire Protestant world, etc.
The Bible itself is a very handsome one. It comes with an almost six hundred page reading guide, which I found to be an excellent guide and introduction to the Bible as a whole, as well as each book contained within the Bible. The Reading Guide "leads the reader through the scriptures" and gives an extensive "treatment of the biblical background, . . . history and archaeology." One thing I especially liked was the interconnection between the text of the Bible and the relevant pages of the Reading Guide. I also found myself mostly agreeing with the length, width, and breadth of the Biblical scholarship therein. Some differences over doctrine? Yes, but many areas of agreement.
The Bible is published by Oxford University Press and I found it to be a great resource, with study notes, essays on various topics, informative sidebars, etc. There is also a 15 page glossary of special terms, thirty-two full-color Oxford Bible maps with an extensive place-name index and a 100 page concise concordance. The maps, glossary, and place-name index are fabulous--I love to know where events take place in the Bible, their meaning, and their relationship to other places. These features alone make the Bible well worth the price. But there is also a table of weights and measures, an index to the reading guides, and, important to Catholics but I found it meaningful as well, a full listing of lectionary readings for Sundays, Holy days, and weekdays.
Incorporated into the text are 52 in-text maps and 18 side-bar essays and charts. I found these to be quite helpful.
One great feature of Catholic Study Bibles in general, and this one in particular, is the inclusion of apocryphal works missing in the Protestant canon such as the books of Baruch, Ben Sira, Tobit, and so forth, as well as extensive notes and commentary for these books.
In conclusion, this is an excellent study Bible. Any serious student of the Bible would be pleased to own one, whether Catholic, Protestant, or Mormon. This Mormon is pleased to own one.