I love the Knox Bible. That is, of course, no surprise to any of you who have read this blog for any length of time. It is my primary, daily reading Bible. My Baronius Press edition was rebound back in goatskin back in 2013 by our good friends at Leonard's, because I knew that it would be used and loved for many years to come. Since then, I have come into possession of a few vintage Knox Bible editions, most notably the three-volume Sheed & Ward edition and the 1946 Chanticleer NT version. Yet, one edition has always escaped me. I consider it the "Holy Grail" of Knox Bible editions. When it has come on the market, I've seen it go for up to $300, which is something this high school teacher cannot afford. The edition I am speaking of is the "printed for private circulation only" 1944 Burns, Oates, & Washbourne Knox New Testament. This was a sort of trial, pre-publication copy that was offered to the public via a few Catholic periodicals, but not available in stores. They idea was to see what the public thought of the translation, since it was such a departure from the Douay-Rheims (Challoner) edition that most were familiar with. Many reviewed and commented on Knox's new New Testament, with some of the suggestions being incorporated into the final published edition a year later. I have seen different estimates, but as far as I know there were no more than 1500 copies printed. As you can imagine, very few have survived.
So, I was excited to see this exact edition up on EBay last month. It wasn't in perfect condition, but was much more affordable than what I had previously seen. So I purchased it. Oh, one other thing, it had Knox's signature in the opening pages. Needless to say, I was a bit anxious as I waited for it to arrive. The seller seemed reliable and the book looked authentic, but, as many of you know, what you order doesn't always end up being what arrives on your door step. So when it did arrive, I was happy to see that it was exactly what it claimed to be. I was surprised at the size, which is comparable to the RSV-2CE NT and Psalms from Ignatius Press. For some reason, I thought it would be bigger. Not that I will be carrying it around with me, but it would make a wonderfully portable yet readable New Testament.
The signature from Knox makes it an incredibly special book to me personally. I greatly admire Msgr. Knox, not only for his translation of the Bible but also his pastoral and apologetic works. I find him to be a man who was both a first rate intellect and thinker, while also being a truly humble pastor. Almost anything I read of his leaves me either moved or in a state of reflection. He is one of my two favorite authors of the twentieth century. I feel blessed to have this volume, and I am grateful to have been alerted to it when it was posted for sale. I hope you enjoy the photos below. It is really a pleasure to share them with you.