Because I travel a lot for work, I often rely on the Catholic Study Bible app from Ignatius Press and the Augustine Institute. Phone batteries, however, drain fast. So when the Holy Father recommended in March that Catholics should put down their phones, talk to each other more, and carry a pocket New Testament to read, I began looking for one of my own.
The Ignatius New Testament and Psalms (RSV-2CE) has a lot going for it, not the least of which is its size. Here you can see it alongside the standard Ignatius Bible and Ignatius Study Bible New Testament for comparison. It’s much smaller, and thus perfectly suited for a travel edition.
At basically 4” x 6” it’s extremely easy to stuff in the front pouch of my work satchel, along with the small moleskine journal I use to keep notes and draft poetry.
It’s also a match in size for Christian Prayer and the Liturgy of the Hours, so if you travel with that, it’s a good companion.
Obviously, reducing the size requires a different typesetting than the standard edition. The 9/10 font size used in this little volume is still easy to read, while maximizing space even in a dual-column layout. Subsection titles stand out from the text of scripture in an easy-to-read sans serif font.
It has some additional features that I like, including two ribbon markers (at least in the leather edition), a preface from Albert Cardinal Meyer, Archbishop of Chicago, and introductions to both the New Testament and the Psalms. It even reprints the original 1965 letter from Richard Cardinal Cushing, Archbishop of Boston to the Catholic Biblical Association of Great Britain who produced the original RSV Catholic Edition.
I can understand not including a copy of Dei Verbum in the interest of keeping the volume compact, but I really would have appreciated a lectionary calendar of daily mass readings. Sadly, in order to maximize the amount of scripture on each page, the explanatory notes are printed in an appendix rather than inline with the text, similar to the way Oxford handles them in its RSV-CE compact volume.
The most distinguishing feature of Ignatius’ RSV Second Catholic Edition is the way it addresses the criticisms of the Catholic NRSV by simply removing archaic verbs and pronouns from the original Catholic RSV and adjusting some vocabulary for liturgical considerations. It’s in a volume like this where those characteristics stand out the most: it’s in the Psalms where the original RSV maintained the archaic addresses to God, and the New Testament is where a lot of the changes required by Liturgiam authenticam occur. Even more than a full Bible, this New Testament and Psalms has the feel of a Catholic ESV.
For lack of a better description, it’s actually a rugged, “manly” little volume, rather like the one used on the Catholic Gentleman blog to model their rugged rosaries. It’s the Catholic answer to those little NT and Psalms the Gideons used to pass out in front of my high school. I recommend it highly.
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 Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Flickr, and LinkedIn.