Showing posts with label Cambridge. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Cambridge. Show all posts

February 21, 2019

NRSV large-print leather Bible with or without Apocrypha


When I heard that Cambridge had published a large-print reader edition of the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) of the Bible, I requested a review copy, and they generously sent two – one with the Apocrypha and one without.

As you might know or guess, Cambridge University Press is the world’s oldest publisher of Bibles, the first being the Geneva Bible printed years before the King James Version even existed.

The quality is immediately apparent – from the thin but strong pages sewn into a high-grade French Morocco leather binding to the Bible’s sturdy packaging – as though they’re working with something that needs to be treated with respect and care. And, when they say “large-print text,” that’s what they mean – a font of ample size that’s attractive and easy on the eyes.

If I’m going on a bit about the physical aspects of this Bible, it’s because some publishers seem to expect their Bibles to be throw-aways. But maybe that’s too harsh. Maybe some just want to offer inexpensive editions almost everyone can afford. Or maybe they want to draw young people to God’s Word with pages glued into lively, colorful covers meant to catch the eye.

It’s hard for me to know since I cherish the Bible I regularly took to church – from early childhood through my teen years. (When I graduated from high school, my home church gave me a Revised Standard Version bound in quality leather, which would have lasted forever had it not been for a young dachshund left alone while her peoples were at work.)

Cambridge Bibles are made to last! So I'm happy to report they publish other versions in fine bindings, in case that interests you. However, when I want a translation that’s as close to the original languages as possible, I grab a NRSV.

When I want a translation that’s accurate and readable with a poetic flow, I go for the NRSV.

When I want a translation that renders the Epistles of the Apostle Paul with the profuse flow of thought he had in speaking and teaching, I go for the NRSV. (Note: Paul can get so long-winded, some translations chop his paragraph-long sentences into bits. The spiritual truths remain the same, of course, but the change of tone makes it hard to hear his unique voice.)

And, because I always want a Bible that incorporates linguistic and archaeological findings in an edition translated by an international, interdenominational team, who aims to provide an impartial, well-balanced edition, I go for the NRSV with the Apocrypha.

Be advised though: These NRSV reader editions from Cambridge focus on the biblical texts, period. If you want a study Bible, this isn’t it. I have a bunch of those anyway, and I’ve found that most have so many articles, maps, notes, and commentary, the biblical text itself gets squeezed into small print that’s barely readable. In addition, most study editions weigh several pounds, so I keep them on my desk to research a topic before writing a “Bible Talk” or preparing a class discussion.

Since these text-only editions have no study aids to weigh me down and almost no footnotes to distract me, I can easily carry them anywhere or curl up in my favorite chair to read. Indeed, I aim to read and re-read this reader edition of the NRSV as long as God, my eyes, and our family pets allow.


Mary Harwell Sayler, ©2019, poet-writer, reviewer

If you want one too, click here:









February 16, 2016

The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible: KJV with Apocrypha


In a recent post on The Word Center blog, I challenged readers to read the Bible cover to cover during Lent. For those of you who haven’t done this before, I recommend you choose a reader’s edition (no study notes) in your favorite contemporary translation. If you don’t yet have one, just scroll through the previous reviews here, and you’ll surely find an edition you’re drawn to read.

This year, however, the beginning of Lent coincided with the arrival of The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible in the King James Version with Apocrypha. I ordered a copy as shown below because I was glad to see the restoration of the apocryphal books which were originally included in KJV but later removed during the Reformation when denominational squabbles caused publishers to omit books not in the Hebrew Bible. That decision created a time gap between the old and new testaments mainly because biblical writers no longer knew Hebrew! i.e., After the Babylonian exile, people spoke and wrote in Greek or Aramaic as they continued to do during the age of the New Testament.

While I’ve looked forward to reading the restored KJV, I don’t necessarily recommend this for reading straight through during Lent since the apocryphal aka deuterocanonical books add to the length, which can be discouraging for Christians used to reading the Bible in pieces, rather than as a whole.

Also, as you know, archaic words in the KJV can be difficult to understand, but this edition remedies that by placing contemporary synonyms or quick definitions in the inner margins. This has the added effect of creating a couple inches of white space between the pages, giving room for tightly written notes.

Almost every edition of KJV I’ve seen has each verse numbered and separately spaced, but this edition published by Cambridge uses regular paragraphs on each page as most books do. This eases reading and makes this edition of the KJV a do-able reading challenge for Lent – unless you would rather give yourself or someone else a copy for Easter.

The one I bought came covered in a thick, silken-to-the-touch calfskin leather that should hold up beautifully for many years of reading cover to cover and many years of reading at a repetitive, reflective, meditative pace. However, I’ve also included a link to a hardcover edition in case you prefer that.

Regardless of which cover you choose, cover to cover Bible reading can bog down somewhere around Leviticus. By then the initial enthusiasm has ebbed while commands and directives flow from page to page. As the Bible itself explains, Moses gave the people this lengthy rule book so the promised “land spew not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spewed out the nations that were before you,” Leviticus 18:28.

God required specific acts of obedience, which Moses set forth clearly in any language or translation. Reading these rules in Leviticus, my thoughts took another turn as I thanked God for letting us know what we need to be holy and perfect – something we cannot possibly do! Leviticus makes this abundantly clear! But reading the book draws us into praising our Lord Jesus Christ for being the Perfect Priest and the Perfect Sacrifice.

Oh!

What a perfect book Leviticus is to read during Lent! It makes us aware of our total need for the One Who wholly kept the rules on our behalf.

Did I mention that the New Testament gives evidence that Jesus knew the apocryphal books? Take, for example, Ecclesiasticus 20:30, which reminds us of Jesus’ exhortation to let our light shine.

Wisdom that is hid, and treasure that is hoarded up,
what profit is in them both?
Better is he that hideth his folly
than a man that hideth his wisdom.


Speaking of wisdom, which Ecclesiasticus, like Proverbs, often does, the first verses of chapter 25 personify Wisdom:

In three things I (Wisdom) was beautified,
and stood up beautiful both before God and man:
the unity of brethren,
the love of neighbours,
a man and a wife that agree together
.”

And, speaking of three’s, “The Song of the Three Holy Children” in the KJV Apocrypha tells us what Daniel’s three friends did when they were thrown into the fiery furnace:

Then the three, as out of one mouth, praised, glorified, and blessed God in the furnace, saying:
‘Blessed art thou, O Lord God of our fathers:
and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
And blessed is thy glorious and holy name:
and to be praised and exalted above all for ever.
Blessed art thou in the temple of thy holy glory:
and to be praised and glorified above all for ever’
,” verses 28-31.

These blessings continue into a call to “all ye works of the Lord” to bless the Lord, Who:

even out of the midst of the fire hath he delivered us.
O give thanks unto the Lord, because he is gracious:
for his mercy endureth for ever:
O all ye that worship the Lord, bless the God of gods,
praise him, and give him thanks:
for his mercy endureth for ever
,” verses 66b-68.

Amen

© 2016, Mary Harwell Sayler


The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible with the Apocrypha, calfskin leather



The New Cambridge Paragraph Bible with the Apocrypha, hardcover