Actually, it’s been here a few days—much earlier than anticipated—and I’ve been catching up on my reading schedule. I purchased a used, like new copy of the NRSV Reference Bible with Apocrypha in Cabra bonded leather from Amazon. I’m enjoying this edition so far; I think it will undoubtedly become my daily use Bible, even after this Challenge year.
Thankfully, the Amazon seller I worked with posted a true description. The Bible was in excellent condition. The bonded leather has one small scuff on the edge of the front cover, and one scratch on the back. The scratch isn’t very noticeable and didn’t cause damage. A nameplate has been pasted over the presentation page, but it’s actually very nice. The Bible came in one of the older, two-part Cambridge slipcases with its ribbons still tucked into the pages—I’m guessing it was a gift that went unused. The slipcase is still in good condition and very sturdy. It should make a good storage box!
But, on to the important matters! Because I am less financially gifted than most of my bibliophile friends, I decided to purchase the bonded leather over the French Morocco. I thought, “It’ll be fine, and when it wears out I’ll have it rebound.” Thankfully, it should stick around long enough for me to save up for a very nice rebind. This is not your average run-of-the-mill bonded leather. Yes, it still smells like chemicals and bears little resemblance to its authentic cousin, but Cambridge’s Cabra bonded leather is smooth, soft to the touch, and very sturdy. It’s nothing like the rough, plasticky stuff covering your gift Bible from high school graduation. Mark Bertrand over at Bible Design Blog reviewed the NRSV Standard Text in French Morocco and found it stiff—the Cabra bonded leather is flexible and falls open beautifully. If you want a Cambridge Bible but can’t afford the more expensive leather options, buy the bonded leather. You won’t be disappointed; this Bible is by far the nicest I have ever owned. It would have been nice to have three ribbons, but I’ll make do.
Of course, this is the real reason I’m absolutely in love with this Bible. Until I had the Cambridge in front of me, I never realized how cramped the RSV-2CE’s page layout was. Believe me when I say the wider margins and center column cross-references really make a difference in terms of readability. The Cambridge also has more space between individual lines on the page, and I find myself having a much easier time reading the traditional two-column layout. The closed Bible is chunky, but the size is perfect for reading. It’s small enough to be portable, but large enough to be readable. Just look at this:
Isn’t it gorgeous? At first, I felt bad for purchasing this Bible. In comparison to the usual prices for Cambridge Bibles, I got a deal, but it was more that I was accustomed to paying for a Bible, much less for any book that wasn’t a textbook. I can tell you that, given the option of saving my pennies to purchase a quality Bible like this one, or of buying a cheap Bible immediately, I’d save my pennies. You do indeed get what you pay for. The text itself is beautiful, and the included helps are useful. The Bible Dictionary in the back includes outlines of Jesus’ parables and miracles, and the maps come with an index of place names to make finding locations a snap.
My initial concerns about the NRSV have dissipated with use. Where inclusive language or alternate renderings are used, a small footnote at the bottom of the page gives the original. In the “Apocryphal” section of the Bible, these books are also properly referred to as the Deuterocanon. Cambridge was even thoughtful enough to include a few black and white maps for Maccabees. The Deuterocanon does have cross-references to both the OT and NT. Sure, the books aren’t in proper order, but they’re all there. While Catholics certainly aren’t the first audience Cambridge had in mind, I think they’ve produced a fine edition suitable for Catholics and Protestants alike. And if you’re Canadian, you have the added bonus of a Bible with your lectionary translation! Overall, I’m very pleased and I really look forward to using this Bible.
If you have no idea why I’m writing this, read this post. I will post more as the journey continues! Thank you for reading! I hope your own Challenge experience is fruitful so far. So, how goes it, blogosphere? Questions, comments, concerns? Are you attempting the Challenge? Tell me more below!
In His Sacred Heart,