Monday, September 21, 2009

A Nice Catholic Bible edition

To keep things going along the line of fine Catholic books I wanted to highlight what I think is the nicest Catholic Bible I have seen and used. It is one of the only ones out there that compares favorably to those showcased on the Bible Design Blog. (I have yet to see TAN's leatherbound Douay-Rheims which I see have just come out.) Of course we're talking about the Ignatius Press Leatherbound Revised Standard Version - Second Catholic Edition. It is published by Nelson for Ignatius Press.

This is a 6" x 9" tall, floppy, and moderately thin Bible with a nice bonded leather and gold foil stamped cover. I realize some would like it without the icons on the front but for my eyes they make the book look very classy.

The Bible feels great to hold. And since this is a tall and thin Bible it easily flops around when reading. It is flexible enough to bend back upon itself so you can hold it in one hand. Here it is doing the "Bible yoga". Please do not shriek in horror - the Word of God is sacred, not the book itself or the printing.

I don't know if the binding is glued or sewn. You can see glue on the top and bottom spine but it doesn't appear to be holding the whole thing together. It may be a combination of both. But the pages being so tall and the NT being so slender near the back means that you can easily put a lot of pressure on it. So far it is giving way a tiny bit but it isn't loose or anything.

The following horrid picture shows the text layout. It is very easy on the eyes...I really need a new camera and some good lighting. But you can see the layout and that is all that matters.

Aha! But now we come to its weakness, which could be a deal breaker for the serious Bible reader. Glossy pages. The book is a little difficult to read at times and you have to continually tilt it to see the text if you are under a reading lamp. Daylight is no problem, nor is reading under a ceiling light. Again, an off-balance photo but you can see the font and margins are very nice. The margins aren't quite wide enough for note taking, but I'm not even sure a pencil would write on the pages very easily considering the glossy material.

All in all, the Ignatius RSV-2CE Leatherbound is a great Bible. If you took away the glossy pages it would be closer to perfection. It may be the nicest one we have out there. At $39.00 it is well below the "high-end" price range and you get a really stellar readers' edition. There are very few notes but it does have cross references and two ribbon markers.


Moonshadow said...

I like mine.

It feels heavy ... or dense ... for its size. Must be the non-tissuey paper. I'd say that's a consistent difference between Catholic and Protestant Bibles, ours don't use the translucent paper. Keeps the cost down must be.

Matt said...

Never thought about that difference. I have read a bit of criticism of the translucent paper in some bibles because it makes it impossible to use highlighters or some pens.

The new TAN Douay uses lighter paper too which nixes highlighters.

One other point is that Protestant bibles have a wider marketplace so publishers are more willing to experiment with different formats. The selection and quality choices are huge. I kinda wish we had that....

For instance go ahead and try to find a Goatskin Wide- Margin RSV Catholic Study Bible. Good luck.

Anonymous said...

I have wanted a nice bible for some time. I have a Spirit Filled Life NKJV bible I had back from when I was in school. So much in my life has changed in the past 10 years. It is a good bible, but I feel I have grown away from it. When my father died I was given his bible. He preached from it, and it had all sorts of markings and such in it. It is nice to read it, and to see what he highlighted. It is in bad shape, and I fear to use it anymore. So after seeing your review I went out today on my lunch and picked this one up.... Thanks


Matt said...

Hi Kirk - Your Father's bible is a great heirloom to have! I received my first Catholic Bible (NAB) when my grandmother passed away in 1997, and although I barely use it, it is a nice thing to keep.

I hope you like the RSV-2CE from Ignatius. What are your first impressions?

Anonymous said...

My fathers bible was a NAB also :) I have to say I really like it. I was on the fence about the extra cost for "leather" I am not sure if it is actually leather if it is seems very cheep. I really like the pages. I am use to the tissue bible pages. Overall it has a nice quality feel to it. I like how it holds in my hand. The text is clear, and easy to read.

I think the cover of it was the decision maker for me. I was in the marked for a RSV Catholic Bible. When I saw this one. I prayed they would have it at the bookstore. I ran out as soon as my lunch started.

So my Brotherhood of Saint Andrew meeting is tomorrow, and I am teaching at a retreat a week from Friday. I look forward to using my new bible at both.

Kirk said...

Well I had my new bible with me last night at my bible study. I can honestly say I have the coolest bible there. Between the heresy that was spewed and new business. I didn't get to show it off. Maybe at our retreat next weekend.

Matt said...

Awesome. It is definitely a good looking Bible. In fact I just bought the smaller, blue leather New Testament and Psalms with the identical cover today at the Shrine. It is a nice little book too.

becket said...

I have two Bibles that are very special to me. I have the Large Print RSV CE, put out also by Ignatius Press, but made for them by Oxford University Press (Bonded Leather). Great translation and size. I also own the two volume Haydock Study Bible (Douay Rheims).

You have a great Blog going here. Keep up the nice Blog.

louvi said...

Anyone have the Ignatius RSV--Reader's Edition? I'm debating between the RSV or the RSV 2nd Ed.

louvi said...

Anyone have the Ignatius RSV Reader's Edition? I'm debating between getting the RSV or the RSV 2nd Ed.

Matt said...

Hi louvi,

I don't have the RSV readers edition, but I do have the compact leather zipper one which I think is comparable but smaller. It is nice but the binding is failing after only a few years. However I think that is Oxford's fault, since they actually published it and just slapped Ignatius on the spine and box.

RSV-ce vs RSV-2Ce is a tough call. The 2ce is a pretty nice update. Tomorrow or Monday my rsv reviews from St.Benedict should appear. So before you make a purchase, I would stay tuned.

Matt said...

Hi Louvi - was that you I heard on EWTN Radio yesterday? I think you were asking about RSVs with Patrick Madrid. If so...good job! Hope my blog has helped you find what you are looking for.

louvi said...

Yes, that was me!!! Sorry for the late reply. I'm getting the reader's's on its way via mail. Thanks!

Jonathan said...

For some reason I really dislike the font in the Ignatius Bible. So I'm considering one of the St. Benedict RSVs you reviewed.

radrianta said...

Hi Matt,

Great review!

Btw, is the paper used in this bible the same as the one used in the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible?

I am planning to buy a RSV bible, and now considering between this one and St. Benedict Press'. I own a St. Benedict Press DR, and the paper gives me the feeling like I can tear them easily.

Matt said...

Hi Radrianta,

In the hardcover version of the Ignatius Study Bible, the paper is very different. It is a thicker and tougher sort. Not glossy.

The St. Benedict Press is the original RSV-CE, not the 2CE and does not contain cross references. It is a nice Bible in its own right but they are different. The Ignatius Bible has cross references. Much of the text has been updated to adhere to Liturgiam Authenticam.. Some people like that, some don't.

Joel said...

Hi Matt,

I finally went ahead and placed an order for the leather bound RSV-2CE.
The pictures on your review helped a lot. I was caught between the Hardcover and leather bound and I am still not sure...but lets hope for the best.
I did however confirm from Ignatius Press that pages are no longer glossy.

Thanks again and keep up the good work.



Matt said...

Hi Joel,

Glad I could be of help with you finding a new Bible. I think the RSVCE2 is probably the best choice for most Catholics today.

I love the Douay Rheims, and the Confraternity tends to be my favorite. Nevertheless, I find myself pulled to the RSVCE2 more and more.

Unknown said...

Just got it today (Hardback Edition)the only drawback is this edition doesn't have ribbons good thing I had some already. Matt I have two questions, I choose this over the paperback edition from St. Benedict Press. Since I read your Review on the DR Paperback which one is better?
Which is better the RSV from St. Benedict Press or the RSV 2nd Catholic Edition from Ignatius?

Thanks Matt,
Devout Catholic RT from Utah

Matt said...

Hi Joel,

I think in light of Ignatius' new leather editions of this were right to buy the hardback. I really don't like what they have done with the new version of the bonded leather, even without the glossy pages.

As for your questions...

Paperbacks are "beater" Bibles. I use them when I know my things might get roughed up. TAN's paperback Douay-Rheims is the best out there even if the cover is flimsy. Contact paper (laminating it) will fix that. I assume the RSV-CE is the same way, though I haven't come across one.

As for which RSV is better, comparing Ignatius or SBP, that is a matter of taste. Do you prefer the 2CE? Then Ignatius is better. I also think the font choices and layout is better on the eyes. If you want a nicer format with a better cover then the Premium Ultrasoft from SBP is better even though the references are in the endnotes. SBP essentially publishes a readers edition of the RSV-CE. So it is a matter of preference. Hope that helps.

Matt said...

Sorry, that last one was for "Devout Catholic RT from Utah", not Joel.

Unknown said...

Thanks Matt it did help
God bless
Devout Catholic RT from Utah

Cory Howell said...

I agree, this is a beautiful Bible. Definitely the nicest Catholic Bible I own, and one of the most beautifully bound Bibles in my whole collection. Overall, a gorgeous piece of work!

"The whole truth is generally the ally of virtue; a half-truth is always the ally of some vice." - G.K. Chesterton