Friday, May 28, 2010

Review: Ignatius Catholic Study Bible NT - Hardcover

God Bless you Ignatius Press, the authors, and editors who put this together.

Well its here. I present to you the Ignatius Catholic Study Bible (ICSB) New Testament in its hardcover form. It is a beauty. There are a few flaws which we'll discuss but all in all this is a major publication for the conservative Catholic world. Even though it is still missing the Old Testament...we finally have our study Bible.

This is the Catholic answer to all those protestant study Bibles you see when you go to Borders and think "I wish we had one of those" as you look longingly at the Oxford Catholic Study Bible and wish it were actually decent.

Ironically, some of the points below that make this a good study Bible also contribute to its flaws.

Good things:
  • The text is large and easy to read.
  • Thick paper. Good for writing on. The original RSV-2CE suffered from glossy paper that made it hard to read in many lighting situations. Not this one.
  • Sturdy construction. Really sturdy, as far as I can tell.
  • Sewn and glued binding.
  • Copious notes.
  • Cross references.
  • Concise, but thorough, concordance.
  • Color maps.
  • Wider, but not wide, margins.
  • I really like the cloth-like end papers. Its a very nice touch. The cross-hatch texture will keep papers from falling out of it.
  • Its actually Catholic.

Could have been better:
  • No ribbons. What the heck?
  • Its a little too large.
  • The maps are a little underwhelming. Very basic.
  • Maps dispersed throughout the text should be in color when the full version comes out.
  • Margins could be wider.

I'm really glad I bought the hardcover edition, btw. Without further ado I give you want you really came here for: pictures.

Below: glue protruding from the binding. Small irritant with the quality control. The binding however it sturdy.

Below: cross-hatch end papers. I like this feature a lot.

Below: Common page layout with a map in it. Notice the wider, but not wide, margins. We still have no true Catholic Bible with truly wide margins. I guess we'll have to continue waiting for that one.

Below: Maps at the end.

Below: I took this picture to show you where the extras begin. As you can see there is a lot of material in the back of the book. It adds a great deal of value. You get a lot of book for the price. Note the thickness of the pages in this photo.

Below: Wavy pages. Yuck. I don't know why this happens on some books. Perhaps its the paper choice. We'll live with it.

Below: A close up of the fantastic stamping on the front cover. In all, the cover is a bit busy for me. But its not ugly. In the future I'd like to see a simple or even plain cover for the ICSB. Just put the text on the spine and that'll do.

Below: I like sephia tone, so there. This shows a size comparison with some other well known books. The Leather RSV-2CE and Volume III LOTH.

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Moonshadow said...

longingly at the Oxford Catholic Study Bible and wish it were actually decent.

Ha, that made me laugh. :-)

I'm guessing since you have this already you got it straight from Ignatius? I had pre-ordered it back in January at Amazon but my husband suggested I cancel the order because I don't need another study bible. So I canceled it.

But, short of holding it in my hand, it seems to me that the thickness of it is about right. Except it is just the NT.

Wavy pages, I've had that on other h/c books. Is it from humidity, excess dampness or cold? Maybe if you pile a few heavy books on top briefly it might press out.

I like the cover design but this isn't only a book of the Gospels so it's technically a little misleading or inaccurate.

I hope you'll post more as you actually set down and use this edition.

Kristen J said...

Thanks for another excellent review; it sounds like this volume is nearly perfect! I hope my copy arrives in today's mail, as I'll soon be attending a women's Bible study using this text to study Romans (and probably other books later).

Do you happen to have any "inside info" on when the OT volume(s) will be out? I've been waiting for the complete volumes for at least a couple of years now. At least we have something to start with, though. :)

P.S. From one Bible/breviary addict to another, I hope that the Pony Express brings your latest acquisition today. :) Thankfully, my husband and I honor each other's obsessions (his being mineral collecting)...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the review. I have been anxiously waiting for this. I purchased the RSV-2CE because of your review, and I think I will be purchasing this one asap! I have been longing to replace my Spirit Filled Life NKJV Study bible I used in college. This I am sure will fill the bill. I long for the OT companion to be released. Thanks again.

cheryl said...

Another great book review. Keep them coming!

Matt said...

@Moonshadow: Actually I got it from Aamzon. The hardcover came in stock earlier than the others. So I jumped on it. The wavy pages could be humidity. But it came like that, so I'm not sure. I will indeed post more as I use it. I showed it to one of my priests yesterday and he was impressed with the Luke 1:26 note.

It discusses opposing views throughout but always sides with the orthodox Catholic stance.

@Kristen: I only know that *some* of the OT is already being finished up. Other than that I have no inside scoop. The Pony Express showed up with my new Breviary on Saturday. It was volume two, which begins with I Vespers of Trinity Sunday. Perfect timing. Once I get Volume I in the mail (soon) I'll show them here. I'm very pleased.

@kbpipes and cheryl: you are very welcome. If you get the book please let me know your thoughts, come back here and comment. It will helps others who are thinking of buying the book.

William a sinner. Most unlearned. The Least of all the faithful… said...

Your Catholic Book Reviews are great Brother!!!

Kenneth Massey said...

Thanks for the review, I can't wait to a copy.

Moonshadow said...

This post has lots of comments now, so I won't try to pursue a conversation about orthodox Catholic notes on Luke 1:26 beyond to say I'm wholly unfamiliar with unorthodox notes on the passage.

Are we talking Brown/Fitzmyer?

If you're interested/have time, please explain details in email. Peace.

Matt said...

First off, I meant Luke 1:28, not 26. That's my fault and I always get that wrong.

But my comment on orthodox notes was meant for the whole of the book, not just that verse.

Putting the orthodoxy issues aside for a moment:

One interesting point with that verse in the ICSB is that the note on "Hail, full of grace" is similar the NJB but goes a bit more in depth. I'll send an email along with the full text.

christmas celebration said...

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keep it up. God Bless You.

Jeffrey Pinyan said...

I don't know why you're complaining about the margins... I was able to prove Fermat's last theorem on one of the pages. ;)

I love this book. My only major complaint is that they excised all the reflection questions. The study (comprehension) questions I could do without, but I thought that some of their reflection questions were quite decent.

Anonymous said...

"It discusses opposing views throughout but always sides with the orthodox Catholic stance."

Definitely not true.

Also, the RSV translation should be completely renounced. To learn why, read Which Bible Should You Read?, by Thomas A. Nelson.

Moonshadow said...

the RSV translation should be completely renounced. ... [cf] Which Bible Should You Read? [Tan Books]

Which Bible should you read? The one you'll read.

Our blog host has no problem with the DR, you must know that.

re: proving theorems in Bible margins: No doubt an old RPI quip, japhy!

Moonshadow said...

Matt, I should have gone with my assumption that you meant 1:28. Peace.

Victoria said...

My hardcover copy arrived in Australia last week via Fishpond-

My hardcover copy arrived in Australia last week via Fishpond. I like the cover but was wondering if use will wear away the gold and if so is it advisable to cover it with contact? The study questions I like also. The price is fantastic considering that I have been paying $20 AUS for each copy of the single books.

I would like wider margins and ribbons.

Matt said...

@Jeffrey - I have a few wide margin Bibles that I've used for Bible study and those are much more generous. But the ICSB margins aren't awful, I'd just have liked them a bit wider.


"Definitely not"

Ok then enlighten us. Which footnotes have you found that are not orthodox in the ICSB?

I have, and have read, Thomas Nelson's booklet "Which Bible Should You Read" and while I respect Mr. Nelson a great deal his arguments were not convincing to me in the end. I use several different translations because I believe each has its strengths and weaknesses.

You say the RSV should be "renounced". By whom? The Church herself has used the RSV-CE for many years now when quoting the Scriptures in English. The RSV-2CE was even sent to the Vatican for changes to conform to Liturgicam Authenticam. Read that document and see what that means.

PaxCarmel said...

Can you tell me if it includes psalms/proverbs?

Matt said...

Hello PaxCarmel- it doesn't contain the Psalms and Proverbs. Ignatius isn't done with those books yet but hopefully they will have them before too long.

If you need a Psalms or Proverbs commentary for the RSV-CE, check out the Navarre series.

PaxCarmel said...

Thanks, Matt.
As always, very grateful for the info.
I'm currently trying to decide if I should buy the CSS Study Bible that Benedict's Press is putting out this season, of if I should just stick it out and keep waiting for Ignatius to publish the WHOLE bible.
I haven't read anything about the CSS Study Bible but it looks pretty apologetics-focused, which isn't thrilling for me but is a nice feature. I'm more interested in commentary and catechetical footnotes. It really does sound like I'm going to have to wait on the whole Ignatius Bible. Of course, at this price, I could probably get both the NT and the full bible when it comes out and still pay less than I would for the Benedict press CSS. :P
Anyways, decisions, decisions.... Haha.
I absolutely LOVE this blog. Thank you.

Matt said...

If I were you, I would just buy the paperback Ignatius Study Bible for the $14.95 price to hold me over.

I expect to have a review the CSS Study Bible at some point, but there is no problem in having several different ones. Just a thought.

Thanks btw, for your nice comment about the blog!

PaxCarmel said...

Just received this info about the CSS bible in my inbox-
Good to know to pass around if anyone else is interested:
"n addition to the standard RSV-CE footnotes, this study edition will include reference inserts. The material includes discussion on Catholic doctrine and Biblical references for Catholic beliefs and practice. It does not contain additional footnotes in the text itself
Definitely will be going with the Ignatius, then. :)

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