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on September 29, 1999
The editors have made every effort, consistent with the results of current textual scholarship, to keep within the tradition of English translation extending back to Tyndale and the Authorized Version. The remnants of antiquated language that the RSV kept in select passages (e.g., Psalm 22) have been removed. The translation is not always elegant, but it is highly serviceable, especially for those who do not have command of Hebrew or Greek. Do not be put off by the reviews lamenting its "political correctness": the editors do use inclusive language for humankind, in places where context and/or language clearly warrant (e.g., *adelphoi* in the epistles is rendered "brothers and sisters" rather than "brethren" - does anyone seriously doubt women were among the auditors when these letters were read?); otherwise, their practice is fairly conventional. If there is a political agenda in this debate, I do not think it can be laid at the doors of Messrs. Murphy and Metzger.
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on January 24, 2000
I used this Bible for two classes in college, one on the Hebrew Bible and one on the Christian Scriptures. This translation is not only one of the most accurate in English but also is much easier and more fun to read than more archaic versions. I have nothing against the King James Version for its use of language, but when you're mostly interested just in what happened and don't need it to sound poetic, this version is better. It also has useful notes at the bottoms of the pages and maps in the back for all the periods of time the Bible covers.
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on November 5, 1999
When I began reading this bible, it was as if I never understood anything at all from the KJV. This bible, considered by some to be the most literal translation to date, has truly been a God send for me. Now that the Aprocrypha have been returned to their proper place, I get an even better picture of what the bible should look like.
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VINE VOICEon January 17, 2000
When I first came in contact with this Bible I thought it above average. However as I have read more of it I find that it is very accurate. The NRSV has become my favorite translation, and the notes of the Oxford Study Bible are illuminating. The annotators are for the most part believing Christians, though they are more moderate than the NIV Study Bible annotators. The notes are fairly numerous and the essays and maps are a nice touch. There is also a small concordance in the back. I would never be without this Bible, and I am an orthodox, believing Christian. As always I advise consulting multiple versions when attempting to do a complete study.
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on August 10, 2005
This is a great bible resource especially for those interested in an historical text critical approach. Represents the most recent popular positions in modern scholarship yet voices alternative opinions as well. If you are an evangelical or conservative christian you may want to get the earlier edition in the RSV with notes by conservative scholar Bruce Metzger. The introductions are thorough, all notes are historical or textual, not devotional, they do not attempt to teach any religious doctrine, but they are illuminating in the historical respect. The essays in the back are very interesting as well.

My only suggestion is that you get the hard cover edition as this is a very large work including the apocrypha as well as a plethora of introductions, notes, and essays. The paper back is kind of flimsy due to the large size.
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HALL OF FAMEon October 26, 2000
This massive tome has it all--the Hebrew bible (aka the Old Testament), the Apocryphal books, and the New Testament. I'm a history and religion major, so I've had to make use of this Bible many times, and I haven't even had to dig into the Old Testament yet.
The best functions of this book are the copius annotations and translator notes found on every page. They help guide the novice along when some of the text gets a little dense. The annotations help link quotations to their proper place in the other books of the bible. Most bibles have this feature, but this edition has the best annotations I've seen. The translator's notes are nice, showing the reader where the Greek or Hebrew words could have had alternate meanings to the English. It also points out where some ancient texts may have omitted or added text, and then tells you what it was. Very handy, I must say.
This bible also has tons of explanatory material about the text: historical information on biblical times, various literary forms used in the Bible, explanations of ancient modes of writing, etc. All of this information is very helpful to getting more out of reading the Bible.
As a budding religion major, I've yet to explore all of the information this edition provides, but for the biblical scholar, this is the book to go with. It will take you far in your studies.
For the casual reader, this Bible may not be as useful. Many people like to read on their own and make their own interpretations out of the scripture. In these cases, the annotations and explanatory notes will not be helpful, but could actually be a hinderance. Some want to read the Bible in a new, updated, modern English version. I'd recommend the Good News Bible for these readers.
Overall, a must for the biblical scholar. I took a class on Paul, and I was glad to have this bible along to help get through some of his deep theological discussions!
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on November 1, 2001
The single star refers only to the study apparatus. I love the NRSV text, but... well, just read:
Looks like I'm the only one to complain, but I have several basic needs in a study (maybe I should say "reference") bible, none of which are met here. It's been on my desk for about 8 months now, but I rarely use it, except for the NRSV text. I wasted $35, and recommend you don't.
What I need from a reference bible:
1) Quick location of passages. Try to find, for example, the parable of the Prodigal Son, using nothing but this bible. It's not going to happen! A good study bible (I'll name one, below) should have a list of the parables, and should have a detailed enough outline of each book that the parable can be found simply by thumbing through the gospel introductions. By the way, the Prodigal Son is Luke 15, but this book doesn't tell you that, anywhere. It doesn't even have chapter, let alone section, headings. What were they thinking of?
2) Extensive cross-references, complete reference of OT quotes or allusions in NT (in BOTH locations), and complete listing of parallel passages. None of that is here, except at the whim of whomever writes the comments for any given book. Some books are better than others, the gospels are better than the other books, but none of them are anywhere near complete, or even adequate.
3) Explain or clarify difficult passages, especially where the cultural gap is widest. Try to figure out the cultural/sociological background of, say, the Ark Narrative (1 Sam. 4 - 6). Not much help here. I've never expected much from the commentary in any study bible, but this one is poorer than others I've read. The notes, mostly, are a waste of ink.
The NRSV is by far my favorite translation, but the "ecumenical" community has never had as good a study bible as the conservatives do. That's inexcusable. I bought this bible hoping it would measure up to the NIV Study Bible, which has the best reference apparatus I've encountered, based on the criteria above. Unfortunately, I believe the NIV is almost the worst translation available, but I won't climb that soapbox here. I want an NRSV study bible as good as the NIV Study Bible, but that doesn't grind the inerrantist (or any other) axe the way the NIV text does, and the NIV Study Bible notes and commentary do.
Will somebody please give me what I'm looking for? Sometimes, I even blow the dust off my old Thompson Chain-Reference Bible for topical searches, but I've noticed that the topics I want to search are a little different than the topics Thompson set up in 1900, or whenever it was.
Don't waste your money on this thing. I recommend you buy a text version of the NRSV (as it happens, Oxford's are the best, and well priced -- you can count on Oxford for a well-made book), and a decent one-volume commentary.
This bible looks good on your desk, but that's about all.
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on November 15, 2002
For those of us who are absolutely appalled at the way the canon of Christian Scripture has been ripped up by the Protestant churches (in particular) over the last 500 years, we now have this handy volume containing all the books of the Old Testament that have fallen into dispute since the Protestant Reformation.
Although most of these books are found in Roman Catholic Bibles, there are a few - notably 1 and 2 Esdras and Psalm 151 - that are contained only within Eastern Orthodox Bibles. Although many would say "well, we aren't missing much by not having these works," I heartily disagree. 2 Esdras, in particular, is a very moving work written somewhere around 100 c.e. that contains a dialogue between Ezra (or, more likely, someone writing in Ezra's name) and the angel Uriel. The book deals with theodicy in a truly human way - the frailty and the hope both shine through. The books of the Maccabees also contain things not found in Protestant Bibles, notably the encouragement that praying for the dead is a righteous deed and the story of Hannukah (which was, by the way, celebrated by Jesus in the Gospel of John).
There is an introduction to each book, as well as notes at the bottom of each page to help the reader understand the original context, as well as cross reference the ideas found within a specific text with those ideas found in other Biblical texts.
This book is an invaluable edition to every person's library - whether professional or layman.
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Although I own several Bibles, the only two I actually use very much are a lovely Cambridge KJV leather Bible with large print (I think it criminal how tiny they make the print on some Bibles) and this New Oxford Annotated. Different religious traditions tend to encourage the use of various translations, but if you go to any mainstream seminary or divinity school, this is far and away the most widely used edition of the Bible. And for good reason. All things considered the New Revised Standard Version is probably the most highly regarded translation in English today.

What makes this edition so helpful, apart from the fine translation, is the wealth of student aids that it contains. There are a number of brief articles introducing the various parts of the Bible as well as a large number of footnotes that enhance one's understanding of the passages. There is also a brief concordance and fourteen extremely good maps. Since this is intended as an ecumenical Bible, it includes the Apocrypha.

I am not a masochist. I therefore avoid books, whether religious or otherwise, that place much of a strain on my eyes. Many Bibles simply strike me as instruments of torture, with minute, tiny print, and paper that is so thin the print on the backing page bleeds through, causing eyestrain. But the print on this Bible is not only a good size but a very easy on the eye font, while the paper both minimized glare and bleeding. It is also sturdily bound.

For all these reasons, I can't imagine a better study Bible than this one. In fact, if I could own only one Bible, this would be the one I would choose. Luckily, I don't have to own only one, so I don't have to give up my KJV. But I do encourage any serious student of the Bible to own a copy of this very fine edition.
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on September 9, 2005
This is the New Oxford Annotated Study Bible edited by Bruce Metzger. It is not the 'old' Oxford RSV study Bible edited by Bruce Metzger. And it is not the newer New Oxford Annotated study Bible edited by Michael D. Coogan. And unlike either of those, and unlike the Harper Collins and the New Interpreters Study Bibles, it IS the best study Bible available with the NRSV translation. Buy it while you can, this one is out of print!
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