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HarperCollins Study Bible: New Revised Standard Version (with the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical Books) Hardcover – December 22, 1993

4.2 out of 5 stars 92 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

With The New Oxford Annotated Bible ( New Revised Standard Version ) only four years old, the need for another annotated NRSV isn't readily apparent. Still, when the publisher of the Harper's Bible Commentary and the Harper's Bible Dictionary publishes its own edition of the NRSV, it merits the attention of any serious bible student. An impressive array of biblical scholars has assembled a completely new set of introductions to each testament and to each biblical book, a fresh set of annotations to the text, and a modified set of textual apparatus. The book has many strengths. Most helpful are the annotations, which serve to identify chronology and location and explain wordplay. Many of the comments themselves are both up-to-date (comparing Simon's nickname, "Peter," to "Rocky" in Matthew 16.18) and felicitous (noting the similarity between the story of Moses' midwives, Exodus 1.8-22, and fairy tales like "Snow White"). The annotations particularly do a good job of revealing the interplay between biblical books and actually begin to explicate the text of Revelation. Yet the volume's comprehensiveness can also be its weakness. Notes on the gospels refer to noncanonical works that the average reader will not know and is not likely to have ready access to. Notes on authorial patterns such as symmetry and acrostic poetry don't sufficiently explain the impact of form upon content. In light of the reach this edition attempts, these drawbacks cannot be ignored. Ultimately, the breadth and depth of this study Bible, matched with its superior scholarship, make it a volume worth having in any collection. However, it is close enough in most respects to the Oxford Annotated edition that, if funds are limited and your library already possesses that edition, the HarperCollins edition would not be a necessary purchase.
- W. Alan Froggatt, Bridgewater, Ct.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Beautifully published, with an attractive type font, a soft paper finish, and a strong binding that nonetheless allows the book to lie open at any page, this edition of the Bible--newly annotated by the Society of Biblical Studies--is definitely for a wide audience. It is interdenominational, incorporates the latest in biblical scholarship, and is sensitive to unnecessary gender specificity. An automatic purchase for collections needing a good annotated Bible. Brad Hooper

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 2368 pages
  • Publisher: HarperOne; 1st edition (1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060655801
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060655808
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.8 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (92 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #486,121 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As another reviewer has written, I have bought two copies of this particular Bible and, should the need ever again arise, I would buy this edition again for a number of reasons.

First, as it is annotated by the Society of Biblical Literature (hereafter, SBL), every book, manuscript tradition and canon (more on this later) is contextualized in two ways: first and foremost in its original historical context (or at least its purported original historical context); second, its later Jewish and Christian canonical-theological tradition (up through about the end of the second century, when these canonical traditions began to really take concrete shape).

This type of "historical criticism" (as it is sometimes called) has the benefit of noting parallels and breaks with other texts of the same era. So, one will read in the notes references to something such as the Gospel of Thomas, early Christian writings and Rabbinic literature, Babylonian creation accounts, etc. The goal of this is not to erase theological understandings of the texts of the Bible, but to place the texts themselves in their original context and let them speak with their own voice as much as possible.

In this way, then, the NRSV is a very Protestant Bible. In keeping with its Protestantism, not only is the Old Testament in this Bible the same as the traditional Protestant Old Testament (39 books), but following Luther and later Protestant editions of the Bible, the "Apocrypha" (an intentionally disparaging term when originally used, which means "hidden" or "esoteric") - the books in the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Old Testaments that were never included in the Jewish Bible and were then thrown out of the Protestant Old Testament during the Reformation - are included *between* the Old and New Testaments.
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Format: Paperback
This review is not a reflection on the text of the Bible so much as the usefulness of this particular edition. The Bible holds the record for the book with the greatest variation of editions, versions, and separate publications. The Harper Collins Study Bible is one of the few that has remained an essential part of my collection and study.
I was given a copy of the Harper Collins Study Bible many years ago as a gift. I had several versions, and my friend thought he was giving me one more (I like to examine the differences in translations to find deeper meanings in the texts, or misinterpretations based on faulty or incomplete translation). Alas, he was disappointed when I informed him that this was not a distinctively Harper Collins translation; it is in fact a study version of the New Revised Standard Version, one of the dominant translations at use in church and scholarship today. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is an updating of the respected and established Revised Standard Version, which still has life as the preferred text of many senior scholars.
The Harper Collins Study Bible was compiled under the direction of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL) who, with the American Academy of Religion (AAR) is one of the most respected academic bodies in the field today. The AAR/SBL annual conferences are attended by thousands, including in the book vendor area a large contingent from Harper-Collins publishing. Wayne Meeks, a noted and respected scholar (primarily of New Testament and early Christian era studies) was the senior editor for this edition.
Generously annotated throughout, practically every other verse has a footnote.
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Format: Hardcover
This study Bible is an excellent resource for serious, critically-minded students of the Bible. The scholarship is excellent, and the notes provide excellent and objective historical, cultural, and literary background and context. This is not, however, a devotional or life application Bible. The notes do an excellent job of making the text understandable to a modern reader, but the reader is left on his or her own to work out the implications and applications of the text. Generally, I consider that a good thing. But like other reviewers, I like to balance the HarperCollins with more devotional or evangelical Bibles. Of these, I prefer the somewhat liberal-leaning Access Study Bible published by Oxford, but the NIV Study Bible and NIV Life Application Bible are excellent resources from a more conservative perspective.
Back to the HarperCollins, the format is beautiful and very easy on the eyes. But this comes at the cost of having no margin notes for cross references(contrary to the NIV Bibles). Because of this, all the cross referneces are contained along with the substantive notes at the bottom of each page, which can make these notes rather tedious. Still, the notes are well worth the effort they require.
The text itself is the New Revised Standard Version, an accurate translation that uses modern, inclusive language. I consider it the best translation available for the modern world.
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By A Customer on August 21, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is by far the best study Bible available. There are numerous annotations with cultural and linguistic references that the serious Bible student wants to know about, and that (in my case) led to a greater spiritual and historical understanding of Scripture, and of the socioreligious environment of the ancient Middle East. The New Oxford Annotated is another good option, but the commentary is often less detailed than in the HCSB. If you're looking for a Bible with serious in-depth explanations, rather than the simplistic behavioral dictates that pass for "study notes" in many other student Bibles, this one's for you.
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