on January 12, 2006
This is an excellent compact edition of the Catholic edition of the Revised Standard Version of the Bible. I highly recommend it as a gift, or for personal devotional reading, and especially for commuters and helpers of the sick and dying. Its slim size and light weight is also ideal for those who move around with a lot of books or papers.
The excellence of the RSV(CE) is well known: it is a highly accurate translation of the Scriptures, combining the best of literal fidelity and literary quality. It is well received ecumenically by Catholics, Orthodox and many Protestants, and is well-recognized by the academic community. This Catholic edition contains all the books of the Catholic canon of Scripture according to the traditional Vulgate order and features original notes (limited though, especially when compared with the New Jerusalem Bible and New American Bible, but accessible to non-technical readers) from the RSV-CE first published in 1966, as required by the Church.
This particular edition is a joint effort between Ignatius Press and Oxford University Press. The print is clear (though small - as expected from a compact edition) and crisp, with no bleeding through, and features easy-to-read type, benefiting from Oxford's expertise. It comes with beautiful full-color family record pages and a printed icon of Christ the Teacher at its front. This Bible is well-protected with an easy-to-pull zipper (even around the corners!) that comes with a miraculous medal as the zipper pull. One thing lacking in this edition is a ribbon page-marker, but one could easily compensate for this by making one himself, or by using holy cards.
The RSV-CE does not involve radical or questionable use of so-called 'inclusive' language, present in many modern translations such as the NRSV; and it still retains the occasional use of thy-thee-thou, usually in reference to God, which can be a plus or minus depending on one's preference (makes reading aloud somewhat odder on the ears though it does increase the poetic quality of a text, I think). I've been looking for a well-crafted, compact edition of the RSV-CE for a while, and I've found it in this present edition.
on October 20, 2008
I don't agree with the majority, apparently... I'll start with the (very) positive point : I am not an expert on translations but I very much like the RSV text - not unduly modern, beautiful but well readable - although this is a question of individual taste. However, this edition (Compact with zipper) can only really be used for waiting in airports or the like. Or if you only ever read one psalm or one chapter at a time - which is also possible. But you can't sit down and READ this version for much longer, the print is far too small (and I have good reading eyes !). Whatever you do, don't have damp fingers when touching the paper, it'll mark it for good : the paper is so thin (although surprisingly and very positively, the text does not bleed through from the other side contrary to quite a few bibles). The zipper is practical for pockets or bags, although the medallion is quite horrible and of plastic; but if you are reading towards the beginning or the end of the Bible (basically, all of the NT!), it is impractical to turn the pages because of the zipper, on top of which the latter is visually invasive. In resume : for occasional travel use, yes. For home or study, not really. But text, in my opinion, excellent.
The Ignatius Catholic Bible RSV (Revised Standard Version) in the Compact Zippered format is the best portable bible I've found. Here's why I highly recommend it over other portable/compact versions:
- Ideal size: The bible is 5" wide x 6.5" tall x 1" thick... Very easy to carry in a hand, briefcase, purse, or backpack. I love the size because it's neither too large to tote around, nor too small to hold comfortably.
- Nice cover/binding: the cover is made of brown stitched leather with a zippered perimeter and a stitched binding that ensures the pages will stay put for a long time. The cover is just thick enough to offer good protection/durability without compromising the portability. The metal zipper feels sufficiently durable and is equipped with a nice metal pull that makes it easy to open and close. An un-zippered version of this bible is also available, but if you plan to carry it in a briefcase, purse, or backpack, I strongly recommend the zippered version to protect the (very thin) pages.
- Nice print: the text is small, but crisp and very readable, in a clean-looking serif font. (Of course, if you have poor eyesight, a small-print compact bible is definitely not for you.) The pages are extremely thin to reduce heft, but thick and bright enough that there is very little "bleed through" of the text on the opposite side of each page. To prevent tearing, you will need to handle the pages carefully and avoid writing on them; however, the paper is certainly durable enough to stand up to casual page turning.
- Clean format: There are chapter headings and verse numbers, but no embedded footnotes; instead, all explanatory notes are relegated to the end of each (Old/New) Testament section. Only a few brief translation notes appear at the end of each page. This yields a smooth, uncluttered reading experience that I really like. However, this layout would be less than ideal for rigorous bible study/discussion groups and other situations in which the reader might prefer the detail and quicker access of footnotes.
- Excellent translation: I think this is the best Catholic-approved translation currently available. It is more accurate than the Douay-Rheims, more traditional- and poetic-sounding than the New American Bible (NAB), and free of the "inclusive language" that mars the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV). Although I still prefer the poetic richness of the Douay-Rheims and King James (KJV) versions, the RSV translation is more accurate (better scholarly standards applied to older, more authoritative manuscripts) and most people will find it much easier to read because it updates obsolete language (thee/ye --> you, etc.). At the same time, it remains much more poetic/traditional than the New American Bible, which has been "modernized" to the point that it sounds too casual to my ear. Also, I have nothing against inclusive language and gender fairness in contemporary society, but I don't believe politically-correct concerns are a sufficient reason to actively modify scripture and distort the real politics of the historical cultures recorded in the bible. There is a difference between translation and revision. I welcome expanded roles for women in the church, but I don't approve of altering Holy Scripture merely to assuage political concerns. Several scholars who worked on the NRSV felt the same way, but they were overruled and forced to adopt the inclusive language.
- Great price: Seriously, $20 is a bargain for a portable, nicely-printed, nicely-bound, excellently-translated bible. To qualify for Super Saver Shipping, I recommend also purchasing a set of bible indexing tabs. I bought the "Bible Indexing Tabs Great Adventure" set from Ascension Press for $6.95 and found them perfectly adequate... a full set of color-coded Catholic bible tabs printed on thin but durable adhesive material. The tabs fit inside the zippered enclosure and make it much easier to locate specific books and passages quickly.
- Extra features: Besides the Holy Scriptures... the bible includes a series of introductory pages with space for (1) a formal presentation page in case the bible is given as a gift (fill in the names of the giver, recipient, and date); (2) spaces to record of the owner's baptism, first communion, confirmation, and marriage; (3) and spaces to record the "family history": names and birthdates for the owner's parents, siblings, grandparents, children, and grandchildren. After these, you will find a Foreword, an Introduction, and the "Dogmatic Constitution on Divine revelation, Dei Verbum, 18 November 1965." In the very back, you will also find "Prayers and Devotions of The Catholic Faith". Nice!
CONS? None really, but this bible would be perfect if it also included a nice ribbon bookmark. Since it doesn't, you'll need to buy or make one of your own. No big deal.
[UPDATE 6/4/2012: The only issue I've had with this bible since ordering it months ago and reading it regularly is that the little zipper pull tab has come off three times. Each time, it was fairly easy to loop it back onto the chain link and gently squeeze the link shut with a pliers again. Not a big deal. Other than that, I love this bible. The print is so small it is a little challenging to read in very low light, but that's to be expected from such a compact edition. Add a clip-on reading light and reading it in bed is simple and delightful.]
on September 21, 2006
I was interested in finding a Bible to start using on a regular basis for study and reflection and came across this one. The Bible is compact, bounded leather, with a zipper case combined. Very convenient and you don't have to go and buy a Bible case. The text size is small since it is a compact version, but the style font is very easy to ready. I have found myself using the Bible more and more and I carry it with me every where I go. Not too large to place in your purse and not too small that you would need a magnifying glass. I have enjoyed it tremendously.
The last thing I should mention about this Bible, is the version. This Bible is the Revised Standard Version and not the New American Bible (the preferred choice of Bible study groups and RCIA). I hadn't realized that when I purchased it.
on July 31, 2015
This is a delightful little addition to anyone's collection, though it's not as the product description reads. Someone else has pointed that out, however. I ordered this expecting the little zippered pouch Bible and that is exactly what I got. I'm quite happy with it. It's 6.5 inches long, 5 inches wide, and 1.5 inches thick. The zipper is burgundy, like the cover, with a gold metal slider body and Miraculous Medal for the pull. The size fits perfectly with my Kindle Paperwhite and the little organizing tabs don't hinder the zipper at all (if you choose to use those). There's a little bit of finger gymnastics involved with getting the tabs in place after Acts, but if you're careful and use good lighting, placing them is a breeze. The print is a little small for those of us with imperfect eyes, but a pair of magnifying reading glasses from the pharmacy does the trick beautifully.