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CEB Common English Thinline Bible with Apocrypha DecoTone Black Imitation Leather – September 1, 2011
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The Common English Bible, likely the largest cross-denominational translation project in recent memory, unites Baptist, Catholic, Evangelical, United Methodist, and numerous other faith traditions in a joint effort to create a complete but broadly accessible Bible for the 21st century. No single translation, despite the breadth of this committee's reach, is likely to please all, but this sincere and diligent effort goes far toward the creation of a plain-English version that, without falling into folksiness or false hipsterism, can be read and understood by a range of ages, educational backgrounds, and aptitudes.--Library Journal (03/01/2011)
About the Author
The Common English Bible is a translation completed in 2011. One hundred and twenty biblical scholars from twenty-two faith traditions worked as translators. These women and men balanced rigorous accuracy in translation of the ancient texts with an equally passionate commitment to clarity of expression in contemporary English. The result is a clear, direct, and powerful English version of the scriptures for use in Bible study, devotional reading, and worship.
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On the CEB website, it is possible to search for any chapter or verse in the bible, so I spent a good deal of time reading and comparing passages from the Old and New Testaments. I should note that I don't know Hebrew or Greek, so I can only compare with other English translations. Overall, though, I like this translation. After comparing it with the fairly literal NRSV and the functional equivalent Revised English Bible (REB) and Good News Translation (GNT), I find that it often occupies a middle ground. While the REB and especially the GNT often rephrase the language expressed in the NRSV, the CEB often uses similar wording to the NRSV. My impression is that the translators attempted to stay close to the original text, rephrasing figures of speech or expressions that would be unusual in modern English. I'm very impressed to see that. In many cases, functional equivalent translations like the GNT seem to gratuitously rephrase the text away from the NRSV wording without any notable improvement in readability. The CEB also preserves the raw imagery in some Old Testament passages (such as Ezekiel 16 and Ezekiel 23), where many translations introduce euphemisms to make the translation more palatable for reading aloud to a congregation.
The Psalms are my favorite part of this translation. They read like sincere prayers from the heart, rather than mildly archaic poetry. Consider this section of Psalm 22 as an example:
"Many bulls surround me;
mighty bulls from Bashan encircle me.
They open their mouths at me
like a lion ripping and roaring!
I'm poured out like water.
All my bones have fallen apart.
My heart is like wax;
it melts inside me.
My strength is dried up
like a piece of broken pottery.
My tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
you've set me down in the dirt of death..."
The anguish of the psalmist crying out to God is so palpable! If you're interested, try reading the whole of Psalm 22 on the CEB website. I was nearly in tears reading it. I've never felt the raw power of this psalm so strongly.
For some Old Testament poetry, I do prefer other translations. For example, God's poetic response to Job in Job 38-41 is simply majestic in the REB. It similarly shines in the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB). The CEB reads well. It is poetic, but in my opinion not as stunning as the REB and NJB.
If I was writing this review on the translation alone, I would give it a solid 4 stars. But this imitation leather edition was very disappointing to me. I opted for imitation leather over hardcover or paperback in the hope of purchasing a nicer copy, but I feel like I should have bought a paperback. The imitation leather is fairly average. It feels like a slightly dry rubber. The pages are quite thin, and the text bleeds through from the following pages. It's certainly readable, but the bleed-through is bad enough to make reading more difficult. The worst part is the cheap silver gilding on the page edges. It rubs off on my fingers whenever I touch the edges of the pages. After handling the bible, my hands look like they've been in a machine shop with fine metal filings. My expectations were probably too high, given the price of this edition, but I feel like this edition is simply a glorified paperback.
Otherwise I'm please to have the translation in an easy to carry form. so 5 for the translation and 1 for the Kindle edition.
Most recent customer reviews
The CEB translation is clearer.
large print in the app is so much easier to read!!