This is a very good Bible, but I shall start with the drawbacks (for want of a better word) before progressing to its merits.
Firstly, the box in which this Bible came states that it was published by Ignatius Press, as does the binding. Looking inside, however, the reader finds that it the text itself is that of Oxford University Press. This gives it some academic cachet, of course. However, the 'Second Catholic Edition' updates some of the archaisms - those passages addressed to God, although it lacks consistency in such things as the disciples addressing Jesus, of Jesus speaking to the Father. In Isiah 7.11, instead of 'Virgin' the text says 'young women'. In essence, this is the 1965 Catholic edition of the RSV, not the 2006 revision typically published by Ignatius.
Secondly, the gilding on the pages is rather fragile, and can come off if handled roughly. A Bible cover is ideal.
These minor problems aside, this is a very good Bible. The RSV text is, in my opinion, the very best translation of the Bible - elegantly styled, with the tasteful trace of antique flavour, but modernised enough for an easy read, which is a drawback of the Douai-Reims and King James. The RSV is also based on a good set of Hebrew and Greek texts, and the ESV - a Reformed translation of considerable academic repute - only needed to revise only 7%. Conservative readers may find the use of 'young woman' in the prophecy of Virgin Birth unsettling, but 'virgin' is offered as an alternative in the footnote, and the commentary handles the issue with orthodoxy and ease. On the other hand, the Angelic Salutation does say 'full of grace' in its rendition of the Greek, making it a perfect for Catholics.
The RSV is in fact authorised for liturgical use in the English-speaking world. Both the bishops of Africa and of the Anglican Ordinariate use it for lectionaries, and it is the version used by the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Until Liturgicam Authenticam (2001) gave bishops the decision to choose one translation for each ecclesiastical region, the RSV was also authorised for all English-speaking countries. Sadly, the American Bishops chose the New American Bible, the Canadians the NRSV, and most of the rest the Jerusalem. Nonetheless, for the Extraordinary Form does allow vernacular use at Low Mass, even if this option is rarely exercised. Being given the Imprimatur in 1965, the RSV would be ideal.
This is a pocket Bible, one which fits comfortably in the hand, with brown and tan leather binding (well, actually a substitute on close inspection, it appears, but still durable and aesthetically pleasing). As such, the text is very small. The study notes will of course be limited (in two appendixes at the end of each Testament) but as such they are learned, orthodox and traditional. 'Dei Verbum' is printed, offering the correct Catholic view of Divine Revelation.
In essence, this is perfect for study and devotional reading. It can fit into a bag or large pocket for classes, lectio divina on the offchance, or a quick reference. I personally find it ideal use at Adoration. It is beautiful both in its text and its binding, scholarly, and spiritually uplifting.show more
by Julian Vesty