New additions to the Bible quiver

Posted: 27th November 2007 by ElShaddai Edwards in Uncategorized

For regular readers of this blog, it should be no great secret that I’m a fan of the Revised English Bible (REB). Like Esteban Vázquez and Rick Mansfield, this is one of my finalists for “desert island” translations. I’ve extolled the virtues of the translation before – suffice it to reread this post or Rick’s excellent review at the link above if you’re not familiar with the translation. While normally my preferences lean more toward functional translations, the style and language of the REB are just too alluring to resist reading (and that’s a good thing)!

Over the years, I’ve had a number of REB editions, but currently have been using a Cambridge hardback, as well as a leather-bound New Testament. The latter used to be my “briefcase Bible”, but I’ve always regretted not having the Psalms and other OT texts. The hardback is complete with OT and Apocrypha texts, but a little bulky to carry around.

reb_oxford.jpgTo that end, I recently ordered a copy of the Compact Edition from Oxford (ISBN 0191000094). Despite its name, the physical size (8″x5¼”) is just ½” shorter and ¼” less deep than the Cambridge edition; I decided to pass on the Apocrypha for this edition, so it is also thinner. Regardless of the dimensional similarities, it does feel noticeably smaller in the hand and fits much easier in my bag. The typesetting is smaller, though generally proportional to the Cambridge layout. There is slight bleed through of underlying pages, but Oxford has mitigated the issue with a rougher paper stock than the glossy stuff used in the Jewish Study Bible and Oxford Study Bible (see below).

Like most Oxford/Cambridge hardbacks, the binding appears to be fully sewn with page registers left intact. While the Bible may not lay perfectly flat at Genesis 1, it does so for most of the text. The graphics are printed directly on the hardcover, eliminating the need for a separate dust jacket.

01952900111.jpgI’ve also found a mint hardcover copy of the Oxford Study Bible (ISBN 0195290011), which also uses the REB text. I had a flimsier paperback copy of the OSB a number of years ago, but returned it for some reason that I can’t recall – probably during my ESV phase. I’m slightly envious of Esteban’s leather-bound OSB, but given that I prefer to use zippered Bible covers to help keep track of my papers and pens, a hardback binding is perfectly fine for my purposes.

I anticipate that the OSB will become my primary reading Bible for use around the house and at church, whereas the Compact Edition will now take up permanent residence in my briefcase. I will continue to use the NASB and HCSB as my primary functional translations for closer study.

Now, if those red leather New English Bibles on eBay would just stop tempting me, I might be set…


  1. lingamish says:

    You keep some rough company. But really, now. REB? Very fusty language. But if it makes you happy…

  2. Very fusty language. But if it makes you happy…

    “Anyone who teaches otherwise, and does not devote himself to sound precepts – that is, those of our Lord Jesus Christ – and to good religious teaching, is a pompous ignoramous with a morbid enthusiasm for mere speculations and quibbles. These give rise to jealousy, quarrelling, slander, base suspicions, and endless wrangles – all typical of those whose minds are corrupted and who have lost their grip of the truth.” (1 Timothy 6:3-5a)

    Fusty? Oh well, it works for me…

  3. lingamish says:

    REB uses a rich vocabulary for sure. “Pompous ignoramous!” Ha. Are you talking about me?

  4. The Rev Mr Ker said, regarding the Revised English Bible:

    “Very fusty language.”

    Oh yeah? YOU’RE fusty language! 😛

    ElShaddai, what fine purchases you have made! I particularly commend you on having acquired the Oxford Study Bible, which I grow to appreciate more every day. But please, don’t be envious of my very much out-of-print, handsome burgundy genuine leather OSB–not even slightly! I would not wish to promote such base passions in any way. 😉

  5. R. Mansfield says:

    There’s a nice French Morocco Camrbridge REB on eBay right now with a starting bid of $9.99.

    I’ve already got one, but this is a great deal if someone got it this low.

  6. Rick, yes, I saw that one earlier today. I’ve been debating with myself whether to bid or not – I had one of those briefly a few years ago, but the binding broke after just a week of light use. I’m sure it was an isolated case, but I’ve been wary of them ever since. Plus I already have the hardback edition of that printing…

  7. Andrew says:

    Good to find a fellow REB lover. I actually need to replace my old 1989 edition, which is falling to pieces. Would you recommend the Oxford or Cambridge edition?

  8. I think that the current Cambridge editions are probably the closest to the ones made in ’89. The typesetting is different from what I’ve heard; certainly there are differences between my Cambridge hardback and this “new” Oxford edition. If I had to choose between them, I’d stick with the Cambridge. But I bought the Oxford specifically for my briefcase and it’s splendid for that.

    That said, if you really liked the 1989 edition, there are several on eBay, Amazon and other online used book stores. It should fairly easy to find a replacement.