Wednesday, June 3

The CTS New Catholic Bible (2013)

Catholic Truth Society UK

I’ve been meaning to post this for quite a while but am just getting around to it, finally spurred to do so when checking to see if it were available on found that while it has a page [LINK], it shows as currently unavailable and there is virtually no information on it, not even a customer review. I remedied that immediately and decided to also post my thoughts here….

This is my daily reading Bible. A bit of background: I am a convert to Catholicism, back in the 1980s, and my first Catholic Bible was the Jerusalem Bible. Since then I have always loved the high literary quality of the translation (the fact that J. R. R. Tolkien was part of the team producing it back in the 1960s helped in that respect!), except for one thing that I found increasingly irksome – its use of the Divine Name Yahweh against thousands of years of tradition, both Jewish and Christian, rendering it as "The Lord." The Jerusalem Bible may not be the most slavishly literal translation (for that, go to the Douay-Rheims), but I do find it the most readable. Nevertheless, the "Yahweh issue" eventually drove me to other translations, most commonly the Revised Standard Version-Catholic Edition, as a good balance of readability and literal accuracy. Anyway, last year while on the Pilgrimage to Italy [LINK], I went into a little bookstore in St. Peter's Square where I found a red Compact Edition of this Bible (not this edition) as one of the few English editions available. Seeing that it was from the Catholic Truth Society, “Publishers to the Holy See,” I picked it up, and a quick perusal of the introduction revealed that I had finally found my dream reading Bible – a Jerusalem Bible with the Divine Name rendered as "Lord," with an extra attraction as well: The Psalms are printed in the Grail translation, which has become intimately familiar to me from years of reciting the Breviary. The only reason I did not immediately purchase that Bible on the spot was its compact size and tiny print, which I knew was too small for daily reading with my middle-aged eyes. But immediately upon arriving back in the States I was on the Internet seeking out a larger copy, settling on this one, the Standard Edition, basically the next size up, which I purchased directly from the CTS in the UK (The Internet is a Wonderful Thing!). And I have used it daily ever since, because it came with other features I didn't even know about at the time, but which further enhance its utility as a daily reading Bible.

Here are the specifics: The dimensions on this Standard Edition are approx. 5-1/4" x 7-1/2" x 1-7/8". It’s a convenient size and feels wonderful in the hand, with a soft flexible cover of some material that if it's not really leather sure feels like it is. (Amazon calls it leather; the CTS website calls it “leatherette.”) The cover is sewn around the edges, which I associate with the highest quality workmanship. Inside, the print is crisp and sharp. The book introductions and annotations are not as extensive as the old Jerusalem Bible, and are geared toward a brief commentary enhancing the reading experience rather than textual criticism. The theological position of the annotator seems to me to be a fair medium between "conservative" and "liberal/modernist." Among the "other features" I mentioned at the end of the previous paragraph are: An outline/abstract of the Vatican II Dogmatic Constitution on Revelation Dei Verbum; A series of tables and notes including a time-line, weights, measures and money; and the best part, eight different indexes of scripture passages used in the various liturgies, among them being: the readings for daily and Sunday Mass, as well as a table of all the scriptural readings for Mass listed in Biblical order; indexes of the Psalms and Canticles as they appear in the Divine Office; and the daily reading order for the Office of Readings in both the one- and two-year cycles. It's this latter that I like to follow, which gives a systematic program for reading through about 60% of the Bible over the course of two years, with due attention given to the liturgical seasons. Finally, there are color maps, conveniently printed on the inside front and back covers and the end-papers. For a closer look, the CTS website offers a 32-page sneak peek, basically the front matter and the first few pages of Genesis [LINK].

I have tended to be fairly mercurial in my choice of a daily reading Bible over the years, but I really think that with this one I have found the one I will use for the rest of my life. I highly recommend it.

As indicated above, at least at the present time, (US) lists it as "Currently Unavailable." Nevertheless, a couple of different editions appear on, and they do ship internationally. Or you can do like I did, go directly to the Catholic Truth Society webpage where the full line of available editions can be found. That also entails international shipping, of course, but trust me – this Bible is worth it.

Cheers! – and Thanks for reading!

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