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The New Jerusalem Bible: Study Edition (Bible Njb) Paperback – Student Edition, 21 Mar 1994
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The New Jerusalem Bible is now my favourite version of them all (and I've read quite a few of them) being a very good balance between the "free" and the "literal" translation methods. It retains the poetic beauty of the old King James but in modern, easy to understand language that has a very moving turn of phrase. It very properly translates the Tetragrammaton (Hebrew YHWH or JHWH) too; it uses the "Yahweh" form (which is my personal preference) rather than the more commonly used "Jehovah" as God's name. Unlike the New World Translation, however, it only does so in the Hebrew (Old Testament) books. Where there is a quote from the OT in the New Testament (or Christian Greek Scriptures) the New Jerusalem uses italics with a reference to where the quote can be found. The NWT also gives a reference but keeps God's name in the NT text. It also (questionably) adds it in places where there isn't a direct quote but the translators felt it was appropriate to put it in. Which is better is down to your own personal preference but either is a welcome change from the increasingly popular trend of only using the capitalised "LORD" to replace His name the 6000 or so times the Tetragrammaton appears in the original texts. Even the old King James retained it in the "Jehovah" form a handful of times.
But I digress, suffice it to say, the New Jerusalem Bible: Readers Edition is, in my humble opinion, simply the best; it's also a handy, normal book-size for ease of use. My one single complaint, however, is the quality of the cover. It is far to thin and easy to damage. I've taken the precaution of wrapping mine in thick paper just the way we were told to do with our school books way back when. Still, at this price, that really is just nit-picking!
I like the NJB, it's compact and easy to carry and the textual notes are excellent.
The Editors chose to refer to God as Yahweh (Hebrew word for God) in the Old Testament, for me, it gives the OT a slightly more authoritative feel. A bit like unedited, unadulterated & pure approach to the texts.
The New Jerusalem Bible is a Catholic Bible, but from what I've read so far it doesn't appear exclusive.
It's a nice version, affordable and compact enough to put into a bag and carry around.
Some reviews mention the small font size. It is quite small but I don't find it difficult to read at all.
The major drawback though is that this version is paperback! I can't see the book lasting very long without a cover! So far I haven't been able to God a cover that fits the copy. If anybody knows of one please let me know!
However this is in the first instance a reasonably priced study edition.It includes all the features which made the original edition and the revisions/updates in 1973 and 1984 so useful: introductions to sets of books and within those, to individual books, detailed footnotes and marginal cross-referencing, sub-headings in the text and 26 pages of keyword definitions also cross-referenced to the text.
Its main rival (or alternative) is the NSRV which is preferable in some places; to take one example, at Matthew 3.3 it reads 'The voice of one crying out in the wilderness' while JB has 'A voice of one that cries in the desert' which sounds clumsy: 'A voice' sounds as if the Baptist's role is being minimised, 'crying' is at best ambiguous: indeed its primary meaning is now 'to weep' and a wilderness sounds more desolate than a desert.
JB has also retained Yahhweh for the divine name, a missed opportunity although I understand the scholarly point made by the editor in defence of this much-criticised decision. But these are individual quibbles.
The format is as handy as a bible can be: 20cm by 7.5cm, 4.5cm thick: you can get it off a shelf and carry it, even hold it in one hand (for a while!). The price for that useful format is that the print is very small indeed, a problem especially for over-60s like me! Nonetheless, I cope.
I can't imagine there is a better or more scholarly study bible on the market.
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