Note: I received a copy of this Bible almost a year ago. Due to its length, it was only until now that I was able to review it. However just recently, April 2018, the fifth edition was released. Therefore, the contents of this review only pertain to the fourth edition of The New Oxford Annotated Bible.
I have reviewed many Bibles from Oxford, including Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible. I have never been disappointed with Bible from Oxford, and The New Oxford Annotated Bible (Fourth Edition) was no exception. Straying away from Catholic specific Bibles, this Bible is an ecumenical study bible, meaning that it can be used in more than one Christian denomination. This version I am reviewing contains the Apocrypha.
First, I have to remark about the physical qualities of the Bible. It is a hardcover book, 6 9/16 x 9 inches dimensions, of fair weight, similar to that of a University textbook. I like the fact that it has a sewn binding, ensuring that the book will last for years, especially for those who will vigourously use this bible. The bible lays flat when opened.
Regarding the visual aspect, the type is readable, approximately size 11pt or 12pt with the notes in a smaller font, probably 9 or 10 pt. The font of the bible text is in a font similar to Cambria, while the notes, headings and essays are in a sans-serif font.
The bible text itself is in a two column format, common in most bibles. However, unlike Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible, the footnotes that correlate with a specific verse are all in single column format at the bottom of the page.
As expected by Oxford, there were many different charts, maps and essays. I especially like the chart comparing the Ten Commandments of the different Christian denominations. There is also a timeline at the back which I like. There are many essays that expand on certain dimensions of the scriptures (e.g. The Canon of the Bible, Textual Criticism). You can surf through the slideshow to see some more amazing features.
There is also a detailed introduction to every section and book of the bible, giving the reader a structure overview of the book and what to expect in the section/book.
One thing I always remark about study bibles are the maps. I am never disappointed with Oxford’s maps, considering that they have also published academic atlases. Not only are there maps scattered throughout the bible in black and white, but also a series of coloured maps are available just like Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible.
Finally, to wrap up this review, I have to emphasize that this study bible focuses more on the historical and geographical dimension of the scriptures. Unlike Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible, this Annotated Bible gives the readers a background of the scriptures of the time of Jesus, giving the reader a historical context and give the reader a wider picture of the scripture they read.
On The Catholic Man’s Scale
Though The New Oxford Annotated Bible (Fourth Edition) is a good study bible in the historical context and biblical geographical context, as a Catholic, I prefer Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible.
Like Oxford’s Catholic Study Bible though, I would prefer if the bible had a bookmark ribbon or ribbons.
Even though this is a review of the fourth edition, I believe that the fifth edition would be better with its supplements.