Since the publication of the ESV back in 2001, many have clamored for a Catholic edition or at least one that included the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals books. It was almost ten years ago that Oxford published an edition with the Apocrypha/Deuterocanonicals but that soon went out of print. This first attempt was appreciated by many, even though it had some issues of ghosting and extremely thin paper.  Yet, it was great to have it as an option and it opened up the possibility of future editions. Now, with an actual ESV-CE in print (but not available in North America), some are waiting for it to be published here. Until then, there is a solid option available right now, at the reasonable price of $21.95 from Anglican Liturgy Press.

Coming in at around 6.5X9.5 inches in size and 1274 pages, the ESV w/Apocrypha can serve either as your new favorite ESV or the perfect temporary ESV edition until the ESV-CE gets a US publishing date. The ESV w/Apocrypha is a solidly made bible, even with its unfortunate glued binding. It is advertised as a “pew edition” with a black cover and gold foil stamping. In my hand, it does have the feel of the typical parish hymnal. Compared to the earlier Oxford Edition, it is far more readable in my mind, with a clearer type, more space in the margins, and better paper. Ghosting is far less a problem with this edition. At the bottom of each page you will find textual notes, alternate renderings, and direct Old Testament quotes cross-referenced as found in the New Testament. The only thing missing, in comparison to the Oxford, are a set of Bible maps.

The Apocrypha is placed after the New Testament, much like the Oxford. They are arranged according to canon, with Tobit through 2 Maccabees being first, followed by 1 Esdras to 4 Maccabees. What you will immediately notice is that the entire Apocrypha section is a font smaller than the rest of the Bible, indicating the lesser importance given by Anglicans to them. This is all explained in the Apocrypha Preface, specifically citing from the Church of England’s 39 Articles of Religion. According to the publisher: “Anglican theologian Dr. J.I.Packer, General Editor of the ESV Bible and Theological Editor of the ESV Study Bible, and ACNA Archbishop Emeritus Robert W. Duncan, prepared the Prefaces and Introductions to the Bible and the Apocrypha.” Personally, I doesn’t bother me that the text is presented in that way, though a few might object.

Overall, I think this is an upgrade to the Oxford edition, with my only caveat being the fact that the binding is glued. If the ESV is on your wishlist, this might serve you well until something better comes out. If you are looking to just have a basic ESV w/Apocrypha for reference, this might be the perfect edition for you.

On a personal note, I am curious what the appeal is for Catholics concerning the ESV. Perhaps that question is for another post, but I have read large portions of the ESV and I just don’t see how it is in any way superior to either the RSV (in any edition) or the NRSV. I would love to hear from those who admire the ESV in the comments, along with any questions or thoughts concerning this edition.

11 thoughts on “Review: ESV w/Apocrypha – Anglican Liturgy Press”

  1. Well, for myself, I’ll say that the appeal of the of a Catholic ESV is the smooth and dignified style of the translation. I know that it’s been pointed out that the its very difficult to distinguish between the ESV and the RSV2CE as far as style, I have seen comparisons (like this one: http://catholicbiblestudent.com/2018/03/review-esv-catholic-edition-bible-esvce.html) that point out that at least some passages the ESV is able to maintain a better flow than the RSV2CE. I also find the argument that the ESV is based on more recent scholarship to be compelling.

    Inclusive language issues are also pertinent to me, though I will acknowledge that I think the RSV2CE actually uses inclusive language even less often than the ESV, so if that were my sole consideration I’d probably go with the RSV2CE, but given a translation based on more recent scholarship that uses inclusive language only sparingly, I’ll choose the ESVCE.

    As far as the NRSV, I really want to love it! It provided me with one of the smoothest bible reading experiences I can remember, and it certainly has the academic approbation that I value, being the current academic Biblical standard. From Tim’s old blog I can also remember that he did an analysis that showed that the NRSV seems to be much more eclectic in terms of the different manuscript traditions it pulls from, something that I think sounds like a great idea as far as getting a really good idea of what the original meaning of the text was. But it the NRSV’s distracting use of inclusive language eventually just became too much for me.

    Incidentally, I’ve actually been reading through the NABRE recently and I find that it seems to handle inclusive language issues in a much more balanced way, while I doubt that it’ll ever be a favorite translation of mine, It definitely handles inclusive language better, while being just as eclectic in terms of textual traditions as the NRSV, so now I don’t know why I’d ever use the NRSV.

    Also, I know in another thread I was getting pretty down on the ESV, but I actually took one last shot at getting my hands on an ESV:CE from ATC and I actually got through! So now I’ve got an ESV:CE sitting contentedly on my self, likely going to send it back out again in a month or so for a little rebind treatment!

    1. What was the trick that allowed you to get a copy of the ESV:CE from ATC? I’ve tried just about everything I can think of and nothing’s worked. As much as I like the ESV I refuse to buy a Bible where God’s Word is listed as apocrypha and is given less importance than the rest of scripture.

      1. All I can say Thomas is that you may want to try again very soon, seems ATC has been more willing to accept orders coming from the US than in the past, but that window may be closing again very soon, so whatever you’ve tried before, try it again – that’s pretty much what I did.

        1. Were you able to successfully pay with Paypal? Was there an additional cost or long wait time for shipping? I’m just a bit nervous about providing my address to a foreign company over a possibly unsafe web connection.

          1. I was able to pay with Paypal. They have a different Paypal handle that they don’t publish on the website that they can use to accept USD, but you have to get the instructions directly from ATC.

            As far as shipping, I’m on the West Coast, but it took a little under 2 months. The customer service was very responsive to my questions, though like others have noted, they tell you that they’ll provide shipping details but they never did send them to me. I was actually emailing them asking for an update on shipping the day my package actually arrived. Cost was actually more then the Bible itself ($14.00 USD for the Bible but $24.19 USD for shipping!) But when you’re buying directly from India what do you expect? I thought less the $40.00 USD was a pretty standard for a Bible myself.

            So I’d say that if you can get through, you’ll probably have a positive experience.

  2. The ESV isn’t plagued with the inclusive language issues of the NRSV, and takes into account the most recent scholarship unlike the RSV. I also find it very smooth for reading, and in particular it excels as a translation that is both literal and extremely readable. Perhaps the greatest draw is that using the same translation as Protestants opens up many doors for conversion without having to address concerns of translation being biased or anything like that.

    Before I converted I used an ESV “pew edition” Bible from Crossway, and I loved it. Very simple layout and cover, well constructed, inexpensive, and best of all, not weighed down with a plethora of footnotes and add-ons (cough cough NABRE with half the page or more dedicated to footnotes). I’ve fallen in love with the Great Adventure Bible and use it almost exclusively for my scripture reading nowadays, but if I ever get my hands on a nice leather ESV:CE with sewn binding and that attractively simple layout, I may well switch back to it.

  3. Fie upon thee!. I found this Bible tempting enough to place an order! Most of the Bible mentioned are too expensive for me.

    Oh well! Maybe I can hide it from my wife.

      1. Just got it in the mail today. It is a very nice economy type Bible – and I had no need to hide if from my wife.

  4. What I don’t like about the ESV is how old-fashioned some of its language is. Every time I come across the word “behold,” I roll my eyes. Full disclosure, I’m an Anglican, leaning toward the Anglo-Catholic end of the spectrum, and a convert from a Protestant Evangelical denomination. I grew up using the KJV and the pre-2011 NIV, and for me, that old NIV is the easiest version to memorize. Something about the sentence structure? Another minor problem with the ESV is in Genesis 1, where the KJV’s “firmament” becomes “expanse of the heavens.” Does that sound like something hammered out, like a piece of bronze, to you? However, these peeves don’t gall me as much as the inclusive language of the NRSV, NLT, and the NIV-2011. I have been using a free app of the New Jerusalem Bible, because I would like to find a more modern language version of the full (!) Bible, even though I have the RSV-CE2, which again, seems old-fashioned. The NJB seems a little too “inclusive” for me, so I am very glad to see that the RNJB pulls back a little on that. So could anyone comment on how the ESV compares to the RNJB with regard to the pronouns issue?

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