In a surprise announcement, The Augustine Institute (the parent organization behind the FORMED online Catholic resource library) has announced the imminent release of The Augustine Bible — a newly-printed edition of the English Standard Version — Catholic Edition which will be available in the United States! The expected release date is Tuesday, December 10th — 2.5 weeks from now. The bible is featured on the Augustine Institute’s brand new store website: https://catholic.store

The bible is advertised as a smyth-sewn paperback with an anti-scuff matte lamination and foil stamping. It will come with a hard slip case and eight pages of color maps. The publication price will be $49.95. Currently, Catholic.store is offering a 20% off coupon using the promo code “LAUNCH” to celebrate the grand opening of the catholic.store site. Here is a link to the promotional advertisement on the Catholic.store Facebook page.

56 thoughts on “Coming Soon: ESV-CE from the Augustine Institute”

    1. So far, I have no additional information than what the Augustine Institute lists on their product page. I hope to be learning more soon.

    1. It seems very strange to me. I think Cambridge has offered sewn paperbacks in the past. If I remember right, those bindings were called “perfect” bindings. Perhaps a reader can correct me if I’m mis-remembering the details.

  1. Oh come on! I’m just getting my ESV:CE from ATC back from the rebinder because I was sure a US edition of the ESV:CE wasn’t coming anytime soon and then I log in and see this!

    Though, I am glad that the US Church will finally have easy access to the translation.

    1. Hi Ronny,

      I’m looking to purchase an ESV-CE from ATC, but I’ve heard nightmares issues with shipping the item or payment problems. Do you have any advice? Thanks!

      Jose

      1. I ordered one when I heard it discussed on Relevant Radio. Wen to the catholicstore website, pre-ordered for Dec 10 release date, and received it six days after it’s publication. No problem

        🙂

  2. Hello Bible Catholic,

    Just found your site; well done! I sent the following to Augustine Institute regarding the Augustine Bible and they had no answer for me–do you have any info..
    “Please tell me more about the Augustine Bible. What is the font size? Will there be a leather edition? Who translated the Deuterocanonical books? Explain why a paperback is $50, when most bonded or genuine leather Bibles sell in that price range.”
    On another note, is there a Catholic Publisher who has the wherewithal to publish premium Catholic Bibles? Or at least work with someone who can? I purchased a Schuyler made Bible from Evangelical Bible in Richmond, VA and would love to see that quality craftsmanship and premium leather in a Catholic Bible. Zondervan and Thomas Nelson Publishers have recently entered the premium Bible market, while Crossway has been doing it for a longer time. Thank you and early Advent blessings!
    Thank you.

    Thank you

    1. I don’t have any additional information on the font size or whether the Augustine Institute plans to print a leather edition. I was blindsided by the announcement for this bible, because I had not heard any rumors that an ESV-CE would be printed for the US market. I’ve also reached out to the Augustine Institute, and I hope they will share additional information as we move forward.

      It’s frustrating that most Catholic publishers do not offer premium bibles. There are a variety of Catholic Bibles that have some good features, but the only truly premium editions on the market for Catholics have been printed by publishing houses that traditionally print protestant bibles: Cambridge University Press printed their NRSV reference bible with Apocrypha in premium goatskin last year, and RL Allan printed an NRSV with Apocrypha earlier this year. Aside from those two options, many Catholics who long for a premium bible purchase a good text block and send it to a rebinder to cover it in premium leather.

    2. There is a podcast (I think the Drew Mariani show) on Relevant Radio at the end of Nov (I think — within the last few weeks) where Dr Gray does an interview with such good information I had to purchase this Bible. Maybe listen to that podcast??

  3. A sewn paperback in a cardboard box. Wow. Evidence this publisher doesn’t read online chat about the kind of stuff people are wanting. Even a plain hardcover would have been much better.

  4. Protestant Bible publishers: Here’s a smyth-sewn calfskin Bible for $40. We hope this allows you to enjoy God’s Word in a premium format.

    Catholic Bible publishers: What, you didn’t like our $70 bonded leather bible with a glued binding? Well fine then, here’s a $50 laminated paperback ya little whiners

  5. In fairness the problem maybe more than the publisher Ctossway is extremely restrictive with us license as a fact which Oxford University press complained about.

  6. Again, I still don’t see the attraction to the ESV. Yes, I own the recent ESV w/Apocrypha that I reviewed here and found it to be a nice edition. It’s serviceable and affordable, not like this $50 paperback. There must be more to it to justify the price, right? Can’t possibly be a text edition that is sewn for that price. Even if it did come with some supplements, think about how much you could pay for a paperback Oxford NABRE or NRSV study Bible for half the price, and with a ton more study helps.

    But, what is the attraction of the ESV for Catholic readers? That must be the reason for the high price. I have read the ESV and I still don’t see what makes it superior to the original RSV (or 2CE if you want the archaic language removed) or the NRSV. Both, in my mind, remain superior. Is it a desire to have and use a translation that Evangelicals utilize?

  7. The appeal of the ESV is that it’s not politically correct it’s not liberal and it doesn’t try to dechristianize the Old Testament all of which are problems with both the RSV and especially the NRSV.

    The reason for the wide popularity of the NRSV in academia is due to the fact that is ecumenical in the sense that it shows very little influence of Christianity in the Old Testament.

    It is not a mere coincidence that the editor of the NRSV Old Testament
    was Harry Orlinsky who is also the editor of the New Jewish Publication Society translation of 1985 and many of the renderings from that translation we’re carried over wholesale into the NRSV.

    While there may be some value to academics in the Bible which removes any possible Christian interpretation from the Old Testament this should not be the primary Bible for any Christian.

  8. The ESV filled a need for Protestants for a formal but more readable translation than the NASB. It took the RSV and simplified the language and used some alternate translation choices, most notoriously Isaiah 7:14. It was a big hit, I had one of the first copies when I was a Protestant back in 2001.

    When I became interested in the Catholic Faith the first Bible I discovered was the RSV-2CE thanks to a parish Bible study that used the Ignatius Study Bible. Now, 10 years later, we have had an unbroken run of weekly studies with the RSV-2CE, thanks to the Ignatius Bible Study guides, Didache Bible, and the Great Adventure Bible Study. I have multiple editions of the original RSV-CE, and like to use them for personal prayer and devotions, but the RSV-2CE is better for group study. It is essentially the ESV for Catholics. I got the ESV-CE from India hoping for more extensive changes to make it more in line with Liturgiam Authenticam as was done with the RSV-CE, but I was disappointed in that regard. I have yet to get any of my RSVs rebound, but maybe one day. I really like a solid hardcover book.

  9. I have a ESV from crossways that is very portable. I guess besides the deutorcanonical books, what is the impetus for me to purchase? Also I have the RSV-CE2 so both are relatively light edits of the original RSV. Unless I hear of some substantive translation choices, I will pass for now.

  10. I own a Crossway premium leather edition of the ESV, and like the translation very much, but like Timothy brought up, wonder why the preference for it over the RSV-CE 2nd edition. I had my RSV-CE #2 rebound in goatskin leather by Leonard’s a while back— it’s beautiful— and suits me well.

    I think that there’s simply not as much of a market for premium bound bibles in the Catholic market. Fewer sales means they have to sell at higher prices, I suspect. ($50 for a paperback edition, even if it is signature sewn, is ridiculous at any rate.)

    Our Protestant brothers and sisters are more likely, in my opinion, to put out serious cash for a beautiful edition of the Bible (though I suspect that market’s demand is probably shrinking, too, given Kindle editions and a market that’s less concerned with book quality). So publishers can make premium bibles with the confidence they’ll actually be bought.

    1. I think the problem is that Protestant publishers are typically much larger, for profit companies and can afford fronting the printing costs of creating the expensive, premium editions.

      Catholic publishers are typically smaller, non-profit companies. Catholic Book Publishing Company is the largest, but they are not married to their own translation (plus the NABRE).

      So in other words, Catholic publishers typically can’t afford to debut premium editions unless a benefactor is willing to sponsor the publication with a large financial donation to fund the upfront costs. Without that donation, Catholic publishers are going to focus on the paperbacks, which they know they can print & sell cheap.

  11. I bought the Anglican Liturgy Press edition with the Apocrypha (their words not mine). So I won’t be buying this one. I would have preferred a Catholic edition, but it is a fairly good edition except that the paper looks cheap, but it wasn’t expensive.

    I keep it at my desk because it is smaller than the NRSV annotated version and I dislike the Nabre version that I have (thin paper that is almost see through).

  12. It is not, by and large, true that the RSV CE 2 fixes the problems of the RSV. Even in the RSV CE2, the vast majority of the Messianic passages in the OT are still translated in such a way as to obscure a Christian interpretation. Is 7:14 is merely the most widely known RSV attempt to dechristianize the OT, it is not actually the worst or most glaring.

  13. My opinion of the NKJV is largely negative. It is written in a very bizarre way, the 17th century text remains largely in place,
    however, at random moments, there is the introduction of a late 20th century English.
    Thus, it can truthfully be said they is written in a style of English that has never existed in history.

      1. I thought I answered that one already. Gu as I didn’t. The RSV CE 2 is an improvement, but it doesn’t fix all the problems of the RSV with respect to the tendency of the RSV to translate the Messianic passages of the OT in such a way as to minimize the possibility not a Christian interpretation.

        The ESV does fix that problem, but that comes at the expense of replacing some of the dignified, beautiful prose of the RSV with the occasional stilted, awkward style of Crossway. You can usually tell when the ESV editorial team changed the wording of the RSV because you’ll be reading along with some beautiful, eloquent writing, and suddenly it becomes clunky and awkward. The beautiful language is the original RSV, the clunky part is where Crossway changed it.

  14. Biblical Catholic,

    This is my first post after simply reading posts and following along with the comments. I see you have quite the strong opinions on Bibles, regarding both format and translation. However, I am curious if you are an expert in these matters. Folks here certainly ask you questions and defer to you as if this were so.

    Do you have academic credentials in Biblical studies, languages, translation, etc? We all have strong opinions, but I wonder why so may here seek your advice, especially since you do not use your real name.

    While I do not share many, if not most, of your opinions, I ask out of sincerity, not to belittle or challenge. I am truly curious.

    Thanks,
    KJ

  15. My copy came in the mail today. I have to admit that this is a rather strange sort of Bible. It is indeed paperback, which I dont really understand. It doesn’t seem like a hardback would have been too much to ask for. There does appear to be a combination of sewn signatures and glue for the binding. Paper feels pretty fairly cheap with moderate to severe bleed through. The layout seems very similar to the Ignatius Press RSV-2CE. The paper appears to be of higher quality and more opaque in the Ignatius Press, but the font in the Augustine Bible is a little darker.

  16. In Gen 3:15 “Your desire shall be contrary to[f] your husband” is wrong, it should be “Your desire shall be for your husband and he shall rule over you” and in 1 Tim 3:15 the church of the living God is “a pillar”. So I think ESVCE Bible is not worth to purchase to be honest.

    1. Regarding “contrary to your husband”, the Hebrew can be translated “against”. Which can mean contrary (I am against the theory that the sky is red) or it mean next to (I held the baby against my hip). How they chose “contrary”, I’m not sure. I remember when they made that change and it perplexed a lot of people, but I don’t remember if I heard their reasoning.

  17. So I received my copy of this Bible. It came beautifully packaged but when I opened up to the first 15 to 20 pages the pages were wrinkled on the bottom. I can still read the text but depending on the lighting it can be difficult. The layout is nice, it opens nice, the print is easy on the eyes. I don’t like that it is paperback. Sent a message to the vendor about the page issue.

    1. Besides the deuterocanoical books, is there any difference between the ESV and the ESV-CE? Did the Indian Catholic prelates make any changes to the English ESV or just accepted the 2016 ESV permanent translation edition and just added the deuterocanonical books? I am wondering if the introduction tells you any of this? Thank you.

      1. The introduction in the ESV-CE delves a bit into edits for Esther and Daniel. It also flat-out states that the ESV with Apocrypha was used as “the basis for its translation of the deuterocanonical books.” I take that to mean there are some changes between the 2009 ESV with Apocrypha and the ESV-CE.

        I have an ESV (without Apocrypha) that just happens to share practically identical typesetting and format, which makes it incredibly easy to jump back and forth between the ESV and ESV-CE. I have not gotten very far with finding changes. I can say that 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude are all 100% the same, right down to the footnotes. The only verse change I’ve spotted so far is ESV-CE Luke 1:28, which says “O highly favored one” instead of just “O favored one,” and has a footnote that says “Greetings” can also be “Rejoice.”

        I’m sure there are other changes, but it will take some deep digging to find all of them.

  18. The “a pillar” reading is entirely defensible on grammatical grounds and stems from the assumption that Paul is describing Timothy as “a pillar of the Church” , this not the most common way of reading the Greek, but it is one possible construction.

  19. Got mine in the mail today. For $50, the company should have gone with a hard cover and not used a slip-case. The paper cover already has a nick on the edge. The pages do not have line-matching and there is some bleed-through. Perhaps I’m nitpicking here, but on page vii in giant caps, it says “FORWORD” instead of “FOREWORD.” Having never seen “forword,” I thought perhaps I was missing out on some other English spelling… but it would appear that it is indeed missing a giant “E.”

    On a positive note, I like how it stays flat when opened. The font looks about the equivalent of a size 10 Garamond, which is a decent size. Even the maps seem to have a slightly thicker quality to them than the ones in the Didache Bible. And I love the cover design. Outside of the slip-case, the bible measures 6′ x 9′ x 1′ 3/8″. It wouldn’t fit in my cargo pocket without jutting out around three inches, so I’ll just stick with my NABRE from ABS if I’m ever deployed. The lack of notes and commentary allows this bible to remain on the more slender side.

    I’m not sure who I would recommend this bible to. If you love the ESV and want to make this your bedside table bible, then you should be fine. If you have kids who like to write and draw on anything and everything, this is not a bible you would want in their hands. If you already have an ESV with Apocrpyha, you should probably just skip this.

  20. The ESV-CE has 4 features that no other catholic bible has completely:

    – Dignified language in the KJ tradition
    – Formal equivalence translation
    – Modernized language
    – Uses most recent manuscripts and scholarship

    Other catholic bibles have some of those features but not all four. The RSV-2CE is the closest to the ESV-CE. The 2CE modernized some of the language in the RSV (more than many people realize), but it’s inconsistent and incomplete. And the 2CE used older manuscripts. So the ESV-CE definitely fills a niche in the Catholic bible world. I prefer the ESV-CE over the 2CE personally.

    But if you don’t care about all of those things, then the ESV-CE is not the bible for you. For example, if you like archaic language (I do, depending on my mood), then the RSV might be better. I go back and forth between the RSV (original) and ESV-CE for that very reason.

    But I don’t think it’s quite fair to say what’s the big deal, the 2CE is the Catholic equivalent of the ESV. It sort of is, but not quite – Ignatius didn’t quite finish the job IMHO. It’s still a very nice translation though. But I think many Catholics will appreciate the ESV-CE.

    (This does not sound like a great edition though. I’d wait and see if better and/or less expensive editions come out personally.)

  21. Just got mine yesterday. I’m glad I read the previous reviews so I’d know what to expect, but as it turns out, I’m pleasantly surprised. Yes, it’s paperback, but it’s a fairly thick card stock cover with a beautiful gold stamp design. And yes, there’s some bleed-through on the pages (especially on the back of the title pages), but the font is clear and I found that it was easy to read for a couple hours straight. I’ll definitely wait, though, for a hard cover version before I start writing and taking notes in it. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time!

    Interestingly, there are no cross references in it, except where Old Testament passages are being directly quoted. On the one hand, this is unfortunate for study purposes, but on the other hand, it makes reading it much smoother, as there are fewer superscript characters to contend with. It still has all the standard translational & textual footnotes along the bottom.

    A quick perusal of some of my favorite passages in Sirach and Psalms also left me pleasantly surprised. They seemed clearer and/or more dignified than my RSV-2CE and my NABRE. I honestly wasn’t expecting that.

    Finally, regarding the “a pillar & buttress” controversy from 1 Tim 3:15, I would still definitely prefer “THE pillar.” However, there are a few factors that set my mind at ease:

    1) In Eusebius’ History of the Church, book 10, ch. 4:7, he refers to this passage and calls the church “a pillar” not “the pillar.” I’m not sure if the oldest surviving Greek/Latin manuscripts of Eusebius’ work have the indefinite article or not, but it’s rendered as “a” in the English translation I read from the New Advent website (a translation done long before the ESV was published).

    2) There are some Catholic Greek scholars who believe that grammatically speaking, “how one ought to behave” is the pillar that the sentence is referring to, not the Church per se.

    3) Is it not true, in a sense, that the Church is “a” pillar of the truth? We believe in the authority of Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium, with Christ himself as the head, all working together in perfect union. (And even if the Church in this passage is “a” pillar of truth, that still means that the Church needs to be infallible). I dunno — just a thought!

    So, while there are a few negatives, overall I’ve very pleased with the ESV-CE, and I’m overjoyed that this version is finally readily available in the United States!

  22. Jean E. compared 1&2 Peter, 1,2,3rd John and Jude and said they are 100% the same as the ESV version (2016 Permanent Text Edition, I am guessing?). If anyone else compares a book, please let us know what revisions, if any, you find. So far, the only revision found in the non-deuterocanonical books is in Luke 1:28.

    According to this blog (here: http://stutler.cc/russ/esvce.html ), my suspicion is that the ESV (2016 edition) and ESV-CE are almost identical (excluding the deuterocanonicals, of course) – but this is just a hunch.

    Anyway, if any other comparisons are done, please relay your findings and what ESV edition.

  23. I just finished listening to a 2016 ESV audio of Genesis, Exodus, Matthew, and Mark, while reading along in the ESV-CE. As far as I can tell, Genesis, Exodus, and Mark are identical. But I found four differences in Matthew:

    Matt 1:19
    ESV – “… resolved to divorce her quietly.”
    ESVCE – “… resolved to send her away quietly.”

    Matt 10:17
    ESV – “… deliver you over to the courts”
    ESVCE – “… deliver you over to the councils”

    Matt 12:40
    ESV – “… in the belly of the great fish”
    ESVCE – “… in the belly of the great sea creature”

    Matt 18:22
    ESV – “… but seventy-seven times”
    ESVCE – “… but seventy times seven” (which interestingly is the way the original 2001 ESV had it)

    1. Wow, that is great work, Zander! Based on you and Jean E’s research (assuming ESV 2016 used by Jean), we know the following between the 2016 ESV & the ESV-CE:
      No Change:
      Genesis
      Exodus
      Mark
      1 & 2 Peter
      1,2 & 3 John
      Jude

      Changes:
      Matthew 1:19; 10:17; 12:40; 18:22
      Luke 1:28

  24. As per the discussion here: http://catholicbiblestudent.com/2019/12/esv-catholic-edition-bible-now-available-in-the-united-states.html

    1. The text is identical to Indian ESV-CE.
    2. Which was based on the ESV 2016.
    3. The changes between ESV-CE and ESV-2016 are known and identified (details TBA).
    4. And more editions to follow (details TBA).

    I get the idea that the plan was to get something out the door before the end of 2019, but that it is just the start of a larger plan.

    Guess we’ll see. I’m hoping for something premium like Schuyler, RL Allan, etc, but who knows.

    The only thing I don’t understand is, why change in the world bother to change “fish” to “sea creature” but leave Genesis and 1 Timothy alone?

    1. Thanks for sharing that. I emailed Crossway and they told me that the ESV & ESV-CE were “virtually identical” and that the deuterocanonical books were the same as published by Oxford. Here is the line from their email:

      “The main text of the ESV and ESV-CE is virtually identical. The deuterocanonical books are the version initially created by the Oxford University Press team.” (from email dated December 16, 2019)

      I hope the American publishers come out with a “Readers” version of the ESV-CE in single column format with 10 – 12 pt font, opaque paper with good line spacing (something that is easy on the eyes and enjoyable to read). If you think about it, almost no books are done in double column except text books, reference books and technical manuals (for the most part), so I hope Catholic bible publishers will start offering this option too.

      Anyway, thanks for your input. Once they publish the list of changes, please let us know.

    1. I’ve read that, but I do not favor his “devotion” translation either. It is a rather difficult passage, as is the similar use with Cain, and my strong “desire”, if you will, is to stick with “desire”, which is what it says, and then let the exegesis follow.

      While there is an unavoidable interpretive element to translation (I am an amateur, but I have translated some poetic works, though not from Hebrew), my strong preference, especially with the Scriptures, is to let a difficult passage stand as as written, rather than trying to resolve it.

  25. On John 6: 54-58 ESV

    54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. 56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him.57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. 58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread[c] the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.”

    Feeds on, feeds on, feeds on should be eats me, eats me.

    Let’s compare it to RSVCE, NRSV n NABRE

    1. Lawrence Jerome Braganza,

      I do not know your intention, but I did want to point out that you left out the verse before those, where it does use the word “eat.”

      “So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink. Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me. This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” (‭‭John‬ ‭6:53-58‬ ‭ESV‬)

      This may not change much for some… but for some it might make a difference.

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