Wednesday, March 14, 2012

In the middle

Every edition of the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, except the one published by Penguin Classics, includes the original marginal notes of the 1611 KJV, as well as notes that were added in later editions.  One of the innovations of the NCPB is the printing of these notes along the inside margin of each page.  This arrangement may have two possible drawbacks: it makes it difficult to write in the unused space of this column because the pages curve down into the gully of the book.  And, secondly, it might be distracting for your eyes to have to pass over two columns of marginal notes when crossing from the left-hand page to the right.

However, these two disadvantages are more than compensated for by one great advantage: the KJV text, printed far from the gully, always lies flat - something that rarely happens in other Bibles.  Even the distance this layout creates between the two columns of text could be seen as an advantage: when reading one page, the text on the other page is far enough away that it never catches your eye.  The marginal notes, because they are printed in a smaller font, can be easily ignored.

This brilliant concept was quickly adopted by Crossway in all their single-column reference editions of the English Standard Version: the Single-Column Reference Bible (now, only available in an Allan’s edition), the Personal Size Reference Bible, the ESV Study Bible and the forthcoming Verse-by-Verse Reference Bible - and by Zondervan in their NIV (2011) Single-Column Reference Bible.

Marginal notes in the middle of the book - what a great idea!

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