Thursday, March 1, 2012

On the right

I like it when each book of the Bible begins on a new page.  As wonderful as my Cambridge KJV Large-print text edition is, only 20 of its 66 books start at the top of a page.  Joshua, 1 Samuel, Acts and Romans begin at the bottom of the page - it just doesn’t look right.

This is something the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible almost gets right.  Not only do most books begin on a new page - they start at the top of a right-hand page!  Very classy.  In the Cambridge First edition and the Penguin Classics edition, 25 of the 80 books end on a right-hand page, requiring the next (left-hand) page to remain blank so the next book can begin on the right - a lovely indulgence.

It is only near the end of the New Testament that this wonderful practice begins to slip: 2 Peter and 3 John start on left-hand pages - and, what's worse, 2 John begins in the middle of a page.  What a shame.

In addition to these three books, the Cambridge Revised edition also demotes five more books to a left-hand page start: Bel and the Dragon, The Prayer of Manasses, 2 Timothy, Titus and Philemon.  One assumes the publishers did this to save four pages, but then why did they insert two blank sheets of paper at the end of the Old Testament?  This wasn’t done in earlier editions and it offsets exactly the savings these changes were presumably meant to make!  How much better the Revised edition would have been if Cambridge had added just three more sheets of paper to the New Testament and started all 80 books on the right.

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