Friday, March 16, 2012


To me, the most important feature of a Bible is the paper.  And the most important specification of the paper is its opacity.  Because of their length, Bibles are printed on thin paper.  How well the paper shields the reader from what is printed on the other side, not to mention the next page, is crucial.

Every edition of the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible is printed on different paper stock.  Let me review them, from best to worst.  Though I haven’t seen it, I will assume that the two-volume Folio Society edition, which is printed on Abbey Wove paper, is the best.  At $975, it should be!

The single-volume Folio Society edition must be next.  The publisher says it has thicker paper than most other Folio Society books - which is great, but it costs $150.

Among the affordable editions of the NCPB, the cheapest one has the next best paper.  The Penguin Classics edition, a two-inch thick paperback book, uses a sturdy paper that keeps glimpses of upcoming pages to a minimum.

Slightly less opaque is the paper used in the First Cambridge edition, now sadly out of print.  The decent paper stock and the printer’s careful line-matching ensure that you really only notice the text that is printed on the reverse side of the page when reading the poetry sections.

Last, and I’m afraid least, is the Revised Cambridge edition.  This is especially unfortunate because it is the only affordable edition of the NCPB published in hardback or leather bindings.  And it’s the only edition available either with or without the Apocrypha.

I suppose only the paper in a lectern Bible is truly opaque (even the picture of Judith 16 in the two-volume Folio Society edition reveals some show-through) but the closer one can get to that ideal in a personal-size Bible, the better.

No comments:

Post a Comment