I received the Cambridge KJV Clarion Reference in Goatskin from a friend the other day and I feel compelled to express my thoughts...
If I only had one world that I could use to describe this Bible, that one word would be "PERFECT"!
1st. The Goatskin cover is simply amazing! Everything that is true about the Cambridge Wide-Margin covers is true about this one; it is super flexible, limp and amazingly grainy. Honestly, in my opinion Allan's goatskin offerings aren't better, just different than that of Cambridge. You can take the Clarion cover, roll it up like a scroll only to have it roll back into place as if nothing ever happened.
2nd. The layout, font choice and font size makes this KJV stand out in a crowd. Most KJV's use an antiquated font, so the modern font makes everything feel fresh. Chances are that the passer by would mistakingly assume this Bible was something other than the KJV at first glance. The single column setting also aids in giving this KJV a "youthful makeover". IMO, the size of the font is perfect for the size of the text block; it's not too big and not too small.
3rd. Cambridge hit a home-run with the dimensions of the Clarion. The Bible just feels perfect it your hand; it doesn't matter if it is open or closed, it just feels right. I can hold it with with one hand without getting tired because of the size. Also, because the footprint is not huge, there is no need to hold up the page you are reading with what would have been your free hand. There is also no need to fold the cover over on it self in order to hold it with one hand (although you easily could). This Bible even works perfectly while one is sitting in bed and reading; it just does well in most any situation you find yourself in.
4th. The paper is exactly the way it needs to be. With the primary purpose for this Bible is reading, the paper is not really thick. That is because this is not a wide-margin Bible made for taking notes (which should easily be noticed because of lack of margin space). Also, the paper being thinner helps to keep the size in check to give us those perfect dimensions. This begs the question of whats so great about the paper. Well, the paper is really white (which Cambridge is really good at doing) and the text is dark which causes the text to jump of the page.
Conclusion: Cambridge did a wonderful job with this edition. It is no doubt the best Cambridge Bible I have ever owned, and in the discussion of being one of the best Bibles of all time. A must have in any persons Bible library.
The single column paragraph format is just what I was waiting for - a Bible which reads like an regular book. The black goatskin is beautiful and feels good. The goatskin is flexible, soft, and softly shiny. I'm not fond of the red ribbons with the black cover, but that's a matter of personal aesthetic.
My only complaint lies in the font size. For its size, it's readable, but I find I have to use the bifocal part of my glasses to read it comfortably.
All in all, a great Bible which would be improved with a larger font and actual concordance in the Reader's Companion.
I love the single column paragraph format. This has become my daily reading Bible of God's Word. My other double column Bibles are now used for other deeper Bible study.
Yes the pages are thin so there is some ghosting, a bit of compromise in keeping the size and weight down. However, I just bow or slightly lift the page I am reading if it starts to bother me.
The color scheme of this Bible just works, the warm-black of the goatskin cover, the light cream colored pages, art-gilt edges, and the two red ribbon markers make this Bible look nice just sitting on the desk as well as it being a pleasure to read.
The Cambridge Clarion KJV Reference Edition is the first new Cambridge KJV reference Bible in 50 years. It is designed with many of the features that modern readers are longing for: single-column paragraph format, modern font, black-letter text, references on the outside margins, and a sewn binding that opens flat. With all of this, the Clarion still has a few surprises that make this Bible one of the most unique and desirable editions in many years.
Here are the major features:
â€¢ Single-column text
â€¢ Paragraph format
â€¢ Side-column references
â€¢ 8.75 Lexicon 1 font
â€¢ Black letter
â€¢ Lightweight paper
â€¢ Art gilt pages
â€¢ Translators to the Reader
â€¢ Reader's Companion
â€¢ 16 pages of Maps with index
â€¢ 2 ribbon markers
â€¢ Sewn binding
â€¢ 3 cover styles- black goatskin, black calfskin, brown calfskin
â€¢ Presentation page
â€¢ 7.5 x 5.5 x 1.5
What sets this Bible apart is the single-column paragraph format. This is the format we've been waiting for in a high-quality KJV. The verse numbers are small and can be difficult to find when searching for them, but it is nice for reading because they do not get in the way. Poetry is set in a different format, which makes it easy to identify quickly. I'm very glad to see this format in a KJV. It will make a nice reading Bible.
The 8.75 font looks much larger due to the modern font-style and white space surrounding the font. It is Lexicon 1- a digital font designed for easy reading, and it is very readable. The Clarion does not have self-pronouncing text. The added words are in italics so you can easily identify the supplied words.
The Clarion uses India paper. It is thin and lightweight. It's not as opaque as I expected, but it could be much worse. I don't think my pens (Pigma Micron) or color pencils (PrismaColor) would bleed-through too bad, but I'm not sure I want to write in this Bible any time soon. I may just keep it nice and clean for reading (something this Bible would excel in). If I do want to write in it, there is plenty of room between the lines for underlining and there is some space at the bottom of the page and between the references. The paper has a very slight cream tone, which I like very much.
The references are placed along the outer margin of the page. There are also translation notes for Greek and Hebrew, and alternate readings (something I really like in Cambridge KJVs). The references are slightly smaller than the Bible text, but they are still larger than other Cambridge editions (Cameo, Concord) and there are plenty of them. The references and notes are keyed to the text with letters and numbers. Due to their style and size they are not noticeable while reading, so you can read without the text feeling interrupted.
The binding is Smyth sewn, allowing the Bible to lay flat. You can open the Bible to the first page right out of the box and it will stay open with no trouble at all. This feature is a must and the Clarion does it well.
This edition is in brown calfskin. It is very soft, but slightly stiff. I'm sure it will become more flexible with use, but I actually like it the way it is. The goatskin of my Cameo can be a little too flexible while holding the Bible in bed. The stiffness of this cover seems to solve that â€˜problem' for me. I can lie on the bed with the Clarion in my chest and it keeps its shape nicely. It feels great. For me it's just the right amount of flexibility and softness. It has no trouble with yoga poses. The grain is smooth and looks nice. It is edge-lined.
The brown calfskin edition comes with 2 brown ribbons. They are more than long enough. They are 5/8 inches wide, which feels perfect for the size of the Clarion.
There are 16 pages of full-color maps. They are the same maps as the Cameo and Concord Bibles.
Translators to the Reader
I'm glad to see the Translators to the Reader in KJV editions. For me, it is an important document that gives the reader the thoughts of the translators on the translation of the KJV and Bible translation in general. I like that it is included because it shows the difficulty of the work of translation and the purpose and need of other translations and updates.
What? No concordance? Don't worry, the Reader's Companion provides more than what you would get from just a concordance. It serves as a concordance, topical index, and dictionary, all in one. The Reader's Companion combines these features in a single place. It includes the prominent proper names, words that have changed meaning and their definitions, unfamiliar words, customs, occupations, background information, social, legal, and religious concepts, the books of the Bible, literary forms, the original languages, non-biblical literature from ancient times, translation information including the KJV and other derived translations, key words, and more. There is a list of verses for each entry (except book names) and 144 pages of entries. This is much better than a concordance. You don't get the small clipping of the verse like you would in a concordance (it's just the references), but with the awesome information in the Reader's Companion, this is a trade I'm willing to make.
The size of the Clarion is interesting. It's slightly larger than the Cameo at 7.5 x 5.5 x 1.5, making it a hand-size Bible. However, it doesn't feel small on the inside. For me it's the perfect size- both inside and out.
Cambridge has just upped the ante for KJV Bible formats. They've given us a single-column paragraph format, nice readable font, side-column references, and a very nice reader's companion. The Clarion is the perfect update to the KJV format and the perfect Bible to celebrate the KJVs 400th anniversary.
Baker Publishing provided this Bible free for this review. I was not required to give a positive review- only an honest review.