Oxford's NRSV Bible with Apocrypha and Book of Common Prayer Compared to the Cambridge KJV Bible with Book of Common Prayer.
May 20, 2015
A Side by side comparison of the Oxford NRSV with the Apocrypha and Book of Common Prayer in black genuine leather, to the Cambridge KJV with the Book of Common Prayer in Purple calfsplit leather.
I received both Bibles undamaged. They were packed in their own cardboard boxes and were inside retail boxes that were both sturdy enough to be used for storing the Bible in when on the shelf. Upon opening the boxes I was impressed with the purple color of the Cambridge Bible. The Cambridge cover was also more supple out of the box. This is due to the Cambridge being covered in calfsplit leather which is split cowhide leather as opposed to the Oxfords cover which was your typical pigskin leather. The Oxford was ornamented with a gold stamped cross on the front cover as well as a gilt line around the inside perimeter of the cover. Both covers have a perimeter groove pressed into them. The Cambridge and the Oxford alike have gold gilt page edges. I thought the two purple ribbon markers were attractive. The Oxford has three yellow/gold ribbon markers that were pretty nice even if they were a bit more narrow. I would have liked to see three ribbon markers in the Cambridge because of the added BCP.
The Oxford was surprisingly smaller than the Cambridge even though it had the Apocrypha and the Cambridge did not. Due to all of the added text there had to be a compromise. I dont think it was a very wise one. The Biblical text in the NRSV is very small. At 6 pt. it is still legibly printed, but does present a strain for longer reading. I think it would be fine for carrying to Church as long as you bring your reading glasses. If you do have poor vision I would not recommend this Bible for the Bible portion. The BCP is perfectly legible being printed in 8 pt. font. The Cambridge suffers from the same problem albeit not of necessity in my opinion. Of course I am not privy to all design constraints and I am certain there are reasons for making the Biblical text 6 pt. and the BCP text a very generous 11 pt. I would have liked to see the BCP down to 8 pt. and the KJV up to 8 pt. I think that could have been achieved.
Both Bibles have sewn bindings and are case bound. The Cambridge is printed and bound in Italy by L.E.G.O. SpA. Vicenza. It is the KJV Pitt Minion, Reference Second Edition setting. That would be a double column, paragraph format layout with references in the center column. The small 6.75 pt. font is clearly and uniformly printed on very good and opaque Bible paper. The Book of Common Prayer is mostly single column format. It is printed in large 11 pt. font making it easy to read. It is also printed to the same standards as the rest of the text. Both Bibles were designed and had their layouts done by Blue Heron Bookcraft in Battleground Washington. When we compare the two Bibles there are some big differences in quality. The Korean printed and bound Oxford uses a less opaque paper that tends to wrinkle, while the Cambridge is very smooth. The print in the Oxford is not as well inked as the Cambridge. The Oxford is a double column paragraph format with very limited footnotes. It is the NRSV translation. Both Bibles are black letter editions. The Oxford does have some gold colored and heavily textured papers utilized for the presentation and family records pages. They look nice, but can be a chore to write on contrasted to the typical Cambridge presentation pages. The Book of Common Prayer is mostly single column and printed with large 8 pt. font. The Apocrypha is printed the same as the Biblical text. Neither have maps or helps in the back. The Cambridge has, Common Prayer at the top, Holy Bible in the middle and, the Cambridge logo at the foot of the spine stamped in gold. The Oxford has, The Book of Common Prayer at the top and, The Holy Bible underlined and, Apocrypha immediately under it in the middle, and, Oxford at the bottom of the spine.
The Cambridge is a bit larger in length and width, but they are about the same thickness. The Oxford might be a hair thicker. Both are aesthetically pleasing and pleasant to hold, however the Cambridge is the winner in the tactilely pleasing category. The calfsplit leather just is so much better than the shiny pigskin leather of the Oxford. I honestly thought the Oxford was bonded leather when I opened it. The head and foot bands on the Oxford were not properly glued down either. For quality of assembly I would have to give the Cambridge the win.
The Cambridge is geared more towards Anglicans and the Oxford is geared more for Episcopalians in my opinion. At least after reading much out of the BCP in each one that is my impression. The Cambridge utilizes the 1662 Book of Common Prayer while the Oxford uses 1979 Book of Common Prayer. If you are looking for an in depth list of what both BCPs include Im not going to do that, however I do have pictures of the table on contents pages that have those lists. You can see them on my Flickr page. The Cambridge is almost twice the price of the Oxford, but in my opinion it is worth it. I also like the KJV more than the NRSV. I am neither Anglican nor Episcopalian so I am not biased one way or another towards one of these Bibles. If you must have an Apocrypha in your volume then you would have to go with the Oxford. Both are sturdy and well made. They should provide years of service as long as your eyes can take the small text.
I would like to start off by stating that I am very pleased with this particular Bible/BCP. I have seen a number of reviews complaining of the size, font, etc... The print in the Bible section is very small. But I was not surprised because the dimensions are clearly stated in the descriptions provided on the web page. I am a Lutheran pastor, but I use the BCP often. I am particularly pleased that I found a Bible and BCP bound together for many of the pastoral duties I engage in. The quality is very good. The size seems like it should be awkward to hold, but it is not. It feels just right in the hand. The leather cover is a bit stiff at first but I am sure it will soften with use. The pages open nicely and the binding appears to be of top quality. Yes, as noted the print is small. But this is a good, travel sized, companion and not my everyday study Bible. I foresee taking this on most pastoral visits in hospitals, used at weddings, funerals and every occasion in between. It is well made with quality materials and well worth the price. I am very pleased with the entire product. I read some negative reviews which mostly complain about the size of the print. But it does clearly state that the print in the Bible section is font size 6, which is very small. I would definitely buy another of the same if this one was misplaced.
I got this as a Christmas gift, hoping it was larger than the one I have(exact same bcp/bible) as stated here, but the dimensions on this one is very small. Its more like 4X6, actual size is not stated on this site. It is too small since majority of Episcopalians are 50+,hard on the eyes, printing is so small,not worth purchasing folks!