July 30, 2012

A look at the New Testament & Psalms - Orthodox Youth Edition

I have been searching for a pocket size New Testament and Psalms in the Revised Standard Version and finally have found one. My copy of the New Testament & Psalms Orthodox Youth Edition (ISBN 9781937628215) arrived today. It was published just this year and I could find no information on it except the sparse advertising blurbs. So in order to fill a gap, or maybe just satsify your curiosity here are some photos and a description.

New Testament and Psalms - Orthodox Youth Edition  ISBN 9781937628215

This was published by the American Bible Society and is sold (as of this writing) by them and also the Orthodox Marketplace for around six bucks.

They call it a Youth Edition, but there is nothing particularly youthful about it that would prevent an older guy like me from proudly carrying it around and using it in public, no cartoons or flip animations or anything like that. This is a special limited edition used as a gift to participants in the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America Youth and Camping Ministries. What an amazing gift! I hope other Churches and Christian organizations follow their example. It's very classy.

This book is 3 1/8 inches (7.8 cm) wide, 5 inches (12.6 cm) tall, and 11/16 of an inch (1.8 cm) thick. So it really is pocket size and will fit in the back pocket of your jeans. The pages are glued in and not sewn, which means they will not lie flat (which is why there are clips in the photos) but a book this small will probably be held in one hand more often than lie open on a desk, at least in my case. I wish it were available with sewn binding and a leather cover, but this is good enough and very practical.

It has eight beautiful color icons inside and a set of black and white maps in the back. There is also over a hundred pages of extra material in the back (there are a total of 776 pages in the book). These extra pages include prayers for morning and evening, and how to read the Bible.

These extra pages also included a section about the history of the Orthodox Church including the split with the Catholic Church which was of course written from the Orthodox viewpoint. Some parts are a bit offensive, and I think the Catholic view of the same historical events is generally more even handed and less polemic, so I carefully pulled those pages out of my copy (possible because it is glue bound and not stitched).

This contains the 1971 edition of the RSV. Ideally, I would love to have the RSV-CE (Catholic Edition) this small, but such an animal does not exist. Yeah, I know there is a so-called pocket edition of the RSV-2CE New Testament and Psalms, and I have it. That one is a giant 4 3/16 by 7 inches, and there is no back pocket that big -- at least not on my jeans! I plan on converting this Orthodox Youth Edition to the RSV-CE by simply penciling in the few modifications, lists of which can be found in the back of many RSV-CE editions and also on the internet somewhere. It's mainly just a matter of pointing to the marginal notes. And many of the CE modifications were actually made part of the 1971 RSV (things like a denarius being a days wage, etc.).

One very nice feature is the layout of all the text in easy to read single column format! I was hoping the Psalms would be laid out that way, and was pleasantly surprised to find the New Testament also laid out the same way. For a book this small, single column makes the most sense.

This little book was the last remaining puzzle piece for me. It's great to be able to carry this RSV New Testament & Psalms in my pocket. It gets a lot of use during a long day away from home.

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