ESV with Apocrypha

New blogger Theophrastus at What I Learned From Aristotle (which looks like it’ll be a really great blog: his name and title rock, and among his first posts are some on lipograms and new editions of Dracula!) makes note of a new edition of the English Standard Version Bible with Apocrypha. Oddly, it’s published by Oxford University Press, USA, rather than Crossway. The apocrypha in this Bible are apparently the RSV Apocrypha only very lightly reworked (Theophrastus was unable to find any differences in a quick spot-check of various passages). Unfortunately, it sounds as though the physical attributes of this edition are of unacceptably shoddy quality. Both Theophrastus and a blogger he links to mention negatively the extremely thin, non-opaque paper used in this edition. Bleed-through is the bane of all heavy readers. Also, the Apocrypha section is placed at the back of the book, after the NT. Granted, my Oxford Annotated Bible (first edition with the RSV) also has the Apocrypha at the back, but it’s just as odd there, too. So, I’m going to pass on this particular edition. If they release an edition of better quality, I’ll consider it, but it’s not at all compelling. I enjoy the Apocrypha in the NRSV more than those of the RSV, particularly the GII text of Tobit and the full text of Greek Esther. Overall, it sounds like a real non-plus, which is disappointing. These days, I’m much, much happier with another Oxford Bible: the New English Translation of the Septuagint. The work that the translators went to in order to represent in English the peculiar literalistic rendering of the Hebrew in the Greek is simply astounding. Also, having the so-called apocryphal books interspersed in their traditional localtions amongst the other books in the NETS is a real plus. The introductions are without compare, and necessary reading for anyone interesting in the Septuagint.

So, many thanks and welcome, Theophrastus!


  1. “Apocrypha”? Does this Bible contain the pseudo-Clementine epistles or some-such? Surely you mean the “deutero-canonicals,” no?


    1. Hi Greg! It was laziness on my part. Calling them the anaginoskomenoi/”readables” doesn’t quite have the recognition power. It’s a problem, and yes, I actually did think of your objection while I was writing that. I’ve been caught red-handed!

      (PS: I’m sorry that it took so long for your post to appear. I didn’t notice that I had comments waiting for approval.)

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