R. L. Allan’s Oxford Brevier Clarendon Reference Edition

Earlier this year, I reviewed the R. L. Allan’s edition of the Oxford Brevier Blackface KJV, concluding that the cover is magnificent and the blackface interior is one of those love-it-or-hate-it propositions, a little too dark for my taste. So it was only natural that I’d take an interest in the less emphatic Brevier Clarendon. Reviewing the list of editions at Bibles-Direct.com, I noticed that the Brevier Clarendon was available in a “brown, buffalo grain calfskin, leather lined in tan.” Given my predilection for brown these days, I figured that was perfect.
Brevier Clarendon & Blackface Compared
Above: The Brevier Clarendon in Brown Calfskin (Allan 6C) on top, compared to the Brevier Blackface in Black Highland Goatskin (Allan 20).
According to the measurements given on the site, the Blackface is slightly thinner and taller than the Clarendon, but when I stack them next to each other, the proportions look pretty much identical. Inside, the Clarendon offers a couple of advantages. In addition to the type not being quite so black (though it’s by no means light), the self-pronouncing feature — which in the Blackface goes so far as to break the name “Jesus” into two accented syllables every time it appears — is absent, and brief chapter summaries are added. The cyclopedic concordance, which does double duty (as the name suggests) as both concordance and succinct encyclopedia, is present in both. The pagination is the same, so I assume they’re identical.

71 Comments on “R. L. Allan’s Oxford Brevier Clarendon Reference Edition

  1. The brown buffalo grain is magnificent! (I’m afraid I’m learning what coveting is all about!)

  2. Boy, that brown buffalo leather is beautiful. What point font is the text? Is the paper very thin? It looks pretty thin. I would imagine so what with all of the charts, concordance, etc.

  3. That has got to be one of the most beautiful Bibles I’ve ever seen. It’s certainly unique looking, and not to be confused with most others.
    Dan has the same questions I would ask. My eyes have difficulty with very small print, and would get tired quickly. Thanks, Mark, for your information.
    Pastor Ron

  4. I have this Bible and it is beautiful. These pictures are very accurate; the teaser picture Mark posted last month made this Bible look much lighter than it is. Interesting how different light varies how things look! The brown calfskin is lovely and unique.
    The font is probably 7 or 8 point and it is very readable (and my eyes aren’t the greatest anymore); the text is crisp and clear. The paper is very thin but of good quality so bleed through is not a problem. This Bible is the perfect size, and is very enjoyable to hold and read.

  5. If anyone needs help using this particular Bible, I would gladly step up to the plate and do that for you. It would be a sacrifice on my end, to be certain, but it could be done for someone in need.
    My poor old eyes could possibly get used to reading small print like that. Actually, all joking aside, my Nelson Signature Series Reference Bible is quite easy on my eyes, and the size font is likely very similar.
    Pastor Ron

  6. Wow! A finely made King James Bible with black-letter and no self-pronouncing features. And it’s not a Scofield! I want one. Mark, I want to be you when I grow up!

  7. I was just looking at one of these in my local bookstore yesterday.
    I was sorely tempted to buy it as it was the best looking Bible I had ever seen. It was slightly different than the one here, but then thats the beauty of quality leather not one is the same.
    The only reason I didn’t buy it is that it was slightly too small for me to use as my main reading bible. (Which is why I’m here trying to find that perfect one!
    Thanks to Marks infectious zeal for the perfect Bible.
    I’ve Narrowed it down to a choice between the Allan Oxford Long Primer or the Allan Cambridge Concord.
    I think Mark will be reviewing one of these soon so I will try to be patient. I can’t find a clear online picture of the Oxford Long Primer anywhere.
    Sorry got carried away there – Thanks Mark for another great review.

  8. That’s one unbelievably gorgeous Bible – how could you resist the lure of that leather whether you’re a KJV fan or not? I think I need to seriously contemplate a ‘fast’ from this alluring blog :)

  9. Thank you for posting this review. I’ve been thinking of replacing my old KJV which is now falling apart, and I’ve been anticipating this post since the teaser you put up ages ago.

  10. I’m not a KJV user but what an exquisite looking Bible. Wish other versions were available in a this kind of binding and cover. I just love the pictures, but it hurts my wallet.

  11. What a pretty cover! I have always been a sucker for a brown cover on a Bible, there are just not enough of them being made these days. The Bible publishers of today remind me of Henry Ford when he said people could “have any color car they want as long as they wany black.”

  12. I received this Bible from R L Allan on Saturday (along with their brown calfskin NIV Cross Reference with Concordance), having placed my order online only last Wednesday! From Glasgow to Dallas in three days via included standard shipping–unbelievable service! It is a beautiful binding, definitely less flexible than goatskin, which only enhances its unique character. As a longtime aficionado of quality brown leather Bibles (as far back as my similarly grained calfskin 1973 Holman Single Column Reference NASV), I must say this is the most beautiful I have ever seen. I was delighted to discover that its outside dimensions are essentially identical to the ESV Personal Size Reference Edition. However, the boldness of the font (and a possibly very slightly larger size) in the Clarendon makes it easier than the ESV PSR to read with 50+ year old eyes. (Note to Bible publishers: Why should it ever be the case that an edition possessed of a very dated typeset is easily more readable than your comparably sized editions, when you have available all of the benefits of 21st Century digital technology? Get to work!) Needless to say, Mark, I am thankful for and encouraged by your efforts in promoting the designs and bindings worthy of containing God’s Word!

  13. I received mine today, my first Allan bible! Ordered just last Thur and now it is in my hands all the way here in Sarawak, Borneo (but the Long Primer I ordered a week earlier hasn’t arrive yet.) I was worried the bible could be too small from the pictures here, but the size is PERFECT! The print is definitely “vintage” & “not perfect” but I guess that only adds to the overall “vintage” feel. Font size is VERY EASY on my eyes. It is HUGE compared to Cambridge Pitt Minion which I just received also. Can’t wait to bring this BEAUTIFUL bible to Church this Sunday :)

  14. Great reviews. How might the French Morocco fair longevity wise? Is the Clarendon going to come apart on the inside of the binding after five years just because it’s not calf or goat hide? What if I oil it every year with say, Leather CPR or something? I don’t know much about French Morocco . . . but I’m not so concerned with the feel as my dear Word staying intact for my daily sword match.

  15. This is the Perfect KJV Bible I have seen thus far and I own R L Allens whole line including the Long primer Highland Goatskin. For a Baptist Preacher that actually gets with it you need a work horse Bible not a Long Primer Goatskin. The Long Primer is more for home reading. This Brown buffalo leather is great and durable. I am a Bible collector and have over 150 KJV Bibles all in top Leathers and just for the Record the Leather used in the Nelson Signature Series is nice but gets so soft it eventually splits what a shame huh. So I would encourage anybody if any Bible from R L Allen this one. The Best far as endurance though still would be the Local Church Publishers Designer series. Which is the most durable (make sure its the top grain cowhide not the calfskin TRUST me Calfskin that has been treated like the Signature series Bibles do split with use the tougher Calf skins are more durable even though there not as soft, but they do get softer with use)
    God Bless
    http://www.Localchurchbiblepublishers.com <– Lasts decades of abuse

  16. My Clarendon just arrived today in Highland Black Goatskin. What a perfect sized edition. Fits easily into the hand but with large enough text I can easily read it. The type is quite bold, bold enough in fact I am glad I picked it instead of the Blackface version. I really didn’t want the self-pronouncing version so this one wins again. At some point I’ll get a Longprimer but do worry it will be bit too big.
    I also grabbed one of Allans Cruden’s Concordance editions in morocco leather and am very pleased. It is nice having a KJV concordance in a separate book and with 700+ pages it is quite detailed. Be nice of they did a Strong’s Concordance as well just to have both references. I have a little Allans Pocket Concordance as well which goes nicely with their Crystal edition.
    BTW, did anyone remember seeing a link to an Allan’s NSRV review here recently? I know I ran across one but cannot find the link any longer.
    Tony

  17. Okay, a quick update to my previous zeal over this edition. There must have been a change to the text block used on these as despite the embossing of “Cyclopedic Concordance” on the spine the newest Goatskin edition only has a dictionary of proper names, a regular concordance and a subject index. No charts, tables, etc…..Basically just a larger version of my Allans Ruby.
    A bit of a let down really as I was holding off for the Longprimer and only bought this as I wanted the additional reference material I thought was contained inside. Evangelical Bible has confirmed the difference for me and I have e-mailed Allans as well thinking maybe I had purchased the wrong edition or maybe it was only the Blackface that had it.

  18. Well, EVbible.com was a pleasure to deal with. My Clarendon is on it’s way back to them to be replaced with an oxford Blackface instead. I’m not too keen on the self-pronouncing feature but really wanted the Cyclopedic Concordance. The only other option was the zipper bound Brevier but that is not a binding I would expect to last a lifetime.
    If after the Cyclopedic version do note that despite it saying Cyclopdeic on the spine and my box carrying the 5C part number the newer Clarendons contain the regular Concordance.

  19. Anthony, If you want the cyclopaedic concordance in the Clarendon, you have to get a model with a “c” after the model number. They are the only ones with it. I spoke to Allan’s and they said the 5C would be brought back in 2009. All of the Blackface models have the cyclopaedic concrdance.

  20. Anthony…Nicholas Gray at Allan’s told me that the 5C that was sent out w/o cylopaedic concordance was an abberation. The mistake is being corrected for 2009.

  21. Jeff,
    That was the initial problem… a mixed message with the part number/binding/photo. The spine of my Clarendon said Cyclopedic Concordance, the label on the box said 5C, and EVBibles photo was of the Bible openned to the Cyclopedic Concordance but inside was the non-cyclopedic version Nicholas spoke of. He contacted me and explained the mixup in printing. It did contain a nice Subject Index though in addition to the regular Concordance and Dictionary of Common Names.
    No big issue though, both Nicholas and EVBible prompty offered to do whatever was needed to set things straight so I sent this one back in exchange for the Blackface. Both are great firms to deal with.
    Tony

  22. My replacement for the Clarendon, the Brevier Blackface arrived today from EVBible and I am very pleased. Yes, it has the “Allans ripple” to the pages but is a hand sized, nice feeling, easy to read edition. The self-pronouncing feature wears a bit when reading but I like having the Cyclopedic Concordance. This gives me something close to a study bible but without each page being cluttered with references, etc…. Some days I simply wish to read, other days I want to study a bit but still have an easy reading edition with me. This will fill both bills.
    EVBible handled the return and replacement very smoothly. Thanks Paul!

  23. I emailed R.L. Allan Bibles and Nicholas replied that the new 6C in dark brown highland goatskin will also have 2 ribbons instead of just one. The price went up, but with the better exchange rate, it’s actually cheaper to wait and back order the 6C than to order an existing 6c that might be in stock somewhere at the poorer exchange rate.
    I contemplated getting a buffalo 6C from a online seller at $159, but for $149 and wait til March 2009 I can get the dark brown highland goatskin with 2 ribbons. What do you all think? Is the buffalo too unique to pass up? Or patience and waiting better?

  24. Robert, the buffalo 6C is certainly unique. I’m glad I got one but I’m sure the brown goatskin will be superb as well. But don’t forget, the exchange rate can change again, in either direction. I paid a premium with the exchange rate as it was last spring for my 6C; now that the rate is more favorable for the dollar it is discontinued!
    Bottom line, get the one you like, or get them both! Who knows what the exchange rate will be next spring?!

  25. Nicholas said I can reserve now and the price will hold for me. I think he meant that I would be charged at today’s exchange rate when it finally ships, but now that you mention it, it would be good to know for certain if that’s what he meant considering the exchange rate can make the price much higher by next spring.

  26. I think the only way you could be charged the current exchange rate would be if your credit card was charged now since the credit card company makes the currency exchange when the transaction occurs. RL Allan doesn’t charge your card until they make shipment.

  27. Nicholas said that if you give them specific instructions to charge now, they will charge the credit card now at the current exchange rate and then hold the credit on your account until the book ships. I think I might do that given the favorable exchange rate.
    I just checked an exchange rate forecaster and it’s forecasts that the exchange rate will rise back to where it was before by March 2009.
    http://www.forecasts.org/pound.htm

  28. Mr. Bertrand,
    I located your site via search engine read this piece on the Allan’s Clarendon about 6 months ago. Since then I have purchased two, one for myself, and another for a missionary pastor (my father in law).
    While visiting the in-laws in Tennessee this Christmas, I load the pack (one infant and four kids) into the SUV and make the trip from a small mountain church to the in-laws about 30 miles away (15 miles of it interstate). About one mile left on the interstate and some 27 miles into the journey, a car pulls alongside and begins frantically waving at the top of my SUV. I pull over, already horrified at what I know I’m going to discover.
    Of course I have left my bible on the top of the SUV, and of course it is pages into the wind caught in the luggage rack. And knowing anyone who would spend the money I have on this bible you must understand that I treasure the Bible. So I’m standing on the edge of the interstate with what can only be described as a ball of matted paper with a leather cover (basically a black baseball).
    I hand it to my wife, speechless (near tears, truth be told) and travel the last couple of miles to the in-laws. My wife however is simply straightening each page out into its proper position. By the time we arrive, my Bible is pristine. Not a page out of wack (minus wrinkle mark here or there), not a mar to the cover, not the first leaflet out of place. A true testament to the workmanship and the materials that Allan’s puts into it’s work.
    Maybe not a test that should be tried, but certainly the 70 plus mph wind tunnel test should seperate the good and bad in the Bible binding category.
    Anyways, thanks for giving the bible such a good review. It is certainly worthy of high praise.
    Michael Freeman

  29. All, I already put on order a Brevier Clarendon Chocolate Brown, but my main working translation is ESV and with the Wide Margin ESV coming out, I am wondering if perhaps it would be better use of funds at this time. So what do you all think, for those that own a Brevier Clarendon, what would you say? I have a Allan LongPrimer KJV, an Allan ESV, a Cambridge Pitt Minion ESV, and then an Oxford Wide Margin KJV, but I don’t have any Wide Margin ESV and if I was going to take notes in a Bible, it would definitely be a Cambridge Wide Margin ESV, but of course, I don’t have to take notes in my Bible. I also do extensive note taking on the computer using Nota Bene. And on the other hand, it would seem nice to have the handy format of a Brevier Clarendon KJV. So I’m a bit torn between the two. Any words of advice to help me choose direction? Thanx.

  30. Two completely different applications.
    If your looking for a hand-sized bible that is easy to carry and hold for long periods of time, such as sitting in the pew, or standing on the street corner, then it will be impossible to beat the Clarendon. However, it is definetly not a note taking bible (lack of margins and the fine india paper); but it will let you do your underlining and little notes. Of course, being the owner of a couple of Allan’s, you know it can’t be built any better, and if you read my thread above, you’ll know why I say that. For myself, it’s the perfect go anywhere, have anywhere bible. Looks like a million bucks, built like a tank.
    Now the Cambridge wide-margin, with the goatskin and art-guilt edges, is a thing of beauty, not an object of utilitarian purpose. If your looking for something to leave on the table or the night stand to gaze upon (or have gazed upon), it doesn’t get any better. If your looking to create your own study bible, something to pass on, or if your a minister, deacon, or sunday school teacher, this is the holy grail, the thicker paper, lined pages with headings, back matter, maps, front matter with presentation pages, etc. Of course, make sure you are getting the leather lined edition (extremely hard to locate in the US; at least in KJV) as the leather flex lined is like having a Corvette with a big ol scratch in the side.
    You’ll love owning the Cambridge more, you’ll love using the Allan’s Clarendon more.
    Michael Freeman

  31. I do like to read my LongPrimer. It’s just something special to read. Sometimes it’s hard to get through passages that use the KJV language, but that’s just a point of learning. I like to read the Puritans, so it is kinda helpful to have a KJV and learn the language.
    On the other hand, ESV is the primary text of our church. It is interesting to note that often times when they choose a translation which has a better interpretation of a particular text, they often cite the KJV translation. I can imagine the Breviere Clarendon would make an excellent Bible for carrying to church, Sunday school, etc. It’s a nice handy size, but still seems to have good size type. And the reference material in the back seems like it could be very helpful. I just wonder how distracting it will be to read KJV while the teachers and pastors at our church will primarily teach from the ESV. I have decided yet if that’s a good thing or just distracting.
    Anyhow, I guess I’m still up in the air about it. The current ESV from Cambridge is not leather lined either, but it does seem they have addressed some of the issues with the lining but stitching the leather cover to the lining.

  32. I found a cool article on why we should read the KJV from Ambleside online that somewhat settled my mind that a handy size KJV would be a good thing and I can wait on an ESV Wide Margin. Besides, I also have an Oxford Wide Margin KJV that my mother-in-law had found for $50 at Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsborough, AL. So I’m trying out the whole, taking notes in a wide margin thing for the first time in this Oxford KJV version.
    Here’s a link to the Ambleside online article.
    http://www.amblesideonline.org/WhyKJV.shtml

  33. EvangelicalBible have just put up some stunning photos of the new brown highland goatskin full-yapp on a brevier blackface kjv.
    This is how the new 6C clarendon cover will also look.
    I’ve just put a 6C order in to Allan’s today. Can’t wait for it to arrive. It looks very tasty.

  34. Graeme C,
    Are you sure the 6C will be full-yapp? I know that Allan and EvangelicalBible haven’t posted accurate pictures yet, but the pictures they have posted (of a different version and an older version, respectively) show only semi-yapp covers. The descriptions listed on each of these websites do not mention full-yapp covers either. All indications, it seems to me, are that it’ll have semi-yapp covers. I’m considering the new brown 6C as well, but I’m personally hoping it’ll actually have semi-yapp covers. I think I’ll wait until I see the pictures. EvangelicalBible will have some up soon, I’m sure.

  35. David,
    I’ve just been digging around those sites again, after reading your post.
    You are correct. I could not find a mention of full-yapp for the new 6C brown.
    Though a recent post from Planet-Ting blog mentions, “…I am also interested in the #6C. In fact yesterday I just checked with Mr Gray and he confirmed it will be Full Yapp too…”
    I like the semi-yapp best too, (I definately don’t like the look of the black full-yapp).
    However, after looking and looking again over the beautiful new 20BR pics on EVbible (full-yapp brown), I decided to go with it.
    The 6C will compliment my new Cambridge ESV pitt-minion brown goatskin as they are both approx. the same width/height.

  36. Oh come on, catch the full yapp fever. If you do, you’ll finally be happy in life! :)

  37. Oh, ok. I have the Longprimer and actually like the full-yapp, so I’ll probably still go for the full-yapp 6c. I have to agree that the pictures of the brown full-yapp Blackface version look REALLY sweet.
    Thanks for the info.

  38. It looks like the EvangelicalBible folks have been following our discussion. They added “FULL Yapp Covers” to their Allan 6C description.

  39. The new “Allan-Oxford Brevier Blackface Edition (Highland Goatskin)20BR” has the most delicious looking Bible cover I’ve ever seen. It’s just a tad more delicious looking than the “ESV 1 R.L. Allan Chocolate Highland Goatskin”. The full yapp puts the 20BR over the top for me.

  40. I ordered one of these today (*20BR). Not only do the brown goatskin full yapp covers present a stunning package, but the print looks crisp and bold. Can’t wait!

  41. I think I’ll go for the 6C. The Blackface print looks too bold for my taste and it has too much of the self-pronouncing text.
    The Clarendon 6C will look identical as far as the beautiful brown cover is concerned but won’t have all the self-pronouncing text. After rereading Mark’s review above, he says that the Clarendon “type is clear and more readable than the Blackface”.

  42. This book is a great argument for the KJV:
    http://www.amazon.com/Gods-Secretaries-Making-James-Bible/dp/0060838736/ref=sr_1_1
    In case the link doesn’t come through, that’s ISBN 0060838736.
    It’s about the making of the KJV. The best part though is when it shines through how much the author loves the KJV. He compares some verses, in ancient 1611 KJV format, with another British version, showing the power of the KJV. He talks about much Christians loved the bible text back then, how they’d spend four hours in a sermon on a few verses, and one minister preached on the book of Jonah for many month (which came through in the quality of the bible).
    The last chapter is unforgettable. It’s worth reading in a library even if there isn’t time for anything else. It’s a real life story about KJV psalm 77 and a father whose son perished at sea.

  43. Received my new 6C today in the mail.
    I am very happy with it.
    The full-yapp cover is different (having not had one before), but it feels and smells great.
    The type is your typical traditional old school kjv look, which I like alot.
    Font seems to be about 1 point larger than my Cambridge ESV pitt minion, and much darker/bolder.
    The type really stands out, much more than the pitt minion.
    I am glad I did not order the blackface, as I suppose that would have been even more bold looking.
    The Indian paper is very thin. There is some bleedthrough but because of the bold font, it is fine.
    The extensive concordance is interesting in that it is a word with related bible subjects reference.
    All in all a beautiful chocolate bible which I want to bend and hold tight :)
    And read of course.

  44. Just got my 6C as well. It’s super-nice, as expected. I won’t comment on the usual known facts about the Clarendon, but I do want to mention one thing:
    The red portion of the art gilt edges is REALLY RED! My Longprimer is about the same, but I’ve noticed that on my ESV1’s, the dye is more of a pinkish color. I hope the new Allan ESV “Reader’s Edition” will have these dark red edges instead of the lighter pink color.

  45. Just received the newly redesigned *6c from Allan’s with Buffalo Grain Brown Calfskin. It is wonderful, but it looks nothing like the version pictured here. The new version is full yap and the brown looks identical to the ESV1BR I purchased a little while back.
    It is amazing, however. The paper quality is the best I have seen in a very long time, which is a pleasant surprise after my mild disappointment with the ESV1 and ESV2 paper. And the leather is as soft and supple as the ESV1’s.
    I just wish an ESV was offered with such an extensive concordance and superb paper quality. The text block is the same as the other Oxford bibles and has a very nice vintage look to it (if that’s the kind of thing you are into).

  46. Hey! Will you guys stop with the cool Bibles please? It’s nearly summer and I have not bought one new item for my Harley. Just some very nice Bibles for when the ride stops. Now I must get the 6C full yap… Especially due to the reference of better paper than the ESV1.

  47. OK, so summer is beating at the clouds, the rain is passing. It has become riding season once again. So what! I ordered and received my 6C. Outstanding to say the least! It is like a pristine vintage Bible right out of the box! The look and feel of the full yapp is stunning as is the goatskin. Oh the smell… I am extremely impressed with it. And the paper is so fine and delicate feeling, it reminds me of yesterdays papers. I instantly noticed the difference between its paper and the ESV1 paper. If given a choice, I would choose the 6C paper every time. I love it. This paper just feels of class and reads well. I am sure these will be much sought after in the future as a classic. I also noticed it is printed in The Netherlands by a Jongbloed bv at a Christian company that specializes in Bibles. A superb job. And let me not forget the leather crafting – outstanding. They care for their work and it shows in spades. I hope they will use both the paper and the printer for their ESVR. I also hope they will add to the information provided in the ESV Readers Bible (note readers like to read stuff). Pack it in! Make it a “true” readers Bibles.

  48. Hello brothers and sisters, I just now received my Oxford Clarenden, 5C. This is my third Allan Bible, the first two being the ESV1 and Ruby edition KJV, all in black Highland Goatskin. I am VERY pleased with this Clarendon. The font exudes class and oozes an old world if not quite antiquarian feel. The full-yapped edges and luxurious leather scent only compound this effect. But I must add my praises to what the others are saying about the paper! It feels like silk, and unlike the Collins block in my ESV1, this paper is well mated to, and it wants to flop right along with, the supple highland goat cover! (But I shouldn’t knock the ESV1 for its Collins interior, because what choice had Allan when trying to give us the ESV in highland goat and art-gilt?)
    This Clarendon is the ultimate reading bible and it will be my primary bible for devotions, for as a forty-one year old, I tend to be bleary-eyed for about an hour in the morning and late at night as well, and it is at those two times when I do most of my devotions, so although the print size is not “large print” by any means, it is extremely clear and easy to read, being bold without being as kooky-bold as the Blackface.
    The Clarendon looks like a sober in-between bible, astride confidently betwixt the largish Longprimer and that premier compact bible, the Ruby. I will be able to read it easily while on my bed, easily cross-referencing and quickly able to flip through pages because of its handy size, while giving up nothing in terms of fine leather binding and art-gilt edges. In short, this 5C is a magnificent product and it hits every base like a champ. It has that flagship of the line air about it, as if Allan’s other editions were based upon it: Longprimer, bigger than Clarendon; Blackface, darker than Clarendon; Ruby, more compact than Clarendon (you get the idea).
    Now, please excuse me team, but I am going to stop writing and start reading my new Clarendon for my midday devotion. Thanks Allan (and Mark for tipping me off to Allan) for another fine product and a bible I am itching to handle as well as to mine for buried treasure!
    Would that I could get my NA27 in highland goatskin and on such paper!

  49. Well, I’m pleased to say that after weeks of hardcore Bible shopping/research, I’ve finally ordered a Brevier Clarendon 5C. Hopefully the print won’t be too hard on the eyes. It looks nice, so hopefully it’s big enough. It will at least be an upgrade from my tiny little Cambridge (bonded, printed in the 80s??). I originally wanted a much larger print, but the Clarendon just has too many things going right, whereas I’d have to sacrifice something to get large text. (Like italics, and super easy handling if I went for the Long Primer.) Well hopefully it gets here soon! Any idea how long it might take to get to Nebraska? (I ordered from the Allan site.)

  50. Allans are usually very quick with delivery. I’ve got to say that my Brevier Clarendon 6C (chocolate brown goatskin) is my absolute favourite bible, I actually prefer a more modern version like the ESV to the KJV but this particular edition just has something about it that feels right in the hand so I keep coming back to it again and again.

  51. So Gary, you approve of my decision? Heh. I was rather attracted to the chocolate 6C as well, but I eventually opted for the more traditional/basic look… (I like the blue lining and ribbons with the black/white/red contrast.)
    Thanks to Robert who posted a nice little review a few posts back. His review, along with a few others’ (and of course Mark’s) helped put me over the edge.
    I spent a little time reading the Word out in nature today, (I haven’t been reading much lately) and it’s surprising how it spoke to me. Check out John 6. (AV preferrably) The Bread of Life is satisfying indeed.

  52. First of all, congratulations to Michael for your recent purchase! I hope to follow in your footsteps of obtaining a high quality Bible from Allan’s in the very near future. Please report, by all means, when you receive your Bible!
    I have a question about the paper for the Brevier Clarendon: is it acid-free? Pardon my ignorance on the basis of acid-free paper and if such quality exists on India paper. I know that the wide margin edition (the recent one, not the slim kind of years past) is printed on acid-free paper but of course the paper is not India nor is it thin by any means.
    On a side note, if any of you know of any individuals selling the older wide margin Brevier Clarendon’s, please let me know! :-)

  53. Anyone know where I can pick up one of the 6c versions in brown calfskin to go with the chocolate goatskin I already have?

  54. Thank you Sehwan, I hope you can get a nice Bible soon as well! And indeed I will be back to give my mini-review of the Brevier Clarendon 5C.

  55. Sounds like a plan, Michael!
    Two questions for all:
    1) For those owning both the older wide margin BC and this one under review, is there a great difference in the weight of the paper as far as handling the book, turning pages, etc.?
    2) For those who have attempted to underline and notate their Bibles, how is the “bleed-through” affect on the pages? I use pencil to mark my Bible so would be interested in those with like proclivities, though, I am not excluding anyone using other writing instruments to comment!
    Thank you very much.

  56. I’m back, and my Clarendon 5C has arrived today! My initial reaction was that its a beautiful Bible, but being the perfectionist that I am, I immediately began searching for defects, and potential issues that I would have with it.
    I would like to just rave about how awesome it is, and tell everyone to get one, but I’ll give you slightly more critical look.
    (Keep in mind these are initial impressions, I haven’t even spent time reading or studying with it yet.)
    At first I was kind of wondering about cover being labeled “NATURAL MOROCCO” but apparently that is the exact same as Highland Goatskin. (Am I right?) It wasn’t as completely liquidy floppy as I sort of expected, but then again, it IS brand new, and would be annoying to not have any structure at all. Overall, a great binding! And yes, it does smell pretty good. ;)
    Also, I was a little concerned about the paper. Its really quite thin, and there is definitely some ghosting going on. However, the print still has fair readability; not too distracting. I’ve been reading a lot (this blog and evangelicalbible mostly) and apparently there isn’t much better available in Bibles about this size, (some bigger study Bibles have thicker paper, but I don’t know that its better quality) so I wouldn’t hold out due to paper. And after thinking it over, I don’t think it’ll bother me. With the right lighting, it actually looks pretty decent. I’ve just been a little spoiled with my old compact Cambridge, which has slightly more opaque paper. (Again, it just doesn’t seem like this is on the market right now.) I’m not sure if I’ll be able to flip easily back and forth due to the thin pages, but it might just be a matter of getting the feel of it. (Could someone else please comment on this, and paper in general?)
    Plus I was hoping the pages would smell more like old-school printers ink. I don’t know if it’s just because it’s an old musty Bible, but my little Cambridge has great smelling paper/ink. (I think I’ll be able to live without this “feature” though! Haha!) Overcasting is nice.
    For anyone wondering about the font size and type, rest assured. It is plenty large, and plenty dark. Very nice, and easy to read. As others have said, I’m glad I didn’t go with the Blackface! This is dark enough!
    Well, I spent some time complaining, but all in all, it stood up to my inspection. I really expected to see smeared ink, or something off-center, and weirdly sewn… but its solid.
    I may be back soon to clarify, and add further thoughts. (Ask if you have questions, I’d be happy to answer!)

  57. I agree, the ghosting in modern Bibles, even the best of them, is right on the verge of unacceptability. The worst I’ve seen is the NRSV Standard 1-column; I’ve just returned one as unreadable. Unfortunately, lots of returns is probably the only way the publishers will change back to thicker, or at least more opaque paper. (Not sure this is strictly a paper thinness issue, although thicker paper is certainly an obvious way to fix the problem.)
    The Bible market needs some sort of code words, like “thinline” that euphemistically represents a ghosting warning. The folks that use a Bible just for following along on a few verses in church can happily buy them but serious readers will know better. Unfortunately “thinline” is currently used for just about anything.

  58. I’m starting to wonder if maybe it would have been better to go with the Longprimer, just for possibly more opaque paper. (Can anyone confirm that its actually thicker, or has less ghosting? The sellers’ websites seem to imply this. Could be about the same.) I’m almost tempted to go to a local store and pick up some cheap genuine leather Nelson, or some other cheap Bible just for thicker, even if junkier paper. Then there’s Cambridge, which people seem to think isn’t any better. Actually, it’s not the ghosting that really gets to me, its just the paper is so… not stable. Its just so flimsy, and “floats around” while trying to flip through pages. Maybe I’ll get used to it. Still haven’t really test-driven it much obviously. (If only the Longprimer had italics, and weren’t so big… Can anyone verify that it has multiple ribbons now? I think its supposed to.)
    Can someone just calm me down and reasure me that the Clarendon is about as good as it gets, so I can accept it fully, and not have to think about trading it in? I need to get back to studying God’s Word in peace. :D I know its a great Bible if for no ther reason, the binding, and the sewn-in/overcasted pages, but… this is going to be my Bible for a long time, so I need to make sure I’m satisfied.
    Also, has anyone had an issue where the paper smell is so strong, it kind of gives you a slight nauseous feeling? I thought it was more of a traditional style print job, but it smells kinda like the cheap Bibles at the store… and its definitely not the leather, which is distinct, and more sweet smelling. Maybe after it gets aired out for a while…

  59. (By the way, I hope I’m not scaring anyone off from buying any particular Bible. My thoughts may be a bit exaggerated, but I’ll be back let everyone know how it goes. Sorry if I’m posting this stuff in the wrong place… and I hope to do more informing than complaining… :D )

  60. @ Bill, Re: “The folks that use a Bible just for following along on a few verses in church can happily buy them but serious readers will know better.” I personally read my Bible alot, and ghosting rarely bothers me. I’d prefer it if we don’t allow our personal preferences to spill over into judgemental comments about those who disagree with us.
    Thanks.

  61. Michael,
    Thanks for posting your thoughts on your Bible. Being the perfectionist that I also am with regards to high end goods, I appreciate your review (as well as everyone else’s too!).
    I’d say stick with the Bible for the time being (at least a few days). It always takes some time transitioning. BUT if it gets to the point where the ghosting, paper, etc. is something you cannot stand, it’s probably worthwhile to exchange for another Bible.
    I have heard that the Longprimer is printed on heavier weight paper than the Brevier Clarendon (30 vs. 20 or so).
    How is the Cyclopedic Concordance?
    It seems another poster has this same question regarding notating the Bible; are the paper that thin where one may be “afraid” to mark it?
    Thanks!

  62. H Jim, Which Bible(s) do you use so we’ll know better just “how much” ghosting you’re dealing with without being bothered? I highly doubt this is a subjective (personal preferences) thing, but rather based on objective matters such as paper thickness. There really is a considerable difference between Bibles in this area, particularly Bibles printed in the last decade or two. Try to get your hands on a new Harper/Collins NRSV Standard and see if it doesn’t bother you for extended reading. We probably don’t disagree as much as you think.

  63. Hello everyone,
    I finally made my decision and just placed an order with Allan’s for my #9C Brevier Clarendon! Thanks to all for your reviews, thoughts, and comments. It has helped to read through these to make up my decision.
    I originally went for the leather-lined #7C with the mid-grain goatskin. After hearing that it has a “fullish yapp,” I thought I would hold off on that! I’m not as adventurous as some of you… :-)
    One question I had that Stan raised is if any one attempts to mark up their BC? I don’t mark in my Bible with anything other than pencil myself, so any feedback on that point is appreciated. I have an older wide margin BC filled with notes so am not one to shy away from notating, though I am cautious. I’ve heard that the BC under review here is printed on thinner India paper than the older wide margin BC or the Long Primer; any confirmation on that account would be appreciated as well.
    Regardless of the answers, I am greatly looking forward to the arrival of my Allan Bible!
    Thanks!

  64. Sehwan, as far as taking notes, or underlining, you probably can’t do better than Sakura Pigma Micron Pens. I’ve used them on India paper before, and they are great, with no bleedthrough!
    http://www.sakuraofamerica.com/Pen-Archival (You should be able to find ‘em in local stores too.)
    On the other hand, the BC 5C that I had (Yes, I ended up sending it back) had SUPER thin pages, so I’m not sure if even those Micron pens would work without bleedthrough. Its something you’ll have to test I guess. Hope it works out for you.
    I ended up going with the Cambridge Concord, and although I’ll admit the 5C had a nicer lining, (which laid flat easier) and there is much to like about it, the paper in the Concord is noticeably thicker, more opaque, which makes it look very white. Very nice print, (even with some variation in ink darkness). The pages really are quite smooth and beautiful. Since I’m using this for studying, (lots of flipping pages) and not just daily reading, it fits my needs better.
    There are a couple of other things that could be better as well, but the main problem with this Concord, is that there is a little area right near the spine on the bottom where there seems to be no reddish dye on the pages. Just the gold foil. Its not too bad, but I’m thinking about exchanging it, or asking for a discount.
    If it had come without slight manufacturing issues, I would have been pretty much 100% happy with it. I’ve taken some pictures, and perhaps I’ll write up a better review and post a link to it… or send it to Mark or something.

  65. Michael,
    Thanks a lot for your reply.
    I am slightly concerned with the thinness of the paper, but then again, I may not be using this Bible as a study Bible, per se, but for a lighter substitute for my wide margin BC.
    Glad to hear that you found your match with the Concord. Hope you can get the issue resolved.
    Thanks to everyone. Field is still open for those who have attempted to write on their BC! :-)

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