R. L. Allan NRSV in Brown Highland Goatskin
If the NRSV was a parable, it would be like unto a man who graduated from an Ivy League college at the top of his class and had to make ends meet by flipping burgers. The patty slaps the grill and he looks up, astonished at his condition. "What happened to me?"
What happened indeed. If you're a fan of the NRSV, you get what I'm saying. There are plenty of cheaply made, not very nicely designed editions available, and not a lot of good ones. In most cases, you're better off sticking with the textbook version you bought in college than upgrading to the decorative pleather version. Even promising editions seem to be handicapped by quality issues. I've had people offer me money — serious, Allan-level money — for my Oxford Pocket NRSV bound in mere genuine leather. (To which I say, "Dream on!")
Of course, R. L. Allan has offered NRSVs in the past — very nice ones — but even then, they weren't available in the top shelf Highland goatskin bindings. It was as if the nice man in Glasgow could spot an NRSV fan at the back of the line: "No soup for you!" (Or whatever the Scots enjoy for the soup course … probably thistles washed down with Scotch.
Now, all that is just an unpleasant memory. The clouds have parted and a new day has dawned. The new R. L. Allan Two Column Reference NRSV is available from R. L. Allan direct in black and brown Highland goatskin bindings. There is also a French Morrocco edition which includes the Apocrypha.
The book block was typeset by Nigel Lynn Publishing & Marketing Ltd, a name you may remember from my earlier piece on Crimond House. R. R. Donnelly printed them for Collins in China. This is the same text setting I reviewed in 2008, but the earlier run was printed by Bath Press in the UK. This may dissappoint some readers who make the automatic assumption that China equals bad, but the two Bibles seem similar in terms of opacity, and the Donnelly book block handles better. The UK-printed edition has a whiter color cast, while the China-printed one is more bone colored (at least in low light).
I don't know what it is about me and dotted lines, but here's another text setting that uses them to mark off the center column references, and I like the result. Never a fan of all the superfluous lines some Bible designers seem to add everywhere, the dotted style knocks the weight down sufficiently enough that they don't distract. Verse numbers at the start of paragraphs are in bold, making it easier to hunt through them for the number range you're looking for. Whereas a text setting like the HCSB tends to use boldface inappropriately, here, it works nicely.
This edition comes with all the earmarks of Allan's finest Highland goatskin bindings: a limp, semi-yapp, edge-lined cover, art-gilt pages, three thick gold ribbons, a gilt line along the interior turn-in, ruled notepaper bound in back.
Compare the photo above to the ones I shot for the 2008 review and you'll see what an upgrade this is in terms of limp binding. This text setting deserves the luxury treatment. If you use the NRSV, this would make a great addition to your library. I'm thrilled to see R. L. Allan bringing the Two Column Reference NRSV back into their line-up.