Thursday, October 15, 2009

RSV Bible Concordance Review

Title: Catholic Bible Concordance: Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition
Author: Compiled by C.W. Lyons with Thomas Deliduka
Publisher: Emmaus Road
Copyright Date: 2008

After initially writing a positive review of this book, I discovered that there was a significant section missing. On page 286 it jumps from "Chief" to "Commandments." That means the book is missing some fairly important words, including "Church" and "Children." A few examples of these word appear in the Appendix on page 2142, but these are just the instances unique to the Second Edition of the RSV-CE.

Since posting this review, I have been contacted by Emmaus Road, and informed that they are fixing the problem. For more information read the Addendum after the "Original Review" below.
Original Review:

This book is a perfect example of a concordance, so if you want a Catholic Bible concordance, buy this book. It is laid out well, and is an attractive reference book.

The only question is, do you want a Catholic concordance? This is, I suppose, two questions: Do you want you concordance to be Catholic? And do you want a concordance?

First, if you are Catholic, and you want a concordance, you should buy an RSV-CE Bible, and then buy this book, because a Protestant concordance will most likely be missing the deuterocanonical books.

Now, do you want a concordance? I will explain exactly what this book contains, and then you can decide for yourself if a concordance would be of use to you.

Put simply, this is an exhaustive index for the Bible. It lists every noun, adjective, verb and adverb in the Bible. For each word it gives you every chapter and verse where the word is used, and it gives you the immediate context.

I'll give you a sample entry:

Prov 20:8 the throne of judgement W all evil with his
20:26 A wise king W the wicked, and drives the

Pros: The book is beautifully laid out, comprehensive, and is an all-around high quality production. It makes the Bible quite a bit easier to search and to reference. If you want a Catholic Bible Concordance, this is pretty much your only current option, but it's good enough that you don't need another. If you can use a dictionary, you can use this book.

Cons: This book requires that you have some knowledge of the scriptures before you'll even know where to look (though playing around with this book and your Bible might be a good way to familiarize yourself with the scriptures). It can be difficult to think of all the words that might address the topic you're looking up. If you aren't familiar with the RSV-CE translation, you might run into some issues with knowing what exact words will be used in the verse you're looking for. This book is also a bit redundant for anyone who knows a website that lets you search through Bibles. I do want to point out, however, that these aren't flaws with the book itself, just issues which might make concordances in general less useful for some people.

Conclusion: I recommend this book for all who are interested. It only does one thing, but that's all it's supposed to do, and it does it well.
New Addendum: I have just been informed that the problem I discovered is in the process of being remedied. For those who bought a book with the error, Emmaus Road will be providing an insert with the missing section. It sounds like the unsold books will be having the error fixed by some other method. So, it's up to you, if you don't mind having an insert, don't worry about which copy you buy, but if you want a book that comes in one piece, you might want to check the book you're buying before the purchase. You can find out more at