Review: New Oxford Annotated Bible, 4th Edition

The first part of my review of the New Oxford Annotated Bible, 4th Edition (hereafter NOAB4) will focus more on appearance than on content.

Here is a picture of the 3rd and 4th editions. The 4th edition is on top.

NOAB3

NOAB4

Pages 2432 2480
Dimensions 9.3×6.8×2.1 9.3×6.9×1.9
Page Numbering Page numbering varies depending on the section: [785 Hebrew Bible] or [257 New Testament]. Page numbering is sequential and consistent throughout: Hebrew Bible | 613 or New Testament | 2067.

Misc cosmetic changes:

  • The print of the NOAB4 is smaller than the print in the NOAB3.

I like the change made in the numbering of pages. The page numbering in the NAOB3 didn’t make much sense. Concerning the font size, the smaller print of the NAOB4 hasn’t really bothered me. I like that the NAOB4 is a little thinner than the NAOB3. I used the NAOB3 during seminary, and it was a beast to lug to and from class. All in all, I approve of the cosmetic changes.

Next, I will be looking at the text of the notes and introductions to the different books. To make it totally random, I just opened my copy of the NOAB3 to and picked the first note I saw.  Here is a comparison of two sets of notes:

NOAB3

NOAB4

Ezekiel 18.1-4 Note Sins and their punishments may involve long-term consequence for the corporate community, as 16.44; Ex 20.5 recognize. In the exiles’ current situation, however, it is not appropriate for them to blame their ancestors for their misfortunes, as they were doing (Jer 31.29-30). Ezekiel’s audience is far from an innocent generation. Nevertheless, individuals within the community can take responsibility, turn from sin, and chose life amidst the coming corporate (communal) punishment. The text does not necessarily deny the notion of corporate (communal) punishment or contradict the statement of Ex 20.5 that parents can pass on the consequences of sin to their children. In places such as 16.44 and 20.4, 30 Ezekiel affirms that sins and their punishments may involve long term consequences for individuals and for the corporate community. What Ezekiel is stressing is that the exiles cannot hide behind a defense of fatalism but must take responsibility for their present circumstances and their future. The prophet’s audience is far from an innocent generation, and it is not appropriate for them to view their present fate as inexorably determined by past actions of their ancestors (cf. Jer 31.29-30, which quotes the same proverb).
Mark 7.1-5 Note As representatives of the Jerusalem religious establishment, the Pharisees and scribes cultivated oral traditions of the elders supplementary to the law of Moses, in this story focused on purity codes for processing and eating food. As representatives of the Jerusalem Temple, the political-economic as well as religious capital of Judea, the Pharisees and scribes cultivated oral tradition of the elders supplementary to the law of Moses, in this story focused on purity codes for processing and eating foods.

For the introduction, I chose the book of Job. The NAOB4 was divided up into sections: Name and Location in Canon; Authorship, Date of Composition, and Historical Context; Literary History, Structure, and Contents; Interpretation; Guide to Reading. The NAOB3 did not have any division of sections. Most of the introduction of Job in the NAOB4 was rewritten. This was not true for all introductions, some only received minor updates.

Overall Assessment:

I really like the changes made in the NAOB4. I think the editors did a great job of keeping the NAOB “classic but not stodgy, up-to-date but not trendy”.

Disclaimer:

I received this book free from Oxford University Press. Providing me a free copy in no way guarantees a favorable review. The opinions expresses in this review are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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One thought on “Review: New Oxford Annotated Bible, 4th Edition

  1. Pingback: August Giveaway: New Oxford Annotated Bible w/ Apocrypha « Simul Iustus et Peccator

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