Top critical review
Bottom of the line Apocrypha.
February 13, 2002
The Bible I use-King James Version, by the way--doesn't have an Apocrypha in it, so I decided to pick up this copy, partly because this edition was the KJV version, and partly because it matched the size of my Bible. I'm in to the Bible so I am curious about anything and everything associated with the Book of Books. I find the canonization process to absolutely fascinating. Moreover, Thomas Aquinas, my favorite philosopher, frequently cites Apocryphal books in his writings, so it followed as a matter of course that I would want to get this book.
This is a "bottom of the line" version of the Apocrypha. So it just has a table of contents, the text, and nothing else. There is no introductory essay or background material to help understand why the Apocrypha was left in or left out various editions of the Bible. There aren't any footnotes or an index, either.
On the nicer side, the cover is a nice fire engine red, and the printing is wonderful-I haven't found any typos, or faded text. So this review isn't a complete slam. Moreover, since I relish Shakespeare, I also have an affinity for the King James Translation. It just seems authoritative, like when you read the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution!
For more user-friendly version of the Apocrypha, I would recommend the Godspeed Translation, which has a modern English style, along the lines of the J. B. Phillips translation. The Cambridge NRSV Apocrypha has almost every conceivable Apocryphal book, such as Psalm 151, 3 and 4 Maccabees, and it is done in modern English style.
The Apocrypha is a fun book. Yes, theology is fun, since it is a form of learning. You a given a better perspective on how things went between Malachi and Matthew, and are exposed to profound wisdom literature. If you like proverbs, read "The Wisdom of Solomon," or "Eccelsiasticus, or the Wisdom of Jesus, son of Sirach." My favorite book is Tobit, which has a wonderful Orphic love story.