Publisher:  Cambridge University Press – 1,371 pages
Book Review by: Sonu Chandiram

This nearly 1,400-page-long Topaz Reference Edition of the English Standard Version (ESV) of the Holy Bible begins by enumerating and naming the 66 books that constitute the Bible, of which 39 are in the Old Testament, and 27 constitute the New Testament.

The Cambridge University Press is a leader in publishing bibles, with respect to its editors’ and authors’ breadth, depth, and length of research and scholarship, as well as craftsmanship, durability, and quality of the bibles it has produced for over four centuries.

The first Cambridge Bible was published in 1591. It was an edition of the Geneva Bible. Over the centuries, Cambridge has been publishing many different versions of the Bible. To name a few, they are: the English Standard Version (ESV) the King James Version (KSV), and the New King James Version (NKJV), the New American Standard Bible (NASB), the New Cambridge Paragraph Bible, and the New Revised Standard Version or NRSV for short.

This ESV Topaz Reference Edition is an excellent product with highly valuable content. It is handmade in traditional edge-lied style, a special process used to provide good durability and strength. It is not only aesthetically attractive, but also the soft goatskin leather it is bound with, makes it a treasure that can be passed on to new generations of members of a family.

Within each copy of this Bible are enclosed two slips of paper that explain. In one slip, it is noted: “Cambridge University Press remains committed to the highest standards of printing and binding,” and in another it states that that its traditional edge-lined binding style is “a fusion between the inner cover of the book and its endpapers noticeably extends from its spine up to a quarter of the width of the book.”

How valuable are the contents of this book? Quoting the editors, we provide a few important points here:

  • This Book is the most valuable thing that this world affords
  • Here is Wisdom: this is the royal Law
  • These are the lively Oracles of God
  • With these words the Moderator of the Church of Scotland hands a Bible to the new monarch’s coronation service. These words echo the King James Bible translators who wrote in 1611: “God’s sacred Word… is that inestimable treasure that excels all the riches of the earth.”

It is important to note that an excellent set of 15 maps (see list below) is provided at the end of this book. They illustrate the biblical world and key historical periods in the life of ancient Israel and in New Testament times. The maps also show Jerusalem in Old and New Testament times, and the missionary journey of the apostle Paul.

  1. The Ancient Near East in the Late Bronze Age
  2. Regions of Palestine and Surrounding Areas
  3. Sinai and Canaan at the Time of the Exodus
  4. Israel within Canaan
  5. The United Monarchy of David and Salomon
  6. Israel and Judah:
  7. The Assyrian Empire
  8. The Babylonian Empire
  9. The Persian Empire
  10. The Hellenistic World After Alexander
  11. Jerusalem in Old testament Times
  12. Jerusalem in New testament Times
  13. Palestine in New Testament Times
  14. The Roman Empire
  15. The Eastern Mediterranean in the First century AD.

This is an excellent book, both in terms of content and product quality.