The Cambridge Clarion KJV Reference Edition is the first new Cambridge KJV reference Bible in 50 years. It is designed with many of the features that modern readers are longing for: single-column paragraph format, modern font, black-letter text, references on the outside margins, and a sewn binding that opens flat. With all of this, the Clarion still has a few surprises that make this Bible one of the most unique and desirable editions in many years.
Here are the major features:
- Single-column text
- Paragraph format
- Side-column references
- 8.75 Lexicon 1 font
- Black letter
- Lightweight paper
- Art gilt pages
- Translators to the Reader
- Reader’s Companion
- 16 pages of Maps with index
- 2 ribbon markers
- Sewn binding
- 3 cover styles- black goatskin, black calfskin, brown calfskin
- Presentation page
- 7.5 x 5.5 x 1.5
What sets this Bible apart is the single-column paragraph format. This is the format we’ve been waiting for in a high-quality KJV. The verse numbers are small and can be difficult to find when searching for them, but it is nice for reading because they do not get in the way. Poetry is set in a different format, which makes it easy to identify quickly. I’m very glad to see this format in a KJV. It will make a nice reading Bible.
The 8.75 font looks much larger due to the modern font-style and white space surrounding the font. It is Lexicon 1- a digital font designed for easy reading, and it is very readable. The Clarion does not have self-pronouncing text. The added words are in italics so you can easily identify the supplied words.
The Clarion uses India paper. It is thin and lightweight. It’s not as opaque as I expected, but it could be much worse. I don’t think my pens (Pigma Micron) or color pencils (PrismaColor) would bleed-through too bad, but I’m not sure I want to write in this Bible any time soon. I may just keep it nice and clean for reading (something this Bible would excel in). If I do want to write in it, there is plenty of room between the lines for underlining and there is some space at the bottom of the page and between the references. The paper has a very slight cream tone, which I like very much.
The references are placed along the outer margin of the page. There are also translation notes for Greek and Hebrew, and alternate readings (something I really like in Cambridge KJVs). The references are slightly smaller than the Bible text, but they are still larger than other Cambridge editions (Cameo, Concord) and there are plenty of them. The references and notes are keyed to the text with letters and numbers. Due to their style and size they are not noticeable while reading, so you can read without the text feeling interrupted.
The binding is Smyth sewn, allowing the Bible to lay flat. You can open the Bible to the first page right out of the box and it will stay open with no trouble at all. This feature is a must and the Clarion does it well.
This edition is in brown calfskin. It is very soft, but slightly stiff. I’m sure it will become more flexible with use, but I actually like it the way it is. The goatskin of my Cameo can be a little too flexible while holding the Bible in bed. The stiffness of this cover seems to solve that ‘problem’ for me. I can lie on the bed with the Clarion in my chest and it keeps its shape nicely. It feels great. For me it’s just the right amount of flexibility and softness. It has no trouble with yoga poses. The grain is smooth and looks nice. It is edge-lined.
The brown calfskin edition comes with 2 brown ribbons. They are more than long enough. They are 5/8 inches wide, which feels perfect for the size of the Clarion.
There are 16 pages of full-color maps. They are the same maps as the Cameo and Concord Bibles.
Translators to the Reader
I’m glad to see the Translators to the Reader in KJV editions. For me, it is an important document that gives the reader the thoughts of the translators on the translation of the KJV and Bible translation in general. I like that it is included because it shows the difficulty of the work of translation and the purpose and need of other translations and updates.
What? No concordance? Don’t worry, the Reader’s Companion provides more than what you would get from just a concordance. It serves as a concordance, topical index, and dictionary, all in one. The Reader’s Companion combines these features in a single place. It includes the prominent proper names, words that have changed meaning and their definitions, unfamiliar words, customs, occupations, background information, social, legal, and religious concepts, the books of the Bible, literary forms, the original languages, non-biblical literature from ancient times, translation information including the KJV and other derived translations, key words, and more. There is a list of verses for each entry (except book names) and 144 pages of entries. This is much better than a concordance. You don’t get the small clipping of the verse like you would in a concordance (it’s just the references), but with the awesome information in the Reader’s Companion, this is a trade I’m willing to make.
The size of the Clarion is interesting. It’s slightly larger than the Cameo at 7.5 x 5.5 x 1.5, making it a hand-size Bible. However, it doesn’t feel small on the inside. For me it’s the perfect size- both inside and out. Here are some comparisons with the Cameo:
Cambridge has just upped the ante for KJV Bible formats. They’ve given us a single-column paragraph format, nice readable font, side-column references, and a very nice reader’s companion. The Clarion is the perfect update to the KJV format and the perfect Bible to celebrate the KJVs 400th anniversary.
Baker Publishing provided this Bible free for this review. I was not required to give a positive review- only an honest review.