Typesetting References in the Bible

Whoever makes Bibles, please typeset them like this:

Oxford/Cambridge NEB NT 3

I’ve written before implicitly in favour of deëmphasizing chapter and verse numbers, in addressing issues of external authority in relation to human verse numbers, as have others. The least we can do is to bump the numbers out and have normal paragraphs, unlike most settings of the Authorized (King James) Version. This has been done centuries ago: just see the 1583 Louvain Bible (image) and Baskerville’s 1763 Greek New Testament (image).

We ought to have Bibles that interfere as little as possible with interpretation of the books as given. To that end, verse numbers set into the text visually are a hindrance – and, by the way, this must be significant for the unconscious mind too. If the point of reference numbers is simply to be on the same page, so to speak, and to find things with precision, the way we’re used to can readily be changed. I’m sure we, being the adaptable humans that we are, can adjust reasonably naturally.


7 responses to “Typesetting References in the Bible

  1. I want!! Are such Bibles sold anywhere?


  2. Oh, I want to add that I wonder how this Bible typesets the Psalms.


  3. For the OT, I like to use this, this, and this.


  4. Yes. Also, there are no subject headings or columns. Plus, the font is large and readable, the spacing generous, and the paper is thick. So the Torah, for example, takes up over 400 pages. It’s real nice. I’d love to find an equivalent treatment of the Gospels and/or the whole NT.


    • That does sound nice. I think I still prefer the treatment of numbers shown in the picture above, to be consistent in inserting as few man-made elements as possible into the body of the text, but the generous (but not excessive) spacing and thick paper are definite pluses.

      I myself don’t really care how large type is (9pt to 12pt is fine for me for standard-sized books), as long as the typeface is legible (letters are distinguishable) and readable (reading extended text is easy), each line isn’t too long (or far too short) and the lines have a good amount of leading (space between one line and the next).


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