The first-ever digitally typeset edition of the Douai-Rheims Bible, with newly redrawn colour maps, has been published by Baronius Press - a new Catholic publishing house.
This was the Bible that would have been used by some of the recusant priests and martyrs during the days when it was illegal to be a Catholic in the British Isles.
The Douay-Rheims Bible is an English translation of the Latin Vulgate Bible, a version universally used in the Church for over 1500 years, meticulously translated from the original Hebrew and Greek by St Jerome (A.D. 340-420).
In 1546, the Council of Trent declared the Latin Vulgate Bible as authentic, and declared that: "No one may dare or presume under any pretext whatsoever to reject it".
In 1943, Pope Pius XII stated that the continuous use of the Vulgate Bible in the Church for many centuries showed that it was "free from any error whatsoever in matters of faith and morals" (Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943), paragraph 21).
In 1749-1752, Bishop Challoner, knowing that many English Catholics were reading distorted Protestant versions of the Bible such as the King James Version, made major revisions to the Douay-Rheims version, to improve its readability without diminishing its accuracy.
The revised Douay-Rheims Bible has been approved by the Church many times over, including the approbation of Cardinal Gibbons for the 1899 edition that Baronius Press is publishing.
For over 300 years, the Douay Rheims Bible was the only Catholic English translation of Scripture used. It continues to be used officially in Catholic churches today.
Many anti-Catholics accuse the Church of having hidden Scripture from the faithful by refusing to translate it into the vernacular tongue. The Douay-Rheims was completed in 1609, and is therefore older than the King James Version, the oldest Protestant translation still in use, which was published in 1611. The Rheims New Testament was published nearly thirty years earlier, in 1582.
The translators of the KJV make specific reference to the Douay version in their translators' preface. It is commonly acknowledged that, in preparing the KJV, the translators made use of the Rheims New Testament and adopted many of its readings in preference to those of other English editions.
Since it was translated quite literally and with great reverence for each individual word from the Vulgate, which in turn reflects the structure of the original languages very clearly, the Douay-Rheims Bible can give great inside into the minds of the sacred authors.
For more information visit: www.baroniuspress.com/
First published LONDON - 8 March 2004 - 390 words