Review: new edition of the Douay-Rheims Bible

This is a golden age for the Catholic Church in England. The opportunities for evangelisation are unparallelled. The Biblical revival is one of the causes of this golden age. Never before has there been such a reverence and love for God's Word. Everywhere in our church people are reading, studying and praying the scriptures.

I began my student days and my study of scripture in the fifties with a Douay-Rheims version of the Bible. Money was scarce then so we were grateful for the cheap edition. It was a tubby--chubby tome that fitted into my ruck sack during summer holidays. It became my spiritual reading companion by whispering streams or in warm meadows.

There are two main qualities that go to make up an adequate Bible. It must contain an interpretation that is loyal to the original and adheres faithfully to the teachings of the Catholic Church and it's translation must be faithful to the original text with reverent language .

The Douay-Rheims version has fulfilled all this abundantly. Of course there has been a flood of published Bibles over recent years that claim to be modern and accurate and that may be so - but the Douay-Rheims maintains its place alongside all of them. I have yet to find a more beautifully balanced account of John Ch. 4.(The Samaritan Woman) than that in the Douay-Rheims Bible.

This new Baronius Press edition is superb. The text representing the exact original edition is so easy to read. The black and white digitally retouched engravings from the 1941 edition viewed with the eyes of faith impact on one in a very profound way as all true art should. Neither these nor the coloured maps at the back intrude unnecessarily on the Word itself.

This production contains the "Divino Afflante Spiritu" encyclical of Pius X11.This great pope, who is sometimes wronglyconsidered conservative, issued a clarion call to Catholic Scholars to get up to date with Biblical Studies. To him we owe the fact that to-day Catholic Biblical Scholarship is envy of the academic world. He was following a path made by the encyclicals of Pope Leo X111(Providentissimus Deus) and Pope Benedict XV (Spiritus Paraclitus) all of which enrich this beautiful Baronius Bible.

My days for ruck sacks and meadows are over but this Baronius Bible has a place on my desk and will never be far from my reach when it comes to preparing sermons or talks or just prayerfully reading it. I do hope that many many will reach out and take this magnificent production. It would make a precious Easter gift for anyone thinking of giving a present. It is worth more than many Easter eggs.

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First published LONDON - 8 March 2004 - 462 words

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