THE ORIGINAL DOUAY RHEIMS BIBLE 1582/1635 A.D.
I am proud to once again offer the complete facsimile edition of the original 1582 AD Rheims New Testament and the 1635 Douay Old Testament. This is an exact reprint (scanned images) of the biblical text. The original 3 volume set (2 volume Old Testament, 1 volume New Testament) has been split into 5 volumes (4 volume Old Testament, 1 volume New Testament). The increase in the number of volumes was necessary due to page limits imposed by the printer being utilized. The first printing of the Douay Old Testament was actually in 1610, the 1635 edition is simply the 2nd printing, with minor variations. THE FIRST CATHOLIC BIBLE IN ENGLISH- translated from the Latin Vulgate. The translators gave 10 reason why the Vulgate is the most reliable source for translating Holy Writ into another language. It is noted that these points were made over 430 years ago, so one could argue that since this time, advances in Biblical scholarship could give several of these points less weight, but that is not for us to argue here....
NOW TO GIVE thee also intelligence in particular, most gentle Reader, of such
things as it behooveth thee specially to know concerning our Translation: We translate the
old vulgar Latin text, not the common Greek text, for these causes:
1. It is so ancient, that it was used in the Church of God above 1300 years ago, as
appeareth by the Fathers of those times.
2. It is that (by the common received opinion and by all probability) which St. Jerome
afterward corrected according to the Greek, by the appointment of Damascus then Pope, as
he maketh mention in his preface before the four Evangelists, unto the said Damascus: and in
Catalogo in fine, and ep. 102.
3. Consequently it is the same which St. Augustine so commendeth and alloweth in an
Epistle to St. Jerome.
4. It is that, which for the most part ever since hath been used in the Church's service,
expounded in sermons, alleged and interpreted in the Commentaries and writings of the
ancient Fathers of the Latin Church.
5. The holy Council of Trent, for these and many other important considerations, hath
declared and defined this only of all other Latin translations, to be authentical, and so only to
be used and taken in public lessons, disputations, preachings, and expositions, and that no
man presume upon any pretense to reject or refuse the same.
6. It is the gravest, sincerest, of greatest majesty, least partiality, as being without all
respect of controversies and contentions, specially these of our time, as appeareth by those
places which Erasmus and others at this day translate much more to the advantage of the
7. It is so exact and precise according to the Greek, both the phrase and the word, that
delicate Heretics therefore reprehend it of rudeness. And that it followeth the Greek far more
exactly than the Protestants' translations. Besides infinite other places, we appeal to these:
Titus 3:14 – Curent bonis operibus praeesse. προιστασθαι εις. English bible 1577, to
maintain good works. and Hebrews 10:20 – Viam nobis initiaust, ην ενεκαινισεν. English
Bible be prepared. So in these words, Justificationes, Traditiones, Idola etc. In all which
they come not near the Greek, but, avoid it of purpose.
8. The Adversaries themselves, namely Beza, prefer it before all the rest. In praefat.
no. Test. an. 1556. And again he saith, that the old Interpreter translated very religiously.
Annot. in 1. Luc. v. 1.
9. In the rest, there is such diversity and dissension, and no end of reprehending one
another, and translating every man according to his fantasy, that *Luther said, “If the world
should any long time, we must receive again (which he thought absurd) the Decrees of
Councils, for preserving the unity of faith, because of diverse interpretations of the
Scripture.” And Beza (in the place above mentioned) noteth the itching ambition of his
fellow translators, that had much rather disagree and dissent from the best, than seem
themselves to have said or written nothing. And Beza's translation itself, being so esteemed
in our country, that the Geneva *English Testaments be translated according to the same, yet
sometime goeth so wide from the Greek, and from the meaning of the Holy Ghost, that
themselves which protest to translate it, dare not follow it. For example, Luke 3:36. They
have put these words, The son of Cainan, which he wittingly and willfully left out: and Acts
1:14, they say, With the women, agreeably to the vulgar Latin: where he saith, Cum uxoribus
– with their wives.
10. It is not only better than all other Latin translations, but than the Greek text itself, in
those places where they disagree.
(10 reasons, taken from the Preface of the 1582 Rheims New Testament, text copied and pasted from "The Original and True Rheims New Testament of Anno Domini 1582" by Dr. William von Peters. Dr. von Peters took upon himself the arduous task of re-typesetting the almost 3000 pages of the entire Douay Rheims Bible. If you would prefer a newly typeset edition instead of a facsimile of the historical text, check out his offerings here.
Visit our print on demand storefront to purchase. They are offered in an enlarged hardcover with a 8 1/4" by 10 3/4" page size. The set is heavy and can be expensive to ship, especially internationally.