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1582 Rhemes NT and 1609-10 Doway OT – First Edition Roman Catholic Bible



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The New Testament of Jesus Christ, Translated Faithfully into English out of the Authentical Latin according to the best corrected copies of the same, diligently conferred with the Greeke and other editions in diuers languages; with Arguments of bookes and chapters, Annotations, and other necessarie helpes, for the better understanding of the text, and specially for the discoverie of the Corruptions of diuers late translations, and for clearing the Controversies in religion, of these daies… [with] The Holie Bible Faithfully Translated into English out of the Authentical Latin…


A complete three volume Douai Old Testament and Rheims New Testament Bible in contemporary calf. The first edition of the Roman Catholic Bible in English in near-matching bindings with arguments and annotations.


Text in single column Roman font with 41 lines to the column. Annotations follow each chapter of Bible text. NT: Fifteen preliminary leaves with title within narrow frame (1582). OT Volume 1: Ten preliminary leaves with title within narrow frame (1609). OT Volume 2: Title within narrow frame (1610), followed by Approbatio on verso. Ends with An historical table of the times… of the Old Testament (24 pp.), A particular table of the most principal thinges… (27 pp.), Censura, Errata.


a-c^4, d^2, A-Z^4, 2A-2Z^4, 3A-3Z^4, 4A-4Z^4, 5A-5D^4, 5E^2 (NT); [cross]^6, [cross][cross]^4, A-Z^4, 2A-2Z^4, 3A-3Z^4, 4A-4Z^4, 5A-5Z^4, 6A-6S^4, 6T^6 (OT Volume 1); A-Z^4, 2A-2Z^4, 3A-3Z^4, 4A-4Z^4, 5A-5Z^4, 6A-6W^4 (OT Volume 2). Bible text complete. Doway volume 1 lacks title page and volume 2 lacks six final leaves of A Particular Table.


Rhemes New Testament bound in Cambridge paneled boards, rebacked, somewhat rubbed with corners worn. Spine with five raised blind-lined bands and a gilt-lined morocco label with the words “New Testament” in gilt and a date of “1582” to foot of spine. The Old Testament volumes bound in brown calf, rebacked with matching spines, corners worn. Spines with four blind-lined raised bands and red morocco labels with “Holie Bible” in gilt and “I” and “II” in compartment below in gilt. Plain endpapers.


Rhemes New Testament: Title page (1582) with “Richard Gibson his book 1650” next to imprinted date; occasional staining, some thumbsoiling, heavier soiling to the first few leaves of Tables; f2-3 marginal loss to fore-edge; Nnn-Ooo marginal fore-edge stain impacting side notes and a few words of text on Ooo2-3. Doway volume 1: lacks title page; A1-3 stain to gutter; some underlining (a few words on every other page); B-Kk light stain to upper margin; Iiii-Kkkk and Oooo-Pppp light stain to bottom fifth of page; Xxxxx-Zzzzz and Hhhhhh-Rrrrrr stain to upper fourth of page; Tttttt4 (final leaf) loss of bottom fifth of page, no text loss. Doway volume 2: A1 (title page) triangular piece torn from foot reducing border and loss of printed date; title also with ex-libris stamp and taped tear; Aa-Cc stain to bottom margin and fore-edge, occasionally entering a few words of text; Oo-Qq light minimal lower marginal stain; Rr1-4 remargined without loss; Tt3-Uu4 stain to 25 percent of page; Yy1-4 reinforced without loss; 10 percent loss to final extant leaf with ex-libris stamp; lacks 6U3-6W4 (final six leaves of Tables).


The editio princeps of the Catholic Bible in English, translated primarily by Gregory Martin from the Vulgate. A great number of English Bibles and English versions were available by the end of the sixteenth century, yet none were acceptable to Catholics. With priests hard to come by, and many fellow Englishmen who knew their Bible well, a need arose for an English Bible that would be acceptable to Rome and allow adherents to refute the errors around them. Gregory Martin, an Oxford scholar, began the work in 1578 and it would take him four years. He translated about two chapters per day from Latin into English, leaving a heavily Latinized translation. His work was submitted for review to William Allen, the first president of the college at Douai. The New Testament was printed in 1582, with the Old Testament delayed by financial reasons until 1609-10. The work was used by the translators of the King James Bible, who borrowed quite freely from the Rheims New Testament.


Herbert 177; STC 2884; ESTC S102419 (Rhemes), Herbert 300; STC 2207; ESTC S101944 (Doway); PMM 114; Daniell, David. “The Rheims New Testament, 1582.” The Bible in English: Its History and Influence, Yale University Press, New Haven, CT, 2005.


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