Maggs Bros Ltd

FIRST EDITION OF THE DOUAY-RHEMES CATHOLIC VERSION.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 divers 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 divers late translations, and for cleering the Controversies in religion, of these daies: In the English College of Rhemes.Printed at Rhemes, by Iohn Fogny,  1582.


£12000.00  [First Edition]

First Edition. 4to. [Text: 215 x 155 mm]. [28], 745, [27 (Table of Controversies, etc.)] pp. Title within woodcut typographic border. Woodcut initials and ornaments. Title and following leaf somewhat soiled and browned and repaired on the verso along the inner margin, text lightly browned throughout with some minor dampstaining, minor grubby marks and soiling in places, inner margin of the final leaf repaired. Late 17th-century calf, covers with a gilt rule border and gilt panel with a small fleuron at the corners, spine with six panels, the 2nd and 3rd panels with early 19th-century contrasting morocco labels; early 19th-century wove paper endleaves; sprinkled edges. Woodcut title from an early 17th-century Geneva Bible bound-in as a frontispiece.



OLD TESTAMENT. The Holie Bible faithfully translated into English, out of the authentical Latin. Diligently conferred with the Hebrew, Greeke, and other Editions in divers languages. With Arguments of the Bookes, and Chapters: Annotations: Tables: and other helpes, for better understanding of the text: for discoverie of Corruptions in some late translations: and for clearing Controversies in Religion. By the English College of Doway.

Doway: by Laurence Kellam, at the signe of the holie Lambe, 1609 - 1610  

First Edition. 2 vols. 4to. [Text: 210 x 160 mm]. [20], 1115, [1 (blank)pp; 1124 [i.e. 1128 (pp. 1001-1004 are repeated in the numbering)], [2 (errata / verso blank) of 4 (lacking the final blank)] pp. Titles and last few pages pages a little dusty, occasional small marks, minor worming in the fore-margin of Vol. 2 in places, a few neat paper repairs to the extremities at front and back. Contemporary limp vellum; red edges (recased on new tawed leather slips, head of the spine of Vol. 1 renewed, covers carefully cleaned, new leather ties, new endleaves, old flyleaves preserved).


The 3 volumes preserved together in a green morocco-backed folding box.



New Testament: STC 2884. Darlow & Moule, The English Bible, 117. Pforzheimer 68. This first edition of the Roman Catholic version of the New Testament in English. 


Old Testament: STC 2207. Darlow & Moule, The English Bible, 300. With the notice to the reader at the end of Vol. 1 and the list of errata for both volumes at the end of Vol. 2. The first edition of the Roman Catholic version of the Old Testament in English. 


In 1578 the Roman Catholic priest Gregory Martin (1542?-1582), recently recalled from Rome to the English College at Rheims (itself newly transferred from Douai), "embarked on an English translation of the Bible. [Cardinal] Allen announced the project in September 1578. He, Richard Bristow, and William Reynolds were involved primarily as revisers: the work was Martin's. Between September 1578 and July 1580 Martin translated the entire Vulgate. The New Testament of Iesus Christ with Bristow's notes was published at Rheims in 1582. For financial reasons ("our poore estate in banishment") the Old Testament did not appear until the two volumes of The Holie Bible were published at Douai in 1609–10. The appearance of a Catholic Bible in English undermined traditional protestant criticism that the Roman church kept scripture out of the hands of the laity. Instead protestant theologians such as Thomas Cartwright, William Whitaker, and William Fulke attacked the credentials of the translators and denounced their work as filled with error. Despite such criticism, revised versions of Martin's translation remained extremely popular throughout the English-speaking world for nearly four hundred years." (ODNB).


The lengthy preface to the New Testament (repeated in abstract in the Old Testament) rehearses the history of Bible translations (including that of John Wycliffe) and their their dangers to the unlearned, explains why it is being translated from the Latin Vulgate version rather than the original Hebrew and Greek as preferred by Protestants, and justifies why ordinary people, provided they have the permission of their curates or confessors, may now read it in their own language.


"Now since Luthers revolt also, divers learned Catholikes, for the more speedy abolishing of a number of false and impious translations put forth by sundry sectes, and for the better preservation or reclaime of many good soules endangered thereby, have published the Bible in the several languages of almost all the principal provinces of the Latin Church, no other bookes in the world being so pernicious as hereticall translations of the Scriptures, poisoning the people under colour of divine authoritie, & not many other remedies being more soveraigne against the same (if it be used in order, discretion, and humilitie) then the true, faithful, and sincere interpretation opposed thereunto. 


"Which causes the holy Church not to forbid utterly any Catholike translation, though she allow not the publishing or reading of any absolutely and without exception, or limitation: knowing by her divine and most sincere wisedom, how, where, when, and to whom these her Maisters and Spouses giftes are to be bestowed to the most good of the faithful and therefore neither generally permitteth that which must needes doe hurt to the unworthy, nor absolutely condemneth that which may doe much good to the worthie. Whereupon, the order which many a wise man wished for before, was taken by the Deputies of the late famous Council of Trent in this behalfe, and confirmed by supreme authoritie, that the holy Scriptures, though truely and Catholikely translated into vulgar tonges, yet may not be indifferently readde of all men, nor of any other then such as have expresse licence thereunto of their lawful Ordinaries, with good testimonie from their Curates or Confessors, that they be humble, discrete and devout persons, and like to take much good, and no harme thereby." 


Provenance: NT: Old ink initials "AK" at the foot of the title. Rev. Joseph Abbot, perhaps the Catholic priest of St Chad's, Birmingham, circa 1838-40, with his early 19th-century signature on the front pastedown. Pencil purchase note on the front flyleaf "Hodgson 423 10/10/69 AMX". OT: Early ink signature at the foot of the title "And[rew] Cross his Booke" and heavily deleted inscription in the centre "Thomas Parry de [?Roylage] / Ex dono Maria Cross [-]". The set put-together circa 1970 and in a private collection in England since.

Stock Code: 224212