The Douay-Rheims Bible

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

While prayerfully meditating on today's Gospel, I became more curious with the Douay-Rheims Bible. It has been for such a long time the official English translation of the Catholic Church, one that is most faithful to the Latin Vulgate Bible of Saint Jerome.

What was most different was how it felt reading this particular translation. Take for instance the Gospel for today, which I have quoted in my blog entry.

28 And when he was come on the other side of the water, into the country of the Gerasens, there met him two that were possessed with devils, coming out of the sepulchres, exceeding fierce, so that none could pass by that way.
And behold they cried out, saying: What have we to do with thee, Jesus Son of God? art thou come hither to torment us before the time?
30 And there was, not far from them, an herd of many swine feeding.

31 And the devils besought him, saying: If thou cast us out hence, send us into the herd of swine. 32 And he said to them: Go. But they going out went into the swine, and behold the whole herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea: and they perished in the waters.
And they that kept them fled: and coming into the city, told every thing, and concerning them that had been possessed by the devils.

34 And behold the whole city went out to meet Jesus, and when they saw him, they besought him that he would depart from their coasts.

Very beautiful. Compare this with the contemporary translation I am using for my reflections.

When Jesus came to the territory of the Gadarenes,
two demoniacs who were coming from the tombs met him.
They were so savage that no one could travel by that road.
They cried out, “What have you to do with us, Son of God?
Have you come here to torment us before the appointed time?”
Some distance away a herd of many swine was feeding.
The demons pleaded with him,
“If you drive us out, send us into the herd of swine.”
And he said to them, “Go then!”
They came out and entered the swine,
and the whole herd rushed down the steep bank into the sea
where they drowned.
The swineherds ran away,
and when they came to the town they reported everything,
including what had happened to the demoniacs.
Thereupon the whole town came out to meet Jesus,
and when they saw him they begged him to leave their district.

Which is for you a better rendering of God's Word? It's yours to decide. As for me, I felt very refreshed after reading the Word in the Douay-Rheims version. I hope I can buy the Holy Bible in this translation, and I really pray it's available in the Philippines.


Saint Peter Canisius, pray for us.


Seminarian Matthew Wednesday, July 2, 2008 at 11:25:00 AM PDT  

Beautiful passage in the Douay-Rheims Translation. I recommend the Douay-Rheims from Our Lady of the Rosary Library ( because they usually sell very cheaply. However, I do not know if they ship to the Philippines.

Adam Tuesday, July 8, 2008 at 7:01:00 PM PDT  

Much like what you did, I often read both an older translation and a modern one. I used to read the KJV and the NIV when I was protestant, but now I read the Douay-Rheims and the OSB and sometimes the RSV-CE too. The older English versions are much more eloquent, but the diction can be archaic and is hard to understand for modern English speakers. I think the Douay-Rheims and OSB make good reading partners since the Old Testaments of both is based on the Septuagint, that makes the Psalm numbering is the same in both. The Orthodox Study Bible Old Testament is a completely new translation straight from the Septuagint into English. Also reading the Douay-Rheims or King James Version could help be improve your English. But of course the best version to read would be a Koine Greek New Testament, but most of us can not read it.

Hermit, without a permit. Wednesday, July 9, 2008 at 10:04:00 PM PDT  

wonderful post, you know you can also read the Douay-Rheims online at
i have 2 versions, (amongst my versions..):) one with commentary of the Fathers and 19 century scholars, its out of print so i treasure it.

Rev Dr Seamus,  Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 3:17:00 AM PDT  

Yes, the Douay-Rheims has beautiful old language, very beautiful when read or read out loud to the parish. I have the New Jerusalem as well as others such as Oxford, but old language, imho, somehow brings me closer to the imagery of the older times.

pax Dei

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