Preface of the 1582 Douay-Rheims next >

By Gordon Winrod,
in the reprint of the 1582 Rheims New Testament
and 1635 Douay Old Testament


The publisher has included this preface because it gives an accurate picture regarding the origin of the Douay-Rheims translation as opposed to the origin of the King James translation and others. Keep in mind that Gordon Winrod was not a Catholic and no one can claim that he was biased toward the Catholic Bible.

This reprinting is of the 1582 A.D. Rheims Testament, and of the 1635 A.D. reprint of the Douay Old Testament, reproduced in a 10 per cent reduction from original actual size, making available, once again, by the grace of God, the most faithful English text of Holy Scripture, as translated from the sole authoritative source, the Latin Vulgate.

The purpose for the translation of the Douay-Rheims Bible is written in the Preface to its New Testament. It was "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.., no other bookes in the world being so pernicious as hereticall translations of the Scriptures, poisoning the people under colour of divine authoritie..." It is stated in the introduction to the Old Testament that enemies of the Church during the 16th century were "corruptly turning the Scriptures into divers tongues, as might best serve their owne opinions."

In this 20th century, Bibles appear, claiming to be "diligently compared with the original Hebrew and original Greek manuscripts.'' This is fallacious, since such are not known to be in existence, and were not known to be in existence in the 16th century. "Hebrew" manuscripts extant in the 16th century were anti-Christian Masoretic fabrications, which were not true to the old Latin Vulgate. The Preface to the Rheims New Testament states that "most of the auncient Heretikes were Grecians, & therfore the Scriptures in Greeke were more corrupted by them, as the auncient fathers often complaine." Sixteenth century Greek manuscripts were neither as old nor as authoritative as the Latin Vulgate of the 4th century, some of them having been recently constructed by enemies of Christianity for the purpose of altering the text of Holy Scripture. Especially, the reader is urgently referred to the third page of the translators' introduction to the Old Testament, beginning with the words: "But here an other question may be proposed: Why we translate the Latin text, rather then the Hebrew, or Greke..."

The year 1558 A.D. marks the beginning of increasing hardships in England for followers of the Vulgate1. Some were forced to flee to the European mainland for safety. Some went to Douay, France, where a college had been founded for the training of missionaries to return to England. It was there, ten years later, that Gregory Martin began to translate from the Latin Vulgate into English. First, the Old Testament was translated, then the New Testament. The college was forced to move from Douay to Rheims, where in 1582 A.D., the New Testament was published in a single volume, subsequently known as the "Rheims Testament." For want of means, the Old Testament was not published until the first volume appeared in 1609 A.D., and the second in 1610 A.D. These volumes were for distribution in England. However, stringent Penal Laws in England forbade the entrance and ownership of such literature, which was considered inimical to the government and highly treasonable.

One year later, in 1611 A.D., the Protestant King James Version, also known as the Authorized Version, was issued; but the Catholic Douay-Rheims was not allowed legal entry until the 18th century. The King James Version was permitted to stand without the contest of comparison with the Vulgate or the Douay-Rheims translation.

For slavishness to the Vulgate, the Douay Bible has been suppressed by Scripture's enemies. The Rheims Testament was reprinted twice at Antwerp - in 1600 and 1621 A.D. - and a fourth edition was issued, at Rouen in 1633 A.D. The Old Testament was reprinted in two volumes in 1635 A.D. Then, in the 18th century, Bibles appeared, erroneously called The Douay-Rheims. The Catholic Encyclopedia of 1909 A.D. states: "Although the Bibles in use at the present day by the Catholics of England and Ireland are popularly styled the Douay Version, they are most improperly so called; they are founded, with more or less alteration, on a series of revisions undertaken by Bishop Challoner in 1749-52 ... The changes introduced by him were so considerable that, according to Cardinal Newman, they almost amounted to a new translation. So, also, Cardinal Wiseman wrote, 'To call it any longer the Douay or Rheimish Version is an abuse of terms. It has been altered and modified until scarcely any verse remains as it was originally published. ' In nearly every case Challoner's changes took the form of approximating to the Authorized Version..."

The audacious determination to dissolve Christ from the Old Testament is plain in the Authorized Version, where names of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, are removed more than 100 times. 21 times the name Christ is deleted, where it appears in the Vulgate and Douay. This is true of the name Jesus, 1 time, in Hab. 3:18 (as also in Jude 5); of The Just One, 25 times; of Saviour, 15 times; of Dominator, 13 times; of The Holy One, 5 times; of The Strong One, 6 times; of The Son of Man, 5 times; of My Deliverer, 2 times; of our Lord, 7 times; of the Lamb; of our Redeemer; of The Meek One; of The Noble One; and of The Orient. Discovery of these deletions are sufficient cause for a reproduction of the Douay-Rheims Bible.

There are fourteen portions of the Old Testament, which by St. Jerome and the Church until the 16th century A.D., were not considered canonical Holy Scriptures, but were accepted only as apocryphal writings. At the Council of Trent (1545-1563 A.D.) eleven of the fourteen writings were elevated to the level of God's Word. The other three portions were set aside to be discarded. The Douay Old Testament has interspersed through its text eleven of these portions; but the other three are courteously appended at the end of the second volume. The Council of Trent ordered a revision of the Latin Vulgate, which was not accomplished until 1590-92 A.D. The publication of the Rheims Testament ante-dated the Vulgate revision.

Gordon Winrod
July 27, 1987
Gainesville, Missouri