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BIBLE; English, Douai-Rheims 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. Rheims: John Fogny, 1582; [together with:] 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... By the English College of Doway.

Rheims [NT] & Douai [OT]: John Fogny [NT]; printed by Laurence Kellam [OT], 1582 & 1609-10 Stock Code: 108480
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First edition of the English Catholic Bible, in early but disparate bindings as usual, the Old Testament in a contemporary Douai binding for presentation

First edition in English of the Roman Catholic version of the Bible, the Old Testament in a contemporary Douai binding and a presentation copy from John Knatchbull, vice-president of the English College at Douai, offered here with a pleasing copy of the Rheims New Testament in 17th-century calf.

Knatchbull presents the Old Testament to Lady Joanna Berkeley (1555/6-1616), abbess of the Benedictine Convent of the Assumption of Our Blessed Lady, Brussels, with his inscription at the head of the title page of vol. 2: "John Knatchbull to the honorable Lady and his most respected mother the Lay sic Barkley Abbesse of the English Monastery in Bruxells".

The English College at Douai was founded in 1568 by William Allen. In September 1579 Allen announced the project of a new English translation of the Bible. The translation was primarily the work of Gregory Martin (1542?-1582), with the revisions of Allen, Richard Bristow, and William Reynolds. Martin translated the entire Vulgate between September 1578 and July 1580 but the book was published episodically, the New Testament with Bristow's notes at Rheims in 1582 and the Old Testament in two volumes at Douai in 1609-10. As a result complete sets in uniform contemporary bindings are a chimera.

"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).

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Together 2 works in 3 quarto volumes. NT: quarto (214 x 155 mm). Late 17th-century calf, covers with a gilt rule border and gilt panel with a small fleuron at the corners, spine with 6 panels, the 2nd and 3rd with early 19th-century contrasting morocco labels; early 19th-century wove paper endleaves; sprinkled edges. Woodcut initials and ornaments; woodcut title from an early 17th-century Geneva Bible bound-in as frontispiece. 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, a very good copy. 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: 2 volumes, quarto (225 x 168 mm). Contemporary gilt-tooled calf, central gilt-stamped oval "IHS" with crucifix surrounded by flames, frames with elaborate scrollwork, spines gilt-stamped with repeated floral stamp; rebacked with original spines laid down, corners mended. Titles within typographic ornament borders, woodcut headpieces and decorative initials. Bookplates of Robert S. Pirie. An occasional minor marginal spot or smudge, a very good copy. Each volume housed in a burgundy flat-back cloth box by the Chelsea Bindery.


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