Douay Rheims Challoner Revision

The Douay–Rheims Bible (/ˌduːeɪ ˈriːmz, ˌdaʊeɪ -/,[1] US also /duːˌeɪ -/), also known as the Rheims–Douai Bible or Douai Bible, and abbreviated as D–R and DRB, is a translation of the Bible from the Latin Vulgate into English made by members of the English College, Douai, in the service of the Catholic Church.[2] The New Testament portion was published in Reims, France, in 1582, in one volume with extensive commentary and notes. The Old Testament portion was published in two volumes twenty-seven years later in 1609 and 1610 by the University of Douai. The first volume, covering Genesis through Job, was published in 1609; the second, covering Psalms to 2 Machabees plus the three apocrypha books of the Vulgate appendix following the Old Testament (Prayer of Manasseh3 Esdras, and 4 Esdras) was published in 1610. Marginal notes took up the bulk of the volumes and had a strong polemical and patristic character. They offered insights on issues of translation, and on the Hebrew and Greek source texts of the Vulgate.

The purpose of the version, both the text and notes, was to uphold Catholic tradition in the face of the Protestant Reformation which up until the time of its publication had dominated Elizabethan religion and academic debate. As such it was an effort by English Catholics to support the Counter-Reformation. The New Testament was reprinted in 1600, 1621 and 1633. The Old Testament volumes were reprinted in 1635 but neither thereafter for another hundred years. In 1589, William Fulke collated the complete Rheims text and notes in parallel columns with those of the Bishops’ Bible. This work sold widely in England, being re-issued in three further editions to 1633. It was predominantly through Fulke’s editions that the Rheims New Testament came to exercise a significant influence on the development of 17th-century English.[3]

Much of the text of the 1582/1610 bible employed a densely Latinate vocabulary, making it extremely difficult to read the text in places. Consequently, this translation was replaced by a revision undertaken by bishop Richard Challoner; the New Testament in three editions of 1749, 1750, and 1752; the Old Testament (minus the Vulgate apocrypha), in 1750. Although retaining the title Douay–Rheims Bible, the Challoner revision (DRC) was a new version, tending to take as its base text the King James Version[4] rigorously checked and extensively adjusted for improved readability and consistency with the Clementine edition of the Vulgate. Subsequent editions of the Challoner revision, of which there have been very many, reproduce his Old Testament of 1750 with very few changes. Challoner’s New Testament was, however, extensively revised by Bernard MacMahon in a series of Dublin editions from 1783 to 1810. These Dublin versions are the source of some Challoner bibles printed in the United States in the 19th century. Subsequent editions of the Challoner Bible printed in England most often follow Challoner’s earlier New Testament texts of 1749 and 1750, as do most 20th-century printings and on-line versions of the Douay–Rheims bible circulating on the internet.

Although the Jerusalem BibleNew American Bible Revised EditionRevised Standard Version Catholic Edition, and New Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition are the most commonly used Bibles in English-speaking Catholic churches, the Challoner revision of the Douay–Rheims often remains the Bible of choice of more-traditional English-speaking Catholics.

The original source of the text used in the BibleGet project is the text released on the Gutenberg project: . The text is presented as follows:

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Holy Bible.

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever.  You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Holy Bible
Douay-Rheims Version, Challoner Revision
The Old and New Testaments

Posting Date: January 11, 2011 [EBook #1581]
Release Date: December, 1998  [Etext #1581]

Language: English

Produced by Dennis McCarthy, Atlanta, Georgia
and Tad Book, student, Pontifical North American College, Rome.


Translated from the Latin Vulgate

Diligently Compared with the Hebrew, Greek,
and Other Editions in Divers Languages

First Published by the English College at Douay
A.D. 1609 & 1610


First Published by the English College at Rheims
A.D. 1582

With Annotations

The Whole Revised and Diligently Compared with
the Latin Vulgate by Bishop Richard Challoner
A.D. 1749-1752


Without the assistance of many individuals and groups, this text of the
Douay-Rheims Version of the Holy Bible would not be available for the
Project Gutenberg collection.  Our most grateful and sincere thanks goes
to those at 'Catholic Software' who have provided the electronic plain
texts of the 73 books of the Bible.  'Catholic Software' also produces a
Douay Bible program on CD-ROM that features a fully searchable Douay-
Rheims Bible, footnotes, Latin text and dictionary, topical index, maps,
Biblical art gallery, and other features.  For more information of this
and many other products contact:

Catholic Software
Box 1914
Murray, KY 42071
(502) 753-8198

Additional production assistance has been provided by volunteers from
the Atlanta Council of the Knights of Columbus.  Tad Book compiled and
reformatted the texts to Project Gutenberg standards.  Dennis McCarthy
assisted Mr. Book and transcribed selections from the first editions
included as appendices.


This e-text comes from multiple editions of Challoner's revised Douay-
Rheims Version of the Holy Bible.  In 1568 English exiles, many from
Oxford, established the English College of Douay (Douai/Doway), Flanders,
under William (later Cardinal) Allen.  In October, 1578, Gregory Martin
began the work of preparing an English translation of the Bible for
Catholic readers, the first such translation into Modern English.
Assisting were William Allen, Richard Bristow, Thomas Worthington, and
William Reynolds who revised, criticized, and corrected Dr. Martin's
work.  The college published the New Testament at Rheims (Reims/Rhemes),
France, in 1582 through John Fogny with a preface and explanatory notes,
authored chiefly by Bristol, Allen, and Worthington.  Later the Old
Testament was published at Douay in two parts (1609 and 1610) by Laurence
Kellam through the efforts of Dr. Worthington, then superior of the
seminary.  The translation had been prepared before the appearance of the
New Testament, but the publication was delayed due to financial
difficulties.  The religious and scholarly adherence to the Latin Vulgate
text led to the less elegant and idiomatic words and phrases often found
in the translation.  In some instances where no English word conveyed the
full meaning of the Latin, a Latin word was Anglicized and its meaning
defined in a glossary.  Although ridiculed by critics, many of these
words later found common usage in the English language.  Spellings of
proper names and the numbering of the Psalms are adopted from the Latin

In 1749 Dr. Richard Challoner began a major revision of the Douay and
Rheims texts, the spellings and phrasing of which had become increasingly
archaic in the almost two centuries since the translations were first
produced.  He modernized the diction and introduced a more fluid style,
while faithfully maintaining the accuracy of Dr. Martin's texts.  This
revision became the 'de facto' standard text for English speaking
Catholics until the twentieth century.  It is still highly regarded by
many for its style, although it is now rarely used for liturgical
purposes.  The notes included in this electronic edition are generally
attributed to Bishop Challoner.

The 1610 printing of the second tome of the Old Testament includes an
appendix containing the non-canonical books 'Prayer of Manasses,' 'Third
Booke of Esdras,' and 'Fourth Booke of Esdras.'  While not part of
Challoner's revision, the 1610 texts are placed in the appendices of
this e-text.  Also included are the original texts of two short books,
'The Prophecie of Abdias' and 'The Catholike Epistle of Iude the
Apostle,' to give the reader a sense of the language of the first
editions in comparison to the Challoner revision.  Further background on
the Douay-Rheims version may be found in a selection from the preface to
the 1582 edition and the original glossary included in the appendices.

A sample of the first chapter of Genesis, as produced by the Gutenberg block (in the WordPress sense of the term):


1In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.2And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters.3And God said: Be light made. And light was made.(Genesis 1,1-3)