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1582 First Edition Of The First Roman Catholic New Testament In English

23. BIBLE.

The New Testament of Jesus Christ, Translated Faithfully Into English, out of the

authentical Latin…With Arguments of bookes and chapters, Annotations, and other necessa-

rie helpes… for cleering the Controversies in religion, of these daies.

Rhemes, 1582. Small quarto,

late 19th-century full brown morocco.

$29,000.

Very scarce first edition of the important

Rheims New Testament, the first Roman

Catholic version in English, translated from

the Vulgate.

Because of the controversial textu-

al annotations in defense of Catholic doctrine,

most copies of this edition were purportedly

suppressed and destroyed.

The Rheims New Testament was “produced

by religious refugees who carried their

faith and work abroad. Since the English

Protestants used their vernacular transla-

tions, not only as the foundation of their own

faith but as siege artillery in the assault on

Rome, a Catholic translation became more

and more necessary in order that the faith-

ful could answer, text for text, against the

‘intolerable ignorance and importunity of

the heretics of this time.’” (

Great Books and

Book Collectors

108). The New Testament was

issued separately and first, in the hope that

its successful sale would finance prompt pro-

duction of the Old Testament; the two-vol-

ume Old Testament did not, however, appear

until 1609–10. Without leaf Qqqqi only (pag-

es 673–4, the final leaf of 2 Peter). Armorial

bookplate, contemporary and early owner

inscriptions. From the Bible collection of

Bernard Engel, Esq. Occasional contempo-

rary marginalia. Text and binding fine. An

exceptional copy of an important and rare

printing. Extremely scarce.

30

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