1609-10 FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST ROMAN CATHOLIC OLD TESTAMENT IN ENGLISH
BIBLE. The Holie Bible Faithfully Translated into English, out of the Authentical Latin… Douai: Lawrence Kellam, 1609-10. Two volumes. Quarto, period-style full black morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and boards, red morocco spine label, raised bands, marbled endpapers. $32,000.
Scarce first edition of the first Roman Catholic translation of the Old Testament into English, from the Latin Vulgate.
"The Douai Bible is, as it professes to be, a literal translation of the Vulgate, and in some places more accurately hands down the very words of the [biblical] writers than any English translation then existing" (Dore, 316-17). "This version of the Old Testament… came from the same hands as the Rheims New Testament of 1582" (Darlow & Moule, 129), translated by "religious refugees who carried their faith and work abroad. Since the English Protestants used their vernacular translations, 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 faithful could answer, text for text, against the 'intolerable ignorance and importunity of the heretics of this time.' The chief translator was Gregory Martin… Technical words were transliterated rather than translated. Thus many new words came to birth… Not only was [Martin] steeped in the Vulgate, he was, every day, involved in the immortal liturgical Latin of his church. The resulting Latinisms added a majesty to his English prose, and many a dignified or felicitous phrase was silently lifted by the editors of the King James Version, and thus passed into the language" (Great Books and Book Collectors, 108). Lack of funds and "our poore estate in banishment" prevented the publication of this two-volume Old Testament until 1609-1610. With ornamental woodcut title borders, woodcut initials, and ornamental head- and tail-pieces. The Bible 100 Landmarks 65, 66. The Bible in the Lilly Library 39, 40. Dore, 291-98. Herbert 177, 300. Darlow & Moule 134. Pierpont Morgan Library, The Bible 112. Rumball-Petre, 15. Rylands, 95, 96. STC 2884. Herbert 300. STC 2207. Pierpont Morgan Library, The Bible 115. Bookplate, ink owner signature.
Text generally quite clean, with occasional instances of mostly marginal soiling, old paper repairs. A near-fine copy, beautifully bound.