New Testament of Jesus Christ. WITH: Holie Bible


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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 necessarie helpes… for cleering the Controversies in religion, of these daies… WITH: The Holie Bible Faithfully Translated into English, out of the Authentical Latin… Rhemes; Douai: John Fogny; Lawrence Kellam, 1582; 1609-1610. Together, three volumes. Quarto, period-style full black morocco, elaborately gilt-decorated spine and boards, red morocco spine labels, raised bands, marbled endpapers.

Very scarce first editions of the important Rheims New Testament, the first Roman Catholic version in English, translated from the Vulgate, and the first Roman Catholic translation of the Old Testament into English, from the Latin Vulgate, beautifully bound.

Like the Geneva Bible, the Rheims New Testament was "produced 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's Version, and thus passed into the language" (Great Books and Book Collectors 108). While Martin was responsible for the translation, the controversial textual annotations in defense of Catholic doctrine are attributed to Richard Bristow, one of the supervisors of the project; most copies of this edition were purportedly suppressed and destroyed because of these notes (some of which were removed from later editions). The New Testament was issued separately and first, in the hope that its successful sale would finance prompt production of the Old Testament; the two-volume Old Testament did not, however, appear until 1609-10 due to insufficient funds.

"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). Each volume of the Old Testament with ornamental woodcut title borders, woodcut initials, and ornamental head- and tail-pieces. Errata leaf at rear of Volume II. 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. Early ownership signature effaced from title page of Volume I of the Old Testament; 19th-century family notes (O'Brien) on verso of final text leaf. Ink signature (Mary Boothe) dated 1647 on title page of Volume II of the Old Testament. Early owner ink signature and markings to New Testament title page.

Title page of Volume I of the Old Testament with small repair to outer margin, remargined at hinge; repair to short closed tear to upper edge of New Testament title page. Occasional faint dampstaining, only occasionally extending into text; Volume I trimmed a little close at outer margin, just touching a very few shoulder notes. Magnificently bound.

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