New Testament of Jesus Christ


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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… Rhemes: John Fogny, 1582. Small quarto, late 19th-century full brown morocco, elaborately blind-tooled spine, raised bands, marbled endpapers, all edges gilt; pp. [30] 745 [27].

Very scarce first edition of the important Rheims New Testament, the first Roman Catholic version in English, translated from the Vulgate. The copy of noted biblical scholar and pastor John Eadie.

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. With ornamental woodcut title border, historiated initials, and head- and tailpieces. Without leaf Qqqqi only (pages 673-4, the final leaf of 2 Peter). The Bible 100 Landmarks 65. The Bible in the Lilly Library 39. Dore, 291-98. Herbert 177. Darlow & Moule 134. Pierpont Morgan Library, The Bible 112. Rumball-Petre, 15. Rylands, 95. STC 2884.
Armorial bookplate of Scottish Presbyterian biblical scholar and pastor (and noted theological book collector) John Eadie, with Latin motto "Crux mihi grata quies" ("The Cross is to me welcome rest"). Eadie—who at one time could recite all of Paradise Lost from memory—was greatly interested in "the movement for a revision of the English New Testament [and] was one of the original members of the New Testament revision company" (DNB). An early owner inscription on title page notes the confirmation of Anna Rita Hill in 1713; contemporary signatures of Thomas Hill on page 381 and Mary Hill on page [748]. From the Bible collection of Bernard Engel, Esq. Occasional contemporary marginalia (presumably in Eadie's hand).

Text and binding fine. An exceptional copy of an important and rare printing, with a noteworthy provenance. Extremely scarce.

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