Douai-reims Bible

Roman Catholic translation of the Bible into English, so called because it was the production of the English College founded by Roman Catholic refugees in the Elizabethan period at Douai, later removing to Reims, and returning to Douai in 1593. The work was begun in 1578 at the instigation of William Allen,* not to promote Bible reading, but “with the object of healthfully counteracting the corruptions whereby the heretics have so long lamentably deluded almost the whole of our countrymen” (i.e., in the Protestant versions).

The chief translator was Gregory Martin, an Oxford scholar, and his daily stint of two chapters was revised by Allen and Richard Bristow. It was a translation of the Latin Vulgate, because of its antiquity and freedom from discrepancies visible in the Greek manuscripts, and because the Council of Trent defined it as exclusively authentic. Martin, however, did use the Greek text, and also the Protestant versions, notably Coverdale's “Diglott” version (1538). The style of the Douai-Reims was strongly Latinate, and it deliberately retained many technical terms in their original form: e.g., neophyte, Paraclete, sancta sanctorum, archysynagogue. The NT translation appeared in 1582 and was extensively used in the preparation of the KJV. The OT was ready at the same time, but did not appear until 1609-10 because of lack of funds. A revision of the Bible was made by Bishop Richard Challoner in 1749-50 and again in 1763-64, and in 1941 it was revised in accordance with Hebrew and Greek sources, and completely modernized.