Category: What is the Douay-Rheims Version (DRV)?


Roman Catholic Bibles have several more books in the Old Testament than Protestant Bibles. These books are referred to as the Apocrypha or Deuterocanonical books. The word apocrypha means “hidden,” while the word deuterocanonical means “second canon.” The Apocrypha / Deuterocanonicals were written primarily in the time between the Old and New Testaments, as well as additions to the books of Esther and Daniel. The books are named: 1 Esdras, 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch, the Letter of Jeremiah, Prayer of Manasseh, 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees.

The nation of Israel treated the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books with respect, but never accepted them as true books of the Hebrew Bible. The early Christian church debated the status of the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonicals, but few early Christians believed they belonged in the canon of Scripture. The New Testament quotes from the Old Testament hundreds of times, but nowhere quotes or alludes to any of the Apocryphal / Deuterocanonical books. Further, there are many proven errors and contradictions in the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonicals. Here are a few websites that demonstrate these errors:
http://www.justforcatholics.org/a109.htm
http://www.biblequery.org/Bible/BibleCanon/WhatAboutTheApocrypha.htm
http://www.johnankerberg.org/ankerberg-articles/apocrypha.html

The Apocrypha / Deuterocanonical books teach many things that are not true and are not historically accurate. While many Catholics accepted the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonicals previously, the Roman Catholic Church officially added the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonicals to their Bible at the Council of Trent in the mid 1500’s A.D., primarily in response to the Protestant Reformation. The Apocrypha / Deuterocanonicals support some of the things that the Roman Catholic Church believes and practices which are not in agreement with the Bible. Examples are praying for the dead, petitioning “saints” in Heaven for their prayers, worshipping angels, and “alms giving” atoning for sins. Some of what the Apocrypha / Deuterocanonicals say is true and correct. However, due to the historical and theological errors, the books must be viewed as fallible historical and religious documents, not as the inspired, authoritative Word of God.

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Douay-Rheims Version – History
The Douay-Rheims Version, which contains the Apocrypha, is the foundation on which nearly all English Catholic versions are still based. It was translated by Gregory Martin, an Oxford-trained scholar, working in the circle of English Catholic exiles on the Continent, under the sponsorship of William (later Cardinal) Allen. The NT appeared at Rheims in 1582; the OT at Douay in 1609. The whole Douay-Rheims Bible was revised and diligently compared with the Latin Vulgate by Bishop Richard Challoner in A.D. 1749-1752. The notes included in the text were written by Challoner. The DR Bible was photographically reproduced from the 1899 edition of the John Murphy Company, Baltimore, Maryland, by Tan Books in 1971.

Douay-Rheims Version – Translation method
The Douay-Rheims Bible is a translation into English of the Latin Vulgate Bible which St. Jerome (342-420) translated into Latin from the original languages. The Vulgate quickly became the Bible universally used in the Latin Rite of the Catholic Church. In their preface, the translators of the 1582 DRV New Testament gave 10 reasons for using the Vulgate as their primary text, rather than the original Greek and Hebrew manuscripts, stating that the Latin Vulgate “is not only better than all other Latin translations, but than the Greek text itself, in those places where they disagree.”

Douay-Rheims Version – Pro’s and Con’s
The Douay-Rheims Version is not a poor translation, but the problem is that it is a translation of the Latin Vulgate, not a translation of the original Hebrew and Greek. Meaning and clarity are always lost in translation from one language to another. The Douay-Rheims takes this a step further, being a translation of a translation. In addition to this fault, the Douay-Rheims translators, on occasion, allowed their Catholic theology to influence their translation choices.

Douay-Rheims Version – Sample Verses
John 1:1, 14 – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.”

John 3:16 – “For God so loved the world, as to give his only begotten Son; that whosoever believeth in him, may not perish, but may have life everlasting.”

John 8:58 – “Jesus said to them: ‘Amen, amen I say to you, before Abraham was made, I am.’”

Ephesians 2:8-9 – “For by grace you are saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, for it is the gift of God; Not of works, that no man may glory.”

Titus 2:13 – “Looking for the blessed hope and coming of the glory of the great God and our Savior Jesus Christ,”