Criticism on Douay-Rheims (Please)


#1

On a search for a new Bible, considering RSV-2CE, but I’m also pondering
the Douay-Rheims, and would appreciate textual criticisms on it PLEASE!

I don’t want the positive commercial statements talking about how “good” it
is as a translation, “translated from the Vulgate,” “excellent,” “I love it,” etc.

I’m already aware of the positive aspects of the Douay-Rheims, but instead I
would like some negative testimony, reasons why NOT to get it, use it, etc.
ALSO…
I’m not concerned with footnotes, concordance, index, maps, and so forth, just
the very wording of the text, the TRANSLATION itself, I want to know if I could,
in a matter of speaking, rest my very soul on what the Douay-Rheims says. (Pardon the Drama) :o
Need here the bad, the ugly, the plain wrongs of Douay-Rheims. :gopray2: (PLEEAASS[size=1]E[/size])


#2

You should specify which D/R bible you mean. There are quite a few, and depending on which version you can get various answers.

1 Original D/R bible 1582-1609, and its reprints (up to 1738)
2 Challoner's revision of the D/R Bible, and its reprints (up to 1766)
3 Various editions and reprints BASED on Challoner's revisions (up to 1940)

E.g. Most of the Haydock Bibles are actually McMahon editions of later Challoner revisions.

Other than a couple of accidental omissions, I can't imagine any criticisms of the D/R's texts.

After all, the D/R text is based on the Vulgate, so you're real question might be what are the criticisms of the Clementine Vulgate (used by Challoner and later) or the mystery Vulgate used by the original D/R.

The D/R text was meant to be a fairly literal Latin translation into English, so that may be a criticism to someone who wants a more dynamic equivalence. The original D/R was the most literal, while it was softened and updated with Challoner's revision and later.


#3

Hi Judas,

DR is a good translation of the Vulgate, especially as revised by Canon Challonner. The "olde Englishe" pretentions are bothersome but that is a personal reaction. Its literary value is nowhere near that of the King James or even the Revised Standard Version (Catholic edition), which I recommend.

DR unfortunately promoted by a lot of individuals who believe that the Church is the victim of a liberal plot to reject traditional values. This has reduced its credibility with many moderate Catholics.

Verbum


#4

I switched to the Douay-Rheims Bible several years ago. I do have 2 more modern language translations (Catholic) of the Bible, plus an old KJV which my Grandmother gave me as a child (she was protestant, but very devout, and allowed me to be taught to be Catholic, when she raised me), so I treasure it. I have the Challoner translation, published by Baronius Press, London about 10 years ago, and bears the Impmatur of the Archbishop of Baltimore, His Eminence James Cardinal Gibbons. I am also not interested in the maps, commentaries, etc., offered by so many study Bibles, but wanted just a good translation which was easy for ME to read. Since I grew up reading from the KJV as a small child, (age 5 - 8), the language may be somewhat old-fashioned, but very familiar to me. I found it not only a good translation, but it is very rich in language, easy for me to read. I occasionally have to re-read a portion, due to slightly archaic language, but this is also good, since I pay more attention to what I am reading!

Personally, I wish I had bought it 30 years ago! I think you would thoroughly enjoy it if you love the Scriptures in a more literal form, even with the (slightly) archaic language sometimes used. I have no problems with "thee" or "thou" or "shouldst". (these sound normal to me, due to familiarity since childhood). If you don't like the more old-fashioned (archaic) forms of English translations (such as is found in the KJV) as well as in the Douay-Rheims Bible translations of the Vulgate, then I would avoid it and get yourself a modern translation in modern English. If you love the old language and the "thee" and "thou" which is liberally used, then I think you would enjoy the Douay-Rheims. For those who never have read prayers or Scripture passages in the more archaic English (or who have a problem with English in the first place), then the Douay-Rheims may not be as good.

:)


#5

Since you're asking for the negatives, I have some, but I wouldn't say there's anything that would cause you to "not rest your very soul" on the DR. The DR is a venerable Catholic edition with centuries of having edified Catholics through some of the Church's most difficult times.

That said, I highly dislike the Latinisms; that's the very first thing that prevents me from using the DR at all. Not just with the phraseology, but even with the proper names. I absolutely dislike reading stories about Noe and the flood, Josue and the conquest, Elias, Achab and the prophets of Baal, Eliseus and the floating ax-head, and about Isias, Jeremias, Sophonias and the like. I don't like reading about Tobias and his son Tobias and reading from the books of 1 and 2 Paralipomenon.

That, however, is entirely due to personal preference and not any dogmatic or scientific reasons. Call me irrational, but I simply cannot stand them.

The "advantage" other DR enthusiasts often profer I consider to be its major disadvantage, and no longer conforms to the current mind of the Church since the encyclical Divino Afflante Spiritu of 1943: the DR is a translation of the Vulgate, itself a translation of the original languages, so translation-wise, it's once removed from the original inspired languages used to write the Scriptures. Yes, we'll hear of the "Jerome had manuscripts we don't" argument, but the truth also is, we have manuscripts, and lots of them, that Jerome didn't. And since the Church has stated that we should be turning to the original languages for Scripture scholarship, that's what we should be doing.


#6

[quote="Judas_Thaddeus, post:1, topic:346125"]
On a search for a new Bible, considering RSV-2CE, but I'm also pondering
the Douay-Rheims, and would appreciate textual criticisms on it PLEASE!

I don't want the positive commercial statements talking about how "good" it
is as a translation, "translated from the Vulgate," "excellent," "I love it," etc.

I'm already aware of the positive aspects of the Douay-Rheims, but instead I
would like some negative testimony, reasons why NOT to get it, use it, etc.
ALSO...
I'm not concerned with footnotes, concordance, index, maps, and so forth, just
the very wording of the text, the TRANSLATION itself, I want to know if I could,
in a matter of speaking, rest my very soul on what the Douay-Rheims says. (Pardon the Drama) :o
Need here the bad, the ugly, the plain wrongs of Douay-Rheims. :gopray2: (PLEEAASS[size=1]E[/size])

[/quote]

Well, it's a very good translation
The bad:
Nothing, really. Bishop Challoner's footnotes still stand up very well today, though Judges 11 still gives me the odd sleepless night. :)

The ugly:
1. For those used to the KJV, the D-R Challoner will look like a "me too" product.
2. The D-R-Only debates can get ugly at times. :D

Honestly, I see no reason to have any reservations about it. If you want a single English-language Bible that is the closest to Traditional Catholic teaching, stick to it. :)


#7

[quote="RPRPsych, post:6, topic:346125"]
Well, it's a very good translation
The bad:
Nothing, really. Bishop Challoner's footnotes still stand up very well today, though Judges 11 still gives me the odd sleepless night. :)

The ugly:
1. For those used to the KJV, the D-R Challoner will look like a "me too" product.
2. The D-R-Only debates can get ugly at times. :D

Honestly, I see no reason to have any reservations about it. If you want a single English-language Bible that is the closest to Traditional Catholic teaching, stick to it. :)

[/quote]

I agree with this post. For me, it represents the closest I have found to the original languages, and also to Traditional Catholic teaching. I learned Hebrew when I was young, so I could read some of the OT in the original Torah in Hebrew. I find the Douay-Rheims an excellent translation (in the English) to the original Hebrew I studied, and very inspiring. I think the negatives are positives, for me personally.


#8

The only negative I have is that the Church didn't continue revisions of the DR so that it would be up to dated with other modern translations. I personally don't appreciate like many others the old English. I find no fault with the DR, but only with the neglect to keep it updated.


#9

The New Revised Douay Rheims? It might just work! :thumbsup:


#10

If you are not a traditionalist and do not like reading archaic english; you will not find the DR bible to your likeing.
Pax et Bonum:bible1:


#11

I'm not sure what happened with the numbering system on the DR, but the Psalms seem to be different than normal. Everyone knows Psalm 23 is the Lord is my Shepherd. But here it is Psalm 22 - drbo.org/chapter/21022.htm

I haven't used the DR too much yet. I have preferred the Catholic Ignatius bibles, especially the study bible. But, I am basically coming from an NIV to a RSV. So, the old English is a bit of an acquired taste for me. It's like trying to drink new wine in old wine skins. heh heh.

The DR isn't really Jerome's translation. It is an English translation of Jerome's translation.


#12

[quote="COPLAND_3, post:8, topic:346125"]
The only negative I have is that the Church didn't continue revisions of the DR so that it would be up to dated with other modern translations. I personally don't appreciate like many others the old English. I find no fault with the DR, but only with the neglect to keep it updated.

[/quote]

One could argue that the Ronald Knox translation is an update. At least it's an updated translation of the Vulgate. But I'm sure Knox would have had an open Challoner Bible while doing his translation. Knox also availed himself of more modern manuscripts. (Some might say with unhappy results i.e. Isaiah 7:14)


#13

[quote="Judas_Thaddeus, post:1, topic:346125"]
On a search for a new Bible, considering RSV-2CE, but I'm also pondering
the Douay-Rheims, and would appreciate textual criticisms on it PLEASE!

I don't want the positive commercial statements talking about how "good" it
is as a translation, "translated from the Vulgate," "excellent," "I love it," etc.

I'm already aware of the positive aspects of the Douay-Rheims, but instead I
would like some negative testimony, reasons why NOT to get it, use it, etc.
ALSO...
I'm not concerned with footnotes, concordance, index, maps, and so forth, just
the very wording of the text, the TRANSLATION itself, I want to know if I could,
in a matter of speaking, rest my very soul on what the Douay-Rheims says. (Pardon the Drama) :o
Need here the bad, the ugly, the plain wrongs of Douay-Rheims. :gopray2: (PLEEAASS[size=1]E[/size])

[/quote]

I have nothing negative to say about the D-R Bible. Its my favourite.


#14

Most criticism relates to its retention of Latin sentence structure, which does not always flow that smoothly in English.

[quote="Verbum, post:3, topic:346125"]
Its literary value is nowhere near that of the King James or even the Revised Standard Version (Catholic edition), which I recommend.

[/quote]

However, as to the supposed literary value of the KJV, it is lauded for the Pentateuch, but its New Testament can seem stilted and and cumbersome, to wit:

2 Corinthians 2:10
King James Version (KJV)
10 To whom ye forgive any thing, I forgive also: for if I forgave any thing, to whom I forgave it, for your sakes forgave I it in the person of Christ;

Read that out loud a few times and see how poorly it flows today. This has been corrected in the New King James Version, but they have also succumbed to the modern agenda of replacing "person" (of Christ) with "presence" Necessity is the mother of invention once again.

Best of both worlds, IMO? The 1941-1969 Confraternity Bible. A 20th century English New Testament combined with varying percentages of the Douay Old Testament. Early versions had 100% Douay OT, while the 20th century Confraternity translation of the OT was gradually introduced as the years passed. Any version will serve you well.


#15

[quote="fisherman_carl, post:11, topic:346125"]
I'm not sure what happened with the numbering system on the DR, but the Psalms seem to be different than normal. Everyone knows Psalm 23 is the Lord is my Shepherd. But here it is Psalm 22 - drbo.org/chapter/21022.htm

[/quote]

The numbering of Psalms in the Septuagint (and therefore the Vulgate) is slightly different from the Hebrew Bible. Most modern translations (NAB, JB, NJB, RSV, NRSV) use the Hebrew numbering, as they translate directly from the source texts. In the Jerusalem and New Jerusalem Bibles, you'll actually find the Vulgate numbering in small print in the margin (thus, Psalm 23 will have "V 22" in the margin.)

It's explained in detail here:

bookofhours.org/psalms/tool_150_comparison.htm


#16

My only dig against the Douay-Rheims is the difficulty of understanding the more archaic English. And, after reading through more modern translations first, it is getting easier to understand as I re-read books a second (or third) time.

Honestly, you've got us in here trying to find fault with the Douay, and on the Trad forum trying to find fault with the RSV-2CE, my recommendation is just get both. I think you get the best traditional translation and the best modern translation if you have both. Read the RSV-2CE first to get the easier understanding of the text, then the Douay for the most traditional rendering of the text.


#17

[quote="tvknight415, post:16, topic:346125"]
My only dig against the Douay-Rheims is the difficulty of understanding the more archaic English. And, after reading through more modern translations first, it is getting easier to understand as I re-read books a second (or third) time.

Honestly, you've got us in here trying to find fault with the Douay, and on the Trad forum trying to find fault with the RSV-2CE, my recommendation is just get both. I think you get the best traditional translation and the best modern translation if you have both. Read the RSV-2CE first to get the easier understanding of the text, then the Douay for the most traditional rendering of the text.

[/quote]

I'd say get them all.

Use the Douay and RSV-2CE (or RSV-CE St. Benedict edition) as your base text.

If you want a flavour of modern scholarship, add the Jerusalem and New Jerusalem.

If you want to have fun challenging and countering the footnotes, add the NAB and Christian Community Bible. :D


#18

[quote="tvknight415, post:16, topic:346125"]
My only dig against the Douay-Rheims is the difficulty of understanding the more archaic English. And, after reading through more modern translations first, it is getting easier to understand as I re-read books a second (or third) time.

Honestly, you've got us in here trying to find fault with the Douay, and on the Trad forum trying to find fault with the RSV-2CE, my recommendation is just get both. I think you get the best traditional translation and the best modern translation if you have both. Read the RSV-2CE first to get the easier understanding of the text, then the Douay for the most traditional rendering of the text.

[/quote]

[quote="RPRPsych, post:17, topic:346125"]
I'd say get them all.
Use the Douay and RSV-2CE (or RSV-CE St. Benedict edition) as your base text.
If you want a flavour of modern scholarship, add the Jerusalem and New Jerusalem.
If you want to have fun challenging and countering the footnotes, add the NAB and Christian Community Bible. :D

[/quote]

You know I may just get both Douay Rheims and RSV-2CE,
perhaps even the Knox (though I'm suspicious of that a bit).


#19

I’m curious: why are you suspicious of the Knox? It’s a good translation and the notes are quite orthodox. My brother bought me a copy as a Christmas present last year. :slight_smile:


#20

I agree. I have been using a 1954 Douay-Confraternity Bible for the last two weeks for prayerful reading (N.T. and Psalms mostly). I am getting used to the ‘thees and thous’ and the numbering in the Psalms doesn’t bother me too much, but it is the Latinisms in the spellings of the proper names which is the biggest turn off for me! Especially when you get into one of the historical books (like Kings) and you are bombarded with all the different names as two armies are preparing for battle, and suddenly you don’t know who anyone is anymore. So for now I will continue to use the Douay-Confraternity Bible for prayerful reading and my RSV-2CE or NABRE for general reading and study.


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