Did the KJV plagiarize from the Douay-Rheims?

There’s lots of verses and even some chapters in the KJV that are the exact same as the Douay-Rheims, which would lead to one thinking that the translators of the KJV plagiarized some parts of the Douay-Rheims which was around before the KJV. Does anyone have any proof either way? If we could prove that the translators of the KJV plagiarized from the Douay, we’d have one of the fundamentalist arguments settled with proof…

The Title Page of the 1611 edition of the King James Version says:“THE HOLY BIBLE, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesties Special Commandment. Appointed to be read in Churches. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie. ANNO DOM. 1611.”

The Preface to the Revised Standard Version says in part:Yet Tyndale’s work became the foundation of subsequent versions, notably those of Cloverdale, 1535; Thomas Matthew (probably a pseudonym for John Rogers), 1537; the Great Bible, 1539; the Geneva Bible, 1560; and the Bishops’ Bible, 1568. In 1582 a translation of the New Testament, made from the Latin Vulgate by Roman Catholic scholars, was published at Rheims.

The translators who made the King James Version took into account all of these preceding versions; and comparison shows that it owes something to each of them.

[quote=Todd Easton]The Title Page of the 1611 edition of the King James Version says:“THE HOLY BIBLE, Conteyning the Old Testament, and the New: Newly Translated out of the Originall tongues: & with the former Translations diligently compared and revised, by his Majesties Special Commandment. Appointed to be read in Churches. Imprinted at London by Robert Barker, Printer to the Kings most Excellent Majestie. ANNO DOM. 1611.”

The Preface to the Revised Standard Version says in part:Yet Tyndale’s work became the foundation of subsequent versions, notably those of Cloverdale, 1535; Thomas Matthew (probably a pseudonym for John Rogers), 1537; the Great Bible, 1539; the Geneva Bible, 1560; and the Bishops’ Bible, 1568. In 1582 a translation of the New Testament, made from the Latin Vulgate by Roman Catholic scholars, was published at Rheims.

The translators who made the King James Version took into account all of these preceding versions; and comparison shows that it owes something to each of them.

[/quote]

Okay, thanks for that, but would it constitute plagiarism if exact verses and chapters are copied word for word?

[quote=Semper Fi]Okay, thanks for that, but would it constitute plagiarism if exact verses and chapters are copied word for word?
[/quote]

Probably not; the concept of who owned a literary work was foreign to the people of that time–they copied from each other all the time.
On the other hand, there is certainly a good argument to be made that this is contrary to the KJV-onlyism that is gaining ground in some fundamentalist circles…I mean, when you can see that Douay (NT mostly) is clearly the source of the KJV, it knocks a hole in that idea.
The best thing is to try to find a copy of the original translators’ preface to the KJV.(No, it is NOT in KJV Bibles today; at least very rarely). This clearly states the dependence on previous versions of the Bible. Which includes Douay-Rheims.

Yes, the Statute of Anne (England, 1710) was the first modern copyright law, so there wouldn’t really have been that much of an idea of plagarism at the time of the KJV… For most of history it was completely acceptable to “borrow” from other people - just look at the all the (little c) classical composers!

That of course does not mean it isn’t “borrowing” “copying” or in todays language “plagarism”…

(and I have yet to figure out KJV-only-ism despite having grown up in very conservative Protestant churches where the KJV was predominate - none of them were KJV-only though - I only got exposed to KJV-only-ism when I worked at a Bible bookstore…of course most of them were also “southern gospel-only” folk too, LOL! Boy was I in for a lesson in what some folk think!)

If ever there was a place where I wouldn’t worry about plagiarism == but that’s just me talking == it would be the English translation of the Bible. Copyright laws and prohibitions against plagiarism really inhibit artful expression of the scripture, do they not? Do they not really force new translators to twist the scripture into words artificially simply to avoid these sorts of problems?

Which of the following does scripture really say?

  1. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the words of God.

or

  1. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the words of Christ.

[quote=Semper Fi]There’s lots of verses and even some chapters in the KJV that are the exact same as the Douay-Rheims, which would lead to one thinking that the translators of the KJV plagiarized some parts of the Douay-Rheims which was around before the KJV. Does anyone have any proof either way? If we could prove that the translators of the KJV plagiarized from the Douay, we’d have one of the fundamentalist arguments settled with proof…
[/quote]

But of course they are. In the 1750 version of D-R. by Bishop Challoner, he borrowed largely from KJV. Even Cardinal Newman expressed that op9inion in one of his works.

Dan.

[quote=dancus]But of course they are. In the 1750 version of D-R. by Bishop Challoner, he borrowed largely from KJV. Even Cardinal Newman expressed that op9inion in one of his works.

Dan.
[/quote]

I wasn’t aware that Archbishop Challoner changed the texts of the NT when he revised the NT of the D-R. I thought he just added his own footnotes? I could be mistaken though.

And doesn’t the KJV still remain under ‘Crown Copyright’ today?

there are probably some published copies of the KJV that are copyrighted - but as long as you found an old copy and copied from it, theres nothing that could be done - its legal - thats why the KJV is one of the easier translations to find online - because theres not as many copyright issues to deal with…

in general - even if a newly published version of a work says its copyrighted, if the original work was published before 1929, you can copy from that original (or any copy from before 1929) absolutely legally (Don’t you just love the Public Domain - and don’t you just hate that thanks to the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act, that 1929 date will remain as the cutoff for public domain in the US until something like 2018…yeah not the “limited periods” that the constitution spoke of)

(and apologies for my slightly off topic rant there - can you tell that I’m in the process of writing a paper for school that has to deal with the ever increasing controls given to copyright?)

[quote=AmISearching?]there are probably some published copies of the KJV that are copyrighted - but as long as you found an old copy and copied from it, theres nothing that could be done - its legal - thats why the KJV is one of the easier translations to find online - because theres not as many copyright issues to deal with.
[/quote]

yeah, I know it’s public domain in America, which is why it only costs about $4. But, in England, since it was a work of the crown, it is under crown copyright there. I dont know if this means that in England that they have to pay royalties to the Crown or not though. I think anything produced by the crown at any point in history is considered ‘crown copyright’.

I found an interesting link on the copyright status of the KJV in England, check it out:

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_James_Version_of_the_Bible#Copyright_status

will have to check out your link tomorrow… interesting - since American copyright protects other countries copyright, I just assumed that it must be out of copyright in the UK as well… will have to look into this… but I am going out of my mind reading a book on copyright for my paper and I need my sleep! lol

From everything I have read, the KJV translators did rely on the Douay-Rheims some. For a KJV onlyite that is something to be ignored or denied. As a Catholic I see it as good judgement on the KJV translators part!

[quote=Semper Fi]I wasn’t aware that Archbishop Challoner changed the texts of the NT when he revised the NT of the D-R. I thought he just added his own footnotes? I could be mistaken though.

And doesn’t the KJV still remain under ‘Crown Copyright’ today?
[/quote]

Excuse me. I have a dislike to having my words twisted. Richard Challonder didn’t revise anything. He copied them word for word from the Authorized Version, (KJV).not the D.R, Challonder, according to friends, was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Incidently the 1603 version was in response to Catholics in England. Who had no way to rebut the Reformers who already had Bibles, so they needed a Bible of their own. Appears the Douay Bible, old testement only. Rheims Bible, new testement didn’t appear until until much later. Dan.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.