Pros and Cons of the Douay Rheims


**Dear Brothers and Sisters in the SACRED HEART!

I’ve been thinking about using the Douay Rheims for meditation. Here’s why:

  1. I love the “archaic” language. I know that the “Thees” and “Thous” to some are puffy and irritating. To me, Scripture becomes more grand with it. I love visualizing the scene and Our LORD pronouncing the Gospel with force and love, the “thees” and “thous” help me to do that all the more, and it sounds more reverent.

  2. I know some wll argue that this is not a good study Bible. However that would make me wonder why. I know almost everyone will claim the archaic language. However, thats a nice bonus, because now in addition to actually studying it, I now have to look up the words and have thus added an extra word to my vocabulary

  3. It sounds more poetic and grand, sorta like answer #1

What does everyone else on this forum think about the venerable DRB? **


I don’t think there are any cons. I like looking up the notes in newer ones, though, for added information regarding verses. Sometimes, though, the notes can be a bit too analytical (in my opinion) and reduce or can seem to reduce the authority of the verse or verses or chapter. The archaic language can be a barrier to some, but I find it poetic in a way I like when it comes to Scripture. There are some verses I still hear in the KJV, and as I’m now Catholic I can use the DR in place of that and it’s very close.

My favorite Bible translations are the DR Challoner Revision and the Jerusalem Bible.


TAN Books has an excellent small pamphlet, “Which Bible Translation Should I Use?” which details a number of shortcomings of the present vernacular translations. The benefit of the Douay is that it reminds us that our banal commercialized, frankly shabby and corrupt form of English is truly impoverished, even compared with the state of the sixty or seventy years ago.

Francis Cardinal George mentions the problem, in relation to liturgy, and it holds true for the New American Bible (even the Revised Version) is that the translators were governed by the purely functional notion that revelation consists solely in bits of information that can be handed out in any form available. But the faithful revered the holy scriptures truly as God’s Word because it elevated them beyond the present moment – so it wasn’t only what they were told, it was the manner in which the revelation was given as well. The Douay is younger than Shakespeare’s plays, which contemporary mis-education and ‘entertainment’ have put out of the reach of all but the most determined young readers.

While the protestant fundamentalists who insist on the King James Version are misguided in thinking that it’s the only ‘true’ Bible in English, the instinct, that the translators truly treated the scriptures as HOLY, not merely as informational, is quite right.


I knew you’re talking about the Challoner version. :wink: The original DR was very Latinate and very literal, at times to the point of being stilted and wooden. Which some might find off-putting, but which I actually like.


I knew you’re talking about the Challoner version. :wink: The original DR was very Latinate and very literal, at times to the point of being stilted and wooden. Which some might find off-putting, but which I actually like.


Sadly, the only edition of the original that I know of is rather expensive and not very portable. :frowning:


As a former Anglican, I am comfortable with the style of English found in the DR. After all, it is similar to what one finds in the KJV. Although I predominantly use the RSV, I have the St. Benedict Press edition of the DR and occasionally use it.

In order to avoid confusion, it is good for a person using the DR to keep the following in mind:

  1. The DR numbers the psalms differently than what is found in many of the more modern Bible translations. For example, what the DR identifies as Psalm 100 is Psalm 101 in the NAB.

  2. Some books in the DR have titles different from what is normally seen in later translations of the Bible. For example, what many modern Bibles identify as the First and Second Book of Chronicles are listed in the DR as the First and Second Book of Paralipomenon. The Book of Zephaniah is called the Prophecy of Sophonias (and so on).

  3. Many of the names in DR are spelled differently from what one typically sees today. For example, Joshua is spelled Josue, Isaiah is spelled Isaias, Ezekiel is spelled Ezechiel, etc.

I’m not suggesting that such differences are a problem or an obstacle to using the DR, only that it is helpful for someone (who decides to read the DR) to be aware of these differences in advance.


I am publishing the Douay-Rheims Bible in updated spelling, which means all the names are spelled the way the modern reader is used to, all the spelling is updated, since the original DR spelling is out of date. But all the words are kept in its original order and nothing has been altered. All the thee, thou, thine, thy, etc has been updated to modern renderings.

The footnotes of the original Douay-Rheims Bible of 1609 are many, and are loaded with quotes from the Early Church Fathers, its almost like a Bible commentary! The new publication has all the original footnotes and introductions in modern spelling as well!

Single volumes of each book are beginning to be published right now very inexpensively, but once the whole DR Bible is ready to be published in one volume, the price will be around $15. Its a non-profit project!

Check out the link below! The Gospel of Matthew and Mark are going to be published in June!

Check out the Facebook page on the link below and there will be opportunities to receive free printed single volumes!


Sometimes I’ll hear/read the thees and thous and want that type of language in the Bible I read every day, then other times …not so much. If any of the info I’ve read so far is accurate, the New Testament was written in a form of Greek that was common, not all fluffy, and forgive the technical terminology…artsy fartsy. :wink:
Jesus humbled Himself by leaving His glory in heaven and having a manger (trough) as a crib.
He used stories common to the people He was talking to to get His point across.
Those He chose to lead His Church…fishermen.

So I like a translation that’s in English used now, that one of the folks in the pew can read. To each his own though. It’s a Catholic Bible, and if the Holy Spirit uses it to enkindle that fire of His love…:thumbsup:


Sounds great, one of the things that have kept me from reading the DR very often is the combination of the ‘thees and thous’ and the lack of modern spelling for names of people and places. I will collect these on my kindle and will look forward to a one volume printed version. Thanks!


Another pro about the Douay Rheims… Thee, thou, and thy/thine are singular “you”. Ye, you, and yours are plural “you”.

Luke 22:31-32 And the Lord said: Simon, Simon, behold Satan hath desired to have you [plural], that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for thee [singular], that thy [singular] faith fail not: and thou [singular], being once converted, confirm thy [singular] brethren.

It looks different in modern translations. In fact, it could appear that Christ is only speaking about Simon Peter being sifted.

RSV Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail; and when you have turned again, strengthen your brethren.”

This is something that modern Bibles lack besides the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation. The New World Translation has lowercase “you” (singular) and all caps YOU (plural).

NWT Luke 22:31-32 “Simon, Simon, look! Satan has demanded to have ​YOU​ [plural] men to sift ​YOU​ [plural] as wheat. But I have made supplication for you [singular] that your [singular] faith may not give out; and you [singular], when once you [singular] have returned, strengthen your [singular] brothers.”


The DR, Challoner, is my favorite translation for all the reasons you list. It forces me to read more slowly due to the more difficult renderings of certain versus; it’s notes make it one of my favorite “study Bibles”, without being deemed one. It was the official Bible of the Church for a very long time and frankly, I LIKE the fact that book names are different, psalms are numbered after the Greek etc.

Bottom line. The DR is one of the the few true Catholic Bible translations out there. Most others, the RSV, NAB etc.etc. have been “protestantised” to a degree I just don’t care for. (Not that I am a DR onliest, but you get my point).

Honestly, if I don’t read and study from the DR, I use the KJV with Apocryha; it too is more Catholic than many Catholic translations. :slight_smile:


I like it so much I put it in my signature :slight_smile:

I must get a print version someday!


There are actually several other translations that try to clarify the singular and the plural. The NIV, ISV, NET, and Weymouth translations all insert the word “all” in verse 31 so it says “to sift all of you as wheat.” The NLB says “each of you.” And in verse 32, the NIV, NLB, and NET all insert the word “Simon” so it says “But I have prayed for you, Simon…” which shows that it is singular. I’ve seen other translations that insert the word “own” so that it says “that your own faith may not fail,” which is another way of doing it, and I’ve also seen translations that insert “yourself” after the first “you” so that it says “I have prayed for you yourself,” which also gets across the singular.

The translations that add the word “Simon” to verse 32 are, I think, going too far, but there are several translation philosophies that see it as perfectly proper to add clarifying words when the target translation carries a different meaning than the source translation; and I think adding “you all,” “your own,” and “yourself” are easy to defend on that principle.

My two cents.


That is good. :slight_smile: Do you know if they consistently do that every time that it is plural you?


I don’t know for sure. I doubt that they do, though, except when it is important for interpretation (as it is in the Luke passage). But if you want to check, you can type in any verse that uses plural or singular in and it will give you that verse in like 20 different translations, which helps to identify the ones that specify.


Thanks! :thumbsup:


Over the past 40 years every 5 years or so I switch Bibles and for the past two years or so, I have been using the Douay Rheims. It is not all good or all bad. The names seem to come from the Greek so they are less familiar, and even though I am very familiar with the Bible, I am sometimes confused. I like the idea of using the more common spelling someone proposed. I would also revise the Psalm numbers and change things like 3 and 4 kings to 1 and 2 kings. The order of the books is different, etc. Some times it uses words I don’t even know what they mean, e.g. Gal 5:22 benignity, … longanimity; But on the other hand it keeps the second first sabbath in Luke 6:1 and Matt 6:11 Give us this day our supersubstantial bread. I have studied both Hebrew and Greek and very much like a literal translation. It takes more work to use it but I am gaining insights that other translations hid, so it is worth the effort.
Grace and peace,


**Another thing I appreciate about the DRB is that since the Bible is GOD’S Love letter to mankind I feel that something with archaic and reverent language (such as “thee” and “thou”) is more dignified and conductive to prayer, because it denotes an air of reverence. I also like the fact that this sort of english is “dead”. The “thees” and “thous” are not going to change. However the english language progresses and more slang is introduced into the vocabulary, the language that I am using right now will be deemed “archaic” in 50+ years. Imagine that the versions of Scripture that we think “modern” at this time such as the NABRV, NAB, NRSV etc., will all be old fashioned in 50 years :eek:

That is why I stick with a translation that “preserves” a form of english at one time. What would be even better is if I could aquire a copy of the Vulgate. I would also have to learn latin to do so, but it is something that I plan to do in the future. Ideally, I would have my “go-to” Scripture as the Vulgate, but that will take time to learn. I did see a side by side copy of the Douay Rheims- Latin Vulgate on EWTN religious catalogue for around $100 or so. If I ever get things to go the way I envision them, I definitely want a copy of this. :thumbsup:

Can anyone here on these forums read the Vulgate? If so, how long did it take to learn sufficient latin to understand it? **


**Good observation. I know it takes more work (for example today I had to look up what the book of Sirach was called so that I can do my Daily Mass readings) to use (dictionaries anyone?) but it is worth it. Its a rock solid Bible. I like the RSV-CE, but overall, I think the DRB takes the top cake. 100% Catholic, put together by Catholic clergy. Not that I am anti-ecumenical, but I like purity in my translation. Just as a Protestant would refuse to use a Catholic bible or a bible with catholic theology in the footnotes, I refuse to use a Bible that has protestantized footnotes. I do enjoy the KJV though which is very similar (at times the exact same) as the DRB. I have a copy of the KJV sans footnotes which is nice because it avoids Protestant bias. **

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