Saturday, March 5, 2016

Side-by-Side-by-Side Catholic Bibles

Matthew Schmitz praises Baronius Press for their Catholic Bible Online resource in this post on the First Things blog. The Catholic Bible Online features the Latin Vulgate, the Douay-Rheims translation, and the Ronald Knox translation, side-by-side-by-side, or you may read each one separately.

Since I'm going to Mass this morning at Blessed Sacrament and Father Jirak is offering Low Mass for the First Saturday of the month in the Extraordinary Form of the Latin Rite, I've linked the beginning of the eighth chapter of St. John's Gospel. Verses 1 through 11 are today's Gospel.

Baronius also publishes a hardcover edition of The Holy Bible with the Vulgate and Douay-Rheims side-by-side.

The Clementine Vulgate was proclaimed the official Latin Bible of the Church after the Reformation. From St. Jerome's time, through the Middle Ages, until vernacular editions were introduced, educated Catholics throughout the world were familiar with the Vulgate.

Those familiar with the Douay Rheims Bible will know that it is one of the most beautiful and accurate Bible translations available today – a word for word translation of the Clementine Vulgate.

Having both Bibles side by side allows us to see exactly where the vernacular translation came from. Even those with limited Latin skills will be able to follow along, using the Douay Rheims translation as an aid. You'll see how the Douay Rheims is a literal translation of the classic Vulgate.

It is a beautiful, captivating read. The Biblia Sacra is not difficult to understand and it doesn't take much study of Latin to be able to get through the texts passably.

Included in this Bible are Challoner's notes, and the texts found in the appendix to the Vulgate, namely 3 and 4 Esdras and the prayer of Manasses (in Latin with an English translation). This makes the Bible totally comprehensive and ideal for theology students.

And Baronius publishes the Ronald Knox translation in a separate volume, so this free resource gives us the opportunity to see how his translation compares with Vulgate and the Douay-Rheims. Baronius describes the history of Knox's translation:

The translation of the Bible by Ronald Knox was officially made at the request of the Bishops of England and Wales, although Knox had wanted to try his hand at updating the language of the Bible for some time.

It had been the desire of a succession of bishops for almost a 100 years to create a new Bible translation to replace the Douay Rheims edition. This Bible which had served English speaking Catholics since the time of the reformation had undergone several revisions, but was filled with archaic language, making it incomprehensible in a few places.

Originally, it was hoped that Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman, the most famous convert to Catholicism of the 19th Century would translate the Bible, but this project was never begun. In his book, The Idea of a University, Blessed John Henry Newman pointed out the “great difficulty in combining the two necessary qualities, fidelity to the original and purity in the adopted vernacular.”

I reviewed the Knox translation several years ago.

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