Friday, March 4, 2016

A Great Bible Resource by Michael Potemra

From National Review:

I got an e-mail today informing me of a delightful new resource available free of charge at the website of the Catholic publisher Baronius Press.  It’s a complete side-by-side text of the Latin Vulgate, the Douay-Rheims Catholic translation, and the mid-20th-century translation by Monsignor Ronald Knox. 

I have always had a soft spot for the Douay-Rheims translation, because it has the venerable old style of the King James Version (“thee” and “thou,” of course, plus a generally high diction), but – because the Douay-Rheims version currently most commonly printed is the 18th-century Challoner revision – it lacks some of the KJV phrasings that have come to sound clunky if not barbaric in the intervening centuries. (Among these latter, the one that grates on me most is when the KJV has St. Paul, St. Peter, and the Psalmist all use the phrase “to us-ward.” Ugh.)

Read the rest here 

8 comments:

Eric Barczak said...

Yoda and Knox, she must compare not. To a dark place, this line of questioning goes. When 900 years old it reaches, look as good it will not.

(Done in my best Yoda impression voice)

Michael Demers said...

Challoner was raised a Presbyterian and therefore was very familiar with the King James Bible. He improved on its style when he used it for revising the old Douay-Rheims Bible except for the psalms in which case he stayed with the Vulgate tradition. I don't think many people realize how little is left of the old Douay-Rheims Bible after Challoner got through revising it. If I remember right, Cardinal Wiseman and, later, Cardinal Newman determined that Challoner had indeed produced an entirely new translation of the Bible.

Timothy said...

Knox says the same thing.

Jason P said...

I strongly disagree.

I have spent a good amount of time comparing the original 1582/1609-1610 Rheims-Douay with the 1750 Douay-Rheims-Challoner, and I'd say it's over 90% exactly the same.

The biggest changes are in updated spelling and grammar and the change in format from paragraph to verse. In other words, the changes are cosmetic, not in the translation.

The biggest translation difference which is quickly noticed is the way the Tetragrammaton is rendered: it is consistently rendered "Our Lord" in the old 1610 Douay and was updated to reflect common English usage of "the Lord" by Challoner - I actually really like the our Lord usage though.

Michael Demers said...

Douay [1635]
1 In the beginning God created heaven and earth.
2 And the earth was void and vacant, and darkenes was upon the face of the depth: and the Spirit of God moved over the waters.
3 And God said: Be light made. And light was made.
4 And God saw the light that it was good: and he divided the light from the darkenes.
5 And he called the light, Day, and the darknes, Night: and there was evening & morning, that made one day.

King James [1769 edition]
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
4 And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.
5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

Challoner [1749-1752]
1 In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.
2 And the earth was void and empty, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the spirit of God moved over the waters.
3 And God said: Be light made. And light was made.
4 And God saw the light that it was good; and he divided the light from the darkness.
5 And he called the light Day, and the darkness Night; and there was evening and morning one day.

Anonymous said...

The one thing I don't like about Knox is the thou/thee, which is completely obsolete in English, even among the Quakers as far I know. *That* is what dates the translation far more than any inversion style can, and until a "you" edition is published, the only people who will really understand or appreciate it are the ones who regularly read Douai or even KJV, and even then the regular Douai readers will say, "why do I need this modern translation when I can read the good old Douai"?

Timothy said...

Anon,

I actually agree with much of what you said there. I will say, however, that as one who does not read, nor has ever, the Douay, I find the Knox a true joy. Now, I may be in the minority, but it remains the only translation I have that employs "archaic" English which I read regularly. Perhaps it is the style, or the format of the Baronius edition, or Yoda-isms, or the man behind the translation, yet in the end I am not sure but my attraction to it remains. I find that of all my translations, and I have a few, it is the only one I slow down to read. It just happens. Again, to each there own, even with the difficulties you describe, which I largely agree with.

Biblical Catholic said...

Knox wanted to eliminate all the archaisms and use completely modern English, but he was forbidden from doing so and required to retain the 'thees' and 'thous' as part of the mandate he was given by the English bishops.

Keep in mind, even editors the RSV, released only a couple years after the Knox edition was published, didn't have the courage to completely eliminate all archaic language, retaining the 'thees' and 'thous' in the Psalms and other places judged to be 'poetic'.

After 4 centuries of widespread use of the KJV and the Douay-Rheims, and the commitment of many of the laity to that kind of language, it is natural that the move towards completely modern English would be gradual rather than abrupt.