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Bible collector responds to readers letter
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Forsyth County News

(This is in response to the letter “Church didn’t protest English translation” that appeared in the FCN on Sept. 28. You can view that letter HERE)


I am pleased you are enjoying the 12-part series on a few selected highlights of my Bible collection. It is truly an honor to be able to share these treasures with my local community readership.

I would like to respond briefly to your comment regarding the Catholic Church position on the Bible in English during the 16th century. In reality, the Church actually responded to the call for the Bible in English much earlier than you have mentioned. I know because I possess them and would welcome the chance to share these with you and the FCN readers one day.

In 1547, in response to the Council of Trent and its reaction to the Reformation movement, the Catholic Church reached a decision that the true Scriptures must remain in their Latin Vulgate form and a Bible was created and approved entitled the Louvain Bible. This remained the true Vatican-approved Scripture for roughly the next 50 years, although undergoing several reprints. I actually am honored to possess one of these extremely rare first editions if you ever wish to see it.

However, you make mention of the Douay Rheims being the first English Catholic Church reply. In actuality, the first of a series of Catholic English Bibles were a series of what is referred to as the Bishops Bibles with the first edition in large folio in 1568 and ending with the last folio edition in 1602.

Unfortunately, the Bishops Bible never really was well received (perhaps because the Catholic Church remained tied closely to its Latin Louvain or was just not accustomed to an English version spoke in the service?).

The Geneva Bible remained the Bible read in the home, as evidenced by the limited number of quarto-sized editions of the Bishops as no individual could have afforded a folio-sized edition.

However, you will be pleased to know the edition chosen to “translate from” as the primary source by King James and given to the Translators was in fact a 1602 Bishops Bible. I actually also have one of the translators’ copies of the 1602 Bishops.

As far as the Duoay Rheims, the New Testament printing of 1601, which I also would be happy to share, contrary to scholars’ opinions for hundreds of years was in fact used, albeit  on a minor scale, by the translators as recently discovered.

The Old Testament Douay of 1609 was unfortunately not even consulted, as it showed up too late for the party as the translators would have been in their final edit by the time that edition was released.             

Thank you for your comments and I hope you enjoy the rest of the series.


Charles Payette

Forsyth County