THE NEW TESTAMENT
TRANSLATION - A HISTORY #9
The Jesuit Bible of 1582
Compiled with added comments
FROM THE BOOK "OUR AUTHORIZED BIBLE VINDICATED" by Benjamin
All CAPITAL letters are mine, for emphasis (Keith Hunt)
The opening decrees of the Council of Trent had set the pace
for centuries to come. They pointed out the line of battle which
the Catholic REACTION would wage AGAINST the Reformation......If
we include the time spent in studying these questions before the
opening session of the Council in 1545, until the Jesuit Bible
made its first appearance in 1582, FULLY FORTY years were passed
in the preparation of Jesuit students who were being drilled in
these departments of learning.....
It was CLEARLY seen, as it is now, that if CONFUSION on the
ORIGIN and AUTHENTICITY of the Scriptures could be spread abroad
in the world, the amazing certainty of the Reformers on these
points, which had astonished and confounded the Papacy, could be
BROKEN down.....The LEADERSHIP in the battle for the Reformation
was passing over from Germany to England (A. T. Innes, Church and
State, p. 156).....
Therefore, Jesuitical scholarship, with at least forty years
of training, MUST bring forth in English a Jesuit Version capable
of superseding the Bible of Tyndale. Could it be done?
Sixty years elapsed from the close of the Council of Trent
(1563) to the landing of the Pilgrims in America. During those 60
years, England had been CHANGING from a CATHOLIC nation to a
Bible-loving people. Since 1525, when Tyndale's Bible appeared,
the Scriptures had obtained a wide circulation.....
(My New Canadian Dictionary has this to say under "Tyndale" -
"William....1495-1536. English translator and Protestant martyr.
Faced with ecclesiastical opposition to his project of
translating the Bible into English, he went abroad in 1524, and
translated the New Testament (1525-6), the Pentateuch (1530), and
Jonah (1531); in 1535 he was arrested, charged with heresy, and
subsequently strangled and burned at the stake" - Keith Hunt).
Spain at the time, was not only the greatest nation in the
world, but was also FANATICALLY Catholic. All the NEW WORLD
BELONGED to Spain; she ruled the seas and dominated Europe. The
Spanish sovereign and the Papacy UNITED in their efforts
to send into England bands of HIGHLY trained Jesuits......
At the same time, the Jesuits were acting to turn the
English people from the Bible, back to Romanism. As a means to
this end, they brought forth in English a Bible of their
own.....If England could be RETAINED in the Catholic column,
Spain and England together would see to it that all AMERICA,
north and south, would be Catholic......
THE GREAT STIR OVER THE JESUIT BIBLE OF 1582
So powerful was the swing towards Protestantism during the
reign of Queen Elizabeth, and so STRONG the LOVE for Tyndale's
Version, that there was neither place nor Catholic scholarship
enough in England to bring forth a Catholic Bible in strength.
Priests were in prison for their plotting, and many had fled to
the Continent. There they founded schools to train English youth
and send them back to England as priests.....The most prominent
of these colleges, called seminaries, was at RHEIMS, France. Here
the Jesuits assembled a company of learned scholars.....and from
here they directed the movements of Philip 2 of Spain as he
prepared a GREAT FLEET to CRUSH England and bring it back to the
FEET of the POPE.
The burning DESIRE to give the COMMON people the Holy Word
of God, was the reason why Tyndale had translated it into
English. No such reason impelled the Jesuits of Rheims. In the
preface to their Rheims New Testament, they state that it was not
translated into English because it was necessary that the Bible
should be in the mother tongue, or that God had appointed the
Scriptures to be read by all; BUT from the SPECIAL considerations
of the state of their mother country.
This translation was indeed to do on the INSIDE of England,
what the great navy of Philip 2 was to do on the OUTSIDE. One was
to be used as a MORAL attack, the other as a PHYSICAL attack;
both to RECLAIM England.....
"The principal object of the Rheims translators was not ONLY
to circulate their doctrines through the country, but ALSO to
DEPRECIATE as much as possible the English translations"
(Brooke's Cartwright, p. 256).
The appearance of the Jesuit New Testament in 1582 produced
CONSTERNATION in England.....It was to serve as a WEDGE between
Protestants and Catholics. It was the product of UNUSUAL ABILITY
and YEARS of LEARNING. Immediately the scholarship of England was
astir. Queen Elizabeth sent forth the call for a DAVID to meet
this GOLIATH. Finding no one in her kingdom satisfactory to her,
she sent to Geneva, where Calvin was building up his great work,
and besought BEZA, the co-worker of Calvin, to undertake the task
of answering all the objectionable matter contained in this
Jesuit Version.....to the astonishment of the Queen, Beza
modestly replied that her majesty had within her own realm, a
scholar more able to undertake the task than he. He referred to
Thomas Cartwright, the great Puritan divine. Beza said, "The
sun does not shine on a greater scholar than Cartwright."
Cartwright was a Puritan, and Elizabeth DISLIKED the
Puritans as much as she did the Catholics. She wanted an
Episcopalian or a Presbyterian to undertake the answer.
Cartwright was IGNORED. But time was passing and the English
Protestantism wanted Cartwright. The universities of Cambridge
and Oxford, Episcopalian though they were, sent to Cartwright a
request signed by their outstanding scholars (Brooke's
Cartwright, p. 260).
Cartwright decided to undertake it. He reached out one arm
and grasped all the power of the LATIN MSS and testimony. He
reached out his other arm and in it he embraced all the VAST
stores of GREEK and HEBREW literature. With inescapable logic,
he marshalled the FACTS of his vast learning and levelled blow
after blow against this latest and most dangerous product of
Catholic theology (English Hexapla, pp. 98, 99; F.J. Firth, The
Holy Gospel, pp. 17, 18).
Meanwhile, 136 GREAT Spanish GALLEONS, some armed with 50
Cannons were slowly sailing up the English Channel to make
England Catholic. England had no ships. Elizabeth asked
Parliament for 15 men-of-war, they voted 30. With these, assisted
by harbour tugs under DRAKE, England sailed forth to meet the
GREATEST FLEET the world had ever seen. All England teemed with
excitement. God helped: the ARMADA was CRUSHED, and England
became a GREAT sea power.
(My New Canadian Dictionary under "Drake" has this to say:
"Drake, Sir Francis, 1540-96. English sailor and explorer. He was
the first Englishman to circumnavigate the globe, 1577-80, and as
vice-admiral he payed an important part in the defeat of the
Spanish Armada." The last clause is very underestimating the
position and fame of Drake, as any school-boy in English history
class will attest to, as I was at one time - Keith Hunt).
AFTER THE EXPOSURE BY CARTWRIGHT AND FULKE, THE
CATHOLICS DOCTORED AND REDOCTORED THE JESUIT
BIBLE OF 1582, UNTIL TODAY THE NAME DOUAY IS A
The Rheims-Douay and the King James Version were published
LESS than THIRTY years apart.....The Rheims-Douay has been
REPEATEDLY changed to APPROXIMATE the King James. So that the
Douay of 1600 and that of 1900 are NOT the same in MANY ways.
The NT was published at Rheims in 1582. The university was
moved back to Douai in 1593, where the OT was published in
1609-1610. This completed what is known as the original Douay
There is said to have been two revisions of the douay OT and
eight of the Douay NT, representing such an extent of verbal
ALTERATIONS, and modernized spelling that a Roman Catholic
authority says, "The version now in use has been so SERIOUSLY
ALTERED that it can be scarcely considered identical with that
which first went by the name of the Douay Bible," and further,
"it never had any episcopal imprimatur, much less any papal
"Although the Bibles in use at the present day (remember
this was in 1930 when Wilkinson was looking at the Catholic
Encyclopedia for this quote - Keith Hunt) by the Catholics of
England and Ireland are POPULARLY styled the Douay Version, they
are most IMPROPERLY called; they are founded, with more or less
ALTERATIONS, on a series of REVISIONS undertaken by Bishop
Challoner in 1749-52. His object was to meet the practical want
felt by the Catholics of his day of a Bible moderate in size and
price, in readable English, and with notes more suitable to the
time....The changes introduced by him were so CONSIDERABLE that,
according to Cardinal Newman, they 'almost amounted to a new
translation.' So also, Cardinal Wiseman wrote, 'To call it any
longer the Douay or Rheims Version is an abuse of terms. It has
been ALTERED and MODIFIED until scarcely ANY verse REMAINS as it
was ORIGINALLY published. In nearly every case, Challoner's
change took the form APPROXIMATING to the Authorized Version' " (
The Catholic Encyclopedia, Art., 'Douay Bible.' )
THE NEW PLAN OF THE JESUITS TO
A thousand years had passed before time permitted the trial
of strength between the Greek Bible and the Latin......The
Vulgate yielded before the Received Text. The Latin was
vanquished before the Greek.....The Jesuits were obliged to SHIFT
their line of battle. They saw, that armed ONLY with the Latin,
they could fight no longer. They therefore resolved to enter the
field of the GREEK and become superb MASTERS OF THE GREEK. They
knew that MSS in Greek, of the type from which the Bible adopted
by Constantine had been taken, were awaiting them - manuscripts,
moreover, which involved the OT as well as the New. To use them
to overthrow the Received Text would demand GREAT TRAINING and
almost HERCULEAN labors; for the Received Text was apparently
But still more.....Flushed with their glorious victory over
the Jesuit Bible of 1582, and over the Spanish Armada of
1588.....English Protestantism.....They have to the world
what has been considered by a host of scholars, the greatest
version ever produced in any language - the King James Bible,
called "the MIRACLE of English PROSE.".......
The Jesuits had before them a DOUBLE task - both to SUPPLANT
the authority of the Greek of the Received Text by another Greek
New Testament, and then upon this mutilated foundation, to bring
forth a new English version which might retire into the
background, the King James.......
In other words, the Jesuits had put forth one Bible in
English, that of 1582, as we have seen; of course they could get