Monday, 9 January 2017

New translation resource - Vulgate, Douay-Rheims and Knox side-by-side

A reader has kindly alerted me to a new translation resource, from Baronius Press, providing the Vulgate, Knox and Douay-Rheims translations side-by-side online.

These are my three 'go to' translations, and having them in one place is extremely helpful.

Three key comparison points

The Vulgate is the key text as far as I'm concerned, since it is the language of the breviary and Missal, and used by most of the Western Fathers and Theologians for centuries.

I have to admit that I like New Advent's provision of the Greek  (Septuagint for the Old Testament) as well, but their shift from Douay-Rheims to the Knox version was problematic for me.  the problem is that while the Knox translation is very beautiful and often very clear, it is not very literal, and sometimes follows the Hebrew Masoretic Text version rather than the Septuagint-Vulgate tradition.

The new 'Catholic Bible Online' solves this problem by putting the two English translations side-by side with the Vulgate.

This is what it looks like:

Vulgate><Douay-Rheims><Knox Bible

In principio creavit Deus cælum et terram.

In the beginning God created heaven, and earth.

God, at the beginning of time, created heaven and earth.

Terra autem erat inanis et vacua, et tenebræ erant super faciem abyssi: et spiritus Dei ferebatur super aquas.

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.

Earth was still an empty waste, and darkness hung over the deep; but already, over its waters, stirred the breath of God.

You can also look at the three versions on their own, and the Douay-Rheims version has an option to show the Challoner notes.


The site's layout is clear and simple, and very nicely done.

While the side-by-side version is in a table, the individual versions are not, making it easy to cut and paste (much more so than New Advent) for one's own lectio purposes.

The only minor quibble I have is in names for books of the Bible in the index column, which follow the traditional format - so Books 1-IV of Kings (instead of 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings); 1&2 Paralipomenon (instead of Chronicles), etc. This will be puzzling to those used to  modern editions of the Bible.  In some cases they have added the alternative name, such as Nehemiah for 2 Esdras, but it would be nice to include them all, for the benefit of newcomers to tradition.

All in all though, a wonderful resource.

Fathers and the tradition

Once you've looked at the translations of the text though, you will want to look at the commentaries on the text; how it has been understood by the tradition, and for that purpose, New Advent has some fantastic resources, with more translations of Patristic sources being added all the time.  So do go check it out as well!

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