Thursday, May 26, 2016

Douay-Westminster Bible (1958)

A Catholic Bible that I have certainly heard about, but have never actually seen with my own eyes is the Westminster Version.  The New Testament was completed in 1936, while portions of the OT were either worked on or completed in the years that followed.  As many of you know, I have concerned myself most often with the other Bible that was worked on during that period, the Knox Bible.  Yet, that changed a day ago.

Yesterday, a good friend of mine gifted me this amazing 1958 edition, which contains the Westminster New Testament and Psalms and the Douay (Challoner) Old Testament.   The Old Testament (minus Isaias, Ezechiel, and the Minor Prophets) and the Psalms were newly annotated by a Fr. Robert Dyson SJ, while those books mentioned above and the New Testament were annotated by Fr. Richard Foster.  This was completed in England.  The maps are new to this volume and produced by Fr. H.J. Richards.  There are 58 colour plates of biblical images scattered on thin glossy paper throughout this Bible.  There is even a commentary on each plate in the appendix, which also includes liturgical Mass readings and an essay on the bible in literature.  There is an actual picture of Pope Pius XII at the begining with a personal note from him.

It is a beautiful edition, published by Hawthorn Books of New York in 1958.  The volume, itself, was printed in Holland.  This is a lush, high-end Bible.  I dare say that this may be one of my finest, and I have only looked at it for less than a day.  The binding is sewn in a burgundy leather hardcover, finished off with a very nicely done gold gilded pages.  In regards to the size of the bible, it is refered to as a "family bible" but it may be one of the smaller ones I have ever seen. It is 8" wide x 10 3/4" tall x 2 1/2" thick.

I will post some pictures here.  Let me know if you have any questions.  I'm blown away!  This edition is currently on Ebay if you desire to get one of your own.


Anonymous said...


Everyone should know that copies are available at for fairly reasonable prices. I just bought one.

Timothy, you're really, really bad for my collector tendencies!


Leighton said...


Is it true the Psalms use Jehovah for the Lord?

Timothy said...

It does not. It has "LORD".

Leighton said...

Good! I saw "Jehovah" on a sample on a site. Looks like a fine Bible. Thanks, Tim!

Unknown said...

Tim, check out the page prior to the Pius XII photo. The version I had from the library when doing my safari a few years ago was a numbered edition. I seem to recall the first 1500 or 3000 or something like that were given out to bishops and other notable church dignitaries, and the library copy was one of those numbered ones.

I seem to recall also a nice essay on the history of the Douay-Rheims somewhere in the back, which I thought was fascinating.

Also, how does it translate John 1:51?

Timothy said...


Thanks for the questions.

1) No it is not a numbered edition.

2) Yes, it has quite a bit in the appendix, including the article you mentioned.

3) John 1:51: "And he saith to him, 'Amen, amen, I say to you: ye shall see the heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man."

Biblical Catholic said...

This is yet another example of the injustice of current copyright law. If this was first published in 1936, then it won't go into the public domain until 2031. In the meantime, it is an 'orphaned work', meaning that the copyright is owned by no one, and therefore, it can't be reprinted. So all we can do is wait for it to enter the public domain, or search for a used copy.

There are many hundreds and even thousands of orphaned books out there, where either no one owns the copyright or the owner of the copyright is unknown, and so the work is 'frozen' until the copyright expires.

James Ignatius McAuley said...


Unrelated but an FYI

In late April the late Robert Charles Hill's translation of Didymus the Blind's Commentary on Genesis was released by the Fathers of the Church series, Catholic University of America Press.

Intervarsity Press has just come out with Thomas Scheck's translation of Jerome's Commentary on the 12 Minor Prophets with Volume 2 coming out later this year for the Ancient Christian Texts series.

Later this year or early next year Paulist press will release Thomas Scheck's translation of Jerome's Commentary on Ezekial for the Ancient Christian Writer's series.

I have completed my collection of the those volumes in the Fathers of the Church series on biblical commentary and I would highly recommend for bible studies Jerome's Commentary on Matthew, Volume 117 of the Fathers of the Church (FOC) series, CUA, translated by Scheck.

Other volumes of note:

Origen: Homilies on Luke translated by Lienhard, volume 94 of the FOC.

Theodore of Mopsuestia: Commentary on the 12 Minor Prophets, Volume 108 of FOC, translated by Robert Charles HIll. The introduction alone is worth the price of the book. Hill, a master of patristic translations and language (I believe he could translate Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic, and Syriac), points out there were variants in the Septuagint and that we should not rely on the Masoretic text as a sole criterion for determining a biblical text.

Origen's Commentary and Homilies on the Song of Songs, translated by Robert Lawson for Paulist Press, Ancient Christian Writers Volume 26. This work is a masterpiece and will set you on fire with the love of God. Elements of what you find in Carmelite and Hesychist spirituality are found in here. Highly recommended!

Jonny said...

I was able to order a decent copy at a reasonable price from Amazon. This will be a nice addition to my collection at least, but I am anxious to see the Westminster translation. What is it, a European version of the Douay-Confraternity Bible with Psalms translated from the new Latin Psalter of Pius XII? Or are the Psalms translated from the Vulgate? Is it a translation of the Vulgate with influence from Hebrew/Greek texts like the Knox Bible, and does it emulate the King James Bible in some of its renderings? So many questions....

Anonymous said...


Here's some info on the Westminster Bible:


Unknown said...

Does anyone know if the 1966 second edition features Pope Paul VI, or Pope Pius XII as the first edition does?

Jonny said...

Adam: I have the 1966 Second edition and it has a picture of Pope John XXIII as well as a special note from him at the front.

Aussie Bear said...

Can you tell me the value? I got one today at a markets.

birnbaum said...

Reply to Leighton: The original complete Psalter– edition of the Westminster Sacred Scriptures by Cuthbert Lattey, published in 1944, substituted the Tetragrammaton JHWH throughout with »Jehovah«, e. g. Psalm L (XLIX: Deus Dorum), „Jehovah hath spoken and summoned the earth / From the rising of the sun to the going down thereof..“
The Editors of the 1958 version obviously changed that. – As to the question if this is translated from the Vulgate or the Hebrew I can tell it´s mainly translated from the Masoretic text. If you like, I can scan the 6 page Introduction and send it to you. There were also some other parts of the OT included in this Westminster Sacred Scriptures:
Malachy (Malachi) - 1934
Ruth - 1935
Nahum and Habakkuk - 1937
Jona (Jonah) - 1938
Psalms 1-41 - 1939
Psalms - 1944
Daniel - 1948
Obadiah, Micah, Zephaniah, Haggai and Zechariah - 1953
by various translators, but unfortunately only the Psalter has been incorporated (with above mentioned changes) into this 1-Vol. Holy Bible (1958)
In case you`re interested in reading the Introduction, please provide an e-mail address.
TakeCare. birnbaum