One Bible translation favoured by traditional Catholics is the Douay-Rheims Bible. It has been translated directly from the Vulgate Bible, translated from ancient sources into Latin by St. Jerome. While there are copies of it circulating in the public domain online, including archive.org, nothing beats a classic hardcover book that you can physically hold and flip in your hands.
Loreto Publications, a publisher committed to delivering to Catholics beautiful reprints of traditional Catholic books, has just released copies a newly typeset edition of the Douay-Rheim’s Bible. Previously, Loreto Publications did have in stock copies of the Douay-Rheim’s Bible but it was not clean typeset, but rather looked like photocopies based on earlier reviews I have seen surfing around the internet.
The book is hardcover, with black bonded leather, gold stamped with a bottony cross. Very simple and clean design, nothing too fancy.
However, getting to the end pages, I saw there was just row after row of blue bottony crosses. I am personally not a fan of such design – it just looked a little too hard on the eyes. I would have preferred plain white or cream coloured end pages. I think that would fit better with the simple black cover.
Opening the book, I am greeted with nice clear typeface, and the size of the Scripture text is very easy on the eyes. I can imagine the hard work that was put in to typeset this edition.
There are some critiques however, that I hope can be improved on in future editions. First of all, the table of contents was in a sense, unusual. Often times, when dotted lines are used to connect a header to its page number, a straight dotted line is used. For example:
However, this Bible, instead of a straight dotted line, uses a line of 3 dot intervals like this:
Genesis … … … … … … … … … … … … 21
(You can see the images for a better sense of what I’m talking about.) I don’t know if this was a word-processing error or that was the intention of the designers, but honestly, I found it to be odd, and my sister, upon flipping through this Bible remarked the same.
I am also not too keen with the verse numbers being the same size font as the text itself. I am used to having Bibles that have large numbers to mark a chapter and superscripts that mark the verses. This is, however, not the only Bible that I will be talking about the format of verse numbers. In a review that will come out soon, Random House’s The Jerusalem Bible uses a verse number formatting system that I find inefficient. So this is not the worst I’ve seen. Yet, this is solely all personal preference. Some people may prefer verse numbers in this format or that used in The Jerusalem Bible that I will review.
Another point worth mentioning is the Family Record used in this Bible. I am in favour with having a Family Record in the Bible, and almost all the Bibles I have at home from Catholic Book Publishing Corporation have them. They enhance the sentimental value of the Bible as a Bible is passed on from generation to generation. Many traditional Catholic Bibles had them too and it came as no surprise to me that this edition of the Douay-Rheims Bible has one. While the layout of the Family Record is amazing, what underwhelmed me was the paper used for the Family Record, which was printed on the same type of paper used throughout the Bible. Personally, I think the Family Record should be printed on a thicker paper than the rest of the Bible since it will be written on. Especially if a ballpoint pen is used and one uses too much force, there would be indentations on the following pages. Or, even worse, if an incorrect type of pen is used on Bible paper, it will bleed through. Therefore, I much prefer the Family Record be printed on a different, thicker type of paper than Bible paper.
I have to give some positive remarks to the ribbons of the Bible. They are large (width is about 0.5 inches) compared to that of most Bibles I’ve seen. It is of the size I’ve seen in some Chapel editions of Roman Missals. But the thing I like about them is that there is not only one ribbon, but two of different colours. I have not seen many Bibles with two ribbons. The only other one I’ve seen have two ribbons is a Catholic edition of the Holy Bible in Vietnamese, but they were both of the same colour. I prefer two ribbons or more inside Bibles since the reader might want to have one for the Old Testament and one for the New Testament. The Bible I often use (Catholic Book Publishing Corp. New American Bible Personal Edition) had only one ribbon, but I wanted more for ease in marking pages as I use it for The Catholic Bible in 365 Days Challenge. Fortunately, I had a set of Breviary Ribbons from an old Breviary which I had the ribbons replaced. I took the old ribbons and placed them in the spine and they have been serving me well. Therefore, checkout Breviary ribbons if you need more ribbons for your Bibles, or even Altar Missal ribbons if you need one for a larger Bible.
I also like the table of epistles and gospels and chronological list of events of the Old Testament available in this Bible, which is a useful feature. Also included is the encyclical Providentissimus Deus of Leo XIII on the reading of Scripture. In more modern Catholic Bibles, Dei Verbum , the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation from the Second Vatican Council often appears now it place of this encyclical.
There are also pictures depicting Biblical scenes throughout the Bible, something I did not expect in this Bible. They were reproduced in greyscale. They would have looked nicer in colour, in my opinion. Nevertheless, I love having art in Bibles – they bring the text to life.
On The Catholic Man’s Scale
Overall, I am not at all displeased with this newly typeset Douay-Rheims BIbleby Loreto Publications. I like its simplicity and easy to read typeface and its sewn binding. It is a Bible that fits well in the hand when reading.
Is it good for a family Bible? I personally prefer this as a personal edition. However, it seems that Loreto’s Haydock Douay-Rheims Bible which is double the price of this one, is a better Family Bible, considering its more elaborate cover, commentary and larger font size as advertised on the site.
You can purchase a copy of this Harbound Douay-Rheim’s Bible for $44.95 USD from Loreto Publications (click hyperlink).
P.S. Loreto Publications also included some of their seasonal catalogues which are beautiful! Thank you Loreto Publications!