With the end of Bloody Mary and the throne now under Elizabeth I, the printing and distribution of the Geneva Bible was now tolerated. The popularity of the Geneva Bible prompted the Church of England to produce a revision of the Great Bible that would replace the Geneva. It was called the Bishops’ Bible because the translation was prepared by a committee of Bishops–it was of very uneven quality because of inadequate supervision. The first edition was printed in 1568. This translation never gained a foothold among the people, and the Geneva Bible was much better translation. By the 1580s, the Roman Catholic Church had lost the battle to suppress English language translations of the Bible. Thus, the Church of Rome determined that they would at least have their own official Roman Catholic English translation. Using the Latin Vulgate as a source text, the Rheims New Testament was published in 1582. Because it was translated at the Roman Catholic College in the city of Rheims, France, it was known by that name. Since the Church of England was dominant at this time in England, just as protestants were exiled to Europe from England during the reign of Queen “Bloody” Mary, so were Roman Catholics–thus the work was done in France. The Roman Catholic English Old Testament, called the Duoai because it was translated at the Roman Catholic College in the city of Douai, France, was completed in 1609. The combined project is now commonly referred to as the Rheims-Douai Version.
This exhibit is currently on display in the Centennial Library's Biblical Heritage Gallery. Follow this link to view the virtual exhibit.
Rheims New Testament