San Francisco: The Book Club of California, 1990. Limited edition. Quarto (10 1/4 inches tall), original gray paper boards, gilt red morocco spine, original plain white paper dust wrapper titled in ink. Fine. Item #853
"A VERY IMPORTANT STEP IN THE TRANSMISSION OF THE ENGLISH BIBLE TO OUR TIME" Limited first edition of this critical study of the first Roman Catholic English translation of the New Testament—bound with an original leaf from the 1582 first Rhemes New Testament. Translated from the Latin Vulgate into English and printed by English Catholic exiles, the Douai-Rheims Bible was essentially the "tip of the spear" of the Catholic Reformation. English Catholics needed a vernacular Bible of their own to compete with their Protestant adversaries. The Old Testament (first printed in two volumes by the English College at Douay in 1609) and the New Testament (first printed by the English College at Rheims in 1582) armed the clandestine efforts of the missionary priests spearheaded by the newly-established Society of Jesus. Decherd Turner's history of the conception, printing, reception, and influence of the first Catholic New Testament in English consists of the following sections: The Book, The Preface, People. The Text, Annotations. The RNT Today,
The appearance of the Rhemes New Testament ignited Scriptural warfare among theologians of all stripes, with a special focus on William Fulke's treatises attacking the Catholic New Testament. Ironically, what Fulke "did was to insure a wide reading of the Rhemes New Testament, a reading it would never have obtained otherwise." The text is illustrated with a reproduction of the title page of the Rhemes New Testament (1582) and Fulke's The Text of the New Testament of Jesus Christ (1589). This copy is graced with a tipped-in original leaf from Thessalonians, with the admonition: "that if any vvill not worke, neither let him eat" (Cha. III, pp.561-562). This leaf from Thessalonians provides an extensive example of the combative "Annotations" footnoted throughout the text. Evidently, the leaves for this book had been in the possession of the Book Club of California for years, put aside for this "leaf book" by David Magee and not rediscovered until years after Magee's death. The study was completed by Turner (of the Humanities Research Center at the University of Texas, Austin) and printed by W. Thomas Taylor in an edition of only 395 copies and issued as Publication 193 for the Book Club of California. With the Book Club of California's original prospectus and an invitation to the reception marking the publication laid-in at the back. "The Two Hundredth Book" (Book Club of California 1993).