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1536 AD.



The name Douay ? Rheims was given to the English translation of Jerome's Latin Vulgata, the official Bible of the English Catholic Church. Before that time, for over 1000 years, the pope's decree forbid translating the Bible into any other language besides Latin.


For most of the people, this meant no ability or opportunity to read the Bible. In 1384 the decree was broken by John Wickliffe, who prepared an English translation from the Latin Vulgate. In an official declaration of the Church in 1408, the Arundel's constitution proclaimed that translating the Word into English or even having or reading an English copy of the Scripture would be considered heretic and punishable by death. The situation was similar in Germany, but Luther's translation was a spark of hope for ordinary people. The reformation started and influenced England and all of Europe. In a fight over papal, or royal authority, monarchies were switching the power from the Catholic to the Protestant church and back and forth depending on who was on the throne.


During the reign of Queen Elisabeth I, in 1578 Gregory Martin, one of first scholars of St. John College in Oxford and a Hebrew lecturer in Reims, started making efforts to translate the Vulgate into English. During the next four years, he was translating two chapters a day. By 1582 every chapter was translated and then double checked by William Allen, the founder of St. John College. The Bible was printed at the end of 1582. It is likely that the Old Testament translation was finished about the same time, but because of a financial shortage it wasn't released until 1609, in two volumes. During that century, the Old Testament was printed only once, whereas the New Testament was printed 3 times in 1600, 1621 and 1633.





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