The Committee for the Revision of the New Testament at The Catholic University of America
An inventory of The Papers of The Committee for the Revision of the New Testament at The Catholic University of America at The American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives
Mailing Address: The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C. 20064
In January of 1936 the Episcopal Committee on the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD), under the direction of Bishop Edwin V. O'Hara, met with biblical scholars at the Sulpician Seminary in Washington, D.C. (later Theological College) to talk about a revision of the New Testament based on the Challoner-Rheims Edition. There was also a proposal, made by Romain Butin, for the formation of an association of Catholic biblical scholars. Twenty revisors were nominated by the CCD along with an editorial board. In April of the same year work began at the first meeting where an editorial board of ten members was organized.
Some guidlines for the revision were as follows: The translation would be of the Clementine Vulgate. The Greek version would only be consulted if there was a difficult reading of the Latin. These variations were to be placed in the footnotes and not in the actual text. Obsolete words and forms (e.g. "ye") were to be eliminated.
In September of 1938 the Gospel of John was completed and was circulated to Catholic biblical scholars for critical feedback. By and large, the criticism was positive. In 1939 it was decided that all parts of the New Testament should be re-edited in accordance with the suggestions gained from the circulation of the Gospel of John.
Between the Winter of 1939 and the Spring of 1940 the English of the revision was examined and edited. This phase of editing was no less important than the translation from the Vulgate since, as Rev. William L. Newton expressed, "...[I]f we want the Bible read by our people, if we want it understood by those who read it, we must present it in a language and dress that will be found more attractive and comprehensible."
The project was completed in 1941 and was published by St. Anthony Guild Press, Patterson, New Jersey.
The Papers of The Committee for Revision of the New Testament (1936 - 1945) contain three series. Series 1 contains published as well as unpublished writings (e.g. The Revision of the Challoner-Rheims New Testament prepared by the Catholic Biblical Association of America..." - folder 1 - see also folders 1, 2, and 3). Series 2 contains correspondence (folders 3 - 7). Series 3 contains the edited manuscripts of the books of the New Testament (folders 8- 19). Of special note are the responses and criticisms given by the laity and clergy regarding the revision (see folders 6 and 7).
The Papers of the Committee for the Revision of the New Testament at The Catholic University of America consists of three series:
Restrictions on Access
There are no access restrictions.
The Papers of the Committee for the Revision of the New Testament at The Catholic University of America were donated by Msgr. William L. Newton on April 11, 1951.
Processing completed October 4, 1999 by A. Agnew. EAD markup completed in April 2006 by Cathey Dugan.
The CUA Archives holds the Records of the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine (CCD).
This record series is indexed under the following controlled access subject terms.
Butin, Romain F. (Romain Francois), 1871-1937
Newton, William L. (William Louis), b. 1894
O'Hara, Edwin V. (Edwin Vincent), 1881-1956
Catholic Biblical Association of America
Confraternity of Christian Doctrine
Theological College (Washington, D.C.)
Bible. N.T. Versions. Challoner-Rheims
"The Forthcoming Revision of the New Testament: II. The Need of a Revision" in The Ecclesiastical Review. Vol. XCVII, Feb. 1938.
"Principles Governing the Revision of the Douay-Rheims N.T." by Rev. William L. Newton in Proceedings of The Catholic Biblical Association of America . First General Meeting St. Louis, Missouri, October 9 and 10, 1937.
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