Walsingham Publishing - King James Bible for Catholics
Published on The Feast of St. Theodore of Canterbury, Bishop,
19 September 2020!
A preview is available.
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|Volume I - Genesis to Ecclesiasticus
|Volume II - Isaiah to Revelation
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This is the full 1611 text of the Authorized Version of the most beloved
and most published bible in the world. Designed for private devotional use
by Catholics, all 80 books of the original 1611 edition are included. The
14 books not found in many later editions of the KJV have been included in
the order Catholics expect within the 46 (not 39!) books of the Old
Testament. As in the 1610 Douay, The Prayer of Manasses and the two
additional Books of Esdras are placed in an Appendix. Then follow, of
course, the 27 books of the New Testament.
With an Introduction by The Rev'd David Ousley, Ph.D.
Questions and answers.
- What is the King James Version for Catholics?
The King James Version for Catholics is a new printing of the the
full text, all 80 books, of the 1611 KJV
Bible with the 1769 orthographic changes and with the Deuterocanonical
books placed among the other books of the Old Testament in the order
expected by Catholics.
- You said "80 books." My Ignatius Catholic Bible only has 73.
Can you elaborate further.
As published in England in 1611, the KJV included 80 books, which
correspond to, but are organized differently than the 76 books of
the 1610 Douay.
In a full, standard edition of the King James Bible there are
39 Old Testament books accepted by Jews and Protestants,
four books that are deuterocanonical portions of Esther and
Daniel, 7 deuterocanonical books, three books considered
non-canonical but published in the KJV and early editions of the
Douay, and the 27 books of the New Testament.
The King James Version for Catholics will have all of these, in
the accustomed Catholic order.
Anglicans have always used all of the books, but other Protestants
began printing editions of the KJV with only 66 books, omitting
the 14 books in the KJV Apocrypha. With the transition to newer
translations in the 1950s and 1960s by Catholics and Anglicans,
it became more difficult to obtain complete versions of the KJV.
Like the 1610 Douay, the three non-canonical
books commonly included in bibles of the period, but not accounted
as part of the deutero canon by the Council of Trent,
will be included and placed in an appendix to the Old Testament.
The three non-canonical books are The Prayer of Manasses, and 2
additional books of Esdras. Though non-canonical, the Second Book
of Esdras (called the Fourth Book of Esdras in the pre-Tridentine
Vulgate) is heavily used in liturgical propers within the Church,
and the Prayer of Manasses has been used in the Liturgy of the
- Why is this a King James Version for Catholics, and not a King
James Version - Catholic Edition, as with the RSV?
I am calling this the King James Version for Catholics rather than
the King James Version Catholic Edition because any attempt to
make significant modifications to the KJV would make it something
different and inauthentic. However, I have reviewed the changes
made to the RSV to create the RSV-CE.
You may read my notes on that here.
The only changes other than placing the books in the familiar
order which I am planning are to follow the 2008 letter from the
CDW, written at Pope Benedict's request, that asks that the Holy
Name of God, the Tetragrammaton, be rendered in English as "The
Lord" rather than "Jehovah". Jews stopped pronouncing the
Tetragrammaton during the Second Temple Era, and early Christians
also never attempted to prounounce the Holy Name. This will only
affect eight verses in the entire KJV, and in each case a footnote
will indicate the original text.
In addition, there will be some small number of footnotes where the
text differs significantly from current understanding of the original
languages. But one of the features of the original KJV that made it
different from other translations being produced at the time was the
lack of marginal notes, which tended to be polemical attacks on
So while an imprimatur might be nice, I will be happy if I am only
able to find an author more learned than myself to write a preface
discussing the proper place of the KJV in the life of the
- Isn't it full of errors?
While Bibles produced by groups of Protestants issuing from the
Continental Reformation often specifically use wording to deny
Catholic doctrine, that is not the case with the King James
Version, which was produced by "High Church" parties within
Anglicanism under the direction of a monarch with strong Catholic
In preparing this edition and deciding where to place footnotes,
I have asked for assistance in identifying those "errors". Lists
of purported errors have been provided. My
answers to one such list show
that the majority of "errors" are language choices which the KJV
shares with the Douay.
- What prompted you to put the KJV for Catholics together?
Many people have asked for it. It is certainly an important part
of the patrimony. The King James Bible and the Book of Common Prayer,
more than any other literary works, have formed the culture and the
consciences of the English speaking people for over 400 years.
- What difficulties are there, if any, in working on any Scriptural
text in terms of Catholic approvals?
Lectionaries, that is, books containing the individual readings for
use in the Mass or at the daily office, must go through a rigorous
approval process, and must follow the directives in Liturgiam
Authenticam. However, Catholics are free to read any
translation of the bible, whether the bible is being offered as
a "Catholic" bible or not. I recommend that anyone reading
the Bible, especially this edition, do so while consulting a good
Catholic commentary. To be Catholic is to interpret the bible in
the light of the Tradition of the Church:
"[T]he task of authentically interpreting the Word of God,
whether written or handed on, has been entrusted exclusively to
the living teaching office of the Church, whose authority is
exercised in the name of Jesus Christ. This teaching office is not
above the Word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been
handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and
explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and
with the help of the Holy Spirit; it draws from this one deposit of
faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.
-- Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation (Dei Verbum), 1965
Many portions of the KJV have already received specific approval from the
CDF/CDW and are incorporated in "Divine Worship: The Missal." For example,
the Last Gospel must be read from the Missal, and the text printed in the
missal is the KJV. Many of the minor propers and other scriptural texts in
the Missal are also from the KJV. Publication of this edition of the KJV
is being undertaken in the spirit of Pope Benedict XVI's vision "to
maintain the liturgical, spiritual and pastoral traditions of the Anglican
Communion within the Catholic Church, as a precious gift nourishing the
faith of the members of the Ordinariate and as a treasure to be shared."
(Anglicanorum Cœtibus III.)
- What response have you had to the project so far?
Many members of the Ordinariate coming from the Anglican tradition
are enthusiastic. Others, who do not appreciate the more poetic
nature of the KJV, don't understand why the Douay isn't good
enough. There are also detractors who believe that the KJV is
heretical or claim that it is a polemic against the Church, but no
one has yet identified any passage that is in contradiction to
Catholic doctrine. One person adamantly claimed that the KJV
translation of John 3:16 is heretical, but that is one of the
verses which has already received official approval from the
Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for use at
Mass, as one of the "Comfortable Words" in the Penitential
- When will the two-volume set be available for order?
Production is nearing completion on schedule, and ordering
at Amazon.com should be available on or before The Feast of St. Theodore
of Canterbury, Bishop, 19 September 2020.
- Do you have a website for it yet?
Here you are! Once available for purchase, this page will
refer you to Amazon where it will be available with free Prime
shipping. The price for the two volumes purchased
together will be $33.90 in the USA, and will be similarly
Some specific portions of the KJV are approved for use at Mass. An example
is shown on these missal pages below, along with the approval from Cardinal
Sarah. No official KJV lectionary text is being considered as part of this
project. Anything beyond publishing what is described on this page is
Out-of-Scope at this time.