Carey Bible

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The Carey Bible was an edition of the English-language Douay-Rheims translation of the Bible published by Mathew Carey (1760-1839) beginning in 1789. It was the first Roman Catholic version of the Bible printed in the United States.

Carey was an expatriate Irish journalist who established himself as a printer and publisher in Philadelphia around 1784. In 1789 he announced plans to print the first American Catholic Bible and solicited subscriptions; the work was to be published in 48 weekly parts. This plan failed, largely in part to the small number of Roman Catholics in the United States (then about 25,000 out of 1 million citizens) and also because American Catholics at the time were often unfamiliar with Scripture.[1]

Undeterred, in 1790 Carey came up with a new approach to publishing his Bible. He would print it in two volumes, abandoning the installment arrangement, and he would also market the book to Protestants. His appeal to potential Protestant subscribers emphasized the supposed superior scholarship of the Douay-Rheims version over the King James Version. Among his enthusiastic supporters was John Carroll, the nation's first Roman Catholic bishop, who promoted Carey's project as part of his desire to make Catholics more familiar with Scripture. The price of a subscription was six dollars. The bible was completed December 1, 1790 and was soon also available in a single volume. Probably fewer than 500 copies of the Carey Bible were printed.[1]

Carey published two more versions of the Douay-Rheims Bible in 1805; one of these editions was reprinted in 1811 and 1816.[1] He also published many editions of the King James Version, each carefully planned, formatted and innovatively marketed.

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  1. ^ a b c The Bible in English: its history and influence, by David Daniell, 2003 "Mathew Carey and the American Bible Flood"