Biblia Sacra, Vulgatae Editionis, Sixit V. Pont. Max. Jussu recognita ed Clementis VIII auctorita te edita


Biblia Sacra, Vulgatae Editionis, Sixit V. Pont. Max. Jussu recognita ed Clementis VIII auctorita te edita by Desclee (publisher)  956 pages

Original year of publication: 1901





I have posted some images of a representation of what the reprint will look like when finished. Please take a look and as always, feedback is appreciated.



UPDATE: SEPTEMBER 2011- All future updates will be posted at the link below




The complete Biblia Sacra Desclee Edition is available on Google Books. It can be viewed and/or downloaded at the link below.




UPDATE: MARCH 2009  We have just acquired a copy of the first edition (AD 1881).  Beautiful two-color text with additional ornamental features. We will consider this edition for reprinting instead of the 1901 edition. You can view some pics of this beautiful tome at the bottom of this webpage.


 We at are proposing a major reprinting project. We would like to put back into print this beautiful edition of the Latin Vulgate, so that this work of art can be read and appreciated by all. There are a handful of editions of the Bible in Latin available today. None are as beautifully illustrated and formatted as this particular one. During our years of collecting Vulgate texts printed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we have found that this edition seems to be one of the last ones printed with all of the beauty and elegance that is due to such a venerable text. It seems that all of the editions printed after this one (by this publisher and by others) present the text only without any illustrations and do not use the same wonderful typography. Just look to the left at some samples of a few of the pages. (any of the full page images displayed can be cliked on and a full size pdf sample page book will open)


  To the reader...

It seems that we live in an age where only the bare-minimum is done when publishing. In these days it seems that only the text is provided with little or no illustrations. But the typography and illustrations are not the only reason why we want to reprint this particular edition. It is also because of the editorial quality of the text itself. Below is an English translation of the “To the Reader” from the original work.

 Receive, dear reader, from the St. John the Evangelist Press of Tournai (Belgium) the Holy Bible in Latin, most diligently corrected and in faithful accordance with the Vatican edition authorized by Clement VIII and published in 1598. Since many have expressed the wish that, following the excellent work of the eminent scholar Charles Vercellone, there might be a new edition in more elegant form which, while based on his outstanding scriptural studies, could be produced at a lesser price, we decided that it would not be uncalled-for to create this edition of ours. 

Moreover the method which the editors decided to follow in this effort are with pleasure derived from the important guidelines Pope Clement VIII laid down for his edition. That is, he ordered that no one should undertake to publish this edition of Holy Scripture without first consulting a copy of it printed at the Vatican press. The form of this copy should be inviolably followed without the least particle of the text being changed, added or subtracted, unless something is found which is clearly ascribable to typographical negligence. 

If one investigates the reasons for this precept, it becomes easily apparent how useful and wise it was. For the Pontiff was looking for nothing else than to put an end to that enormous discord among innumerable editions through which, by ignoring tradition and the authority of the Church, everyone had been wont to indulge his own inclinations.

Thus it is impermissible for anyone to change anything in the text of the Vulgate edition in any way. It is forbidden by the very notion and sacredness of an authorized text, one having been established as such by the authority of the Church. Since it is the business of this authority to see to the integrity and unity of the Scriptures, the text it has established as the noblest document of tradition must be preserved with utmost care and vigilance. So no matter how much it may seem to us that, in the light of critical scientific reasoning and rules, some things ought to be changed, there is a fear that they might involve those things which were left unchanged deliberately. (Preface to the Reader) 

Finally, since, in the judgement of the foremost theologians and best scholars, the current readings of the Vulgate edition merit being treated cautiously and with prudent reverence even in matters minute and of small importance, our decision was never to depart from the Vatican — that is, the authorized — edition, unless by chance there was clear evidence of a manifest error on the part of the typographers. Hence we thought it best to safeguard that edition with utmost reverence as the definitive norm of the sacred text; we have striven to follow the precepts of the Holy See. 

The authors of the Vatican edition had not taken it upon themselves to print anything new and recently discovered, nor, likewise, did we ourselves undertake to do anything other than render with utmost exactitude the edition of 1598 (of which a copy lay before us). That edition is the last one of the three published under the auspices of Clement VIII, and through it the authorized text, with three appended lists of corrections, has been perfectly preserved. 

In no way could we be unaware of the weight with which certain readings are typically supported, like the famous proficiens [“advancing, making progress”] for proficiscens [“departing”] of II Samuel 3, 1, or the affigentes [“affixing, nailing” (to the cross, i.e., crucifying)] for affligentes [“striking or smashing against, striking down”] of Acts 2, 23. But no matter how much they appeal to us — in our private judgement preferring a different reading than the one presented by the Vatican text — we have not ventured to accept them. But because there are praiseworthy scholars — as the Venerable Cardinal Bellarmine has proved — who, well equipped with scholarly knowledge and other aids, devote their efforts to examining and confirming original readings even in all the smallest particulars, we did not think we should reject the emendations contained both in the publications of the best authors and in other, modern editions. Among the latter, we have put much effort into comparing especially the edition which the famous Charles Vercellone oversaw under the auspices of the most holy Pius IX; and in addition to other editions, those of greatest authority in France, Italy and Germany. We have employed these and others in figuring out obscure passages; in determining punctuation — whenever, that is, we feared that the sense might be altered or where it seemed to us that greater clarity might be obtained; and, finally, in correcting the addition of so-called citations, and other things of this kind. Quite often, for example, in the Vatican edition you will find a period followed by a lower-case letter; in Vercellone’s edition you will find this unchanged, even though he did not hesitate to alter some elements in many things of easily greater importance. So it had to be determined — often from the sources or from other editions or publications — whether the sentence in the preceding phrase was completely finished. Besides this it is clear that, due to printer negligence, one of two periods has sometimes been lost. All these things are found to be of small or, rather, no importance, if you look at the matter itself; however in issues of greater importance we have never rejected the Vulgate edition on any pretext whatsoever, as we have stated. 

It remains for us to explain certain other things we did in preparing this edition. 

The prefaces of St. Jerome according to the Vallarsi edition, generally included as one might expect, have been emended. — As for proper names, whose spelling in the Vulgate edition is by no means consistent, we have deliberately refrained from changing and rewording them in accordance with a fixed standard. — We have corrected and expanded so called biblical concordances or crossreferences of parallel passages (placed in the margin according to ancient custom), since they are largely erroneous in the Vatican edition; for the hard work of those who have inserted these kinds of things and other items of the same type in other editions is not condemned by the Apostolic See. — For the same reason we thought the captions, too, which head individual chapters, should be retained as aids for ease of use by students. — We have not shrunk from the incredible labor of cleaning up biblical indices, which the famous Vercellone left out, as though it were intolerable drudgery and labor to correct them properly, given that many preachers, students of theology and others have earnestly desired them. 

May, finally, this edition of the Sacred Bible be published, and may it bear exceedingly rich fruits of knowledge and piety; we humbly pray that St. John the Evangelist, our great patron, who drew his stream of divine eloquence from the sacred font itself of the Lord’s breast and, inebriated with the grace of the Holy Ghost, more deeply revealed to others the hidden things of Divinity, might obtain these results for us through his kind intercession with the most sacred Heart of Jesus.

Tourai, Belgium, on the feast of our holy father Benedict, 1885

After reading the English translation, I suspect that you may be as convinced as I, that this particular edition of the Vulgate which has been published following the guidelines laid down by Pope Clement VIII himself, is an exemplar for reprinting. Biblical scholar Carlo Vercellone, although only one amoung many earlier and later scholars (such as Cardinal Ximenes, Leander van Ess, Cardinal Fillion, M. Hetzenauer, A. Grammatica) who produced corrected editions of the the Clementine text, seems to stand out amoung the others or at least deserves equal praise and recognition for his text.   


A book review from 1886.

Here is an interesting article I found in the January 1886 edition of the Dublin Review.

Biblia Sacra Vulgata Editionis Sixti V Pont. Max. jussu recognita et Clementis VIII auctoritate edita. Tornaci Nerviorum : typis Soc. Sancti Ioannis Evangelistae, Desclee, Lefebvre et Soc. 1885.
IN the DUBLIN REVIEW of October, 1883, I brought before the notice of its readers several liturgical publications of the Tournay Liturgical Printing Press of St. John. The same publishers have just brought out a new edition of The Vulgate. As appears from the preface, it is arranged exactly on the same critical principles as that of 1883, except that the size is different and the ornamental adjuncts are changed. The present is a most handy volume in small octavo, printed on stout paper, in double columns. It has two maps, one of Palestine in the time of Our Lord, the other of the journeys of St. Paul. A very useful index of lessons, epistles, and gospels of the Sundays has also been added. The cheapness (frs. 7-50) of the volume, which extends to nearly a thousand pages, will no doubt be an additional recommendation of it to students.

The 1901 edition we are reprinting is an exact reprint of the 1885 edition mentioned in the article.


Now, about our reprint...

Now we come to the reprinting details. My goal is to produce a new printing of this edition in a beautiful and durable format. These are the features that I have in mind: 

-to have the originals scanned professionally at the highest resolution possible. There may be many who would argue that a newly retypeset edition would be far superior to a facsmile.This may be true. But it is also true that it would take years to produce such an edition, and then one must deal with typographical errors and other issues. In my opinion, a facsmile is the way to go, preserving all of the beauty of the original, with only a small sacrifice of text and image quality. 

-to be printed on high quality bible paper

-to be printed in a handy, 6 inch by 9 inch size.  Small enough to carry with you, large enough to fit your hand nicely and lay flat when opened.

-to implement a high quality binding with attractive headbands 

-to be bound between hardcovers 

-to have two non-fraying ribbon markers 

FEB 2010 UPDATE: We had originally planned to offer this book with a flexible leather cover, gilded page edges with rounded corners, etc... After receiving several quotes from printers/ binders, it is quite obvious that we do not have the funds to reprint this edition of the Vulgate as we wish to. We are exploring other options at this point. Quality will not be sacrificed, but features will have to be.


I have included a sampling of pages from the book, please take a look.

Also, we have posted some images below. The first five photos, are a representation of what we would like the finished product to look like.  The last three photos are some shots of two copies of the original 1901 edition, in different bindings.

We need your feedback on this project.  What do you think?  Would you purchase a copy? Do you have any suggestions?

To read what people are saying, see the testimonials below.

Please send all suggestions, comments, or inquiries to

If I may ask one more thing of you- Please share this webpage with friends, family, or anyone you may correspond with. What could be more important than the most beautiful and vernerable translation of the Holy Scriptures, perserved within the Church, free from all error and corruption?

We had hoped to have officially started on this project by now but we are currently stuck in the pre-planning stages. Since we have so many other unfinished projects that have been put "on the back burner", this project is somewhat delayed. It will probably be another two years until this beautiful edition of the Vulgate is manifested on the printed page yet again.

To stay updated on the process, visit this page periodically or join the Latin Nerd Warriors and receive updates directly to your inbox.

March 2009 update:  We have just acquired a copy of the first edition (AD 1881).  Beautiful two-color text with additional ornamental features. We will consider this edition for reprinting instead of the 1901 edition. Take a look at it here.

Thank you.

Maximus Scriptorius














633661961689953750_Biblia Sacra 1901 Desclee.pdfView Sample Page

Ordering Options
Media Type: Softcover Book Softcover Book
Dimensions: 6" X 9"
Stock Number: 00000
Notes: Please look at the photos below. The first five photos, are a representation of what we would like the finished product to look like. The last three photos are some shots of two copies of the original 1901 edition, in different bindings.

Image Gallery

Testimonial(s) regarding this book...

November 04, 2009

I was just wondering how far away are you from being able to print the vulgate.  I would like to see you reprint the 1881 edition with black and red pages and my brother and I would each order one.


November 04, 2009

I would be very interested in the proposed re-issue of the Vulgate: paper
2.leather covers
3.guilt and round edges
Thank you for your endeavors!


November 04, 2009

I'm very interested in your vulgate project.  If it becomes available, I would definitely be interested in purchasing a copy.


November 04, 2009

I would most certainly buy a copy of your planned Latin Bible, would even be cool to have an electronic edition (pdf) with the book as well. Based on the scans, the colour one has a cream background (age/condition) whereas the B&W has a white background. So unless you can get the colour one on white then I'd prefer the B&W. My prayers are with you. This will be amazing!


November 04, 2009

Let me know when the latin bible is ready


November 04, 2009

I love the look of the 1881 sample pages, much nicer than the 1901. I would be very interested in purchasing a copy. Do you think you could produce it for around twice the price of a comparable quality English bible?

I have downloaded the 1901 pdf file and use it regularly for study. Thanks ever so much for the pointer.


March 19, 2009

Although I should like it especially bound in flexible genuine leather, I WILL purchase this in whatever format you finally choose


February 23, 2009

 I'd be interesting in buying one if it is produced and I have the money.


February 22, 2009

I definitely would be interested in purchasing such a Bible. Just the collection of pictures makes it worth it! Thanks so much for doing this.
I am waiting!  (And I don't even read Latin.   ...Yet)


February 21, 2009

I just came across your website   I am so excited about your plan to reprint a classic Vulgate!  You will go on my prayer list tomorrow!  Add me to your list of interested future buyers.


February 14, 2009

Max, you have one more supporter of your biblia sacra vulgatae editionis project - it looks beautiful and I hope it makes it to print soon.

T.P. from North Adelaide, South Australia

February 10, 2009

What a great idea! I'd be very interested in getting a copy. If it can be produced for under US$100, all the better.

F.P. from Bendigo, Australia

February 10, 2009

I too would purchase a copy of this Bible...and only if it was a facsim copy too. Good choice.


February 01, 2009

I looked yesterday at your webpage and was facinated by your Bible project.


February 01, 2009

I can attest for myself and several clerics (still seminarians and those ordained) that we would support this project if it were feasible in the financial realm. ...this is a wonderful project and I thank you.

Fr. C.O.

January 28, 2009

I read about your Vulgate reprint project on your web page, and I am writing to let you know that I consider this a great idea.
I would be definitely interested in buying it.

Right now, the only Clementine available in print in N. America is the Madrid Clementine, available from American Classical League.
It is a very plain Bible - so I think there could be a market for beautifully printed Vulgate.

H.F. from Ontario, Canada

January 25, 2009

I would absolutely love to purchase a copy of this bible.  What wonderful pictures and text.  May God bless you on this project!


January 25, 2009

I strongly encourage you to pursue this project. I would definitely purchase a copy if it were appropriately priced. I might also suggest you do something along the lines of a "pocket size" for seminarians (like myself) who would like to have something easy to carry with my breviary. All the same, I would buy a copy of either size.


January 22, 2009

I just saw a copy of this edition in Rome and tried desperately to get a copy on and got a different Desclee without the images.  You can imagine when a priest friend showed me your website, how excited I was.  Please add me to any mailing list of updates and I will certainly advertise it far and wide. 

C.S. from Hilton Head Island, SC

January 22, 2009

What a contribution to the Church you will make with the reprinting of this most wonderful and majestic Vulgate. When these are made available, you can count on a few purchases from myself. Thank you so much for your most important work.


T.H. from West Roxbury, MA

January 22, 2009

I think that your Vulgate Project is a wonderful idea.  I am interested in purchasing a copy of this edition when it becomes available.


January 22, 2009

I would certainly buy a copy.  Keep up the good work!



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