A passage in this famous ghost story, from his published collection Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, makes reference to a "Door Bible".

‘Well, sir, of course I don’t set up my opinion against yours, but it ain’t the pictur I should ‘ang where my little girl could see it, sir.’

‘Wouldn’t you, Robert? Why not?’

‘No, sir. Why, the pore child, I recollect once she see a Door Bible, with pictures not ‘alf what that is, and we ‘ad to set up with her three or four nights afterwards, if you’ll believe me

Note that it's capitalised meaning, one would presume, that it's a particular edition of the Bible.

Googling the phrase turns up endless biblical references to, or sermons on, doors, which isn't much help.

What is this edition of the Bible, and why does James believe it contain disturbing images?

  • 2
    Gah, I so nearly edited that "it's" to "its", assuming you'd made a mistake in the phrase "its capitalised meaning" :-) – Rand al'Thor Nov 1 at 10:46
up vote 11 down vote accepted

It's a mispronunciation of Doré Bible.

The mispronunciation is quite natural: to an English speaker's eye, Doré looks like "Dore", which would be a homophone of "door" in English. It also fits with the context (images), since Doré's contribution was as an illustrator and not a translator for the Bible.


How I found this answer (because it's interesting)

As you mentioned, searching the web for door bible, or even the exact phrase "door bible", turned up a lot of Bible quotes about doors, which are useless for answering this question.

Next I tried searching for the exact phrase "a door bible", which eliminated many of these useless results and - curiously - gave me only 43 hits on Google many of which were the exact book and passage that your question is about. This is weird, because if there really was something called a Door Bible, surely it would appear in more than just one single book.

But clearly the character is shown speaking in a non-standard dialect ("the pore child", "not 'alf", and so on). Is it possible that "Door" could be their pronunciation of a different word? The obvious choice, especially given the "poor"/"pore" mixup in the same sentence, would be "Dore". So I searched the web for "dore bible", and bingo!

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