Easton's Bible Dictionary
Hitchcock's Dictionary of Bible Names
Smith's Bible Dictionary
The Latin version of the Bible. The influence which it
exercised upon western Christianity is scarcely less than that of the LXX (Septuagint).
upon the Greek churches. Both the Greek and the latin Vulgate have been long neglected;
yet the Vulgate should have a very deep interest for all the western churches,
many centuries it was the only Bible generally used; and, directly or indirectly
is the real parent of all the vernacular versions of western Europe. The Gothic
version of Ulphilas alone is independent of it. The name is equivalent to Vulgata
editio (the current text of Holy Scripture.
This translation was made by Jerome-Eusebius Hieronymus --who way born in 329
A.D. at Stridon in Dalmatia, and died at Bethlehem in 420 A.D. This great scholar
probably alone for 1500 years possessed the qualifications necessary for producing
an original version of the Scriptures for the use of the Latin churches. Going
to Rome, he was requested by Pope Damascus, A.D. 383, to make a revision of the
old Latin version of the New Testament, whose history is lost in obscurity. In
middle life Jerome began the study of the Hebrew, and made a new version of the
Old Testament from the original Hebrew which was completed A.D. 404.
The critical labors of Jerome were received with a loud outcry of reproach. He
was accused of disturbing the repose of the Church and shaking the foundations
of faith. But clamor based upon ignorance soon dies away; and the New translation
gradually came into use equally with the Old, and at length supplanted it. The
vast power which the Vulgate has had in determining the theological terms of western
Christendom can hardly be overrated. By far the greater part of the current doctrinal
terminology is based on the Vulgate. Predestination, justification, supererogation
(supererogo), sanctification, salvation, mediation, regeneration, revelation,
visitation (met.) propitiation, first appear in the Old Vulgate. Grace, redemption,
election, reconciliation, satisfaction, inspiration, scripture, were devoted there
to a new and holy use. Sacrament and communion are from the same source; and though
baptism is Greek, it comes to us from the Latin. It would be easy to extend the
list by the addition of orders, penance, congregation, priest ; but it can be
seen from the forms already brought forward that the Vulgate has brought forward
that the Vulgate has left its mark both upon our language and upon our thoughts.
It was the version which alone they knew who handed down to the reformers the
rich stores of medieval wisdom; the version with which the greatest of the reformers
were most familiar, and from which they had drawn their earliest knowledge of
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
I. NAME AND ITS HISTORY
1. Present Usage
The term "Vulgate" with us means but one thing--the standard authoritative Bible
of the Latin or Roman church, prepared mostly by the labors of Jerome. But this
is not the original use of the word and it was never so used by Jerome himself;
indeed, it did not at first refer to a Latin version or translation at all. The
word "Vulgate" comes from the adjective or participle vulgata which usually accompanied
editio, and meant at first current or regularly used text. It was originally used
as the equivalent of koine ekdosis = the Septuagint. Jerome and Augustine both
use the term in this sense.
2. Earlier Usage
Jerome (Commentary in Isaiah
65:20), "Hoc juxta Septuagint interpretes diximus, quorum editio toto orbe
vulgata est" (and same place Isaiah
30:22), vulgata editio again refers to the Septuagint. Elsewhere Jerome actually
gives the Greek words (of the Septuagint) as found in editione vulgata (Commentary
in Osee 7 13). Augustine identifies the expression with the Septuagint (De doctr.
christ., xvi. 10): "Secundum vulgatam editionem, hoc est interpretum Septuaginta."
The term editio vulgata was next extended to the form in which the Septuagint
was at first known to the West--the Old Latin versions (see LATIN; LATIN VERSION),
although, as Westcott remarks, there does not appear to be any instance in the
age of Jerome of the application of the term to the Latin version of the Old Testament
without regard to its derivation from the Septuagint or to that of the New Testament,
so that Jerome usually intended the Septuagint though he quoted it in Latin form.
Vulgata editio, having acquired the meaning of the current or ordinarily used
text of Septuagint, was once again extended to mean a corrupt or uncorrected text
as opposed to the standard emended Septuagint version of Origen's Hexapla, and
in this sense is used by Jerome as synonymous with antiqua or vetus editio.
Epistle cvi.2 deserves citing in this connection: "Admoneo alia m esse editionem
quam Origenes et Caesariensis Eusebius omnesque Graeciae translatores (koinen),
i.e. communem appellant atque vulgatam, et a plerisque (Loukianos) nunc dicitur:
aliam Septuagint interpretum quae in (Hexaplois) (i.e. of Origen) codicibus reperitur,
et a nobis in Latinum sermonem fideliter versa ..... (koine) (communis editio)
.... vetus corrupta editio est, ea antem quae habetur in (Hexaplois) et quam nos
vertimus, ipsa est quae in eruditorum libris incorrupta et immaculata Septuagint
interpretum translatio reservatur." ("I recall that one is the text which Origen
and Eusebius of Caesarea and all the Greek translators call the (koine), i.e.
the common and current text, and is now called by most persons Lucian's (version);
the other is the text of the translators of the Septuagint which is found in the
codices (or books) of Origen (or the Hexapla), and has been faithfully translated
by us into the Latin language .... the koine (the ordinary text) .... is the old
corrupted text, but that which is found in the Hexapla, and which we are translating,
is the same one which the version of the translators of the Septuagint has preserved
unchanged and immaculate in the books of the scholars.")
It was only very slowly that Jerome's version acquired this name, the phrase editio
vulgata being applied to the Septuagint or the Old Latin versions of the Septuagint
sometimes down to medieval times, while Jerome's translation was known as editio
nostra, codices nostri, translation emendatior, or translation quam tenet Rorn
ecclesia. The Tridentine Fathers were therefore guilty of an anachronism when
they referred to Jerome's translation as vetus et vulgata editio. Roger Bacon
was apparently the first, in the 13th century, to apply the term Vulgata in our
sense (not exclusively, but also to the Septuagint), and this usage became classic
through its acceptance by the Tridentine Council ("vetus et vulgata editio").
4. Historical Importance of the Vulgate
The interest of the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) will be apparent
when we reflect that this translation proved to be to the West what the Septuagint
had been to the East, that it was prepared with great care by the greatest scholar
whom Latin Christianity produced, that it was for hundreds of years the only Bible
in universal use in Europe, that it has given to us much of our modern theological
terminology as well as being the sponsor for many Greek words which have enriched
our conceptions. It has also proved of primary importance as an early and excellent
witness to the sacred text. Add to this that "directly or indirectly it is the
real parent of all the vernacular versions of Western Europe" except the Gothic
of Ulfilas. For English-speaking students it possesses peculiar interest as the
source of the earlier translations made by the Venerable Bede, and portions of
the Old Testament were translated in the 10th century from the Vulgate (Jerome's
Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) by AElfric. Its greatest influence was exerted in the
English version of Wycliffe--a literal translation from the Vulgate (1383). And
Coverdale's Bible (1535) was "faithfully and truly translated out of Dutch (i.e.
German of Luther) and Latin." The Rheims and Douay version was based on the Vulgate,
though "diligently conferred with the Hebrew and Greek." The Vulgate exercised
considerable influence upon Luther's version and through it upon our the King
1. Corruption and Confusion of Old Versions
Latin Christianity had not been without a Bible in its own language. Old Latin
versions are found in North Africa as early as the middle of the 3rd century and
are found in the texts of Cyprian and Tertullian. But these translations were
characterized by "simplicity," "rudeness" and provincialism. There was not one
standard authoritative version with any ecclesiastical recognition. Versions were
rather due to "individual and successive efforts." Augustine says that anyone
who got hold of a Greek manuscript and thought he knew Greek and Latin would venture
on a translation. These versions originated in Africa and not from Rome, else
they had been more authoritative. Besides, the first two centuries of the Rom
church were rather Greek; the earliest Christian literature of Rome is Greek,
its bishops bear Greek names, its earliest liturgy was Greek. When the church
of Italy became Lat-speaking--probably at the end of the 3rd century--the provincialisms
of the African version rendered it unfit for the more polished Romans, and so
recensions were called for. Scholars now recognize a European type of Old Latin
text. And Westcott thinks a North Italian recension (at least in the Gospels)
was made in the 4th century. and known as the Itala (see LATIN), and which he
recognizes in the Itala mentioned in Aug., De doctr. christ., xv, as "verborum
tenacior cum perspicuitate sententiae"; but F.C. Burkitt (The Old Latin and the
Itala, 54 ff) takes the Itala here as referring to Jerome's version. Amid such
confusion and the appearance of national or provincial recensions, the Latin church
became conscious of the need of a standard edition. There were almost as many
types of texts as there were manuscripts: "Tot exemplaria paene quot codices,"
says Jerome (Preface to Gospels). Independent and unauthorized or anonymous translatitons"--especially
of the New Testament--aided by the gross carelessness of scribes, made confusion
worse confounded. Augustine complains of this "Latinorum interpretum infinita
In addition to the inconvenience in preaching and the liturgical variations, a
greater demand for an authoritative version arose from the continual watch of
the early church against heretics. Confusion of text abetted heresy, and the absence
of a standard text made it harder to refute it. Besides, the Jews, with one authoritative
text, laughed at the confusion of the Christian Scriptures.
3. Inevitable Separation of East and West
The inevitable separation of East and West, both politically and ecclesiastically,
and the split between Greek and Latin Christianity, rendered the existence of
a standard Latin text imperative. Christianity was felt to be the religion of
a book, and hence that book must be inspired and authoritative in every word--even
in its order of words. Pope Damasus determined to remedy this state of affairs,
and with all the authority of the papal see commissioned Jerome to produce an
authentic and standard authorized version
4. Request of Pope Damasus
The pope's choice could not have fallen upon a more competent scholar--a man who
had been providentially gifted and prepared for the task. Jerome--his Latin name
was Eusebius Hieronymus--was born at Stridon on the borders of Dalmatia about
340 AD, or a little later, of Christian parentage. He had the advantages of the
best classical education and became a devoted student of the best Latin writers.
In a dream he saw a vision of judgment, and on claiming to be a Christian he was
rebuked: "Mentiris, Ciceronianus es, non Christianus." He began his theological
studies in Gaul; but later sought the seclusion of ascetic life in the desert
near Antioch. Here he studied Hebrew from a converted rabbi in order to subdue
fierce passions by the difficulties of that language. About 375 or 376 began his
correspondence with Damasus. In 382 he came to Rome, and became the intimate friend
and adviser of Damasus.
III. JEROME'S TRANSLATIONS AND REVISIONS: METHOD
1. The New Testament
These fall into three main groups: (1) revision of the New Testament; (2) Old
Testament juxta the Septuagint; (3) Old Testament from Hebrew. The exact date
of the pope's commission is not given: it was probably in 382--the year of Jerome's
arrival in Rome--or early in 383, in which year the Gospels appeared in revised
form. Damasus asked simply for a revision of the Old Latin versions by the help
of the Greek rather than a new version Jerome collated Greek manuscripts, and
carefully compared them with the "Italian" type of Old Latin texts; where possible
the Old Latin was preserved. Thus, Jerome approached the task with a conservative
spirit. Still the result was a considerable departure from the Old Latin version,
the changes being
|(1) linguistic, removal of provincialisms and rudeness,
(2) in interpretation, e.g. supersubstantialis for epiousion, in the Lord's Prayer,
(3) the removal of interpolations,
(4) the insertion of the Eusebian Canons.
Gospels or Whole New Testament?
It is disputed whether Jerome revised the whole New Testament or only the Gospels.
Against the revision of the whole New Testament the arguments briefly are:
|(1) That Augustine, writing 20 years after the appearance
of the revised Gospels, speaks only of "Gospel": "Evangelium ex Graeco interpretatus
est" (Epistle civ.6); but Augustine may here be speaking generally or applying
"Gospel" to the whole New Testament.
(2) Jerome in his preface apparently speaks of "only four Gospels" ("quattuor
(3) The rest of the New Testament does not show the same signs of revision as
(4) The absence of the prefaces usual ("solita praefatione") to Jerome's revised
On the other hand, to more than counterbalance these,
|1) Damasus required a revision of the whole New Testament,
not only of the Gospels (Preface of Damasus).
(2) In other statements of Jerome he expressly says he revised the New Testament
(not Gospel or Gospels); in Epistle cxii.20, he seems to correct Augustine's evangelium
by writing: "Si me, ut dicis, in Novi Testamenti emendatione suspicis," and in
Epistle lxxi.5, "I translated the New Testament according to the Greek" ("NT Graecae
reddidi auctoritati"); compare also De Vir. Ill., cxxxv.
(3) Jerome quotes passages outside the Gospels where his version differed from
the Old Latin VSS, e.g. Romans
12:11 ; 1
Timothy 1:15; compare Epistle xxvii.
(4) Damasus died at the end of 384--perhaps before the rest of Jerome's revision
was published, and so Jerome thought no further prefaces needed.
2. Old Testament from the Septuagint
The more likely conclusion is that Jerome revised the whole New Testament, though
not all with equal care. His revision was hasty and soon became more or less confused
with the Old Latin versions to which the people clung as they do to all old versions.
Having probably completed the New Testament from the Greek, Jerome began immediately
on the Old Testament from the Greek of the Septuagint.
(1) Roman Psalter.
He commenced with the Psalms, which he simply emended only where imperatively
required (compare preface), and cursorily (circa 384). This revision is called
the Rom Psalter (Psalterium Romanum), which continued in use in Rome and Italy
till it was displaced under the pontificate of Plus V by the Gallican Psalter,
though the Roman Psalter is still used in Peter's, Rome, and in Mark's, Milan.
(2) Galliean Psalter.
This Psalter soon became so corrupted by the Old Latin version that Jerome (circa
387) undertook a second revision at the request of Paula and Eustochium. This
became known as the Gallican Psalter because of its early popularity in Gaul.
It was also made from the Septuagint, but with the aid of other Greek versions.
Jerome adopted in it the critical signs used by Origen--a passage enclosed between
an obelus and two points being absent from the Hebrew but present in the Septuagint,
that between an asterisk and two points being absent from the Septuagint but supplied
from Theodotion (Preface to Psalms).
(3) Rest of the Old Testament.
About the same time Jerome published translations of other Old Testament books
from the Septuagint. Job was revised very soon after the Gallican Psalter. The
preface to Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles and Chronicles is extant to show
he had revised these books. Job and Psalms are the only books of this revision
juxta Septuagint extant. It is again disputed whether Jerome completed the whole
Old Testament in this revision because (1) the usual prefaces are again lacking
(except to the books already mentioned), and (2) in his prefaces to the revision
from the Hebrew Jerome makes no reference to an earlier revision of his own; (3)
the work implied was too great for the brief space possible and must have been
done between 387 and 390 (or 391), for by this latter date he was already on the
translation from the Hebrew. But Jerome was a phenomenal worker, as we learn that
his translation of Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Canticles from the Hebrew was made
in three days. And his commentary on Ephesians was written at the rate of 1,000
lines a day.
Jerome probably completed the whole, as we infer from his own direct positive
statements. He speaks of "mea in libris canonicis interpretatio" (Epistle cxii.19;
see references in Westcott), and in the preface to the Books of Solomon after
the Septuagint he states he did not correct Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus, "desiring
only to emend the canonical books" ("tantummodo canonicas scripturas vobis emendare
desiderans"). Once again, he speaks of having carefully translated the Septuagint
into Latin (Con Ruf., ii.24; compare Epistle lxxi).
3. Translation of Old Testament from the Hebrew
If the postscript to Epistle cxxxiv, to Augustine is genuine, Jerome complains
he had lost the most of his former labors by fraud ("pleraque enim prioris laboris
fraude cuiusdam amisimus"). And Augustine requests (Epistle xcvi.34) from Jerome
his versions from the Septuagint ("Nobis mittas, obsecro, interpretationem tuam
de Septuagint quam te edidisse nesciebam"). Having in the course of these labors
discovered the unsatisfactory condition of the Septuagint text and his friends
pleading the need of a translation direct from the Hebrew, Jerome began this huge
task about 390 with Samuel and Kings, which he published with the Prologus galeatus
("helmeted prologue") next the Psalms (circa 392), Job and the Prophets (393),
1 and 2 Esdras (circa 394) (3 and 4 being omitted), Chronicles (396). Then followed
a severe illness until 398, when "post longam aegrotationem" he translated Proverbs,
Ecclesiastes and Canticles. He then started on the Octateuch: "Octateucho quem
nunc in manibus habeo" (Epistle lxxi.5), the Pentateuch being first translated
in 401, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and Esther soon after (xl.4: "post sanctae Paulae
dormitionem"). Tobit and Judith were translated for him from Chaldee into Hebrew
from which he then translated them into Latin (circa 405), and shortly before
or after these he added the apocryphal additions to Daniel and Esther. Baruch
he passed over. Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus were not revised by him. Whether he
revised Maccabees is doubtful. Thus was completed in 15 strenuous years (390-405)
a work which has proved a ktema es aei (Thucydides i.22), "a possession for all
time." The translation was largely undertaken at the request of friends and at
no papal request. Indeed Jerome did not pretend to be working for publicity; he
actually asked one friend not to show his translation.
But human nature rarely recognizes merit in its own generation, and the spirit
of conservatism rose in rebellion against beneficial innovation. Jerome was accused
of slighting the Septuagint, which even in the eyes of Augustine was equally inspired
with the Hebrew original. Jerome's fiery temper and his biting tongue were not
calculated to conciliate.
IV. SUBSEQUENT RECENSIONS AND HISTORY OF VULGATE
1. In the Manuscripts
By degrees the fierce opposition died down, and even by the time of Jerome's death
men were beginning to perceive the merits of his version which Augustine used
in the Gospels. Some parts of Jerome's Vulgate (390-405 A.D.) won their way to
popularity much sooner than others--the Old Latin versions died hard and not without
inflicting many a wound on the Vulgate. His Psalter from the Hebrew never ousted
the Gallican which still holds its place in the Vulgate. Some scholars were able
to appreciate Jerome's edition sooner than others. And it was at different dates
that the different provinces and countries of the West adopted it. Pelagius used
it in his commentary on the Pauline Epistles. As might be expected, the Old Latin
versions retained their place longest in the place of their origin--North Africa.
Britain proved the next most conservative. The old versions were never authoritatively
deposed, and so Jerome's version was compelled to win its way by its own merits.
In the 5th century--especially in Gaul--it continued to grow in popularity among
scholars, being adopted by Vincent of Lerins, Eucherius of Lyons, Sedulius, and
Claudianus Mamertus, and Prosper of Aquitaine. In the next century its use became
almost universal except in Africa, where the Old Latin was retained by Junilius
and Facundus. At the close of the 6th century. Pope Gregory the Great acknowledges
that the new (i.e. the Vulgate) and the old are both equally used by the Apostolic
See; and thus the Vulgate was at least on equal footing with the old. In the 7th
century the Old Latin retreats, but traces of it survive down into the Middle
Ages, affecting and corrupting the Jerome version. Mixed texts and conflated readings
arose--the familiarity of the Old Latin in lectionaries and liturgies telling
on the Vulgate. The New Testament, being only a revision and not a fresh translation,
and being most in use, degenerated most.
|(1) As early as the 6th century the need of an emendated
Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) text was felt, and Cassidorius undertook
to revise part of it. This was merely private enterprise and did little to stem
the flood of corruption.
(2) About the close of the 8th century, Charlemagne commissioned an Englishman
Alcuin, abbot of Martin, Tours, to produce a revised text on the basis of the
best Latin manuscripts, without reference to the Greek text. Alcuin sent to York
for his manuscripts and thus produced a text after British manuscripts. On Christmas
Day, 801 AD, he presented the emperor with the emended text. The authority by
which this text was prepared and its public use together with the class of manuscripts
used did much to preserve a pure Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.)
text and stay interpolations: "The best manuscripts of his recension do not differ
widely from the pure Hieronymian text" (Westcott).
(3) Another recension of about the same date--but a scholar's private enterprise--was
produced by a Visigoth, Theodulf, bishop of Orleans. He made the Spanish family
of manuscripts together with those of Southern France the basis of his text. His
inscribing variant readings in the margin really helped the process of corruption.
His text--though prepared at enormous labor--was far inferior to that of Alcuin
and exerted little influence in face of the authoritative version of Alcuin. manuscripts
were rapidly multiplied in the 9th century on the Alcuinian model by the school
of Tours, but with carelessness and haste which helped to a speedy degeneration
of the text. Again the confusion called for remedy.
(4) In the 11th century Lanfranc, bishop of Canterbury (1069-89), attempted correction--apparently
with little success. About the middle of the 12th century, Stephen Harding of
Citeaux produced a revision--extant in manuscript in Dijon public library (number
9), as did also Cardinal Nicolaus. The increased demand for Bibles in the 13th
century gave opportunity for further corruption of the text--publishers and copyists
being indifferent as to the character of manuscript chosen as a basis.
(5) In consequence of the fame of the University of Paris in the 13th century
and the enormous activity in producing Bible manuscripts, there resulted a type
of text called by Roger Bacon Exemplar Parisiense, for which he has nothing good
(6) In the same century steps were taken toward a standard text and to stay corruption
by the drawing up of correctoria, i.e. books in which the readings of Greek and
Latin manuscripts were weighed to decide a text, the authority of Fathers cited,
etc. Some of the principal correctoria are: Correctorium Parisiense known also
as Senonense--one of the worst, following the Parisian type of text; Correotorium
Vaticanum, the best; Correctorium Sorbonicum, in the Sorbonne; Correctorium Dominicanum.
2. Printed Vulgate
(1) Early Editions.
Little more was done till the invention of printing, and the first products of
the press were Latin Bibles. Unfortunately at first the current text was accepted
without any critical labors, and so the earliest printed Vulgates only perpetuated
an inferior text. Only a few from among some hundreds of early versions can be
noted: (a) the Mazarin Bible--one of the most beautiful and valuable books in
the world--printed at Mainz about the middle of the 15th century (1455, Westcott)
by Gutenberg, Schoffer or Fust; (b) the first Bible published at Rome in 1471
by Sweynheym and Pannartz and reprinted in Nuremberg in 1475; (c) 1504 a Paris
edition with variant readings; (d) an edition in Complutensian Polyglot (1514
ff) from ancient manuscripts and from the Greek; (e) practically the first critical
edition, by Robertus Stephanus (lst edition 1528, 2nd 1532, reprinted later),
of interest as being practically the basis of the standard Roman Vulgate; (f)
Hentenian critical edition (Louvain, 1547). Attempts to produce a corrected text
by aid of the original were made by Erasmus in 1516, Pagninus in 1518 ff, Cardinal
Cajetan, Steuchius in 1529, Clarius in 1542, etc. Even new translations were made
by both Roman Catholic and Protestant scholars. This bewildering number of versions
and the controversies of the 16th century called for a standard edition. The Council
of Trent (1546) took up the matter and decreed that the "ipsa vetus et vulgata
editio quae Iongo tot saeculorum usu in ipsa ecclesia probata" ("the same old
and ordinarily used text which has been approved in the church itself by the long
usage of so many centuries") should be regarded as authentic (authentica). By
this they apparently meant the Jerome version, but did not state in which manuscript
or printed edition it was to be found.
(2) Sixtine Edition (1590).
No further steps were taken for the present to secure a standard official Bible
for the church--the private edition of John Hentenius of Louvain serving in the
meanwhile until the pontificate of Sixtus V. This pope entrusted the work to a
committee under Cardinal Caraffa, but he himself strenuously cooperated. Manuscripts
and printed editions were examined, but the original Greek or Hebrew was to be
regarded as decisive in difficulties. The result was published as the Sixtine
edition of the Vulgate by the Vatican press in 1590 (see title on 1st and 2nd
pages). The text resembles the Stephanus edition of 1540. A new puzzling method
of verse enumeration was introduced. As one would expect, there was prefixed to
the edition a Bull Aeternus ille, etc., in which the divines gave themselves credit
for their painstaking labors, and the result was declared the authorized Vulgate
of the Tridentine Council, "pro vera, legitima, authentica et indubitata, in omnibus
publicis privatisque disputationibus ...." ("by virtue of truth, usage, authenticity
and certainty, in all public and private disputes"). Errors of printing were corrected
by the pen or by pasting a slip of paper with the correction over the error. This
edition was not to be reprinted for 10 years except at the Vatican, and after
that any edition must be compared with the Vatican edition, so that "not even
the smallest particle should be altered, added or removed" under pain of the "greater
excommunication." Sixtus died the same year, and the Jesuit Bellarmine persuaded
Clement VIII to recall the Sixtine edition and prepare another standard Vulgate
(3) Clementine Edition (1592).
In the same year appeared the Clementine edition with a preface by Bellarmine
asserting that Sixtus had himself determined to recall his edition on account
of printers' errors (from which it was remarkably free). The pains and penalties
of the Sixtine Bull were evaded by printing the book as a Sixtine edition, actually
printing the name of Sixtus instead of Clement on the title-page: Biblia Sacra
Vulgatae Editionis Sixti Quinti Pont. Max. iussu recognita atque edita. The awkward
system of verse enumeration of the Sixtine was dropped. The text itself was rather
of the Hentenian type. No future edition was to be printed except on the exact
pattern, "even to the smallest particle" of the Vatican edition. Thanks largely
to the papal Bull this Clementine edition of 1592 still remains the official version
of the Roman Catholic church. A second edition appeared in 1593, and a third in
1598. Roman Catholic scholars were discouraged from undertaking a new version,
and Protestant scholars were, until recently, too occupied with the original texts.
Bentley's projected edition of the New Testament never appeared. Under cover of
the works of Jerome a corrected text was published by Vallarsi, 1734--really the
completion and revision of the edition of Martianay of 1706. Little more was done
in the way of critical editions till the latter half of the 19th century.
(4) Modern Critical Editions.
In 1861 Vercellone reprinted the Clementine Vulgate (with an excellent preface),
the names of Sixtus and Clement both appearing on the title-page. In 1906 an edition--Biblical
Sac Vulgatae edition by Hetzenauer--was published at Oeniponte. (The majority
of recent editions have been confined to the New Testament or part of it: Tischendorf,
Nov. Test. Latin: textum Hieronymi .... restituit, Leipzig, 1864; Hetzenauer,
Nov. Test. Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) ed.: ex Vat. editions
earumque correctorio critice edidit P.M.H., Oeniponte, 1899.) The Oxford Vulg,
prepared by Bishop J. Wordsworth and H.J. White, of which the first part was issued
in 1889, is a comprehensive work of great value. P. Corssen published the first
installment of a Vulgate New Testament (Epistle ad Gal, Berlin, 1885). This is
exclusive of the printed editions of several important manuscripts. Pope Plus
X entrusted the preparation of a revised edition of the Vulgate to the Benedictine
order--but as yet nothing has appeared.
V. MANUSCRIPTS OF VULGATE
To give a satisfactory list would be impossible within our space limits. The number
is legion--estimated at about 8,000. As yet the same order has not been called
out of the chaos of Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) and Old Latin
manuscripts in the manner in which Westcott and Hort have reduced the Greek manuscripts
of the New Testament to a system. The student may conveniently approach the subject
in White's list in the 4th edition of Scrivener, A Plain Introduction to the Criticism
of the New Testament, II 67 ff, or the longer one by Gregory in Tischendorf's
New Testament Greek, 8th edition, III, 983 ff, also in Westcott's article in DB
or White's in HDB; Vercellone, Variae Lectiones, 1860; Berger, Histoire de la
Vulgate, 374 ff.
Space permits only a few general remarks. The Latin of the old versions was simple,
rude and vernacular, abounding in literalisms and provincialisms. In many ways,
in vocabulary, diction and construction, it offended scholars. As was natural
Jerome smoothed the roughness of the old versions and removed the most glaring
solecisms and offensive provincialisms. His work is a masterpiece--like our the
King James Version--in the harmonious blend of simple, popular, forceful language
and a scholarly graceful translation. "As a monument of ancient linguistic power
the translation of the Old Testament stands unrivaled and unique" (Westcott).
The Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) has enriched our language by
introducing many Greek words, "apostle," "evangel," "synagogue," "baptism," etc.
It has also given us much of our theological vocabulary, "edification," "justification,"
"propitiation," "regeneration," "Scripture," etc.
It still retains many marks of its birth in
|(1) Old Latin words elevated from
(2) Africanisms: clarifico, etc., saeculum for mundus, long compound verbs like
(3) Graecisms, like the use of the pronoun for the article, as hic mundus = ho
(4) Hebraisms, like adposuit ut apprehenderet et Petrum (Acts 12:3; see special
works mentioned in "Literature").
VII. USE OF VULGATE VERSIONS
In the Old Testament the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) is not of
much importance for the criticism of the Hebrew text, because of the freedom which
Jerome permitted himself in translation, and because our present Massoretic Hebrew
text had by that time taken on its present form. But on the Septuagint it often
throws a very useful light. In the New Testament Jerome's version ranks practically
in importance with our oldest and best Greek manuscripts in establishing (in conjunction
with the Old Latin VSS) the received Greek text of the 4th century, both by way
of supplementing and correcting our Greek authorities. It is in the Gospels that
Jerome's work is most thorough and useful. His version also supplies many a hint
for the interpretation of our Greek text.
VIII. Differences between Vulgate and Our English Versions.
Apart from differences of rendering and minor points, the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin
Bible, 390-405 A.D.) text differs from the English in the order of the books,
in the amount contained in some of them, in the occasional divergence of chapter
and verse enumeration. The New Testament is practically the same in the Clementine
text, though the order of books varies in many manuscripts--the Catholic Epistles
being placed sometimes after Acts. In some manuscripts the Epistle to the Laodiceans
is found. Most variety obtains in the Old Testament. The sequence of canonical
books is the same, but the apocryphal books are interspersed among them and not
placed at the end. Tobit and Judith are inserted between Nehemiah (2 Esdras) and
Esther, Wisdom and Ecclesiasticus between Canticles and Isaiah. Baruch follows
Lamentaions, chapter 5 of which is called the "Prayer of Jeremiah the Prophet";
1 and 2 Maccabees are placed after Malachi; 3 and 4 Esdras and Prayer of Manasses
appear as an appendix after the New Testament. In Psalms the divergence is considerable,
the Vulgate--like the Hebrew--counting the title as the first verse. Psalms 9;
10 of our version = Psalms 9 in Vulgate, so that the Vulgate is one Psalm behind
the English till Psalms 114, then Psalms 114; 115 again form one Psalm = Vulgate
113. The Vulgate is now two behind. Matters are equalized by Psalms 116 being
divided into two in the Vulgate (= 114; 115), and 147 again = two Vulgate Psalms
146; 147. Thus, only Psalms 1 through 8 and 148 through 150 run the same. Against
Jerome's advice the apocryphal parts of Daniel and Esther were accepted as integral
parts of those books, the Song of Three Children being inserted at Daniel 3:23,
Susanna forming chapter 13 and Bel and the Dragon chapter 14. Ad Esther is linked
on to the end of Esther.
In conclusion, the present Vulgate, as Westcott remarks, is a composite of elements
belonging to every period and form of the Latin version, including
|(1) unrevised Old Latin (Wisdom,
Ecclesiasticus, 1 and 2 Maccabees and Baruch);
(2) Old Latin corrected from the Septuagint (Psalter);
(3) Jerome's free translation from the original (Job and Judith);
(4) Jerome's translation from the original (the Old Testament except the Psalter);
(5) Old Latin revised from Greek manuscripts (the Gospels);
(6) Old Latin cursorily revised (the rest of the New Testament).
This is too vast to cite, but in some of the following works sufficient bibliographies
will be found: Berger, Hist de la Vulgate pendant les premiers siecles du moyen
age, 1893; H. Hody, De bib. textibus originalibus, 1705; F. Kaulen, Gesch. der
Vulg, 1868; Van Ess, Pragmatisch-krit. Gesch. der Vulg, 1824; E. Nestle, Urtext
u. Uebersetzungen der Bibel, 1897, and Ein Jubilaum d. tat. Biblical, 1892. Two
splendid articles--each by an authority--in DB (Westcott) and in HDB (White).
A very readable account is in Kenyon, Our Bible and the Ancient manuscripts, 165
ff, and in his Handbook to the Text Crit. of the New Testament, 168 ff. For the
language: Ronsch, Itala u. Vulgata, 2nd edition, 1875; A. Hartl, Sprachliche Eigentumlichkeiten
d. Vulg, 1864.
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