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The Vulgate Bible is an early 5th century version of the Bible in Latin partly revised and partly translated by Jerome on the orders of Pope Damasus I in 382. It takes its name from the phrase versio vulgata, i.e., "the translation made public", and was written in a common 4th century style of literary Latin in conscious distinction to the more elegant Ciceronian Latin. The Vulgate was designed to be a definitive and officially promulgated translation of the Bible, improving upon several divergent translations then in use. It was the first, and for many centuries the only, Christian Bible with an Old Testament translated directly from the Hebrew rather than from the Greek Septuagint. In 405 A.D., Jerome completed the protocanonical books of the Old Testament from the Hebrew, and the deuterocanonical books of Tobias and Judith from the Aramaic. The remainder of the version and the psalter were translated from the Greek. Since the Council of Trent, the Latin Vulgate has been the official bible of the Roman Catholic Church. There are 76 books in the Clementine edition of the Vulgate Bible, 46 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New Testament, and 3 in the Apocrypha.
 Relation with the Old Latin Bible
In Jerome's day, the word Vulgata was applied to the Greek Septuagint. The Latin Bible used before the Vulgate is usually referred to as the Vetus Latina, or "Old Latin Bible", or occasionally the "Old Latin Vulgate".
This text was not translated by a single person or institution, nor even uniformly edited. The individual books varied in quality of translation and style -- modern scholars often refer to the Old Latin as being in "translationese" rather than standard Latin. Its Old Testament books were translated from the Greek Septuagint, not from the Hebrew.
The Old Latin version remained in use in some circles even after Jerome's Vulgate became the accepted standard throughout the Western Church. Some Gauls continued to prefer the Old Latin version for centuries.
 Jerome's Translation
Thirty-eight of the thirty-nine protocanonical books of the Vulgate's Old Testament (all except for the Psalms) were translated anew by Jerome from Hebrew. He also translated Judith and Tobias from the Aramaic. The rest of the Vulgate was a revision of earlier Latin translations from Greek. Jerome thoroughly revised the psalms and the four Gospels; how much the rest of the New Testament was revised is difficult to judge today. The rest of the Old Testament was perhaps revised only slightly, or not at all.
In his prologues, Jerome described those books of the Old Testament which were not found in the Hebrew as being non-canonical; he called them apocrypha.<ref> Prologues of Saint Jerome, Latin text </ref><ref>Jerome's Influence on the Biblical apocrypha, Wikipedia article </ref> Nevertheless the Old Testament of the Vulgate contained them, following the tradition of the Vetus Latina and the Septuagint, which was at that time the translation most widely used by Greek-speaking Christians. Of these books, Jerome translated only Tobit and Judith anew. The others retained the Old Latin renderings. Their style can still be markedly distinguished from Jerome's.
Called the Versio Romana or Psalterium Romanum, the Roman Psalter of 384 was Jerome's first revision of the psalter. It was made from the Versio Vetus Latina, and corrected to bring it more in line with the Septuagint. This version was by and large replaced by Jerome's later versions except in Anglo-Saxon England, where it continued to be used until the Norman Conquest (1066). It is still used today in the Vatican basilica and in St. Mark's Cathedral in Venice. It is similar to the version used in the Ambrosian Rite.<ref>Article on Saint Jerome, Catholic Online</ref>
Although some early manuscripts of the Vulgate contain Jerome's translation of the psalms from the Hebrew, the version of the psalms that is contained in all later manuscripts and editions is the Gallicana translation from the Hexaplar Greek.
 Manuscripts and Early Editions
A number of early manuscripts witnessing to the early Vulgate still survive today. Dating to the 8th century, the Codex Amiatinus is the earliest surviving complete manuscript of the Vulgate. The Codex Fuldensis, from around 545, is an earlier surviving manuscript that is based on the Vulgate, however the gospels are an edited version of the Diatessaron.
Over the course of the Middle Ages, the Vulgate had succumbed to the inevitable changes wrought by human error in the countless copying of the text in monasteries across Europe. From its earliest days, readings from the Vetus Latina were introduced. Marginal notes were erroneously interpolated into the text. No one copy was the same as the other as scribes added, removed, misspelled, or mis-corrected verses in the Latin Bible.
About 550, Cassiodorus made an attempt at restoring the Vulgate to its original purity. Alcuin of York oversaw efforts to make a corrected Vulgate, which he presented to Charlemagne in 801. Similar attempts were repeated by Theodulphus Bishop of Orleans (787?- 821), Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury (1070-1089), Stephen Harding, Abbot of Cîteaux (1109-1134), and Deacon Nicolaus Maniacoria (about the beginning of the thirteenth century).
Though the advent of printing greatly reduced the potential of human error and increased the consistency and uniformity of the text, the earliest editions of the Vulgate merely reproduced the manuscripts which were readily available to the publishers. Of the hundreds of early editions, the most notable today is Mazarin edition published by Johann Gutenberg in 1455, famous for its beauty and antiquity. In 1504 the first Vulgate with variant readings was published in Paris. One of the texts of the Complutensian Polyglot was an edition of the Vulgate made from ancient manuscripts and corrected to agree with the Greek. Erasmus published an edition corrected to agree better with the Greek and Hebrew in 1516. In 1528, Robertus Stephanus published the first critical edition which would form the basis of the later Sistine and Clementine editions. The critical edition of John Hentenius of Louvain followed in 1547<ref>Article, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1915</ref>.
 The Clementine Vulgate
The Clementine Vulgate (Biblia Sacra Vulgatae Editionis Sixti Quinti Pontificis Maximi iussu recognita atque edita) is the edition most familiar to Catholics who have lived prior to the liturgical reforms following Vatican II (as a consequence of which reforms, the use of Latin in the liturgy became rare).
After the Reformation, when the Catholic Church strove to counter the attacks and refute the doctrines of Protestantism, the Vulgate was reaffirmed in the Council of Trent as the sole, authorized Latin text of the Bible. To reinforce this declaration, the council commissioned the pope to make a standard text of the Vulgate out of the countless editions produced during the renaissance and manuscripts produced during the Middle Ages. The actual first manifestation of this authorized text did not appear until 1590. It was sponsored by Pope Sixtus V (1585-90) and known as the Sistine Vulgate. It was based on the edition of Robertus Stephanus corrected to agree with the Greek, but it was hurried into print and suffered from many printing errors. It was soon replaced by a new edition with the advent of the next pope, Clement VIII (1592-1605) who immediately ordered corrections and revisions to be made. This new revised version was based more on the Hentenian edition. It is called today the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate, or simply the Clementine, although it is Sixtus' name which appears on the title page. Clement published three printings of this edition in 1592, 1593, and 1598.
The Clementine differed from the manuscripts on which it was ultimately based in that it grouped the various prefaces of St. Jerome together at the beginning, and it removed 3 and 4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses to an appendix.
The psalter of the Clementine Vulgate, like that of almost all earlier editions, is the Gallicanum.
 Later Editions
In 1734 Vallarsi published a corrected edition of the Vulgate. Most other later editions limited themselves to the New Testament, most notably Tischendorf's edition of 1864 and the Oxford edition of Bishop J. Wordsworth and H.J. White in 1889.
In 1907 Pope Pius X commissioned the monks of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Jerome in Rome to prepare a critical edition of Jerome's Vulgate as a basis for a revision of the Clementine.
 New Psalters
The twentieth century saw the creation of two new psalters for use with the Vulgate. They were the Versio Piana of 1945 and the Versio Nova Vulgata of 1969. The 1969 version was used in the Nova Vulgata edition described below.
 Nova Vulgata
The Nova Vulgata (Bibliorum Sacrorum nova vulgata editio) is currently the official Latin version published and approved by the Roman Catholic Church. In 1965, towards the close of the Second Vatican Council, Pope Paul VI appointed a commission to revise the existing Vulgate in accord with modern textual and linguistic studies, while preserving or refining its Christian Latin style. The Commission published its work in eight annotated sections, inviting criticism from Catholic scholars as the sections were published. The Latin Psalter was published in 1969 and the entire Nova Vulgata in 1979<ref> The Authority of the Nova Vulgata, Richard J. Clifford, 2001</ref>.
The foundational text of most of the Nova Vulgata is the critical edition done by the monks of the Benedictine Abbey of St. Jerome under Pius X. The foundational text of the books of Tobit and Judith are from manuscripts of the Vetus Latina rather than the Vulgate. All of these base texts were revised to accord with the modern critical editions in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic. There are also a number of changes where the modern scholars felt that Jerome had failed to grasp the meaning of the original languages.
The Nova Vulgata does not contain those books, found in the Clementine and some other editions, that are considered apocryphal by the Roman Catholic Church, namely the Prayer of Manasses and 3rd and 4th Book of Esdras.
In 1979, after decades of preparation, the Nova Vulgata was published and declared the Catholic Church's current official Latin version in the Apostolic Constitution Scripturarum Thesaurus, promulgated by the late Pope John Paul II.
The Nova Vulgata has not been widely embraced by conservative Catholics, many of whom see it as being in some verses of the Old Testament a new translation rather than a revision of Jerome's work. Also, some of its readings sound unfamiliar to those who are accustomed to the Clementine.
In 2001, the Vatican released the instruction Liturgiam Authenicam, establishing the Nova Vulgata as a point of reference for all translations of the liturgy into the vernacular from the original languages, "in order to maintain the tradition of interpretation that is proper to the Latin Liturgy".
 The Stuttgart Vulgate
A final mention must also be made of an edition of the Vulgate published by the German Bible Society (Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft), based in Stuttgart. This edition, alternatively titled Biblia Sacra Vulgata or Biblia Sacra iuxta vulgatam versionem (ISBN 3-438-05303-9), seeks to reconstruct an early Vulgate text closer to that which Jerome himself produced 1,600 years ago. It is based on earlier critical editions of Vulgate, namely the Benedictine edition and the Latin New Testament produced by Wordsworth and White, which provided variant readings from the diverse manuscripts and printed editions of the Vulgate and comparison of different wordings in their footnotes. The Stuttgart Vulgate attempts, through critical comparison of important, historical manuscripts of the Vulgate, to recreate an early text, cleansed of the scribal errors of a millennium. One of the most important critical sources for the Stuttgart Vulgate is Codex Amiatinus, the highly-esteemed 8th century, one-volume manuscript of the whole Latin Bible produced in England, regarded as the best medieval witness to Jerome's original text.
An important feature in the Stuttgart edition for those studying the Vulgate is the inclusion of all of Jerome's prologues to the Bible, the Testaments, and the major books and sections (Pentateuch, Gospels, Minor Prophets, etc.) of the Bible. This again mimics the style of medieval editions of the Vulgate, which were never without Jerome's prologues (revered as much a part of the Bible as the sacred text itself). In its spelling, the Stuttgart also retains a more medieval Latin orthography than the Clementine, sometimes using oe rather than ae, and having more proper nouns beginning with H (i.e., Helimelech instead of Elimelech), but the spelling is inconsistent throughout, as it is in the manuscripts.
It contains two psalters, both the Gallicanum and the juxta Hebraicum, which are printed on facing pages to allow easy comparison and contrast between the two versions. In has an expanded Apocrypha, containing Psalm 151 and the Epistle to the Laodiceans in addition to 3 and 4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses.
In addition, its modern prefaces are a source of valuable information about the history of the Vulgate.
Though closer than the New Vulgate to the Clementine edition, the Stuttgart Vulgate still has enough divergence from the Clementine text to render it unfamiliar to accustomed Catholics. In addition, its sparse, unpunctuated text and unusual spellings can be difficult to read, especially in verses with multiple clauses.
 Electronic Vulgate
One reason for the Stuttgart edition's importance rests in the fact that it is the one most disseminated on the Internet. This electronic version is usually mutilated, lacking all formatting, notes, prefaces and apparatus, and lacking the Gallican Psalter, Apocrypha, and Deuterocanonical books, and often containing only the first three chapters of Daniel (stopping at the point where the deuterocanonical Song of the Three Holy Children would begin.)
 Issues of translation
The Vulgate translated from a Greek source for the New Testament and for Psalms, most of the deuterocanonical books, and the apocrypha<ref>Prefaces of Biblia Sacra Vulgata, American Bible Society, ISBN 3-438-05303-9</ref> in the Old Testament. The New Testament was written in Greek. The Old Testament, originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, was used by Christians in a Greek translation called the Septuagint made by Jews during the three centuries before Christ. The linguistic separation between Hebrew and Latin is nearly as vast as the linguistic separation between Latin and Greek is narrow, and the Vulgate New Testament, in particular, sometimes follows the Greek model word for word. Latin and Greek are both highly inflected languages with very flexible word-order, but the attempt to render such things as the richer array of Greek participles sometimes resulted in clumsy Latin that was preserved in the English of the King James Bible. We can see this in Luke 2:15, for example:
- Greek: καὶ ἐγένετο ὡς ἀπῆλθον ἀπ᾽ αὐτῶν εἰς τὸν οὐρανὸν οἱ ἄγγελοι, οἱ ποιμένες ἐλάλουν πρὸς ἀλλήλους, Διέλθωμεν δὴ ἕως Βηθλέεμ καὶ ἴδωμεν τὸ ῥῆμα τοῦτο τὸ γεγονὸς ὃ ὁ κύριος ἐγνώρισεν ἡμῖν.
- (Literal translation: And it-happened that they-withdrew from them into the heaven the angels, and the shepherds spoke to each-other: let-us-go-over then to Bethlehem and let-us-see the thing that [demonstrative pronoun] the happened which the Lord has-declared to-us.)
- Latin: Et factum est ut discesserunt ab eis angeli in caelum, pastores loquebantur ad invicem: Transeamus usque Bethleem et videamus hoc verbum quod factum est quod fecit Dominus et ostendit nobis.
- (Literal translation: And happened it-has that they-withdrew from them angels into heaven, shepherds spoke to each-other: Let-us-go over-to Bethlehem, and let-us-see this word which has-become, which has-done the Lord, and has-manifested to-us.)
- English (King James version): And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
In addition to the biblical text the Vulgate contains seventeen prologues, sixteen of which were written by Jerome. Jerome's prologues are in some sense mis-named, they were written not so much as prologues than as cover letters to specific individuals to accompany copies of his translations. Because they were not intended for a general audience, some of his comments in them can be quite cryptic. These prologues are to the Pentateuch<ref>,Jerome's prologue to Genesis</ref> to Joshua,<ref>Jerome's prologue to Joshua</ref> and to Kings, which is also called the Prologus Galeatus.<ref>Jerome's prologue to Kings</ref> Following these are prologues to Chronicles,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Chronicles</ref> Esdras,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Ezra</ref> Tobias,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Tobias</ref> Judith,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Judith</ref> Esther,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Esther</ref> Job,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Job</ref> Psalms,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Psalms (LXX)</ref> Solomon,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to the Books of Solomon</ref> Isaias,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Isaiah</ref> Jeremias,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Jeremiah</ref> Ezechiel,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Ezekiel</ref> Daniel,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Daniel</ref> Minor prophets,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to the Twelve Prophets</ref> the Gospels,<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to the Gospels</ref> and the final prologue which is to the Pauline Epistles and is better known as Primum quaeritur.<ref>Vulgate Prologue to Paul’s Letters</ref> Related to these are Jerome's Notes on the Rest of Esther<ref>Jerome’s Notes to the Additions to Esther</ref> and his Prologue to the Hebrew Psalms.<ref>Jerome’s Prologue to Psalms (Hebrew)</ref>
A recurring theme of the Old Testament prologues is Jerome's preference for the Hebraica veritas (i.e., Hebrew truth) to the Septuagint, a preference which he defended from his detractors. He stated that the Hebrew text more clearly prefigures Christ than the Greek. Among the most remarkable of these prologues is the Prologus Galeatus, in which Jerome described an Old Testament canon of 22 books, which he found represented in the 22-letter Hebrew alphabet. Alternatively, he numbered the books as 24, which he described as the 24 elders in the Book of Revelation casting their crowns before the Lamb.
Also of note is the Primum quaeritur, which defended the Pauline authorship of the Epistle to the Hebrews, and compared Paul's 10 letters to the churches with the 10 commandments. The author of the Primum quaeritur is unknown. The editors of the Stuttgart Vulgate remark that this version of the epistles first became popular among the Pelagians. But Adolf von Harnack,<ref>Origin of the New Testament, Adolf von Harnack, 1914</ref> argued that this prologue was written by Marcion of Sinope or one of his followers. Harnack noted: "We have indeed long known that Marcionite readings found their way into the ecclesiastical text of the Pauline epistles, but now for seven years we have known that Churches actually accepted the Marcionite prefaces to the Pauline epistles! De Bruyne has made one of the finest discoveries of later days in proving that those prefaces, which we read first in Codex Fuldensis and then in numbers of later manuscripts, are Marcionite, and that the Churches had not noticed the cloven hoof."
 Influence on Western Culture
In terms of its importance to the culture, art, and life of the Middle Ages, the Vulgate stands supreme. Through the Dark Ages and onto the Renaissance and Reformation, St. Jerome's monumental work stood as a last pillar of Roman glory and the bedrock of the Western church as it strove to unite a fractured Europe through the Catholic faith. As the version of the Bible familiar to and read by the faithful for over a thousand years (c. AD 400–1530), the Vulgate exerted a powerful influence, especially in art and music as it served as inspiration for countless paintings and hymns. Early attempts to render translations into vernacular tongues were invariably made from the Vulgate, as it was highly regarded as an infallible, divinely inspired text. Even the translations produced by Protestants, that sought to replace the Vulgate for good with vernacular versions translated from the original languages, could not avoid the enormous influence of Jerome's translation in its dignified style and flowing prose. The closest equivalent in English, the King James Version, or Authorised Version, shows a marked influence from the Vulgate in its homely, yet dignified prose and vigorous poetic rhythm.
 Translations Based on the Vulgate
Before the publication of Pius XII's Divino Afflante Spiritu, the Vulgate was the source text used for many translations of the Bible into vernacular languages. In English, the interlinear translation of the Lindisfarne Gospels as well as other Old English Bible translations, the translation of John Wycliffe, the Douay Rheims Bible, the Confraternity Bible, and Ronald Knox's translation were all made from the Vulgate.
 Influence on the English Language
The Vulgate had a large influence on the development of the English language, especially in matters of religion and the Bible. Many Latin words were taken from the Vulgate into English nearly unchanged in meaning or spelling: creatio (e.g. Genesis 1:1, Heb 9:11), salvatio (e.g. Is 37:32, Eph 2:5), justificatio (e.g. Rom 4:25, Heb 9:1), testamentum (e.g. Mt 26:28), sanctificatio (1 Ptr 1:2, 1 Cor 1:30), regeneratio (Mt 19:28), and raptura (from a noun form of the verb rapiemur in 1 Thes 4:17). The word "publican" comes from the Latin publicanus (e.g., Mt 10:3), and the phrase "far be it" is a translation of the Latin expression absit (e.g., Mt 16:22 in the King James Bible). Other examples include apostolus, ecclesia, evangelium, Pascha, and angelus.
 External links
- The Clementine Vulgate, searchable - 2005 Edition. Michael Tweedale, et alia.
- Biblia Vulgata Stuttgart edition, flanked by Douay-Rheims and King James Versions
- Stuttgart Vulgate, with Douay-Rheims Version, Gallican Psalter and complete Daniel
- Stuttgart Vulgate with Apocrypha
- Nova Vulgata, from the Vatican
- Quattuor Evangeliorum Consonantia - The Latin harmony of the Gospels (1)
- Quattuor Evangeliorum Consonantia - The Latin harmony of the Gospels (2)
- Free audio recording of Psalm 22(23) from the juxta Hebraicum psalter by Librivox
- Latin Vulgate Project with Douay-Rheims version
- Biblia Sacra Vulgata - Novum Testamentum Latine (Latin)cs:Vulgata
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