The Vulgate

The [[Latin]] version of the [[Bible]], derived from the work of [[Jerome]], declared by the <span class="auto-link">[[Council of Trent]]</span>* in 1546 the only authentic Latin text of the Scriptures. In 382 Pope [[Damasus]] commissioned from Jerome a revision of the Latin gospels. He proceeded to revise the [[Psalms]] (“[[Rome|Roman]]” [[psalter]]) and other [[Old Testament]] books, perhaps of his own accord. In 386 he settled in [[Bethlehem]], where he engaged in patristic translation and commentary work: he revised more thoroughly the Old Latin psalter (“Gallican” psalter), and continued to revise further OT books on the basis of the [[Septuagint]], but with reference to the Hebrew and [[Origen]]'s <em>[[Hexapla]].</em> Little remains of this: [[Job]] and prefaces to [[Chronicles]] and works of [[Solomon]]. Increased knowledge of Hebrew and [[Aramaic]] made him convinced that a version on a Hebrew basis was necessary, and to this he applied himself from about 390; the end of 404 saw its completion. The different parts of the [[Old Testament]] differ much in execution. For the [[New Testament]], there are good reasons for denying to Jerome any part in the revision of any books other than the gospels.<br /><br />

The translation did not meet with acceptance at first, especially the Old Testament. Even two centuries later we find some divergent opinions, and Old Latin biblical manuscripts continued to be copied for centuries in some areas. It was thus inevitable that by transcriptional error and by contamination Jerome's work should become obscured and in need of purification. The medieval process of edition, recension, and correction produced a complex history. The most significant names in this are as follows, although the part ascribed to some by earlier scholarship is not necessarily correct: Victor* of [[Capua]], and [[Cassiodorus]] (Italy, late sixth century); [[Peregrinus]] and <span class="auto-link">[[Isidore of Seville]]</span> (Spain, fifth and seventh centuries); [[Ceolfrid]] (England, early eighth century); [[Theodulf]] and [[Alcuin]] (court of [[Charlemagne]], ninth century); and a number of [[Cistercian]], [[Dominican]], and Franciscan scholars of the late <span class="auto-link">[[Middle Ages]]</span>. Although neither Greek nor Hebrew was widely known in the West, some knowledge was from time to time found, and this with the additional influence of [[Exegesis|exegetical]] interests and traditions left its mark on different recensions.<br /><br />

After the invention of [[printing]], a number of impressions appeared, the Clementine Vulgate (1592-98) at length emerging as the authorized version. Modern [[philology]] has produced much advance in knowledge on both Old Latin and Vulgate. Two critical editions are outstanding. The New Testament was edited by a succession of British scholars between 1898 and 1954. Meanwhile, in 1908 [[Pius X]] commissioned an international group headed by [[Aidan Gasquet]] to revise the Vulgate text of the whole Bible. Centered in the [[Benedictine Abbey of St. Jerome]] in Rome publication began in 1926, and in 1969 had reached the thirteenth volume, Isaiah. A hand edition edited by R. Weber appeared in 1969, containing the whole Bible with [[Apocrypha]] and some <em>[[spuria]]</em> such as the <em>[[Epistle to the Laodiceans]].</em><br /><br />

<h2>Bibliography and Further Reading</h2>

<li>S. Berger, <em>Histoire de la Vulgate</em> (1893)</li>
<li><em>Novum Testamentum Latine</em> (ed. J. Wordsworth et al., 1898-1954); <em>Biblia sacra iuxta latinam vulgatam versionem</em> (1926- ); <em>Biblia sacra vulgata</em> (2 vols., 1969)</li>
<li>H.J. Vogels, <em>Vulgatastudien</em> (1928); <em>Cambridge History of the Bible</em> (1963-70), vol. I, chap. 16; vol. II, chap. 5; vol. III, chap. 6</li>
<li>B. Fischer, <em>Bibelausgaben des fruehen Mittelalters</em> (1963), pp. 520-704.</li>