A look at the Latin Vulgate-only view

Discussion in 'Bible Versions/Translations' started by Logos1560, Apr 23, 2009.

  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    For a good number of years, especially in the 1500's and 1600's, Roman Catholics maintained that their translation of the Bible [the Latin Vulgate] and only their translation was infallible, inspired, and perfect. The following claims or arguments were offered to support their Latin Vulgate-only view.

    I. Roman Catholics implied or claimed that the Latin Vulgate-only view was necessary because of differences, errors, or corruptions in the Hebrew and Greek manuscripts or printed texts. Gregory Martin, one of the translators of the 1582 Roman Catholic Rheims, asked: "What Greek say we for there be sundry copies" (Fulke, Defense, pp. 84-85). Reformer Francis Turretin (1623-1687) described the Roman Catholic view as follows: "The question is whether the original text, in Hebrew or in Greek, has been so corrupted, either by the carelessness of copyists or by the malice of the Jews and heretics, that it can no longer be held as the judge of controversies and the norm by which all versions without exception are to be judged. The Roman Catholics affirm this, we deny it" (Doctrine of Scripture, pp. 113-114).

    II. Based on their doctrines or interpretations of inspiration and preservation, the Roman Catholics maintained that there must be a perfect translation. Roman Catholic Peter Sutor contended: "If in one point the Vulgate were in error, the entire authority of holy Scripture would collapse" (Hills, Believing Bible Study, p. 192). The preface of the 1582 Rheims argued that the Latin Vulgate was the only authentical Bible. Gregory Martin condemned Protestants or Reformers who made the Hebrew and Greek the standard for translations: "They admit only the Hebrew in the Old Testament, and the Greek in the New, to be the true and authentical text of the scripture" (Fulke, Defense, p. 46). Martin noted that the Reformers "call the Greek verity and the pure fountain, and that text whereby all translations must be tried" (Ibid., p. 43).

    III. Roman Catholics contended that the involvement of the Holy Spirit in the making of the Latin Vulgate meant that it must be a perfect or infallible Bible. Eugene Rice wrote: "It was a further common view of apologists for the Vulgate that a special providence of the Holy Spirit had acted directly on the translator to guarantee his trustworthiness" (Saint Jerome, p. 181). Rice cited that Melancththon noted that to accept the judgment of the Council of Trent's 1546 decree on the Vulgate "we would have to agree that 'the Vulgate has been revealed to us by the Holy Spirit'" (p. 186). Theodore Letis cited where Paolo Sarpi, who wrote a history of the Council of Trent, noted that "some at Trent put forth the same argument as Augustine claiming that 'the same Holy Ghost, who did dictate the holy books, hath dictated also that translation which ought to be accepted by the Church of Rome'" (Ecclesiastical Text, p. 162). D'Aubigne noted that the Roman Catholic priests claimed that Erasmus "sets aside a work [the Latin Vulgate] authorized by the consent of ages and inspired by the Holy Ghost" (History of the Reformation, Vol. V, p. 155).

    IV. Roman Catholics argued that the Latin Vulgate was superior to the preserved Scriptures in the original languages. The preface of the 1582 Rheims New Testament claimed: "It [referring to the Latin Vulgate] is true than the vulgar Greek text itself. It is not only better than all other Latin translations, but than the Greek text itself, in those places where they disagree." The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Reformation noted that "the Vatican librarian, Agostino Stevco, furnished extensive arguments in 1529 for the superiority of the Vulgate to both Hebrew and Greek texts" (Vol. I, p. 164).

    V. Roman Catholics claimed that the church's long use of the Latin Vulgate proves that it is the standard translation and the only translation that should be used. In the preface to the 1582 Rheims, the first reason for use of the Latin Vulgate was that "it is most ancient." Rheims translator Gregory Martin asked Protestants: "Will you be tried by the vulgar ancient Latin bible, only used in all the west church above a thousand years?" (Fulke, Defense, pp. 77-78). Martin wrote: "In the New Testament, we ask them, will you be tried by the ancient Latin translation, which is the text of the fathers and the whole church?" (Ibid., p. 84). In his 1688 book, Roman Catholic Thomas Ward asserted "that the Vulgate of the Latin is the most true and authentic copy has been the judgment of God's Church for above those 1300 years" (Errata, p. vi). Thomas A. Nelson claimed that "the Latin Vulgate Bible was used universally in the Catholic Church (Latin Rite) for over 1500 years" (Which Bible, p. 97). Roman Catholic Martin "Dorp argued that if the Vulgate contained falsifications of the original Scriptures and errors, the Church would have been wrong for many centuries, which was impossible" (Hills, Believing Bible Study, p. 192). Roman Catholics also used an argument from the providence of God. Thomas A. Nelson maintained that "we need to defer to St. Jerome and to trust in God's providence that the Greek text he translated from was correct and that he translated it correctly" (Which Bible, p. 57).

    VI. Roman Catholics suggested that their Latin Vulgate-only view necessary because of the differences and supposed corruptions in other translations. The preface of the 1582 Rheims claimed that their translation of the Latin Vulgate was needed because of the "false translations" by Protestants who had corrupted God's Word by "adding, detracting, altering, transposing, pointing, and other guileful means." Rheims translator Gregory Martin condemned "books which were so translated by Tyndale and the like, as being no indeed God's book, word, or scripture, but the devil's word" (Fulke, Defense, p. 228). Sir Thomas More contended that Tyndale's New Testament was a "cunning counterfeit," perverted in the interests of heresy; "that it was not worthy to be called Christ's testament, but either Tyndale's own testament or the testament of his master Antichrist" (Bruce, History of the Bible, p. 40). Thomas Fuller observed that Roman Catholics asked: "Was their translation good before? Why do they now mend it?" (Church History of Britain, V, p. 407). The preface of the 1611 noted that Roman Catholics criticized Protestants for "altering and amending our translations so often."
     
  2. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
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    Snicker! And KJVO's accuse US of being aligned with the Catholics in theology and practice because we use MV's. Snort!:laugh:
     
  3. EdSutton

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    Hmmm!

    I think that I have, over the last several years, heard 'arguments' in a similar vein for some particular edition or versions of what some group or groups consider to be "Holy Writ" or "sacred texts" arguing for such varied writings as the Koran, Vedae, "Book of Mormon", etc., and even certain versions of all or part of the Bible as the OT Scriptures, NWT, D-R, CWT, and it seems there was one other that for some reason or another, I cannot seem put my finger on - uh - uh - maybe it was that first 'Authorized' version of the Bible, ya' think? The GREAT BIBLE (GRT)?

    After all, it was the first version to be authorized to be read in churches!

    Yeah, the GREAT Bible musta' been the name of the one I was trying to recall! :D

    Ed
     
  4. franklinmonroe

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    You might want to see a doctor about that laugh; snorting could be a symptom of a serious health problem. And we care about you!
     
  5. TC

    TC
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    If you take out Vulgate and replace it with KJV, then I have heard every argument at an IFB KJVO church I attended for a short period of time. Go figure.
     
  6. R. Lawson

    R. Lawson
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    Hm. I think we should all learn Latin. I believe Thomas Jefferson learned Latin as a teen. The reading level can't be that bad, right?:thumbs:
     
  7. Mexdeaf

    Mexdeaf
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    I only snort when I type.:laugh: :wavey:
     
  8. franklinmonroe

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    That's a relief! (I think) :tongue3:
     
  9. Thinkingstuff

    Thinkingstuff
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    I teach my kids latin. I think it helps with english and allows for translations of older text. When they reach 8th grade they'll study Greek.
     
  10. R. Lawson

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    That's great that you teach your children advanced languages. My point, however, is that one should not be forced to learn Latin and use only the Vulgate just as one should not be forced to learn the English of the KJV and use only the KJV.
     
  11. Rippon

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    Why did you capitalize only Greek and not the other two languages you mentioned -- Latin and English?
     
  12. StefanM

    StefanM
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    maybe he is a semi-fan of e. e. cummings.
     

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