Daily Archives: January 3, 2010

The History of the English Bible Part 3: Jerome and the Vulgate

Saint Jerome 347-420 A.D.

Saint Jerome 347-420 A.D.

Saint Jerome was baptized as a Christian about 360 A.D. In 373 he went to Asia and set aside secular studies to go into a deep study of the scriptures. Upon his return to Antioch he became the personal secretary of Pope Damasus I. In 382 the Pope commissioned him to do a revision of the Latin bible that was in use. It originally started out based on the Greek New Testament and Septuagint Old Testament. In 390 Jerome started using Hebrew manuscripts. He completed this sense-for-sense translation in 405 and spent the next 15 years writing commentaries on the bible. An interesting note on this translation is that while many were eagerly anticipating it some were bothered by his choice of some words. Not because they were inaccurate but that the priest were worried about offending the ears of the flocks because of the translation they were used to using. For example Augustine Bishop of Hippo was afraid that using the term Castor Oil Plant for Gourd in the book of Jonah would bother his congregation.

This translation was used for over a thousand years by the Roman Catholic Church. and we currently have over 8,000 manuscripts dating to the 5th and 6th centuries.

John 3:16 Latin Vulgate

sic enim dilexit Deus mundum ut Filium suum unigenitum daret ut omnis qui credit in eum non pereat sed habeat vitam aeternam