Sunday, July 10, 2022



Vulgate is known as Bibila Vulgate also in the Bible. It is a late-4th-century Latin translation of the Bible. Pope Damasus I commissioned St Jerome in 382; Vulgate is his work. The motive is to revise the Vetus Latina Gospels the Roman Church used. Later, Jerome has done more work on revision and translation to add most books of the Bible. All his initiative helps him to do so.

It became adopted when Bible text within the Western Church. In addition, it eclipsed the Vetus Latina over succeeding centuries. It was thirteen century when it had taken over from the former version the designation versio vulgata. However, it has a few Vetus Latina translations on which Jerome never worked.

It wanted to be the Catholic Church's officially promulgated Latin version of the Bible. The motive was to be the Sixtine Vulgate in 1590, the Clementine Vulgate in 1592, and the Nova Vulgata in 1979. People used it recently in the Latin Church, which affirmed it as the official Latin Bible at the Council of Trent (1545–1563). However, no authoritative edition existed then, and its Clementine edition became the Roman Rite's common text of the Catholic Church. People found it the same until 1979 when the Nova Vulgata was promulgated.

Why is it called the Vulgate?

It originates from the Latin versio vulgata, indicating "the version commonly used." Jerome used it to refer to the Latin translations that appeared before it, and ancient people of that time used these translations.

What is the origin or source of Vulgate? The root word vulgus is its source, meaning "common people." It meant previously "used by the people." Previously, Latin used to be the main language used in the Western Roman empire. But a difference existed between the way of using and speaking. The way scholars used it was not as the average citizen spoke it. Scholars wrote in "Classical Latin", whereas citizens spoke in "Vulgar Latin."

Vulgate Authorship:

It contains a compound text which doesn't belong to the works of Jerome. Its four Gospels' translations are revisions of Vetus Latina translations, and the Latin translations of the remaining text part belonging to the New Testament are revisions to the Vetus Latina. People think it was produced by Pelagian circles, Rufinus the Syrian, or Rufinus of Aquileia.

People can find many other unrevised books of the Vetus Latina Old Testament in it. For example, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch and the Letter of Jeremiah are some of these available in it. Jerome translated The book of Psalms from the Greek Hexapla Septuagint. Later he did the same with all books of the Jewish Bible - the Hebrew book of Psalms included - from Hebrew himself. He even did this to the books of Tobit and Judith from Aramaic versions.

The additions to the Book of Esther from the Common Septuagint are included with the Book of Daniel from the Greek of Theodotion.

Multiple editors made revised texts of the Vulgate over the years. When it was the thirteenth century, the University of Paris made a vital edition. The edition was to offer an agreed standard for theological teaching and debate. You should know hence that the previous printed Vulgate Bibles were based on the Paris edition.

According to the Council of Trent in 1546, it was the exclusive Latin authority for the Bible. But it needs to be printed with the fewest possible faults. Pope Clement VIII issued Clementine Vulgate in 1592. At that time, it was the authoritative biblical text of the Roman Catholic Church, and Catholic scholars made the English language Confraternity Version of the New Testament.

In recent times, people are facing different critical editions. The Second Vatican Council established a commission in 1965 to revise it. The same thing happened in 1979 with Nova Vulgata, and people know it as the Neovulgata. In that year, Pope John Paul II promulgated it in April. At that time, it was the official Latin text of the Roman Catholic Church. Later in 1986, a second edition was released.

After getting commission from Pope Damasus and the death of Damasus in 384 A.D., he finished his task. He had done it with a more cursory revision from the Greek Septuagint of the Old Latin text of the Psalms. After Pope's death, St. Jerome translated it from the Hexaplar revision of the Septuagint. In this case, you should know that he had been the Pope's secretary for a long time and lived in Bethlehem. It is the place where he made a new version of the Psalms.

But he translated all thirty-nine books in the Hebrew Bible M from 390 to 405 A.D. He even translated the third version of the Psalms surviving in some manuscripts. He labelled the new translation of the Psalms as "iuxta Hebraeos." However, he didn't use it in the Vulgate. But he used the translations of the other 38 books. That's why it is considered the first translation of the Old Testament into Latin. It happened directly from the Hebrew Tanakh instead of the Greek Septuagint.

People still cannot know how direct the conversion of Hebrew to Latin was. The exegetical material's use by Jerome, written in Greek, is one reason for it. Besides, Aquiline and Theodotiontic texts use are also responsible. In addition, he translated something in a paraphrastic style which is the reason for it. He discussed the books or some parts of the books in the Septuagint in his prologues. During the time, people could not find Septuagint in Hebrew as non-canonical, and he called them apocryphal. However, these are available in entire editions and manuscripts.

What books are included in the Vulgate?

It has all books available in Protestant Bibles. In addition, it also includes some writings which were vital to the church. These were known as apocryphal to Jerome, meaning that he didn't believe these belonged to the Christian canon. However, the church didn't agree with him and called these deuterocanonical, meaning they belonged to the "second canon."

Later Jerome quotes some apocryphal books in his writings. According to some scholars, it was proof of his changed mind. In addition, according to Catholic and Eastern Orthodox traditions, these are deuterocanonical. But Protestants call them apocryphal, and that's why people can't find these in Protestant translations of the Bible like the NIV. These are the books available in it, with apocryphal/deuterocanonical books in bold:

The Pentateuch:






Historical writings:




1 Samuel

2 Samuel

1 Kings

2 Kings

1 Chronicles

2 Chronicles



Tobias (or Tobit)



Wisdom literature:





Song of Solomon

Wisdom (or Wisdom of Solomon)

Ecclesiasticus (or Sirach)

Major Prophets:





Letter of Jeremiah



Song of the Three Children

Story of Susanna

Bel and the Dragon

Minor Prophets:













1 Maccabees

2 Maccabees

New Testament:







1 Corinthians

2 Corinthians





1 Thessalonians

2 Thessalonians

1 Timothy

2 Timothy





1 Peter

2 Peter

1 John

2 John

3 John




Prayer of Manasseh

3 Esdras

4 Esdras


People know about the impact of the King James Version. They know his lasting impact on the English language, Western literature, art, and culture. But then, the Latin Vulgate was famous for over a millennium, and it was so well-known before the existence of the KJV, the Renaissance.

You can find many English words in modern Bibles. These were lifted out of the Vulgate like "creation," "salvation," "justification," and "testament." This term is common for the devil among English speakers.

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