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Vulgate (The Latin Bible)

The Bible was first translated into Latin during the fourth century, and it was referred to as the Vulgate. It served as the masterpiece of St. Jerome, as per the recommendations of the Pope, Damasus the First, during the year 382 AD where it is listed on the Bible Timeline  Chart. He was assigned to revise the Vetus Latina or the Old Latin translations.

Jerome was quite fluent in the Greek language, and he was also versed in Hebrew at that time that he began the translation of the Holy Scripture. He worked on making corrections to the New Testament’s existing version in Latin.

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Saint Jerome

Since then, the manuscript became widely adopted. During the 13th century, the Latin revision or the “Versio Vulgata”, this means a commonly-used translation. By the 16th century, this was recognized as the officially used version of the Roman Catholic Church.

Key Information about the Vulgate

Regarded as the Bible’s Latin translation, it was written by Eusebius Hieronymus (otherwise known as St. Jerome) during the latter part of the 4th century and the beginning of the 5th century. Jerome was taught by a wise rhetoric teacher named Aelius Donatus, who was also famous for his advocacy for punctuation. Aelius also authored Virgil’s biography.

When Jerome was appointed the Pope to write the four Gospels, the former used widely accepted Latin language version for the Holy Scripture. This resulted in the replacement of the other less-scholarly written works at that time. While he was merely instructed to carry out the translations on the New Testament (focused only on the Gospels), Jerome decided to take it further by translating a huge portion of the “Septuagint”. This referred to the translation from Hebrew into Greek. It also included several apocryphal works, which were not featured in the Hebrew version of the Bible.

Originally, the Gospels were expressed in the Greek language. This was largely because the language was widely spoken in the area ruled by the famed ruler, Alexander. It is also worth noting that there was a pan-Hellenic dialect that was popular during the Hellenistic era, which was Koine. The dialect was Vulgar Latin’s equivalent in Greek.

In fact, most Jews that resided in areas that were primarily made up of Jewish people spoke Koine Greek, as well. Eventually, the Hellenistic era paved the way for the Romans to gain dominance, although Koine Greek remained as the spoken dialect in the East. On the other hand, the western world spoke the Latin language.

Further Details about the Latin Bible

There are insufficient evidence of how much Jerome was able to translate the New Testament. However, the author decided to compare the existing Latin translations of the Holy Scripture with the Greek version. He observed that the Gospels were written in the Greek language, while the Old Testament was in Hebrew.

Jerome decided to complete the Latin translation after referring to the Septuagint. He also checked with the Hebrew version, and this allowed him to create a different version of the texts in the Old Testament. Jerome did not work on any translations for the Apocrypha, as well as beyond Judith and Tobit. These texts were translated from the Aramaic language.

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