Friday, June 24, 2011

The Vulgate Blues

Here's another Called to Communion tidbit on the textual errors in the Latin Vulgate:

A reader might wonder how the Church could determine whether the text lacked errors pertaining to faith and morals. The Church determined this in the same way that she partially confirmed that she was receiving the correct books from God in the canon: by comparing the contents of those books to that which had been received by the other mode of revelation’s transmission, namely, Sacred Tradition. In this way, Tradition and Scripture purify and clarify each other’s transmission of the deposit of faith. The Vulgate, even with the scribal errors, said nothing which contradicted the faith. It was an adequate translation of Scripture even if its reading of this or that verse needed updating. This is a great benefit of the Catholic teaching concerning the unity of Scripture and Tradition, such that even if one part of Scripture is unclear due to manuscript variants, we will not lose anything essential to the Faith because of the transmission of the same Faith through Tradition.


In the first chapter of the Romans the translator calls Christ “the predestinated Son of God.” Those not acquainted with Greek are at a loss to explain this term, because, properly speaking, only things which do not yet exist are predestinated; whereas Christ is the eternal Son of God. There is no difficulty in the Greek word, which means “declared.” I have given one example. It were needless labor to give others. In one word, were this edict of the Council sanctioned, the simple effect would be, that the Fathers of Trent would make the world look with their eyes open, and yet not see the light presented to them.


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