Outline of Bible-related topics
VETUS LATINA ("Old Latin" in
Latin ), also known as VETUS ITALA ("Old
Italian"), ITALA ("Italian") and OLD ITALIC, is the collective
name given to the
Latin translations of biblical texts (both Old
New Testament ) that existed before the
Vulgate , the
Latin translation produced by
Jerome in the late 4th century. The
Vetus Latina translations continued to be used alongside the Vulgate,
but eventually the
Vulgate became the standard
Bible used by the
Catholic Church , especially after the
Council of Trent
Council of Trent (1545–1563)
Vulgate translation as authoritative for the text of
Scripture. However, the
Vetus Latina texts survive in places in the
liturgy (eg., the
Pater Noster ).
As the English translation of
Vetus Latina is "Old Latin", they are
also sometimes referred to as the OLD LATIN BIBLE, although they are
written in the form of
Latin known as Late
Latin , not that known as
Old Latin . The
Vetus Latina manuscripts that are preserved today are
dated from AD 350 to the 13th century.
* 1 Text
* 2 Replacement
* 3 Comparison with
* 4 See also
* 5 Notes
* 6 References
* 7 External links
There is no single "Vetus Latina" Bible. Instead,
Vetus Latina is a
collection of biblical manuscript texts that are
Latin translations of
Septuagint passages that preceded Jerome's
After comparing readings for Luke 24:4–5 in Vetus Latina
Bruce Metzger counted "at least 27 variant readings in
Vetus Latina manuscripts that have survived" for this passage alone.
To these witnesses of previous translations, many scholars frequently
add quotations of biblical passages that appear in the works of the
Latin Fathers, some of which share readings with certain groups of
manuscripts. As such, many of the
Vetus Latina "versions" were
generally not promulgated in their own right as translations of the
Bible to be used in the whole Church; rather, many of the texts that
form part of the
Vetus Latina were prepared on an ad hoc basis for the
local use of Christian communities, to illuminate another Christian
discourse or sermon , or as the
Latin half of a diglot manuscript
Codex Bezae ). There are some
Vetus Latina texts that seem to
have aspired to greater stature or currency; several Vetus Latina
manuscripts Gospels exist, containing the four canonical Gospels; the
several manuscripts that contain them differ substantially from one
another. Other biblical passages, however, are extant only in excerpts
The language of
Vetus Latina translations is uneven in quality, as
Augustine of Hippo
Augustine of Hippo lamented in
De Doctrina Christiana (2, 16).
Grammatical solecisms abound; some reproduce literally Greek or Hebrew
idioms as they appear in the
Septuagint . Likewise, the various Vetus
Latina translations reflect the various versions of the Septuagint
circulating, with the African manuscripts (such as the Codex Bobiensis
) preserving readings of the
Western text-type , while readings in the
European manuscripts are closer to the
Byzantine text-type . Many
grammatical idiosyncrasies come from the use of Vulgar Latin
grammatical forms in the text.
Jerome undertook the revision of
Latin translations of Old
Testament texts in the late 4th century, he checked the
Vetus Latina translations against the Hebrew texts that were then
available. He broke with church tradition and translated most of the
Old Testament of his
Vulgate from Hebrew sources rather than from the
Greek Septuagint. His choice was severely criticized by Augustine ,
his contemporary; a flood of still less moderate criticism came from
those who regarded
Jerome as a forger. While on the one hand he argued
for the superiority of the Hebrew texts in correcting the Septuagint
on both philological and theological grounds, on the other, in the
context of accusations of heresy against him,
Jerome would acknowledge
Septuagint texts as well.
Vulgate offered a single, stylistically consistent Latin
text translated from the original tongues, and the Vetus Latina
translations gradually fell out of use. Jerome, in a letter, complains
that his new version was initially disliked by Christians who were
familiar with the phrasing of the old translations. However, as copies
of the complete
Bible were infrequently found, Vetus Latina
translations of various books were copied into manuscripts alongside
Vulgate translations, inevitably exchanging readings.
Vetus Latina translations of single books continued to be found in
manuscripts as late as the 13th century. However, the Vulgate
generally displaced the
Vetus Latina as the standard
Bible to be used by the Catholic church, especially after the
Council of Trent
Council of Trent (1545–1563).
COMPARISON WITH VULGATE
Below are some comparisons of the
Vetus Latina with text from
critical editions of the Vulgate.
The following comparison is of Luke 6:1–4, taken from the Vetus
Latina text in the
Codex Bezae :
KING JAMES VERSION (1611)
Et factum est eum in Sabbato secundoprimo abire per segetes
discipuli autem illius coeperunt vellere spicas et fricantes manibus
Factum est autem in sabbato secundo, primo, cum transíret per
sata, vellebant discípuli eius spicas, et manducabant confricantes
And it came to pass on the second sabbath after the first, that he
went through the corn fields; and his disciples plucked the ears of
corn, and did eat, rubbing them in their hands.
Quidam autem de farisaeis dicebant ei, Ecce quid faciunt discipuli
tui sabbatis quod non licet?
Quidam autem pharisæorum, dicebant illis : Quid facitis quod non
licet in sabbatis?
And certain of the Pharisees said unto them, Why do ye that which
is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?
Respondens autem IHS dixit ad eos, Numquam hoc legistis quod fecit
David quando esurit ipse et qui cum eo erat?
Et respondens Jesus ad eos, dixit : Nec hoc legistis quod fecit
David, cum esurisset ipse, et qui cum illo erant?
And Jesus answering them said, Have ye not read so much as this,
what David did, when himself was an hungred, and they which were with
Intro ibit in domum Dei et panes propositionis manducavit et dedit
et qui cum erant quibus non licebat manducare si non solis
quomodo intravit in domum Dei, et panes propositionis sumpsit, et
manducavit, et dedit his qui cum ipso erant : quos non licet manducare
nisi tantum sacerdotibus?
How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the
shewbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which it is not
lawful to eat but for the priests alone?
Vulgate text survives in places in the liturgy, such as the
following verse well known from Christmas carols, Luke 2:14, whilst
Vetus Latina is closer to the Byzantine tradition:
KING JAMES VERSION (1611)
Gloria in excelsis Deo
Gloria in excelsis Deo , et super terra pax in hominibus
Gloria in altissimis Deo, et in terra pax in hominibus bonæ
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward
Vulgate text means, "Glory to God among the high, and peace to
men of good will on earth". The
Vulgate text means "Glory to God
among the most high and peace among men of good will on earth".
Probably the most well known difference between the
Vetus Latina and
Vulgate is in the
Pater Noster , where the phrase from the Vetus
Latina, quotidianum panem, "daily bread", becomes supersubstantialem
panem, "supersubstantial bread" in the Vulgate.
* List of
* ^ See, for example,
Quedlinburg Itala fragment .
* ^ A B W. E. Plater and H. J. White , A Grammar of the Vulgate,
Oxford at the Clarendon Press: 1926, paragraph 4.
* ^ Metzger, Bruce (2005). The Text of the New Testament: Its
Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration. Oxford University Press. p.
72. ISBN 9780195166675 .
* ^ Rebenich, S.,
Jerome (Routledge, 2013), p. 58. ISBN
* ^ Text taken from
Codex Bezae and the Da Vinci Code, A
textcritical look at the Rennes-le-Chateau hoax, Wieland Willker, 2005
* ^ I Wordsworth, H.I. White, H.F.D. Sparks , Novum Testamentum
Domini Nostri Jesu Christi Latine secundum editione S. Hieronymi,
* ^ Stuttgart Vulgate, Biblia Sacra iuxta Vulgatam versionem,
adiuvantibus Bonifatio Fischer OSB , Iohanne Gribomont OSB, H.F.D.
Sparks, W. Thiele, recensuit et brevi apparatu instruxit Robertus
Weber OSB, editio tertia emendata quam paravit
Bonifatius Fischer OSB
cum sociis H.I. Frede, Iohanne Gribomont OSB, H.F.D. Sparks, W.
* ^ Punctuation taken from Biblia sacra Vulgatae editionis, Michael
* ^ Nestle-Aland, Novum Testamentum Latine, Novam Vulgatam
Bibliorum Sacrorum Editionem secuti apparatibus titulisque additis
ediderunt Kurt Aland et Barbara Aland una cum Instituo studiorum
textus Novi Testamenti Monasteriensi (Westphalia), Deutsche
Bibelgesellschaft, 1884–1998, Lc 2,14, citing Wordsworth, supra, and
* ^ http://cudl.lib.cam.ac.uk/view/MS-NN-00002-00041/7