Sacred Texts  Christianity  Early Church Fathers  Index  Previous  Next 

Prefaces to the Vulgate Version of the New Testament.

This version was made at Rome between the years 382 and 385. The only Preface remaining is that to the translation of the Gospels, but Jerome speaks of, and quotes from, his version of the other parts also. The work was undertaken at the request and under the sanction of Pope Damasus, who had consulted Jerome in a.d. 383 on certain points of Scriptural criticism, and apparently in the same year urged him to revise the current Latin version by help of the Greek original. It is to be observed that Jerome’s aim was “to revise the old Latin, and not to make a new version. When Augustin expressed to him his gratitude for ‘his translation of the Gospels,’ he tacitly corrected him by substituting for this phrase ‘the correction of the New Testament.’ Yet, although he proposed to himself this limited object, the various forms of corruption which had been introduced were, as he describes, so numerous that the difference of the old and revised (Hieronymian) text is throughout clear and striking.” See article by Westcott in “Dictionary of Bible,” on the Vulgate, and Fremantle’s article on Jerome in “Dictionary of Christian Biography.”

Next: The Four Gospels.