Bible Catechism – Lesson 10

Lesson 10:
The Vulgate

1. Name again the languages of the Old Testament before the time of Christ.

Hebrew and Greek.

2. In what languages did the Apostles write their Gospels and Epistles?

They wrote their Gospels and Epistles in Greek, except St. Matthew, who wrote his Gospel in Aramaic.

3. How did translations in languages other than Hebrew and Greek come into existence?

As Catholicism spread among peoples of different languages, the demand for the Bible in their various languages grew.

4. Name some of the earlier languages into which the Bible was translated.

Armenian, Syrian, Coptic, Arabic, and Ethiopian.

5. Was the Bible translated into Latin?

Many translations into Latin were made during the early Catholic centuries.

6. Were these Latin translations satisfactory?

No; many inaccuracies existed, due to errors of the copyists, or errors of translation caused by a poor understanding of the original language.

7. Which of the Latin translations was the best known?

The best known Latin translation was either the “Old African” or the “Old Italian” (Vetus Itala).

8. What was the result of the general dissatisfaction with these Latin translations?

Pope Damasus (Pope from 366 to 384) commissioned St. Jerome to make a new and accurate translation.

9. How did St Jerome go about this work?

He studied carefully the Hebrew and Greek versions, and from these made his new translation.

10. By what name is the Latin translation of St. Jerome known?

It is known as the Vulgate Version. Vulgate means common or vulgar in Latin and it was called so because Latin was the common tongue of the Western Roman Empire.

11. Does the Vulgate have the Church’s special approval?

The Council of Trent (Italy) in 1546 declared it to be the only authentic and official version for the Latin Rite: ” The same Sacred and Holy Synod … hereby declares and enacts that the same well-known Old Latin Vulgate edition … is to be held authentic in public readings, disputations,sermons, and expositions, and that no one shall dare or presume to reject it under any pretense whatsoever.” (DZ. 785). It is still the official Catholic Bibletoday. 

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