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Latin Bible Translations

from “The Vulgate.”
Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem,
Fourth Revised Edition
edited by Roger Gryson,
© 1994 Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft,
Stuttgart, Germany.
Used by permission


(Files updated as of 7/24/2008)

The Song of Solomon
(Updated 7/29/2008)

The Book of Job
(Posted 8/10/2008)

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Words, Images, and
©2008 John G. Cunyus
All Rights Reserved

John Cunyus is a
freelance philosopher
working in North Texas.  
The Vulgate is a version of the Holy
,  translated from the original
languages into
Latin by St. Jerome.

The Vulgate, or
Biblia Sacra Iuxta
Vulgatam Versionem
, is a carefully-
restored version of what was long the
official Bible translation, into Latin, of
Roman Catholicism.  The version I use
in my translation came through
BibleWorks, an excellent software
tool for serious students of scripture.  
The German Bible Society holds the
copyright to this particular version, and
has graciously allowed me to use it in
these translations.

Eusebius Hieronymus, known to
history as Saint Jerome, was
born 347
C.E., died 419/420
C.E.   A“biblical
translator and monastic leader,
traditionally regarded as the
learned of the Latin Fathers
Jerome combined a love of scripture
with a vast knowledge of Classical
learning.  His translation grew out of
his own
longing for holiness and a
Christian vocation.  His life, mired as it
was in controversy and struggle, set
the stage for the preservation of
scripture through the dark centuries
following the collapse of Rome’s
Empire in the West.
"In 382 [C.E.], Pope Damasus
commissioned Jerome, the leading
biblical scholar of his day, to produce
an acceptable Latin version of the
Bible from the various translations then
being used.  His revised Latin
translation of the Gospels appeared
about 383.  Using the Septuagint
Greek version of the Old Testament,
he produced new Latin translations of
the Psalms (the so-called Gallican
Psalter), the Book of Job, and some
other books.  Later, he decided that
the Septuagint was unsatisfactory and
began translating the entire Old
Testament from the original Hebrew
versions, a process that he completed
about 405."

Rather than translating the Bible into
the literary Latin of his day, he
translated it into so-called Vulgar Latin,
the language of ordinary people,
intending that the Bible be read
and understood as widely as
.  The translation draws its
English name, “The Vulgate,” from
this.  By the 6th Century after Christ,
the Vulgate had become the official
translation of the Roman Catholic
Church.  By means of the Vulgate,
scholars transmitted the biblical
tradition to the West.   In 1455,
Johannes Gutenberg printed a version
of Jerome’s work, making it
“the first
complete book extant in the West
and the earliest printed from
movable type.”

Jerome’s translation is remarkable for
both its faithfulness to the originals
and the simplicity of its presentation.  
More than a mere translation, The
Vulgate is one of the world’s great
works of literature and a monument of
the world’s religions.  I offer this
translation, convinced of the
surpassing value of the Wisdom
tradition in the Bible.  May others find
the same joy reading it as I have found
translating it.

Some have asked, Why translate from
the Latin, rather than the Hebrew?  
The Latin language lies at the root of
Western learning.  The Bible itself
existed in the West in Latin, rather
than Hebrew, for more than a
thousand years.  The
complete copy of the Bible in Latin
the Codex Amiatinus, created in
Northumbria, England, dates to shortly
after 700 C.E.    By contrast,
Aleppo, oldest extant version of
the Hebrew Masoretic Text
, dates
from the 10th Century of the Common
In no way do I mean to take away from
the surpassing value of the work in its
original language.  I chose to work in
the Latin as a tribute to the
monumental impact of The Vulgate in
its own right.  
Whether we study it in
Hebrew, Latin, Greek, English, or
any other language, it remains God’
s Word to us.
Till I come, attend to the
public reading of scripture,
to preaching, to teaching.
(1 Timothy 4:13 )