As an Armenian Orthodox Christian, should I read Wycliffe's Bible?


#1

In 1395, John Wycliffe, the first Protestant, translated the Latin Vulgate into English. However, because it is based on the Vulgate, it doesn’t have as much of a Protestant bias as other Protestant versions of Scripture. Here are some examples:

“And whereof is this thing to me, that the mother of my Lord come to me?” (Luke 1:43)
“And the angel answered, and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come from above into thee, and the virtue of the Highest shall overshadow thee; and therefore that holy thing that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
“that that the Father hath hallowed, and hath sent into the world [which the Father hallowed, and sent into the world], ye say, That thou blasphemest, for I said, I am God’s Son?” (John 10:36)
“Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, that is called Christ.” (Matthew 1:16)
“And a great sign appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and in the head of her a crown of twelve stars.” (Revelation 12:1)
“But after that the fulfilling of the time came, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” (Galatians 4:4)
“And the angel entered to her, and said, Hail, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed be thou among women.” (Luke 1:28)
“My sister spousess, a garden closed (al)together; a garden closed (al)together, a well asealed. (My dear spousess is a garden altogether enclosed, yea, a secret garden; a garden altogether enclosed, and a sealed well.)” (Song of Solomon 4:12)
“And the Lord said to me, This gate shall be closed, and shall not be opened, and a man shall not pass through it; for the Lord God of Israel entered [in] by it, and it shall (also) be closed to the prince.” (Ezekiel 44:2)
“For this thing the Lord himself shall give a sign to you. Lo! a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son; and his name shall be called Immanuel. [Lo! a maid(en) shall conceive, and bare a son; and thou shalt call his name Immanuel.]” (Isaiah 7:14)


#2

It is my understanding that a group of 14th century Catholics revised and cleaned up the original Wycliffe Bible, removed his heretical notes and re-translated some of the content, so that what remains now of the original Wycliffe Bible is a handful of “Catholic editions”. I think these are the main source of the manuscripts of the Wycliffe Bible that scholars study today. For example, I think the main Wycliffe bible that still exists, the one that is currently on display in an English museum, has a seal of approval by a Catholic king, indicating that the revision had been examined by a Catholic scholar and found good.

In light of that, I don’t think there should be any problem reading modern digital and print copies of the Wycliffe Bible, because I think they are all made from those ancient “Catholic revisons,” since that’s all we have left – unless I’ve missed something.

I hope that helps.

Also, I don’t think it’s accurate to say that Wycliffe was the first Protestant. I think he was a Lollard. I think Martin Luther was the first Protestant.


#3

It is true that Wycliffe wasn’t technically Protestant. However, the Lollards believed pretty much the same heresies as the Protestants do. It is good to know that the heresies have been removed by Catholic revisions. The one main thing that I don’t like about modern Protestant Bibles is the use of the Hebrew Masoretic Text, which was basically the Jewish reaction to the prophecies of Jesus in the Septuagint. I also never understood why they change the Masoretic Text of Isaiah 7:14 to say “virgin” instead of “young woman”, since that was what the Jewish Masoretes intended when they developed their anti-Christian canon. Fortunately, St. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate uses Pre-Masoretic Hebrew documents which are only currently being discovered in the Dead Sea Scrolls. Anyways, thanks a lot!!!


#4

The short answer is no.

Get a Catholic Bible with an imprimatur and nihil obstat.

Protestant Bibles go against Holy Tradition and the consensus of the Catholic Church because they have modified the canon of the Bible.


#5

jbp, you can read more about it on Wikipedia, but my short response is that Wycliffe included all of the deuterocanonical books as well as 2 other books. I’ve also been looking for the Orthodox Study Bible, but I can’t seem to find it online. Is it copyrighted?


#6

If you are looking for something Vulgate based, the best in that class are Douay Rheims and the Knox Bible. My signature link has the Douay Rheims, and newadvent.org has the Knox.


#7

The Douay-Rheims and the Knox Bible simply ignore the Vulgate in too many places. The only thing I don’t like about Wycliffe is that when the spelling was updated, they put in parentheses which go against the text. Here are some examples:

“propter David servum tuum non avertas faciem christi tui” (Psalmi 131:10, VULGATE)

“For David, thy servant; turn thou not away the face of thy christ. (For the sake of thy servant David; turn thou not away thy face from thy anointed king.)” (Psalmi 131:10, WYC)

“For thy servant David’s sake, turn not away the face of thy anointed.” (Psalmi 131:10, DRA)

“Think of thy servant David, and do not refuse audience to the king thou hast anointed.” (Psalmi 131:10, KNOX)

“illic producam cornu David paravi lucernam christo meo” (Psalmi 131:17, VULGATE)

“Thither I shall bring forth the horn of David; I [have] made ready a lantern to my christ (I have prepared a lantern for my anointed king).” (Psalmi 131:17, WYC)

“There will I bring forth a horn to David: I have prepared a lamp for my anointed.” (Psalmi 131:17, DRA)

“There the stock of David shall bud, there shall a lamp burn continually for the king I have anointed.” (Psalmi 131:17, KNOX)


#8

I don’t understand. Christ and anointed mean the same thing. They are interchangeable. As can be seen in the examples, the Knox does employ more of a dynamic equivalence whereas Douay is more of a functional equivalence.


#9

It is true that Christ and annointed mean the same thing. However, If I had the choice, I’d rather have the word “Christ” in the old testament than “anointed”


#10

But Wycliff doesnt have the word “Christ” he has the word “christ” in his translation to English. If you are that bothered by use of ‘annointed’ which is the same thing, I would think a lower case ‘christ’ might bother you more.


#11

That’s true, and it does bother me. However, I can’t really read or hear the difference between uppercase and lowercase, so it’s only a problem with the text, not the word itself.


#12

The text of the Orthodox Study Bible is from the New King James Version with the Deuterocanon and accompanied by Orthodox viewpoint commentary. Why they used the NKJV is beyond me.


#13

Because it’s pretty much one of the few modern translations that use the Textus Receptus like the KJV, which is kinda closer to the Byzantine ‘Majority’ text used in the Byzantine liturgy than the critical editions of the Greek NT commonly used for most translations today (Nestle-Aland or the United Bible Societies’ version; to be fair, they’re really just the same thing, only under different packages).


#14

I should also mention that the Orthodox Study Bible has modified the NKJV Old Testament to agree with the Septuaint. Because I cannot find it online, I have until now, been using the KJV Septuagint for the OT and the KJV for the NT.
orthodoxengland.org.uk/zot.htm


#15

Agreed. :thumbsup:

The canons can be the same but in many protestant Bibles the wording was changed to fit the belief.


#16

I wouldn’t. That is, of course unless you want to see why we Catholics considered Wycliffe heretical


#17

Would you call this changing the wording to fit the belief? If so, please explain.

“And whereof is this thing to me, that the mother of my Lord come to me?” (Luke 1:43)
“And the angel answered, and said to her, The Holy Ghost shall come from above into thee, and the virtue of the Highest shall overshadow thee; and therefore that holy thing that shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:35)
“that that the Father hath hallowed, and hath sent into the world [which the Father hallowed, and sent into the world], ye say, That thou blasphemest, for I said, I am God’s Son?” (John 10:36)
“Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom Jesus was born, that is called Christ.” (Matthew 1:16)
“And a great sign appeared in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and in the head of her a crown of twelve stars.” (Revelation 12:1)
“But after that the fulfilling of the time came, God sent his Son, made of a woman, made under the law,” (Galatians 4:4)
“And the angel entered to her, and said, Hail, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed be thou among women.” (Luke 1:28)
“My sister spousess, a garden closed (al)together; a garden closed (al)together, a well asealed. (My dear spousess is a garden altogether enclosed, yea, a secret garden; a garden altogether enclosed, and a sealed well.)” (Song of Solomon 4:12)
“And the Lord said to me, This gate shall be closed, and shall not be opened, and a man shall not pass through it; for the Lord God of Israel entered [in] by it, and it shall (also) be closed to the prince.” (Ezekiel 44:2)
“For this thing the Lord himself shall give a sign to you. Lo! a virgin shall conceive, and shall bear a son; and his name shall be called Immanuel. [Lo! a maid(en) shall conceive, and bare a son; and thou shalt call his name Immanuel.]” (Isaiah 7:14)


#18

According to Bishop Henry G. Graham, Wycliffe’s translation was poor scholarship and heretical. For these reasons it should not be read.


#19

The Douay-Rheims is a very good and quite literal translation of the Vulgate. If you are interested in other editions, the original edition (NT from 1582 and OT from 1609) of the Douay Rheims is very different from the modern version. It might be what you are looking for. You can find scans for download from Google Books. The OT is in two volumes and the NT is its own volume.


#20

I don’t know about ‘should’, but IMHO you ‘could’. There’s really no problem if you read it. What the other posters here do not really tell is, that only the translator’s preface was really ‘Lollard’. As you might know, the text itself (the earlier version) is a very literal translation of the Vulgate - the earlier version in fact was so mechanically-translated that it’s nearly incomprehensible. The translation was only really condemned because of its association with Wyclif (though it’s kinda uncertain that Wyclif himself had anything to do with it) and the fact that the translation was unauthorized, not so much how the text was translated itself. In fact, without the preface, it could pass for a legitimate translation - and in fact, as other posters already pointed out, the preface-less ‘Wyclif’ Bible was used by English Catholics unaware of its Lollard origins; it was good enough for them apparently.

(I have this feeling that some people are confusing Wyclif with Tyndale here. Tyndale was really the one who caused controversy with the way he translated the text.)

The Douai-Rheims (the original one, not the Challoner version being passed around as ‘Douai-Rheims’ today) in fact owes something to the ‘Wyclif’ Bible, since they were both translated from the Vulgate. The translators don’t really admit it, but their translation is influenced by two translations: Coverdale (1538) - which was in turn, based on Tyndale - and Wyclif.


DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.