Nestle-Aland vs Vulgate


Why did the Vulgate differ with the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece in such a great extent? Are there key differences between the two (in New Testament I mean) which may affect our Biblical exegesis and hence understanding on Catholic dogmas and doctrines?


In mode of expression, you mean? Or are you saying that they literally say very different things? Is there a particular difference or differences that you’re thinking of, that you might share with us?

One thought that comes immediately to mind is the great difference in time in which the two versions were developed, and the amount of manuscripts available at the times in which they were developed. Another is that the Vulgate is a translation, whereas the N-A attempts to compile source material (from a variety of manuscripts). Any translation will have variations from the original, and it’s unreasonable to expect exact word-for-word and expression-for-expression correspondence.

Are there key differences between the two (in New Testament I mean) which may affect our Biblical exegesis and hence understanding on Catholic dogmas and doctrines?

Not that I’m aware of. Are there any that you’ve been told that exist, and would like to discuss?


Exactly so. The only thing I’d like to add is that the text of the Vulgate itself, for print editions and also as posted on the Holy See website (link below), is updated from time to time in line with the findings of recent scholarship…


This super over-generalized question with a lot of assumptions originates from my reading of this Wiki article:

As you said NA is simply a compilation of manuscripts, so I think this part of the Wiki does not elaborate on the methodology well enough, or it simply is a distortion of the Alands’ scholarship in favour of one’s private agenda.:shrug:

As you said it’s impossible to render a word-for-word ‘faithful translation’ while avoiding any ill-presentation on the cultural context. This I can say according to my daily reading of the Liturgy of the Office in Latin. The Lectio Altera in the LOTH is usually a writing by a prominent Church Father, each having a different prose style. While I’m not a Classicist, my limited Latin knowledge suffices to let me see the nuances in particular sentence structures, word order (and hence the emphasis), subordinate clauses, word choice, tone, etc., which are hardly translated in English. Let alone the fact that quite some Latin readings in the LOTH were directly translated from the Greek, giving a queer sense of ‘non-Latinity’ as compared to other Latin Fathers - and needless to say the education background and target audience influence how the prose is laid out. :wink:

I am curious about the exact manuscripts used by St. Jerome which are no longer extant. But I guess this question might not answer the question that manuscripts of the Vulgate (as inferred from a ‘reverse translation’ of the Vulgate?) show drastic discrepancies with NA Novum Testamentum Graece.

Well, after all, I have faith in the Sacred Tradition. But the Wiki table is indeed of academic interest, though my Protestant friends might not be really convinced with the Tradition.

N.B. My general observation is that Systemic Theology develops well within the Catholic Church while Biblical scholarship is relatively handicapped.


The dogmas are concrete and does not rely on the recent scholarship of Bible manuscripts. Dogmas are directly revealed by the Holy Spirit, but Bible manuscripts with their variant readings are God’s word that has man’s scribal errors and academic scholars in their attempts to put together a text that goes by a limited source of manuscripts and a manmade set of principles that guide the editing. No manuscript ever discovered could ever over-ride dogma. The Church was operating a long time without a canon of Scripture and textual criticism.


I’ll just butt in to make a side note: ‘the Vulgate’ is a really broad term. It’s literally like ‘Greek New Testament’; just like the Greek NT, what you have are different manuscripts representing different versions of the original translations by St. Jerome. (I use the plural here because Jerome did not translate the whole Bible as a set; rather, the ‘Vulgate’ is really a collection of different translation projects by him gathered together into one set by later people).


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