The danger of non-Catholic Bibles


#1

In another thread, the topic of whether the non-Catholic bibles should be burned or not was raised. As objection to that notion, one person wrote:

Whereas any translation of the Bible, even if it be mediocre and not contain all the requisite books, is still the word of God. Even if the truth of it be somewhat obfuscated by translation or removal of books. Just as a diamond is still a diamond and still valuable, though it be in the hands of a thief or lose a little of its lustre through unskilled cutting of the stone.

Pure evil is never presented to the tempted soul as such. The greater the good in which the evil is presented, the more powerful the evil is. For example: rat poison is 98% nutritious, but no sane person will eat it simply because it contains some good or is mostly good. If the book in question is not the complete Holy Bible, certified by the Church as being an accurate and faithful translation, neither adding nor subtracting from the Latin Vulgate of Saint Jerome, then it’s at best an ersatz translation and at worst an instrument meant for the destruction of souls.

If a person happened to come to the one True Faith by reading a heretical book then it’s not the book that converted them but God’s grace which allowed them to convert in spite of the un-Catholic book. If they didn’t know better before it’s not a problem because God won’t hold that against them. But if they know better now, then they need to distance themselves from it otherwise they’re maintaining an attachment to something which is objectively an occasion of sin against the Faith.


#2

Originally Posted by parvenu74:

If the book in question is not the complete Holy Bible, certified by the Church as being an accurate and faithful translation, neither adding nor subtracting from the Latin Vulgate of Saint Jerome, then it’s at best an ersatz translation and at worst an instrument meant for the destruction of souls.

What about the LXX? St. Augustine saw this translation as divinely inspired. He upholds the LXX (not the Latin Vulgate of St. Jerome) as the Bible of the Church. The Latin Vulgate today also is the acceptepted translation of the Church, but was not so in Augustine’s time.

Not everything in the LXX is exactly the same as in the Vulgate. I’m not arguing that one version is better or more correct than the other, but difficulties and do arise when one decides to translate an English Bible from the LXX rather than from the Vulgate. The English translation from the LXX may add or subtract from the Vulgate depending on how much the LXX differs from the Vulgate.

This said, a Bible translation that does not appear faithful to the LXX, the Vulgate or any other ancient translation/manuscripts should be very carefully approached.


#3

This is what I found:

The Sacred Council of Trent Decreed:
“Moreover, the same Holy Council …ordains and declares that the old Latin Vulgate Edition, which, in use for so many hundreds of years, has been approved by the Church, be in public lectures, dispositions, sermons, and expositions held as AUTHENTIC, AND THAT NO ONE [MAY] DARE OR PRESUME UNDER ANY PRETEXT WHATSOEVER TO REJECT IT.” (Fourth Session, April 8, 1546).

Pope Pius XII has stated in his 1943 encyclical letter on the promulgation of Biblical Studies, this means the Latin Vulgate, is “FREE FROM ANY ERRORS WHATSOEVER IN MATTERS OF FAITH AND MORALS; so that, as the Church herself testifies and affirms, it may be quoted safely and without fear of any error in disputations, in lectures and in preaching…”(Par. 21). No other Bible - not even the NEW VULGATE, promulgated in 1979, and not yet available in English - has been endorsed by the Church in this manner!

As I have stated before: St. Jerome’s translation, moreover, was a careful, word-for-word rendering of the original texts into Latin. To quote one writer, “His sources being both numerous and ancient, his knowledge, his scholarship consummate, he was a far better judge of the true shade of meaning of a particular word than any other modern scholar…” (Ronald D. Lambert, Experiment in Heresy, Triumph Mag., March, 1968). Or, one might add, than any modern scholar could ever hope to be!

GOD+ Bless.


#4
  1. The Canon of Sacred Scripture was defined by Pope Damasus, at the Roman Council of 382 A.D. Saint Jerome was officially commissioned to do a Latin translation of the Bible in the same year (382); he finished in 405. Saint Augustine didn’t die until 430.

  2. The Council of Trent in 1546 declared the Latin Vulgate 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." (Denzinger 785).

  3. I am guessing – though I admit I could very well be wrong on this point – that in the eleven hundred years between Saint Jerome and the Council of Trent there were a many (mostly hand-written) versions of the Bible floating about and in varying degrees of completeness. However, I’m not sure that the Church ever made any definite statements as to which to use, leaving that to the good judgment of the local ordinaries. Like I said, I could be wrong on this point but it’s mute now: we now have a statement saying which edition is the benchmark against which all others are to be compared.


#5

While I don’t necessarily see the point in burning books these days (with electronic copies of texts these days, it just doesn’t do any good), non-authorized translations of the Bible should be outlawed (and confiscated) - not that it will happen, given our anti-Christian politicians.

If you think that’s harsh, then you have fallen for the sin of indifference.

There’s a reason the Church was adamantly opposed unauthorized translations all of those years, and why she refuses to allow just ANY translation to be read as Scripture.

Once you agree that the “King James” version of the Bible is fine, then you are just mere steps away from agreeing with the heresy of Sola Scriptura.


#6

I agree :thumbsup: But it may be of no surprise that many Catholics use the KJV. :frowning: It is not harsh, for example, if a radical Muslim decides that she/he is going to have a new modern translation of the Qur’an, what do you think will become of her/him? Today there are too many versions. Translation after translation after translation…There should be one approved standardized Holy Bible, in that way everyone reads the same thing everywhere. This is the case with other religions, such as Islam, their Qur’an is the same as it was in its origin. With the Qur’an, people will read the same verse the same way anywhere in the world. In like manner the language of Islam is also standardized .

Respectfully and God+ Bless.


#7

You’re fond of overexaggeration, I’ve noticed from this and your other threads.

There isn’t any appreciable risk of indifferentism, of coming to believe Sola Scriptura or of any other spiritual harm merely from reading the KJV - provided that one takes all reasonable precautions, for example by not relying on it as one’s main or only translation.

As an analogy, the Popes themselves have said that it’s fine for Catholics to sometimes attend Protestant or other religious services. Provided, of course, that they are sure to attend Mass as well, in order to fulfil their Sunday obligations, and do not take Communion in the Protestant denomination or participate in any other way.

In the same way, one can, with due care, safely read non-Catholic versions of the bible.


#8

Why would you need the KJV if you have the Holy Bible?

As an analogy, the Popes themselves have said that it’s fine for Catholics to sometimes attend Protestant or other religious services. Provided, of course, that they are sure to attend Mass as well, in order to fulfil their Sunday obligations, and do not take Communion in the Protestant denomination or participate in any other way.

Yes I agree, Attendance as an observer only to Protestant ritual.


#9

Nor is there any appreciable risk in entering a room filled with nerve gas - provided one takes all the reasonable precautions, for example by donning a full chemical exposure suit and bringing your own supply of oxygen to breathe.

But why do it if you don’t have to?


#10

Do you have a spare hour or so, so that I can list all the possible reasons? Just for starters, those who regularly discuss their faith with Protestants, as I do, find it incredibly helpful to be able to quote the KJV to them, since that is the version they most easily accept as authoritative.

Using Catholic versions tends to result in quibbles as to the translation of Scripture, which detract from the points I am trying to make. And those points 99% of the time can be made just as well from the KJV as any other translation.

Then again, being a keen consumer of literature, I find the language of the KJV is enjoyable for its own sake. In addition it is so commonly referenced in other popular culture - movies, books, music - that it has become a firmly-entrenched part of the shared cultural heritage of the Western English-speaking world, in much the same way as Shakespeare’s plays have.

Yes I agree, Attendance as an observer only to Protestant ritual.

Point being it can be safely done without harm to the soul, if it’s done judiciously. Same with reading Protestant versions of the Bible.


#11

Easier does not make it correct. But since there hundreds of errors with the KJV, I myself do not require it. Please check this website: catholicapologetics.net/
and go to the Apologetics Articles Tab then the ‘Bible’. There are many articles and documents to demonstrate its mistranslations, cult connections and irregularities.

In addition it is so commonly referenced in other popular culture - movies, books, music - that it has become a firmly-entrenched part of the shared cultural heritage of the Western English-speaking world, in much the same way as Shakespeare’s plays have.

And this is the dilemma.


#12

Actually most of the Protestant churches that I know of (my wife is a Baptist) use either the NIV or the NAB.


#13

Some posters to these forums SERIOUSLY need to unclench!

I only read from an approved version of Holy Writ, but I will tell you this: when I was 11 years old, I ask for and received for Christmas the Children’s Living Bible (the Living Bible is pre-masticated oat-meal, so you can imagine the CHILDREN’S version). I read the thing straight through, sort of as a challenge to myself.

This Baptist child, reading what was essentially a Protestant interpretation, learned from that text that Peter was made the head of the Church, with the authority to bind and loose, that Christ gave the Apostles the authority to forgive sins, that we were supposed to have bishops, and that the bread and wine really became Jesus. Holy Mother Church has nothing to fear from these books.

Further, the King James Bible, whether radical “traditionalists” wish to admit it or not, is a work of cultural and literary importance. It’s not authoritative, but it’s important in the cultural and literary development of the West. That’s not indifferntism, that’s a simple, pragmatic fact.

I have my great-grandfather’s KJV, marked with snuff stains from his sitting in his wheel-chair and pouring over it when he was no longer able to go to services. I’d like to see who’s going to attempt to confiscate it.


#14

Originally Posted by Parvenu74:

  1. I am guessing – though I admit I could very well be wrong on this point – that in the eleven hundred years between Saint Jerome and the Council of Trent there were a many (mostly hand-written) versions of the Bible floating about and in varying degrees of completeness. However, I’m not sure that the Church ever made any definite statements as to which to use, leaving that to the good judgment of the local ordinaries. Like I said, I could be wrong on this point but it’s mute now: we now have a statement saying which edition is the benchmark against which all others are to be compared.

This is from Leo XII’s Providentissimus Deus:

The Professor, following the tradition of antiquity, will make use of the Vulgate as his text; for the Council of Trent decreed that “in public lectures, disputations, preaching, and exposition,”(29) the Vulgate is the “authentic” version; and this is the existing custom of the Church. At the same time, the other versions which Christian antiquity has approved, should not be neglected, more especially the more ancient MSS. For although the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek is substantially rendered by the Vulgate, nevertheless wherever there may be ambiguity or want of clearness, the “examination of older tongues,”(30) to quote St. Augustine, will be useful and advantageous.

vatican.va/holy_father/leo_xiii/encyclicals/documents/hf_l-xiii_enc_18111893_providentissimus-deus_en.html

I find it interesting that Leo XIII claims the “authentic” status of the Vulgate as of “existing custom.” Does this mean that some other version in the future can take the place now occupied by the Vulgate?

It appears that the Vulgate maintains the substance of what the more ancient manuscripts contain. However, it also appears that there “may be” (emphasis on may) ambiguity in the Vulgate, in which case the more ancient manuscripts clarify the true meaning.


#15

[quote=Pope Leo XII]For although the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek is substantially rendered by the Vulgate, nevertheless wherever there may be ambiguity or want of clearness, the “examination of older tongues,”(30) to quote St. Augustine, will be useful and advantageous.
[/quote]

Speaking of these older tongues, is there an edition of the Bible that contains the books in their original languages? It would be neat to have a “scholar’s reference” edition containing the original text of the Hebrew, Aramic*, and Greek language manuscripts.

  • I’m going from memory here, but I think one of the Gospels was written in Aramic.

#16

Some books should be burned, and the KJV should be the first to feel the heat.

Gee, I wonder why the Church encouraged just such burning in the past? I guess we, in this benighted 21st Century, are so much more progressive and open-minded and forward thinking than those musty old medieval churchmen.

Hooray, progress!

And if we had a proper Catholic government, ruling by divine right, the KJV and all other heretical works would be confiscated. [Edited by Moderator]


#17

There are suggestions that one of the Gospels was written in Aramic, but there is no proof of this. The first “Aramic” scripture that we have is actually Syriac (Aramaic came from the Arameans, and eventually mutated into Syriac). The Peshitta is the most complete “Aramaic” scripture, but it dates from much later than any of the Greek mss.

It is possible to buy books that contain the Old Testament in Hebrew or the Septuagint (Greek). There are Greek versions of the New Testament as well. These can be just straight Hebrew or Greek or may be what’s called an interlinear which contains the original language and a “translation” below (this is usually word-for-word and is, therefore, not really usable as a direct translation since this frequently omits words that are normally present in translations). There are many different Greek interlinears for the New Testament, one based upon the Nestle text and another based upon an artificial text called the “Majority Text” and is derived from the most common variants of all major manuscripts.

There are a couple of versions of the Septuagint but the most popular one that I’m aware of is Brenton’s translation. It is not an interlinear, but has the translation in a column near the edge of the page and the Greek in a column near the center of the page.

There is also a two-volume version containing Hebrew, Greek and English (it’s about $100 last time I looked).

Deacon Ed


#18

Don’t ya miss those Catholic Monarchies? :smiley:

St. Louis, King of France, pray for us!


#19

That’s hysterically funny, considering that King James of King James bible fame was the champion par excellence of the idea of government by Divine Right :thumbsup:


#20

I can understand the concern one might have on reading non-Catholic bibles. They are usually missing the deuterocanonicals, but that’s the least of it. Many non-Catholic bibles distort/pervert Scripture to deny Catholic teachings or to promote heresies. The JWs New World Translation is the most blatant example, but even more respected Protestant versions (like the KJV) are guilty of this.
The Church was right to burn bad Bibles in the Middle Ages, but today we live in a pluralistic society that’s not even Christian, so that simply isn’t going to happen.


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