Translated from the Original Greek?


I was reading that the Douay Rheims was translated from the Latin Vugate and the KJV was translated from the Greek and Hebrew. Something about this doesn’t pass the smell test. Where did all these protestants get these documents in order for them to translate? If there was any trace of the original Hebrew and Greek available wouldn’t those docshave been heavily guarded by the RCC?

If so, what sources were used in the Protestant Bibles?


By the time of the Protestant Reformation, both a critical Greek text and a Hebrew text were readily available. The critical Greek text (Textus Receptus) was developed by Erasmus, a Catholic scholar, and was published (printed) in, I believe, 1516. Don’t forget that the printing press speeded things along substantially in this regard.

The most common source for the Hebrew texts was the Rabbinic Bible (Mikraot Gedolot). The King James Bible uses Mikraot Gedolot edition of Ben Hayyim.


It passes the smell test, as Dave Noonan mentions.

Where did all these protestants get these documents in order for them to translate? If there was any trace of the original Hebrew and Greek available wouldn’t those docshave been heavily guarded by the RCC?

The Church’s goal was to preach the Word of God, not hide it under a bushel. Originals were copied and circulated.


The DRV was translated from the Vulgate because the Vulgate had become the traditional form of the Bible for Catholics, not because the Catholic Church lacked access to Hebrew or Greek manuscripts.

The Protestants, on the other hand, went for the source languages in order to produce a “pure” text, part of their whole movement away from what they regarded as the “corruption” imposed by tradition.

Since then, many scholars have managed to see past sectarian prejudices and to work together on editions of source-language materials and on translations from those.


Good question. I once asked how the Greek manuscripts were preserved over a full millennium since monks largely preserved the Latin Vulgate, while the Greek and Hebrew texts were subject to deterioration as well. It behooved them to copy and recopy lots of the texts, since handwriting errors were sure to appear along the way and the more copies the less the final error before they were consolidated into what became the Clementine Bible. If Greek texts weren’t as widely copied, handwriting errors would be more prevalent one would think. At least that’s my theory. Can someone show that the copied Greek texts around the time of the printing press were more reflective of the originals than the Latin texts were? I know we have the Dead Sea Scrolls so what do we know about the original Greek texts from that?


I think the logic breaks down in the idea that the Greek texts weren’t as widely copied; the Vulgate wasn’t used across Christendom–only in the West. Since we have copies of the Greek Bible that are older than the oldest manuscript of the Vulgate, it’s fairly easy to check.



Don’t forget, the Vulgate was translated from the Original Greek which still existed in his time!


Great thread! Interesting info.


:thumbsup: :bible1: subscribing


If you take the background history of the canon, the vulgate is more reliable than the kjv/protestant bibles. why? because when jerome translated the bible, the older greek copies were still available.

the church has neither added nor removed anything from scripture. the kjv and the masoretic text of the jews point out that their versions lack whole sections and actually edited many verses. this has been proven with the rediscovery of dead sea scrolls and other ancient manuscripts.


The interesting thing about the Dead Sea Scrolls is that, while they do contain non-Canonical books, the books that are contained in them confirm the Church’s teaching about the Old Testament. There are no New Testament books in them because they were preserved during the persecution of the Jews by Antiochus IV (2nd C BC), but the single most interesting thing about them is that there is a complete scroll of Isaiah among them. It had been widely assumed by post enlightenment “scholars” that the startling prophetic fulfillments of Christ mentioned in Isaiah had been glosses later added by post christian writers who had altered the text to make it appear that Christ had fulfilled prophecy. But the DSS show these prophecies were extant 160 years before Jesus’ birth and were not glosses at all.

The irony is that now the same sort of thinkers say that the story of Jesus was altered to fit the book instead of the other way around. Smh.

And to the OP, St Jerome DID translate the LV from Greek texts and Hebrew texts far older than Luther, Wycliffe, Tyndall et all had. His version was unquestioned and accepted as the true rendering of the texts for 1100 years until some decided that they didn’t like his translation of Romans when St Jerome says God will make us just and the just man shall live, and so they cried “Ad Fontes!” (to the source) and went to Greek texts newer than Jerome’s but older than the LV’s of their days, and declared they saw errors where St Augustine, St Thomas Aquinas, St Francis on and on had not.

Again, smh.

God Bless


Just curious if St Jerome translated Romans? I thought he translated the Gospels but others contributed to the rest of the New Testament.


I know from reading St Augustine that he refers to the Vulgate as Jerome’s. Now it is of course possible that St Augustine, who is writing to other Churchmen, is using a shorthand with which they are familiar, but I had taken this to mean Jerome had directly translated or directly overseen the translation of the texts into the Latin.

So if there were others I had not looked it up.

Btw as a former Lutheran, this was also the way Luther referred to the Vulgate so take that for what it is.

Gid Bless.


Right. If St. Jerome had known 2015 English we would probably have a different English Bible altogether today. Just sayin…

By the way, there was an earlier Latin Bible than the Vulgate, which Jerome built upon. Do we know who the authors or translators were on that version, which I’m sure had been written in differing periods? After all, Greeks themselves were writing a lot of things in Latin.


Maybe, but the Latin Vulgate wasn’t the first Bible written in Latin. There was the Vetus Latina, which the scholarly St. Jerome chose to correct, based on what he had available from the more original (than we have today) Greek and Hebrew texts. I take it whatever Jerome had available in the Greek and Hebrew was more authoritative at the time, perhaps if for no other reason the Vetus Latina was of very poor quality?


Jerome’s project was really to clean up all of the textual variants in the various copies of the Vetus Latina of his day and come up with one standardized Latin version. To do that he consulted various manuscripts of the Vetus Latina, but mostly seems to have relied on the “Hexapla”—a side-by-side comparison of six different versions of Scripture. Jerome usually follows the Greek text that he had available, but sometimes “corrects”/defers to the Hebrew text when it seems more clear or sometimes even just more interesting. Just like now, changing/correcting the words of the Bible, even if it’s just here and there, was pretty controversial. So he tried not to rock the boat too much.


The primary problem the reformers had with Jerome’s translation was that it followed the Greek text (which often simply misunderstands/mistranslates the underlying Hebrew–so there’s a lot more going on than some problems in Romans) rather than truly being a translation of the Hebrew text. I haven’t researched Luther on this issue much, but my sense is that Luther just thought Jerome was incompetent because he was reputed to have translated directly from the Hebrew, which isn’t at all the case. Jerome’s Vulgate is more of a cross-manuscript/language mixture of what he thought were the best readings. By the time the reformers came along, it was judged better to work almost exclusively with the original languages rather than translating translations. Since Divino Afflante Spiritu (1943), deferring to the original languages has been the approach of the Catholic Church as well.

Of course, now with the DSS we have Hebrew texts available today that are much older than anything Jerome had.


Actually, the theory of “Jewish editing” (an attempt to account for discrepancies between the Vulgate and the Rabbinic Bible) was disproven through the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls–so just the opposite. Most of the older Hebrew manuscripts that we have now (particularly the Masoretic Text) are pretty close to what was in use prior to the time of Jesus. Where there are differences between the Hebrew text and the Septuagint (Greek texts) the DSS follow the Hebrew Text about 75% of the time.


You also have to consider the context in which the early Christians claimed this. As most everyone knows, most early Christians used the Septuagint (or some deritative translation of it), many books of which are actually translated from a different Hebrew version than the one that eventually became the standard among the Jews, the so-called proto-rabbinic/proto-Masoretic text. (Both versions are attested among the DSS - which means that before a ‘standard’ text was established, there was textual diversity - but note: all in all we have more proto-Masoretic texts in the DSS than these other versions.) And then of course there’s the different translation methods, which vary from book to book, ranging from mechanically literal (say, Ezra-Nehemiah or Greek 2 Esdras) to bordering on interpretative (Septuagint Isaiah is an example).

In other words, it basically amounts to early Christians noticing the differences between the two texts and then saying, “Aha! You Jews have edited the Scriptures to take Jesus out!” (Part of this is based on fact: even before Jesus was born, Palestinian Jews have already noticed differences between the Greek translations and the (proto-Masoretic) Hebrew text that they were using, which led them to make ‘corrected’ Greek versions that stick closer to said Hebrew text.) And it’s not like Christians were the only ones who were doing this: the Jews, on their part, also claimed that during the process of the translation of the Torah into Greek, thirteen to fourteen passages were allegedly altered by the original translators.

What did Luther remove/add/change?

How many of the 46 books are in the Dead Sea Scrolls? And how many are complete?

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