Translations


#1

Hey, I was wondering. I have heard from protestants that the Church had forbad the translation of the bible from the vulgate into the vernacular and that if anyone tried to they were condemned as a heritic and thereby limiting the effect of the traslation by the commeners fear of damnation by mere proxemity of association of any heretical works though most of the commeners were illeterate. That it wasn’t till the Reformation that Martian Luther “freed” the gospel to be read by the eavryday person (in German). I am not a history buf of the eras in mention so I really don’t know what to say or think of such a statement. What do ya’ll guys thinks?


#2

I used to think “oh how corrupt the catholics are, they used to kill people for reading the bible and they burned bibles.”

Well, the Church did burn bibles, but they had mistakes in them.

Today’s protestants think with their 2005 mind instead of going back 500 years or more. The language of the Church is/was Latin because that was the common language during the time they made it Latin, which made it more universal. Now, onto the bible. Just because people spoke Latin, doesn’t mean they could read it. Also, it would take several months or more to make 1 SINGLE COPY of the bible, so it would have been impossible to get everyone a copy. They were too expensive at the time. Lastly, the vast majority of people were illiterate and that is why the church started using stained glass. It tells a story with pictures so they could “read” them. The printing press came about way later, just prior to Luther and even then, though it was faster, errors still happened because they would have to set a whole page a letter at a time before printing it, then had to make sure it was correct after printing one, etc.

Basically, it was virtually impossible for people could have a bible in their own language until after the Reformation ever happened, but not because of the Reformation. Luther may have “saved” the gospels, but he also didn’t like some other scripture so he tried to take it out and even called James “an epistle of straw” because it talks about works, not just faith like he wanted everyone to believe. The Church also had the scriptures translated to English before King James did by a few years.


#3

That is always a silly argument. True the Church guarded against the proliferation of inaccurate translations but one must remember that the Douay-Rheims came our a few years before the King James.


#4

Better have a look at this chapter from Where We Got the Bible on the vernacular translations before Wycliff. The allegation is historical bunkum.

You also need to get the Beginning Apologetics Series especially # 7 and have a look on page 38.

“Before Gutenberg printed the first Bible around 1455 (A Catholic version in Latin with 73 books) there were already popular translations of the Bible and the Gospels in English, Soanish, Italian, Danish, French, Norwegian, Polish, Bohemiam, and Hungarian.”

"There were nine editions of the Bible in Germanby the time Martin Luther was born in 1493 and twenty-seven editions in German before Luther published his own in 1520.

Before the first Protestant Bible was printed, more than 600 editions of the Catholic Bible had been printed in Europe, of which 198 were in the languages of the people."

(Where We Got the BIble, pages 69,74,& 75)
Pax tecum,


#5

Below is a link to an encyclical by Pope Gregory XVI regarding the Bible Socities of the 19th Century.

papalencyclicals.net/Greg16/g16inter.htm


#6

[quote=Montie Claunch]Hey, I was wondering. I have heard from protestants that the Church had forbad the translation of the bible from the vulgate into the vernacular and that if anyone tried to they were condemned as a heritic and thereby limiting the effect of the traslation by the commeners fear of damnation by mere proxemity of association of any heretical works though most of the commeners were illeterate. That it wasn’t till the Reformation that Martian Luther “freed” the gospel to be read by the eavryday person (in German). I am not a history buf of the eras in mention so I really don’t know what to say or think of such a statement. What do ya’ll guys thinks?
[/quote]

This is wrong. The Church did forbid vernacular translations at certain times and places, where a risk of heresy was perceived. But in Germany, for instance, there were many vernacular translations before Luther (either eleven or seventeen–I can never remember which), and the Church approved of this.

English-speaking Protestants have a distorted perspective on this because the archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Arundel, did forbid all vernacular translation of the Bible in the early 15th century (this in response to a popular translation by a dissident group called the Lollards). Prior to this point partial translations and paraphrases of the Bible into English had flourished with the Church’s approval.

Literacy was limited, but not as much so as some are claiming on this thread. There was a flourishing vernacular literature in the Middle Ages, and in England this particularly took off in the 14th century (think Chaucer). This coincided with the growth of heretical movements, so that the Church felt threatened (as had happened in the 13th century in southern France).

I think the Catholic Church’s stance limiting vernacular translations was abominable and did a lot to provoke good people into schism. But it was far more limited than many Protestant propagandists claim.

Edwin


#7

Heretical groups made some vernacular translations with intentional errors and misinterpretations in them. These were the Bibles the Catholic Church condemned. Prior to Luther, there were many translations in many languages all performed and approved by the Catholic Church.

Ask your Protestant friend why the countries that had the MOST translations (Italy, France, and Spain) remained primarily Catholic, while those with the fewest (Germany and England) were so easy to sway into Protestantism. It’s because those countries that had vernacular translations easily available were able to refute the Protestant claims. Luther, et. al. used their countries relatively low Bible knowledge to twist scripture and get what they wanted.

Make sure you read “Where we got the Bible” by Graham - it’s small but incredibly thorough.


#8

Forthright,

Germany had 17 translations before the Reformation (I got the correct number from the New History of German Literature today).
Are you seriously saying Italy, France, and Spain had more than that?

And accusing people of making “intentional errors” in translating Scripture is extremely serious. I have no patience with Protestants who make those sorts of accusations against Catholics, and the reverse is no better. I seriously doubt that you have any evidence for this uncharitable accusation. (And please let’s not have the silly “Martin Luther added the word ‘alone’” argument–Luther explained in detail why he thought the word “allein” was necessary to convey the sense of the Greek. He may have been wrong, but there’s no reason to accuse him of bad faith. And the same is true of other Protestant translations. Many of them really are correct, at least from a purely historical perspective–“elder” for “presbyteros” or “congregation” for “ekklesia.” You can disagree with these theologically, but from a purely linguistic point of view you really can’t call them mistranslations, let alone intentional ones. If you have some other example to give, I’d like to hear it.)

Edwin


#9

The myth that Luther’s was the first isn’t true.

There were many German translations circulating during Luther’s time. There were probably other languages available too. What made Luther’s so superior was his ability to translate the texts into an understandable German that was also faithful to the original Hebrew & Greek. His translation had more than an impact on the church, it also united Germany as his translation was used to teach German. Many diverse dialects became more alike.

There was resistiance to translations earlier in the CC and speaking the mass in the common language instead of Latin was a scrict no no.


#10

[quote=Contarini]And accusing people of making “intentional errors” in translating Scripture is extremely serious. . . I seriously doubt that you have any evidence for this uncharitable accusation. (And please let’s not have the silly “Martin Luther added the word ‘alone’” argument. . .
[/quote]

This thread was dealing with why the Catholic Church would have banned the Bible. To the best of my knowledge, they didn’t specifically ban Luther’s version. However, if they did, and if they did it because of the addition of “alone,” then it is a valid example, too. I was not debating Luther’s theology or intentions, just trying to give an answer to the original question.

I checked my source for my accusation, and I may stand corrected:

[quote=Catholicism and Fundamentalism, Karl Keating, p. 45]In order to promulgate their views, the Albigensians used vernacular versions of the Bible to “substantiate” their theories. . . But the Albigensians were twisting the Bible to support an immoral moral system.
[/quote]

Mr. Keating is unclear as to exactly how they were twisting the Bible. Where they using an accurate translation and then twisting the message, or were they twisting the Bible during the translation process? Either way, it was in response to the Albigensian heresy that the vernacular Bible was banned (for a localized area only).

On a related note, we still see today heretical groups intentionally mistranslating sacred scripture. I am referring to the LDS, not to Protestants, whom I do not consider heretical. Given the emphasis most Protestants place on the Bible, I would typically expect their translations to be, on the average, just as good as or better than Catholic translations.


#11

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