Vulgata again...

Sorry in advance!

I’ve been lurking for a long time but never felt the need to create an account and post until now…with all the threads about Sacra Vulgata I have not quite found the answers I am looking for to some questions. I realize this topic in many ways has caused much gnashing of teeth, beating of breasts and rending of garments, so here it goes…

I currently have the Oxford Annotated Bible w/Apocrypha, Expanded Edition, Revised Standard Version (1977) which is awesome and AFAIK still carries the imprimatur of HE Cardinal Cushing. I am looking for the “closest thing” to the Vulgata as approved by Council of Trent to accompany it. I have seen/heard that I should stay away from the widely available “Biblia Sacra Vulgata Editio Quinta” due to supposed “Protestant influence” (Is this really true? I would then assume means it does not have imprimatur?) So maybe I should head off the standard responses as seen in other threads by saying what I am not looking for…

I am not looking for:
URL to Plaintext or XML file of supposed St Jerome/Clementine Bible from unverified/dubious source
Nova Vulgata from the Vatican
Ron Conte unapproved English translation/mash-up of Latin and Douay English Bibles (BTW lets not turn this into a Ron Conte flamewar, mmmkay? :slight_smile: )
Other Latin versions of the Bible that include non-canonical books/Psalms/Gnostic/stuff to make Protestants buy it

So then my questions are the following:

Is it really so hard to find “just the basics” - a dead tree format of the Latin Vulgate Bible as originally approved by the Church back in the 1500s? No extras?

Is the difficulty of finding this due to the Vatican’s use of Nova Vulgata?
Does this decision actually invalidate the Council of Trent decision?

Moving slightly away from this, but somewhat in the same topic, I have two questions so far concerning Biblical Latin-English translations that don’t make sense to me (maybe this is a good place for Mr. Conte to drop in, seeing as he has first hand experience doing exactly this):

Why was the decision made to translate “humiliata/humiliatum” as “broken”? For example:

Auditui meo dabis gaudium et laetitiam, et exsultabunt ossa humiliata. - English translations typically say “my broken bones rejoice / the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice” or similar wording - Oxford Annotated makes no comment on this.

Also I sort of get using “love” vs “charity” as a translation for “caritas” but not really. Any thoughts/insight into this?

Any information or insight into the above is greatly appreciated, hoping for some real conclusion to this topic for me, there are so many brilliant people on this forum.

Oh and please keep in mind before you respond to my post, “Thou Shall Not Kill (murder)”! :slight_smile:

I sympathize with you. I generally don’t trust translations unless someone shows me how they translated it. That said, as soon as people start studying Latin again, maybe we’ll start having better translations of the Nova Vulgata. I started making some comparisons between that and Clementine and am finding a few differences.

Me too. Apprently I don’t pay nearly enough attention to these things, hence my question:

Do you mean the VulSearch/Clementine Text Project? (If so, It would be easier to just say it out loud)

Does the Madrid *Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos *edition, available from the American Classical League and perhaps elsewhere, suffice?



Response to first thing: I intended to keep it generic, since there are several sources for this. One source is this plaintext hosted in a Zip File on SourceForge (that might be from the project you refer to, can’t remember) The other is text on sites like veritasbible, which again I am unsure how one could verify that the text is accurate and unchanged/free of error from these sources? I see minor things that don’t match up to stuff like Douay-Rheims Latin-English bible (for example, spelling of “caritas” is different (charitas), but Heva (Eve) is correct, so how do I know what else is missed/different?)

Response to second thing: Your link to the Madrid edition is very interesting…how is this published? Is this just some kind of photocopy of the original, scanned and printed on regular paper, or what? This may suffice, hopefully I can find out more about the source / publication of this. Your source certainly appears to have a good history and reputation in the world.

I guess I have this perception that a “brick and mortar” publishing house that has a pedigree or reputation has something to lose from printing something that is not the actual thing that is being represented and therefore is more trustworthy. If someone can counter that argument and give me a solid reason why I should trust something like this:

when the provider of that text to the website is an individual that has so much controversy surrounding them I am open to hearing that argument (again, I intend no offense here, but that is reality of the situation). I want to be able to trust sources like this so much it hurts…

It’s … a book. You know: pages, cloth-bound hard cover, et cetera. At least mine is – I own an earlier edition of the same (*quarta editio *MCMLXV, as opposed to the advertised *undecima editio *which might be MMXI – I don’t have enough Spanish to understand the publisher’s direct site which might be advertising a 13th edition? My edition does have Nihil Obstat, Imprimatur, and Imprimi Potest.

But on the whole, I just don’t know what is satisfactory. FTR, my book spells the indicated words as “charitas” and “Heva”. But frankly, I do not know what would convince me that a particular work was the “closest thing” to the text from Trent or from Jerome except I was holding a manuscript hundreds and hundreds of years old? Copyist and printer errors are just too possible. :shrug:

I think a valuable description of various prints available is in this Amazon review: .
(NB: I believe the *“Biblia Sacra Vulgata Editio Quinta” *you refer to in your original post is referred to there (and more familarly to me) as the Stuttgart. Protestant influence or no, it may be a valuable critical work, but I shy away from it because it was never the approved text for the Church :twocents: )


Pope Sixtus V published an official Latin Vulgate Bible in 1590.
Pope Clement VIII revised that text three times: 1592, 1593, 1598

From 1822-24, Leander van Ess published one version of the Latin Vulgate Bible that combines all four editions (1590, 1592, 1593, 1598). It’s very rare. But here is a scan of every page of that rare edition online.


Thank you for this. Nice. :thumbsup:

First, thank you for responding to this thread. Second, your collection of rare bibles and the scans of them are certainly impressive. Despite the controversy surrounding your work and opinions I respect the work you have done and see your opinions as having value.

Third, I will see your van Ess and raise you this:

If the above is true, what is the status of the van Ess text you have posted?

Ron Conte is extremely knowledgeable and has provided some wonderful resources that I’ve enjoyed using over the years.

So is the issue the translation or publication of the Vulgate itself?

Let’s not forget they used to burn English translators at the stake.

The issue is that despite the van Ess edition having received imprimatur, it apparently was later rescinded and “banned” (If what I am reading is correct).

That’s the way I read it. Seems inconsistent. The only thing I can think of is that someone read some kind of doctrinal change that had not been previously seen before. Like I implied, it wasn’t the first time English translators wound up setting new doctrinal standards. Does the first ICEL translation of the Mass into English (which become the basis of other translations) back in the 60’s sound familiar?

Incidentally, the Index of Forbidden Books was removed in 1965.


While I concur with your observation the list is no longer in use, what got something like a recognized Bible on the list in the first place? What could have been missed at the time when they gave imprimatur that was later found to be so bad it got banned?

“They” didn’t “use to burn English translators at the stake.”

Wycliffe did a purposefully inaccurate, biased translation; and he was advocating treason, subversion, and heresy and running a revolutionary group (the Lollards). He also contended that his translation was actually more true than the original. He was a whack job trying to get people killed, and he managed that.

But despite all of that, he died free, not even excommunicated or out of a job, working very normally as a parish priest. In fact, he died of a stroke in the middle of celebrating Mass.

Yep, those Middle Ages were full of oppression and violence! It’s like Karl Marx being given a government job and a pension!

Wycliffe’s body was exhumed and was then burned.

Tyndale and Cranmer were both burned at the stake.

It doesn’t say it there, but wouldn’t Cranmer have been in a position of granting an imprimatur, which then could have later been removed?

The Latin van Ess edition was published in 1822-1824. It is not considered a translation, since it is in Latin. The 1807 book placed on the index in 1821 does not seem to be that Latin Vulgate edition.

The placing of books on the index, and the granting, denial, or withdrawal of an imprimatur are expressions of the temporal authority of the Church, not the teaching authority. As such, these decisions are fallible. Only a teaching can possibly be infallible.

Thanks for this clarification, I still wish I actually knew why this happened. Regardless, several options for me have been presented here which are wonderful. Also since discovering you have actual images of the Bibles from which the plaintext is provided on some of the sites as discussed in previous posts and threads, etc that at least provides me with the ability to verify the correctness of the text files vs the original work if I wanted to use the text to create my own hard copy of the Vulgata. This might be the way I go, and if I do I will provide back the results of my work (so others might be able to print themselves if they desire).

So Ron, since we have your attention, I’m still curious about the choices made for most translations into English, such as caritas -> love or humilitate -> broken, instead of charity or humiliated etc. Any idea why this is? You of course have kept the literal translation in your English translation, which I like. This to me seems along the lines of why we had such a bad translation of the Novus Ordo for so many years, but now have revised it so the English matches the Latin.

There are really no such things as exact matches. There are only scholarly guesses as to what the current meanings are. Even many of the English cognates of the Latin have lost their ties. For example accipite is translated as “take” where a first-year Latin student may simply translate as “accept.” (accipio,accipere,accepi,acceptus). He may figure that if Christ wanted to say “receive” He would have used “recipite” (recipio,recipere,recepi,receptus). Frankly I didn’t see the point of trying to make things more “literal.” It’s still in English and I doubt anyone understands what “And with your spirit” or “consubstantial” mean. English isn’t necessarily more understandable. In fact, I can make English so complicated and awful, everyone would wish to go back to the Latin. or go to Spanish Masses.

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