Were the original Hebrew and Greek manuscripts preserved by Catholic monks?


#1

We are all familiar with the claim that the Catholic Church suppressed the bible in the middle ages.

A strong argument against this is that Catholic monks in monasteries preserved the bible in this time with their copying of manuscripts.

A counter-argument is that these monks only copied the Jerome vulgate bible, in Latin, so weren’t preserving the “real” bible.

I am asking then whether the Greek (NT) and Hebrew (OT) scriptures were also preserved by Catholic monks?

Thankyou!

Edmundus


#2

Brief comment (not an answer) for now. Both the accusation and the reply are guilty of oversimplification.


#3

St. Jerome and others used Hebrew and Greek manuscripts for their translations. Some of these ‘original’ mss. are no longer with us (they just crumbled over the centuries), so in fact, these scholars had MORE resources available to them than we do today.

Monks kept and copied Latin translations because that’s what they could read. Most people had no translations of any kind because they couldn’t read. The literate had few copies, sometimes just certain books and often shared, because that’s what they could afford.


#4

The Greek New Testament(and the Greek old Testament-the Septuagint) were preserved by monasteries in the East, once knowledge of Greek disappeared in the west(between roughly AD550-AD1100). I don’t know about the Hebrew of the Old testament, but as others have said Jerome’s Vulgate used the Greek and Hebrew texts as its base.


#5

About the Vulgate:

The Vulgate is a collection of St. Jerome’s translations and revisions of various Scriptural books, supplemented by translations/revisions of books which he never worked on. (Note that it was not called the versio vulgata ‘common version’ until the late Middle Ages; until then it never had a formal name. In fact, the term versio vulgata was used in Jerome’s time to refer to the other ‘common version’ in use among Christians - the Greek Septuagint.)

Under Pope Damasus, Jerome set out to revise the Old Latin (Vetus Latina) text of the four gospels from the best Greek texts available to him; at the same time Damasus gave the seemingly contradictory command to stay as close to the existing versions as possible. By the time Damasus died in 384 he had thoroughly completed this task, together with a more cursory revision from the Septuagint of the Old Latin text of the Psalms in the Roman Psalter (now lost). How much of the rest of the New Testament he then revised is difficult to judge, but it would seem that either little of his work survived in the Vulgate text we have today or he did a very hasty job: the Vulgate of the Acts and Epistles is not far from the old Latin versions.

Without his patron Damasus to defend him, Jerome left Rome for good in 385 due to growing friction between him and the Roman clergy, and accompanied by a few friends (the noblewoman Paula and her daughter Eustochium among them), headed East, finally settling down in Bethlehem. Amply provided by Paula with the means of livelihood and of increasing his collection of books, he led a life of incessant activity in literary production. Jerome first embarked on another revision of the Psalms, translated from the revised Septuagint Greek column of Origen’s Hexapla, which later came to be called the Gallican version. He would similarly produce revisions of Job and Song of Songs (both of which still survive) and of Chronicles and the Solomonic books (which are lost).

Jerome’s true love, however, was Hebrew. By 390 he dropped what he was doing and began translating from the Hebrew instead. Thus it was that for the next fifteen years (390-405) Jerome dedicated himself to translating and revising the books of the Old Testament protocanon and a few besides, from Hebrew. The first to be translated was Samuel-Kings, and its lengthy prologue serves as a kind of programmatic statement for Jerome’s intentions and goals in this project. This, along with yet another version of the Psalms (iuxta Hebraicum) was completed in 392. This was followed by the Prophets and Job (394), Ezra-Nehemiah (394-395), and Chronicles (395). The Solomonic books (Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs) he managed to complete within three days in the autumn of 398. From late 398 to late 404 or 405, the Pentateuch, Joshua, Judges, Ruth and Esther were completed.


#6

Sometime between 405 and 407 Jerome also translated Tobit and Judith, though not with the same care given his other translations: he only had access to the two works through versions/paraphrases in Aramaic, a language he was not proficient in. To circumvent this problem he had someone who knew Aramaic translate the text into Hebrew first, and then made his own (rather free) Latin paraphrase from this translated text on-the-spot. So in effect, what we have in this case is the translation of a translation of a (possible) translation.

Jerome to the Bishops in the Lord Cromatius and Heliodorus, health!

I do not cease to wonder at the constancy of your demanding. For you demand that I bring a book written in Chaldean words into Latin writing, indeed the book of Tobias, which the Hebrews exclude from the catalogue of Divine Scriptures, being mindful of those things which they have titled Hagiographa. I have done enough for your desire, yet not by my study. For the studies of the Hebrews rebuke us and find fault with us, to translate this for the ears of Latins contrary to their canon. But it is better to be judging the opinion of the Pharisees to displease and to be subject to the commands of bishops. I have persisted as I have been able, and because the language of the Chaldeans is close to Hebrew speech, finding a speaker very skilled in both languages, I took to the work of one day, and whatever he expressed to me in Hebrew words, this, with a summoned scribe, I have set forth in Latin words. I will be paid the price of this work by your prayers, when, by your grace, I will have learned what you request to have been completed by me was worthy.

  • Prologue to Tobias

Among the Hebrews the Book of Judith is found among the Hagiographa, the authority of which toward confirming those which have come into contention is judged less appropriate. Yet having been written in Chaldean words, it is counted among the histories. But because this book is found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures, I have acquiesced to your request, indeed a demand, and works having been set aside from which I was forcibly curtailed, I have given to this (book) one short night’s work translating more sense from sense than word from word. I have removed the extremely faulty variety of the many books; only those which I was able to find in the Chaldean words with understanding intact did I express in Latin ones.

Receive the widow Judith, an example of chastity, and declare triumphal honor with perpetual praises for her. For this one, imitable not only for women, but also for men, has the Rewarder of her chastity given, Who has granted such strength, that she conquered the one unconquered by all men, she surpassed the insurpassable.

  • Prologue to Judith

The remaining books in the Old Testament of the Vulgate are not Jerome’s work, but are either Old Latin versions (Wisdom, Sirach, Maccabees, 3-4 Esdras) or the work of later, unknown revisers (Baruch, Prayer of Manasseh, Epistle to the Laodiceans). While Jerome gave in out of obedience and demand and translated Tobit and Judith (even if somewhat hastily), we know that Jerome particularly did not do any work on Baruch due to personal reservations:

… Besides this, the order of visions, which is entirely confused among the Greeks and Latins, we have corrected to the original truth. And the Book of Baruch, his scribe, which is neither read nor found among the Hebrews, we have omitted, standing ready, because of these things, for all the curses from the envious, to whom it is necessary for me to respond through a separate short work. And I suffer this because you request it. Otherwise, for the benefit of the wicked, it was more proper to set a limit for their rage by my silence, rather than any new things written to provoke daily the insanity of the jealous.

  • Prologue to Jeremiah

Outside of the gospels in the NT, the reviser or revisers are completely unknown, but the work was essentially similar to Jerome’s: revision of the Vetus Latina text according to the Greek. It is likely that the Pauline epistles (including Hebrews) were revised in a body by a single editor, also unknown, the preface of which group would seem to indicate this. Whether the other books were revised by several people or an individual is unknown.


#7

This translation from the Hebrew was largely undertaken at the request of friends and at no official pressure, as his revision of the gospels and Psalms at Damasus' order was. Indeed, Jerome actually asked one friend not to publicize his translation.

Because Jerome was a champion of the then-controversial concept of Hebraica veritas ('Hebrew truth'), he was at first hesitant about the deuterocanonicals due to the simple fact that they are not found in Hebrew (cf. his excuse in not translating Baruch). As time went on, however, he gradually warmed up to at least some of them, as attested by his work on Tobit and Judith. The latter in fact was made because a bishop requested it, and because the council of Nicaea treated it as Scripture; Jerome preferred to be on the side of the Church. He eventually also translated the additions to Esther, although placing them at the end of the book with instructions on where to place them, and the Song of the Three Young Men in Daniel, though marking it with asterisks to indicate it wasn't in the Hebrew text he had. (That being said, he never did come back to work on 1-2 Maccabees, Sirach, Wisdom, and Baruch. :p) One also needs to remember that Jerome's private translation work on the OT was originally apologetics-based, providing Latins with a translation that was closely approximate to what the Jews had in Hebrew, specifically for the reason of theological discussion.

You can see a turnaround in Jerome's opinion by comparing his prologue to the books of Solomon to his prologue to Judith, written ten years later:

Also included is the book of the model of virtue Jesus son of Sirach, and another falsely ascribed work (pseudepigraphos) which is titled Wisdom of Solomon. The former of these I have also found in Hebrew, titled not Ecclesiasticus as among the Latins, but Parables, to which were joined Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs, as though it made of equal worth the likeness not only of the number of the books of Solomon, but also the kind of subjects. The second was never among the Hebrews, the very style of which is redolent of Greek speech. And several of the ancient scribes affirm this one is of Philo Judaeus. Therefore, just as the Church also reads the books of Judith, Tobias, and the Maccabees, but does not receive them among the canonical Scriptures, so also one may read these two scrolls for the strengthening of the people, (but) not for confirming the authority of ecclesiastical dogmas.

===

I do not cease to wonder at the constancy of your demanding. For you demand that I bring a book written in Chaldean words into Latin writing, indeed the book of Tobias, which the Hebrews exclude from the catalogue of Divine Scriptures, being mindful of those things which they have titled Hagiographa. I have done enough for your desire, yet not by my study. For the studies of the Hebrews rebuke us and find fault with us, to translate this for the ears of Latins contrary to their canon. *But it is better to be judging the opinion of the Pharisees to displease and to be subject to the commands of bishops. *

===

Among the Hebrews the Book of Judith is found among the Hagiographa, the authority of which toward confirming those which have come into contention is judged less appropriate. Yet having been written in Chaldean words, it is counted among the histories. But because this book is found by the Nicene Council to have been counted among the number of the Sacred Scriptures, I have acquiesced to your request, indeed a demand ...] Receive the widow Judith, an example of chastity, and declare triumphal honor with perpetual praises for her. For this one, imitable not only for women, but also for men, has the Rewarder of her chastity given, Who has granted such strength, that she conquered the one unconquered by all men, she surpassed the insurpassable.


#8

Now to answer the original question! :smiley:

It really depends on what you mean by ‘Catholic’. By ‘Catholic’ do you mean only the Western Church? Or would you include the East? As Theophorus mentioned earlier, knowledge of the Greek language declined in the West with the fall of the Roman Empire, and with it knowledge of many Greek texts, many of which had remained without a Latin translation. Some Greek works were preserved in monasteries, but even there scribes sometimes recycled old parchment, scraping off old texts in order to create new books (palimpsests). After a while, only a few monasteries in the west had Greek works, and even fewer of them copied these works, mainly the Irish (Ireland was pretty much one of the last bastions of Greek in the West by this time, and even then, they are not really masters of the language.) In addition to the Irish monks, there were also many Greek-speaking communities in Italy, parts of which, after all, had been Byzantine territory. (cf. the Exarchate of Ravenna and the Catepanate of Italy. Also note the period of the Byzantine papacy.) But even then, neither the Byzantine officials in Italy nor the refugees from the East seem to have contributed to a local restoration of Greek language or culture.

During the Carolingian period, a few scholars showed some interest in Greek - in fact, there was a fad at that time to translate the texts of the Gallo-Roman liturgy into Greek, the so-called missa graeca or ‘Greek Mass’. Again, this is mainly due to Irish monks and the institutions they had founded on the continent, like the abbey of St. Gall, where at least elements of the language was studied. But in general, it would only be in the 13th century that Greek would start to make a comeback in Western Europe.

Of course, only a few people actually knew Greek, and there weren’t too many copies of the Scriptures in Greek available. In addition, many people had become accustomed to think that the Vulgate was the Bible of the Church, not to mention that the Great Schism could have somewhat contributed to the perception of the Greek Bible as being the preserve of those ‘schismatic’ Byzantines. In fact, somewhat paradoxically Western scholars had more easy access to the Hebrew language and the Hebrew OT (since after all, there were Jewish communities all throughout Europe), but even then I don’t think Christian institutions invested in making copies of Hebrew texts, even if it be Scripture, again perhaps due to some negative sentiments towards Jews.


#9

Thanks so much for the replies! :slight_smile:

It looks as if my question has been answered even better than I might have hoped for.

I have a busy day here (Sunday), but I’ll look again during the week. Look and learn.

~ Edmundus


#10

[quote="svid2, post:3, topic:322827"]
St. Jerome and others used Hebrew and Greek manuscripts for their translations. Some of these 'original' mss. are no longer with us (they just crumbled over the centuries), so in fact, these scholars had MORE resources available to them than we do today.

Monks kept and copied Latin translations because that's what they could read. Most people had no translations of any kind because they couldn't read. The literate had few copies, sometimes just certain books and often shared, because that's what they could afford.

[/quote]

Good post. And added to what the brilliant scholar (I mean that) Patrick wrote, through the many copies which the monks created and which survived, they found many handwriting mistakes but when all of them were collected they were able to form the Clementine version in time to produce the first Bible by the Gutenberg press. Is there more to this, Patrick?


#11

No, the Clementine Vulgate (prepared under Pope Clement VIII) came out in 1592, which is in itself a revision of the 1590 Sistine Vulgate (prepared by Sixtus V). Gutenberg’s 42-line Bible came about a century-and-a-half before the Clementine (1450s).

Speaking of which, the Vulgate actually exists in different textual versions, very much like the Greek New Testament. In Italy, the 71 books as listed by St. Jerome (counting Maccabees as a single book and excluding Baruch), although not in his order, formed the standard text of the Vulgate as it became established in the 5th and 6th centuries. Out of all the versions the Italian-Northumbrian text (represented by Codex Amiatinus and Codex Fuldensis) is currently considered to be the best, and hence has formed the basis for most recent Vulgate revisions.

The Spanish text (with Codex Cavensis and Codex Toletanus as representatives) is as old as the Italian, but is less reputable. St. Jerome was reputed to have supervised the work of the first Spanish scribes to copy his translation, but by the time of our earliest manuscripts it had developed many textual peculiarities and divergences such as the retention of many Vetus Latina readings (which shows us just how strong the hold of these Latin versions Jerome’s translation had to surpass) and some textual quirks (such as the infamous Johannine Comma). Some editions here also included the Vetus Latina translation of the ‘missing’ book of Baruch as well as 3-4 Esdras (1-2 Ezra)s.

The Irish text, meanwhile, is marked by beautiful manuscripts which represent the best of Insular art (like the Book of Kells) but is marred by textual peculiarities such as conflations and inversions of word order. Some of the manuscripts are thought to have been corrected from the Greek, although it is likely that despite the interest displayed by the Irish towards the language, as we’ve mentioned earlier the number of actual professional Greek scholars in the Celtic Church must have been not many.

Out of all the local versions, the French text is usually considered the worst. Unlike Spain and Ireland on the periphery of the crumbling Western Empire, both long closed to outside influence, France was open to the importation of new texts and subsequently became the land of mixed texts without any local character of its own. Spanish, Italian and Irish Vulgate traditions were all reflected in bibles created in northern France, which by the end of the 8th century featured a wide variety of highly variable texts. Gaul was ‘invaded’ by the Irish tradition from the north and the Spanish version from the south: not surprisingly, the French text apparently managed to combine the worst of both worlds.


#12

Because of the huge variance among the textual traditions, there was a movement during the Carolingian period to produce a 'standard' version of the text. The English scholar Alcuin of York produced a version, which he presented to Charlemagne in 801, based on the Italian recensions, but with the major change of substituting Jerome's Gallican Psalter for his third version from the Hebrew. (It gets the name 'Gallican' for precisely this reason: Alcuin favored this version of the Psalms.) Alcuin seems to not have had no critical sense, as his version is now usually judged to be not particularly good (he concentrated mainly on correcting inconsistencies of grammar and orthography, many of which were in the original text). Still, his revision was issued in the form of many beautiful codices.

Alcuin's contemporary Theodulf of Orleans produced a second independent reformed recension of the Vulgate, also based largely on Italian exemplars, but with variant readings, from Spanish texts and patristic citations, indicated in the margin. Theodulf kept Jerome's Hebrew Psalter, and also incorporated poor old Baruch (and with it, the Letter of Jeremiah) within the book of Jeremiah. However, otherwise Theodulf adopted Jerome's proposed order of the Old Testament, with the five (six) deuterocanonical books at the end. Theodulf's text was widely influential, although initially only the abbey of Fleury followed his example in adding Baruch to the Vulgate. A revision was also undertaken in the early 9th century by scholars in the abbey of Corbie in Picardy, and Bibles from this abbey are the first in France to include 3-4 Esdras, though this practice remained rare. Some have accused Theodulf of contaminating the French Vulgate with Spanish readings, but it appears that Theodulf really was a better scholar than Alcuin, and produced a better edition than Alcuin's which also included information about the sources of variant readings. Unfortunately, such a revision is hard to copy, and it seems to have degraded and disappeared quickly (though a few manuscripts such as Codex Theodulphianus, which are effectively contemporary with the edition, preserve it fairly well). Apart from Alcuin and Theodulf, other attempts to produce a standard text were made by Lanfranc, Archbishop of Canterbury (1070–1089); Stephen Harding, Abbot of Cîteaux (1109–1134); and Deacon Nicolaus Maniacoria (about the beginning of the 13th century).

Although a large number of Bible manuscripts resulted from all this work, no standard Vulgate text was to be established for another three centuries. However, the explosive growth of medieval universities, especially the University of Paris during the 12th century created a demand for a new sort of Vulgate. While heretofore the norm was to assign Scriptural books their own separate volumes which was a lot cheaper and less time-consuming than making a complete Bible with all the books bound under one cover, with the advent of the university, scholars needed the entire Bible in a single, portable and comprehensive volume, which they could rely on to include all Biblical texts which they might encounter in partristic references. (Of course, such a task is rather difficult if you have various thick, separate volumes beside you!)

The result of the demand was the Paris Bible, which reached its final form around 1230. Its text owed most to Alcuin's revision and always presented the Psalms in the Gallican version; but readings throughout were in many places adjusted to be more consistent with patristic citations (which would very frequently have been based on Old Latin or Greek texts). Baruch is now always included, as too were 3 (1) Esdras; and usually, appended to the book of Chronicles, the Prayer of Manasseh. Less commonly included was 4 (2) Esdras, which had originally contained a rather controversial passage:

He answered me and said, "Since you have found favor in my sight, I will show you this also. The day of judgment is decisive and displays to all the seal of truth. Just as now a father does not send his son, or a son his father, or a master his servant, or a friend his dearest friend, to be ill or sleep or eat or be healed in his stead, so no one shall ever pray for another on that day, neither shall any one lay a burden on another; for then every one shall bear his own righteousness and unrighteousness."

2 Esdras 7:104-105 (RSV)

Most Latin editions of 4 Esdras have a large lacuna of seventy verses between 7:35 and 7:36 due to the fact that they trace their common origin to one early manuscript, Codex Sangermanensis (ca. 900), which was missing an entire page. The fact that the page, and along with it, the problematic passage, went missing facilitated its rehabilitation among medieval scholars, and this book too came to be widely copied in late medieval Vulgates.


#13

Early printings of the Latin Bible took examples of the Paris Bible as their base text, culminating in the successive critical Vulgate editions of Robert Estienne. Estienne's Geneva Vulgate of 1555, the first Bible to be subdivided throughout into chapters and verses, remained the standard Latin Bible for Protestantism; and pretty much established the content of the Vulgate as 76 books. When the Council of Trent canonized the Scriptures, 73 books were considered to be inspired, to the exclusion of 3 and 4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh. These three were placed in an appendix in the 1593 Clementine Vulgate ne prorsus interirent, "lest they utterly perish."

The text of Gutenberg's 42-line Bible (1450s) is the result of emendations of the Parisian Bible tradition, but it is already quite different from the standard which had been established 200 years earlier. For the record, it contains all the books, plus the Prayer of Manasseh after 2 Chronicles, 3 and 4 Esdras after Nehemiah (aka 2 Esdras), and the Prayer of Solomon after the Wisdom of Solomon (aka Ecclesiasticus). As mentioned, other revisions were being undertaken at this time, but they really accomplished little; even if someone took notice of the revisors' efforts, the results were not particularly outstanding. When it finally came time to produce an official Vulgate (which the Council of Trent declared an urgent need after reaffirming the vetus et vulgata editio as the sole, authorized Latin text of the Bible), the number of texts in circulation was high, but few were of any real quality.

To fulfill Trent's declaration, the council commissioned the pope to make a standard text of the Vulgate out of the countless editions produced during the Renaissance and manuscripts produced during the Middle Ages. The actual first manifestation of this authorized text did not appear until 1590. It was sponsored by Pope Sixtus V (1585–90) and known as the Sistine Vulgate. It was corrected to agree with the Robertus Stephanus' 1550 critical edition of the Greek NT, but it was hurried into print and suffered from many printing errors.

The Sixtine edition was soon replaced by Clement VIII (1592–1605): the resulting version, the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate (which, according to one estimate, differed from the Sixtine edition in about 3,000 places) was based more on the 1547 critical edition of John Hentenius. Clement published three official printings of this edition, in 1592, 1593 and 1598, after which printers were more or less given some free rein to produce their own editions (which varied quite a lot from each other in matters of spelling, punctuation, capitalization, and paragraph boundaries). The Clementine differed from the manuscripts on which it was ultimately based in that it grouped the various prefaces of St. Jerome together at the beginning, and it removed 3-4 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasses from the Old Testament proper and placed them as Apocrypha into an appendix following the New Testament. The Clementine Vulgate of 1592 eventually became the standard Bible text of the Roman Rite until 1979, when the Nova Vulgata was promulgated.

From a text-critical viewpoint, the Sistine and Clementine Vulgates were not too good: it is often accused of showing an amazing ability to combine all the faults of the earlier texts, and a few more besides. Although good manuscripts such as Amiatinus were consulted, they apparently made little impression on the editors. (All in all, these later Vulgates were somewhat more Byzantine text-wise when compared to the earlier forms, and have more readings which do not occur in any Greek manuscripts.) The conciliar dream of producing a purified standard text seems to have been frustrated by lack of time and adequate resources as well as some improper use of available material.

The downside of the promulgation of the 'official' text of the Vulgate meant that attempts to reconstruct the original form of the Vulgate and producing a critical edition were hampered. Activity restarted only with Domenico Vallarsi in 1734-42, who published a corrected edition, followed by F.F. Fleck (1840), Constantin von Tischendorf (1864), and Bishop John Wordsworth and Henry Julian White (1889). Most of these limited themselves to the Vulgate NT. Eberhard Nestle published the Novum Testamentum Latine in 1906, which presented the Clementine Vulgate text with a critical apparatus comparing it to the editions of Sixtus V (1590), Wordsworth-White (1889), Karl Lachmann (1842-50), and Tischendorf (1854), as well as Codex Amiatinus and Codex Fuldensis.

Finally, a need was felt within the Church itself to produce a critical edition and a revision of the Clementine text. To this end Pope St. Pius X in 1907 ordered the preparation of an edition of the Vulgate as a basis for a revision of the Clementine. Only the Old Testament was actually completed, which however complemented Wordsworth and White's Vulgate NT; the fruit of this labour led to the creation of the Nova Vulgata and was the basis for the so-called Stuttgart Vulgate published in 1969 by the German Bible Society.

Note: most of the preceding material is just a rehash. :blush:


#14

[quote="Edmundus1581, post:1, topic:322827"]
We are all familiar with the claim that the Catholic Church suppressed the bible in the middle ages.

[/quote]

If so how do protestants get their bible... and why does her bible have LESS books? :P

A strong argument against this is that Catholic monks in monasteries preserved the bible in this time with their copying of manuscripts.

The original copies were probably lost BEOFRE the first monasteries.

A counter-argument is that these monks only copied the Jerome vulgate bible, in Latin, so weren't preserving the "real" bible.

I think that patrick457 answered this with sufficient detail :)


#15

Re: Vetus Latina – The VL versions had staying power because they were often beautiful to sing, or were more accurate to local understandings of Latin, or were included in Mass prayers. And of course, the older patristic sources in Latin used the VL because St. Jerome hadn’t been born yet, or because Jerome hadn’t translated yet. (For example, Jerome’s own works from before the Vulgate.) And in many cases, VL translations preserved the Septuagint readings of Hebrew. So having both VL and Vulgate versions of passages was a Bible/patristics study feature, not a bug.

Re: word order changes – Of course word order doesn’t matter much in Latin, for most purposes. It does matter sometimes. The real problem was scribal miscopying, which happened in spite of careful scribes. The smaller the scribe’s Latin vocabulary or knowledge of Latin grammar quirks, the more likely this was to happen.


#16

[quote="Mintaka, post:15, topic:322827"]
The real problem was scribal miscopying, which happened in spite of careful scribes.

[/quote]

Precisely. How many of us can handwrite copy a single page of text, much less a whole book, much much less the entire Bible without errors? And then the to-be-copied material was losing its quality to humidity, etc., which was one of the reasons for many of the copies to be made in the first place.

BTW, Patrick457, weren't the Irish monks the first to use lower-case letters? I don't know when the practice of separating words with spaces came to be.


#17

I’d recommend you this page.


#18

Dunke and Gratias


#19

Thankyou again for the replies. Of course, an especial thankyou to Patrick for his in depth knowledge and writing. I see that there is more to the writing of the Jerome vulgate than my cursory knowledge, and that Eastern and Western Christianity are parts of the answer. I haven't been able to look closely yet as I was taken off guard this week by a tough project for my business and have not been able to read this as well as it deserves.I look forward to spending some time going through the responses. :)


#20

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