Re: Erasmus's Latin translation
- BillCombs@... wrote:
>I doubt that the view of a pre-1516 Latin translation by Erasmus has been
> Helge Evensen wrote:
> >The changes he *did* introduce into Codex 2 (and the other MSS) may, in
> >fact, have been based primarily on the MSS he studied in connection with
> >his Latin translation. If that is the case, it is not even necessary to
> >assume that he gathered notes on his travels or his visits to libraries,
> >but only that he gathered information from the Greek MSS he worked with
> >when preparing his Latin text. He certainly must have had the time and
> >opportunity to do so, whether he actually did it or not.
> This view that Erasmus produced a Latin translation before his 1516
> Latin-Greek NT has been shown to be invalid. Andrew J. Brown has demonstrated
> that the early dates of certain manuscripts (two in 1509 and one in 1506)
> which contain the Vulgate and Erasmus's Latin translation apply only to the
> Vulgate. Erasmus's own Latin translation was added in the 1520s ("Date of
> Erasmus' Latin Translation of the New Testament," Transactions of the
> Cambridge Biographical Society 8-4 (1984): 351-80). I discuss all this in my
> article on Erasmus. See William W. Combs, "Erasmus and the Textus Receptus,"
> Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 1 (Spring 1966).
"shown to be invalid". I do not believe that Brown has demonstrated that
Erasmus did *not* prepare or work on a Latin translation prior to 1514.
Just because it cannot be *proved* that he made a complete NT translation
prior to that time, it does not follow that Erasmus did not at all work
in preparation for a future edition. He may not have translated the whole
NT prior to 1514 (I doubt that he did). But as I have stated earlier, we
cannot be sure about the circumstances before 1516. And I do not think
we are able at the present to disprove the conclusions of de Jonge on
Erasmus may not have intended to publish a Latin translation prior to the
time in which Froben the printer suggested that he should do so.
That would have explained (in part) the silence around the preparation
of such a translation.
It would only be natural for Erasmus to say little to nothing about the
plans of publishing a translation that deviated from the accepted Roman
Vulgate. We should not expect him to announce such a thing prior to the
time of publication. It might even have been dangerous for Erasmus to
have talked about such a translation. But once the publication is a fact,
it cannot be stopped. Maybe that is a clue to understanding the "rushing
out" of his first edition.
In order for Erasmus to have worked with Greek MSS 10 to 12 years prior
to 1514-16, I do not have to demonstrate that he had ready a complete NT
translation prior to that time. That should be clear enough.
In his paper, it seems that Brown did not do much more than bringing to
light the likelihood that Erasmus did not *complete* a NT translation
prior to 1514. In his own words:
".....there is no satisfactory evidence, either in his published
writings or in the Meghen manuscripts, that Erasmus had a complete
translation ready to hand before 1514" (p.374 of the obove mentioned
"But even if we grant that Erasmus, in spite of his protestations
to the contrary, might have carried out New Testament translation work
prior to 1514, the text of the translation which is contained in the
Meghen manuscripts can no longer be used as evidence that he did so".
(p.375, this quote is the concluding words of the paper).
Without going into the context of these statements, we clearly see here
that Brown himself did not conclude with any certainty that Erasmus did
not work with or did not prepare a Latin translation in the years prior
to 1514. And he grants that Erasmus collated MSS prior to 1514.
It is not necessary to assume that Erasmus even had plans to
publish a Latin NT in order to suggest that he collated MSS. He was,
after all, a scholar interested in Greek MSS and Greek studies.
But again, I must emphasize that I do not believe that I can come up with
any *evidence* to disprove the conclusions of Brown. Besides, I owe my
awareness of a possible pre-1514-16 Latin translation to the studies of
de Jonge (primarily). The information I can come up with on this issue
is therefore secondary. So I guess that if anyone on this list wish to
contest the possibility of a pre-1514 Latin (in part) translation,
I am not the proper person to debate.
In 1984 (the year of Brown´s paper) de Jonge made these statements
(quoted in one of the previous posts):
"It is established, and generally accepted, that Erasmus had been
working on the text of the New Testament since 1504, and had been
studying Greek manuscripts for this purpose".
"By 1506 at the latest Erasmus had completed his new translation
of Paul´s epistles, and not later than 1509 he had made a new version of
Since de Jonge is a specialist on Erasmian studies, I have reason to take
his findings and conclusions seriously.
I would like to read your article "Erasmus and the Textus Receptus".
How can I obtain a copy of it?
- Mr. Helge Evensen