Postscript on Vaticanus-and-KJV-Translators
- In June 2007, David Robert Palmer asked about the veracity of the
statement, "The KJV translators had access to Codex Vaticanus and
The gist of the replies to DRP's question was that Erasmus probably
had access to some readings from B (readings which a friend at the
Vatican Library shared with him) but that the KJV translators
themselves did not, except whatever could be gotten secondhand from
Erasmus. Dr. Criddle noted, "I don't believe that there is any
evidence that the KJV translators themselves had access to the
readings of Vaticanus."
A qualification should be added: we all were thinking of readings
from the New Testament.
Jaroslav Pelikan, on pp. 108-109 of "The Reformation of the Bible -
The Bible of the Reformation," (1996, Yale Univ. Press)
describes "Vetus Testamentum iuxta Septuaginta," printed in Rome by
Francisco Zanetti in 1587. Pelikan writes:
"Spurred on by humanist (and often "Protestant") efforts at producing
authentic editions, the Council of Trent ordered the preparation of
not only a new Vulgate text but also editions of Hebrew and Greek
Bible texts. Under the patronage of Pius V, Gregory XIII and Sixtus
V, Cardinal Antonio Carafa (1538-91), who served as chief editor,
relied mainly on the codex /Vatican B/ (Vaticanus graecus 1209) to
produce the Sixtine, or Vatican, edition of the Septuagint, which
became the basis for most subsequent editions until the nineteenth
century and is still admired for its accuracy and scholarship. The
text of this edition was reprinted in the London Polyglot."
A Plate accompanies this description; the frontispiece-page has the
title H PALAIA DIAQHKH and a picture of Moses (with horns) and Ezra.
If Pelikan's description is accurate, then "Vetus Testamentum iuxta
Septuaginta" was in circulation for more than 20 years before the KJV
was completed. Thus it would seem likely that at least some of the
KJV-translators had access to readings of Codex Vaticanus' Old
Testament portion, derived from Carafa's text published in 1587.
Yours in Christ,
James Snapp, Jr.
Minister, Curtisville Christian Church
Tipton, Indiana (USA)