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Re: Rev 22:19 - Allusion in Irenaeus and Vulgate-based translations

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  • Daniel
    I hope this post brings to an end this discussion, as it seems to be veering off in the direction of the KJVO controversy, which is not of general interest to
    Message 1 of 55 , Dec 17, 2008
      I hope this post brings to an end this discussion, as it seems to be
      veering off in the direction of the KJVO controversy, which is not of
      general interest to this forum.

      But to address earlier posts in the direction of manuscript and
      patristic evidence, here is the quote from Irenaeus:

      "as there shall be no light punishment [inflicted] upon him who
      either adds or subtracts anything from the Scripture"

      which is a direct reference to the verse in question, but not to
      the textual issue therein.

      Ron Minton referenced Conjurske, which article is now online. I think
      it would be about as easy to quote it here as to find it on the
      website(http://straitegate.com/oldepathsfolder/op97jul.htm ), but in
      the interests of the present forum I've deleted references to KJVO.
      At any rate, the article does not address how the reading came into
      the KJV itself, but into the TR stream from which the KJV was
      eventually translated.

      Daniel Buck


      Whence Comes "Book of Life" in Rev. 22:19?
      by Glenn Conjurske

      When Erasmus first published his Greek New Testament in 1516, he had
      only one manuscript of the Apocalypse, and that one defective at the
      end--nothing uncommon in manuscripts, and even in printed books, the
      first or last leaves often being worn out or torn away. In this
      predicament, and pressured by the printers to hasten the work,
      Erasmus did the best he could: he translated the last six verses of
      Revelation into Greek from the Latin Vulgate. . . . Later editions of
      the Textus Receptus conformed these verses to the Greek mss., but for
      some reason the reading "book of life" was retained, though almost
      all the Greek evidence is for "tree of life."
      . . .
      Understand, the issue is not what the reading of the Vulgate was
      (assuming that we can determine it) when Jerome translated it, nor
      yet what the reading of the Vulgate was in the old manuscripts of the
      sixth or seventh centuries. Neither does the issue have anything to
      do with what the reading of the Vulgate is in the modern critical
      editions, which are based upon those old manuscripts. The whole
      question is, What was the common reading of the Vulgate, in the
      printed editions of it, at the time of the Reformation, when Erasmus
      published his Greek New Testament? What, in other words, was the
      Vulgate reading most likely to be in Erasmus's hand? . . .

      I have three . . . critical editions [of the Vulgate], and it is true
      that all three of them read ligno for libro, that is, "tree"
      for "book," but it is also true that all three of them give libro as
      a variant reading, in the notes at the bottom of the page. To trouble
      my readers with one only of these editions, the Editio Minor of
      Wordsworth and White's Vulgate reads ligno uitae in the text, but
      says in the note at the foot of the page, "ligno ACG: libro FVSC." A,
      C, G, F, and V are ancient individual manuscripts. S and C are the
      Sixtine and Clementine editions of the Vulgate, published in 1590 and
      1592. These, we see, read libro vitae, "book of life."

      And the fact is, this was the common reading of the published
      editions of the Vulgate at the time of the first edition of Erasmus,
      as it was also long before and long after that date. It was the
      common reading also of the later manuscripts of the Vulgate. Mark, I
      do not pretend to say that libro vitae, "book of life," was the
      reading of all published editions of the Vulgate of that era. There
      are very many such editions, and I certainly have not examined all of
      them. Suffice it to say that it was the reading common to many of
      those editions, as it was to many of the later manuscripts of the
      Vulgate. . .

      But let us examine a little of the evidence. I have mentioned already
      that both the Sixtine and Clementine editions of the Vulgate, put
      forth by papal authority in 1590 and 1592 read "book of life."

      So also did Myles Coverdale's edition of the Vulgate, published with
      an English translation in 1538--that is, twenty-two years after the
      first edition of Erasmus. It should be understood that Coverdale
      published this work for the express purpose of appeasing those who
      professed dissatisfaction with the Protestant versions which were
      based upon the Greek. He therefore published the common Latin text,
      with an English translation, content that they should have the word
      of God in English, whether based upon the Greek or the Latin Vulgate.
      The Southwark edition, published during Coverdale's absence on the
      continent, reads libro uitæ. The Paris edition, also published in
      1538, and under Coverdale's personal inspection, reads just the same,
      libro vitæ. . . .

      The edition of the Vulgate which Martin Luther produced in 1529 reads
      just the same: libro vitæ.

      The most compelling evidence comes from the Complutensian Polyglott,
      which was printed only two years before Erasmus's Greek New
      Testament, though it was not published till a few years afterwards.
      Observe that, contrary to Erasmus's editions, the Greek column of the
      Complutensian reads "tree of life," not "book of life," while the
      adjacent column which contains the Latin Vulgate reads "libro vite,"
      that is "book of life." We could hardly seek a stronger proof of what
      was the ACTUAL READING OF THE LATIN VULGATE but two years before the
      publication of Erasmus's first edition. It should be understood also
      that the editor of the Complutensian edition regarded the Greek text
      as corrupt, and the Latin as the true standard. In some places (as I
      John 5:7) he actually altered the Greek text to conform it to the
      Latin, with no support from Greek manuscripts. In other places, such
      as this one, he let the Greek stand as he found it in the Greek
      manuscripts, though it stood in contradiction of the Latin.

      While at Robert Van Kampen's Scriptorium . . . on Nov. 14, 1996, I
      examined several editions of the Vulgate printed before Erasmus's
      first edition, and found "book of life" the reading of all of them.

      The first printed edition of the Vulgate, the famous Gutenberg Bible,
      reads libro vite, "book of life." Later editions read the same:

      Van Kampen No. 405. (This book is described on pages 3-5 of The Bible
      as Book, published by the Scriptorium.) The colophon, appearing on
      the same page as Rev. 22:19, reads in part, "Nicolai Jenson
      Gallici .M.cccc.lxxix."----informing us that the book was printed by
      Nicolas Jenson in 1479. The book reads in Rev. 22:19, auferet deus
      parteá eius de libro vite, "God will take away his part from the book
      of life."

      Van Kampen No. 431, described on pages 19-20 of The Bible as Book,
      and therein dated 1476/7 (though I did not find this date in the book
      itself), also reads libro vite, "book of life."

      Another, printed in 1477, also reads libro vite, "book of life."

      . . .

      If we look at the fourteenth-century versions which were translated
      from the Vulgate, we find just the same testimony. The earlier
      Wycliffe Bible reads, "ye book of lijf." The later Wycliffe Bible
      reads just the same.

      The German Codex Teplensis, translated from the Vulgate somewhere
      about the same time as the Wycliffe Bible, reads "puch dez
      lebenz," "book of life," puch being an old spelling of the modern
      German Buch, that is, "book."

      The Mentel Bible, the first printed Bible in German, which appeared
      in 1466, reads, "von dem buche des lebens"--that is, "from the book
      of life." I hardly need point out that this version is derived from
      the Vulgate, as all the medieval versions were.

      The medieval Waldensian version in the old Romance language,
      translated also from the Vulgate, reads just the same: Dio ostare la
      partia de lui del libre de vita--libre de vita being "book of life."

      These medieval versions indicate that "book of life" was the common
      reading of the Vulgate at that period in France, England, and
    • Larry Swain
      ... No. ... Vulgar Latin as spoken and written in Gaul evolved into Old French and PROVENCAL, Gascon, and Occitan etc over the course of centuries. The first
      Message 55 of 55 , Jan 6, 2009
        Jovial wrote:

        >Are you kidding?<


        > I'm not sure exactly what time periods Gaulic Latin evolved into Old French / Provencial, but I would say that it's probably rather safe to assume that the Old Latin had the biggest influence on that region.<

        Vulgar Latin as spoken and written in Gaul evolved into Old French and PROVENCAL, Gascon, and Occitan etc over the course of centuries. The first bit of Old French we have evidence of is mid-9th century, the Oaths of Strasbourg, though the language that we could Old French would obviously be a bit earlier.

        But no, it is not safe to assume that it is Latin or VL Biblical texts that would be the biggest influence on Gaul in the second century CE. "Old Latin" as a linguistic designation refers to Latin of before 75 BCE, so "Old Latin" wouldn't be influencing Irenaeus in any case.

        For one thing, we don't know quite when or where the various Vetus Latina translations began, but our first solid evidence for such translations are in North Africa with Tertullian and the Scitillan Martyrs, not in Italy, esp. Rome, nor in Gaul.

        For a second thing, Gaul at this period was multi-lingual. The native Gaulish was still spoken and used, Latin was used for official functions and trade etc, and there were other Celtic speakers and Greeks. Irenaeus himself says he learned Gaulish with difficulty and seems to have preached in that language rather than in Latin. Further, the sixth century author, Gregory of Tours, when writing lives of the martyrs and saints for Gaul at this period (he believes Irenaeus a martyr)almost all those he describes have Greek names, a few with Latin names. Irenaeus wrote in Greek: all his writings have Greek as their original language. Taken together, this suggests that not only Irenaeus, but most of the Christian community which he knew were Greek, and if not Greek, knew Greek or spoke Gaulish, not Latin.

        For a third thing, Irenaeus's native language is Greek. He's from Asia Minor. He knew the Bible, the LXX and the early Christian writings in Greek. Why, and for that matter how, would a native Greek speaker who already knew these texts in Greek suddenly jettison all his knowledge and his native tongue in favor of a different language and translation of the texts he already knew? That doesn't make a lot of sense.

        And fourth, so far as I know, there isn't any evidence for Vetus Latina translations in Gaul at this period. It might be interesting as an exercise to compare the Latin translation of Irenaeus with VL readings when he cites Scripture, but ultimately that still would not demonstrate that Irenaeus himself knew and used Vetus Latina translations.

        >> Vulgate was after Irenaeus, but it was influenced by many of the same Old Latin readings as those in Lyon would have had access to.<<

        Not at all. By Jerome's day, 2 centuries after Irenaeus, there would have been a lot more Latin translations and they would have been disseminated more widely, particularly in the West since by this time the empire had pretty well split between Latin and Greek speakers. This is what made Jerome so valuable: he knew and could speak and read both languages. That's a rather significant change in the linguistic map of the empire and so reading the situation in Jerome's lifetime back into Irenaeus' is a problematic anachronism.


        >>One should be open to multiple possibilities when consulting how Church 'fathers' quote scripture, including the possibility they are paraphrasing from incomplete memory.<<
        One should also be open to following the evidence, and certainly nothing I've said on this subject should suggest to you that I'm not aware that many writers paraphrase or cite from memory, sometimes an incomplete or imperfect one.

        Larry Swain

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