Steven asked:

A Lutheran asked me why is the Catholic Bible based on St. Jerome's Latin Vulgate and not on the Greek Septuagint? He implied the Vulgate had errors in it.

Jimmy Akin replied:

"Well so does the Vulgate and so does every individual manuscript because copyists in the ancient world made mistakes as they copied. Now we can control for those mistakes by looking at other manuscripts and seeing what they say...

It's [the Vulgate] the common Latin translation of the Bible that was made by St. Jerome in the A.D. 400s. It older Latin translation...but St. Jerome improved upon it. And it became common in the west because Latin was the language that was common in the west whereas Greek was the language that was common in the east. So the eastern churches used the Septuagint and in the west...the Vulgate became common. That's why those two translations became influential in different parts of Christendom.

In terms of the Catholic Bible being based on the Vulgate though that's a mischaracterization. The typical Catholic Bible today is based on the original language manuscripts. So if you look at a Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition, or if you look at the New American Bible, those are not based on the Vulgate. Those are based directly on the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek manuscripts of the Old and New Testament.

So the vulgate has a little bit of an influence, and the translation into English so that if there's a question about, well what rendering do we want to use for this particular verse...the Vulgate may be consulted by the translators, but they're not based on the Vulgate in any robust sense of being directly translated from the Vulgate. That's not what's happening."


Catholic Answers, "Open Forum" (San Diego: Catholic Answers, 2015)

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Show air date: March 5, 2015

Name of show: Open Forum

Guest comments by: Jimmy Akin

Question appeared in show: 3:32

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