Jerônimo was a famous personality of his time. His intellectual capacity is demonstrated by the vast amount of texts written and translated by him. With absolute certainty, his best known work is the Vulgate, that is, a Latin version of the Bible. Old stories, when retold frequently, end up receiving new elements that sometimes add, shorten or modify the original story. As this is the month of the Bible, we decided to address the issue of the Vulgate, along with all the work done by St. Jerome in translating it.
St. Jerome was tasked with revising an ancient Latin translation of the four Gospels
Ordained a priest in 379 AD, St. Jerome accompanied Bishop Pauline to a regional council in Rome. At that time, he was introduced to Pope Damasus as an exegete and profound expert in biblical languages. Because of the clarity of his ideas and great knowledge, the Pontiff chose him to be his secretary and, in AD 382, entrusted him with the task of revising an ancient translation of the four Gospels in Latin. He completed this work before the death of Pope Damasus (12/11/384), and also added a version of the Psalms, translated from the Greek text, which became known as the Septuagint .
Expelled from Rome in 385, Saint Jerome moved to Bethlehem, in the Holy Land , where he had contact with the Hebrew version of the Old Testament, especially with a book that presented the different texts of the Old Testament side by side in a comparative way. available at that time.
Old Testament Translation
This saint and doctor of the Church became interested in the Hebrew text and started a new revision, of a personal nature, in his translation of the Psalms, through which he compared the Hebrew and Greek text, and then wrote it in Latin. This version of the Psalms became known as Galicana, because it was used widely in the Church of France ( Galia in Latin).
With the success of this translation, he began to translate the entire Old Testament , but, from that moment on, he no longer used the Greek version, but the Hebrew version. This enormous work went on for 15 years, from 390 to 405, including a new translation of the Psalms made only from the Hebrew text. This translation of the Old Testament was called by Saint Jerome iuxta hebraeos (meaning “close to the Hebrews” in Portuguese), which added to the texts of the New Testament, translated into Latin, was called Vulgate , that is, in vulgar language or common.
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It [ Vulgate ] was the only official version of the Bible used in the Church until the year 1530, when, due to the people no longer speaking Latin, the process of translation into modern languages began.
During the translation, Jerônimo was faced with passages difficult to be understood, so, soon after the completion of this work, he dedicated himself to writing prefaces and comments for the books of Sacred Scripture, in addition to responding to the theological controversies existing in his time , due to the use of poorly translated texts or misinterpretations.
In the year 419, this great saint of the Church died and did not see the Vulgate published. This fact only happened when all the texts and writings he had translated were brought together. It is important to remember that the Vulgate was not imposed on the Church, this process was happening as it was recognized that the text translated by Jerônimo was more accurate and clear than other free translations available at the time.
Gradually, the Vulgate received minor corrections, so today, that name can designate several official Latin versions. The one we call today the Vulgate was published in 1,592 by Pope Clement VIII. Therefore, it is also known as Clementine Vulgate .