In the 16th Century, the Catholic Church's stance regarding translations of the
Bible was the same as it had been for the previous 1,000 years. The only Bible officially recognized
was the Latin Vulgate. This was a version translated by a scholar named Jerome around the Year 400 AD.
It would be centuries before printing was invented, so as the years
progressed, thousands of copies of the Latin Vulgate were copied by Scribes for use in Churches and Monasteries.
This process of hand-copying always had its dangers. There were several ways that copyists could create
errors in the text. Most were accidental errors — transposing words, missing letters, just simple
errors; most of the time these
could easily be identified and rectified in future copies. Other times the changes were made deliberately
in an effort to "improve" the text. Passages in one Bible book were replaced with passages from another
book in order to add consistancy to the text. Words and phrases that appeared to be in contradition to
the Church's teaching were modified. These types of changes were almost impossible to undo, so over the
years, as more copies were made from previous copies, various versions of
Jerome's original Vulgate came into use.
This Bible, which included just the New Testament, was an attempt to show the changes that had crept into
the Latin versions.
It was printed in London in 1585 by Henry Middleton.
Two different versions were presented — neither being the exact Latin Vulgate. Both were new Latin
translations created from the original languages.
The left column shows a version edited by Theodore Beza, a Catholic-turned-Protestant, who was a
well-known scholar, poet and humorist of the time; his book
"The Christian Faith" became a best-seller during the Protestant Reformation. In the right
column is the work of Immanual Tremellius, who also became a convert from Catholicism to Protestantism. His
version was translated from Hebrew and Syriac.
Click the picture to the right to view an enlarged page and a closeup view. You don't need to be a Latin scholar to see the
differences in the text. It is doubtful that the Catholic Church appreciated this volume. Here we have
two Protestants making changes to the Church's sacred Latin text. During those days of religious
intolerance, it's not surprising that this Dual Latin New Testament ended up on
the Catholic Church's List of Forbidden Books.
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