A New Bible Text From Spain -- By: E. S. Buchanan

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 072:288 (Oct 1915)
Article: A New Bible Text From Spain
Author: E. S. Buchanan


A New Bible Text From Spain

E. S. Buchanan

While engaged in copying the Fragments of the Acts, from the Fleury Palimpsest in the National Library in Paris in the year 1904, I was struck by the immense disparity between that Old-Latin text and the Vulgate of Jerome. On consulting the Received Greek text I saw that the Vulgate was closely allied to the Greek, and that in all the important variants exhibited by the Palimpsest the Vulgate and the Received Greek text were combined against the Old-Latin. A reference to the Codex Bezae established the fact that the Codex Bezæ occupied a midway position between the Fleury Palimpsest text and the Vulgate. In fundamental text there was the same tradition in both the Palimpsest and the Codex Bezas; but the Codex Bezae had been revised and partially brought into agreement with the Vulgate. Where the Codex Bezae was found opposing the Vulgate, it was nearly always supported by the Fleury Palimpsest. The thought then came into my mind that the Old-Latin text of the Fleury Palimpsest and the Codex Bezas contained primitive elements that had been eliminated both in the Received Greek text and in the generally consentient Vulgate.

Ten years of further study of Old-Latin MSS. has strengthened my belief that the Vulgate is the local Roman form that the New Testament writings came to assume both in Latin and Greek at the close of the fourth century. Jerome in his preface to Damasus in 382 a.d. tells of the enormous amount of variation existing at that time in the Latin texts of the New Testament. Every locality had its own MSS. and its own text. To end this confusion Jerome professed that he had gone back to the original Greek, and had prepared a Latin edition “according to the Greek truth.” The Vulgate thus issued by Jerome and supported by his, patron Damasus, Bishop of Rome, was declared to be the only true and authentic form, and went forth into all quarters of the civilized world, “conquering and to conquer.”

If we inquire, Whence did Jerome obtain the Greek MS. or MSS. by which he revised the Latin Version that he promulgated, the answer is, From Alexandria. There is a most striking agreement (noted and commented on by Dr. Hort) between the New Testament text of the Codex Alexandrinus, now in the British Museum, and that of the Vulgate of Jerome. There is an agreement almost as striking (noted by Wordsworth and White) between the Vulgate and the revised and more localized form of this Alexandrian text exhibited by the Egyptian codices Aleph and B. The Aleph and B text has been successively canonized in editions of the Greek New Testament by Dr. Tischendorf (1869) and Dr. Hort (1881), and finally given to the world in a slavishly literal English translation in...

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