Cause Of The Disappearance Of The Western Text -- By: Walter Drum

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 074:294 (Apr 1917)
Article: Cause Of The Disappearance Of The Western Text
Author: Walter Drum


Cause Of The Disappearance Of The Western Text

Walter Drum

[The Editor has received the following from Professor Walter Drum, of Woodstock College, Maryland.]

In your January, 1917, issue, Mr. Buchanan says: “Ever since 382 a.d., when the Church of Rome began its policy of enforcing the Vulgate of St. Jerome upon the whole of Christendom, there has been a systematic destruction of all Western MSS. The Vulgate was the shibboleth that decided their fate. If they could say Vulgate they were saved; if not, they were cast into the fire” [p. 121].

These words are indicative of the factious spirit, whereby during the past few years, Mr. Buchanan has been destroying the reputation he had earlier gained as a critical editor of the Old Latin text. He is now a special pleader, not a textual critic. His work suggests a one-track mind; that single track is hatred of what he deems to be the ecclesiastical revision of the New Testament by the Church of Rome. Any facts that Mr. Buchanan deems to justify the above rhetorical statements are welcome to us Catholics. We are not afraid to face facts as they are. We are just as desirous, as is the doctor, to have a critical restoration of the Old Latin text. What we object to is the party spirit of the above quoted words and of many other such passages written of late by Mr. Buchanan.

I respectfully request the doctor to answer the following questions by the statement of facts:

1. What documents of the Bullarium, of Mansi’s Councils, of the Migne Patrology, of the Berlin Kirchenväter Kommission Patrology, of the Vienna Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum, prove that in “382 a.d. . . . the Church of Rome began its policy of enforcing the Vulgate of St. Jerome upon the whole of Christendom,” or ever carried out such a policy? I am not aware that the primatial see of Rome ever had a policy to enforce upon the Syriac, Coptic, Byzantine, and other Oriental rites of the Vulgate of St. Jerome. Today there are thirteen Oriental rites in union with Rome. Their Syriac, Greek, Coptic, and other texts of the Bible are just as authoritative to them as is the Vulgate authoritative to the Latin rite. Only the Arabic and Armenian versions show the influence of the Latin Vulgate.

2. What scientific proof is there that since 382 a.d., “There has been a systematic destruction of all Western MSS.” by Rome? The Council of Trent, in its chapter and canons on Holy Scripture, did not take up the question of other translations save the Latin; did not reject the Old Latin explicitly; was opposed rather to such Latin ver...

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