What is the Vulgate? Girolamo Seripando’s notes on the Vulgate

In: Annuarium Historiae Conciliorum
Dr. Antonio Gerace Fondazione per le Scienze Religiose Giovanni XXIII, Bologna, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven,

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Before the issue of the Insuper decree (1546), by means of which the Council Fathers declared the Vulgate to be the ‘authentic’ Bible for Catholic Church, Girolamo Seripando took few notes discussing the need of a threefold Bible, in Latin, Greek and Hebrew, as he stressed in the General Congregation on 3 April 1546. Only Rongy (1927/28), Jedin (1937) and François/Gerace (2018) paid attention to this document, preserved at the National Library in Naples in a manuscript of the 17th century (Ms. Vind. Lat. 66, 123v–127v). In this article, the author offers the very first transcription of these notes together with the analysis of Seripando’s sources, providing a new primary source to early modern historians.

1 Introduction

The aim of this article is to offer the very first transcription of Girolamo Seripando (1493–1563)’s unedited notes titled De Libris Sanctis, the only copy of which is contained in a 17th century manuscript, 1 still preserved in Naples at the National Library (Ms. Vind. Lat. 66, 123v–127v). This document has never been included in the “Concilium Tridentinum: Diariorum, actorum, epistolarum, tractatuum nova collection” nor in other editions of the acts of the Council of Trent. As I will demonstrate, the Superior General of the Augustinians wrote his preparatory document on the basis of John Driedo’s De ecclesiasticis Scripturis et dogmatibus (1533), 2 in order to explain his own viewpoint concerning the Hebrew Bible and Greek Septuagint, which Seripando considered as a useful means to better comprehend the Latin Vulgate.

Seripando wrote his notes during the deliberations leading up to the Fourth Session of the Council of Trent (8 April 1546), when the Council fathers discussed the ‘authentic’ version of the Scriptures. As is widely known, the Vulgate was eventually chosen to be used in the Catholic Church as official edition, with no reference to the Greek and Hebrew versions (nor to the vernacular translations). However, as I will show, Seripando asked himself what is the Vulgate? This problematic question will lead to a brief introduction to the approach that the early modern scholars took towards the Vulgate’s reliability. Further attention will be paid to Seripando, as well as the influence that the Louvain theologian Driedo had on him while writing his notes, which were precisely handed down in the above-mentioned document, to be used before the Council in Trent, prior to the Fourth Session. Seripando’s De Libris Sanctis will therefore be analysed, closely followed by an analysis of Seripando’s reasoning, whilst considering it in light of the authoritative sources he turned to in order to enforce his own argument, viz. to have a threefold Bible, viz. in Latin, Greek and Hebrew. After this careful analysis, the transcription of Seripando’s unedited document will follow, providing an important primary source for historians of the early modern Catholic Church.

2 What is the Vulgate?

It was difficult to answer this question until Clement viii published the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate in 1592, the amended edition of which had been required almost half a century earlier by the Council fathers in the Fourth Session of the Council of Trent, when they issued the decree Insuper on 8 April 1546: Moreover, the same holy Council … decides and declares that the old well known Latin Vulgate edition which has been tested in the Church by long use over so many centuries should be kept as the authentic text in public readings, debates, sermons and explanations; and no one is to dare or presume on any pretext to reject it … [Hence] the Council decrees and determines that thereafter the sacred Scriptures, particularly this ancient Vulgate edition, shall be printed after a thorough revision. 3

Indeed, over the centuries, several readings (lectiones) of the Vulgate had been handed down, oftentimes with significant variations between them, due either to the ignorance of the copyists; simple scribal or typographical mistakes; or even to deliberate ‘corrections’ by scholars. Both the Church authorities and the biblical humanists were aware of these inconsistencies and thus tried to recover the pristine integrity of the Bible, after a thorough philological study. Among these biblical humanists was Lorenzo Valla (1407–1457), who wrote his Adnotationes to the New Testament, which was later edited by Erasmus (1466–1536) in 1504. In Valla’s line, the Dutch humanist mistrusted the Vulgate New Testament, and published a new Latin translation of it in 1516, the Novum Instrumentum, with the opposing Greek ‘original’ as a kind of control text. 4 After Erasmus, Sante Pagnini (1470–1541) translated the Scriptures from Hebrew to Latin in 1527, a clear evidence that he considered the Vulgate untrustworthy, since he felt the need for a new translation from the ‘original’ source. 5 Other scholars were also unconvinced by the trustworthiness of the Vulgate, among whom was Robert Estienne (1503–1559), who made use of both Greek and Hebrew sources to amend the Bible. 6 Another scholar who was similarly skeptical was the Spanish orientalist Arias Montanus (1527–1598), who believed that the Vulgate was an absolutely unreliable source, as it was merely handed down through the ages. 7 The humanist-minded opposition to (what was claimed to be) Jerome’s translation was however countered by ‘traditionalist’ theologians, who asserted the importance of the Vulgate, given its history and its authoritative position over the other Bible editions within the Latin Church. The latter opinion was subsequently adopted by the Council of Trent. Actually the decree Insuper proclaimed the Latin Vulgate as the authentic version of the Catholic Church, because of its conformity with the Evangelical truth and its more than one-thousand year tradition in the Western Church, being used in public readings, debates, sermons and explanations, even though it must be printed emendatissime. The Vulgate was indeed the version of the Sacred Scriptures used to define the doctrine and the (liturgical) practice of the Catholic Church, dating from at least the first Lateran Council (18 March – 11 April 1123). Up to the fourth Council of Constantinople (5 October 869 – 28 February 870), Greek was the language used in the Ecumenical Councils, and the Greek Septuagint the version of the Bible upon which dogmas were based. But again the question arises, what is the Vulgate? This is essentially what Girolamo Seripando, who became Cardinal in February 1561, repeatedly asked Cardinal Marco Antonio da Mula, known as ‘Amulio’ (1506–1572) in October 1561, fifteen years after Trent’s definition. Seripando says: This Council declared in other occasions that in reading, in preaching and in discussing, no other translation than the Vulgate is to be used. The question remained ‘what is this Vulgate’, since in any edition that one takes at hands, some reading can be found that now is not as it was cited by some Father under the title of Vulgate that they had in their time. 8

The Cardinal was of course referring to the decree Insuper, and in doing so, reveals his concern for the work of the first of the five Roman Committees, established in the very same year, 1561, by Pope Pius iv, who also appointed Amulio as a member of that Committee. 9 In the same private epistolary exchange, Seripando disagrees with the “Tridentine” decree, which seems to have deprived the scholars of their freedom in reading other translations of the Sacred Scriptures, including those of the Jews and those of the heretics. Seripando continues his letter by maintaining that he would have hoped that the Council fathers, who were on the verge of convening for their third period, were able to issue an additional decree that, notwithstanding the choice of the Vulgate as the authentic version for the Church, could also allow for those readings handed down by Church fathers and not present in the Latin Bible. However, Seripando admits that he know[s] how much variety [of thoughts] is present in human minds and how strong is the ambition or the zeal without wisdom: in the coming pages, it will become clear to whom Seripando was referring. 10 Therefore, he preferred not to make an official request for a new decree to the Council, perhaps so as to avoid others suspecting him of erroneous thoughts. Seripando, in the 1546 General of the Augustinian Hermits, was of course aware of the dangerous nature of his last statement, although he made no mention of names. Nonetheless, even many years after that Fourth Session, Seripando requested that Amulio keep this letter and the ideas contained therein to himself.

3 Seripando’s De Libris Sacris: the Manuscript

The unedited and untranscribed document De Libris Sanctis obviously shows that Seripando in 1546 really had hoped for another kind of decree, as he had confessed to Amulio. As previously mentioned, this text by Seripando consists of several notes, most probably in the form of a neatly transcribed copy handed down from a 17th century manuscript , known in the past as ‘Vindobonensis 6017’, since it was previously kept in the Viennese Bibliotheca Palatina; 11 but it is now preserved at the National Library in Naples, with the collocation ‘Vindobonensis Latinus 66 ii’. 12 The prevailing subject of Seripando’s notes becomes clear in his exchange of letters with Amulio: Seripando speaking about colleagues with ambition or zeal without wisdom was very probably referring to the General Congregation established on 3 April 1546, a few days before the issuance of the decree, in which the Council fathers were asked to vote on whether or not the final draft of the decree on the authentic version of the Scriptures should contain the expression in quoque idiomate scilicet graeco, hebraeo et latino (in any language, viz. Greek, Hebrew and Latin). Seripando answered Placet, ut trium linguarum bibliam habeamus, expressing his wish that future editions of the Bible should be available in Greek, Hebrew and Latin. However, Pedro Pacheco Ladrón de Guevara (1488–1560), Bishop of Jaén, firmly opposed such ‘openness’ to other biblical languages, proposing to remove in quoque idiomate scilicet graeco, hebraeo et latino, in favour of only mentioning the Latin Vulgate. 13 Seripando’s position possibly could have been the middle path between Pacheco’s view and that of the Prince-Bishop of Trent Christopher Madruzzo (1512–1578), who hoped to delete graeco, hebraeo et latino, while maintaining in quoque idiomate; to leave open the possibility of interpreting “each tongue” as referring to the Bible in both the ancient and the vernacular languages. However, the majority of the fathers followed the formulation of the bishop of Jaén, only mentioning the Latin Vulgate as the authoritative version of the Church.

In a recent publication, we clearly showed, together with Wim François (2018), 14 that Seripando wrote his notes on the basis of the Louvain theologian John Driedo’s De ecclesiasticis Scripturis et dogmatibus (1533), even though Seripando never explicitly mentions the source. In fact, Seripando had at his disposal a copy of Driedo’s work: after his death (1563), his private library became part of the San Giovanni a Carbonara Augustinian Convent Library (Naples) and in its 1570 inventory, Driedo’s De ecclesiasticis Scripturis et dogmatibus is clearly mentioned. 15 In Naples, there are still three copies of Driedo’s book, all of them dated from 1543: 1) National Library. Coll. B. Branc. 004C 2; 2) University Library Z.C. 0355; 3) University Library Z.C. 0356. I have personally consulted all three of these copies, but none of them shows evidence that it was a part of Seripando’s collection; however, this does not preclude the possibility that he used one of them.

Although Seripando does not furnish particular details other than the short caption sub Paulo iii, it is clear that he wrote (during the deliberations leading to the Fourth Session of the Council) with a view to convincing his colleagues of the importance of Greek and Hebrew sources of the Scriptures, in order to enable a deeper understanding of the Bible. Actually, given the content of Seripando’s notes, we have to assume that the terminus ante quem is the Fourth Session (8 April 1546), since thereafter only the Vulgate is regarded as the authentic text for Catholic Church, and the affirmations he made in the text would be useless after the promulgation of the decree. It is however difficult, to establish the exact terminus post quem of the document, but I would follow Hubert Jedin’s assertion that the document “was written between May 1545 and April 1546”. 16

4 Seripando’s De Libris Sacris: a Short Analysis of the Content

Seripando divides his notes into nine sections, and in his analysis he essentially makes a kind of synopsis of de translationibus, expositionibus, & multiplicibus sensibus scripturarum, which is the second book of Driedo’s De ecclesiasticis scripturis et dogmatibus. 17 Virtually each sentence of Seripando’s document is directly borrowed from Driedo’s work 18 and like the Louvain theologian at the beginning of his second book de translationibus …, Seripando focuses initially on the Septuagint, and in particular, quotes Irenaeus of Lyons’ Contra Haereseos, where the Church father maintains that the first Greek translation of the Bible is in harmony with the tradition of the Apostles. Peter, John the Evangelist and Paul preached from the Septuagint, rather than from the Hebrew text, a fact that gave ‘written’ authority to the Septuagint. To show the genuineness of such an affirmation, Seripando refers to two verses present in Paul’s Epistle to Galatians that correspond perfectly with Deuteronomy, but only in the version handed down in the Septuagint, and not in that of the Hebrew codices: Cursed is every one, that abideth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law to do them (drv: Gal 3:10; comp. Dt 27:26) and Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree (drv: Gal 3:13; comp. Dt 21:23). These verses, as Seripando explains, are handed down in this precise form in the lxx, but not in the Hebrew codices. Referring to Jerome, Seripando further maintains that, in writing the Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles, Luke used the Septuagint to reference the Old Testament, since he was more accustomed to Greek than to Hebrew, 19 as shown in the scheme below:


To support the prestige of the Septuagint, Seripando, again through the medium of Irenaeus, briefly recalls its history. As reported in the Letter of Aristeas to Philocrates, the King Ptolemy ii Philadelphus (308 BC–246 BC) requested the translation of the Bible for his Library. Seventy-two Jewish scholars were appointed to this work, each one working alone (according to tradition): the result was seventy-two homogeneous translations. Almost the same story is offered by Flavius Josephus (37–100), Tertullian (c. 155–c. 240), Eusebius of Caesarea (265–340), Hilary of Poitiers (c. 310–c. 367), Rufinus of Aquileia (340/345 – 410), and Augustine (354–430). Chrysostom (344/354–407) even affirms that the Septuagint is the only reliable translation of the Bible and the only version which should be taken into account, since it was made before the birth of Christ. In reality, Seripando says that, according to Chrysostom, Jews have corrupted and changed those passages that announced the coming of Christ in the Hebrew version of the Bible. Furthermore, Origen maintains that only the Septuagint is to be used, since it is the only translation approved by the Apostles. 21

After this ‘historical’ introduction to the Septuagint, Seripando mentions the other Greek translations of the Bible that followed: 1) that of Aquila of Sinope (2nd century); 2) that of Theodotion (d. ca. AD 200); 3) that of Symmachus (late 2nd century); 4) that of an unknown author, which the Venerable Bede calls ‘edition of Jerusalem’; 5) another edition by an unnamed auctor Nicopoli; 6) yet another edition by an unknown author; 7) and finally Origen’s Hexapla. After these various Greek translations, a Latin edition finally came into existence thanks to Jerome, who first translated the Septuagint from Greek to Latin, and then translated it directly from Hebrew to Latin, making the so-called Vulgata. 22

Therefore, there are two central arguments for taking the Septuagint as the official referencing edition for the Catholic Church: 1) it was the edition with which Christ and the Apostles were familiar; and 2) the Church used it exclusively from Peter up to Pope Damasus, so for the first four centuries of Christendom. 23 However, Seripando adds three critical remarks that could be raised against the use of the Septuagint: 1) As Jerome says in the preface to the Pentateuch, the detail about the ‘separate cells’, in which the seventy-two Jewish scholars would have translated the Bible from Hebrew to Greek, is a fabulosa sententia (fabulous affirmation). In effect, it was not handed down either by Aristeas or by Flavius Josephus. 2) It can also be called into question whether the Septuagint was originally a translation of the whole Old Testament, as supported by Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Origen, or just a translation of the Pentateuch. For instance, Jerome maintains that the Hebrew text and the Septuagint are more similar in the Pentateuch than the other books of the Bible. 3) Seripando finally noted that according to Jerome, those seventy-two Jewish scholars should be considered as vates (prophets), thus divinely inspired writers, rather than as interpretes (translators), who are not divinely inspired. Seripando expands upon this critical remark by affirming that the difference between them is owing to their ignorance of Christ’s coming: having translated the Septuagint more than two centuries before Christ’s arrival, they handed down unintelligible sentences, or at least sentences that were incomprehensible to them. After Christ’s birth, the obscurities of the Scriptures were clarified, since what had been an obscure prophecy prior to the birth of Christ, became history after his coming. 24 This third critical remark is strange; Seripando writing vates fuere, non interpretes, actually wrongly reports Jerome’s words – who in fact said exactly the opposite (scribant, non prophetasse) – as was also written by Driedo (nec enim vates sed interpretes erant). According to Jerome’s original text, the seventy-two scholars were actually translators, not vates, or ‘inspired writers’, and therefore they were liable to make errors. In other words, the Septuagint may be in some places an unreliable source. 25 Seripando therefore made a clear and significant mistake, one which he built his reasoning upon; hence, it seems that he wasn’t aware of having wrongly rendered Jerome’s and Driedo’ words. This strange incoherence may be an indication that Seripando wrote his document without having Driedo’s work in front of him. His analysis may have been based upon (somewhat undetailed) notes written down after reading the book, or it may have been a written reflection of a text that was read aloud to him.

Seripando then answers the aforementioned three critical remarks by maintaining that the question about the separate cells is not relevant, but at any rate, its possibility should be left open to consideration. Concerning the distinction between prophets and translators, Seripando points to the inconsistency in Jerome’s argument; an inconsistency that is however due to his own (Seripando’s) misunderstanding, and not to the Church father himself. According to Seripando, the purpose of the seventy-two scholars was not to foretell something, but to translate into another language what the prophets had foreseen. Therefore, it is true that the Jewish translators of the lxx could not properly comprehend the prophecies, whilst the Apostle could, but the Jewish scholars did not have any other aims rather than to translate the text. Nevertheless, in the Septuagint translation, several changes occurred in the Hebrew text, since the Holy Spirit wanted to incorporate additional details, viz. the prophecies, through the medium of the Jewish translators, given that Christ’s birth was nearing. Although conscious of this consideration, Jerome did not question the authority of the Septuagint. 26

In respect of the books that were actually translated by the seventy-two Jewish translators, Seripando recalls that Jerome was doubtful whether the entirety of the Scriptures was translated: at times the Church father affirmed that the Pentateuch alone was translated, and at other times, that the whole Old Testament was. Seripando again intends to show the inconsistency of Jerome’s opinions. For instance, the General of the Augustinians maintains that the real question is not about which books were translated by the seventy-two scholars, but about the reliability of the translation known as the Septuagint, regardless of whom it was translated by. Seripando maintains that Jerome answered positively on the question of reliability, since he never said that the seventy-two scholars had made mistakes, affirmed falsities (falsum asseruisse), or even that they were unable to understand their own language, Hebrew. On the other hand, the Church father also affirms that they hid something (caelata), or that they failed to refer exactly to those passages (tacita) containing content they did not fully comprehend (non bene intellecta). Moreover, they may even have offered wholly different translations for what was written (aliter interpretari). Even the chronology of the Septuagint differs from that of the Hebrew version, a difference that Augustine considered to be an error of the scribes. Jerome also recalls that the New Testament contains some references to the Old Testament which are present in the Hebrew version, but are absent in the Septuagint. 27

From this first analysis of the pros and cons of referring to both Greek and Hebrew versions of the Scriptures, Seripando rhetorically asked whether the appeal to the Greek and Hebrew codices is necessary or not. In case of a negative answer, explains Seripando, two questions come up: 1) if the Septuagint was not reliable, could it be that the first Ecumenical Councils made errors in defining Christian dogmas, since the Council fathers had actually made use of the Septuagint as a basis for their discussion? 2) After Christ’s preaching, did Jews alter their text to cover those passages of the Scriptures that had revealed Christ’s incarnation, as well as his death? Moreover, a third question related to the Greek and Hebrew codices comes up: what remains in terms of their reliability after many centuries of history? Moreover, Seripando’s rhetorical question introduces yet another consideration: before Christ’s coming, Hebrew texts were not completely (universaliter) corrupted, as both Origen and Jerome seem to have shown. As a consequence, according to Seripando, the Septuagint seems to have been based upon more reliable texts than the Hebrew version available after Christ’s birth. 28

However, scribal mistakes inevitably occurred over the course of many centuries of the Bible’s history. However, who were they that made these errors? How was it possible that people whose work was inspired by the Holy Spirit could have made mistakes? Seripando therefore returns to the distinction between prophets on the one hand and translators and commentators on the other. Prophets actually cannot make errors: for it is God speaking through human agents. By contrast, translators and commentators, even though they are moved by the Holy Spirit in translating – or in commenting on the texts – could fall into error because of their ignorance of the biblical languages, among other reasons. They might therefore fail to express the real sense of the ‘author’ of the Scriptures, who is actually the Holy Spirit. 29

In any case, Seripando asserts that the use of the ‘original’ Greek and Hebrew codices is very helpful – even necessary – since no translation (including the Vulgate), is absolutely reliable; there will always be some areas of the text that remain ambiguous or obscure in their meaning. Actually, the appeal of consulting the ‘originals’ is intended only to achieve a better understanding of the Holy Spirit’s message and thus to establish what is part of the Christian faith. In no instance should use of the ‘originals’ be allowed for the sake of developing a new doctrine of faith. To make his point clearer, Seripando furnishes an example: the Greek word ἀρετή does not have the same ambiguity (amphibologia) as its Latin translation virtus. The latter means “that which is opposed to vice” – just as in Greek – but it also means “force” (potentia): the Latin Vulgate could be misinterpreted in this case, and the Greek may help to reach a better understanding of the text. 30

Seripando then concludes his manuscript notes by affirming that Jerome also may have made errors in his translation: the fact that he was ‘Jerome’ did not free him from the possibility of inaccuracies. It is clear, therefore, why Seripando was hoping for a threefold Bible, in clear contrast with Pacheco’s ideas. However, the Council fathers eventually only accepted the Vulgate as official amongst the Latin editions of the Scriptures, remaining silent about the references to the ‘original’ sources (as well as about the vernacular translations). Of course, the Ecumenical Councils that used the Latin Vulgate did not make errors – explains the General of the Augustinians – and the passages of the Scriptures that differ slightly in their Latin translation from the original source are not so dissimilar as to have changed the relevant doctrine. However, obscurities and ambiguities in the text do still remain, such as those contained in the books of the Prophets or in the Apocalypse. 31

5 Conclusion

In conclusion, De Libris Sanctis shows Seripando’s predilection for a threefold Bible, viz. the Latin Vulgate together with the Greek Septuagint and the Hebrew version, in order to illuminate those passages which appear ambiguous especially because of the inherent limit of the translations, as Seripando pointed out with his example of the different connotations possessed by the Greek ἀρετή and the Latin virtus. The intent is therefore to ensure a clearer comprehension of the Scriptures, even though such comprehension may come from sources other than the Latin Vulgate. The Septuagint, whose authority is indisputable, and the Hebrew version, being the first language of Bible, could prove especially useful in this regard. 32 It seems therefore that Seripando wrote this document, which is based upon Driedo’s De ecclesiasticis scripturis et dogmatibus, prior to the General Congregation, to strengthen his position (placeat ut trium linguarum habeamus) among his colleagues. What follows is the very first transcription of Seripando’s notes.

Seripando’s De Libris Sacris: the Transcription 33

De Libris Sanctis

Collecta Tridenti in Concilio sub Paulo iii

De lxx Interpretibus

Ireneus ex Detectione

Interpretatio lxxii consonat Apostolorum traditioni, Petrus et Ioannes, Paulus et reliqui deinceps et horum sectatores prophetica omnia ita adnuntiaverunt, quemadmodum seniorum lxxii interpretatio continet. Unus enim et idem spiritus qui in prophetis vaticinatus est, in senioribus interpretatus est. 34

Maledictus omnis qui pendet in ligno [Dt 21:23; Gal 3:13], sic apud lxx, non sic apud Haebreos invenitur, et sic utitur Paulo ad Galatas.

Item Gal. iii Maledictus omnis qui non permanserit in omnibus quae scripta sunt in libro legis [Dt 27:26; Gal 3:10]. Hieronymus in Esaiam: cap. vi. 35 Lucas in Evangelio et actis, non iuxta haebrea sed iuxta lxx usus est scripturae testimoniis.

Ireneus lib. iii cap. xxiiii et xxv

Ptolemaeus volens experimentum sumere, et metuens ne forte veritatem scripturae per interpretationem absconderent, eosdem a se invicem separat. Post interpretationem autem convenientibus ipsis in unum apud Ptolemaeum, et comparantibus suas interpretationes, Deus glorificatus est, et scripturae vere divinae sunt creditae, omnibus eadem, et eisdem verbis, et eisdem nominibus recitantibus ab initio usque in finem, uti per praesentes gentes cognoscerent, per aspirationem verbi Dei <124r> interpretatas esse scripturas. 36 Eadem Hilarius super Psalmum ii, 37 Tertullianus in Apologeticum cap. xviii et xix, 38 Augustinus xv De Civitate Dei cap. xxiii 39 et lib. xx cap. xxix 40 lib. xviii cap. xlii, 41 Eusebius lib. viii, 42 Josephus lib. xii Antiquitates cap. ii, 43 et Ruffinus contra Hieronymum. 44

Chrysostomus: Homilia V in Matthaeum: 45 super illud Esaiae ecce Virgo concipiet [Is 7:14]. Ad faciendam verae translationis fidem omnibus alijs iure septuaginta interpretes sunt digniores. Siquidem alij post adventum Domini interpretati sunt. Iudaei siquidem permanentes merito suspecti, quippe qui inimice et subdole multa corruperint, et data prorsus opera a prophetis Christi mysteria celaverint. lxx vero ante centum et aliquanto amplius dominici adventus annos ad interpretandum tot, ac pariter accedentes, ab omni huiuscemodi suspitione sunt libri, et ex tempore et ex ipso quod super omnia debet valere consensu.

Origines in Epistula ad Africanum de Historia Susannae. 46 Hoc solum pro vero habendum est in scripturis divinis, quod septuaginta interpretes transtulerunt. Nam id solum est quod auctoritate Apostolica confirmatum est.

Interpretes ex Haebraeo in Graecum

lxx ante Christum

ii Aquila Judaeus tempore Sixti i qui fuit octavus a Petro; tertius Theodotion tempore Soteris, qui fuit xiii a Petro, quartus Symmacus tempore Severini, qui fuit a Petro xvi. De his tribus Hieronymus: in Apologia contra Ruffinum. 47

<124v> Quinta aeditio cuius auctor ignoratur quam Beda inventam dixit Hierosolymis. Sextae etiam ignoratur autor Nicopoli repertam inquit Beda sub Imperatore Aurelio Antonino de haec ijs duobus Hieronymus meminit in explanatione Psalmi xxxxiiii ad Principiam Virginem, 48 in Psalmo lxxxix ad Cyprianum. 49 Septimae autor ignoratur cuius nuntio fit prologo super Chronicis Eusebij. 50 Octavam Origenes fecit. De quibus Eusebius Ecclesiastica Historia lib. vi cap. xxi. 51 nonam Hieronymus: quam interpretatam lxx ex graeco vertit in latinum, ut patet in Apologia contra Ruffinum. 52 Deinde novam fecit versionem ex haebreo in latinum. Tertio novum testamentum Graecae fidei reddidit, ut de se dicit in libro de viris illustribus.

Argumenta pro editione lxx omnibus anteponenda

Ea Christus, et Apostoli usi sunt numerus interpretum, et eorum consensus, qui vocati, et electi eam facere, sub Petro usque Damasum recepta in Ecclesia.

Contra interpretes lxx ex Hieronymo in prologo Pentateucho.

Multa praetermisere, multa alia dixere quam haebrea habeat veritas sententia de cellulis fabulosa, quarum Aristeas 53 Ptolomei satelles non meminisset neque Josephus. Ireneus, Tertullianus, Origenes: 54 omne vetus testamentum a lxx translatum dicunt quod Hieronymus consentit Josephi et alij totum Pentateuchum, de quo Hieronymus ait quod plusquam alij libri cum haebraicis consonant, vates fuere, non interpretes. 55


De cellulis non est litigandum; verumque salva fide, et charitate teneri posset <125r> de spiritu prophetico esto habuerint qua ad ea quae per eos spiritus voluit predicere non per prophetas, non tamen sequitur quod in omnibus habuerint aequaliter spiritum Prophetis quos interpretabantur, non omnes aeque illustrantur, propterea non omnia forte ipsi interpretando intellixere quod Prophetarum scribendo. Esto etiam habuerint non propterea Prophetarum fuere. Habuere enim non ut futura predicerentur, sed ut quam praedicta erant in aliam linguam interpretarentur. Neque etiam Apostoli aequandi sunt; illi enim potuere interpretari; quam plane non intelligabant, ac propterea sententiis dubijs: Apostoli vero quos sensus apertus fuit, ut scripturas intelligerent, nulla in re dubij, quam intelligebant et completa iam viderant dixere.

Propterea tametsi multa praetermiserint, totum hoc ex divini spiritus dispositione factum fuit, qui iuxta personas et tempora sua aperit mysteria. Multa itaque per lxx tacere, quae in haebraeo erant, Spiritus voluit, multa propalare, multa addere, quae erant reformata ipsis tamquam propinquioribus Christo venienti omnia tamen vera sunt. Propterea Hieronymus: contra Ruffinum Apologia, et in prologo super Pentatheucum ostendit se non detrahere auctoritati lxx. 56

Hieronymus in 2 cap. Michaea 57 et alibi videtur dubitare, an lxx et solos quinque libros Moysis, an integrum vetus testamentum transtulerint verum semper in suis commentarijs supponit omne vetus testamentum ab eis fuisse translatum: nusquam dicit eos errasse, aut falsum asseruisse; aut linguam haebraicam non intellexisse verum id dumtaxat dicit, quod fuisse ab eis caelata, alia tacita non bene <125v> intellecta, alia potuisse aliter interpretari: quaedam fuisse in eorum interpretatione ab alijs adiecta, aut depravata.

De annorum computatione variant lxx ab haebreis, quod totum Augustinus scriptorum, tribuit incorrectioni, et modus hic computationis annorum est inexplicabilis propterea de eo non contendendum.

In Pentateucho etiam Hieronymus ait, multa aliter in haebreo haberi, quam lxx transtulerint, illud scilicet Maledictus omnis qui pendet in ligno, in haebreo tenetur maledictus a Deo est qui pendet in ligno. Triplex est differentia, defecit, Est, quod facit sensum ambiguum sit ne enunciatio, an interpretatio, Additur omnis, deficit a Deo.

Multa inquit Hieronymus in prologo Pentatheuco, 58 in novo testamento allegantur ex veteri quae in lxx non reperiuntur: 59 ex Aegipto vocavi filium meum [Os 11:1; Mt 2:15], Nazaraeus vocabitur [Mt 2:23], videbant in quem compunxerunt 60 [Zc 12:10; Jn 19:37], flumina de ventre eius fluent aquae vivae [Jn 7:38], nec oculus vidit, nec auris audivit [Is 64: 4; 1 Cor 2: 9 ].§ 61

Hieronymus in prologo Esaiae: 62 docet in novo testamento tunc adduci testimonium ex lxx cum inter eos, et haebraicam veritatem nihil differt. Ubi autem differt, haebraicum magis sequuntur 63 docet item, in novo testamento multa contineri testimonia quae in lxx non inveniuntur, nullum autem ex lxx quod non inveniatur in haebraeo Paulus Gal. iii adducit illud maledictus omnis qui pendet in ligno, iuxta lxx. Hieronymus ait ideo hoc factum quia aeditio lxx vulgata erat inter eos ad quos scribebat, et nimium sibi videbantur vix scripturas ipsas audientibus. <126r> Ostendere eos male fuisse interpretatos ex haebreo. Ego sicut ad spiritum sanctum refero interpretationem lxx ita testimonium Pauli ex illis acceptum.

De latina aeditione

An ei standum sit, vel adhuc ad suos fontes pro dubijs recurrendum, graecos scilicet codices, et haebreos, ut olim in tempore Augustinus fiebat.

Videtur non recurrendum primo Hieronymus eam eodem fecit spiritu, quo scripta in suo fonte est, et agens negotium totius ecclesiae latinae, de qua non videtur hactenus sic decepta. Decepta autem essent si quod in sua 64 biblia devium a veritate esset, et sic ut Augustinus argumentatur nihil in ea remaneret auctoritatis.

Item Concilia generalia quae per hanc aeditionem concluserunt ea quae sunt fidei, errare potuerunt. Item haebraei dicunt ante Christum natum correctam fuisse suam scripturam a sapientibus, qui inter caetera posuerunt in margine quaedam quae sibi videbantur honestiora vocabula, quoque ea quae erant in textu, unde sensus emersit alius, ut ostendit Porchetus lib. cap. xv 65 multa etiam mutaverunt in textu, quae Christi incarnationem, et mortem designabant, unde sequitur quod nec etiam Christi tempore quarum textum habuerint.

In oppositum Ambrosius et Augustinus, Ambrosius lib. 2 de Spiritu Sancto cap. vi 66 Hieronymus in prefatione super quatuor Evangelia, 67 veritatem docet, querendam esse ex graeco fonte.

De Haebraeis, et Graecis exemplaribus

An exemplaria Veteris Testamenti Haebraea, et Novi Testamenti Graeca ad haec usque secula servata fuerint integra, et incorrupta. <126v> I propositio. Scripturae hebraeorum ante Christi adventum non fuerunt de industria universaliter depravatae. Patet ab Origene super Esaiam viii 68 et Hieronymo super Esaiam cap. vi 69 quia hoc eorum crimen non tacuisse Christus et Apostoli. Christus enim dixit eis scrutamini scripturas§ Ioannes: V [Jn 5:39]. et incipit a Moyse et omnibus Prophetis [Lk 24:27]§ et super cathedram Moysi [Mt 23:2]§ Hi loci requirere videbantur, ut hoc illorum crimen depravatas scripturas detegeretur: bene reprehenduntur quae non intelligebant eos.

Differentia est inter Prophetam, Interpretem, et Expositorem. Primus non potest errare. Secundus, et si moveatur a Spiritu Sancto ad interpretandum, potest vel ex ignorantia linguarum, vel alia aliqua ratione errare, et non exprimere verum sensum auctoris, seu Spiritus Sancti, sic et certius errare potest.

De auctoritate latinae aeditionis

I propositio. Aeditio communis et vulgata Veteris Testamenti neque est penitus alia ab interpretatione Hieronymi, neque penitus eadem. Nota: Esse incertum, an Hieronymus Novum Testamentum ex graeco omnino transtulerit an tantum correxit in libro ii de viris illustribus 70 dicit quod novum testamentum graecae fidei reddidit, vetus ad haebraicam transtulit, et in prefatione quatuor Evangeliorum ad Damasum ait, se ita calamum temperasse ut ea tantum quae sensum mutare videbantur, corrigere, reliqua dimitteret. 71 Ideo si qua minus apte in hac editionem esse videbatur, non sequitur eam non fuisse a Hieronymo correctam. <127r>


Licebit adhuc divinos libros studiose eos examinare recurrendo ad suos fontes graecos seu haebreos, iam nulla possit esse translatio tam luculenta, tam clara quae non alia contineat, vel ambigua, vel obscura. Recurrendum tamen dico non ad confundendos autores aliarum aeditionum ad fontes sed ad rectius explicandum sensum autoris, et stabilendum quae sunt fidei non autem nova fidis dogmata adversus vetera sanciendum. Virtus apud graecos non habet eam amphibologiam quam apud latinos, apud quos significet, et id quod vitio opponitur, et potentiam, id unum est quod in aeditione vulgata facit obscuriorem. 72

Responsio ad argumentum

Dato quod haec aeditio vulgata sit Hieronymi non sequitur quod nullum possit habere errorem, habuit enim Hieronymus spiritum charitatis quo motus hoc fecit non intelligentis, parem ijs qui scripsere, ut in nulla re ab eorum intelligentia errare potuerit. Tamesti autem egerit negotium Ecclesiae Hieronymus: numquis tamen Ecclesia sic eam aeditionem approbavit, ut non liceret dubitare in aliquibus, et ad suos recurrere fontes.

Concilia generalia quae latina aeditione nixa sunt errare non potuere: quia ea, in quibus nostra haec editio discrepat a suo fonte, non talia sunt, ut aliam fidei regulam, alia morum praecepta parere possint, sed tantum continent obscura quedam, et ambigua hactenus neque a christianis, neque a Judaeis intellecta sicut multa esse constat in prophetis; et Apocalypsis Iohannis, quae tamen si ad salutem faciunt alibi clare posita sunt. 73 <127v> Emendatio scribarum facta ante Christum: non recipienda, de cuius mendacijs praedixit Hieremias cap. viii [Jer 8:8–9], et facta fuit non in libris sacris, sed in commentarijs: non quo ad sacros libros benedicunt Patres, quia Iudaei sunt capsarii librorum, qui pro nobis contra eos testimonia continent, et ut supra dictum est numquam hoc crimem falsatis scripturarum Christus tacuisse. 74


I thank a lot Prof. Dr. Violet Soen (ku Leuven) and Prof. Dr. Brad Gregory (University of Notre Dame), who helped me to date the manuscript that contains Seripando’s De Libris Sanctis. Moreover, thanks go to Ms Eliza Halling, who carefully checked the English of this article.I thank a lot also the Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (FWO) that granted me a research stay in Naples and Rome to work on this article.


Johannes Driedo, De ecclesiasticis Sripturis et dogmatibus, Louvain 1533.


N. P. Tanner/G. Alberigo (eds.), Decrees of the Ecumenical Councils, Washington, 1990, vol. 2, 664–665. Here the Latin text Insuper eadem sacrosancta Synodus … statuit et declarat, ut haec ipsa vetus et vulgata editio, quae longo tot saeculorum usu in ipsa ecclesia probata est, in publicis lectionibus, disputationibus, praedicationibus et expositionibus pro authentica habeatur, et quod [= ut] nemo illam reiicere quovis praetextu audeat vel praesumat … decernit et statuit, ut posthac sacra scriptura, potissimum vero haec ipsa vetus et vulgata editio quam emendatissime imprimatur, Sessio quarta. Decretum secundum: Recipitur vulgata editio Bibliae praescribiturque modus interpretandi sacram scripturam etc., in: Concilium Tridentinum: Diariorum, actorum, epistularum, tractatuum nova collectio, Freiburg i. B., 1901–2001 (= CT) vol. 5, 91, 1–35 – 92, 1–3 and 92 1–17.


On Erasmus’ New Testament, see amongst others B. M. Metzger/B.D. Ehrman, The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption and Restoration, Oxford 2005, 143–145. J. K. Elliott, Novum Testamentum editum est: The Five-Hundredth Anniversary of Erasmus’s New Testament, in: The BiTr 67 (2016) 9–28; A. Brown, The Manuscript Sources and Textual Character of Erasmus’ 1516 Greek New Testament, in M. Wallraff/S. Seidel Menchi/K. von Greyer (eds.), Basel 1516: Erasmus’ Editio of the New Testament, Tübingen 2016, 125–144. W. W. Combs, ‘Erasmus and the textus receptus’, in: Detroit Baptist Seminary Journal 1 (1996) 35–53.


Veteris et Novi Testamenti nova translatio, Lyon 1527.


On Robert Estienne, see for instance E. Aarmstrong, Robert Estienne, Royal Printer, Cambridge 1986.


On Arias Montano see, amongst others, B. Rekers, Benito Arias Montano (1527–1598), Leiden 1972, 45–69; L. Voet, The Plantin Press (1555–1589): A Bibliography of the Works Printed and Published by Christopher Plantin at Antwerp and Leiden, Amsterdam 1980, I, 280–315; R. J. Wilkinson, The Kabbalistic Scholars of the Antwerp Polyglot Bible, Leiden 2007, 67–75.


havendo questo Concilio altre volte decretato, che nel leggere, nel predicare et nel disputare non si usasse altra translatione che la Vulgata, restò dubbio indeciso, qual fosse questa Vulgata, perché qualunca si pigliasse, si troverebbe qualche luogo non star così hora, come era citato da alcuni Padri sotto il Titolo della Vulgata che all’hora si teneva, Seripando to ‘Amulio’, Trent, 23 October 1561, in: H. Höpfl, Beiträge zur Geschichte der Sixto-Klementinischen Vulgata, Freiburg i.B. 1913, 305–306.


There were five Roman Committees on the emendation of the Bible. The first under Pius iv (1561), the second under Pius V (1569), the third under Sixtus V (1586), and the fourth and the fifth under Gregory xiv, both issued on 1591. In the meantime, Gregory xiii issued also a Committee on the emendation of the lxx (1583). On the five Roman Committees on the Latin Vulgate, see: H. Quentin, Mémoire sur l’établissement du texte de la Vulgate. Ière Partie. Octateuque, Rome – Paris 1922, 147–208. See also F. Andreu, Il teatino Antonio Agellio e la Volgata Sistina, in: T. Stramare (ed.), La Bibbia ‘Vulgata’ dalle origini ai nostri giorni. Atti del simposio internazionale in onore di Sisto V. Grottamare, 29–31 agosto 1985, Vatican City 1987, 68–97, esp. on 78–90.


Io pensavo che potesse farsi un Decreto che non ostante l’approbatione di questa Vulgata, che si stampasse, potessero usarsi i Testamenti, potessero usarsi i Testimonii usati da i Padri ancor che non si trovassino in questo Testo ò vero che altrimenti vi si trovassero di quel che loro allegano à quei propositi però che loro se ne servino, et non ad altri. Ma perché io so quanta varietà sia nelle menti humane, et quanto dominio habbi in loro ò l’Ambitione ò il zelo senza scienza, non volsi scrivere niente. Et così supplico Vostra Signoria Illustrissima che questo tenghi come cosa confidata à lei solo…, Seripando to ‘Amulio’, Trent, 23 October 1561, in: Höpfl (as note 8), 307.


Tabulae codicum manu scriptorum praeter graecos et orientales in Bibliotheca Palatina Vindobonensi asservatorum; ed. Academia Caesarea Vindobonensis, Vienna 1864–1899, 242. The Vindobonensis 6017 is the second volume of the Vindobonensis 6016: together they are Girolamo Seripando’s Adversaria de concilio Tridentino.


I grasped few information on this codex in: H. Jedin, Girolamo Seripando: sein Leben und Denken im Geisteskampf des 16. Jahrhunderts, Würzburg 1937, 326–327, and in: H. Rongy, La Vulgate et le concile de Trente, in: recL 19 (1927/28) 19–31. In both works, the codex has a different collocation, ex Vindobonensis 6017. Then the National Library of Naples changed the collocation as Vindobonensis Latinus 66 ii. Cf. also R. Draguet, Le maître louvaniste Driedo inspirateur du décret de Trente sur la Vulgate, in: Miscellanea historica in honorem Alberti De Meyer Universitatis Catholicae in oppido Lovaniensi jam annos xxv Professori, Leuven 1946, vol. 2, 836–54.


CT 5, 66, 40.


W. François/A. Gerace, Trent and the Latin Vulgate: A Louvain Project?, in: W. François/V. Soen (eds.), The Council of Trent: Reform and Controversy in Europe and Beyond (1545–1700), vol. 1: Between Trent, Rome and Wittenberg, Göttingen, 2018, 131–174.


On the Library of the convent St. John a Carbonara and its history – so also its relation with Seripando – see: A. delle Foglie, Nuove ricerche sulla biblioteca di San Giovanni a Carbonara a Napoli e sul mecenatismo di Girolamo Seripando, in: AAug 71 (2008) 185–202 and D. Gutiérrez, La Biblioteca di San Giovanni a Carbonara di Napoli, in: AAug 29 (1966) 59–212. Gutiérrez also furnishes the 1570 inventory of the library as present in Rome, at the Corsiniana Library: MS 34.B.15 (671), 142v. See: Gutiérrez, 109.


“Bevor wir den Gang der Verhandlungen selbst verfolgen, orientieren wir uns über Seripandos Stellung zur Vulgatafrage an Hand der zwischen Mai 1545 und April 1546 entstandenen Collecta de libris sanctis”, Jedin (as note 12), 325. In the footnote n. 8, Jedin refers to the Ms. ex Vindobonensis 6017, 123v–127v. Jedin, moreover, transcribes few passages, at p. 326, n. 1 and n. 2 and p. 327, n. 1.


Driedo (as note 2), 53–157.


Cf. Appendix 2 of François/Gerace (as note 14), 163–174. In this appendix, the text of Seripando is compared with that of Driedo, putting them in two opposing columns.


G. Seripando, De libris Sanctis, Ms. Vind. Lat. 66, 123v–127v, here 123v. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 53–54.


The English translation of the Septuagint is taken from: A New English Translation of the Septuagint, A. Pietersma/B. G. Wright (ed.), Oxford, 2007.


Seripando, 123v–124r. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 53–54.


Seripando, 124r–125v. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 58.


Seripando, 124v. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 61.


Seripando, 124v. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 66.


Et nescio quis primus auctor septuaginta cellulas Alexandriae mendacio extruxerit, quibus divisi eadem scriptitarent, cum Aristaeus, eiusdem Ptolomaei ὑπερασπιστής et multo post tempore Iosephus nihil tale rettulerint, sed in una basilica congregatos contulisse scribant, non prophetasse. Aliud est enim vatem, aliud esse interpretem: ibi Spiritus ventura praedicit, hic eruditio et verborum copia ea quae intelligit transfert … Illi interpretati sunt ante adventum Christi et quod nesciebant dubiis protulerint sententiis; nos, post passionem et resurrectionem eius, non tam prophetiam quam historiam scribimus, Jerome, Praefatio in Pentateuchum Moysim ad Desiderium, in: Biblia Sacra Vulgatae Editionis Sixti V Pontifici Maximi iussu regognita et Clementis viii auctoritate edita, Tournai 1881, xvii. Moreover, Driedo writes: quod etiam in libris Moysi non nulla sint, quae non sic habet litera Hebraicae veritatis, ut. 70. transtulerunt, quippe qui non sensum dei perfecte habebant, nec enim vates sed interpretes erant, Driedo (as note 2), 66.


Seripando, 124v–125r. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 63–64.


Seripando, 125r–126r. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 65.


Seripando, 126r. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 71–76.


Seripando, 126rv. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 79.


Seripando, 126v –127r. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 83–85.


Seripando, 127r. Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 90.


“Driedo… regarded the Septuagint as ‘authentica’ and was also open to the use of further biblical versions, albeit for study purposes”, in: François/Gerace (as note 14), 135.


All bibliographical references are taken from:

  1. - Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Graeca (= PG), ed. by Jacques Paul Migne.
  2. - Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Latina (=PL), ed. by Jacques Paul Migne.
  3. - Corpus Scriptorum Ecclesiasticorum Latinorum (csel), Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften: Vienna – Berlin: De Gruyter
  4. - Corpus Christianorum Series Latina (=ccsl), Brepols: Turnhout.

In the body of text, I put in italic both the titles of the books and the quotations from the Vulgate, mentioning in square brackets the biblical passage. All the abbreviated names of the Church fathers and the titles of their works are shown in their full form. Eventually, all Seripando’s citations from the Church fathers are taken from Driedo (as note 2), 53–157, cf. François/Gerace (as note 14), 163–174.


Seripando summarizes Irenaeus’ words. Cf. Irenaeus of Lyon, Detectionis et eversionis falso cognominate agnitionis seu contra haereses libri quinque, iii, 21, 216a (PG 7, col. 950).


Seripando mentions only the chapter, without referring to the book. The full reference is to Jerome, Commentariorum in Esaiam, iii, 6, 9:10, 33–47 (ccsl 73, 91–92).


Cf. Irenaeus, Contra haereses iii, 21, 215b-216a (PG 7, col. 947–948).


Hilary of Poitiers, Tractatus super Psalmos, Ps. ii, 3 (ccsl 61, 9).


Actually, Tertullian referred to the question in chapter 18, cf. Tertullian, Apologeticum, 18 (ccsl 1, 118–119).


In the passage that Seripando mentions (De civitate Dei xv, 23), Augustine deals with Gn. 6 and the related questions on the ‘Sons of God’ and on the ‘Giants’. Actually, the correct reference is Augustine, De civitate Dei, xv, 13 (ccsl 14/2, 470–471).


[i]n verbis Septuaginta interpretum, qui prophetice interpretati sunt, Augustine, De civitate Dei, xx, 29 (ccsl 14/2, 753).


Augustine, De civitate Dei, xviii, 42 (ccsl 14/2, 638).


Seripando does not specify Eusebius’ work, but thanks to Driedo (Driedo [as note 2]) we are aware that he referred to Eusebius of Caesarea, Praeparatio Evangelica, viii (PG 21, col. 583–678). The entire eight book of the Preparatio Evangelica is indeed devoted to the question on the origin of lxx.


F. Josephus, The Antiquites of the Jews, xii, 2 (London 1906, 440 ss.).


Cf. Rufinus, Apologia contra Hieronymum, ii, 37 (ccsl 20, 110–111).


Cf. Chrysostom, Homiliae xc in Matthaeum, V, 2 (PG 57, col. 57).


The reference is to Susanna’s story, which is included in the lxx, but absent in the Hebrew Bible. Cf. Origen, Epistula ad Africanum de Historia Susannae, 13b–14c (PG 11, col. 50–51).


Seripando’s text differs from that of Jerome: the former affirms that the succession of the translators of the Bible from Hebrew into Greek after the Septuagint is Aquila, Theodotion, and Symmachus, while the latter maintains the order Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, cf. Jerome, Apologia contra Rufinum, ii (ccsl 79, 28–34). Furthermore, ut quomodo Graeci post Septuaginta translatores, Aquilam et Symmachum et Theodotionem legunt vel ob studium doctrinae suae, vel ut Septuaginta magis ex collatione eorum intelligant, Jerome, Apologia contra Rufinum, ii, c. 32, (ccsl 79, 71). Such divergence is due to the fact that Jerome did not put in chronological order these translators, as it can be inferred from another passage: In promptu sunt quatuor editiones, Aquilae, Symmachi, Septuaginta, et Theodotionis, Jerome, Apologia contra Rufinum, ii, 33 (CCSL 79, 71). Similarly, in another passage Jerome wrote: Hoc iuxta Hebraicum, cui interpretationi Aquila et Symmacus, et Theodotion, et Editio Quinta consentius, Jerome, Commentariorum in Michaea, ii, 5, 1, (ccsl 76, 480).


For instance, Jerome mentions the difference between the Hebrew word ‘segal’ and its translation: Ubi nos conjugem vertimus, ibi apud Hebraeos legitur segal . Pro quo Aquila σύγκοιτον, id est, concubinam: Symmachus et Quinta Editio παλλακὴν, id est, pellicem, Septuaginta, Theodotion, et Sexta, reginam interpretati sunt, Jerome, Epistola 65, Ad principiam virginem, sive explanatio psalmi xliv, c. 15 (csel 54, col. 637).


For instance, Jerome mentions the difference between the Hebrew word ‘ais’ and its translation: Post septuaginta annos et octoginta, cum venerit Domini mansuetudo, et dies nobis mortis ingruerit, non judicabimur juxta meritum, sed juxta clementiam: et quae putatur correptio esse, eruditio est et doctrina. Satisque miramur quid voluerint verbum Hebraicum ais , Septuaginta, Theodotion, et Sexta Editio transferre mansuetudinem: cum Aquila, Symmachus et Quinta Editio festinationem et repente celeriter que transtulerint, Jerome, Epistola 140, ad Cyprianum presbyterum, sive explanatio psalmi lxxxix, c. 14 (csel 56/1, 284).


Seripando refers to the translation that Jerome made of the second book of Eusebius’ Chronicon, cf. Jerome, Praefatio, in: Translatio Chronicorum Eusebii Pamphilii, 2 (PL 27, col. 223–224).


Cf. supra n. 42.


Cf. Jerome, Apologia contra Rufinum ii, 25–35 (ccsl 79, 61–72).


On Aristea, cf. D. De Crom, The Letter of Aristeas and the Authority of the Septuagint, in: jspe 17 (2008) 141–160.


Seripando refers to the above mentioned passages from Flavius Iosephus, n. 31; Irenaeus of Lyon, n. 22 and 24; Tertullian, n. 26; Origen, n. 34.


Cf. Jerome, Praefatio in Pentateuchum Moysim, xvii. Cf. also Jerome, Apologia contra Rufinum, ii, 25 (ccsl 79, 62–63).


Cf. supra, n. 54.


Cf. Jerome, In Michaeam, I, 2, 9.10 (ccsl 76, 446–447).


Cf. Jerome, Prefatio in Pentateuchum Moysi, in Biblia Sacra, xvii. Finally, Jerome affirms that the passages to which refers are present in the Hebrew sources, but absent in the Septuagint: Interrogemus ergo eos ubi haec scripta sint: et cum dicere non potuerint, de libris Hebraicis proferamus: Primum testimonium est in Osee, secundum in Isaia, tertium in Zachariam, quartum in Proverbis, quintum aeque in Isaia, ivi, xvii.


Jerome refers to some passages that the Evangelists said to have quoted from the Old Testament, but that actually are not present. Among them Jn 7:38 flumina de ventre eius fluent aquae vivae may have some echoes in Psalms 45:4–5. No correspondence can be found with Mt 2:23.


Cf. the different readings: confixerunt in Zechariah, trasfixerunt in John, compunxerunt in Jerome: Zc. 12:10 et effundam super domum David et super habitatores Ierusalem spiritum gratiae et precum; et aspicient ad me. Quem confixerunt, plangent quasi planctu super unigenitum et dolebunt super eum, ut doleri solet super primogenitum”; Jn 19:37, “et iterum alia Scriptura dicit: Videbunt in quem transfixerunt.


Seripando uses a symbol very similar to § in order to indicate the end of the quotation.


Cf. Jerome, Commentariorum in Esaiam prologos, 104–119 (ccsl 73, 4).


Scribe’s mistake, he writes seuntur in place of sequuntur.


Scribe’s mistake in the text: possibly, he wrote wrongly biblia, that he deleted to rewrite biblia.


P. De’ Salvatici, Victoria adversos impios Hebraeos, Paris 1520, 36v–38v. The fifteenth chapter is quod Judaei plurima abraserunt divina pagina valde digna, where the author shows the ‘corruptions’ of the Bible introduced by the Jews. Specifically on Christ’s incarnation, cf. 38v. Driedo also refers to Porchetus, cf. Driedo (as note 2), 73.


Ambrose, De Spiritu sancto libri tres, ii, 6, 643–645 (pl 16, col. 752–756). The passage mentioned shows some loci of the Old Testament related to the coming and the incarnation of Christ; therefore – infers Seripando – differently from Porchetus, according to Ambrose the Jewish scholars did not corrupted those passages revealing the coming of Christ. Concerning Augustine, it is hard to indicate to which passage Seripando was referring.


De novo nunc loquor Testamento: quod Graecum esse non dubium est, excepto Apostolo Matthaeo, qui primus in Judaea Evangelium Christi Hebraicis litteris edidit, Jerome, in Evangelistas ad Damasum praefatio, in Biblia sacra, xxvii.


It is hard to indicate the passage to which Seripando was referring. Origen worked super Esaiam in nine sermons (PG 13, col. 219–254); therefore, the homily should be the eighth, but there is no mention of Christ’s coming in that text.


Cf. Jerome, Commentariorum in Esaiam, iii, 6, 9:10, 55–63 (ccsl 73, 92).


The ‘second book’ to which Seripando refers is the De viris illustribus by Gennadius of Massilia, who continued the homonymous work by Jerome (pl 58, col. 1059–1120, under the title De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis). However, Seripando quotes from the ‘first book’, viz. Jerome’ De viris illustribus, where the Church father writes: Novum Testamentum Graece fidei reddidi, Vetus juxta Hebraicam transtuli, Jerome, De viris illustribus ad Dextrum, 135, 956 (pl 23, col. 758–759). By contrast, Gennadius just says that [l]itteris quoque Hebraicis atque Chaldaicis ita edoctus, ut omnes Testamenti Veteris libros, ex Hebraeorum scilicet codicibus verteret in Latinum … Matthaei nihilominus Evangelium eh Hebraeo fecit esse Romanum, Gennadius, De Scriptoribus Ecclesiasticis, I (pl 58, col. 1059–1060).


Cf. Jerome, In Evangelistas ad Damasum praefatio, xxvii.


Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 83–84.


Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 90.


Cf. Driedo (as note 2), 93–94.

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