Bible translators could only use the source material that was available to them when making their own Bible translation. Some were given instructions to only use specific sources, while others may not have had access to everything they wanted. If they only had access to a translation from the original Hebrew into Greek like the Septuagent or the Theodotion, then the translators could only do their best with what they had. The language of the Roman Empire was Latin. A Greek scholar Jerome started his Latin translation of the Bible in 382 AD. He spent 8 years editing the common New Testament Vetus Latina into a more accurate version known as the Latin Vulgate. Questioning his ability in ancient Hebrew many scholars believe he used a complex word for word comparison of the Hebrew Scriptures to the Septuagint and another Greek translation called the Greek Hexapla to translate the Old Testament starting in 390 AD. Jerome said he preferred to translate from the original language so he could personally get a sense for the text. He declared whoever substituted false interpretations for actual scriptural meaning were from the “synagogue of the Antichrist”. As a student pursuing rhetorical and philosophical subjects in Rome, Jerome was influenced by the pre Christian beliefs of his teachers. Works by poet Virgil have made a profound impact on Western literature, even becoming the guide through Hell and Purgatory in Dante’s Divine Comedy. After having escapades of sexual experimentation with other students in Rome, Jerome’s conscience would become guilt ridden. On Sundays he would spend time in the catacombs with the bones of the Apostles and martyrs. Words from Psalm would flood his mind, let them go down into Hell. Mixing theological sources, he also remembered words from Vergil when new terrors appeared in that hell of death, “On all sides round horror spread wide; the very silence breathed a terror on my soul”. Jerome’s Latin Vulgate became the Bible of the established church, even after Latin ceased being the language of the masses it remains the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church. Adopting words from other languages that fulfill an empty linguistic purpose like kamikaze and entrepreneur, English has integrated them into everyday usage. Some of Jerome’s terms from the Latin Vulgate have made their way into our modern English. Words like scripture, salvation, justification and regeneration can be traced back to him. What other words have been adopted into English? What English words have transformed into new meanings? How can beliefs affect a word’s meaning? Have you ever become blue from misunderstanding a word?
Psalm 119:165 King James Version
Great peace have they which love thy law: and nothing shall offend them.
1 Peter 4:8 GOD’S WORD Translation
Above all, love each other warmly, because love covers many sins.