[b-hebrew] Is the Massoretic text distant from the Latin Vulgate

schmuel schmuel at nyc.rr.com
Tue Jul 21 06:17:49 EDT 2009

Hi Folks,

>>>it is not the major differences   which  would decide the matter 
>>>as, if Jerome was as tradition says   influenced  by a Hebrew 
>>>Christian who claimed superiority of the   hebrew text, he  would 
>>>have been familiar with the major   differences and have made 
>>>a  point of translating these.

>>So you are defacto agreeing that on hundreds of verses Jerome's 
>>Vulgate agrees with the Masoretic Text and not the Greek 
>>OT.  Essentially that ends the thread discussion and puts your 
>>original theory of Vulgate affinity with the Greek OT against the 
>>Masoretic Text in the circular file.

James Read
>No! Not exactly. That's not really what I said now is it?

The point of the thread was largely a response to your false theory, 
given earleir.

>James Read J.Read
>Jerome (4th century) claims to have based his Vulgate translation on 
>the Hebrew text yet there is more agreement with derivative
>manuscripts of the Latin Vulgate with the aforementioned dead 
>sea  scroll texts, the Greek versions and the Samaritan Pentateuch 
>than  with the MT

** ... more agreement with derivative  manuscripts of the Latin 
Vulgate with the aforementioned dead sea scroll texts, the Greek 
versions and the Samaritan Pentateuch than with the MT ***

You may have some new theory, however as far as I am can tell you 
have abandoned this error and have moved on elsewhere.

James Read
>I said that these major differences are not really a good measure 
>for how close the text is to the MT. I based this on the reasoning 
>that if somebody  with a limited knowledge of Hebrew wanted to 
>convince folk that he was  translating from a superior Hebrew text 
>then he would pay special  attention to these well known major 
>differences that were made known  to him via the Hebrew Christian 
>who first turned his attention to this  text.

As I pointed out, there is tons of literature about Jerome's Hebrew 
competence. Just because Exodus 3:14 is a major scripture verse here 
on this forum does not make the major one then, especially compared 
to whole sections of scripture that were different.  You are welcome 
to research whether we have any extant Jerome commentary on Exodus 3:14.

James Read
>I suggested we look at the minor differences instead to really 
>put  this to the test. My example, was not an example which shows closer
>affinity to the Greek text. This example is not closer to the Greek 
>text which evidently attempts to put idiomatic sense above 
>grammatical  structure and literal word for word translation. It was 
>an example  which puts to the test Jerome's claim that he too gave 
>priority to the  overall sense of the text.

I am sure you and virtually any analyst, can find a few dozen 
possible criticisms of Jerome's translation, however they are 
irrelevant to the OP.

>if Jerome really did consider the Hebrew text to be superior

Since Jerome specifically wrote this in discussion with Augustine,and 
in other literature, taking a lot of flack in the process in 
Christian circles, your implication that it was not his actual belief 
is a bit strained.

>then hy is he following the Greek tradition of replacing YHWH with  Dominus?

What translation would you consider more accurate ?  We have many 
English Tanach's today, Jewish and Christian and mixed, that follow a 
similar viewpoint.  Clearly, that does not mean these dozens of 
English versions (including the KJB and the JPS) are following the 
Greek text instead of the Hebrew Masoretic text.

>Even in the Greek tradition we find older fragments where 
>the  tetragammaton exists. In all the fragments of Vulgate that I am 
>aware  of there is not even a hint of a transliteration of 
>the  tetragrammaton. I am willing to admit that the transmission of 
>the  Vulgate may be corrupt and older version may have included this.

Steven Avery
Again, none of this is relevant to the OP. Feel free to make clear 
your new theory for discussion.  Rolf and others will gladly discuss 
the discussion of the Tetragram in early fragments.  I might even 
join in, as I have in the past. Not, though, if it is masked as an 
attempt to show something clearly false -- that Jerome was 
translating from Greek rather than Hebrew.

>Again, if we really need to pursue this to its depth I would 
>suggest  looking to the minor textual variants as an indication of which text
>Jerome made most use of. I don't really have time at the moment. If 
>you don't have time either then remind me in a month or so and we'll
>go into this in more depth.

As I said, you are welcome to take a dozen smaller smaller examples 
to go along with the dozens of larger examples, all of which will 
disprove your OP theory.  Taking the one most currently 
doctrinally-charged verse is an extremely poor methodology to 
determining anything about Jerome.

Consider yourself reminded that you were actually going to study the 
texts, rather than simply misrepresenting Stefan Rebenich to be 
wondering whether Jerome actually knew Hebrew.  Rebenich is very 
clear that Jerome was Hebrew-competent, and studied Hebrew with 
Jewish teachers, the only issue is whether he was fluent and whether 
he may have given the impression to Augustine and others that 
overstated his competence.  Personally I have not seen a single quote 
from Jerome on these issues that is not sensible and consisteent.

Steven Avery
Queens, NY 

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