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

James Read J.Read-2 at sms.ed.ac.uk
Tue Jul 21 07:18:53 EDT 2009

Hi Steven,

I take on board all that you are saying. But I urge you to reread my  
post more carefully before making another such aggressive response.  
Make sure you actually understand what I am saying before making  
assumptions about my position and making such a fiery response.

If you had read what I said in my last post you would have seen that  
my position is not yet set in stone. I merely made the observation  
that the major well known differences are not a good yard stick to  
measure by as they were the obvious bits for Jerome to make a point of  

If we take out the obvious bits and take out the bits where the MT and  
the Greek texts agree we are left with an apparatus which we can  
objectively put this to the test. Whereas I am, as yet, undecided you  
obviously seem to already have a firm stance in this question.

I can tell you that, while I would very much like to, for at least the  
next month I don't have the time to make such a study. If you would  
like to make the first move and make a comprehensive list of the minor  
differences of a chosen text (let's say the Torah) then maybe we could  
get the discussion moving quicker.

If not, I'll have to forget about this for a month because I really am  
snowed under (got a dissertation to write). But please do remind me in  
a month's time and we'll get to the bottom of this together.

James Christian

P.S. If you are to reply any further please be a little more gentle.  
My position is not as set in stone as you seem to think.

Quoting schmuel <schmuel at nyc.rr.com>:

> Hi Folks,
>>> James
>>>> 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.
> Steven
>>> 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?
> Steven
> Yes.
> 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 ***
> Steven
> 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.
> Steven
> 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.
> Steven
> 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.
> James
>> if Jerome really did consider the Hebrew text to be superior
> Steven
> 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.
> James
>> then hy is he following the Greek tradition of replacing YHWH with  Dominus?
> Steven
> 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.
> James
>> 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.
> James
>> 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.
> Steven
> 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.
> Shalom,
> Steven Avery
> Queens, NY
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