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Book cover: Vetus Latina (OT)

Vetus Latina (OT)

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Category: Ancient Bibles   |   Install Options: Download only

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Vetus Latina or "Old Latin Bible" is the collective title for the large and very diverse collection of Latin biblical texts used by Christian communities from the second century. Following the expansion and triumph of Christianity in the Roman Empire, Latin became increasingly used as a lingua franca in place of Greek, first in North Africa and then in Spain, England, Gaul and Germany. A diverse array of translations of the Bible appeared, frequently inaccurate and not controlled by any ecclesiastical authority. This flood of versions came to an end in the fourth century as one of them, later known as the Vulgate, gradually established itself in place of the others. By the Carolingian era, the variety of Old Latin texts had been completely superseded.

In contrast, the Vetus Latina consists of all biblical texts translated from the Greek which do not correspond to the Vulgate. Most Old Latin versions have only been transmitted as fragments. Alongside the few manuscripts which have been preserved, covering an uneven selection of biblical books, the citations and allusions in Latin Church Fathers (and Christian writings in Greek which were translated into Latin at an early date) are an essential source for investigating the tradition.

The Latin Bible is a prominent source of information not only for theologians, but also historians and linguists. It bears witness to numerous levels of language, ranging from colloquial expression to the highest refined style. For this reason, the importance of the Vetus Latina for the cultural and religious history of the West can hardly be overrated.

At the same time, we must not succumb to the mistaken impression that the Vetus Latina gives us access to the original Latin text of the Christian Bible. Rather, we are dealing with translations which have been transmitted piecemeal. In the case of the Old Testament, these are descended from the Septuagint. Nevertheless, the Old Latin Bible, in its ancient diversity, is a splendid record of the way in which the West made the Christian message its own. The frequently-invoked Christian roots of the West will be brought clearly before our eyes through the edition of the Vetus Latina.

The text of this product is based upon Bibliorum Sacrorum, Latinae Versiones Antiquae seu Vetus Italica by D. Petri Sabatier.

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Vetus Latina (OT) is included with the following packages:

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