Vulgate Prologue - super-evidence - English translations

Steven Avery

1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.

In this thread the significance of the Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical Epistles by Jerome will be discussed. This is one of the most incredible and least well understood evidences for the heavenly witnesses. We will start with a quote from Charles Vincent Dolman (1842-1918). Dolman is reviewing the literature at the time of some of the best heavenly witnesses writers.

He is reviewing:

Ernest Ranke (1814-1888), a scholar with an emphasis on the Latin manuscripts, whose edition of the Codex Fuldensis showed the Prologue in 546 AD written in an edition produced under the learned:

Victor of Capua

The Dublin Review (1882)
Recent Evidence in Support of 1 John v. 7 p. 426-439
Charles Vincent Dolman

Every one who has read anything of this discussion knows how important a place is held by a certain Prologue to the Canonical Epistles, commonly ascribed to St. Jerome. The writer of that Prologue finds fault with certain unfaithful transcribers for omitting the verse containing the testimony of the Heavenly Witnesses. If it were but certain that this preface came from the pen of St. Jerome, there would be an end to the discussion ; or, rather, the discussion would never have had a beginning. All we know of the preface is this—that it was found in almost all the Latin Bibles from the ninth century downwards, with or without St. Jerome's name attached. Père Simon was the first to question the authenticity of the Prologue, and, finally, the Benedictine editors of St. Jerome added weighty reasons for denying it to be St Jerome's. Since their time the preface has been commonly rejected by critics, and looked upon as an impudent forgery of the ninth century. Thus, one of our strongest witnesses was discredited and driven out of court, to the great injury of the cause. Now, of late years fresh evidence has been adduced, which tends to prove that the critics were too hasty, and that in all probability the Prologue is the genuine work of St. Jerome. At Fulda there is an old Latin New Testament manuscript which bears an eventful history. (p. 428-9) ... We have, then, to thank Dr. Ranke, the learned Editor of the "Codex Fuldensis," for making known the fact that the much-disputed Prologue is no forgery of the ninth century, but in all probability the genuine work of St. Jerome, read and approved as such by Victor of Capua in 546. (p. 430-431)

The story of the bogus forgery accusations is quite educational and has its own intrigues. I started with this quote simply because it gives a type of overview of the historical situation (which we plan to expand upon considerably.)

Note too that there is an awareness that a singular evidence of this nature (what we call a super-evidence) can be virtually probative towards the authenticity of the heavenly witnesses:

"If it were but certain that this preface came from the pen of St. Jerome, there would be an end to the discussion ; or, rather, the discussion would never have had a beginning."

We plan to be examining the Prologue, the undoubted authenticity for 1200+ years, the history of the debate, its place in the Erasmus dialog with Lee and Stunica, the proposed basis for the forgery accusations, the chimera of it being late, the Fuldensis discovery, and then the scurrying for a Plan B approach by the contras. Also how the history of the Prologue substantiates the words of the Prologue. We may also mildly chastise AV and heavenly witnesses defenders for being a bit asleep at the switch on this one!

Other parts of the review article by Dolman include Leo Zeigler's publication of the Freisengen fragments, an early Old Latin evidence. And reviews of the excellent writing of Arthur-Marie Le Hir (1811-1868) and Charles Forster (1787-1871).

Steven Avery
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Steven Avery

Jerome’s Prologue to the Canonical Epistles - English translations


Writing as Ben David, John Jones (1766?–1827) added a few explicatory notes in parenthesis. Jones was quirky in his beliefs, however his language skills were strong.

The Monthly repository of theology and general literature, Volume 21 (1826)
Ben David on 1 John v. 7

Vulgate Prologue
"The order of these seven Epistles (meaning the Epistles of Peter, James, John, and Jude), in those Greek copyists who think soundly and follow the right faith, is not the same as it is found in the Latin Copies; where, as Peter is first, so his Epistles are placed in order before the rest. But as I have long since corrected the Evangelists (or preachers of the Gospel, meaning the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles of Paul, as well as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), according to the rule of truth, so these Epistles I have restored to their proper order; which, if arranged agreeably to the original text, and faithfully interpreted in Latin diction, would neither cause perplexity to the readers, nor would the various readings contradict themselves, especially in that place where we read the unity of the Trinity laid down in the Epistle of John. In this I found translators (or copyists) widely deviating from the truth; who set down in their own edition the names only of the three witnesses, that is, the Water, Blood, and Spirit; but omit the testimony of the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; by which, above all places, the Divinity of the father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is proved to be one. How far my edition differs from those of others, I leave to the discernment of the reader. But whilst thou, O virgin of Christ, demandest of me the truth of Scripture, thou in a manner exposest my old age to the rancorous teeth of those malicious men who hold me forth as faithless and a corrupter of the Sacred Writings. But in such an undertaking, I neither dread the malice of rivals, nor shall I withhold the truth of the Holy scriptures from those who demand it."


Another Vulgate Prologue (2006)
Kevin Edgecomb

The order of the seven Epistles, which are named Canonical, as is found in Latin books is not thus among the Greeks who believe rightly and follow the correct faith. For as Peter is first in the order of the Apostles, first also are his Epistles in the order of the others. But as we have just now corrected the Evangelists to the line of truth, so we have restored, with God helping, these to their proper order. For the first of them is one of James, two of Peter, three of John, and one of Jude. Which, if they were arranged by them and thus were faithfully turned into Latin speech by interpreters, they would have neither made ambiguity for readers nor would they have attacked the variety of words themselves, especially in that place where we read what is put down about the oneness of the Trinity in the First Epistle of John. In which we find many things to be mistaken of the truth of the faith by the unfaithful translators, who put down in their own edition only three words, that is, Water, Blood, and Spirit, and who omit the witness of the Father and Word and Spirit, by which both the Catholic faith is greatly strengthened and also the one substance of the Divinity of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit is proved. Indeed, in the other Epistles, I leave to the judgment of the reader how much the edition of the others differs from ours. But you, O virgin of Christ Eustochium, while you zealously seek from me the truth of Scripture, you expose my old age, as it were, to the devouring teeth of the envious, who call me a falsifier and corruptor of the Holy Scriptures. But I, in such a work, am afraid of neither the envy of my rivals, nor will I refuse those requesting the truth of Holy Scripture


Thomas Caldwell, S. J. of Marquette University in Milwaukee. Wl. The translation comes from the Codex Fuldensis (c. A. D. 541-546). Originally given with a note by Thomas D. Ross and posted by Kent Brandenburg.

Jerome's Preface to the Canonical Epistles--Ancient Evidence for 1 John 5:7
Thomas Caldwell

The order of the seven Epistles which are called canonical is not the same among the Greeks who follow the correct faith and the one found in the Latin codices, where Peter, being the first among the apostles, also has his two epistles first. But just as we have corrected the evangelists into their proper order, so with God’s help have we done with these. The first is one of James, then two of Peter, three of John and one of Jude.

"Just as these are properly understood and so translated faithfully by interpreters into Latin without leaving ambiguity for the readers nor [allowing] the variety of genres to conflict, especially in that text where we read the unity of the trinity is placed in the first letter of John, where much error has occurred at the hands of unfaithful translators contrary to the truth of faith, who have kept just the three words water, blood and spirit in this edition omitting mention of Father, Word and Spirit in which especially the catholic faith is strengthened and the unity of substance of Father, Son and Holy Spirit is attested.

"In the other epistles to what extent our edition varies from others I leave to the prudence of the reader. But you, virgin of Christ, Eustocium, when you ask me urgently about the truth of scripture you expose my old age to being gnawed at by the teeth of envious ones who accuse me of being a falsifier and corruptor of the scriptures. But in such work I neither fear the envy of my critics nor deny the truth of scripture to those who seek it."


These are the three versions you will see in various places, when the full Prologue is given.

Michael Maynard's book from 1995 has the Vulgate Prologue and Codex Fuldensis referenced on p. 45-46, however he did not have the text.


(303vb307vb) Epistulae VII Catholicae

  • (303vb304ra) Prologus. >Incipit prologus sancti Hieronimi presbyteri super epistolas Apostolorum VII.< Non ita ordo est apud Graecos …
    PL 29, 821C–832A; RB 1, Nr. 809.
Two pics

That would be a 10th century picture of the Vulgate Prologue.

(I'll see about getting the Fuldensis page pic on this post, the urls from the Ranke edition and any ms. pics available.)

This next one I have not compared, it could be the same as above.

Cod. A 9 (A) 2.36 Biblia latina: Epistulae VII Catholicae, 10. Jh.-11. Jh. (Codex Inhalt)
Index including location of 1 John


Latin Version

Non ita ordo est apud graecos qui integre sapiunt et fidem rectam sectantur. Epistularam septem quae canonicae nuncupantur ut in latinis codicibus inuenitur quod petrusprimus est in numero apostolorum primae sint etiam eius 5 epistulae in ordine ceterarum. Sed sicut euangelistas dudum ad ueritatis lineam correximus ita has proprio ordine deo nos iuuante reddidimus Est enim prima earum una iacobi petri duae iohannis tres et iudae una 10 Quae sicut ab eis digestae sunt ita quoque ab interpraetibus fideliter in latinum eloquium uerterentur nec ambiguitatem legentibus facerent nec sermonum se uarietas inpugnaret illo praecipue loco ubi de unitate trinitatis in prima iohannis epistula positum legimus in qua est ab infidelibus 15 translatoribus multum erratum esse fidei ueritate conperimus trium tantummodo uocabula hoc est aquae sanguinis et spiritus in ipsa sua editione potentes et patri uerbique ac spiritus testimonium omittentes. In quo maxime et fides catholica roboratur et patris et fili et spiritus sancti una diuinitatis 20 substantia conprobatur. In ceteris uero epistulis quantum nostra aliorum distet editio lectoris prudentiae derelinquo. Sed tu uirgo christi eusthocium dum a me inpensius scribturae ueritatem inquiris meam quodammodo senectutem inuidorum dentibus conrodendam exponis qui me falsarium corruptoremque 25 sanctarum pronuntiant scribturarum. Sed ego in tali opere nec aemulorum meorum inuidentiam pertimesco nec sanctae scribturae ueritatem poscentibus denegabo.

"It should also be noted that there seem to be some problems with the Latin of the prologue found in the codex, whether as a result of errors in the modern scanning of the text, ancient copyist errors, or for other reasons. Those who know Latin should be able to evaluate these matters."

Steven Avery
Nov, 26, 2014
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Steven Avery

Vulgate prologue and the heavenly witnesses - Wikipedia article - Eustochium to Jerome

1 John 5:7
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:
and these three are one.

The Wikipedia article, with some tweaking and the footnotes incorporated into the text, some placed in lighter print.

Also an additional new aspect below.


Comma Johanneum

Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical Epistles

Many Vulgate manuscripts, including the Codex Fuldensis, the earliest extant Vulgate manuscript, contain the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles. The Prologue reads as a first-person account from Jerome written to Eustochium, the lady to whom Jerome dedicated his commentary on the prophets Isaiah and Ezekiel. The internal evidence of the authorship is contested. Since the 1600s, after the heavenly witnesses verse debate began, came forth claims that the Prologue was not from Jerome. And that a forger pretended to be Jerome.

(Thomas Caldwell English text in post above.)

This Prologue, its historical accuracy and textual significance, has been a major point in the heavenly witnesses debate since the start of the debate at the times of Erasmus. At the time of the correspondence of Erasmus with Lee and Stunica, the Vulgate Prologue was the single principle early church writing evidence discussed. Evidences like Cyprian's Unity of the Church and the Council of Carthage were either unavailable or omitted in the dialog. Erasmus accepted this Prologue as from Jerome and, in an ironic twist, accused Jerome of falsifying the scripture. Normally Erasmus was a big supporter of Jerome, yet here he flipped the other way.

The authenticity and authorship of the Prologue became an issue in the late 1600s when a new theory came forth that the Prologue was spurious. This theory claimed that the Prologue was not created until hundreds of years after Jerome, by an unknown writer pretending to be Jerome

"the preface has been commonly rejected by critics, and looked upon as an impudent forgery of the ninth century." Charles Vincent Dolman, Dublin Review, Recent Evidences in Support of 1 John v. 7, p. 428, 1887, see two posts above.

When the theory was originally promulgated the earliest extant Vulgate with the Prologue was dated to no earlier than the 800s. Raymond Brown indicates modern attributions for the conjectured Prologue authorship as

"Vincent of Lerini (d. 450) and to Peregrinus (Künstle, Ayuso Marazuela), the fifth-century Spanish editor of the Vg." Raymond Brown, The Epistles of John pp.782-783, 1982.

Brooke Foss Westcott is among those who have contended that the actual purpose of the theorized forgery was specifically to bring the verse into the Latin Vulgate text line; it

"seems to have been written with this express purpose" Brooke Foss Westcott, The Epistles of St. John, p. 205, 1905.

And Raymond Brown implies verse acceptance as the motive for the Vulgate Prologue:

"Jerome's authority was such that this statement, spuriously attributed to him, helped to win acceptance for the Comma." Raymond Brown, Anchor Bible, Epistle of John Appendix IV: The Johannine Comma pp.776-787 (1982)

Bruce Metzger makes no reference of the Vulgate Prologue. Even while referencing the absence of the verse in the Johannine epistle of the early manuscript Codex Fuldensis, in order to assert that Jerome's original edition did not have the verse.

"The passage ... is not found the Vulgate as issued by Jerome (codex Fuldensis [copied a.d. 541-46] and codex Amiatinus [copied before a.d. 716])".A textual commentary on the Greek New Testament, p. 717, 1971.

Major figures in the early dialogue from about 1650-1725 were John Selden, Christopher Sandius, John Fell, Richard Simon, Isaac Newton, Jean Leclerc, Jean Martianay and Augustin Calmet.

The discovery in the Bible scholarship community in the latter 1800s that the Prologue was in the well-respected Codex Fuldensis
Codex Fuldensis. Novum Testamentum Latine, interprete Hieronymo, ex MS edited by Ernst Constantin Ranke, 1868. contradicted many earlier forgery chronology scenarios.

Codex Fuldensis could be accurately dated as very close to 546 AD, much closer to the lifetime of Jerome 347-420. Fuldensis was a manuscript copied under the ecclesiastical leadership of Victor of Capua. In Nov. 1897, Thomas Joseph Lamy in the American Ecclesiastical Review, The Decision of the Holy Office on the Comma Johanneum, reviewed on pp. 72-74 the Vulgate Prologue.Lamy emphasized how Codex Fuldensis strengthened the case for Jerome's authorship of the Prologue. Even before the Fuldensis discovery,
Antoine Eugène Genoud in the Sainte Bible commentary described the reasons given for claiming a forgery as frivoles (i.e. frivolous). Sainte Bible en latin et en français, Volume 5, 1839, pp.681-682.

While specifically referencing the heavenly witnesses in the Prologue, the Codex Fuldensis lacked the Comma in the text! This marked discordance is a strong confirmation that the concerns expressed in the Prologue, of deliberate omission of the verse, occurred in the scribal process.



It would be especially interesting to see if the Antoine Eugene Genoud (1792-1849) section could be translated from the French.

Sainte Bible En Latin Et En Français: Traduction Nouvelle D'après La Vulgate (1839)
When you study the objections that were raised to authenticity from Jerome, you quickly see that the arguments are, in fact, frivolous.


Jerome I believe specifically said he translated the New Testament in general, not just gospels, and I will look for that reference. Yet some of the modern scholars try to say otherwise.


Eustochium Epistle to Jerome verifies Jerome's Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical Epistles


In that regard, now we add an important reference about:


This is an incredibly significant corroborative evidence for the Prologue, courtesy of John Lupia on an email forum.

[textualcriticism] Johannine Comma - Old Latin, Vulgate and early church writer support

John Lupia - Jan 23, 2005

John Lupia
After the death of pope Damasus, Eustochium requested Jerome to revise the Catholic Epistles and correct them from the Greek (see Filippo Salmeri, ed., Epistula di Sanctu Iheronimu ad Eustochiu / edizione critica. Quaderni di filologia medievale ; 3 (Catania : C.U.E.C.M., 1980)).. Jerome completed it, noting her in this Prologue, that other inaccurate translators had omitted the testimony of the Greek referring to the Comma.

Epistula di misser sanctu Iheronimu ad Eustochiu by Jerome Saint (1999)

Epistula di Sanctu Iheronimu ad Eustochiu / edizione critica a cura di Filippo Salmeri. (1980)
"Late 15th century translation into Sicilian of Domenico Cavalca's 14th century translation into Tuscan."

Apparently, Jerome has specific correspondence with Eustochium, outside the Prologue, requesting the very translation of the canonical epistles.

This make a forgery almost impossible. Due to the connection in the texts of the little-known Eustochium letter and the Vulgate Prologue. Any supposed forger would have had to buy Jerome's correspondence at a flea market. And then go through convolutions to produce a Jerome-style text. And somehow get it accepted globally. And the supposed motive .. well to promote the heavenly witnesses, of course! Conspiracy Theory 101.

Or perhaps this forger was such a close friend and compatriot of Jerome that he might have well been his twin brother, or his assistant.

None of these theories makes any sense. A couple were floated after Fuldensis, none of any substance, and they were generally New Testament scholars.

There is an Ockham-consistent solution .. Jerome wrote the Prologue.

The Eustochiam Epistle is an extra evidence essentially proving authenticity of the Prologue, written by Jerome.
And proof of the Vulgate Prologue authenticity is essentially proof of heavenly witnesses authenticity

(On top of the massive corroboration of evidences, including other super-evidences like the Cyprian usage and the Greek grammatical solecism with the verse and the Council of Carthage with hundreds of bishops.)


The forgery theory has been built on weak supposed evidences, frivolous, and a late dating now shown to be simply false. Followed by suppossitional conjectures of potential authors that simply do not make sense. When the Prologue fits perfectly as simply the writing of Jerome. The whole theory was largely embraced for hundreds of years due to the circular idea that Jerome would not have written about the heavenly witnesses. Considering the historical acceptance of the writing and the consistent style and knowledge of Jerome, there never was a real basis for the accusations of forgery (think Pastorals and 2 Peter if you are not aware of how scholars like to make such bogus accusations). Finally, when Fuldensis was discovered to have the Prologue, the forgery theory could have been properly retired as simply a historical oddity.



Steven Avery
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Steven Avery

Regensburg ms shows Jerome's support of heavenly witnesses text - Fickermann

The Vulgate Prologue has significant extant medieval referencing. One reference is special for our inquiries as it shows the heavenly witnesses connected to Jerome and contrasts Jerome with Augustine. The Jerome connection is almost surely through the Prologue text, properly accepted by the manuscrpt scribe as Jerome.


Regensburg ms Contrasts Jerome and Augustine on Heavenly Witnesses

Norbert Fickermann's scholarship supports the idea that Augustine may have deliberately bypassed a direct quote of the heavenly witnesses. And the Regensburg ms referenced by Fickermann contrasts the positions of Jerome and Augustine.

Biblische Zeitschrift. 22: 350-358 (1934)
St. Augustinus gegen das 'Comma Johanneum'?
Norbert Fickermann

Fickermann considers evidence from a 12th-century Regensburg manuscript that Augustine specifically avoided referencing the verse directly. The manuscript note contrasts the inclusion position of Jerome in the Vulgate Prologue with the preference for removal by Augustine. This tends to confirm that there was awareness of the Greek and Latin ms distinction and that some scribes preferred omission.

This is referenced by Raymond Brown.

Fickermann points to a hitherto unpublished eleventh-century text which says that Jerome considered the Comma to be a genuine part of 1 John--clearly a memory of the Pseudo-Jerome Prologue mentioned above. But the (Fickermann) text goes on to make this claim:

'St. Augustine, on the basis of apostolic thought and on the authority of the Greek text, ordered it to be left out. No known text of Augustine substantiates this, and yet it is strange that a medieval writer would dare to invent a testimony of Augustine against what was being widely accepted as a text of Scripture and which seemingly had Jerome's approval'. Raymond Brown, Epistles of John, 1982, p. 785.

Grantley Robert McDonald in Raising the Ghost of Arius, Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Religious Difference in Early Modern Europe, p. 30, 2011, wrote it up as follows:

... in 1934 Norbert Fickermann drew attention to a note in a twelth-century manuscript of the Regensburg Epistoloe rhetoricae, which makes the following claims:

"St Jerome argued that verbal repetition [replicatio] in the [first] Epistle of John--'And there are three that bear witness, the Father, the Word and the Spirit'--was established as certain. By contrast, St Augustine prescribed that it should be removed, on the basis of the Apostle's meaning and the authority of the Greek"

Munich. Bayerische Staatsbibliothek clm 14596, cit. Fickermann, 1934, 340: Replicationem illam in epistola lohannis: et tres sunt qui testimonium dant, pater et verbum et spiritus beatus Hieronimus ratam esse astruit; beatus vero Augustinus ex apostoli sententia et ex grece linguae auctoritate demendam esse prescribit."

As for the Augustine reference Fickermann added that it was entirely improbable that someone in the middle ages placed the disapproving note into the mouth of Augustine.


This is mostly missed by modern scholars. Or ignored, as this information about Jerome does not fit the modern forgery myth and the Augustine silence by not knowing the text. Most significantly, it shows a top church writer who preferred to let the heavenly witnesses walk on by, exactly the phenomenon that is referenced by Jerome.

Here is one exception where at least the scholarship references are given.

Die Johannesbriefe (1989)
Georg Strecker

R. E. Brown diskutiert und bestreitet die These N. Fickermanns, wonach Augustin das CJ. gekannt, aber verworfen haben könnte. Fickermann verweist dazu auf einen bisher unveröffentlichten Text des 11. Jahrhunderts, in dem behauptet worden sei, Hieronymus habe das C.J für einen echten Bestand des 1 Joh gehalten. Diese These stammt aber aus dem Prolog des Pseudo-Hieronymus und wird durch keinen Text Augustins unterstützt. - W. Thiele 71f macht darauf aufmerksam, daB Augustins Textbenutzung für seine Zeit nicht charakteristisch ist, da Augustin seinen Bibeltext für I Joh durch Revision nach dem Griechischen unter Benutzung der ihm bekannten lateinischen Texte erarbeitete. Die Verwerfung des Entscheidung C J. könnte seine persönliche Entscheidung gewesen sein.

This is a Raymond Brown and Walter Thiele review, with the emphasis on Augustine.


Clearly, it would be nice to have a pic of the Regensburg note and even a pic extract from Fickermann.

Steven Avery
November 27, 2014
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Steven Avery

heavenly witnesses - correcting a limited chronology

1 John 5:7 (AV)
For there are three that bear record in heaven,
the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost:and these three are one.

This limited chronology looks to have been taken from a web site called "Trinity Delusion". Perhaps it is JacktheBear's site. Either way, the reference should be given.

The list given here is very sketchy on the evidences for authenticity, however my purpose will be to mostly work with the list as given, making notes and corrections.


When you trace it back, it seems that this reading crept into Latin manuscripts in North Africa about the same time Augustine was putting the final touches on his Trinity document ... ca. 380 AD | Spain: A reference to a variant form of the Comma in Liber Apologeticus, a work attributed to either Priscillian or Bishop Instantius who were both later charged with Manicheanism. This is the first known occurrence of a passage that resembles 1 John 5:7.

There are numerous earlier evidences. Two from the Ante-Nicene period have even been included in the UBS apparatus, Cyprian's Unity of the Church and the Hundredfold Martyrs (Ps-Cyprian). The Lutheran scholar Franz August Otto Pieper (1852-1931) was especially strong in understanding, explaining and analyzing the Cyprian usage in The Unity of the Church. Discussing all the earlier evidences like the Expositio Fidei would take us far afield.

Spain is a possibility for its origin

Spain as the origin is century old scholarship attempt that was especially pushed by Karl Künstle (1859-1932) in a 1905 paper. This was quickly shown to be a flawed and very dubious theory, however it still pops up occasionally in the modern contra literature.

This guy was later involved with Jerome who translated the Vulgate.

The timing here is off, however that is minor. Anyway, the fact that Jerome was knowledgeable on Priscillian is one of many confirmations that he know of the heavenly witnesses verse. Supporting authenticity of the Prologue.

ca. 427 AD | Africa: Augustine of Hippo writes a treatise against Arianism. He does not know of the Comma but interprets 1 John 5:8 to refer to the Trinity.

There are multiple evidences showing that Augustine did in fact know of the heavenly witnesses. These include allusions in his writing and the Regensburg ms. which states that Augustine avoided use of the verse. This is in the Norbert Fickermann paper, S. Augustinus gegen das Comma Johanneum? Also the simple fact of the widespread usage in the 400s makes it virtually impossible for Augustine not to know the verse. With a special emphasis on the Council of Carthage of 484 AD, where hunderds of bishops from all over the Medittereanean region specifically highlighted the verse in the controversy with the Arians under Hunneric. Similarly the consistent appearance in our Old Latin mss.

541 AD | : Vulgate Codex Amiantinus, considered one of the best manuscripts, does not have the Comma.

Amiatinus is now generally dated to the 8th century. The 541 AD date goes back to the 1800s. Similarly, Fuldensis and Amiatinus lost Acts 8:37, another verse we can be sure was included in the original Vulgate editions.

Acts 8:37
And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.
And he answered and said,
I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

546 AD | : Vulgate Codex Fuldensis. Does not contain the Comma but it does contain the Comma phrase "in earth" for 1 John 5:8.

No, the Codex Fuldensis does not have "in earth". However, Codex Fuldensis does have "tres unum sunt", which is the phrase with the heavenly witnesses, about which it can be stated that the three are one. This makes no sense with the water, spirit and the blood, so we have an internal marker that the text had been truncated.

It also contains a reference to the Comma in the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles

This is more than "a reference"
. This is a direct accusation (similar to what we saw with Augustine above) that unfaithful translators, which by context would be scribes in general, were omitting the verse from their copies.

JacktheBear, to his credit, does includes the extract from the Prologue below. Remember, too that Jerome was aware of Greek and Latin mss.

allegedly written by Jerome..

i.e. The Prologue is written with a first-person reference to the "virgin of Christ, Eustochium" and in the style and knowledge of Jerome. The marks of authenticity are all over this Prologue.

However, this is considered spurious by many because the Comma is absent from John's first letter.

Au contraire! The heavenly witnesses being absent from Codex Fuldensis is a strong verification of the accuracy of what is stated in the Prologue. Unfaithful scribes had dropped the heavenly witnesses text, creating the Fuldensis dissonance. However, the oversight of the ms was by the learned Victor of Capua. Thus Fuldensis had faithfully copied the Prologue as well as the 1 John text that had been transmitted. And the Prologue pointed directly to the reason for the omission in the text.

In terms of the historical debate, once the Prologue was discovered in Fuldensis in the late 1800s the opposition to the Prologue's authenticity should have been dropped. Since arguments for non-authenticity had been largely based on the mistaken idea that the Prologue did not appear in the Vulgate line until around 800 AD.


Since CARM loses its posts after awhile, I am using this as an information place-holder:

heavenly witnesses - correcting a limited chronology
Steven Avery - June 18, 2015

"according to the rule of truth, so these Epistles I have restored to their proper order; which, if arranged agreeably to the original text, and faithfully interpreted in Latin diction, would neither cause perplexity to the readers, nor would the various readings contradict themselves, especially in that place where we read the unity of the Trinity laid down in the Epistle of John. In this I found translators (or copyists) widely deviating from the truth; who set down in their own edition the names only of the three witnesses, that is, the Water, Blood, and Spirit; but omit the testimony of the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; by which, above all places, the Divinity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit is proved to be one.

This is one of the critical early super-evidences of heavenly witnesses antiquity and authenticity.

Steven Avery
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Steven Avery

bibliography of the Martianay internal arguments used contra Vulgate Prologue authenticity as from Jerome

From the fine discussion on New Testament Scholarship Worldwide discussion on Facebook, here is a bibliography:

New Testament Scholarship Worldwide
Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical Epistles
"Here are some of the writers who discussed the forgery idea of Martianay."{"tn":"R"}


David Martin (1639-1721)

The genuineness of the text of the first Epistle of saint John. chap. v. [verse]. 7., tr. from the French (1722)
David Martin

There should be more from Martin to track down, and note that he also says that he handles arguments from John Mill.

Biblical Greek Studies of the New Testament


Antoine Augustin Calmet (1672-1757) in 1726 in French orders the five reasons of Martianay, and supports authenticity.

Sainte Bible en latin et en français: (1824 edition)


The heavy-drinking skeptic Richard Porson is, not surprisingly, most aggressive in trying to rehabilitate various arguments and come up with any new ones.

Porson's Letters to Archdeacon Travis (1790) (1829)


Thus, Porson was answered by Frederick Nolan.

Christian Remembrancer (1822)
Frederick Nolan
... and


And a very strong section by the quirky John Jones.

Monthly Repository (1826)
John Jones
p. 216-220


While Thomas Turton tried to work with the Porson material.

A Vindication of the Literary Character of the Late Professor Porson
Thomas Turton


John Scott Porter gives us an example of the the standard vapid dismissive non-scholarship that later became standard:

Principles of Textual Criticism: With Their Application to the Old and New Testaments; Illustrated with Plates and Facsimiles of Biblical Documents (1848)
John Scott Porter

"perhaps had been composed as early as the eighth "
"notorious falsifier "

Porter manages to show us that the John Mill opposition to authenticity was keyed around the ultra-dubious idea that the Prologue misrepresents Biblical literature. (It would be interesting to see all of Mill.)


Then came Codex Fuldensis and Ranke in 1868, changing the whole nature of the discussion, by eliminating one major argument of inauthenticity, that the Prologue was a late production.


Very strong is Charles Vincent Dolman:

Dublin Review
Recent Evidence in Support of 1 John v 7 (1882)
p. 428-431


Thomas Joseph Lamy had a decent article, and includes the Martianay reasons and the Calmet response. He effectively shows us that not much was added after the initial volleys.

American Ecclesiastical Review (1897)
Thomas Joseph Lamy


That is the English literature I have found that actually delves into the internal evidence questions.

John Chapman takes a dismissive position like Porter, but is very helpful in eliminating a Karl Kunstle try for pegging the supposed forger as Peregrinus:

Notes on the Early History of the Vulgate Gospels (1908)
John Chapman,


In recent years, Kevin Edgecombe thought he had found a "conclusive" chronology evidence:

Another Vulgate Prologue (2006)
Kevin Edgecombe


You can see that little has changed from the period of 1693-1725, when Martianay offered some reasons, and they were answered. And this was echoed again by Porson in 1790, and answers in the early 1800s. Then came Fuldensis, ending the argument that the Prologue was a late addition, and this led to some good new evaluation writing.

Was Antoine Eugene-Genoud right in looking at the arguments and saying they were "frivole" (frivolous.) That is a key question. From my studies the answer is a clear and loud YES.

What I have tried to do here is simply help you to study, by having the best mostly English resources at hand. Also this helps put the question in historical context, the interconnection with the heavenly witnesses debate.

Early church writer scholars, who work outside the textual criticism scholarship realm, do not seem to want to jump headlong into this forgery milieu. They are more likely to simply accept authenticity.


NEEDED - summary list of defenders (should be in my email notes)

be sure to include Hetzenauer

Steven Avery
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Steven Avery

today the supposed reason for non-authenticity is the tentative assertion that Jerome did not translate the Epistles

So what reason do the scholars today give for not considering the Vulgate Prologue as not Jerome?

In 2016, I asked this of Hugh Houghton:

The question comes up as to the author which has been a matter of some dispute the last 300 years.

This was discussed on a forum in Dec 2012, with James Snapp (waterrock) and a fellow named Euthymius, who recommeded your expertise

Snapp: "it is routinely assumed today that the prologue to the Catholic Epistles in Codex Fuldensis was not written by Jerome. But who has read, or even seen, the scholarly work that aspired to demonstrate that this is the case?"
Euthymius: So why don't you contact those nice people at the Beuron Vetus Latina Institute and see what any of them might have to say? Or even better, Hugh Houghton in Britain (Birmingham), who is probably the leading Latin version expert in the English-speaking world? Given that the handbooks do make the claim, and that apparently universally, it hardly seems they would do so without reason..."
And I have looked at the literature some, and the reasons and responses given, there has been little written on the topic the last century, when Chapman and Brooke discounted the Peregrinus suggestion of Kunstle. And some earlier writers had defended Jerome as the author.
Hugh Houghton

I have written a little about the prologue to the Catholic Epistles in my recent book, The Latin New Testament: A Guide to its History, Texts, and Manuscripts ( ).

The issue is that Jerome is thought only to have revised the Gospels and not the rest of the Vulgate NT. The preface to the Catholic Epistles appears to have been composed by their Vulgate reviser, who was not Jerome but someone working soon after him.

In this first excerpt, Hugh Houghton is talking about the Pauline Epistles, not the Canonical Epistles.

(Jerome), The Vulgate Preface to Paul's Letters (2006)

[Translated by Kevin P. Edgecomb]

First is asked, for what reason after the Gospels, which are a supplement of the Law and in which are collected for us examples and precepts of living abundantly, the Apostle wanted to send these letters to individual churches. And it was seen to have been for this reason, that, as is known, he strengthened the firstborn of the Church from new arising heresies, so that he cut off present and arising errors and also afterward excluded future questions by the example of the Prophets, who after the publishing of the Law of Moses, in which were collected all the commandments of God, nevertheless still by its revived teaching the people always restrained (their) sins, and because of the example in the books they indeed also left a memorial for us.

Then is asked, for what reason did he not write more than ten letters to churches. For there are ten with that one which is called "To the Hebrews," for the remaining four are sent particularly to disciples. So that he showed the New not to differ from the Old Testament, and himself not to do (anything) against the Law of Moses, he arranged his letters (according) to the number of the first Ten Words (decalogi) of the commandments, as many precepts as that one ordered those freed from Pharaoh, the same number this one taught those purchased from servitude of the devil and idolatry. And also the most learned men have handed down (the tradition of) the two stone tablets to have been a figure of the two Testaments.

Truly, some have contended the letter which is written to the Hebrews not to be of Paul because it is not titled with his name, and because of the distance of language and style, but rather either of Barnabas according to Tertullian, or of Luke according to some others, or in fact of Clement the disciple of the Apostles and ordained Bishop of the Roman Church after the apostles. To which one should respond: if, accordingly, it cannot be of Paul because it does not have his name, therefore it cannot be of anyone because it is titled with no name. But if that is absurd, it is better to be believing it of him who shines with such eloquence of his teaching. But because among the churches of the Hebrews he was considered, with a false suspicion, as a destroyer of the Law, he was willing, with name unspoken, to render account of the figures of the Law and the truth of Christ, so hatred of (his) boldly displayed name would not exclude the usefulness of the reading. It is truly not a wonder, if he is seen more eloquent in his own (language), that is in Hebrew, rather than in a foreign one, that is in Greek, in which language the other letters are written.

It certainly disturbs some that for some reason the letter to the Romans is placed first, when reason reveals it not written first. For this is shown by him to have written travelling to Jerusalem, when he was exhorting the Corinthians and others before now by letters, as they collected the ministry which was carried with him. For which reason some want all the epistles to be understood arranged thus: that the first is set down which was sent later, (and) that through each letter by steps he came to the more perfect. For the majority of the Romans were so ignorant, that they did not understand themselves to be saved by the grace of God and not by their merits, and on account of this duo, the people struggled among themselves. Therefore, he asserted them to need to be strengthened, recalling the former vices of the gentiles (lit. "of gentileness"; gentilitatis). And now he says the gift of knowledge to be granted to the Corinthians, for he does not so much rebuke all, as he censures how they did not rebuke the sinners, as he says, "It is heard that there is fornication among you," and again, "You are gathered together with my spirit to deliver such a one to Satan." In the second (letter) they are truly praised and are admonished to advance more and more. Now the Galatians show no other crimes except they had most fervently believed in false apostles. The Ephesians are truly worthy of no rebuke but much praise, because they kept the Apostolic Faith. And the Philippians are much more greatly praised, who were not willing even to hear false apostles. And the Colossians were of such a kind that, when they had not been bodily seen by the Apostle, they were considered worthy of this praise: "And if in the body I am absent, I am with you in the Spirit, rejoicing and seeing your order." The Thessalonians were yet honored with all praise, to the extent that not only did they keep the unshaken faith of the Truth, but were indeed found standing together in the persecution of members. Truly something must be said of the Hebrews, of whom the Thessalonians, who are so highly praised, are said to have been imitators, as he says: "And you, brothers, have become imitators of the churches of God which are in Judea, for you have also suffered the same from your own countrymen as they have from the Judeans." Among them he also recalls the same Hebrews, saying, "For you both had compassion for the prisoners and you also received with joy the plundering of your goods, knowing yourselves to have a greater and lasting substance."


This Preface does not have the first-person material from Jerome, so it is somewhat more likely to be another writer than the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles. Kevin Edgecomb gives his stylistic reasons for considering the author unknown, while Hugh Houghton asserts that some positions in the letter are not that of Jerome. (I am skeptical of both contentions.) Here is Kevin Edgecomb from the page of the translation:

(Jerome), The Vulgate Preface to Paul's Letters (2006)

Kevin introduces his translation as follows:

I have a few articles to look up regarding the authorship of this letter, so I’ll end up posting more on that at a later date. Essentially, there are three contenders: St Jerome, the British heretic Pelagius, and some unknown author. Since patristic scholarship in the early part of the twentieth century had an unfortunate tendency to pin the names of heretics to many various works not otherwise demonstrably theirs or even heretical, I don’t, at this point, consider Pelagius a likely candidate, but rather a faddish suggestion given rather too much attention. These days some idiot would likely suggest St Mary Magdalene. Also, having just worked through seventeen authentic prologues of St Jerome, it is definite that this prologue to Paul’s letters are from someone else, judging by the style and even the vocabulary. It’s not as rambling as St Jerome’s own letters, which are constructed in a much more oral manner (likely because he was actually simply dictating to a scribe most of the time), and certain words of the vocabulary require meanings that are later than the more classical, antiquarian usage of St Jerome. So I opt for an unknown author. Nevertheless, it is a very interesting preface, especially his description of why the letters of Paul are arranged as they are: they are addressed to progressively more accomplished Christians, and apparently in reverse chronological order. How interesting!

Emphasis SA:

The Latin New Testament: A Guide to Its Early History, Texts, and Manuscripts (2016)
Hugh A. G. Houghton

The interest in translation within the Pelagian community, combined with the earliest attestation of the Vulgate text of the latter part of the New Testament, has led to the suggestion that the revision of these books was undertaken by one of its members. The principal evidence for the identity of the translator is the prologue to the Pauline Epistles which begins Primum quaeritur. this includes views concerning Hebrews which run counter to Jerome and was written in Rome by someone at odds with the local community. Indeed, following the rediscovery of Pelagius’ Pauline commentary, it was proposed that he himself was responsible for the Vulgate text of the Epistles, as he also quotes from the prologue.
66 More recently, the preferred candidate has been a Pelagian known as Rufinus the Syrian, who also had connections with Jerome and came to Rome around the same time as his namesake Rufinus of Aquileia.67 The only writing attributed to Rufinus the Syrian is a Liber de fide (PS-RUF fi), composed in Rome before 411 when it was the object of Augustine’s criticism in De peccatorum mentis (AU pec 1). However, both Augustine’s knowledge of this work and the very existence of Rufinus the Syrian are contested 68 The safest approach is to admit that the reviser of the books other than the Gospels in the Vulgate New Testament remains unknown, although the work appears to have been carried out in Rome after 393 (the quotation from HI ill 5 in the prologue) and before 410 (the latest date for Pelagius’ commentary).

The whole of the latter part of the Vulgate New Testament has a common origin. There is a noticeable difference in translation technique between the Gospels and the other writings: while Jerome introduces various forms for which no basis can be discerned in Greek, almost all of the innovations in the Vulgate of the other books represent Greek readings. What is more, the alterations made to Acts and the Catholic Epistles appear to reflect a Greek text similar to that of the early majuscule manuscripts rather than the later Greek text used by Jerome in the Gospels.
69 There are, however, some similarities between Augustine and Jerome's quotations of the Catholic Epistles and the Vulgate, suggesting that they drew on a similar Latin source to that used by the reviser. Like Jerome’s reordering of the four evangelists, the sequence of books was changed by the reviser on the basis of a Greek tradition: in the Pauline Epistles, Colossians was made to follow Ephesians and Philippians (as in the Primum quaeritur prologue), while James was placed first among the Catholic Epistles. p. 40-41

66 De Bruyne 1915; cf. Souter 1922:156-7. The text of Primum quaeritur is printed in the Stuttgart Vulgate, 1748-9; see also Scherbenske 2010.
67 See Fischer 1972:21, 49 and 73 [1986:184, 220, 251] and Frohlich 1995:220-2 with references, as well as Bogaert 2012:78 and 2013:517-18.
68 Dunphy 2009, 2012.
69 See further Fischer 1972:61, 64, 68, and 73 [1986:244-51] and Thiele 1972:118-19

Emphasis from Hugh Houghton:

The earliest Latin prefatory material to Paul comprises the Marcionite prologues (PROL Ma) known to Marius Victorinus and a set of capitula which may be of Donatist origin (KA C for the thirteen epistles and KA H in Hebrews).64 At the end of the fourth century, Priscillian of Avila created an edition including his canons to the Epistles (PRIS can [S 656,672]).65 The reviser of the Vulgate, around the year 400, was responsible for the preface Primum quaeritur (PROL Paul 1 |S 670]) and the Argumentum to Romans (PROL Rm Arg [S 674]). Both of these were sometimes attributed to Pelagius, as was the Concordia Epistularum (AN cone [S 646]): Pelagius does bear partial witness to a set of prologues to the individual epistles which drew on the 'Marcionite' prologues (PROL Pel). Primum quaeritur was re-used in prologues to the Epistles from the fifth and sixth centuries (PROL Paul 3 and 4 [S 669 and 651]). Later manuscripts include prefatory material taken from Ambrosiaster, Jerome, and Isidore. ... p. 172

64 For more on the Marcionite prologues, see Jongkind 2015 and page 198; the capitula discussed in Bogaert 1982:11.
65 See further pages 20 and 62-3.


Hugh Houghton
"The Vulgate text of the Catholic Epistles is believed to have been produced at the same time as the rest of the latter half of the New Testament, despite differences in relation to earlier Latin tradition which are especially noticeable in James and I Peter."
The most debated verses of the Catholic Epistles are 1 John 5:7-8, also known as the Johannine Comma.82 The additional mention of 'the Father, the Word and the Spirit' (pater uerbum et spiritus) appears to have originated in Latin tradition, possibly as a gloss at the end of the fourth century. The reference to these verses in the prologue to the Catholic Epistles (PROL cath) indicates their presence in the fifth century. The earliest form has the sequence in terra caelo, attested by Priscillian, the Pseudo- Augustine Speculum, the De trinitate ascribed to Vigilius of Thapsus and numerous later writers, as well as VL 64 (Freising Fragments). the Spanish witnesses in the Vetus Latina Register (VL 59 (Codex Demidovianus) , 67 (Leon Palimpsest), 91, 94, 95, 109), the first hand of VL 54, (Codex Perpinianensis) and a large number of Vulgate manuscripts. The text in VL 109 can be seen in Image 11, in line 22 of the third column (with the alternative sps in the margin). The Greek version found in the Textus Receptus and some later minuscule manuscripts is a translation of a secondary Latin form present in a handful of later Vulgate manuscripts and a correction to VL 54. This inverts the two clauses, reading in caelo pater uerbum et spiritus sanctus et hi tres unum sunt et tres sunt qui testimonium dant in terra ("in heaven, the Father, Word and Holy Spirit, and these three are one, and there are three who bear witness on the earth'). Some witnesses replace uerbum with filius, giving the standard sequence 'the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit': although Cyprian twice has this phrase alongside the words tres unum sunt, the absence of other references to the immediate context discount this as a reference to the Johannine Comma. The addition is completely lacking from the earliest surviving Latin quotation of these verses, the African treatise De rebaptismate composed around 256, as well as Ambrose, Rufinus, Augustine, Quodvultdeus, and other authors.83 There is one Carolingian manuscript which includes on the back page four patristic testimonies concerning the form of this passage.84

82 See further Thiele 1959, de Jonge 1980, Metzger 1994.
83 For mere on the controversial passage, see Thiele 1959, de ]onge 1980, Metzger 1994:647-9.
84 Paris, BnF, latin 13174: see Berger 1893:103.
85 See Thiele 1972.
86 On this variant, see further Thiele 1972:100.
87 The addition is not found in Bede; Metzger 1994:617 misreads the Oxford Vulgate apparatus.
88 Metzger 1994:624.

p. 178-179


Note: Check other pages I have bookmarked.

And, is there really any argument at all of substance for this not simply being Jerome?

(So far, it does not seem so, but references and scholars need checking.)
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Steven Avery

Jerome's claim to translate the full New Testament

The traditional view.

Also Jerome translated it into Latin; as appears in Chronicis Cestercien. lib. ii. cap. 32; and after Jerome had translated it into Latin, he translated, for two women, much of the Bible. And for the maidens Eustachia and Paula, he translated the books of Joshua, of Judges, and of Ruth, and Esther, and Ecclesiastes, Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Daniel, and the twelve prophets, and the seven canonical Epistles, as appears in their prologues.

The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe: A New and Complete Edition, Volume 4
John Foxe

More below.

Modern view

Jerome - Translations of Scripture
This modern view makes no sense:

Modern scholarship has been able to reconstruct Jerome s translations of the New and Old Testament. It has thus emerged that he only revised the text of the Gospels, but not of Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation. The passages Jerome himself cites from these books of the New Testament very often differ from the text of the Vulgate. And in his commentaries on the Pauline Epistles to Philemon, the Galatians, the Ephesians, and Titus, which were written in 386 (i.e. shortly after the alleged revision of the New Testament4), Jerome never referred to his own translation, but only criticized an anonymous Latin interpreter on several occasions. His statement in Famous Men that he had translated the whole New Testament from Greek into Latin5 might at best be understood as an intention that was never fully realized, unless one is prepared to explain it as another testimony to his amazing showmanship. The Vulgate version of Acts, the Pauline Epistles, and Revelation is now ascribed to an author working in Rome at the end of the fourth century; modern editors of the Old Latin versions in particular are prepared to identify this translator with Rufinus the Syrian, who is said to have been a friend of Jerome and Epiphanius of Salamis until he, at the beginning of the fifth century, went over to the Pelagian movement.6

Stefan Rebenich
I translated the New Testament from the Greek, and the Old Testament from the Hebrew, and how many Letters I have written To Paula and Eustochium I do not know, for I write daily.

On Illustrious Men - 392 AD

Vulgate Prologue

Jerome claimed to have revised the whole of the New Testament, but it is now thought that his labours were more limited.65 It appears that the Pauline epistles were re-translated at the turn of the fourth and fifth centuries not by Jerome but by a single reviser, possibly Rufinus.66 Thus Victorinus, Ambrosiaster, and Augustine all commented on Old Latin texts of Paul, Jerome commented on a version of the epistles which seems to be halfway between the Old Latin and the Vulgate, and the anonymous commentator and Pelagius both had access to the Vulgate epistles.67 The project of producing new Latin translations of books of the Bible was not met with great enthusiasm in Rome. Jerome attacked both Helvidius and Ambrosiaster over their stubborn adherence to Latin manuscripts of the Bible over Greek ones, and even though Jerome does not appear to be responsible for the Vulgate text of the Pauline epistles, his disagreement with Ambrosiaster over which manuscript tradition to follow suggests that he brought his characteristic textual-critical approach to bear on commenting on the epistles too.68

65 Jerome, De vir. ill. 135; C. Brown Tkacz, ‘Labor tam utilis: the Creation of the Vulgate’, Vigiliae Christianae, 50 (1996): pp. 42-72; Kelly, Jerome, pp. 88-9.
66 D. Brown, ‘Jerome and the Vulgate’, in A. Hauser and D. Watson (eds), A History of Biblical Interpretation: The Ancient Period (Grand Rapids, MI, 2003), ch. 13, at 359-60.
67 Cooper, Galatians, p. 348; Souter, Earliest Latin Commentaries, pp. 15-16; Plumer, Galatians, appendix 2; Brown, ‘Jerome’, pp. 359-60; de Bruyn, Pelagius, pp. 8-9.
68 Jerome, Ep. 27.1; H. Vogels, ‘Ambrosiaster und Hieronymus’, Revue Benedictine,

Interpreting the Bible and Aristotle in Late Antiquity: The Alexandrian Commentary Tradition Between Rome and Baghdad (2011)
Lössl, J. W. Watt

Of the Apocrypha he translated only parts, and these very cursorily (pref. to Tobit, vol. x.), doubtless because of his comparative indifference to the Apocrypha, his opinion of which is quoted in Art. vi. of the 39 Articles, from the preface to the Books of Solomon (vol. ix. ed. 1308).

Modern scholarship has been able to reconstruct Jerome’s translations of the New and Old Testament. It has thus emerged that he only revised the text of the Gospels, but not of Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation. The passages Jerome himself cites from these books of the New Testament very often differ from the text of the Vulgate. And in his commentaries on the Pauline Epistles to Philemon, the Galatians, the Ephesians, and Titus, which were written in 386 (i.e. shortly after the alleged revision of the New Testament4), Jerome never referred to his own translation, but only criticized an anonymous Latin interpreter on several occasions. His statement in Famous Men that he had translated the whole New Testament from Greek into Latin5 might at best be understood as an intention that was never fully realized, unless one is prepared to explain it as another testimony to his amazing showmanship. The Vulgate version of Acts, the Pauline Epistles, and Revelation is now ascribed to an author working in Rome at the end of the fourth century; modern editors of the Old Latin versions in particular are prepared to identify this translator with Rufinus the Syrian, who is said to have been a friend of Jerome and Epiphanius of Salamis until he, at the beginning of the fifth century, went over to the Pelagian movement.6

Jerome (2002)
Stefan Rebenich

Vulgate Translation Timeline
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Steven Avery

unraveling the scholarship

Today it is common to say that:

1) Jerome only translated the New Testament Gospels. The rest was done later by ... somebody .. maybe Rufinus (yet why doesn't he tell us?)

2) The Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical (Catholic) Epistles is not truly by Jerome, but by somebody who must have been pretending to be Jerome. Generally this would have to be an unidentified and tricky forger, yet one who had enough clout to get the Prologue into the Vulgate transmission line.

These two points are closely related. If the Prologue is by Jerome (2) is true, then (1) is false. And if (1) is true, then (2) is false.

So these two theories, "consensus scholarship" more or less in modern days (yet not in earlier days) are closely linked.

Yet, so far, I have not seen any compelling evidence for either proposition.

e.g. The Epistles are translated in a different style?
Well, they are different books done by Jerome a decade or more later. Nothing surprising.

e.g The Prologue does not read like Jerome?
Some learned men over the years have strongly disagreed, even considering the objections as frivolous.

So I was wondering if you have ever considered these issues as a whole? Or if there is any writing that really does not simply presume the current scholarship as necessarily true, and reexamines these issues afresh?

Or am I missing some compelling evidence behind these conclusions.

It seems that presumptions of forgery should go over a fairly high bar of evidence before being embraced. After all, the Prologue says directly that it is to Eustochium, and talks of issues like the book order that are vintage Jerome. So who would have done all that, and why, and how could they influence even Fuldensis and Victor of Capua with such a blatant forgery?
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Steven Avery

Jerome thrice says that he revised the (whole of the) New Testament

Until modern times, it was accepted that Jerome was the author of the full NT new Latin translation.

As stated in Illustrious Men, and indicated in the Vulgate Prologue.

And it is easy to see why. We have evidence after evidence from Jerome (and no real evidence from any of the conjectured alternatives.)

Dr. William Smith’s Dictionary of the Bible … revised and edited by Prof. H.B. Hackett … Volume IV (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Co., 1881)
The Vulgate
Brooke Foss Westcott (1888)

Jerome ... enumerates (a.d. 398) among his works “the restoration of the (Latin Version of the) N. T. to harmony with the original Greek.” (Ep. ad Lucin. lxxi. 5: “N. T. Graecae reddidi auctoritati, ut enim Veterum Librorum fides de Hebraeis voluminibus examinanda est, ita novorum Graecae (?) sermonis normam desiderat.” De Vir. Ill. cxxxv.: “N. T. Graecae fidei reddidi. Vetus juxta Hebraicam transtuli.”)

It is yet more directly conclusive as to the fact of this revision, that in writing to Marcella (cir. a.d. 385) on the charges which had been brought against him for “introducing changes in the Gospels,” he quotes three passages from the Epistles in which he asserts the superiority of the present Vulgate reading to that of the Old Latin (Rom. xii. 11, Domino servientes, for tempori servientes; 1 Tim. v. 19, add. nisi sub duobus aut tribus testibus; 1 Tim. i. 15, fidelis sermo, for humanus sermo).

Westcott earlier in 1863

Letter to Lucinius - 398 AD
Latin, Epistulae, 3, 71&level=4&domain=&lang=1&id=&hilite_id=&links=&inframe=1

An historico-critical introduction to the canonical books of the New Testament, tr. [from the Lehrbuch, pt. 2] by F. Frothingham (1858)
Wilhelm Martin L. De Wette
He asserts that he translated the whole New Testament

"hieron Praef in Evangg."

Apparently that Preface today is thought to be not from Jerome,

See this page from Hugh Houghton:

The Latin New Testament: A Guide to Its Early History, Texts, and Manuscripts
Hugh A. G. Houghton

The interest in translation within the Pelagian community, combined with the earliest attestation of the Vulgate text of the latter part of the New Testament, has led to the suggestion that the revision of these books was undertaken by one of its

However, one "hieron Praef in Evangg." is quoted in Houghton, and seems to include the Romans 12:11 and 1 Timothy 1:15 verses in Marcella.

(clean up these two Latin sections)

Hieron. Praef. in Evangg.: Quae ne multum a lectionis Latinae consuetudine discreparent, ita calamo temperavimus, ut his tantum, quae sen8um videbantur mutare, conectis reliqua manere patercmur. ut fuerant.

The other one is given as"

* Hieron. Praef. in IV. Evangg. ad Damas. : Novum opus facere me cogis ex vcteri, ut post exemplaria Scripturarum toto orbe dispersa quasi quidam arbiter sedeam, et quia inter se variant, quae sint ilia, quae cum Graeca consentiant veritate, decernam. Pius labor, sed periculosa praesumtio............corrigere ? Adversus quam invidiam duplex caussa me consolatur, quod et lu, qui summus sacerdos es, fieri jubes, et verum non esse quod variat, etiam maledicorum testimonio comprobatur. Si enim Latinis exemplaribus fides est adhibenda, respondeant, quibus: tot enim sunt exemplaria paene, quot codices. Sin autem veritas est quaerenda de pluribus: cur non ad Graecam originem revertentes, ea quae vel a vitiosis interpretibus male edita, vel a praesumtoribus impcritis emendata perversius, vel a librariis dormitantibus addita sunt, aut mutata, corrigimusl .... De Novo nunc loquor Testamento.....................Hoc certe quum in nostro sermone discordat, et diversos rivulorum tramites ducit: uno de fonte
quaerendum est.

Time to do some checking.

Letter XXVII. To Marcella.
In this letter Jerome defends himself against the charge of having altered the text of Scripture, and shows that he has merely brought the Latin Version of the N.T. into agreement with the Greek original. Written at Rome 384 a.d.

... I am not, I repeat, so ignorant as to suppose that any of the Lord's words is either in need of correction or is not divinely inspired; but the Latin manuscripts of the Scriptures are proved to be faulty by the variations which all of them exhibit, and my object has been to restore them to the form of the Greek original, from which my detractors do not deny that they have been translated.... They may say if they will, "rejoicing in hope; serving the time," but we will say "rejoicing in hope; serving the Lord."
717 They may see fit to receive an accusation against a presbyter unconditionally; but we will say in the words of Scripture, "Against an eider 718 receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all." 719 They may choose to read, "It is a man's saying, and worthy of all acceptation;" we are content to err with the Greeks, that is to say with the apostle himself, who spoke Greek. Our version, therefore, is, it is "a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation." 720 Lastly, let them take as much pleasure as they please in their Gallican "geldings;" 721 we will be satisfied with the simple "ass" of Zechariah, loosed from its halter and made ready for the Saviour's service, which received the Lord on its back, and so fulfilled Isaiah's prediction: "Blessed is he that soweth beside all waters, where the ox and the ass tread under foot." 722
717 Rom. xii. 11, Rom. xii. 12. The reading kuriw "Lord" is probably correct. The R.V. says, "Some ancient authorities read the opportunity," (kairw).
718 I.e. a "presbyter."
719 1 Tim. v. 19, 1 Tim. v. 20.
720 1 Tim. i. 15.
721 Jerome's detractors suggested this word instead of the simpler "ass" in Zech. ix. 9 and Matt. xxi. 2-5. The phrase "Gallican geldings" appears to be a quotation from Plaut. Aul. iii. 5, 21.[SUP]
722 Isa. xxxii. 20, LXX.


Texts and Studies, Contributions to Biblical and Patristic Literature ..
The Biblical Texts used by Pelagius (1891)
J. Armitage Robinson

"Jerome thrice says that he revised the (whole of the) New Testament"

Add Epistle 112, Section 20

Jerome Epistle 112 C.S.E.L. LV. p. 391 II 3-4

To Augustine
Fremantle summary

On receiving Letter CIV. together with duly authenticated copies of Letters LVI. and LXVII. Jerome in three days completes an exhaustive reply to all the questions which Augustine had raised. He explains what is the true title of his book On Illustrious Men, deals at great length with the dispute between Paul and Peter, expounds his views with regard to the Septuagint, and shews by the story of "the gourd" how close and accurate his translations are. His language throughout is kind but rather patronising: indeed in this whole correspondence Jerome seldom sufficiently recognizes the greatness of Augustine. The date of the letter is 404 a.d.

Tres simul epistulas immo

Because, however, in other letters you ask, why my former translation has asterisks and obelisks noted in the canonical books, and afterwards I published another translation without them –I say with your pardon— you do not seem to me to understand, because you have inquired (about them). For this first translation is from the seventy translators and, wherever the marks are, that is the obelisks, it is shown, that the Seventy said more than is contained in the Hebrew; however, where there are asterisks, that is stars which light the way, the reading was added by Origen from the version of Theodotion. And in that (former) translation we translated from the Greek, in this place from the Hebrew itself, we expressed what we were understanding, preserving more importantly the truth of the sense than the order of the words now and then. And I am amazed how you do not read the books of the Seventy in their pure form, as they were published by the Seventy, but rather as emended (emendatos) by Origen or rather corrupted by the obelisks and asterisks, and you do not follow the translation of a Christian man, especially when he (Origen) transferred these additions, which have been added from the edition of a man, a Jew and a blasphemer, after the Passion of Christ. Do you wish to be a true friend of the Septuagint? You should not read these (additions), which are under the asterisks; on the contrary, erase/scrape them from the chapters, so that you might show yourself to be a true patron. If you do this, you will be forced to condemn all the libraries of the churches. For scarcely one or another manuscript/book will be discovered, which has not such additions.
Epistola CXII
(al. 89; scripta circa finem anni 404)
Hieronymi ad Augustinum
Et si me, ut dicis, in novi Testamenti emendatione suscipis, exponisque causam cur suscipias; quia plurimi linguae Graecae habentes scientiam, de meo possint opere judicare: eamdem integritatem debueras etiam in veteri credere Testamento, quod non nostra confinximus; sed ut apud Hebraeos invenimus, divina transtulimus. Sicubi dubitas, Haebraeos interroga.

If I thought that, as you say, is there to take in the amendment of the New Testament, exponisque a reason why we may take in; because most of them, having knowledge of the Greek tongue, he will be able to judge the work: to believe in the Old Testament, too, you should have the integrity of the same, that it is not our confinximus; but in order that we find among the Hebrews, the divine themselves. Where some doubt, ask Haebraeos
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Steven Avery

reasons why Jerome is considered to be not the author of Acts and Epistles and Revelation

This is from Stefan Rebenich

Jerome: The "Vir Trilinguis" and the "Hebraica Veritas"
Stefan Rebenich
Vigiliae ChristianaeVol. 47, No. 1 (Mar., 1993), pp. 50-77 (JSTOR library)

Modern scholarship has made an effort to reconstruct Jerome's translations of the New and Old Testament. It has thus emerged that he only revised the text of the Gospels, but not of Acts, the Epistles or Revelation since the passages Jerome cites from these books of the New Testament differ very often from the text of the Vulgate. And in his commentaries on the Pauline Epistles to Philemon, the Galatians, the Ephesians and Titus, which were written in 386, i.e. shortly after the alleged revision of the New Testament,9 Jerome never referred to his own translation, but only criticized an anonymous Latinus interpres on several occasions. Stylistic reasons, especially regarding the Latin translation of Acts, finally shake his declaration made in De viris iliustribus that he had translated the whole New Testament from the Greek into Latin.10 This statement might at best be understood as an intention which was never fully realized, unless one would like to call it an intentional exaggeration.11 The Vulgate version of Acts, the Pauline Epistles and Revelation is now ascribed to an author working in Rome at the end of the fourth century; the modern editors of the Vetus Latina in particular are prepared to identify this translator with Rufinus the Syrian who is said to have been a friend of Jerome and Epiphanius of Salamis until he, at the beginning of the fifth century, went over to the Pelagian movement to appear as the author of the Liber de Fide.12

Jerome started his revision of the Bible with the translation of the Gospels during his stay in Rome from 382 to 385 after he had won the financial and theological support of the Roman bishop Damasus for his ambitious project.13


One big potential error here. Jerome did not do the rest of the New Testament in 384. It was done after many of these comments, as indicated in the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles.
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Steven Avery

Amy Donaldson references to Jerome

Answer to the assertion:

However, there is no real difference between how Jerome references the sections we know he did do (the Gospels) and the sections about which we inquire. And we have to explain the many NT textual elements. (There is also the chronology issue, many of the quotes may be before the translation.)

Amy Donaldson #1

p. 145 - Epistle 119 variants among Greek copies – also p. 149 1 Cor 15:51-52 p. 161 p. 217-218 p. 243

fountainhead – See Against Helvidius

p. 146-147 -148 -
Commentary on Ephesians – Greek mss

p. 151 - Karl Hulley – textual criticism - Lucian recension

p. 154 - Commentary on Galatians – 1 Cor 13:3 Romans 12:11
p. 155 - Acts 15:29 - Hebrews 2:9
p. 157 - Colossians 2:18 - Galatians 2:5
p. 159 - Titus 3:15 – p. 262
p. 160 - Romans 16:25-27 p. 215
p. 162 - Galatians 3:1
p. 163 - Eph 3:14 Eph 1:6
p. 164 - Eph 5:14 p. 222-225 p. 274 p. 278 p. 333
p. 212 – Epistle 27 Marcella again ***
p. 216 - Romans 14:23
p. 220-223 - Galatians 2:5
p. 226-230 - Hebrews 2:9
p. 234 LEMMA list of verses

p. 244 Col 2:18
p. 246 – 1 Corinthians 9:5
p. 253 – Galatians 3:1
p. 265 – Eph 2:4 – p. 298
p. 267 – 1 Cor 13:3
p. 279 – Gal 2:5
p. 292 – Gal 3:1 Origen

p. 295-296 how much did Jerome do – Tkacz – metzeger early versions

There are verses where Jerome discusses the textual aspect
Much more continues on Asheville on disk (move to google docs)


BEGIN p. 449-547 - Commentary Galatians 5:2 - MANY
Ephes 2:4 567-568 2 Thess 2:3 p. 571
p. 588 Romans thing
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Steven Avery

supposed late dating of the Vulgate Prologue was key to the opposition to its authenticity

From Grantley McDonald:

BCEME - p. 211
Emlyn applauded Mill’s refusal to credit the improbable notion that the comma was erased by heretics, and his rejection of the prologue to the Catholic Epistles as the work of ‘some silly Rhapsodist after Bede’s time’. -
Biblical Criticism in Early Modern Europe: Erasmus, the Johannine Comma and Trinitarian Debate
p. 211

Just one of many examples historically of how the supposed late dating of the Vulgate Prologue was key to the opposition to its authenticity.
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Steven Avery

summarizing the historical arguments contra authenticity - emphasis on Martianay and Benson (Travis section)

summarizing the historical arguments contra authenticity - emphasis on Martianay and Benson (Travis section)

This is in the 1794 3rd edition of Travis, which also has a list of Vulgate mss, and whether they have the Prologue or not. In fact, the whole book should be reviewed for any other gems. The reply on the Preface is also in the 1785 edition. Here we have a classic "multiplication of nothings."

Letters to Edward Gibbon: author of the History of the decline and fall of the Roman Empire
George Travis - (1785) - (1794)
p. 128-139 in 1794
also note the later Newton section p. 172-180 has Prologue info.

In this disquisition it may, perhaps, be the most satisfactory method to state the objections of the chief opponents of this Verse singly, and to subjoin to each its distinct and separate reply. Of these

Sandius, (b)
M. Simon, [c) and
Mr. Emlyn (d) among its more early opponents; and

Dr. Benson, {e)
Sir Isaac Newton, (f)
M. Griesbacb, (g) and
Mr. Bowyer, (h)

among its more modern adversaries—seem to have been the mod diffuse in the variety of their remarks, and the most determined in their opposition. p. 71-72 (note this is general verse opposition, not specifically the Vulgate Prologue authenticity.

(b) Nucl. Eccl. Hist. p. 376, &c.—Interpr. Paradox,
(c) Hist, Crit, du Texte &c
(d) Full Inquiry &c. Sec Emlyn's Works, 2 Vols. Lond. Edit. A. D. 1746.
(e) Paraphrase on the Catholic Epistles, Vol. ii. Edit. A. D. 1756.
(f) History of two Texts (Vol. v. of Newton's Works, by Dr. Horsley.)
(g) New. Testtam. Graec. Vol. ii. p. 225, Edit Halae A. D. 1777.
(h) Conjectures on the N. Test, Edit. Lond, A. D. 1782.

Next we move to the Vulgate Prologue section of Benson, and each one has a solid Travis response.

XIV - "It is not in Jerome’s catalogue of prefaces”

XV - “It [this preface] is often found in Latin MSS, without his [Jerome’j] name”

XVI - “It [the preface] makes use of the words canonical epistles: whereas Jerome's title for them was The Catholic Epistles.”

XVII - “That preface is prefixed to some Latin copies of the Catholic epistles: in which the disputed text is not insersted.”

XVIII - “The preface is not found in some of the best and most ancient MSS of Jerome's Version."

XIX. “It [tbe Preface] infuriates one falsehood—that all the Greek copies of the New Testament had this verse. Whereas none of them had it. And Jerome, above all men, who was so couversant in the Greek copies of the New Testament, must needs have known this to have been a direct falsehood.”

XX. “ Nor has any of the genuine works of the Greek fathers once mentioned it”—[viz. the Verse 1 John v:7.]
(answered over 30+ pages)

XXI. “ It [the Preface] asserts two other direct and notorious falsehoods [viz. first] that the Latin translators were unfaithful in leaving out the testimony of the Father, the Word, and the Spirit

XXII. The other “ direct and notorious falsehood which this Preface asserts is—that he [Jerome] had restored this Verse.”

XXIII. “ Augustine, who was intimate with Jerome, kept a correspondence with him, read his works, and more especially his Latin Version of the New Testament, has never once, in all his voluminous works, mentioned the disputed text.'

XXIV. “What may put the matter [the spuriousness of the Preface] out of all dispute is, Jerome himself in his genuine voluminous works, hath never quoted this disputed passage."


Compare to the reasons of Martianay


And the new information on the Harleianus, that it counts as an early Vulgate with the Prologue.


And most important to check is the information above Eustochium prodding Jerome before the Prologue. This is potentially incredible info.

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Steven Avery

Vincent of Lerins - Peregrinus - unknown editor- please, must be somebody other than Jerome!

This was in the "Metzger Charade" thread, but it is helpful here as part of the comedy of errors of faux attribution of various forgers, the potential rogue's gallery. (Also remember that Erasmus at one point accuses Jerome of forging the verse!)

Raymond E. Brown's appendix in his Anchor Commentary series on The Epistles of John still holds that the Prologue was not written by Jerome in 1982.

Raymond Edward Brown (1928-1998) is one of the only modern scholars writing against authenticity who offers real scholarship. His theory is that the forgery was for the purpose of moving the heavenly witnesses forward in the Latin Bible transmission. Here is his full section, which is simply assertion without evidence.

Raymond Brown
To the period before 550 belongs a Prologue to the Catholic Epistles, falsely attributed to Jerome, which is preserved in the Codex Fuldensis (PL 29, 827-31). Although the Codex itself does not contain the Comma, the Prologue states that the Comma is genuine but has been omitted by unfaithful translators. The Prologue has been attributed to Vincent of Lerins (d. 450) and to Peregrinus (Künstle, Ayuso Marazuela), the fifth-century Spanish editor of the Vg. In any case, Jerome's authority was such that this statement, spuriously attributed to him, helped to win acceptance for the Comma. (1982 p. 782-783)

So Brown goes out on a limb and says that right after Jerome died, a forger fooled everyone, and quickly wrote a really sweet Prologue, whose single nefarious purpose was to push through this new verse. See Ockham above.

Beyond that, Brown adds a tidbit of information about who had which possible forger (remember, Chapman demolished the Peregrinus theory long ago). He gives us nothing about the substantive issues, indicating the rule of circularity.

Archived at
[TC-Alternate-list] circularity, the jewel - Vulgate Prologue examined - heavenly witnesses
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Steven Avery

David Martin shreds frivolous arguments of Martianay and John Mill - Richard Simon

David Martin (1639-1721) would not be expected to make so many excellent points, since he sounds equivocal on authenticity of the Vulgate Prologue.

A critical dissertation upon the seventh verse of the fifth chapter of St. John's first epistle, There are three, that bear record in heaven, &c: Wherein the authentickness of this text is fully prov'd against the objections of Mr. Simon and the modern Arians - translated by Samuel Jebb (1719)
Chap. V.- p. 23-32
Of St. Jerom’s Preface to the Seven Canonical Epistles. (1719)

The genuineness of the text of the first Epistle of saint John. chap. v. [verse]. 7., tr. from the French
Of the judgment St. Jerom has made of this Text, in his Prologue to the seven Catholick Epistles. (1722)

Tis impossible but that St. Jerom must have seen in the Italick Version a Text which Tertullian and St. Cyprian had read there before him, and which all the world had seen there as well as they, and which the great numbers of Bishops who liv’d in the same age with St. Jerom read there also. The toilsome and difficult pains he gave himself to purge that Version from the faults, which had crept into it, did not allow him to spare a Text, which would have been the greatest of all the faults he had to correct, if it did not really belong to St. John’s Epistle; but far from taking it away, he on the contrary has complain’d in very strong terms, in his Prologue to the seven Epistles, of the omission of this Text in some private Version, which appear’d in his time; the Authors of which he treats as unfaithful Translators: a reproach unjust as well as rash, if this passage had not been in the Italick Version, which was used by the whole Church; and if withal it was not in the Greek of the New Testament, since it was from the Greek, as from the Original, that the Latin Versions were made. These consequences are natural, and ’tis impossible to overturn ’em, but by destroying the principle from which they proceed, which is absolutely to deny that this Prologue is St. Jerom’s. And thus Mr. Simon has bent his whole force this way with a view to exclude the passage it treats of, as a forg’d and supposititious Text: Dr. Mill and F, Martianay have gone into the same opinion concerning the Prologue, but yet with different views, for they believ’d the passage of St. John genuine; their prejudice reach’d no farther than the Prologue. I have collected from the Writings of each all the reasons they have urg’d to shew that St. Jerom is not the Author: I have examin’d ’em step by step one after another, and have shewn ’em to be so weak, that Mr. Emlyn who has twice enter’d the lists since upon these matters, he has not been able to destroy one of my arguments.

The most specious of those which had been urg’d against this Preface, was that the seven Epistles are there call’d Canonicals a name which F. Martianay; who is the Author of this remark, pretends was not given to these Epistles, ’till after the sixth Century, and consequently that it could not be St. Jerom, who wrote the Preface, where they are call’d by this name. This reason would be good, if the remark was just, but I have shewn from several Authors, that it is not: I shall not offend, if I here add two other instances. The first is from Vigilius, Bishop of Tapsum in the fifth Century, who in his Book against Varimadus says, “Tis written in the Canonical Epistles, my little children, this is the last time: the quotation is from the first Epistle of St. John. The other instance is taken from St. Jerom himself, who in an Epistle to Paul, Marcellus, and Eustochium, the same Eustochium to whom the Prologue is address’d, says to ’em, Jude the Apostle and Brother of James had said in his Canonical Epistle, &c. F. Martianay, who has read so often over the works of St. Jerom, of which he has given us a most beautiful Edition, and adorned them with the most learn’d Prefaces which have appear’d, would be much surpris’d, was he alive, to see his Criticism upon the word Canonical, confuted by St. Jerom himself; but the most learned men are subject to such mistakes.

Tho’ it be a main point for those Gentlemen who dispute the Text of the witnesses in heaven to be genuine, to take from it the suffrage of St. Jerom in the Prologue here in question, yet Mr. Emlyn will not answer for the reasons which have been urg’d against this Prologue, and he does not find ’em strong enough for him to keep close behind so weak a bulwark; Mr. Martin, says he, may be one of those Writers, who are sure to defend what others have said upon a subject in debate; but for my part, I undertake to defend that only, which I think valid and conclusive. Let us pass by what he says of me, he don’t know me: let us dwell upon what he tells us of his own turn of genius; I undertake, says he, to defend that only, which I think valid and conclusive. He might at this rate have spar’d himself the trouble of writing his two last pieces in order to defend what others had said before him against the passage of St. John; he in this had less consulted his strength than his inclination, which has carried him to enter into an engagement which he would have done well not to have meddled with; he gets no honour by it. But whence is it, that after having engag’d so deeply in it, he gives up all the proofs urg’d against a Preface, which, if it subsists, is the total ruine of his side of the question? It is, he says, because he does not undertake to defend reasons which do not appear to him solid and conclusive: such a consession does not make much for their honour, and makes much for me, who have had the same opinion of it before him. Yet you must not believe that he entirely abandons the dispute; he has one shift left which appears to him secure, and with which alone he thinks to triumph. If St. Jerom, says he, was the Author of this Prologue, in which the passage that speaks of the three witnesses in heaven is characterize as the principal support of the faith, and the omission of this passage in some Versions mark’d with the odious name of unfaithfulness,
would it be possible after this that St. Jerom should have never produe’d so terrible a passage against the Arians, when he opposed ’em in his Writings? I had largely answer’d this, and amongst other things had said, that this objection supposed this holy Doctor to have wrote some particular Treatise against Arianism: whereas there is no such piece found among all the great Volumes we have of his; and that he had but scarce touch’d upon it as it came in his way in some of his Commentaries. Mr. Emlyn returns to me upon this subject, and contents himself with alledging in general the Comment upon Ezekiel, without marking any passage where Arianism is mention’d. This vague and confus’d manner of quoting a Book has its profit and advantages for those who judge that it is more secure to lurk behind this general form of speaking, than to appear in a distinct and express quotation. I have read St. Jerom’s Commentary upon Ezekiel more than once, and have found him so far from expressly engaging against Arianism, that he speaks not of the Holy Trinity but upon occasion of the mystical exposition of some expressions, which are found in this Prophet; and the passages which he quotes, tho’ rarely, are always such whose ideas have relation to those of the mystical terms and explications he gives, and which are often far fetch’d: instances of this observation may be seen in the xith Chapter verse 1. in the xlth Chapter, verse. 44. and in divers other places.

To this I add, that a very considerable time having pass’d betwixt the Prologue and the Commentary upon Ezekiel, ’tis by no means surprizing that St. Jerom not being concern’d in the least with the affair of Arianism, should not have present in his mind a Text of which he had spoke with so much force upon a quite different occasion, as that of the revise of St. John’s Epistle was. He was working upon this revise about the year 389 or 390; for giving in the year 392, (which he notes to be the 14th year of the reign of Theodosius) a Catalogue of his Works, he sets down in the number the review of the New Testament: now he did not finish, as is gathered from his Works, his Commentary upon Ezekiel ’till the year 414, and consequently 24 or 25 years after he drew up the Prologue to the seven Epistles. Will Mr. Emlyn find that after so long a space of time St. Jerom must have present in his mind the noble vivacity with which he had spoke of the Text of the witnesses in heaven against the unfaithful Translators, who had not inserted it in their Version, that this Text must have plac’d it self under his pen, and be necessarily repeated there? If he thinks so, those who know mankind better, and how men of the greatest parts do not always think upon the same thing, how the most judicious content themselves with saying or writing what is most to their purpose, and how 24 or 25 years time are capable of fixing the mind to one thing, without prejudice to that which made a lively impression upon it 24 years before, will not find the least difficulty in comprehending, how ’tis possible that St. Jerom, after all the reasons I have given, should not have quoted the passage of St. John, of which he had spoke with so much zeal and force in the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles.

Mr. Emlyn carries his reasoning yet one step higher, and to give it the greater advantage, he represents the Author of the Prologue as taking upon him the Character of Restorer and Preserver of this passage, against the omission which he condemns in some Latin Versions; from whence Mr. Emlyn infers, that these characters cannot belong to St. Jerom, since he has made no mention of this Text in his Commentaries, nor in his Epistles.

The Author of the Prologue does not give himself the great titles of Restorer and Preserver, nor represents himself under any of these ideas; ’tis from himself Mr. Emlyn has taken them. The word and idea of Restorer would reach much farther than to those particular Versions, which are specify’d in the Prologue, and which, as we learn from St. Augustine, were almost of no consideration in comparison of the Italics: which was call’d she Common Version, because as I have several times observ’d, it was that of all the Churches: and the passage of St. John not being wanting in this Version, which was in the hands of all the world, the name of Restorer of this Text could not belong to the Censurer of those other obscure Versions, Which at most were only in the hands of some private persons. I say the same thing of the word Preserver; which is no less a stranger to this Preface than the other. The Text in hand had no need of any other Preserver than the original Greek, and the Bible of the Churches.

But has Mr. Emlyn well consider’d that in making the Author of this Preface, whoever he was, since he will have him not to be St. Jerom, speak thus of himself, he makes him say by a necessary consequence, that this Text was in the Greek, and in the ancient Editions; for how otherwise would he have been the Preserver of it? And will Mr. Emlyn acknowledge this? He is taken, as said the Royal Prophet, in the net which be had laid. But whilst he extricates himself out of it as well as he can, let us resume his reasoning, and draw an advantage from it in favour of the truth I maintain. The Author of the Prologue charges the Translators with unFaithfulness; who had not inserted this passage in their translation; therefore he must himself have plac’d it in his; for the Latin Poets observation; was always just,

Turpe est doctori cum culpa redarguit ipsum.
‘Tis shameful for a man to reprove others, and fall himself into the same fault he blames in them. But this is what St. Jerom cannot be charg’d with, if this passage was plac’d in his Version, which these unfaithful Translators had not inserted in theirs. Now this passage was no less in St. Jerom’s Version than in the Italick; ’tis a fact which consists in proof; I have given a great number in my Dissertation, and I shall resume and continue that subject in the following Chapter.
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Steven Avery

Albert A. Bell and Jerome translating the full Vulgate

Albert A. Bell (b. 1945)

Jerome's Role in the Translation of the Vulgate New Testament (1977)

For an argument that Jerome may well have produced the entire N.T. of the Vulgata, see Albert A. Bell, Jr., ’Jerome’s role in the Translation of the Vulgate New Testament’, New Testament Studies, 33 (1977: 230-33). - Theodore Letis

From Sacred Text to Religious Text: An Intellectual History of the Impact of Erasmian Lower Criticism on Dogma as a Contribution to the English Enlightenment and the Victorian Crisis of Faith (1995)
Theodore Letis
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Steven Avery

wild attempts to find an alternative to Jerome as author of the Prologue - attempt to claim Fuldensis Prologue was later

Jerome's Prologue : Codex Fuldensis : Copied Later? Chapman Refutes

Mike Ferrando:
Berger suggested it was copied later into the text.
Chapman refuted this supposition.
Grantley McDonald
Ghost of Arius
[PAGE 54]
77. Further on this preface, see Berger, 1904, 11-12, suggests that the author may have read Cassiodorus’ Institutiones, written in 544, just two years before Fuldensis was copied. However, I suggest that the degree of textual corruption in the text of the prologue as it stands in Fuldensis argues against such a close connection. Künstle, 1905, 27-28, also found Berger’s suggestion unlikely, and instead attributed the preface to Peregrinus. Chapman, 1908, 262-267, refuted Künstle’s attribution to Peregrinus, pointing out that the Spanish sources containing the preface all share certain textual corruptions not evident in copies from elsewhere, which one would not expect if the work had been composed in Spain.

There is a bit about the Peregrinus attempt here:

the Metzger charade - trying to keep Latin mss out of both Vulgate and Old Latin discussions

how Raising the Ghost of Arius handles the Vulgate Prologue evidence

And I have not seen anywhere that the "textual corruption" is specified. However, if Berger was somehow arguing that Cassiodorus led to the Prologue, that would be a very strained claim indeed. This whole question of alternate sources for the Prologue is rather interesting, and involves

Künstle – Berger - Martin - Bludau - Chapman - Ranke - Fischer - Denk are all quickly referenced.

Although at times it overlaps with the rogue's gallery list of supposed creators of the verse itself.
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Steven Avery

who was the first to assert that the Prologue was not Jerome? and what reasons did they give?

There was no doubt on authenticity in the medieval period.

Nor was there any real doubt on Jerome's authorship made in the Erasmian period, although his decision to not include the Prologue in his Jerome edition was ripped by John Fell. (Fell could have raised the issue of how Erasmus also kept the Cyprian reference out of the heavenly witnesses material from c. 1520-1535, since Erasmus was familiar with the Cyprian text from his 1521 Cyprian edition.) The discussions with Stunica and any others should have their own study, on the Vulgate Prologue, which was the most visible, difficult issue for Erasmus to handle, when trying to support the non-authenticity position.

Both of those, medieval and Erasmus, are planned to be discussed separately.


There are five key figures to consider in looking at the genesis of the attack on Vulgate Prologue authenticity from Jerome. Until Martianay is is something of a stumble-bumble argumentation.

John Selden (1584-1564)
Christopher Sandius - (1644-1680)
Richard Simon (1638-1712)
Isaac Newton (1643-1727)
Jean Martianay (1647-1717)

John Selden (1584-1564) writing in 1651
De synedriis et praefecturis juridicis veterum Ebraeorum libri ... in Epistoals Conanicas (1653, 1696 edition)

The equivocal nature of what Selden wrote is discussed by many, such as Turton (see below) and Armfield. Grantley McDonald morphed him into the first full-orbed opponent of authenticity, without giving any quotes that actually support this unusual assertion.

Ghost of Arius
"Sandius (like Selden after him, see below) also asserted that the prologue to the Catholic Epistles was not written by Jerome, thus removing an important piece of evidence cited by defenders of the comma...." Sandius, 1669, 382-385. p.161

Biblical Criticism
"John Selden ... argued that it is a pseudonymous forgery... 20 Selden 1653, 2:136;" p. 20
"John Selden... concluded that the prologue to the Catholic Episdes ... was not written by Jerome...." Sand 1669, 382-385. p. 111
The Selden "Selden 1653, 2:136" should line up with the text of our 1696 Selden url above.

The Ghost of Arius chronology error of placing Selden after Sandius was removed from Biblical Criticism, yet there is no errata in either publication. Note that there are also a couple of spots where the wording for Selden (Sandius as well, however the determination of whether he is equivocal or definite for non-Jerome needs its own review) is more properly equivocal on this topic, such as a "certain doubt".

Plus, simply raising issues of authenticity, or claiming a position, does not remove an evidence. it just bring forth a back-and-forth dialog as to the weight and significance of the evidence, and whether the issues raised are really substantive. A disussion which has actually been won by the authenticity proponents, as I believe readers of this forum can see. And we have actually sought to go over each individual claim and point out the very awkward vector of forgery, acceptance and transmission implied in the forgery claim. With the victory really being sealed with the Codex Fuldensis discovery, since the supposed late dating of the Prologue had actually become the key argument. The arguments raised by Simon and Martianay were either referenced, or given half-heartedly, without specifics. And a particularly problematic paragraph on the evidence issue, involving a false dichotomy, is covered in the review page of The Ghost of Arius.
Christopher Sandius (1644-1680) writing in 1669 (1712, note by Kettner)

Sandius was far more negative than Selden, yet from Grantley we seem to have the same dual approach of making him both a skeptic raising doubts on one hand, and yet also making an assertion of non-authenticity on the other. We plan to look at his wording, and bring forth any actual arguments.

"at praefatio illa non est genuina Hieronymi; nec legitur vel in operibus Hieronymi; vel in Bibliis vulgatis correctis"
Google translate slightly modified:
"yet the preface is not genuine Jerome; nor is it read in the works of Jerome, and in the Bible, or the vulgate Bible corrected "
Basically it is fair to say that Sandius accused the Prologue of not being genuine, on thin reasoning. Turton thinks he may have extrapolated from Selden. We should review the full page more completely.
Richard Simon (1638-1712)
See Turton below and material on the:
Facebook New Testament Scholarship Worldwide thread

From the Facebook - New Testament Scholarship Worldwide thread:

"If Erasmus, who had read many Greek and Latin copies of the New Testament, and frequently consulted S. Jerome's manuscripts, had applied himself to a strict examination of the Preface to the Canonical Epistles, which he thinks was written by that Father, he would rather have been inclined to reject that Preface, as suppositious, than to charge S. Jerome with forgery" - p.4

Then after discussing the date of extant mss, there is one internal argument given:
"neither the name of S. Jerome, nor of any other writer, is prefixed to the Preface, in some of the ancient copies where it is found, which sufficiently shows, that we many on good grounds question S. Jerome's being the author of it" - p. 5

Then, without concern for the forgery aspect, or motive, he takes a stab at the author:

"he who gathered all the books of the Latin Bible into one body (the better part of which was translated or revised by S. Jerome) is really the author of that Preface" p. 6

Then, after comparing with a Prologue that does not have the first person markers, he continues this idea, hand-waving the forgery aspect:

"tis also probable, that the compiler of the books of the Latin version, which we call the Vulgate, not finding in S. Jerome a particular Preface to the Canonical Epistles, made according to that Father's style, some of whose expressions he has made use of, and amongst others, has inserted that word Eustochium" - p. 6

Then, after discussion of the textual situation with the heavenly witnesses and the Preface, Simon argues:

"This diversity of copies is in my judgment an evidence proof, that he did not compose that Preface to prefix it to the Canonical Epistles" - p.7

However, an alternative, simpler, and Ockham-friendly explanation is simply that what the Prologue says happened, did happen.

Note that Simon has two purposes, to vindicate Jerome from the accusation of Erasmus that he was the rogue interpolator, and offer an alternative explanation:

"S. Jerome was not the true author either of the Preface or addition.. " - p. 7

Then after discussion of ms. diversity like some mss with the text in the margin, we have:

"this diversity does evidently prove that S. Jerome could not be the author of the addition in controversy, but that it was done by those who had a mind to adjust the text in S. James to the Preface" - p. 7

Simon means John. This leads to what is now Metzger's claim:

"All which different alterations are evident proofs that there was nothing of that addition in the first copies which were published iof S. Jerome's Bible" - p.8

Which has major problems in explaining how the verse became so prevalent in the Vulgate line and also is circular to the non-authenticity of the Prologue.
Then after the Council of Carthage (although the context is veiled) and Cyprian discussion, we have a hybrid section about the evidences and trying to find an alternate vindication of Jerome, and there is:

"Jerome .. was not the author of the Preface to the Canonical Epistles, nor the addition inserted into St. John's epistle" - p. 10

So Simon made his claim of non-authenticity and forgery about eight times, without giving any substantive evidence.

Let's add some sections, we will put the full Simon section in its own post further down, with analysis of his "reasons".

Isaac Newton (1643-1727) - he really simply implied the possibility that it may not be authentic, he did not structure any arguments, perhaps because he sensed their weakness.

Jean Martianay (1647-1717)
Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Operum tomus primus [-quintus], studio et labore monachorum ordinis S. Benedicti e congregatione S. Mauri

Jean Martianay on the Vulgate Prologue
In addition to Martianay's Latin work, the exposition of his arguments only exists in English among those that picked them to pieces. Calmet, Dolman and Lamy can be placed together, along with the comment from Genoud.

It is helpful to note that the arguments raised by Simon and Martianay are very different, as pointed out by Turton below.
"The principles, indeed, on which he condemned it, were designedly different from those of Simon"
Simon's argumentation was extremely thin, and largely refuted by Fuldensis.


Worthy of discussion in the early years is also:

Pierre (Peter) Pithou (1539-1596)
Richard Simon pegs him as examining mss. and strongly asserting authenticity, this may be the spot.

Alfonso Salmeron (1515-1585)

José de Sigüenza (1544-1606) - Jerome Historian
The life of Saint Jerome, the great doctor of the church: in six books

Farther on he says “ The present little preface only promises the four gospels, the order of which is Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, emended, comparing them and collating them with the Greek books and with those of the ancients in order not to deviate much from the Latin version in use; and in such a manner do we temper and moderate them that on correcting the places in which the sense appeared altered, all else remained as it was.” The same does he repeat on the canonical epistles in a prologue to the virgin Eustochium. “ Many days ago," he says, “ did we correct the gospels according to the truth of the Greek text.” From these passages and testimonies it seems a more proper manner of speaking to say that he emended the New Testament rather than that he made a new translation. But in whichever sense we may take it we can well say that it is all his own, because what he took away was taken away, and what he judged right to take and read from the ancient, that remained and was read, and is read now.

Mill, Bentley and Benson are referenced in Turton.

After the Attacks on Authenticity
Thomas Smith (1638-1710)
David Martin (1639-1721)
Thomas Emlyn (1663-1741)
Antoine Augustin Calmet (1672–1757) afawk, the earliest full response to authenticity attacks.

Thomas Turton (1780-1864) pithy discussion of Selden, and very helpful overall, even if at times his logic and analysis falters

In the year 1653, Selden published the second book of his treatise de Synedriis; in which, for some reason or other, he went out of his way to defend the genuineness of the disputed verse. Aware that the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles, if Jerome’s, would be good evidence in its favour, he laboured hard to persuade himself that it really was Jerome’s; but, I suspect, without success. He writes very doubtfully on the subject; confesses that many editions of the Vulgate, which contained Jerome’s acknowledged prologues, did not contain the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles; and also mentions its absence from the works of Jerome. Whatever may have been previously thought of the prologue, the indecisive language of Selden would naturally tend to lessen its credit; but how far it had that effect is uncertain.

We know, at least, that, in 1670, Sandius declared the prologue to be spurious; and, from the mode of expression he employed, there is some reason to suppose that he had been led to his conclusion by the statements of Selden

1 ‘ At prsefatio ilia non est genuina Hieronymi; nec legitur vel in operibus Hieronymi, vel in Bibliis vulgatis correctis.’
Intern. Paradox, p. 883.

After this, Simon—when discussing the claims of 1 John v. 7. in his Histoire Critique (1689, 1690.)—adduced a variety of arguments to shew that the prologue could not justly be ascribed to Jerome.

In 1693, appeared the Benedictine edition of the works of Jerome, under the superintendance of Martianay. The first volume of this edition contained the Bibliotheca Divina, or Jerome’s version of the Old and New Testaments, as derived from very old manuscripts—e vetustissimis manuscriptis codicibus; and prefixed to the Catholic Epistles is found the prologue in question. And thus did this notable composition gain admission, for the first time, into the collected writings of Jerome. Why it was then inserted is not very clear, for Martianay condemned it as a spurious work. The principles, indeed, on which he condemned it, were designedly different from those of Simon; to whom he seems to have entertained an extreme aversion. He states that all the Apostolic Epistles were printed from a copy in the Vatican
1; 1 ‘Omnes Epistola' Apostolorum sununn fide editte sunt juxta Exemplar Vaticanum.’ p. 1591.but when enumerating, in opposition to Simon, several antient MSS. of the Latin version which contained the prologue, he does not mention the Vatican copy as one of them. Again, Martianay contradicts Simon whenever an opportunity is presented; but although Simon had affirmed that none of the MSS. of Jerome's works contained the prologue, Martianay does not assert that they did. It was, therefore, not in consequence of any newly discovered MSS. either of the Latin version, or the works of Jerome, that the prologue appeared in the Benedictine edition1.... When treating of the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles, Selden remarked—‘ At vero quamplurimae sunt Vulgatae editioncs quae prologo illo prorsus carent, etiam dum alios Hieronymi habent. Neque inter Hieronymi opera prologo illi locus.'

We now proceed to Newton ; who, as we are told, ‘ascribed the Prologue to Jerome.’— “Between the years 1690 and 1700, Sir Isaac Newton wrote a dissertation upon 1 John v. 7.; in which he collected, arranged, and strengthened Simon’s arguments, and gave a clear, exact, and comprehensive view of the whole question1.” This dissertation affords, I believe, the only means of ascertaining the opinion of Newton, on the subject under consideration; and we there find the following passages.

“The first upon record that represented the testimony of the Three in heaven is Jerome, if the preface to the Canonical Epistles, which goes under his name, be his."—

“ From all these (Translators, Writers and Scribes) it will appear that the testimony of the Three in heaven was wanting in the Greek MSS. from whence Jerome, or whoever was the author of that preface to the Canonical Epistles, PRETENDS to have borrowed it."—

“ It is not once to be met with in all the disputes, epistles, orations, and other writings of the Greeks and Latins, in the times of those controversies (about the Trinity); no, not in Jerome himself, if his version and preface to the Canonical Epistles be excepted'.''—

Now passages of this kind must at least be understood to imply the existence of doubts on the writer’s mind, respecting the origin of the Prologue in question; and therefore, it cannot be quite correct to represent Newton as positively ascribing it to Jerome. The spuriousness of the work having been but recently maintained, and consequently, the notion not being, at that time, very prevalent, Newton might be satisfied with throwing out his suspicions on the subject, and then reasoning from it as if it were genuine: but that he had a strong impression that it was a forgery, must, I think, be very manifest to any one who will read his dissertation on 1 John v. 7.— On the whole, that Bishop Burgess should have enrolled Newton among the writers who attribute the Prologue to Jerome, is certainly ‘a thing to wonder at.’

The last on the Bishop’s distinguished list is Le Clerc—the personification of caution itself. (continues long section)

With regard to the credit attached to this famous prologue, the case seems to be—that, from the age of Erasmus to the date of Martianay’s edition of Jerome, not a single scholar perhaps can be found who, after a regular inquiry into the subject, stood by it as genuine; and that, from the date of that edition to the present time, the learned have fairly abandoned it. Mr. Porson, in his controversy with Archdeacon Travis, adopted and enforced the sentiments which had long been common to the great critics and the small, in this matter; and even now, Bishop Burgess does not avow sentiments of a contrary kind.
We jump ahead to some of the convoluted circularity that is common from the contras:

...It was not, as his Lordship imagines, merely because the prologue complained of unfaithful translators,, that Mr. Porson concluded that the text of the heavenly witnesses was absent from the Latin MSS. of those times; but also because the very existence of the prologue itself cannot be accounted for, on any other supposition. The purpose for which it was written could only have been, to introduce the text into the Latin MSS.; in which it must therefore have been previously wanting. If the text already existed in the Latin MSS. why was the prologue written at all? ... it was written for the express purpose of providing a remedy for this defect.
Here we have the total breakdown and self-destruction of the arguments of Porson, Turton and Westcott. (A fuller comment to be added.)

p. 201 goes into Bentley and a comment about "the weightiest evidence". p. 203 has the wild claim about "that absurd medley of words which constitute the prologue", also Benson is referenced. Then there is a false conclusion on p. 206 about the discordance when the Prologue is included but the verse omitted (which is simply a verification of the Prologue claim.) p. 206 then goes into Porson on the style, then an interesting comment by Mill, pre-Fuldensis. Then Porson is quoted as it being "so bad... unworthy of his pen." This type of unsubstantiated dismissive nonsense is common. Next we have the argument from before Fuldensis, a false argument accompanied with two pages of speculation:

Let us then suppose, with many learned men, that the prologue was first published in the eighth century1.
All this false speculation then leads to Turton's false and ignorant conclusion:

there is hardly to be found in antiquity a production of less weight than the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles.
Then he switches to the Glassa Ordinaria, an important medieval confirmation of the Prologue as from Jerome. (The issues around Walafrid Strabo are basically irrelevant, as his importance was actually a result of considering him as an author of the Glossa.) The emaphsis on Bede now has the Fuldensis discovery and the Claude Jenkins material. Plus today we have the full-orbed representation of about 75 and more medieval writers affirming the heavenly witnesses. So the polemic of Porson and Turton here is pretty much worthless, and Turton concludes the topic on p. 218.

Henry Thomas Armfield 1836-1898 - more discussion of Selden

Possibly Estius, Gerhard, Diego Montoya, Cheynell, Didacus, Henry Hammond, Socinus, Poole summary, Jean Mabillon, Jacobus Trigland, Du Pin, Majus (Major), LeFevre, Kettner (Porson says he flipped contra on the Prologue), Ussher, Hugo de Sancto Caro, Bengel and Socinus get mention in Turton

The next era includes Genoud, Gilbert Burnet, Ambrosius Dorhout, John Fell (Erasmus criticism)

followed by the 1800s (post 1790)
Porson and Travis, Burgess Brownlee et al and others in the 1800s.

Note any backward summaries of Bulter Horne-Tregelles-Abbot, Orme, and this

W.W. (William Wright?) 1845
especially how he handles Erasmus and Newton

Check some others like Turretin

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Steven Avery

A. W. Argyle - who was the first to assert that Jerome did not revise the full New Testament

A very difficult theory, mentioned by Hugh Houghton, with equivocation. It will be helpful to see how this theory developed. There are various phases of discussion. 1500s, the actual period from about 1900-1920, the articles mentioned here from the mid-late 1900s, and any current references.


Notes on the New Testament Vulgate )1976)
A. W. Argyle

The use of the phrase "a priori improable" I find puzzling. Plus we have a real logic problem:

It is a priori improbable that Jerome himself accomplished all this work single-handed in so short a time. True, Jerome appears to claim elsewhere to be the reviser of the whole New Testament (‘the New Testament I have restored in accordance with the Greek’, De Vir. III. 135, Ep. 71. 5), but here again Jerome may mean merely that in discharging his responsibility in planning and supervising the whole enterprise he saw to it that the whole work was restored in accordance with the Greek. In any case the whole of the New Testament revision cannot be Jerome’s personal work for there is indisputable evidence from Jerome’s many writings1 that when quoting New Testament books from Acts to Revelation he gives versions different from the Vulgate, just as C. H. Dodd in the last book he wrote (The Founder of Christianity) uses (as he himself candidly admits) translations of his own which differ from those in the New English Bible.

The irony here is that the Dodd analogy destroys his "cannot be Jerome's personal work" claim. Jerome was under no obligation to use literally a translation he made years earlier.


More on Argyle:

A. W. Argyle (b. 1910)
An Introductory Grammar of New Testament Greek by A. W. Argyle

More books
Also "Greek among the Jews'
Argyle is referenced a lot on the speaking Greek issues, he also has Aramaic and synoptic issues


To find Ted Letis resource.

Letis says Jerome did all NT and mentions a 16th century debate as to whether Jerome did Vulgate ?
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