Vulgate Prologue - super-evidence - English translations

Steven Avery

Jerome's five references to translating full Vulgate NT

Overview of Jerome's references in Vulgate.

Bell and Argyle used (De vir. ill. 135; Ep. 71.5),

We showed earlier that there is more.

Jerome, who writes accurately, affirms he revised the entire New Testament

Jerome... explicitly states that he revised the entire N. T., De Vir. III. 135, Ep. 71, 5 (to Lucinius) and Ep. 112, 20 (to Augustine).

Then we added Marcella and the Vulgate Prologue.
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Steven Avery

response of Albert A. Bell to A. W. Argyle paper

Jerome's Role in the Translation of the Vulgate New Testament (1977)
Albert A. Bell

A. W. Argyle has recently suggested in this journal1 that Jerome was probably not solely responsible for the Vulgate translation of the New Testament. He devotes particular attention to the Gospels, which were done first, between a.d. 382 and 384. ‘ It is a priori improbable’, he contends, ‘that Jerome himself accomplished all this work single-handed in so short a time’ (p. 224). He then amasses impressive statistics about the frequency with which certain Greek words are rendered by certain Latin ones and concludes that one translator/ reviser favoured one set of correspondences while a second man preferred another set. This approach tends, however, to overlook two important human factors: (i) Jerome’s enormous capacity for work and (2) his oft-lamented lack of competent help. ... In light of such evidence, two years spent translating the Gospels seems almost a leisurely pace for Jerome, even working alone, as he for the most part did.


None of this proves conclusively, of course, that Jerome translated the entire Vulgate New Testament by himself. That would have required diligent labour. But there is every reason to believe that Jerome was capable of it. Statistical word studies, though a valuable aid in determining the likelihood of a certain individual’s having written a particular piece of literature, are seldom conclusive by themselves. ‘Statistics is no panacea’, and the evidence gleaned from such studies is ‘no more potent than that to which scholars have long been accustomed’.4 Most scholars who have employed the method have been cautious in drawing conclusions from their data. J. J. O’Rourke, for example, could find no consistent pattern emerging from his statistics to prove or disprove the Pauline authorship of the letters generally attributed to the apostle.5 J. H. I. Watt frankly admitted that ‘our new approach to the authenticity of the Leontian writings has produced no final solution’.1 Statistical word studies of a translation are even less conclusive because the translator’s choice of vocabulary is dependent on several factors:

(i) his familiarity with the nuances of the language being translated;
(2) the breadth of his learning in his own language;
(3) the degree of correspondence intended between the two versions;
(4) the type of reference works available;
(5) the audience for whom the translation is intended.

Most importantly, an excessive reliance on statistics ignores the important variables of human personalities and capacities. ....

To return to the case at hand, if Jerome claims to have done all the work on the Vulgate New Testament himself (De vir. ill. 135; Ep. 71.5), and if his own testimony and the testimony of those who knew him indicate that he was indeed capable of doing it, such evidence should be given due weight along with that cited by Argyle. There should be no a priori assumptions about what a dynamic individual like Jerome could or could not have done in a given length of time.

1 ‘Notes on the New Testament Vulgate’, N.T.S. xxii (1975-76), 223-8.

Bell does a fine job refuting the idea that Jerome did not have enough time. Also he gives good resources on the limitatations of statistical analysis. However, as to whether there might have been a helper with Jerome on the Gospels, the specific statistical claims are not reviewed. Neither writer really delves into the canonical epistles.
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Steven Avery

Facebook - New Testament Scholarship Worldwide - 2015

First, we will bring over the full text. What is especially needed is the Richard Simon sections:

New Testament Scholarship Worldwide
June 26, 2015

Vulgate Prologue to the Canonical Epistles

There are a number of Prologues to the Vulgate, OT and NT. Some are clearly accepted as being written directly by Jerome. A few are considered to have been attached to the Vulgate by an editor using Jerome's writings. Priscillian and Peregrinus are discussed by John Chapman as having roles in the development of some Prologues. In Notes on the Early History of the Vulgate Gospels (1908).

There is a Prologue to the Canonical Epistles, written as a first-person document from Jerome. This Prologue is either authentic or an unusual forgery, in which case it is quite different qualitatively than any other Prologue.

The question on this thread, do you see the Vulgate Prologue as authentic from Jerome or a forgery? And why? Or do you simply have some input to share?

The original forgery accusation developed in the later 1600s, Christopher Sandius (1644-1680) and Richard Simon (1638-1712) beginning the new appraisal. And the lateness of all extant Vulgates with the Prologue was a major emphasis, the Prologue was claimed to be a forgery from around 800 AD.

The 1860 Ernst Ranke (1814-1888) edition of the 546 AD Codex Fuldensis showed that the Prologue was much earlier, and rather close to the time of Jerome. This was produced under the auspices of Victor of Capua, who is considered rather learned. Yet, with a notable exception or two, like Charles Vincent Dolman (1842-1918) in the Dublin Review, 1882, there was little in the way of reappraisal of the forgery opinion.

Do you know of any good early church writer "Patristics: study forums where this question would be an appropriate discussion, beyond the input here? Are there many scholars with a close familiarity with the life and writing of Jerome?

Your thoughts welcome!

If there is interest in the topic, and a desire for more info on the net, I would be happy to include more on a subsequent post.

... A little background might help.

The Prologue was seen as a forgery largely based on internal arguments that were given by Jean Martianay in 1693 in the Benedictine edition of Jerome's writings. The Latin is here:

Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Operum tomus primus [-quintus], studio et labore monachorum ordinis S. Benedicti e congregatione S. Mauri

and it is summarized as
five arguments. However, those arguments received solid responses, and you would be hard put to find anybody today seriously giving any of them as a strong evidence for inauthenticity. (And because of the first person nature of the writing, inauthenticity must mean forgery.)

It is hard to separate the internal arguments from the question of the heavenly witnesses defense, where the Prologue was seen as inauthentic simply because of how it referenced the verse. In terms of textual history, though, that can be circular, since those evidences in the early centuries are fascinating and often hotly contested.

And in the meantime, many people opposed to authenticity had emphasized the lateness of the Prologue, which they thought was around 800 AD. based on the mss known. However, the Prologue was then discovered in Codex Fuldensis, dated 546 and written under the auspices of the learned Victor of Capua. This was published by Ernst Ranke (1814-1888) in 1868.

You would figure that this would cause a reexamination of the forgery accusation, yet very little was published and you would have a hard time even finding the reasons why this writing became "Ps-Jerome".
Raul Martín Cruz-mireles
HI James! This post make me aware of the few people working with the Fuldensis right now. The closest to an expert on Fuldensis that I know is Philip Payne ; I´m not sure if Peter Head worked on it but I remember that on 2010 Gary I. Weiner, from Stanford University - then a student of Master of Liberal Arts Program-, published some good work on a fragment of the Epistle of James at one of Stanford University Libraries ( ) and I can remember that he worked also with Fuldensis then, but I do not have that paper. Now Gary is devoted to Vachel Lindsay, but probably he could help you; this is his youtube page: . Perhaps also the latinist Catherine Brown Tkacz could be of some help. I only have an address - 1503 East Courtland Avenue, Spokane, Whashington, 99207-4614 - but the people at the Dominican House of Studies, specially Albert Parestky, knows her well: . I do not have more ideas, sorry. It is a pitty that a codex that had so many first class students devoted to it one hundred years ago is so forgotten. :(. I always thank God for Rius Camp & Read-Heimerdinger .

Returning to the OP, the agreement of the unknowing pseudo-consensus on the Vulgate Prologue as non-authentic can be divided into 3 elements.

1) Lateness of mss, the idea that it does not show up until c. 800 AD. This was always weak, since either the verse or the Prologue were generally in Latin mss, but it became 100% non-functional with the Ranke publishing of Fuldensis with the Prologue in 1868.

2) The circular idea, stated or implied, that Jerome could not write that because it does not reflect what is thought to have been his "facts on the ground". Therefore, the support the Prologue gives to the authenticity of the heavenly witnesses verses should be largely discarded because there was not in fact heavenly witnesses verse. The Prologue was either ignorant or deliberately deceptive.

The problems here are legion. There are in fact numerous evidences of the verse in those years, in Latin and some in Greek. And there is an extremely difficult time coming up with a Jerome alternative, who, again, would be stating false "facts on the ground" for some arcane purpose, a solid scholar who clearly could mimic Jerome 100% who forged and deceived outright. I would say that at best any such circular rejection has minimal elasticity.

3) The internal arguments given by Martianay, basically none of them have had any traction at all, although all could use a revisit, if there is real scholarship intended. When Kevin Edgecombe did a brand new translation some years back, he came up with yet another internal argument, similarly without merit, which he considered a "smoking gun", and ignored any historic arguments. (Granted, due to the dearth of modern scholarship understanding, he may, possibly, not even have known those earlier arguments.)

Feel free to post on the more readable CARM format, or other forums like a quiet one I host, PureBibleForum, different than the Facebook PureBible, or here or anywhere. The formatting here on Facebook is of course limited. And you should remember to bookmark, not depending on a limited search function for future reference. Beyond that, Facebook is often the best, with more scholarship participation.
Here in Latin is Christopher Sand in 1669 quoting John Bugenhagen, Luther's pastor and teacher, discussing the Erasmus situation with the Vulgate Prologue as from Jerome in the context of the heavenly witnesses debate. Where the Bugenhagen position was quite unusual. The page before, 382, starts with the earlier part from Bugenhagen.

Interpretationes paradoxae quatuor Evangeliorum (1669)
Christof Sand

This is the first known attack on Vulgate Prologue authenticity.

"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 "

The section from Sand (p. 376-395) is one of many Latin sections that are historically rich and are little known today, and never translated.
Next, with Richard Simon (1638-1712) in 1689.


A critical history of the text of the New Testament: wherein is firmly establish'd the truth of those acts on which the foundation of Christian religion is laid (1689)
Richard Simon

Andrew Hunwick translation modern edition (2013)

there is first a discussion of the awkward accusations by Ersamus against Jerome, (Erasmus accused Jerome as interpolating the verse, despite the fact that Erasmus was often very warm to Jerome) as a way to deflect the Prologue evidence, and then:

"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 supposititious, 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.


Critical History of the Versions of the New Testament (1692)
Richard Simon

The learned Pierre Pithou (1539-1596) (Petrus Pithoeus ... Petrus Pithaus per Simon) strongly supported Jerome's authorship of the prologue.

"Petrus Pithuas who has read so many mss books, affirms it to be a certain truth, that the Preface inserted in the first editions of our Latin Bibles, before the Canonical Epistles under the name of St. Jerom was really composed by him" - p. 80

Simon goes into the early Vulgate history, an argument that is now in the dustbin after the Fuldensis discovery.

"The fore mentioned Preface, and many others that are attributed to St. Jerom, are not in some manuscripts of the Bible are seven and eight hundred years old. These manuscripts, although they not so numerous, ought to be preferred before the others, as being more pure and true" - p. 82

After highlighting one particular ms as the best exemplar, Simon at p. 85-86 gives the argument that is in the other book, two more times.
James E Snapp Jr
Beginning on p. 84 and for the next few pages, Simon gives his reasons for regarding the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles as *not* the work of Jerome.
That is, I believe, actually the Critical Versions book of a couple of years later, (more than one title page in the edition used by google) that I have some references from above. It goes from p. 80 to 87, and 85-86 basically give the same reasons as in the earlier book, which quotes could be added.
Richard Simon
Here is the French source of the Versions section:
After Simon came the 1693 Benedictine "Maurist" (not Maoist :") ) edition of Jerome, mentioned a few posts above, with the notes by Jean Martianay. Martianay was not friendly to Simon, and overall was a supporter of verse authenticity, including Cyprian, the Corbie ms and much more, in the interesting defense section, ironically placed in the Vulgate Prologue section..

Martianay changed the pattern begun by Erasmus (and decried by John Fell and Gilbert Burnett) of not putting the Prologue into the Jerome editions, yet he argued at the same time that it was not authentic Jerome.

So far, I would say he liked the Simon idea and wanted to do him one better by giving actual reasons to see the Prologue as a forgery. (Yes, it is a bit counter-intuitive.) It is said he gives five reasons overall, and the responses are given in other writings. A careful English translation of his text would likely reveal some interesting nuances, and possibly references. I just came across this the other day, and have done much with it except noticing some material in skimming.
To summarize, we see the original accusation of forgery was largely part of the Sandius and Simon negative positions on heavenly witnesses authenticity.
The issue of lateness of extant mss of the Prologue was raised (cautiously, later attackers were more emphatic ... until Fuldensis) and that is fully defunct.

Simon raised the obviously nothing internal issue that the Preface does not say "me big heap Jerome". Nothing, due to Jerome's dedication to Eustochium, and all the surrounding context, including the attacks on the scholarship due to age.

If we see a personal letter to Marilyn Monroe, referencing the fame of the 56-game hitting streak, we don't puzzle over whether the purported writer is Joe D. Just because he does not say "I am Joe D.".

All the circular arguments based on theories of the early ms transmission of the heavenly witnesses can be considered, but for various reasons have little utility. Knowing the antiquity of the Prologue, pegging and explaining the early, crafty, skilled, knowledgeable deceitful forger is much more difficult.

This leaves the grab-bag of internal arguments for the forgery theory given by Jean Martianay. On those arguments, and response, and analysis stand or falls the forgery theory. To which we can add any later addendum, like the point given by Kevin Edgecombe.

On the other hand, it is helpful and significant to go down the Prologue section by section to see how well it fits the style, concerns, interests, scholarship and views of Jerome. If it is consistently (uncanningly) Jerome-ish, then theories that a forger was so skilled, without a trip-up, in pretending to be another person, for unknown motives, would be that much more Ockham unlikely. It would almost leave the realm of Ps-Jerome and enter the world of Shadow-Jerome.
Here are some of the writers who discussed the forgery idea of Martianay.


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.


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) (18290


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.


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 problem answered, and this was echoed again by Porson in 1790, and answers in the early 1800s. Then came Fuldensis and some good evaluation work.

Was Antoine Eugene-Genoud right in looking at the arguments and saying they were "frivole" (frivolous.) That is a key question.
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.
Steven Avery
This problem goes to the heart of modern New Testament textual scholarship. Which is often rather scholastically shoddy, even when geek-accurate.

There was a recent book that continually references the Vulgate Prologue and how it has been part of the heavenly witnesses debate.

Raising the Ghost of Arius (2011) by Grantley McDonald

How he handles the Vulgate Prologue is discussed here:

Pure Bible Forum
Raising the Ghost of Arius - Grantley McDonald
(Go to the second post.)
Not once were the actual supposed arguments against authenticity given!


(James Snapp will not see this thread because he uses a Facebook block, which works as a double-blind.)
Oh, I find this reads better in Chrome than in Firefox.
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Steven Avery

Jean Martianay on the Vulgate Prologue

The Vulgate Prologue was seen as a forgery largely based on internal arguments that were given by Jean Martianay in 1693 in the Benedictine edition of Jerome's writings. The Latin is here:

Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Operum tomus primus [-quintus], studio et labore monachorum ordinis S. Benedicti e congregatione S. Mauri


The minimalistic reference from Grantley McDonald is quite surprising, since this represents the key elements of the arguments against authenticity.

Ghost of Arius and Biblical Criticism
the bibliography entry is a little fuller in BC.

Le Clerc was glad that Mills had expressly rejected the attribution of the preface to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome, as had Martianay and Pouget, who produced the recent Paris edition of Jerome (1693-1706). p. 216–GoA p. 184-BC

Jerome of Stridon. Sancti Eusebii Hieronymi Stridonensis presbyteri Divina bibliotheca antehac inedita.
Ed. Jean Martianay and Antoine Pouget. 5 vols. Paris: Roulland and Anisson, 1693-1706.

As a little side-note, Martianay was a solid defender of heavenly witnesses verse authenticity, contra Simon, thus his arguing weakly on this Vulgate Prologue issue should be seen simply as a quirk, rather than an agenda.


The Martianay arguments and the responses
- Calmet Genoud, Dolman Lamy,


This is trying to expand on the material on two threads, and place it all in a proper chronology.
and it is summarized as five arguments.

Some of the material is on the 1st page here, especially where the history of the contras is given.
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Steven Avery

the full Vulgate Prologue chronology from Erasmus to today

New Testament Scholarship Worldwide
Steven Avery

However, those arguments received solid responses, and you would be hard put to find anybody today seriously giving any of them as a strong evidence for non-authenticity. (And because of the first person nature of the writing, non-authenticity must mean forgery.)

It is hard to separate the internal arguments from the question of the heavenly witnesses defense, where the Prologue was seen as inauthentic simply because of how it referenced the heavenly witnesses verse. In terms of textual history, though, that is a circular argument. If fact, the evidences in the early centuries, like Tertullian and Cyprian, and the grammatical solecism in the short text, are fascinating and often hotly contested.

And in the meantime, many people opposed to authenticity had emphasized the lateness of the Prologue, which they thought was around 800 AD. based on the known mss. However, the Prologue was then discovered in Codex Fuldensis, dated 546 and written under the auspices of the learned Victor of Capua. This was published by Ernst Ranke (1814-1888) in 1868.

You would figure that this would cause a reexamination of the forgery accusation, yet very little was published. And you would have a hard time even finding the reasons why this writing became "Ps-Jerome".
(To be continued from Grantley. There is also more that can be looked at in that thread, at least to make sure it is in this forum.)

Most of the following scholars are referenced by Grantley:

Jacob Trigland - (from Bernhard De Moor, Grantley only has in bibliography) defends authenticity
David Martin (French and English translation)
Louis Roger (French),
Edmund Calamy (English) - reference Petrus Pithaeus, Jean Mabillon and John Fell
Antoine Augustin Calmet (French)
Ambrosius Dorhout (Latin)
John Jones (English)
Frederick Nolan (English)
William Craig Brownlee (English)
Antoine Genoud (French)
Daniel McCarthy (English)
Charles Vincent Dolman (English).

Also Petrus Pithaeus (1500s scholar, referenced very respectfully on this point as a top scholar even by Richard Simon) and Jean Mabillon and John Fell are mentioned as defenders of authenticity, which is authorship by Jerome, by Edmund Calamy. Earlier, Stillingfleet mentions Pithaeus and Mabillon. These are separated because they came before any real attempt to claim non-authenticity by giving various arguments. Similarly Thomas Smith (1638-1710) who often countered arguments by Richard Simon.

There had been some minor questioning, especially since Erasmus had dubiously omitted the Prologue from his edition of Jerome's writings. And John Fell forcefully pointed out that this was simply improper by Erasmus (did the heavenly witnesses evidence affect Erasmus here? Similarly why did he not mention Cyprian's reference in Unity of the Church?) Remember that the main argument (lateness of mss with the Prologue) poofed away with the publication of Fuldensis by Ranke in 1868.
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Steven Avery

Thomas Smith - before Martianay, responding to Sandius and Simon

Thomas Smith - before Martianay, respnoding to Simon's attack on the Vulgate authenticity

Grantley did include Thomas Smith, whose Latin section can be read here, however this was before the Martianay attempt to claim inauthenticity:

Altera miscellanea: responsio ad Simonii cavillationes ; Integritas loci 1 Jo. V, 7 ; Defensio contra exceptiones Simonii ; Commentarius in 2am Petri epistolam. [Apendix contra Simonem] (1690)

Here is how Grantley gave Smith, the substantive part:

Smith defends the attribution of the prologue to the Catholic Epistles to Jerome, though he notes that

“Erasmus and Socinus work hard to dissolve the strength and the bond of this testimony, by which they realise that they are bound. They turn and twist this way and that; and lest they should seem to be struck dumb, flatter themselves that this matter is to be disentangled with untrustworthy and dishonest answers.” 111

As Smith reports, Fausto Sozzini suggested in his commentary on the Johannine epistles that Jerome had chanced upon a copy containing the comma—perhaps even several—and assuming that this reading was correct, complained that the texts more generally in use were corrupt; Smith characterises Sozzini’s hypothesis as “pure, vile calumny” (mera & putida calumnia).

111 Smith, 1690, 139: “Ad vim & nexum hujus testimonii, quo se implicitos sentiunt, solvendum, maxime laborant Erasmus & Socinus, omnesque in partes se versant, & ne silere videantur, rem futilibus & parum ingenuis responsionibus expediendam esse sibi blandiuntur.”

Ghost of Arius p. 195
also in Biblical Criticism p. 157

On the Ghost of Arius review post, I continue with he illogical false dichotomy that Grantley uses here, and is really irrelevant to the authenticity question (it is very slightly rewritten in Biblical Criticism.)

The earlier 1675 English section on the Vulgate Prologue is here:

Sermon of the credibility of the mysteries (1675-1696 edition)
Thomas Smith;size=125;vid=101752;view=text
p. 68-72

This Preface is print∣ed in an old edition of the N. T. with the interlineary Gloss, and I find it in several MSS both in the Bodleyan and our own Col∣ledg-Library before the Catholick Epi∣stles. The Stile is exactly St. Hierom's and questionless his, and acknowledg'd as such, both by Erasmus and Socinus, however omitted by Erasmus in his edition of St. Hierom's works at Ba∣sil. St. Hierome in his preface to the Ca∣nonical Epistles, vindicates the antient reading, and laies open the baseness and perfidiousness of these men. I shall here put down the whole Preface;

(Latin Preface)

Erasmus and Socinus are so urged with this testimony of St. Hierome, that they are forced to make use of very pitiful and disin∣genuous arguments to invalidate it. Socinus had said before—fortasse ante Hieronymum vix ullus inveni∣etur, qui testimonium istud hoc in loco planè agnoverit, the falsity of which conjecture, however so warily laid down, has been disproved; hereby craftily concealing the citation out of St. Cyprian, he very bold∣ly accuses St. Hierome of Forgery, who having got a Copy or Copies, in which this verse was added,

adversus fidem aliorum omnium exemplarium, tam La∣tinorum, quam Graecorum, lectionem particulae istius tan∣quam germanam defendere & promovere coepit, conque∣rens publicè eam culpâ & fraude hereticorum abrasam à vulgatis codicibus fuisse.

But St Hierome has suffi∣ciently confuted the falseness and boldness of this Cavil. He was used to this kind of language, as if he had corrupted the Scriptures, but he was no way moved by it; though this accusation of those of his own time perchance may not so much be referr'd to this place, as to his translation in general, and may proceed not so much from heretical malice and pravity, as envy of several of his contemporaries, who were orthodox in the faith, but were no friends to his new translation. He charges the omission upon these unfaithful Translators (questionless Sabelli∣ans and Arians) and upbraids them with it as a thing manifest and notorious, and easily demonstrable; and certainly he would not have made himself so obnoxious, unless he had grounded his confidence upon the authority of several Greek Copies: with what little pretence of reason therefore Eras∣mus and Socinus fancy St. Hierome to have changed the publick and common reading, let any indifferent person judge. But supposing that the Copies of those times varied, which Erasmus grants (and therefore St. Hierome is most falsely and unjustly accused by Socinus to have been the author of this interpolation) He enquires,

quonam argumento docet u∣trum sit rectius, utrumve scriptum sit ab Apostolo, prae∣sertim cum quod reprehendit, turn haberet publicus usus Ecclesiae?

To this it may be answered, 1. that some vitiated and defective Copies, ought not to prejudice the authority of entire and better Copies, whether Latin or Greek. 2. that St. Hierome had reason to prefer and vindicate that reading, which gives such an evident proof of this great Article of the Christian Religion, agreeable to the doctrine of the Ca∣tholick Church, derived down to them by an universal Tradition, and acknowledged as such, by all, excepting a few, whom either discontent, or pride and conceitedness of their own parts, and a love of innovation and of being the author of a Sect, had drawn into the contrary heretical opinion. Besides, his words are so clear, that one might justly wonder, that Erasmus should pretend any difficulty or perplex sense in them, as he does in his,

non satis video, quid sibi velit hoc loco Hieronymus;

but that we have too just cause to suspect, how that great Scholar was biast and perverted in his judgment, concerning those great mysteries of Faith; though he is so wary and cunning, as not to discover himself too open∣ly. He indeed is forced to confess the nature of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost to be simple and und∣vided, and the essence the same, though he is peremptory, that it cannot be proved from this Text, constat hic agi de fide testimonii, non de substantia per∣sonarum, herein followed byde illâ () ut mihi quidem videtur non agitur hoc in loco; quod & glossa ista in∣terlinearis, quam vocant, agnosci. Beza, and with a great deal of ceremony confesses it to be pious to submit our understanding to the judgment of the Church, as soon as she shall declare herself (as certainly she has done in this in her publick Creeds, to the great shame and conviction of Hereticks, who reject her authority) yet still for all this demure∣ness, he pleads for a liberty of interpreting Scripture, as if the truth were not yet wholly reveal'd, and the Church might err in her declarations, nec interim ne∣fas est citra contentionem scrutari verum, ut Deus aliis alia patefecit (which is also the pretence of Socinus and his followers: ) and accordingly he interprets several places of Scripture in favour of Arius and the other Hereticks, and particularly this, cum totus locus sit obscurus, non potest admodum valere ad revincendos Haereticos (the same pretence being made use of for all places, though never so plain) and endeavours to elude the force of that famous place in 1 Tim. 3. 16. by expunging the word , as much as in him lies, that is, by pretending it was added by the A∣rian Hereticks. So that we need the less value the cen∣sure he passes upon S. Hierome in this matter, where nothing but pure zeal for the truths of God could make him so concern'd and fervent—Ille saepe nu∣mero violentus est parum{que} pudens, saepe varius, parum{que} sibi constans. Idacius Clarus a Spanish Bishop, who died about the year 388, at what time the elder Theodosius and Valentinian were Emperours, cites both verses, though as to their order transposed, and with a lit∣tle alteration, in his book against Varimadus an Arian Deacon,Tom. 4. Biblio∣thecae veterum Patrum. Paris. 1610. pag. 372.responsione 3.—Item ipse (i.e. Johannes E∣vangelista, whose Gospel he had just before cited) ad Parthos, tres sunt, inquit, qui testimonium perhibent in terrâ, Aqua, Sanguis, & Caro, & tres in nobis sunt: & tres sunt, qui testimonium perhibent in coelo, Pater, Ver∣bum & Spiritus, & hi tres unum sunt; which very cita∣tion is made use of, as being borrowed hence ...
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Steven Avery

the full Richard Simon section on the Vulgate Prologue

From post 19 -- we will take the Hunwick section on the Prologue and place it here and try to pull out the "reasons".

Critical History of the Text of the New Testament
Richard Simon

Erasmus ... appears to display even less judgment by wildly criticising St Jerome as if the latter were responsible for the interpolation in Latin manuscripts: For there are three that hear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. In this he accuses Jerome of being far too rash, and of showing vacillating judgment.'5 If we accept what Erasmus says, this means that St Jerome was guilty of forging the passage, unscrupulously altering the Old Latin version in accordance with his own prejudices, without the support of reliable manuscripts.

... Erasmus had read various Greek and Latin manuscripts of the New Testament and had also consulted the manuscripts used by St Jerome: had he taken the trouble to subject the so-called Prologue by Jerome to the canonical Epistles to careful scrutiny, he would no doubt have decided to reject the Prologue as apocryphal, rather than describing St Jerome as a forger.

It is appropriate at this stage to say something about the Prologue to the canonical Epistles, which is attributed to St Jerome, and which only occurs in the early Latin editions of the Bible under the title: “I Iere begins the Prologue to the seven Canonical Epistles by the Blessed Father Jerome.” The author complains that the interpreters have not provided a faithful translation of the Epistles, especially in 1 John 5:7 where the Trinity is described as three in one. He accuses these inaccurate translators of serious error because in their version they have retained only these three words water, blood and spirit and for leaving out the words Father and spirit which constitute genuine testimony of Catholic belief in the mystery of the Trinity.7

The new edition with commentary of the works of St Cyprian has recently been published by the Bishop of Oxford, who lists a great many Latin Bibles containing this Prologue by St Jerome. He is also indignant that it has been omitted from Latin Bibles printed in our own day. Let men of learning, says the learned bishop, decide whether this omission occurred by chance or through malice, he cannot conceive why it has been omitted from recent editions of the Latin Bible, since it is present in the manuscripts and nearly all the early printings.8

However, those who have published Latin Bibles without the Prologue must not be accused of dishonesty. Admittedly the Prologue is included along with St Jerome's other prefaces to the Bible in Latin manuscripts which are no more than six hundred years old. The first Latin Bibles were apparently printed in accordance with manuscripts of this type. This is not true of those which are seven or eight hundred years old, only of some of them. It may well be that the Bibles from which the Prologue is omitted were based on manuscripts of the latter kind. It must also be noted that neither the name of St Jerome nor any other writer occurs in the title of this Prologue in some of the early manuscripts which do contain it; there is therefore good reason to doubt that it was the work of St Jerome.

If anyone takes the trouble to make a side-by-side comparison of these early Latin Bibles, they can easily sec that whoever made a single compilation of all the books in the Latin Bible, most of which were translated or emended by St Jerome, also wrote this Prologue. Since he did not have prefaces by Jerome for every book, he remedied the situation by including some written by himself and others taken from the writings of St Jerome. Thus we read for example, in the manuscript of Charles the Bald,9 a preface to the Acts of the Apostles bearing the title “Preface by Jerome.” It is nonetheless certain that St Jerome did not specifically compose a preface to the Acts: the compiler of the books in the Latin Bible took it from Jerome’s grand Prologue entitled Prologus Galeatus “Helmeted Prologue." It is expressed as follows: “The Acts seem to reecho a candid history of the apostles, interwoven with that of the infant church, but if we realise that their author is Luke whose renown lies in the gospel,10 we shall similarly observe that everything he says is healing for a weary soul.”" T here is also some evidence that when whoever compiled the books of the Latin text we call the Vulgate could not find a preface by St Jerome specifically on the canonical Epistles, he made one up imitating Jerome’s style, borrowing some of his expressions and even including the name of Eustochium.12

There is some evidence as well that when this Prologue was written the Trinity interpolation was present in some manuscripts of the Epistle of St John or at least in some Latin versions. Hence the author who did not have access to Greek manuscripts was led to believe that since the passage in question was missing from some Latin manuscripts, it was the work of careless translators. It must be noted that the addition is absent from several early copies of St Jerome’s Bible which do however contain the Prologue, as I myself have discovered from two manuscripts, one in the King’s Library, and the other in Mr. Colbert’s. It is extremely odd to find the canonical Epistles headed by a preface in which St Jerome complains of the inaccuracy of early Latin translators who omitted a whole verse, which he himself restored on the basis of the Greek, from 1 John Chapter 5: and then to find that this very verse is missing when one actually reaches that point in the Epistle. I believe that the only possible explanation for this anomaly is that the copyists who wrote the description of the preface were using Latin Bible manuscripts from which the verse was omitted, since it is not in Jerome nor in the Old Latin version which was in use in his day. Had Jerome been responsible both for the Prologue and the addition to the Epistle of St John, the addition would have been included in all of Jerome's Latin Bibles. The inconsistency in manuscripts seems to me clear proof that Jerome did not write the Prologue as an introduction to the canonical Epistles.

(to be continued to p. 180)

12 St Julia Eustochium (370-ca. 419), addressee of epistles from St Jerome.
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Steven Avery

Jerome's Vulgate Prologue - contra Martianay argument that he refers only to Catholic Epistles

(Note: Witness of God has David Martin refutation of this Martianay argument.)

One of the original arguments was that Jerome would not refer to the Canonical Epistles.
They were struggling to make up arguments.

Epistolas de S. Hieronymo
"Epistolas Canonicas"
Canonica Epistola

It looks like this was actually fairly common for Jerome.


It is often found in Latin copies without his name; it makes use of the term Epistolae Canonicae, "Canonical Epistles,” whereas Jerome's title for them was Epistolae Catholicae, “Catholic Epistles;”

Dublin Review (1882)
"Recent Evidence in Support of 1 John v:7 "

It is, then, quite clear that, proving all things, Victor of Capua, in 540, approved the Prologue to the Canonical Epistles as the genuine work of him whose name is inseparably linked with that of St. Eustochium. In the presence of this fact, Dorn Martianay’s arguments from internal grounds have but little weight. It is true that St. Jerome usually called these letters Catholic, and not Canonical. No man is perfectly consistent in his language, and certainly St. Jerome was not. In one place, at least, he called St. Peter's Epistles canonical.
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Steven Avery

Matt13weedhacker (JW in NZ) on BVDB
In personal correspondence with Professor Houghton, he agrees that "committentes" (not: "omittentes") is in fact the original reading of the Ps-VP.
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.

The mixed testimony makes Matt argue that omittentes was comittentes (correction: committentes) (which, even if true, could have simply been a scribal error by the time of Codex Fuldensis, likely from after the original writing by Jerome.) Matt has failed to show an alternate translation that makes sense, making this an interesting irrelevancy.

He really seemed disappointed a while back when Grantley McDonald burst his bubble that this had some real relevancy. However, he wants to weed hack it some more.

And I cordially asked Matt if he wanted to take the argument against Jerome authenticity , and we could have a real discussion. Matt has not even responded, a typical lack of integrity. In fact, he consistently ignores my request for him to deal with the super-evidences, rather than his boorish attempts at nibbling at edges with convoluted and weak arguments.

solecism in short text
Vulgate Prologue
Council of Carthage

And I explained how James Snapp has ducked the Vulgate Prologue authenticity issue.

And Grantley McDonald has shown some interest, but in a manner that is the "prove it to me, to my satisfaction, without a doubt" ho-hum syndrome. Rather then simply a public discussion, where both sides lay out their positions and interact.
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Steven Avery


I've rarely seen a stupider argument than the one from Matt that omittentes / committentes question somehow is fundamental to the Vulgate Prologue of Jerome, and how the Prologue supports the authenticity of the heavenly witnesses.

Matt, why not try to make a REAL argument against the Vulgate Prologue authenticity.

Snapp has declined to respond, Grantley put up too many illogical "prove it to me" conditions, so why don't you simply try to make the argument?

Some modern scholars try to use that argument that Jerome only translated the Gospels, which I have shown to be a total non-starter.
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Steven Avery

More dumb stuff from Matt:

I'll keep repeating the point, how does Avery know there are only two copying errors in ALL the Psuedographic Para-Text (Prologues)?
Has he compared ALL EXISTING Vulgate manuscripts with this Psuedographic Para-Text to see if they match 100%?
Where's his proof?

How does Matt know that there are not 10,000 errors in his New World Translation?
Where's his proof?


Matt asks the dumbest questions.
He pretends that I claim some sort of preservational perfection for the whole Vulgate Prologue.
Which is just a joke fabrication. A form of lying.

So what if there were a couple of other small variant questions in the Vulgate Prologue?
In transmission from Jerome, to Fuldensis, to later manuscripts.

The key issue is the heavenly witnesses, loud and clear.

And the other BVDB posters sort of try to pretend that Matt is saying something coherent, or substantive.
They have to play dumb.


BTW, this is the only manuscript for this text (historically since it's first printing and known to be extant)

Afawk, true today, however Matt has not demonstrated this historically.
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Steven Avery

On Origen, let's see if Matt ever attempts to make any sort of coherent point.

He can try to say that it is not from Origen.
Or he can try to say that the scholium is not a heavenly witnesses allusion.

Till then, it is all a big nothing.
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Steven Avery

“Yep, posting an image and saying "There it is" that is not an argument for anything but a big yawn.”
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Steven Avery


.... are you claiming that the both Anonymous and Psuedonomynous author of the Psuedographic Paratextual commentary in the Fuldensis
Since the Vulgate Prologue is clearly a first-person writing from Jerome, writing to Eustochium, and fitting Jerome on its topics (including the accusation that he was a falsifier of scripture!) it is deceptive to call the Prologue Anonymous, etc.

It can only be:

a) Jerome

b) A highly skilled and knowledgeable scholar pretending to be Jerome, and with the clout to get his forgery writing into the ms. line, writing not long after his passing. Also the learned Victor of Capua would have to be one of those fooled by the forgery.

The attempts to find a writer for the Prologue other than Jerome have been total failures. There were efforts around 1910, which ended up refuted and abandoned.

Ironically, some have theorized that some total unknown really, really wanted to push the heavenly witnesses verse, and this led to the whole Prologue supposed forgery. :) Bridge for sale.

Thus, Ockham's Razor strongly favors Jerome on the foundational question.

Especially when the original attempt to call the Prologue a forgery was largely based on its lateness in the extant mss. At that time, around AD 1700, the Prologue was thought to have entered the ms. line very late, around AD 800. Now, since c. AD 1850 and the text by Ranke we know about Fuldensis.

If the truth of Jerome's authorship were accepted, the heavenly witnesses contras would pretty much have to close up shop. So they must throw as much sand as possible.
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Steven Avery



Textual arguments that part of the NT are not Jerome:

H. A. G. Houghton wrote:
"For example, at Galatians 5:9, he [Jerome] adjusts the lemma of his commentary to read modicum fermentum totam conspersionem fermentat ('a little yeast leavens the whole mixture') and observes:

male in nostris codicibus habetur: modicum fermentum totam massam corrumpit, et sensum potius interpres suum,
quam uerba apostoli transtulit (HI Ga. 3:5)

Our manuscripts are wrong in reading 'a little yeast spoils the whole lump' as the translator has conveyed his own understanding rather than the words of the apostle.

It is most unlikely that Jerome would have allowed this form to persist in this letter and the identical phrase at 1 Corinthians 5:6 if he had been responsible for the Vulgate text of these Epistles" (The Latin New Testament, pp. 34-35).
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Steven Avery

H. A. G. Houghton wrote: "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" (The Latin New Testament, p. 41).

This Prologue does not have any of the first-person material from Jerome, so it would not have to be either Jerome or a skilled, crafty, deceptiVe forger with lots of clout. So in that sense it is an excellent contrast to Jerome’s Prologue to the Canonical Epistles.

Here is the Prologue:

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

However, other scholars point out that the issue of Pauline authorship, or not, of Hebrews, could easily have been simply a shift of viewpoit by Jerome.

You can see that in the review of Hermann Josef Frede, reviewed by Aelred Cody, in 1988.

The Catholic Biblical Quarterly
Vetus Latina: Die Reste der altlateinischen Bibel nach Petrus Sabatier neu gesammelt und herausgegeben von der Erzabtei Beuron. Band 25: Epistulae ad Thessalonicenses, Timotheum, Titum, Philemonem, Hebraeos, Pars I: Einleitung; Epistulae ad Thessalonicenses, Timotheum by Hermann Josef Frede
Review by: Aelred Cody

And I do not see any imperative that the Prologue would need to be written in Rome.

F = Hermann Josef Frede



What is more, in his commentary on four of the Pauline Epistles, he criticizes the existing Latin translation and provides his own alternative" (The Latin New Testament, p. 34).
William Kelly dates this writing to AD 387, just a few years after the Gospels and long before the Epistles, based on the Vulgate Prologue dating.

This is more in support of Jerome translating the canonical Epistles than against.

Notice that the addressee was Paula and Eustochium. When Jerome wrote the Vulgate Prologue the addressee was Eustochium, and Paula (347-404) had passed away.

It would be interesting to compare any verses Jerome criticizes to the Vulgate text.


Andrew Cain is very helpful!

Jerome's Commentaries on the Pauline Epistles and the Architecture of Exegetical Authority (2021)
Andrew Cain

And I have not looked at any of these, since my AM today includes breakfast at Kelly’s in Poughkeepsie, using the iPad 12.9, and it is more a study for the home puter.
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Steven Avery

William Henry Fremantle (1831-1916)

He, also at the request of Damasus, revised the N.T., of which the old Versio Itala was very defective. The preface addressed to Damasus (ib. col. 557) is a good critical document, pointing out that the old version had been varied by transcribers, and asking, "If anyone has the right version, which is it?" It was intended as a preface to the Gospels only; but from the record of his works in the list of ecclesiastical writers (de Vir. Ill. 135), which states that he had restored the N.T. according to the original Greek, as well as from other passages (e.g. Ep. xxvii. 3), we infer that the whole version was completed (see Vallarsi's pref. to vol. x.; also Murray's Illus. B. D. (1908), art. VULGATE).
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Steven Avery


17. The preface to Damasus speaks only of a revision of the Gospels, and a question has been raised whether Jerome really revised the remaining books of the N. T. Augustine (a.d. 403) speaks only of “the Gospel” (Ep. civ. 6, quoted above), and there is no preface to any other books, such as is elsewhere found before all Jerome’s versions or editions. But the omission is probably due to the comparatively pure state in which the text of the rest of the N. T. was preserved. Damasus had requested (Praef. ad Dam.) a revision of the whole, and when Jerome had faced the more invidious and difficult part of his work there is no reason to think that he would shrink from the completion of it. In accordance with this view he 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). An examination of the Vulgate text, with the quotations of ante-Hieronymian fathers and the imperfect evidence of MSS., is itself sufficient to establish the reality and character of the revision. This will be apparent from a collation of a few chapters taken from several of the later books of the N. T.; but it will also be obvious that the revision was hasty and imperfect; and in later times the line between the Hieronymian and Old texts became very indistinct. Old readings appear in MSS. of the Vulgate, and on the other hand no MS. represents a pure African text of the Acts and Epistles.