medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
Hi, John McC,
Yes, I know that the latest position is that Jerome was not involved in the
Romanum. Yet, as late as the mid-1990's Jerome was still credited with all
three versions. We could be inheritors of a tradition that, like David and
the Psalms, assigned all of the works to Jerome. We do know that the
Gallican/Vulgate tradition is based on Jerome's translation/edition; he
states it. In fact, this is part of the basis for believing that he had
nothing to do with the Romanum -- yet someone compiled a Psalter from
existing Old Latin versions... and, from what little evidence we have, in
that same time frame.
I'm very hesitant to assert that Jerome had nothing to do with the Romanum
and even more hesitant to claim that Jerome just used portions of a Romanum
for his translation from Greek.
Although the Old Latin is a mare's nest, still, all these translations are
necessarily related -- all the early Greek ones started from the same base
text (albeit, with variants) -- the Latin translations necessarily will
have many similarities of phrasing. (Just a thought: could some of this
mess in the Old Latin versions be due to Latin translations from Hebrew as
well as Greek??? ) Jerome's translation from Greek versions will
necessarily have similarities to phrases in the Romanum versions.
Perhaps it was the experience with BN Lat. MS 8824 that has made me very
cautious. When it is decided that a Latin text had _49_ different sources
based on this word is from X and that word from Y and that word from Z ,
and this phrase is from A and that phrase is from B, and that phrase is
from XYZ's commentaries, it does tend to make one doubt the validity of the
approach... particularly with this material.
Let's complicate the picture even more.
On the Irish side of the Channel, the Cathach is in the Gallican/Vulgate
tradition and said to have been the first copy of "Jerome's Psalter" in
Ireland. (Which would tend towards the nothing to do with the Romanum point
of view.) However, on the British side, the two oldest Psalters are
isolates: in one, the Latin text is more or less a Romanum type -- with
touches of Hebraicum. The other Latin text is the 49-source -- but still
considered a Gallican/Vulgate -- version. (The assumption that this Latin
text _had_ to be a Vulgate led the first editor [Thorpe] to emend the text
to match "the" Vulgate in his edition.) Yet, close examination showed that
this was a new translation from Greek and has some real surprises -- verses
that "fit" and do not appear in any other known versions (e.g., PS: 96(95)
-- I hope to be able to write this up soon).
Now, let's add another problem: the assumption that the biblical materials
arrived only in Latin.
Scholars, such as D.R Howlett, have been demonstrating that Greek and
Hebrew were known.
I found very strong evidence that Hebrew was known. The recent
archeological finds, such as the bronze age (ca. 1250 BCE) shipwreck off
Devon -- and the mtDNA results, make it very clear that, yes, Greek,
Hebrew, Iberian, Punic, etc. were definitely known and that contact between
the Iberian Peninsula, the Mediterranean, and the Atlantic coasts
of Britain and Ireland had been around for a couple of thousand years by
the turn of the Common Era. (The very latest find, two days ago, settled
the question of Stone age inhabitants in Britain -- before the Island
became an island.)
This linguistic melange has bearing on Latin Psalters.If, a new translation
from Greek is forced into the Gallican/Vulgate mode, and, if a more or less
Romanum (with Hebraicum portions) is forced into the Romanum mode, then
what can we truly know about Jerome and the Romanum? Did he throw together
a Psalter from existing old Latin versions as tradition had it? Did he
borrow phrases from a Romanum for his translation/edition from Greek? I
sincerely doubt the latter on the grounds of same original source base
texts will necessarily turn up similar phrases -- and I think the former
needs very strong evidence to dismiss such a long tradition. Someone did it.
Somehow, I keep thinking of Coverdale's Psalter when the Jerome-Romanum
question comes up. Tyndale had not translated the Psalter and Coverdale
needed one for the authorized version he was ordered to prepare. So, he
collected all the known versions of the Psalms in English that were around
and threw together a Psalter.
Oh, dear, don't get me started on the Psalters!
>medieval-religion: Scholarly discussions of medieval religion and culture
>Rochelle Altman wrote in part:
>>... My special area is the Psalter, which is a bit more complicated. Jerome's
>>first attempt is what is called "the" Romanum and was created from existing
>>old Latin texts. His second attempt is what was called the Gallican --
>>and is referred to as such in OE Psalters...
>The ODCC3 says in the article on the Roman Psalter, "Earlier scholarship
>equated it with [the] revision of the Latin psalter which St. Jerome
>says he compiled hastily ('cursim') on the basis of the Septuagint. Few
>scholars now think that the Roman psalter was produced by Jerome, though
>he may have used it as a basis for this first attempt to translate the
>The citations in the bibliography are all over 50 years old; has the
>consensus changed back to Hieronyman authorship?
>*** John McChesney-Young ** panis~at~pacbell.net ** Berkeley,
>California, U.S.A. ***
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