Anna Persig on the Vulgate Prologue

Steven Avery


a mixture of Vulgate, Vetus Latina and unique readings. 59 Considering that the majority of the Pelagian and anti-pelagian witnesses are not consistent and mix the Vulgate with the Vetus Latina, their biblical text may have either relied on a Latin version which was an intermediate stage between the Vetus Latina and the Vulgate or have undergone contamination. The quotations of 1 Peter, 2 Peter and 1 John according to the Vulgate are later than those of Jerome and do not represent the earliest attestations of the Vulgate Catholic Epistles, with the exception of the citations of James in the Epistle 41 of the year 384. This case is puzzling: either the Vulgate version of James might be contemporary to the revision of the Gospels or be an Old Latin version which was incorporated in the manuscript tradition of the Vulgate in the absence of a revised version of the letter. It can be concluded that the biblical text of the followers of Pelagius in the first half of the fifth century is very close to the Vulgate, although not identical. 4. Prefaces and Order of the Vulgate Catholic Epistles The study of the manuscript tradition makes clear that the name of Jerome was conventionally extended from the Gospels to the rest of the New Testament in antiquity. The authorship of Jerome was reinforced by the addition of prologues and prefatory epistles. The preface to the Catholic Epistles, Non ita ordo est (PROL cath [S 809]), is a pseudepigraphic letter from Jerome to Eustochium which imitates the beginning of Jerome s prologue to the Minor Prophets (non idem ordo est). 60 Non ita ordo est is dated to the second half of the fifth century and the earliest Vulgate manuscript attesting the preface is Codex Fuldensis, copied in

59 Yevadian (2017: 203) confirms that the biblical text of Cassian does not completely depend on the Vulgate but has Old Latin influences and is based on Greek texts.

60 Berger (1904: 11). 19


the mid-sixth century. 61 The preface, which was not written by the reviser of the Vulgate Catholic Epistles, remains anonymous but Priscillian, Peregrinus and Vincent of Lérins have been proposed as possible authors. 62 The topoi of the inaccuracy of the previous translations and concern about the criticism of the Vulgate by Jerome s contemporaries echo the themes of the Novum opus, Jerome s prologue to the Vulgate Gospels. The writer of Non ita ordo est proposes a correction to the order of the letters by changing the position of the Epistles of Peter, which were placed at the beginning in the former Latin versions. 63 The author of the preface informs us that the Vulgate order James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John and Jude follows the convention of Greek manuscripts. 64

61 Houghton (2016: 178), Gryson (2007: 721).

62 See Ayuso Marazuela (1948: 66 7) who also refers to Künstle and Bludau. Chapman (1908: 262 7) believes that Pseudo-Jerome is dependent on a prologue of Priscillian.

63 The Petrine letters open the Catholic corpus in the catalogue of Codex Claromontanus, Filaster, Augustine, Rufinus, the Acts of the Councils of Hippo and Carthage (Neinhuis, 2007: 84).

64 This order is present in Codex Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrinus. The Eastern (James, 1 and 2 Peter, 1, 2 and 3 John and Jude) and Western (1 Peter, 2 Peter, James, 1, 2 and 3 John and Jude) arrangements of the Epistles do not group them according to length, as it occurs in the Pauline corpus, but to the author (Lockett, 2012: 133). Despite the predominance of the Eastern order of the letters, the Western order of the New Testament books (Gospels, Acts, Pauline Epistles, Catholic Epistles, Revelation) prevailed over the Eastern (Gospels, Acts, Catholic Epistles, Pauline Epistles, Revelation) (Nienhuis, 2007: 87). 20

41 The preface also discusses 1 John 5:7 8, the verses known as the Johannine Comma. The writer blames the Latin translators for the omission of the last part of 5:8, which contains the mention of the Trinity (pater et filius et spiritus sanctus in the Old Latin text types K, T and pater verbum et spiritus in C). 65 In contrast with Non ita ordo est, the most authoritative early manuscripts of the Vulgate, such as Fuldensis (F), Amiatinus (A) and Sangermanensis (G), do not feature the Johannine Comma, which is included only in late manuscripts of the Vulgate. 66 Although the allegorical interpretation of 5:8 is first present in Cyprian, the Comma probably originated in Spain given its attestation in the Spanish direct and indirect tradition such as in Priscillian, Peregrinus, the León Palimpsest (VL 67) and the Freising Fragments (VL 64). 67

65 The Johannine Comma is absent in the Greek manuscripts and possibly attested for the first time by Cyprian in the third century (Thiele, 1959: 68 70). However, it is not included in the contemporary African writing De rebaptismate, in the works of Hilary, Lucifer of Cagliari, Ambrose, Jerome, Rufinus, Augustine, Quodvultdeus (Ayuso Marazuela, 1948: 72; Houghton, 2016: 178 9). Thiele (1959) does not exclude a Greek origin of the Comma on the basis of the dependence of the early Latin translations on a disappeared western form of Greek text.

66 Ayuso Marazuela (1947a, 1947b).

67 Ayuso Marazuela (1948: 72 4) hypothesises that the Comma was introduced in the fifth century by Peregrinus in his edition as a marginal gloss, was later incorporated in the main text by Isidore under the influence of the Spanish tradition, the mention of the Comma in Non ita ordo est and its theological significance and passed through Isidore to the Theodulf Bibles.

The passages on James, Peter and Jude from Jerome s De viris illustribus, dated to the year 393, are employed as prefaces in some manuscripts. 68 The biographical note on James shows that Jerome is aware that the letter of James is one of the seven Catholic Epistles and gradually gained authority despite the debates on its authorship. 69 2 Peter is deemed to be spurious by Jerome because the style differs from that of 1 Peter. 70 Jerome states that, although Jude contains citations from the apocryphal book of Enoch and is therefore considered to be inauthentic, it must be accepted because of its antiquity and diffusion. 71 Excerpts from the biographies of the apostles and summaries of the Epistles of Peter and John in Isidore s De ortu et obitu patrum and Proemia are also included in manuscripts as prefaces. The argumenta to the Epistles (PROL Jac, 1 Pt, 2 Pt, 1 Jo, 2 Jo, 3 Jo, Jud) are brief summaries of their content dated before 700. 72 Some manuscripts also have anonymous prefaces that address the questions

68 The system of sigla and classification of manuscripts employed by De Bruyne (1920) does not match those of the modern Old Latin and Vulgate editions. Therefore, it is difficult to identify the manuscripts which he cites in his collection for the prefaces.

69 Iacobus... unam tantum scripsit epistulam, quae de septem catholicis est, quae et ipsa ab alio quondam sub nomine eius edita adseritur, licet paulatim tempore protendente obtinuerit auctoritatem.

70 Scripsit duas epistolas, quae catholicae nominantur, quarum secunda a plerisque eius esse negatur propter stili cum priore dissonantiam.

71 Iudas frater iacobi unam paruam quae de septem catholicis epistulam reliquit. Et quia de libro enoch qui apocryphus est in ea adsumpsit testimonium, a plerisque reicitur, tamen auctoritate uetustatis iam et usu meruit inter sanctas scripturas conputari.

72 De Bruyne (1920: 256 7), Gryson (2007: 729 30, 737). 22

43 of the order of the Epistles and canonicity: prologues 8 (PROL cath 8) and 9 (PROL cath 9) in De Bruyne s edition, 73 the former of Irish origin and the latter dependent on Jerome s De viris illustribus, 74 warrant the position of James in front propter dignitatem and because of the prerogatiua apostolici ordini, while prologue 11 notes the inauthenticity of 2 and 3 John. 75 The Catholic Epistles have four series of capitula: A of Donatist origin; C attested from the twelfth century; Tur, the capitula of Bede; Sp derived from the Spanish edition of the seventh century. 76 5. The Question of the Authorship 77 The evidence derived from the manuscript tradition, the citations of the Church Fathers and the prefaces attached to the corpus suggests that Jerome was not the reviser of the Vulgate Catholic Epistles although his authorship was proposed from as early as the mid-fifth century, when Non ita ordo est was composed and the archetype of the Bible of Saint Germain des Prés (VL 7) was copied. 78 Jerome s own statements about the extent of the revision are inconsistent:

73 De Bruyne (1920: 259 60).

74 Gryson (2007: 721).

75 Reliquae autem duae... Iohannis presbyteri adseruntur... et nonnulli putant duas memorias eiusdem Iohannis esse.

76 De Bruyne (1914: 382 90, 417), Houghton (2016: 178).

77 The question of the authorship of the Vulgate New Testament outside the Gospels is discussed in my forthcoming article The Vulgate New Testament outside the Gospels in Houghton H.A.G. (ed.) Oxford Handbook of the Latin Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

78 See pp. 8 9. 23

Jerome affirms three times that he revised the whole New Testament (De viris illustribus 135; Epistle 71,5; Epistle 112,20) w
hile he mentions only the Gospels twice (Novum opus prologue; Epistle 27,1), to which Augustine s witness of Epistle 71,6 to Jerome must be added. However, both the Novum opus and Epistle 27 are contemporary with the revision of the Gospels, but it is improbable that Jerome had completed the revision of the whole Vulgate New Testament by the year 384. These assertions are therefore not reliable in assessing the role played by Jerome in the revision of the Vulgate. 79 On the other hand, Jerome might have exaggerated his merits when mentioning his work on the New Testament in the three later remarks from De viris illustribus, Epistles 71 and 112, given that the absence of specific references to the Acts, the Epistles and Revelation seems to be suspicious. Therefore, no certain conclusions can be drawn from Jerome s affirmations. In the sixteenth century, Jacques Lefèvre d Etaples questioned the attribution of the Vulgate Pauline Epistles to Jerome without gaining acceptance among his contemporaries. 80 This hypothesis was reconsidered four centuries later, between 1915 1920, when the studies of De Bruyne (1915), Vaccari (1915) and Cavallera (1920) came out. The main argument of these scholars against Jerome s authorship is the disagreement between the biblical text of the Commentaries on the Pauline Epistles and the Vulgate. De Bruyne proposed Pelagius as the possible reviser of the Vulgate Pauline Epistles but his theory was not based on solid foundations given the uncertain reconstruction of the biblical text of Pelagius Expositions of

79 Chapman (1933: 33).

80 Vaccari (1915: 160 2). 24
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