Thursday, September 30, 2010

Rome's Translation Record

Over at Greenbaggins, Roman Catholic Taylor Marshall threw out one of the standard lines about Luther changing Scripture. I noted that this Roman propaganda has been debunked already (debunked oncedebunked twice). In response, Mr. Marshall tried to come up with some new angles to the old slur.

He stated: "One might even say that these mistakes in translations only prove that the Catholic Church must authorize translations so as to avoid errors."

This is actually an old contention of Rome. Translators were persecuted, and their translations were burned, for allegedly badly translating the Bible without Roman approval. Moreover, the Council of Trent saw it fit to declare a particular version authentic:
But if any one receive not, as sacred and canonical, the said books entire with all their parts, as they have been used to be read in the Catholic Church, and as they are contained in the old Latin vulgate edition; and knowingly and deliberately contemn the traditions aforesaid; let him be anathema.
(Trent, Session IV)

And in case that was not clear enough:
Moreover, the same sacred and holy Synod,--considering that no small utility may accrue to the Church of God, if it be made known which out of all the Latin editions, now in circulation, of the sacred books, is to be held as authentic,--ordains and declares, that the said old and vulgate edition, which, by the lengthened usage of so many years, has been approved of in the Church, be, in public lectures, disputations, sermons and expositions, held as authentic; and that no one is to dare, or presume to reject it under any pretext whatever.
(Trent, Session IV)

You might think that the "Old Latin Vulgate" was a version currently in existence. It wasn't. It was a version about to be published:
(this Synod) ordains and decrees, that, henceforth, the sacred Scripture, and especially the said old and vulgate edition, be printed in the most correct manner possible
(Trent, Session IV)

The real Francis Turretin asked the obvious question:
The decree of the Council of Trent canonized an edition which at the time had no existence and appeared forty-six years afterwards. The decree was made in 1546. In 1590, the work was finished and published by Sixtus V; two years after that it was published by Clement VIII. Now how could a council approve and declare authentic an edition which it had not examined and in fact had yet been made?
- Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, 3 Vols., trans. George Musgrave Giger and ed. James T. Dennison (Phillipsburg: reprinted by Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Co., 1992), Vol. 1, XV.ix, p. 134.

Moreover, as David King explains in Holy Scripture: The Ground and Pillar of Our Faith, Volume 1, pp. 162-65, when Pope Sixtus V finally published the edition, it was full of errors. It was so full of errors that Pope Gregory XIV, acting on the suggestion of Bellarmine, suppressed the Sixtus V 1590 edition, destroyed the copies of it, and ordered a revision. The revision was eventually published under the authority of Clement VIII, although initially the edition only identified Pope Sixtus V by name.

But even the Clementine Vulgate was riddled with errors, though they are not all as severe as those in the Sixtus V edition, or in the prior Vulgate editions. Nevertheless, we now have the Nova Vulgata which corrected at least one famous mistranslation (Genesis 3:15 - a feminine pronoun was used, and this mistranslation was later used as a basis for the definition of a Marian dogma) and actually introduced at least one new mistranslation (Leviticus 16:26 - transliteration of "Azazel" instead of translation to "scapegoat"). As to parts of the text, the Comma Johanneum (in 1 John 5:7-8) has been removed by the New Vulgate, but the Pericope Adulterae (John 7:53-8:11) remains in the text.

So, yes - this claim that "the Church" is needed to give someone an authentic translation is an old claim - but if it is a correct claim, then Rome is not "the Church," because the editions that Rome has produced have always had errors - not just printing errors.

- TurretinFan

16 comments:

natamllc said...

It is sad that these truths about this matter don't seem to have much of a toe hold with those these truths about this matter matters most!

Coram Deo said...

Sad indeed, natamllc.

Sadder still is the fact that the poor Jews had no idea what their own canon consisted of since Trent defined the apopcrypha/deuterocanonical books as "OT canon" in 1546.

I wonder how in the world the Lord expected the Jews of His day to have possibly understood what scriptures they were supposed to search, and how He could have upbraided His disciples for being slow to believe all that was written about Him in the Law and Prophets when - based upon Trent's decrees - they couldn't possibly have known which OT books were canonical.

Pfft...

In Christ,
CD

Yahya Snow said...

Surely one should ask him/herself why Jesus never sanctioned a particulr collection of books

The NT books were all written down after Jesus - he never saw them

This is a big hurdle for non-Christians.

Do you folk believe everybody was in error (theologically) prior to Luther (1500's)?

Again, it kind of comes full circle and we get back to asking why Jesus never did the job of clarification himself...

Thanks
With peace and love

Sellman said...

I thought that "old Latin Vulgate" was a direct reference to Jerome's translation of the bible.

John Sellman

Coram Deo said...

Yahya,

Jesus did sanction a particular collection of books, those books are known as the New Testament.

Jesus commissioned His apostles and certain of their colleagues to record infallible Scripture as His duly appointed representatives.

This fact is attested to by the Holy Spirit.

The "big hurdle" for non-Christians isn't how this or that book came to be recognized as God's Word, the big hurdle is their sin and rebellion against the One true and living God, and their stubborn refusal to bow to Him and His Christ.

In Christ,
CD

natamllc said...

CD:

I wonder how in the world the Lord expected the Jews of His day to have possibly understood what scriptures they were supposed to search, and how He could have upbraided His disciples for being slow to believe all that was written about Him in the Law and Prophets when - based upon Trent's decrees - they couldn't possibly have known which OT books were canonical.

Framed as a question yet rhetorical,

I would only consider as a place to consider among many places, these words:

Isa 5:1 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
Isa 5:2 He dug it and cleared it of stones, and planted it with choice vines; he built a watchtower in the midst of it, and hewed out a wine vat in it; and he looked for it to yield grapes, but it yielded wild grapes.
Isa 5:3 And now, O inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, judge between me and my vineyard.
Isa 5:4 What more was there to do for my vineyard, that I have not done in it? When I looked for it to yield grapes, why did it yield wild grapes?


The Jews claimed a "right" by virtue of being traced back to Abram/Abraham.

The RCC claims a "right" by apostolic succession.

Neither could shoot straight.

What I would acknowledge by the same eternal purpose of God "through" Christ and His Church, called Elected out of "every" generation beforehand, from Adam until the last one coming is it is our business to proclaim the Gospel of the Kingdom to all nations in His Name knowing that the called out ones will "hear" that suffering was predetermined and planned, that Life followed His death and now those who hear will "turn" to God and receive the before the foundation of the world "forgiveness" of sins and an inheritance, preplanned.

I would cite some notable verses adding to what Isaiah was given to record about grapes and wild grapes:

Luk 24:44 Then he said to them, "These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."
Luk 24:45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures,

Act 20:32 And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

2Co 13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Aim for restoration, comfort one another, agree with one another, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you.
2Co 13:12 Greet one another with a holy kiss.
2Co 13:13 All the saints greet you.
2Co 13:14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

James Polk said...

He stated: "One might even say that these mistakes in translations only prove that the Catholic Church must authorize translations so as to avoid errors."

Interesting. It would appear that Mr. Marshall is straining out a gnat and swallowing a camel! On the one hand we have Luther making a legitimate judgment call regarding a Greek translation. Context often colors a translation, even requiring the addition of words for clarity. On the other hand we have Latin translations, made by two Popes nonetheless, so full of error as to render them useless. These two obviously forgot to utilize their right to infallibility in this matter.

Mr. Marshall should seriously consider retracting his statement.
Anyone that can contemplate the error laden translations of Sixtus V and Clement VIII and declare the need for Rome's 'authorization' of Bible translations surely has his head in the sand.

Fredericka said...

Canadian said, "...and that it shall not be lawful for any one to print, or cause to be printed, any books whatever, on sacred matters, without the name of the author"

This means no anonymous works? Did they enforce this?

Turretinfan said...

Fredericka,

They tried to enforce it.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

Yes, Pastor Stellman. One might quite naturally think that. That was not the case.

Canadian: the old Latin Vulgate was imagined to exist via the numerous Latin manuscripts and printings, not as any one of them. I don't see much point in countenancing the remainder of your unsupported assertions.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Surely one should ask him/herself why Jesus never sanctioned a particulr [sic] collection of books"

Jesus authorized the Old Testament canon several ways: one was by referring to the collections, and another way by making reference to the first and last martyrs of the collection. He also referenced the book of Psalms, which is itself a collection of writings. Jesus was not bodily present during the time period when the New Testament was written.

Thus, CD slightly misspeaks.

Nevertheless, the Holy Spirit (who is just as much the one Holy God as Jesus is) inspired the New Testaments.

"The NT books were all written down after Jesus - he never saw them"

Well, the Holy Spirit was sent by Jesus, and like Jesus and the Father, the Holy Spirit is one with the Father and the Son. Thus, the New Testament is no less authorized by the Holy Spirit than it would have been by Jesus.

"This is a big hurdle for non-Christians."

It ought not to be. Non-Christians should be aware that Jesus is God, that the Father is God, and that the Spirit is God, three persons in one Godhead, the same in substance, equal in power and glory.

"Do you folk believe everybody was in error (theologically) prior to Luther (1500's)?"

Yes and No. We don't believe any human being is completely free from error. So, both before Luther and after Luther all men make theological errors.

But Luther wasn't the first one to translate the Bible as he did (as has been proved). We could discuss other points, but again - it's not our contention that Luther was a prophet who received new revelation. He's not even a theologian that we (non-Lutherans) spend a great deal of time studying.

We will typically recommend that people read (and you should too) Luther's book "The Bondage of the Will." In that book, though, again his theological insights are nothing new. They are insights one can find in the writings of others, 1000 years before him.

"Again, it kind of comes full circle and we get back to asking why Jesus never did the job of clarification himself..."

I can't see how a consistent Muslim could ask that question, but the answer is nevertheless to be given: Jesus sent the Holy Spirit.

-TurretinFan

wtanksley said...

TF, you mentioned the Marian dogmas... Are you saying that the error made it into an conciliar document, or do you merely mean that some people used it to push the dogma up to the counsel?

Either way, this is pretty impressive.

-Wm

Turretinfan said...

It made it into Ineffabilis Deus, the papal document that defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception:

"Hence, just as Christ, the Mediator between God and man, assumed human nature, blotted the handwriting of the decree that stood against us, and fastened it triumphantly to the cross, so the most holy Virgin, united with him by a most intimate and indissoluble bond, was, with him and through him, eternally at enmity with the evil serpent, and most completely triumphed over him, and thus crushed his head with her immaculate foot."

Coram Deo said...

Jesus was not bodily present during the time period when the New Testament was written.

Correct, He was omnipresent.

For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them. - Matt. 18:20

And He superintended the NT Canon by the Holy Spirit sent in His Name:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. - John 14:26

Just as He superintended the OT Canon by the same Spirit:

Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels long to look. - 1 Peter 1:10-12

Thus Christ sanctioned a particular set of books, the 66 books of the Holy Bible.

In Christ,
CD

Turretinfan said...

"Thus Christ sanctioned a particular set of books, the 66 books of the Holy Bible."

As did the Father ... but most precisely, the Holy Spirit did.

-TurretinFan

Coram Deo said...

Amen, TF!

But I was responding to Yahya's more focused question about why Christ allegedly never sanctioned a particular collection of books, when in fact He did [along with the other two Persons of the Triune One true and living God].

In Him,
CD