Monday, December 12, 2022

Who's on first?

 I was confirmed in a Lutheran church (ALC synod) in 1976. But it was only last month I learned that Luther's translation into the vernacular (German) was not the first. "The Luther Bible was not the first German printed edition, for there were already 18 printed Bibles before it, the so-called pre-Lutheran Bibles. In addition to the Martin Luther Bible 1522-1545, the Zurich Bible and the Low German Bible were also published around the same time." It was really Gutenberg, not Luther who enabled people to read the Bible. Before that, it was too expensive for the average person to own, although some did. And then maybe a week later I came across an article that St. Jerome wasn't the first to translate the Greek Bible into Latin (Latin Vulgate), also a move to enable people to read in their heart language and understand the Mass. It seems there were a number of Latin translations, but they weren't very good, so the Pope asked him to translate the definitive edition. One article said Jerome didn't use the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament used by Christians) and another said it was his primary source. I wouldn't want to get in the middle of that argument since it's probably political, but had believed he was the "first,"

Was Luther’s Bible the First German Language Bible? | Veracity (

8 things to know about the Luther Bible – DW – 01/05/2022  If you read these 8 things, you would have no idea Luther wasn't the first to translate the Bible into the common language of the people (Germans).

Timeline - Jerome's Bible Legacy ( One thing most articles agree on is that Jerome was a disagreeable, difficult to get along with, cranky scholar.  And he taught himself Hebrew in order to translate the Old Testament. 

The Vulgate: Jerome’s Latin Translation of the Hebrew Masoretic Text in 384 AD (

St. Jerome, the Vulgate, and Our Biblical Heritage - Ascension Press Media

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