Just wondering why they chose Latin instead of Greek to be the source of truth of the texts, and instead added this abstraction layer when they were so close to the Greek culture at the time?

  • What "readings" are you referring to?
    – zippy2006
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 3:09
  • And who exactly is "they"? St Jerome? Some other translator? Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 5:26
  • Catholic exegetists would normally go to biblical origins when studying Scripture: Greek, Hebrew, Aramaic (not Latin). The Latin use in reading Scripture in the Church started in the 3rd or 4th century, when Greek started to become less popular as a language of commerce and Latin became the language used in the west.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 10:46
  • What do you mean by authoritative?
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 10:53
  • I mean, from my knowledge the new testament was first written in Greek, not Latin. Latin is a translation of the Greek.
    – Lance
    Commented Mar 24, 2020 at 11:02

1 Answer 1


Pope Pius XII explains in his 1943 encyclical on biblical studies, Divino afflante Spiritu, §21:

this special authority or as they say, authenticity of the Vulgate was not affirmed by the Council [of Trent] particularly for critical reasons, but rather because of its legitimate use in the Churches throughout so many centuries; by which use indeed the same is shown, in the sense in which the Church has understood and understands it, to be free from any error whatsoever in matters of faith and morals; so that, as the Church herself testifies and affirms, it may be quoted safely and without fear of error in disputations, in lectures and in preaching; and so its authenticity is not specified primarily as critical, but rather as juridical.

Even from a "critical" standpoint, St. Jerome had access to manuscripts that are no longer extant; his "New Testament scriptural texts were within a few generations of the original manuscripts penned by the Apostles" (Dr. William G. von Peters, editor of the new reprint of the Douay-Rheims).

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