THE VULGATE FROM JEROME TO GUTENBERG
Jerome’s text suffered many vicissitudes throughout the ages. In assembling a complete Bible, copyists would take some of their readings, by misadventure, from the old Latin texts and some from the Vulgate; both texts were in circulation. A monk might have memorized several passages from the old version in school, then, in writing a copy of the Vulgate, subconsciously lapse into the old phrasing so familiar to him. Some of the transcribers were not exercising a critical sense and would incorporate texts from other manuscripts, parallel passages, and texts from the liturgy.
The invention of printing only multiplied these problems for a time, but eventually scholars were able to print a text near to the text as it came from the hands of St. Jerome. While the Vulgate became the ofﬁcial version of the Western Church, it did not prevent other translations from being made. A Coptic version appeared in the 2nd Century; Ulﬁlas, an Arian bishop, made a Gothic translation in the 4th Century, and there were numerous Syrian, Armenian, Georgian, Arabic, and Slavonic versions in the early centuries.