Old Latin vs. Vulgate: Helpful Hint

If you ever have occasion to work with a Latin Gospel-book (or other gospel-containing text) and wonder if you’re dealing with the Old Latin or the Vulgate–not an uncommon issue in the early Insular world–here’s a tip:

Check Matthew’s Beatitudes (In the margin it’ll be marked as Eusebian division 25 or perhaps Ch. 11 in one of the more common schemes.)

  • The Vulgate uses Beati (blessed)
  • The Old Latin uses Felix (happy)

Furthermore, keep an eye on the order of the makarisms–most Latin translations reverse  Greek vss 4 and 5. Thus, “the meek (mites)” ought to be before “those who mourn (qui lugent)”. If that’s not the case–you’ve got something unusual on your hands… (If it’s a transcription, then regard the transcriber with suspicion!)

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