Jerome and Vigilantius
By Rick Greathouse

After reading your article on the Old Latin Vulgate and the KJB, you might want to add a section on the rift that occurred between Jerome and Vigilantius during the three years that Vigilantius was visiting Jerome at Bethlehem. It appears that Vigilantius arrived in Bethlehem in 395 to a most respectable greeting by Jerome. Something distasteful developed between them though which resulted in Vigilantius returning to his home land, which appears to have been northern Italy near Savoy and Turin, the land of Vallenses or in the general area. If Vigilantius went to Bethlehem to study under Jerome, he would have had access to the unrevised Old Latin manuscripts that Jerome later revised to suit the needs of the Roman Catholic Church. Vigilantius would have been with Jerome during the time he was working on the 28 book canon translation into Greek from the ancient Hebrew manuscripts available to Jerome at the time.

Vigilantius arrived at Bethlehem in 395 based on Jerome. Another source suggests Vigilantius was back in his homeland by 397. Jerome completed his work on the 28 book canon from the Hebrew in 405. In 406, books by Vigilantius which were critical of Jerome was brought to Jerome by way of Sinussi. Jerome blew up with rage... wrote a very lengthy treatise belittling and demeaning everything about Vigilantius, urged the Governor of the area Vigilantius was preaching in to persecute Vigilantius. Later though they came to an agreement where it appears Vigilantius agreed to keep his mouth shut and perhaps apologized which invoked an apology the form of a letter from Jerome.

Vigilantius though would more than likely have never accepted Jerome's Vulgate, because something about Jerome's work on it, pardon the pun, "galled" Vigilantius enough for him to starting spreading his objective critique which suggested that Jerome was following Origen and was too superstitious about 4 points.

What was Vigilantius doing while visiting Jerome? Perhaps copying text from the ancient manuscripts available. If Vigilantius was of the mind set that the ancient texts should have been preserved as they were, then he perhaps would have been copying from the ancient texts, in order to have scrolls to take back to his home land with him so his church people could translate them into the languages of the people around them.

If that was the case, then Vigilantius returned to his home land about 397, perhaps carrying his own copied scrolls from the ancient manuscripts with him.

Now it has been reported that the Vallenses [scratch Waldenses... why should we call them by their Papal given and Waldo associated name. Those servants of God were there before Waldo lived.] translated their Bible from the Old Latin Italic in 157 AD. If Vigilantius copied scrolls from the ancient manuscripts when he was visiting Jerome in Bethlehem and brought his copies back to his homeland... then imagine what it would have been like when Vallenses compared their Old Latin Italic versions to the copies Vigilantius brought back from Bethlehem with him in 397 AD and they discovered a close match between the texts?

Rick Greathouse

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