What is the Latin Vulgate Bible?

The Latin Vulgate, or simply “Vulgate” as it is more commonly known, is a Latin translation of the Bible done in the late fourth century A.D. St. Jerome is credited with being the primary translator. By the Middle Ages, his translation had become the most commonly used translation, and it was declared the official Latin translation of the Catholic Church for centuries to come.

The Vulgate was notable because it was perhaps the first translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into Latin from the original Hebrew (others were translated from Hebrew to Greek and then to Latin). Similarly, the New Testament was translated directly from the Greek into Latin. Later, many translators used the Vulgate as their source for translations into modern languages over a period of centuries. Modern translations typically now use the original Hebrew and Greek texts rather than the Vulgate as their source.

Ann Naffziger is a scripture instructor and spiritual director in the San Francisco Bay area. She has has written articles on spirituality and theology for various national magazines and edited several books on the Hebrew Scriptures.