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I was scrolling through English translations of David's eulogy for Saul and Jonathan and noticed the Douay-Rheims Bible/the Vulgate has an entirely new sentence/thought in verse 26.

The Masoretic text (ESV):

I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; very pleasant have you been to me; your love to me was extraordinary, surpassing the love of women.

The Septuagint (Brenton):

I am grieved for thee, my brother Jonathan; thou wast very lovely to me; thy love to me was wonderful beyond the love of women.

The Douay-Rheims Bible (translation of Jerome's Vulgate):

I grieve for thee, my brother Jonathan: exceeding beautiful, and amiable to me above the love of women. As the mother loveth her only son, so did I love thee.

Jerome's Vulgate:

Doleo super te, frater mi Jonatha, decore nimis, et amabilis super amorem mulierum. Sicut mater unicum amat filium suum, ita ego te diligebam.

So how did the Vulgate, a 4th century AD translation, end up with an additional thought not present in a translation from 6 centuries before or a copy from 6 centuries later? Are there enough of these variances to suggest Jerome may have had a different source text(s)?

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    I’d like to make a comment. Translator have an obligation to also interpret the text for their audience which allows them to modify the text so it makes sense to the none Hebrew/Greek speaking reader. This seems to be an interpretation/commentary translation. Not an answer just a general comment. – Autodidact Feb 11 at 14:55
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Scholarly opinion is that the additional sentence in the Latin translation of 2 Sam 1:26 (Sicut mater unicum amat filium suum, ita ego te diligebam) is a mediaeval interpolation; that is to say: it was added by a mediaeval copyist and was not in Jerome's original text. The purpose of the interpolation is obviously to avoid any possibly homoerotic reading of the Biblical text. A very good survey of the question can be found here (in French; full text available through jstor):

https://www.jstor.org/stable/1582610?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents

  • That reading looks very pertinent, thank you. Any chance you know of a work that's referred to it in English? – S.E. Feb 12 at 8:54
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My copy of Jerome's Latin Vulgate ("Biblia Sacra Iuxta Vulgatam Versionem" Ed Robertus Weber & Roger Gryson, published by Deutche Bibelgeselschaft, 1994), does NOT have this extra sentence at 2 Sam 1:26.

However, my copy of the Clementine Text of 1592 does contain it, hence why it is in the DRB (which uses the Clementine text and not Jerome's), namely.

Sicut mater unicum amat filium suum Ita ego te diliebam.

(As a mother loves her only son, so did I love you.)

The above edition of Jerome's Vulgate is a critical edition and contains footnotes that essentially say that the extra text appeared in about the 8th century. This lends credence to the suggestion that it may have been an overly sensitive "someone" who wanted to remove any hint of a homo-erotic relationship between David and Jonathon.

Footnote:

I also notice that the more recent editions of "official" Catholic Bible, the New American Bible (latest edition I have is 1991) does not have the medieval edition at 2 Sam 1:26 as it has reverted to the Masoretic text over the Clementine text.

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