The Authority of Antiquity: England and the Protestant Latin Bible

Bruce Gordon

in The Reception of Continental Reformation in Britain

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780197264683
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734878 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Authority of Antiquity: England and the Protestant Latin Bible

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  • Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)


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This chapter provides a complex narrative of biblical translation in Protestant scholarship. It draws attention to Protestant efforts to produce a universal Latin translation as an intermediary between the original languages of Scripture and the vernacular. Despite the tendency to associate Protestantism with personal reading of Scripture, the multiple levels involved in biblical interpretation complicate any straightforward relationship between reformation, text, and individual reader. The Latin Bible translation also held the potential of unifying Protestants by becoming the basis of all vernacular translations. The attempt to harmonise Protestant theology through a single Latin translation, however, ultimately exposed deep divisions in Protestant biblical scholarship. The chapter also notes that Archbishop Cranmer not only extended hospitality to continental scholars fleeing from the restoration of Catholic worship under the Augsburg Interim, but solicited their work on the Latin Bible translation and laboured to bridge divisions between them.

Keywords: biblical translation; Protestant scholarship; Latin translation; Scripture; Continental reformers; Archbishop Cranmer; Augsburg Interim

Chapter.  9550 words. 

Subjects: Medieval and Renaissance History (500 to 1500)

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