The Sixtine Vulgate prepared by Pope Sixtus V was published in 1590, "accompanied by a Bull, in which [...] Sixtus V declared that it was to be considered as the authentic edition recommended by the Council of Trent, that it should be taken as the standard of all future reprints, and that all copies should be corrected by it."
The College of Cardinals was dissatisfied with the Sixtine Vulgate, "and a week after the death of Pope Sixtus V (27 August 1590) they ordered, first, the suspension of the selling of this edition and the destruction of the printed copies shortly thereafter." Since an official version of the Vulgate was still needed, Pope Gregory XIV, created a fourth committee[note 2] in 1591, which reorganized into the fifth and final committee in the same year. "The basis of the Committee’s work was the Codex Carafianus,[note 3] viz. the Leuven Vulgate [pl] emended by Carafa’s third Committee."
In 1592, Clement VIII recalled all the copies of the Sixtine Vulgate almost immediately after his election in January 1592, as one of his first acts. The reason invoked for recalling Sixtus V's edition was printing errors, however the Sixtine Vulgate was mostly free of printing errors.
According to James Hastings, "[t]he real reasons for the recall of the editions must have been partly personal hostility to Sixtus, and partly a conviction that the book was not quite a worthy representative of the Vulgate text."Nestle "suggests that the revocation was really due to the influence of the Jesuits, whom Sixtus had offended by putting one of Bellarmine's books on the Index Librorum prohibitorum."Kenyon writes that the Sixtine Vulgate was "full of errors", but that Clement VIII was also motivated in his decision to recall the edition by the Jesuits, "whom Sixtus had offended." Sixtus V objected to some of the Jesuits' rules and especially to the title "Society of Jesus". He was on the point of changing these when he died. Sixtus V "had some conflict with the Society of Jesus more generally, especially regarding the Society’s concept of blind obedience to the General, which for Sixtus and other important figures of the Roman Curia jeopardized the preeminence of the role of the pope within the Church."Jaroslav Pelikan, without giving any more details, says that the Sixtine Vulgate "proved to be so defective that it was withdrawn".
Title page of the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate (1592)
The Clementine Vulgate was printed on 9 November 1592, with an anonymous preface written by Cardinal Robert Bellarmine.[b] It was issued with the Bull Cum Sacrorum (9 November 1592) which asserted that every subsequent edition must be assimilated to this one, no word of the text may be changed, nor even variant readings printed in the margin. "The misprints of this edition were partly eliminated in a second (1593) and a third (1598) edition."
"To avoid the appearance of a conflict between the two Popes [Sixtus V and Clement VIII], the Clementine Bible was boldly published under the name of Sixtus, with a preface by Bellarmine asserting that Sixtus had intended to bring out a new edition in consequence of errors that had occurred in the printing of the first, but had been prevented by death; now, in accordance with his desire, the work was completed by his successor."
The full name of the Clementine Vulgate was: Biblia sacra Vulgatae Editionis, Sixti Quinti Pont. Max. iussu recognita atque edita. (translation: The Holy Bible of the Common/Vulgate Edition identified and published by the order of Pope Sixtus V). The fact that the Clementine edition retained the name of Sixtus on its title page is the reason why the Clementine Vulgate is sometimes known as the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate.
"It may be added that the first edition to contain the names of both the Popes [Sixtus V and Clement VIII] upon the title page is that of 1604. The title runs: "Sixti V. Pont. Max. iussu recognita et Clementis VIII. auctoritate edita.""
Differences to the Sixtine Vulgate
Title pages of the Sixtine (1590) Vulgate (left) and title page of the Clementine (1592) Vulgate (right).
Prologue to the Gospel of John, Sixto-Clementine Vulgate, edition from 1922
The differences between the Sixtine and the Clementine editions of the Vulgate was an opportunity too good for Protestants to miss; Thomas James in his Bellum Papale sive Concordia discors (London, 1600) "upbraids the two Popes on their high pretensions and the palpable failure of at least one, possibly both of them." He gave a long list of the differences (about 2,000) between these two editions. Translators of the King James Version in the preface to the first edition from 1611 accused the pope of perversion of the Holy Scripture.
Hastings "willingly admit[s]" that "on the whole [...] the Clementine text is critically an improvement upon the Sixtine." However, Kenyon argues that the changes which differentiate the Clementine edition from the Sixtine edition "exept where they simply remove an obvious blunder, are, for the most part, no improvement"Henri Quentin wrote: "Overall, the Clementine edition is a little better than the Sistine, but it does not mark a considerable progress"
The Clementine Vulgate was criticised by such textual critics as Richard Bentley, John Wordsworth, Henry Julian White, Samuel Berger, and Peter Corssen. Monsignor Roger Gryson, a patristics scholar at the Catholic University of Louvain, asserts in the preface to 4th edition of the Stuttgart Vulgate (1994) that the Clementine edition "frequently deviates from the manuscript tradition for literary or doctrinal reasons, and offers only a faint reflection of the original Vulgate, as read in the pandecta of the first millennium." By the same token however, the great extent to which the Clementine edition preserves contaminated readings from the medieval period can itself be considered to have critical value; Frans Van Liere states: "for the medieval student interested in the text as it was read, for instance, in thirteenth century Paris, the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate might actually be a better representative of the scholastic biblical text that the modern critical editions of the text in its pre-Carolingian form." Houghton states that "[t]he Clementine Vulgate is often a better guide to the text of the mediaeval Vulgate than critical editions of the earliest attainable text."
"At the beginning of the twentieth century, awareness of the inadequacies of the Clementine text increased. In 1906, Michael Hetzenauer produced a new edition of the Clementine Vulgate based on its three printings in 1592, 1593, and 1598 and incorporating officially-authorized corrections[.] The current standard reference edition [of the Clementine Vulgate] is that of Colunga & Turrado [es] 1946, a form of which is available online.[c]"
^See also Bellarmine's testimony in his autobiography:
"In 1591, Gregory XIV wondered what to do about the Bible published by Sixtus V, where so many things had been wrongly corrected. There was no lack of serious men who were in favor of a public condemnation. But, in the presence of the Sovereign Pontiff, I demonstrated that this edition should not be prohibited, but only corrected in such a way that, in order to save the honor of Sixtus V, it be republished amended: this would be accomplished by making disappear as soon as possible the unfortunate modifications, and by reprinting under the name of this Pontiff this new version with a preface where it would be explained that, in the first edition, because of the haste that had been brought, some errors were made through the fault either of printers or of other people. This is how I returned good for evil to Pope Sixtus. Sixtus, indeed, because of my thesis on the direct power of the Pope, had put my Controversies on the Index of Prohibited Books until after correction; but as soon as he died, the Sacred Congregation of Rites ordered my name to be removed from the Index. My advice pleased Pope Gregory. He created a Congregation to quickly revise the Sistine version and to bring it closer to the vulgates in circulation, in particular that of Leuven [pl]. [...] After the death of Gregory (XIV) and Innocent (V), Clement VIII edited this revised Bible, under the name of Sixtus (V), with the Preface of which I am the author."
Bellarmino, Roberto Francesco Romolo (1999). "Memorie autobiografiche (1613)". In Giustiniani, Pasquale (ed.). Autobiografia (1613) (in Italian). Translated by Galeota, Gustavo. Internet Archive. Brescia: Morcelliana. pp. 59–60. ISBN88-372-1732-3. (in original Latin: Vita ven. Roberti cardinalis Bellarmini, pp. 30–31); (in French here, pp. 106–107)
^Praefatio, Biblia Sacra Vulgata, Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, Stuttgart 1983, p. XX. ISBN3-438-05303-9
^Canellis, Aline, ed. (2017). "Introduction : Du travail de Jérôme à la Vulgate" [Introduction: From Jerome's work to the Vulgate]. Jérôme : Préfaces aux livres de la Bible [Jerome : Preface to the books of the Bible] (in French). Abbeville: Éditions du Cerf. p. 217. ISBN978-2-204-12618-2.
^Delville, Jean-Pierre (2008). "L'évolution des Vulgates et la composition de nouvelles versions latines de la Bible au XVIe siècle". In Gomez-Géraud, Marie-Christine (ed.). Biblia (in French). Presses Paris Sorbonne. p. 80. ISBN9782840505372.