The Vulgata Sixtina or Sixtine Vulgate (or Sistine Vulgate) is the edition of the Latin Vulgate published in 1590, prepared on the orders of Pope Sixtus V. It was the first edition of the Latin Vulgate authorised by a pope, but its official recognition was short-lived. This edition was replaced in 1592 by the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate.
The Vulgata Sixtina is cited only in some present critical editions and it is designated by the siglum vgs.
On 8 April 1546 the Council of Trent decreed the Vulgate to be authoritative, and "authentic", and required that the Vulgate be printed quam emendatissime (with fewest possible faults).[a] There was no authoritative edition at that time.
Elaboration of the text
Three pontifical committees
"Three Pontifical Committees have been successively charged to elaborate the text of the edition of the Vulgate of which the Council of Trent had asked the publication[.] [...] [U]p until the Committees of S. Pius V and Sixtus-Quintus [...] there has only been works done without any coordination"
After Sixtus V's death (1590), two other committees took place under Gregory XIV in 1591.
Pius IV's committee
In 1561, Pius IV created a committee at Rome. This committee was composed of four cardinals: Amulio, Morone, Scotti and Vitelli. This committee had only a very general role: its role was that of correction and printing of the ecclesiastical books which the Holy See had decided to reform or to publish.
Gregory XIII did not appoint a committee for the Vulgate, and "soon, in Rome, Sirleto was the only one remaining to take care of the revision." Gregory XIII "issued [...] a Committee on the emendation of the LXX" and was convinced to do so by Cardinal Montalto (future Sixtus V).
Sixtus V's committee
In 1586, Sixtus V appointed a committee. The committee was under the presidency of Cardinal Carafa.
"[A]t the accession of Sixtus-Quintus,[b] the work had hardly commenced [on the edition], and that impetuous pontiff began to lose patience. He made it his own affair[.]"
The committee worked on the basis of the 1583 edition of Francis Lucas 'of Bruges' of the Leuven Vulgate [pl] and "[g]ood manuscripts were used as authorities, including notably the Codex Amiatinus." Carafa presented the result of their work, in the beginning of 1589, but Sixtus rejected their work[c] and in 18 months prepared another text he corrected to agree with the Greek and Hebrew. He used the Codex Carafianus (the codex containing the propositions made to Sixtus V by the committee presided by cardinal Carafa).
Title page of the Sixtine Vulgate
In May 1590 the completed work was issued from the press in three volumes, in a folio edition; however this edition is in reality one volume, with the paging continuous throughout. Regardless, even after printing, Sixtus continued to tinker with the text, revising it either by handwriting or by pasting strips of paper on the text. The Sixtine Vulgate was mostly free of printing errors.
This edition is known as the Vulgata Sixtina, the Sixtine Vulgate, or the Sistine Vulgate. The full title of the Sixtine Vulgate was: Biblia sacra Vulgatae Editionis ad Concilii Tridentini praescriptum emendata et a Sixto V P. M. recognita et approbata.
The edition was preceded by the Bull Aeternus Ille, in which the Pope declared the authenticity of the new Bible. The bull stipulated "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." "This edition was not to be reprinted for 10 years except at the Vatican, and after that any edition must be compared with the Vatican edition, so that "not even the smallest particle should be altered, added or removed" under pain of the "greater excommunication.""
Basing himself on his study of testimonies of those who were present around the pope during the making of the Vulgata Sixtina, and the fact the bull Aeternus Ille is not present in the bullarium, jesuit Xavier-Marie Le Bachalet claims the publication of this Bible does not ail papal infallibility, because the bull establishing this edition as the standard was never promulgated by Sixtus V. Le Bachalet says that the bull was only printed within the edition of the Bible at the order of Sixtus V in order not to delay the printing and that the published edition of the Bible was not final, i.e. Sixtus was still revising the text of the edition of the Bible and his death prevented him from promulgating a final edition and an official bull.[d]
Three whole verses were dropped from the Book of Numbers (Numbers 30:11-13), though it is unclear whether this was an error in printing or an editorial choice "as the passage was cited by moral theologians to substantiate the view that husbands may annul vows of chastity taken by their wives without their consent."
The Sixtine Vulgate edition had "a text more nearly resembling that of Robt. Stephen than that of John Hentenius." However, "a new system of verse-enumeration was introduced." The Sixtine Vulgate "was even closer to the Leuven Vulgate [pl]" than the 1583 edition of Francis Lucas 'of Bruges'.
Death of Pius V
On 27 August 1590 Sixtus V died. After Sixtus V's death, "many claimed that the text [of the Sixtine Vulgate] was too error-ridden for general use." On 5 September of the same year, the College of Cardinals stopped all further sales of the Sixtine Vulgate, bought and destroyed as many copies as possible[e] by burning them; the reason invoked for this action was printing inaccuracies on Sixtus V's edition of the Vulgate. Metzger believes that the printing inaccuracies may have been a pretext and that the attack against this edition had been instigated by the Jesuits "whom Sixtus had offended by putting one of Bellarmine's books on the 'Index'[f]".
After Sixtus V's death, Robert Bellarmine told in a letter in 1602 to Clement VIII, trying to dissuade Clement VIII from solving himself the question of the auxiliis divinae gratiae: "Your Holiness also knows in what danger Sixtus V, of holy memory, set himself and put the whole Church, by trying to correct the Bible according to his own judgment, and for me I really do not know if there has ever been greater danger [...] And I really do not know if the Church has ever run a greater danger [...] Any impartial reader will admit that the preface [of the Sixto-Clementine Vulgate] does not suggest to any degree the danger then run by the Church" Bellarmine also warned Clement VIII that the Sixtine Vulgate was an embarrassment.
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 regarded the Jesuits with disfavour and suspicion. He meditated radical changes to their constitution, but death prevented the execution of his purpose. 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".
Some differences from the Leuven edition
In the Sixtine Vulgate, in the Book of Genesis chapters 40-50, 43 corrections were made (on the basis of Codex Carafianus) compared to the Leuven Vulgate [pl] editions:
After Clement VIII had recalled all the copies of the Sixtine Vulgate in 1592, Clement VIII published in November 1592 a new official version of the Vulgate known as the Clementine Vulgate, also called Sixto-Clementine Vulgate. Faced with about six thousand corrections on matters of detail, and a hundred that were important, and saving the honour of Sixtus V, Bellarmine undertook the preface of this edition, and ascribed all the imperfections of Sixtus V's Vulgate to being errors of the press.[g]
"To avoid the appearance of a conflict between the two Popes, 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.""
^"The basis of the Committee’s edition was actually the 1583 Lucas edition. Carafa was able to offer an emended text that contained "ten-thousand interpolations." Pope Sixtus had, however, disregarded the Committee’s preparatory work and had, on his own initiative, promulgated an edition which was even closer to the Leuven Vulgate [pl], the so called Vulgata Sixtina, in 1590."
^"However, this work [the Vulgata Sixtina] was not appreciated by the Congregation of the Cardinals 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."
^"Bellarmine’s intellectual efforts gained him a more central position within the Roman Curia but he also encountered dangerous setbacks. In 1587 he became a member of the Congregation of the Index and in 1598 became one of the consultores of the Inquisition. Meanwhile, the implications of the doctrine of potestas indirecta angered Pope Sixtus V, who often opposed the Society of Jesus because he thought the Society’s doctrines diminished the authority of the bishop of Rome. In 1589–90 Sixtus moved to put volume 1 of Controversiae on the Index of Prohibited Books while Bellarmine was in France on a diplomatic mission. However, the Congregation of the Index and, later, the Society of Jesus resisted this. In 1590 Sixtus died, and with him the project of the Sistine Index also died."
^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)
^ abcQuentin, Henri (1922). "Chapitre sixième - Les commissions pontificales du concilde de Trente à Sixte-Quint" [Chapter Six - The Pontifical Committees from the Council of Trent to Sixtus Quintus]. Mémoire sur l'établissement du texte de la Vulgate (in French). Kelly - University of Toronto. Rome: Desclée. p. 160.
^ abLe Bachalet, Xavier-Marie, Bellarmin et la Bible Sixto-Clémentine : Étude et documents inédits, Paris: Gabriel Beauchesne & Cie, 1911 (in French). The majority of this work is reproduced at the bottom of this article ("ANNEXE 1 – Etude du Révérend Père Le Bachelet (1911)").
^ abDelville, 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.
^Metzger, Bruce M. (1977). The Early Versions of the New Testament. Oxford: Clarendon Press. pp. 348–349.
^Le Bachalet, Xavier-Marie, Bellarmin et la Bible Sixto-Clémentine : Étude et documents inédits, Paris: Gabriel Beauchesne & Cie, 1911 (in French). The majority of this work is reproduced at the bottom of this article ("ANNEXE 1 – Etude du Révérend Père Le Bachelet (1911)"). "Votre Sainteté sait encore dans quel danger Sixte-Quint, de sainte mémoire, se mit lui-même et mit toute l'Eglise, en voulant corriger la Bible d'après son propre jugement, et pour moi je ne sais vraiment pas s'il y eut jamais plus grand danger [...] Et je ne sais vraiment pas si jamais l'Eglise a couru un plus grand danger [...] Tout lecteur impartial avouera que la préface ne laisse soupçonner à aucun degré le danger couru alors par l'Eglise"
^Quentin, Henri (1922). Mémoire sur l'établissement du texte de la Vulgate (in French). Rome: Desclée. p. 185. Retrieved 2011-01-23. Sur ces 43 corrections, 31 ne sont que des changements d'orthographe dont 6, il est vrai, portent sur des noms propres [...]