The beginnings of scholarly
work on the Vetus Latina

The first scholarly edition of the Old Latin Bible ("Vetus Italica") was the work of the French Benedictine monk Pierre Sabatier († 1742), who assembled Old Latin biblical citations from the works of around 60 Church Fathers and published them in three large volumes.

A complete edition of the Old Latin texts on the basis of editions of manuscripts and a new collection of citations was begun by Josef Denk († 1927), a minister in Munich, prompted by Professor Eduard Wölfflin († 1908), the founder of the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae. Over twenty-four years, Denk established a card index with around 400,000 Old Latin biblical citations from the years 200-800. In this period, he examined more than 300 works. Following his death, his valuable collection, the so-called "Card Box" (Zettelkasten) came to the Archabbey of Beuron. The responsibility of work on the modern edition has for several decades been undertaken by highly-qualified scholars as well as monks from the Archabbey of Beuron in the Vetus Latina Institut. The edition, which is published by Verlag Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau, will comprise 27 volumes, of which some will be divided into several parts. A series of scholarly monographs, Aus der Geschichte der lateinischen Bibel, associated with the edition, includes editions of patristic texts and studies of particular questions concerning the transmission of the Bible. As a conclusion to the complete work, a large Latin-Greek and Greek-Latin concordance of the whole Latin Bible is planned, whose progress follows that of the edition.

Vetus Italica Click to enlarge
Title page of Sabatier's "Vetus Italica" from 1743