The "Vetus Latina-Institut" in Beuron

The Vetus Latina Institute was founded in Beuron in 1945 by the Benedictine monk Dom Bonifatius Fischer OSB († 1997). Its goal is the complete collection and critical edition of all surviving remnants of the Old Latin translations of the Bible from manuscripts and citations in ancient writers. Following Dr Fischer, Professor Hermann Josef Frede († 1998) was appointed as the second director of the Institute in 1973. Since 1998, the Institute had been under the direction of Monsignor Roger Gryson, Professor Emeritus at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve. He was succeeded by Thomas Johann Bauer, professor of Exegesis and Theology of the New Testament at the University of Erfurt, in 2014.

After almost sixty years of editorial activity on the edition of the Vetus Latina, about half of the task has been accomplished. Several decades of intensive research and editing are still necessary for the work to be brought to completion.

Work on the Edition

The card index begun by Fr Denk is constantly augmented and updated: it currently contains a million references. The citations are drawn from the best critical editions, and manuscripts are collated from microfilms or photographic reproductions.

A special type of presentation has been developed in order to display the various witnesses to the text on a single page. Each page of the edition is divided into three parts. In the upper section, between the initial point of departure, the Greek text and its significant variants, and the final stage of the development of a Latin text, the Vulgate with its alternative readings deriving from the Vetus Latina, the surviving Old Latin text-types are presented with their respective variants. The middle section contains the critical apparatus, which indicates the individual witnesses (manuscripts and authors) for each text, and makes brief observations on the history of the text and grammatical peculiarities.

In the bottom section, the witness apparatus reproduces the exact form of words in each source. In this way, it is easy to see for each verse of the Bible when and where it is cited by a Church Father (the number can vary from 0 to 1,500). The edition of each biblical book includes an introduction devoted to an extensive description of the manuscripts used, a classification of the types of text, a discussion of the relationship with the underlying Greek and a general outline of the textual history of that book of the Bible.

Erzabtei Beuron

The Archabbey of Beuron in the Danube Valley

Die Manuskripterstellung

Work on the edition in manuscript


Correction of galley proofs

Erzabtei Beuron

Abbildung Textseite der Edition Vetus LatinaClick to enlarge

Page of the edition for Revelation 18:12, divided into three sections