The Vulgate (from the latin vulgata meaning "commonly used," "popular," or "so, like, totes retro cool") is a translation of the Bible made by St Jerome for the Catholic church in the 4th Century. The text was significant for many reasons as it was the primary translation endorsed by the Catholic Church. Even the Guttenberg Bible was a version of the Vulgate.
|J-Lamb kickin with some angels|
Before we step into history on the Vulgate, let's look at the man. St. Jerome, then just known as Jerome, J-Lamb, and LL Cool J (Latins Love Cool Jerome) was born in 347. He studied rhetoric and philosophy in Rome and began to study theology soon after. Then, around 373, a couple of angels visited him, as they often do during times of clear-minded completely rational near-death sickness that had already killed his companions, possibly because they were not holy enough. Soon after he began exclusively studying the Bible and its translations before eventually being asked in 380's by Pope Damasus I to translate the older latin and Hebrew texts into a new version, which was then dubbed "the Vulgate." Because of his contributions to the church and scholarship, he was named the patron saint of librarians and libraries
As we stated above, Jerome was the original translator of the Vulgate. Under orders, he left the majority of the New Testament untouched, while the 38 books of the Vulgate Old Testament underwent several translations due to the amount of previous translations. Throughout the years, various other scholars have used varieties of sources to re-translate the original text to more closely resemble the Hebrew meanings. What's fun about a 3,000 year old book is that hundreds of people have looked, revised, rewritten it so many times that often you have to go back to the sources and the sources are, well, 3,000 years old.
The text is significant for many reasons. First, it was around for nearly 1,000 years as the #1 El Guapo version of the Bible. The impact it made on western Christians was felt throughout society, influencing the church, law and common phraseology, even influencing the King James version that eventually was adopted by, well, King James as the definitive English translation. During the Council of Trent in the mid 16th century, the Vulgate was officially recognized as church canon, making it the first official "Christian Wiki." Even the first recognized mass printed book, the Gutenberg Bible, was a version of the Vulgate.