Sunday, October 09, 2016

Review of Houghton, The Latin New Testament

H. A. G. Houghton, The Latin New Testament: A Guide to its Early History, Texts, and Manuscripts. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. Pp. xix, 366. ISBN 9780198744733. $39.95.

Reviewed by Andrew Dunning, The British Library (

Author’s Addenda
The Vulgate Bible is perhaps the most widely read work of Latin literature. Even today, its phrases can be found in popular culture, in pets named ‘Magnificat’ and businesses named ‘Quo vadis’. Yet understanding of the origins and nature of this book tends to be low. It is not uncommon to see the Vulgate treated as if it were a homogeneous text, with the assumption that everyone in the past read it as it is now found in the standard critical edition. Scholars have refined this common understanding of the text’s origins, but their findings have only barely emerged from a circle of specialists. At the same time, the new online availability of biblical manuscripts every month is prompting questions among non-specialists about how to interpret these artefacts. The appearance of this book could hardly be more timely.