Translating Romans 5:12 in the early 16th century. Franciscus Titelmans’s polemic against humanists


Translating the Bible has never been an easy task, least of all at the times of theological controversy. A New Latin translation by Erasmus of Rotterdam, executed on the eve of the Reformation, met much criticism on philological and theological level. Franciscus Titelmans, a young, Franciscan scholar from Leuven, addressed in his Collationes quinque numerous issued regarding the translation of the Epistle to the Romans. This article focuses on Romans 5:12. Titelmans claimed that Erasmus’s translation of this verse threatened the dogma of original sin and promoted the resurgence of Pelagianism. The article analyses his arguments showing that although he was not entirely alien to philology, he relied more on the Church Fathers and the authority of the Church in his translation. Philological and logical arguments served only as auxiliary proofs for the meaning that had been established by patristic commentaries. Consequently, this debate mirrors diverse attitudes of both scholars. The Humanist opted for sound philology, even if it resulted in questionable theological statements, the Franciscan for sound theology, even if it led to imperfect philological choices. Although specific arguments of this debate are outdated and hardly relevant to modern-day biblical studies, divergent attitudes of its protagonists are well reflected in current debates, making it worth

Słowa kluczowe

Vulgate; Epistle to the Romans; original sin; translation of the Bible; biblical Humanism; Erasmus of Rotterdam; Franciscus Titelmans

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Opublikowane : 2021-04-29

Mantyk, T. (2021). Translating Romans 5:12 in the early 16th century. Franciscus Titelmans’s polemic against humanists. The Biblical Annals, 11(2), 301-326.

Tomasz Karol Mantyk
Katolicki Uniwersytet Lubelski Jana Pawła II  Polska

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