Mr. Windsor has in fact completely missed the
point of the contextual/exegetical analysis, which was to demonstrate that
there are no contextual/linguistic grounds for the translation as
rendered by the Vulgate/DRB. He therefore has technically not responded
to the arguments presented. Those trained in biblical studies know the
importance of exegesis to translation. Understanding the text in its
context is the sine qua non of accurate translation. Exegesis is simply
clarifying what the text actually says with attention to the original language
and context, both literary and historical.
I have not missed
Hofstetter’s point in the least - but I have denied that it is relative to the
discussion! As I told him, exegesis is fine for a discussion of
interpretation - but not for translation. For that matter, exegesis which
ignores an existing original language text becomes more like eisegesis.
We have already demonstrated that Mr. Hofstetter was ignorant of the
Peshitta text - I am quite certain that St. Jerome was not.
Now, I’m afraid we are not “almost home.”
I have been arguing contra the Vulgate from the beginning of the debate,
and including the DRB since it is a translation of the Vulgate (BTW, OL or OLV =
Old Latin/Old Latin Versions in scholarship are a technical terms for the
Latin texts prior to Jerome’s revision). I believe I have already
demonstrated the grammatical and syntactical problems with regard to both
texts, arguments which Mr. Windsor so far has not engaged directly.
Contrary to Mr.
Hofstetter’s opinion, I have been directly engaging his arguments where they
actually apply to this debate. I am not being distracted into side-topics
(red herrings) which, while they might be interesting and make for good debates
on their own - they are not material for this debate.
As for the use of “OLV”
or “OL” (which I did not use), I accept what Hofstetter says here - and argue
that this only furthers my argument! The fact is there was no single “OLV”
prior to St. Jerome’s work. The Old Latin Versions which existed were
portions here and there of certain Scriptures - but no single volume.
Part of St. Jerome’s project, in his own words, was to “decide which
of them agree with the Greek original.” 
Excellent call, and I have to admit that the
Peshitta wasn’t even on my radar screen with regard to this. More below,
but let me point out here that it is not one of the original languages of
Scripture. The original languages are the languages of composition, Greek
for the NT. Latin, Coptic and Syriac (Eastern Aramaic, the Peshitta) are
translations, and not considered “original” languages.
Not all the New
Testament was written in Greek originally, and St. Jerome testifies to this
too: “the work of Matthew the Apostle, who was the first to commit to
writing the Gospel of Christ, and who published his work in Judæa in Hebrew
characters.”  We’re not discussing St. Matthew’s version
nor the Greek translation of it - but it would be wrong to blanketly assert
that the entire New Testament was originally written in Greek. The fact
remains that the Peshitta text existed at the time of St. Jerome’s project and
it would be ludicrous to think he did not utilize it (which Hofstetter has not
argued against), an official Church of the East edition, in compiling the
official Latin version of the Western Church. It also remains that the
Peshitta contains the “full of grace” title which we find in St. Jerome’s Latin
Vulgate supporting that St. Jerome’s use of that terminology is a viable
While Jerome makes this claim, very few modern
scholars would accept it, since we have manuscripts of the Peshitta which
contain variants. The Peshitta, as noted above, is written in Eastern
Aramaic (Syriac) and so is not the same as the dialect spoken in Palestine in
the first century. Only a tiny minority believe it is the original
language of Scripture.
First off, “this claim”
was not made by St. Jerome, but an official of the Eastern Catholic Church.
Secondly, whether it is a “tiny majority” or not - the fact remains the
text exists and is arguably not only an ancient text, but also an ancient text
in the original language of Jesus and the Apostles - whether or not it is the
precise dialect is immaterial. Thirdly, who are these “modern scholars”
Hofstetter speaks of, and are they all Protestants?
You are correct, I was unaware that the Peshitta
contained this reading. For text critical purposes, however, versions are
For purposes of being
critical of St. Jerome’s translation, to ignore or just summarily dismiss the
official text of the Eastern Church is critically irresponsible. I must
thank Mr. Hofstetter for his candid admission of not aware of the reading of
the Peshitta here. While it may go without saying, I’ll say it - the fact
he did not know of this weakens his previous arguments and renders them
It is also the case that not even all manuscripts
of the Vulgate contain the reading (see scanned attachment). There is
sufficient doubt with regard to the reading even in the Latin manuscript
“The reading” of primary
concern here is “full of grace” - or the Latin, “gratia plena” and the text
which Mr. Hofstetter provided us contains that! Here is a photo excerpt
from that text: 
“Hail, Full of Grace, the Lord is with you.” So I do not know how
Mr. Hofstetter could have made such a statement - for it is entirely false and
gives us reason to have sufficient doubt with regard to his reading of even
the Latin manuscript he provided!
Speaking of ancient versions the Peshitta is not
the only ancient one. Sahidic Coptic is equally ancient, and renders kecharitômenê
“her who found grace.” It also does not have “blessed are you among
Again, that OTHER
versions may exist is NOT the point of this debate! THIS debate is
focused upon whether or not St. Jerome’s translation is a viable one. I
believe we’ve seen enough evidence to agree his translation is viable based
upon what St. Jerome had available to him at that time - though I do not
believe Mr. Hofstetter will agree, not yet anyway. This is not a question
round, but let me posit and ask the following. Language evolves in small
steps and at times, huge leaps - but it undoubtedly evolves. That being
said, a person translating Scripture only ~400 years from the original
autographs would have a better grasp on the original text versus someone
translating more than 1500 years after the fact. There is no doubt that
many of the transcripts which have come to light SINCE the 4th century are
variable on the two verses we have been debating. Again, I assert that
these other translations may not be “wrong” - just “different” theologically
speaking. As has also been asserted - there is more than one way to
“interpret” the passage viably, but interpretation is not the discussion of
this debate - but translation. I reassert, if there are existing
translations which agree with St. Jerome which both pre-exist and exist after
his day - then his translation is a viable one.
Hofstetter speaking of
Dr. Sippo states:
The only way that this highly interpretive and
eisegetical commentary will work is if one ignores what the actual Hebrew text
says grammatically and syntactically.
Whether or not Dr.
Sippo’s work is interpretive and eisegetical is Mr. Hofstetter’s opinion, which
is invalid in this debate. He goes into more detail, so let us
Dr. Sippo (a physician, not a biblical scholar [source])
Ad hominem is not necessary
here. Certainly Dr. Sippo got his doctorate in medicine, but he has been
providing scholarship for many years on the topic of apologetics. I’m
sure some of his opponents beg to differ, but this debate, here and now, is not
about Dr. Sippo’s person, so let us leave this red herring/ad hominem behind.
I do wish Mr. Hofstetter would resist the temptation to participate in
character assassination and stick to the facts of the debate, but as he strays
- I will point it out.
...makes some elementary mistakes in his
analysis. Gen 3:15 in the Vulgate does not use the neuter ipsum, but
the femine ipsa, so I really am unsure of his initial point.
I agree, the Vulgate
uses “ipsa.” Which is the feminine - however, that is not Dr. Sippo’s
He ignores the fact that the verb is third masculine
singular. He ignores the fact that the pronoun his translates the masculine
pronominal suffix attached to the verb. With regard to the JPS version,
this is an acceptable translation if the noun ZeRaH, seed, a
grammatically masculine singular noun, is understood as a collective,
which is as we have seen in earlier analysis is certainly a plausible
understanding of the text. His argument is also largely a petitio
principi – if you read what he says carefully, he simply assumes the
validity of the Vulgate rendering and essentially uses it as proof of his
These errors in themselves are sufficient to
discredit Dr. Sippo’s analysis of the text. Additionally, the substance
of his argument is basically the argument from parallelism, which I
showed earlier is not valid here (i.e., parallelism doesn’t always work in a
one to one correspondence with the items in parallel, and that parallelism is a
feature of Hebrew poetry and higher rhetorical style, such as prophetic
proclamation, not narrative per se).
Again, Dr. Sippo’s point
is not really over the use of ipsum v. ipsa, but the facts that:
A - the serpent and B - the woman will have
enmity between them.
C - his seed and D - her seed would share in
D or B - will strike the head of A
(theologically, D or B is correct).
A - the serpent will lie in wait of the heel of
D or B (again, either view is theologically correct).
So *could* it be read
“he” or “she” - yes! I concur with that. However, when translating
from the Hebrew** to the Latin, keeping the genders in line, he
and her would have enmity, his seed and her seed too, that he (third person
singular and masculine) would lie in wait of her (third person singular and
feminine) heel. God is talking directly to the serpent, Moses records
this in third person singular. Since we’re going from the second person
singular, masculine in the first part - it makes sense that we stay with the
antithesis of that first part - and that it is her heel that he is lying in
Haydock is fine for Catholic apologetics, but
highly dated when it comes to scholarship.
Hofstetter quotes from non-Catholic commentaries and translations - that same
then must be allowed on my side. Truth has no “date” - if Hofstetter
wants to deal with Haydock’s scholarship, that would be fine - but again, such
an attack is basically another red herring/ad hominem insofar as this debate is
In round two, I cited a commentary on Genesis
with much more up-to-date information. As Haydock does not deal with the
actual details of the Hebrew text, his comments here do not support the
affirmative position. He argues essentially that non-existent Hebrew and
LXX manuscripts prior to what we now have had a different reading of the text.
I have dealt with this in detail in earlier in the debate.
Well, contrary to what
Mr. Hofstetter has said here - in his response he already admitted that he was
not considering yet (was not aware of?) the Peshitta text - which is the Hebrew
text which Haydock refers to (“the Syriac” version). I even made a point
of that in my response that Haydock refers to the Peshitta! I led this
horse to the water, but I cannot force it to drink! Actually, in his next
breath he concedes the existence of the earlier version...
Finding another ancient version which agrees
with the Vulgate does not prove that the Vulgate is a valid translation.
It could simply mean that the same factors which caused Jerome to
mistranslate were also present for the Peshitta.
And being present in the
Peshitta, an ancient text from biblical times, lends credence to the viability
of the Vulgate. What we see here is Mr. Hofstetter discounting not only
the officially accepted translation of the Latin Church, but also the
officially accepted translation of the Eastern Church - which I acknowledge,
pre-existed St. Jerome’s Vulgate. It would seem that Mr. Hofstetter takes
almost a KJV-onlyist approach to this - if it’s not in the Masoretic Text,
it’s not valid. That being said, one could argue that the text simply
means the Baltimore Orioles have no chance to with the AL East this year - and
that argument would be just as valid as Hofstetter’s “it could simply
In your rebuttal, you have failed to address the
exegetical and contextual details against your position, and have failed to
substantiate the validity of the Vulgate renderings.
Well, of course I beg to
differ. We’ll have to let the readers decide that one. I believe I
have been more than adequately answering to ALL Mr. Hofstetter’s validly
on-topic comments. Yes, there have been a few of his arguments which I
have dismissed as off-topic, and I have clearly stated where those arguments
are and why they were dismissed. Mr. Hofstetter does not counter my
dismissal with reasons why I should not dismiss - he just repeats that I am
failing to address his points. Clearly I address most of his points, and
again, where I don’t, I have stated why I have not.
 St. Jerome, Preface to the Latin Vulgate: http://vulgate.net/jerome-preface-vulgate-new-testament.html
 Novum Testamentum
Lucam, provided by Hofstetter: http://www.americancatholictruthsociety.com/articles/translation_debate/NTLLuke_1_28_gratia_plena.jpg
mistakenly used the word “Greek” here, it should have been “Hebrew.”
Word Count: 1532 (not counting quoted words from Hofstetter)