Keith Hunt - The New Testament Translation - A History #5 - Page Five   Restitution of All Things

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The New Testament Translation - A History #5

The Bible of France, Northern Italy, and the Waldenses

                Compiled with added comments

Wilkinson, PhD.
Written 1930.
All CAPITAL letters are mine, for emphasis (Keith Hunt)



     In Southern France, when in 177 A.D. the Gallic Christians
were frightfully massacred by the heathen, a record of their
suffering was drawn up by the survivors and sent, NOT to the Pope
of Rome, but to their brethren in ASIA MINOR (See Cathcart,
Ancient British and Irish Churches, p. 16). 
     Milman claims that the French received their Christianity
from ASIA Minor.
     These apostolic Christians in Southern France were
undoubtedly those who gave effective help in carrying the Gospel
to Great Britain (Idem. p. 17). As we have seen above there was a
LONG and BITTER struggle between the Bible of the British
Christians and the Bible which was brought later to England by
the missionaries of Rome. And as there were really only TWO
Bibles, - the official version of Rome, and the Received text, 
we may safely conclude that the Gallic (or French) Bible, as well
as the Celtic (or British), were the Received Text. NEANDER
claims, as follows, that the first Christianity in England came
NOT from Rome, but from Asia Minor, probably through France:

     "But the peculiarity of the later British church is evidence
against its origin from Rome; for in many ritual matters it
departed from the usage of the Romish church, and agreed MUCH
MORE nearly with the churches of Asia Minor. It WITHSTOOD, for  a
LONG TIME, the authority of the Romish Papacy. This circumstance
would seem to indicate, that the Britons had received their
Christianity, either immediately, or through Gaul, from Asia
Minor, - a thing QUITE POSSIBLE and EASY, by means of the
COMMERCIAL intercourse. The later Anglo-Saxons, who opposed the
spirit of ecclesiastical independence among the Britons, and
endeavored to establish the church supremacy of Rome, were
uniformly inclined to trace back the church establishment to
a Roman origin; from which effort many FALSE legends as well as
this might have arisen" (Neander, History of the Christian
Religion and Church, Vol. 1, pp. 85, 86).

(The  so-called "Venerable Bede" in his book on Christianity in
England, brings out all the historical detail that the British
received the Gospel centuries before the Roman Catholic
church set foot on British land (about 600 A.D.), and there was
indeed a struggle between the "British church" and that of the
"Roman church" for many centuries - Keith Hunt)


     That the messengers of God who carried MSS from the churches
of Judea to the churches of Northern Italy and on, brought to the
FORERUNNERS of the Waldenses a Bible DIFFERENT from the Bible of
Roman Catholicism, I quote the following:

     "The method which Allix has pursued, in his History of the
Churches of Piedmont, is to show that in the ecclesiastical
history of the century, from the fourth century, which
he considers a period early enough for the enquirer after
apostolical purity of doctrine, there are CLEAR proofs that
doctrines, UNLIKE those which the Romish Church holds,
and conformable to the belief of the Waldensian and Reformed
churches, were MAINTAINED by theologians of the NORTH of Italy,
down to the period, when the Waldenses first came into notice.
Consequently the opinions of the Waldenses were NOT NEW to Europe
in the eleventh or twelfth centuries, and there is nothing
IMPROBABLE in the tradition, that the Subalpine Church PRESERVED
in its INTEGRITY in an UNINTERRUPTED course from the FIRST
preaching of the Gospel in the valleys" (Gilly, Waldensian
Researches, pp. 118, 119).

     There are MANY EARLY historians who AGREE with this view
(Comba, the Waldenses of Italy, p. 188).

     It is inspiring to bring to life again the OUTSTANDING
history of an AUTHORITY on this point. I mean LEGER. This noble
scholar of Waldensian blood was the apostle of his people in the
terrible massacres of 1655, and labored intelligently to PRESERVE
their ANCIENT RECORDS. His book, the "General History of the
Evangelical Churches of the Piedmontese Valleys," published in
French in 1669, and called "scarce" in 1825, is the PRIZED object
of scholarly searchers. It is my good fortune to have that very
book before me. LEGER, when he calls Olivetan's French Bible of
1537 "entire and pure," says:

     "I say 'pure' because all the ancient exemplars, which
formerly were found among the Papists, were FULL of
FALSIFICATIONS, which caused BEZA to say in his book on
Illustrious Men, in the chapter on the Vaudois, that one must
confess it was by the means of the Vaudois of the Valleys that
France today has the Bible in her own language. This
godly man, Olivetan, in the preface of his Bible, recognizes with
thanks to God, that SINCE THE TIME of the APOSTLES, or THEIR
immediate successors, the TORCH of the gospel has been lit among
the Vaudois (or the dwellers in the Valleys of the Alps, two
terms which mean the same), and has NEVER been extinguished"
(Leger, General History of the Vaudois Churches, p. 165).

     The Waldenses of Northern Italy were foremost among the
PRIMITIVE Christians of Europe in their RESISTANCE to the
Papacy......They rejected the MYSTERIOUS doctrines, the
HIERARCHAL priesthood and worldly titles of Rome, while they
clung to the SIMPLICITY of the Bible......

     In the FOURTH century, HELVIDIUS, a GREAT scholar of
Northern Italy, ACCUSED Jerome, whom the Pope had empowered to
form a Bible in Latin for Catholicism, with USING CORRUPT Greek
MSS (Post-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 6. p. 338 - Christian Lit.

     And so learned and so powerful in WRITING and TEACHING was
Jovinian, the pupil of Helvidius, that it demanded THREE of
Rome's most FAMOUS fathers - Augustine, Jerome, and Ambose - to
UNITE in OPPOSING Jovinians' influence......

     Dr. DeSanctis, many years a Catholic official at Rome, some
time official Censor of the Inquisition and later a convert to
Protestantism, thus reports the conversation of a Waldensian
scholar as he points out to others the ruins of Palatine Hill,

     " 'See,' said the Waldensian, 'a beautiful monument of
ecclesiastical antiquity. These rough materials are the ruins of
the two great Palatine libraries, one Greek and the other Latin,
where the precious manuscripts of our ancestors were, collected,
and which Pope Gregory 1, called the Great, cause to be burned' "
(Gilly, Waldensian Researches, p. 80)........


     There are modern writers who attempt to FIX the BEGINNING of
the Waldenses from PETER WALDO, who began his work about 1175.
This is a MISTAKE! The HISTORICAL name of this people as properly
derived from the VALLEYS where they lived, is VAUDOIS. Their
ENEMIES, however, ever sought to DATE their ORIGIN from
WALDO.....Nevertheless the HISTORY of the Waldenses, or Vaudois,
     There remains to us in the ancient Waldensian language, "The
Noble Lesson" (La Nobla Leycon), written about 1100 A.D., which
assigns the FIRST opposition of the Waldenses to the Church of
Rome to the days of CONSTANTINE the Great, when Sylvester was
Pope. This may be gathered from the following extract:

     "All the Popes which have been from Sylvester to the
present" (que tuit li papa, que foron de Silvestre en tro en
aquest) (Gilly, Excursions to the Piedmont, Appendix 2, p. 10).

     Thus when Christianity, emerging from the long persecutions
of pagan Rome, was raised to IMPERIAL POWER by the Emperor
Constantine, the ITALIC Church in Northern Italy - later the
Waldenses - is seen standing in OPPOSITION to papal Rome. Their
BIBLE was of the FAMILY of the renowned ITALA. It was the
translation into LATIN which represents the Received Text, Its
very name "Itala" is derived from the Italic district, the
regions of the VAUDOIS. Of the PURITY and RELIABILITY of this
version, Augustine, speaking of DIFFERENT LATIN Bibles (about 400
A.D.) says:

     "Now among TRANSLATIONS themselves the ITALIAN (ITALA) is to
be PREFERRED to the others, for it KEEPS CLOSER to the words
without prejudice to CLEARNESS and EXPRESSION (Nicene and
Post-Nicene Fathers - Vol. 2, p. 542 - Christian Lit. Ed.)

     The OLD Waldensian LITURGY which they used in their SERVICES
down through the centuries CONTAINED "texts of Scripture of the
ancient Version called the Italick" (Allix, Churches of Piedmont
- 1669 - p. 37).

     The REFORMERS HELD that the Waldensian Church was FORMED
about 120 A.D., from which date on, they passed down from father
to son the teachings they received from the apostles (Idem, p.
     The Latin Bible, the Italic, was translated from the Greek
NOT LATER than 157 A.D. (Scrivener's Introduction, Vol. 1, p.

     We are indebted to BEZA, the RENOWNED associate of CALVIN,
for the statement that the Italic Church dates from 120 A.D. 

     From the illustrious group of scholars which gathered around
Beza, 1590 A.D., we may understand how the Received Text was the
BOND of UNION between great historic churches. 
     As the sixteenth century is closing, we see in the beautiful
Swiss city of Geneva, Beza, an outstanding champion of
Protestantism, the scholar Cyril Lucar, later to become the head
of the Greek Catholic Church, and Diodati, also a foremost
scholar. As Beza ASTONISHES and CONFOUNDS the world by RESTORING
MSS of the Greek NT from which the King James is translated,
Diodati takes the same and translates into Italian a NEW and
famous edition, adopted and circulated by the Waldenses
(McClintock and Strong, Encycl. Art, "Waldenses")......

     At the SAME TIME, ANOTHER group of scholars, BITTERLY
HOSTILE to the first group, were gathering at Rheims, France.
There the JESUITS, assisted by Rome and backed by all the power
of SPAIN, brought FORTH an ENGLISH translation of the VULGATE. In
its preface they expressly declared that the Vulgate had been
translated in 1300 into Italian and in 1400 into French. "the
sooner to shake out of the deceived people's hands, the false
heretical translations of a sect called Waldenses." This proves
that Waldensian Versions existed in 1300 and 1400. It was the
Vugate, Rome's corrupt Scriptures against the Received Text - the
NT of the apostles, of the Waldenses, and of the Reformers.
     That Rome in EARLY days CORRUPTED the MSS.....Allix, the
renowned scholar, testifies. He reports the following as Italic
articles of faith: "They receive only, saith he, what is written
in the Old and New Testament. They say, that the Popes of Rome,
and other priests, have DEPRAVED the Scriptures by their
DOCTRINES and GLOSSES" (Allix, Churches of Piedmont, pp. 288, 2).

     It is RECOGNIZED that the Italia was translated from the
Received Text (Syrian, Hort calls it); that the Vugate is Itala
with the readings of the Received Text REMOVED (Kenyon, Our Bible
and the Ancient Manuscripts, pp. 169, 170).


More to come on the Waldenses Bible and the work of Beza, Calvin,
Olivetan, Dadoed, Luther, and the Reformation NT Bible.


Compiled 2003

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