Early translations of the Hebrew OT and Greek NT. They were made into other languages of the ancient Near East and also into Latin. These are among the aids available to a textual critic in the never-ending search for a text as close as possible to the original. Tatian, in the 2nd cent., compiled his Diatessaron in Syriac, and this was itself put into Arabic, Latin, and other languages. Other Syriac translations of parts of the NT have been discovered; the standard version of the whole Bible, apart from five books of the NT, used in the Syriac Church is called the Peshitta (? ‘simple’). The five missing NT books were added in the 7th cent. CE. Other versions were the Coptic, Armenian, and Ethiopic. A Latin version (the ‘Old Latin’) became necessary with the growth of the use of this language in the West; and the Vulgate (? ‘popular’) was Jerome's Latin version, which superseded the Old Latin and became the official Bible of the Roman Catholic Church. English translations of the Bible are called versions when they are revisions rather than new translations—hence NRSV.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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