Monthly Archives: October 2016

Sermo And Verbo – What’s Difference Does It Make?

The revision of the Latin version of Erasmus, in his edition of 1519, raised up against him yet more enemies. In his first edition, he retained, in the beginning of St. John’s Gospel, the expression of the Vulgate, “In principio erat Verbum”: in 1519, however, he followed the phraseology of the early Latin fathers, substituting “Sermo” for “Verbum.” This was deemed almost, if not quite, a heresy; and he had to defend himself, in consequence, against many attacks,*

*  Erasmus gives a curious account of the effect which this change of a word produced in England among some. A bishop (whose name he suppresses) was preaching at “Paul’s Cross,” when he went out of his way to attack Erasmus’s new translation. It was a shameful thing for those who had been so long doctors of divinity, to have to go to school again, — for such to receive instruction from any mere Greekling. At length his zeal waxed so warm (he said) that he called on the lord mayor of London, who was present, and on the citizens for aid, that they would show themselves men, and not suffer such new translations, which subvert the authority of Holy Scripture, to obtain farther currency !

Excerpt from page  25 to 26 of “An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament: With Remarks on Its Revision Upon Critical Principles” by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles,