FRENCH VERSIONS. There is every rea son to believe that researches, judiciously and per.
severingly directed, would be rewarded by the discovery of a large amount of activity expended on the translation of the Scriptures into the language of the people of France from a very early period. What is really known, however, on this subject anterior to the period of the Reformation, is very partial, and in some instances of doubtful authen ticity. We may gather from the conciliar edicts prohibiting the use of tmnslations of the sacred books in the vulgar tongue, that such existed as early as the beginning of the i3th century (Acta Contd. 7'olos. 1229, c. 14, ap. Mansi xxiii. x97 ; comp. those also of the Synod of Tarragona in 1234, and Beziers in 1246), and even as early as 1199, Pope Innocent III. had heard that even epistolas Pauli, momlia Job, et plures alios libros in Gallic() sermone,' were in use among the Albigenses (Epz:rt., ed. Baluz. 432); but we are very much in the dark as to the character of these translations, or the source whence they emanated. Writers on the Waldensian Church assert the exist ence of translations in the Romance dialect pos sessed by that church anterior to the r2th century (Monastier, History ef Me Vaudois, p. 73 ; Hen derson, The Vazza'ois, p. 248 ; Gilly, The Ro maunt Version of the Gospel of S4 7ohn, etc., Lond. 1848) ; but the evidence on which this is advanced does not stand the test of a thorough scrutiny. In the .117obla Leyezon, which contains the religious belief of that church, there are several citations of Scripture, but there is no evidence that these are madc from any extant version ; and at any rate this work cannot be placed earlier than the end of the 12th or beginning of the 13th cen tury (Hallam, Hist. of Literature, i. 26). Walter de Mapes says, that, during the Pontificate of Alexander III. (1159-1r8I), he was present at a synod at Rome where certain Waldensians pre sented to the Pope a book written in the Gallic tongue, in quo textus et glossa Psalterii pluri morumque legis utriusque librorum continebatue (De Meg* Curial., p. 64, Camden Society ed. ; Usher, De Chr. Eccles. .S'uccess., Opp. ed. Elring ton, ii. 244) ; but it is doubtful whether any part of this was in the vernacular except the gloss, which in a translation would be of little use. That Peter Valdo hiniself possessed a vernacular transla tion of the Scriptures has been asserted ; but when examined th.s tradition resolves itself into the fact that he requested a grammarian, Stephanus de Ansa, to supply him with a translation of the Gospels and other books of the Bible, et auctoritates sane torum ;' but whether it was a textus cum glossa,' or sententias per titulos congregatas,' the wit nesses leave uncertain. From what Reiner says
(ap. Usher, ix.), Cum esset [Valdus] aliquan tulum literatus, Novi Testamenti textum docuit eos vulgariter,' the presumption is that no vernacular version existed, but that Valdo in preaching trans lated for his hearers, i.e., probably gave them the glosses which Stephanus had collected for him. Trithemius, however, expressly says, libros sacrm Scripturm maxime Novi Testamenti sibi in linguam Gallicam fecit transferri' (Annal Hirsaugiens. arm. 116o, vol. i. p. 442). The MSS. of the Walden sian versions preserved at Zurich, Grenoble, Dublin, and Paris, are not of an earlier date than the 16th century, nor can the version they present claim any high antiquity. That vernacular versions of the N. T., and portions of the Old, existed among the so-called Sectaries of the south of France from an early period does not admit of doubt ; but we are not in circumstances to say anything definite con cerning them. Dr. Gilly (p. xxii.) has called attention to the curious fact that an English eccle siastic in z34.3 disposed by will of a copy of the Romance Bible, Bibulam (Bibliam ?) in Ro manam linguam translatam' (Publications of Sur tees Soc. for 1836, vol. ii. p. zo). In the library of the Academie des Arts at Lyons, there is a codex containing the N. T. in Romance, to which is ap pended the liturgy of the Cathari, indicating its origin among them (Gieseler, Church Hist. iii. 409). In the north of France also we have some clear traces of vernacular copies of the Scriptures. A translation of the four books of Kings in the dialect of the north of France (langue d'Oil) has been published (Paris 1841, 4to) by M. Leroux de Lincy, who attributes it to the 12th century. M. Reuss has examined and described in the Revue de. Strasbourg, iv. ff., a codex preserved in the library of that city, which contains in the same dialect, somewhat varied, the Pentateuch, Joshua, and Judges, with the Glossa ondinaria et interlinearis [GLossEs], and the rest of the historical books of the O. T. with the Psalter without the gloss. As respects the translation said to have been executed, cir. 1230, for Saint Lewis, that of Du Vignier (cir. 134o), that of De Sy (I35o), and that of Vaudetar (1372), we can say nothing more than that tradition asserts that such did once exist.