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The Vulgate, or Latin Vulgate, meaning commonly accepted, refers to the Latin version of the Bible produced by Jerome during the fourth century. At that time, there were various versions of the Bible which had been translated from Greek to Latin for the benefit of Western Christians who did not understand Greek. The most widely-circulated of these was called the 'Old Latin' or 'Itala'. Because of the confusion which resulted from the diversity between the various Latin translations, Pope Damasus requested that Jerome revise and correct the New Testament, in order to create one standard Latin version. After revising the four Gospels, it is said that he more hurriedly completed the remainder of the New Testament, finishing his work around 383-84 A.D. Following Damasus' death, Jerome went to Israel, where he spent the next thirty-four years. It was while there, that he spent some fifteen years revising and translating the Old Testament from Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic, to Latin. Being as it was a personal enterprise, Jerome was highly criticized, and accused of changing the text found in the earlier Latin versions. Despite these objections, centuries later, in 1546 the Council of Trent declared Jerome's work, now known as the Vulgate, the official version of the Roman Catholic Church. Realizing from the beginning that it was not error-free, a revision was published in 1592 under Pope Clement VIII. Modern English versions of the Roman Catholic Bible, of which there have been various, such as the Douay-Rheims, are indirectly derived from Jerome's Latin Vulgate version.

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