Page 82 - Jewish Book Annual Volume 43

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unsuccessful attempts to rectify the Latin text, it was only with the
revival of learning in Western Europe in the 13th century that
more serious thought was given to textual revision as well as to a
systematization of the Scriptures. Stephen Langton (d. 1228),
Archbishop of Canterbury, was the first to divide the hitherto
unstructured text of the Vulgate into chapters and verses, mainly
in order to enable preachers and missionaries to cite biblical
passages correctly when using them in their sermons as well as in
religious disputations whose aim it was to convert Jews. The first
concordance of the Vulgate was compiled with the same purpose
in mind.
As for the Jews, they were hardly in need of a concordance.
Then as now known as “The people of the Book,” they studied
the Bible and the Talmud every day throughout their lives, ob­
serving the biblical command, “Thou shalt meditate therein day
and night” (Joshua 1:8). Almost every Jew, from the humblest
worker to the most learned rabbi, knew the Scriptures by heart,
and could pinpoint any verse according to the traditional division
of the books of the Bible into groups of verses as fixed by ancient
The first known instance of a concordance to the Vulgate was
an anonymous work named
Concordantiae morales?2
a compila­
tion of parallel passages pertaining to moral precepts, and as­
cribed to St. Anthony of Padua (1195-1231), probably because he
was said to have possessed a phenomenal memory and was vener­
ated as the patron saint of those who had lost objects. There is,
however, no evidence that he ever wrote such a work which in
any case was not an index to words but rather to topics, a
concordantia rerum.
The word
(medieval Latin, de­
rived from the classical
“agreement, harmony”) indica­
ted a group o f passages in which the same word or topic
appeared, hence the plural form was used as a collective title.
Th is practice is still followed on all Latin title pages o f
concordances, whereas in English the singular form has been
used since the 14th century.
The first concordance to the entire text of the Vulgate was the
work of Hugo de Sancto Caro (1200?-1263), a Dominican cardi­
22 Antonius dc Padua.
Concordantiae morales sacrorum bibliorum . . .
Rome: A.
Ciacconi, 1624. [28], 176, [2], 378, [2] p. This first printed edition was based on
a manuscript in the monastery of the Minorites in Rome.