Does KJV-onlyism Have a Connection with Origen and Jerome?

by Rick Norris

KJV-only advocates often label the Latin Vulgate by Jerome a corrupt translation. They put the Vulgate on their tree or line of corrupt Bibles. They also seek to link all modern translations with Origen. Can it be concluded that KJV-only advocates would consistently condemn any translation with any slight connection or link with Jerome or Origen?

It is a fact that the KJV has a connection with Erasmus. The Greek New Testament edited by Erasmus was the principal source of the Textus Receptus that underlies the KJV's N. T. However, many KJV-only advocates may be surprised to learn that Erasmus can be connected or linked to Origen and Jerome.

Peter Ruckman even acknowledged that the hero of Erasmus was Origen (King James Onlyism, p. 10). Irena Backus observed that Theodore Beza often referred to Erasmus as being "too much under the influence of Origen" (Reformed Roots of the English N. T., p. 39). Richard Marius noted that "Erasmus seems to have accepted much more of Origen, considered heretical by most Catholics, than he could safely admit" (Thomas More, p. 148). "In his admiration for Origen, Erasmus was influenced by the Greek Father's Neo-platonism, and his program of interior piety was further indebted to the Neo-platonism that he encountered among such humanists as Pico della Mirandola and John Vitrier" (Great Thinkers of the Western World, p. 130).

Along with his admiration for Origen, Erasmus is also known for his strong admiration for Jerome. This admiration is clearly evident in his book on the Life of Saint Jerome. Jerome, the translator of the Latin Vulgate, was the favorite church father of Erasmus (Who's Who in Christian History, p. 235). B. Hall commented: "For Erasmus, Jerome was the ideal of the true theologian" (Dorey, Erasmus, p. 84).

Edward F. Hills, a KJV defender, noted: "Erasmus, influenced by the usage of the Latin-speaking Church in which he was reared, sometimes followed the Latin Vulgate rather than the Traditional Greek text" (The KJV Defended, p. 200). Theodore Letis pointed out that Hills in the first edition of his book admitted: "Some of the non-Byzantine readings which Erasmus introduced into his New Testament text are unquestionably erronous" (Ecclesiastical Text, p. 183). In another book that defends the traditional text, Peter Johnston commented: "It should be mentioned that the Textus Receptus deriving from Erasmus has a considerable number of readings similar, not to the Majority Text, but to the Egyptian text, most importantly in the Gospels" (Unholy Hands, Vol. II, p. 578). Jay Green, another defender of the TR, acknowledged: "There are a few places where he [Erasmus] emended the text with poor evidence at hand" (Interlinear Greek-English N.T., p. xii). Who gave Erasmus the authority to add words from the Latin Vulgate to the preserved Word of God in the original languages? Since Erasmus admired Origen and Jerome, is it good for believers today to follow their views like he did?