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Anna Persig

Theology, Divinity and Religion, University of Birmingham

Thesis title:

The Paternity of the Acts, the Epistles and Apocalypse: a Linguistic and Stylistic Analysis of the Latin New Testament

At the end of the fourth century Jerome undertakes the revision of the Gospels known as the Vulgate which is supplemented in the manuscript tradition by the anonymously revised version of the other New Testament books. The Latin Vulgate represents the final stage of the process of the translation of the Bible which began in the late second century with the texts known as the Vetus Latina. The character of the Vetus Latina, transmitted by the manuscript tradition and the citations of the Church Father, varies considerably and ranges from an informal and non-literary register to an old-fashioned and literary style. This research examines the language of the Latin versions of the Catholic Epistles from the lexical, morphological and syntactical points of view and through a qualitative and quantitative analysis. It investigates their relationship with the Greek text and the presence of non-standard and late Latin features. The comparative examination of Greek and Latin texts casts light on the techniques employed by the Vulgate and the Vetus Latina translators. Diachronic and synchronic descriptions of the language highlight the linguistic peculiarities of these texts and their relationship with contemporary and earlier writings. The statistical examination of the lexicon, participial renderings and word order presents an overview of the variation in each epistle between the Vulgate and the Vetus Latina. The Vulgate, which has traditionally been considered a more refined text than the Vetus Latina is shown to be equally, and often more, influenced by the Greek language and ‘vulgar’ usages. The differing linguistic character of the individual Epistles and the varying degrees of agreement between the Vulgate and the Vetus Latina reveal that the Vulgate Catholic Epistles do not form a unitary corpus: 1 Peter, 1 John, 2 John and Jude appear to be more conservative and accomplished than James, 2 Peter and 3 John. This variation may be due to their gradual inclusion in the western canon, which could explain their separate origins and different processes of revision. On the other hand, the close relationship between the Vulgate and the Vetus Latina in all the letters demonstrates that the Latin versions known today derive from a common archetype. 

Research Area

  • Theology, Divinity and Religion


  • Persig, Anna (forthcoming 2020) 'The Vulgate New Testament outside the Gospels' in Houghton H.A.G. (ed.) Oxford Handbook of the Latin Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Persig, Anna (forthcoming 2020) 'Die Übersetzung Griechischer Partizipien in den Katholischen Briefen der Vetus Latina und der Vulgata' in Hoffmann, Roland (ed.) Lingua Vulgata. Eine linguistische Einführung in das Studium der lateinischen Bibel. Hamburg: Buske Verlag.
  • Persig, Anna (forthcoming 2020) 'The Affiliation of the Quotations from the New Testament Epistles in the Liber de Fide' in Houghton H.A.G and Montoro P. (eds.) At One Remove: The Text of the New Testament in Early Translations and QuotationsPapers from the Eleventh Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament. Piscataway: Gorgias.
  • Persig, Anna (2019)  Book review of T. A. Bergren, A Latin-Greek Index of the Vulgate New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers in The Classical Review 69(2) https://doi.org/10.1017/S0009840X19001264
  • Persig, Anna (2019) Book review of A. Bonner, The Myth of Pelagianism in Rosetta Journal, issue 23 http://www.rosetta.bham.ac.uk/issue23/Persig.pdf


  • Jerome as the Reviser of the Vulgate Epistles: Status Questions and New Approaches presented at Hieronymus noster. International Symposium on the 1600th Anniversary of Jerome's Death (University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, 24/10/2019)
  • The Citations of the 'Pelagians' from the Catholic Epistles: Disunity of Thought as well as of Biblical Text? presented at the XVIII. International Conference on Patristic Studies (University of Oxford, UK, 21/08/2019)
  • On the Renderings of Greek Participles in the Latin Versions of the Catholic Epistles presented at the 20th International Colloquium on Latin Linguistics (Universidad de Las Palmas de Gran Canaria, Spain, 19/06/2019)
  • The Character of Pseudo-Rufinus the Syrian's Quotations from the New Testament Epistles presented at the Archaeology, Classics and Egyptology Work in Progress Seminar Series (University of Liverpool, UK, 9/05/2019)
  • The Affiliation of Pseudo-Rufinus the Syrian's Biblical Text in the Quotations from the Pauline and Catholic Epistles presented at the 11th Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual Criticism of the New Testament (University of Birmingham, UK, 5/03/2019)
  • Literalism and linguistic improvements in the Latin translations of the Epistle to the Hebrews presented at the International Colloquium on Late and Vulgar Latin – Latin Vulgaire – Latin Tardif XIII (Eötvös Loránd UniversityBudapest, Hungary, 4/09/2018)
  • Unity and Authorship in the Vulgate of the Pauline Epistles: A New Methodology for the Analysis of the Latin New Testament presented at the European Association of Biblical Studies – Society of Biblical Literature International Meeting (University of Helsinki, Finland, 31/07/2018)
  • The Latin versions of the Pauline Epistles: an investigation into their language, origin and authorship poster presented at the Midlands3Cities Research Festival 2018 (Birmingham, UK, 24/05/2018)
  • Literalism and linguistic improvements in the Latin translations of the Epistle to the Hebrews presented at the University of Edinburgh Classics Postgraduate Seminar Series (University of Edinburgh, UK, 8/02/2018)

Other Research Interests

  • Latin linguistics 
  • Textual criticism of the Latin and Greek New Testament
  • Late Latin
  • Palaeography and manuscript tradition of the New Testament


  • Member of the European Association of Biblical Studies (EABS)


  • Invited lecture ('An Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism') to the Introduction to Biblical Studies class, University of Birmingham, 3/02/2020
  • Teaching Assistant of Roman Literature, University of Birmingham (Spring term 2019)
  • Teaching Assistant of Roman Literature, University of Birmingham (Spring term 2018)      

Scholarly engagement

  • Visiting PhD student at the Department of Linguistics, University of Gent, Belgium (01/03/2020 –31/03/2020)
  • Selected to attend the Latin Lexicography Summer School organised by the Thesaurus Linguae Latinae (Bayerische Akademie der Wissenschaften, Munich, Germany, 22/07/2019 – 26/07/2019)
  • Chaired a session at the 11th Birmingham Colloquium on the Textual   Criticism of the New Testament (University of Birmingham, UK, 04/03/2019 – 06/03/2019)
  • 2019 – present: Employed as transcriber of Latin manuscripts for the Insular Gospel Books     Transcription Project: http://www.insulargospels.net/
  • 2018 – present: Employed as transcriber of Greek manuscripts for the CATENA project  https://www.birmingham.ac.uk/research/itsee/projects/catena/project.aspx