Hugh of Saint-Victor On Sacred Scripture [English translation]

This is an English translation of a text from Hugh of Saint-Victor on sacred Scripture (early 12th century), courtesy of modern technology. I hope to get some suggested edits before publishing it in a final form.

Disclaimer: I have near-zero competency in Latin. This is a fairly short text I stumbled on in some of my research. As far as I can tell, it has not yet been translated into English.

A pdf of the original is here. The Latin text was taken from here. I primarily used ChatGPT to translate, checking it against Google Translate. I did make some minor edits. Some seemed to be warranted by context (e.g. where it seemed that an obvious meaning was inverted, which was sometimes apparent in comparing the translations, too). Other edits make the English a bit more readable, in a few cases (e.g. where redundant phrases appeared). I’m sure there are many mistakes, both computer and human. I welcome suggested edits, just send me a message here.

Without further ado, Hugh of Saint-Victor on Sacred Scripture and it’s writers:

Hugh of Saint-Victor: On Sacred Scripture

Three crucial words: “You see that…

Sola fide, faith alone
“It is faith alone which justifies, and yet the faith which justifies is not alone”John Calvin

Three simple words and they are often glossed over, confounding one’s reading of one the most misused verses in Scripture. Modern apologists often contend that James 2:24 refutes Sola Fide, the doctrine of justification by faith alone. They often opine that the only time the term “faith alone” appears in Scripture, it follows the words “not by.” Furthering their cause, they claim Martin Luther added the word “alone” to Romans 3:28 to counter this. However, three words at the beginning of James 2:24 indicate that it more easily supports than refutes this wonderfully simple and reassuring doctrine. At the very least, they render such rhetorical attacks futile. These words in James 2:24 actually provide support for justification by faith alone, relegating works to their proper place in the economy of salvation.

Many of us who find eternal hope and peace in the words Sola Fide, struggle with this passage of Holy Scripture, when we step outside of our Evangelical bubble and contend with zealous synergists. We invariably jump to more explicit and familiar passages like Romans 3:28, Galatians 2:16, Ephesians 2:8-9, Philippians 3:9 (and there are many more) to defend this doctrine. But we don’t need to run from James 2:24 at all. When you examine it closely, this verse only adds to the overwhelming scriptural support for Sola Fide.

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