From the Latin vulgata 'spread among the multitude (vulgus)'; the noun editio f. ‘edition’ is implied, so the form is feminine.

In textual criticism, a vulgate text means the text form that reached the widest distribution in a time, possibly long after the archetype, when a heightened interest in the text surged for one reason or another and many copies were made. When interest in a text is high, it is also likely that some people compare witnesses in order to arrive at the "best" text. Thus vulgate texts are often a kind of early text edition, or, to use a more negative formulation, the product of heavy contamination. Their text may supplant all other text forms and thus eradicate them. For an example cf. Trovato's discussion of the transmission of Dante's Divina commedia (2014, 299ff.).

With cladistic methods (if one groups any variants, instead of sticking to common errors) there is a great danger to arrive at a vulgate text instead of the archetype (cf. Trovato 2014, 138-144).

A vulgate reading is a reading present in a vulgate.


– Trovato, Paolo. 2014. Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Lachmann’s Method: A Non-Standard Handbook of Genealogical Textual Criticism in the Age of Post-Structuralism, Cladistics, and Copy-Text. Foreword by Michael D. Reeve. Firenze: edizioni.

In other languages

DE: Vulgata
FR: vulgate
IT: vulgata


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