Meet Moses with horns |

Michelangelo’s Moses with horns, The Vatican, Rome
Credit: Livioandronico2013, Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0

If you go to the Vatican in Rome, you will find a statue of Moses with horns.

Yes, horns.

The marble statue was created by Michelangelo at the request of Pope Julius II to be used as part of the Pope’s tomb. The statue was completed in 1545, 32 years after Pope Julius had died.

It proves that some Bible translations are more accurate than others because the famous Renaissance sculptor created Moses with horns because of a mistranslation of a Hebrew word in the Latin Vulgate.

The Vulgate was largely based on the Latin translation of scriptures from the Hebrew and Greek texts created by Jerome, a priest and theologian, in 382 AD.

Though the Vulgate is a bit renowned for its mistakes, it basically became the Roman Catholic Church’s official Bible.

So did we end up with a horned Moses?

A second set of ten commandments was needed after the first set was broken (Exodus 32:19). When Moses came down the mountain, with the new tablets, his face was shining so brightly, having been in the presence of God, that it scared the Hebrews.

Because of this, Moses decided to put a veil over his face:

And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil over his face.” (Exodus 34:33 ESV)

However, the Latin Vulgate interpreted that Hebrew word, masveh (veil), a bit differently. It read, “videntes autem Aaron et filii Israhel cornutam Mosi faciem timuerunt prope accedere.”

Cornutam means horns.

In other words, Moses put horns on his head, not a veil, to hide this shining face.

They did this even though Paul writes about the glory being on Moses’s face (2 Corinthians 3:7), resulting in him putting “a veil over his face to prevent the Israelites from seeing the end of what was passing away” (2 Corinthians 3:13).

Now, to be fair, the two Latin words for shining and horns are quite similar, writes Ben Witherington on Patheos. In other words, it might have been a simple proofing mistake.

“G.W Eggins points out that the Hebrew word for ‘shining is qaran which is similar to the Hebrew for horned, qeren,” Witherington explains. “The problem came about because the original Hebrew text which Jerome had was unpointed, by which I mean without vowels and simply read QRN, which could be read either way. From the 12th to the 15th century Moses was regularly depicted with horns.”

Of course, this might not be the only issue at play here. According to some historians, Michelangelo and Pope Julius did not see eye to eye and there was a noticeable conflict between the two. Some have suggested that Michelangelo’s rendering of Moses looks somewhat similar to Pope Julius, and the addition of the horns gives it a subtle demonic look.

Source link

Add a comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Keep Up to Date with the Most Important News

By pressing the Subscribe button, you confirm that you have read and are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Use