Tuesday, August 26, 2008

VulSearch4: Free Vulgate Search Program

IMPORTANT UPDATE (2008.08.29): Be sure to read the comments to this post.

One thing always leads to another... When I was pulling together the lists of Latin biblical texts available in the leading software programs, I came across VulSearch 4. According to the web site:

VulSearch is a program for Windows 98 and later.
* View the Clementine Vulgate Bible with the Douay–Rheims translation side-by-side
* Fast full-text searching of both bibles
* Create bookmarks, cross-references and annotations
* Integrated with the Latin dictionary program Words
VulSearch is free software.
In addition:
VulSearch 4 comes with the Clementine Vulgate and Douay–Rheims Bibles. If you wish, you can also download the following additional texts to use with VulSearch:
* the Glossa Ordinaria (courtesy of Steven Killings) (4.1 Mb)
* Weber's Stuttgart Vulgate (3.0 Mb)
* French Crampon (freely available at www.jesusmarie.com) (3.3 Mb)
* French Louis Segond (3.1 Mb)
* the Nova Vulgata (3.1 Mb). NOTE: There are copyright issues with this text, and it is unclear whether it is being shared legally. UPDATE (2013): This text is no longer available.
But wait, there's more! The Latin texts are tagged and, a
s noted above, Whitaker's Latin-English Dictionary "Words" program is integrated as well. Furthermore, the program also includes the ability to create cross references, notes, and bookmarks, and it comes with a full set of bookmark for the Missale Romanum.
So, how does VulSearch compare with Accordance8, BibleWorks7, and Logos3?

  • All the texts in VulSearch are fully tagged. Only Accordance has an addon tagged text, but it's only the Biblia Sacra Vulgata and only tagged for the NT at this time. BW7 does allow for an external link to the online version of Words.
  • Whitaker's Latin-English Words program is integrated in the VulSearch interface. Accordance has its own glosses which are not as full as Whitaker's. Again, BW7 links to Whitaker, but it is a link that is external to the online version. Logos has the Harden Dictionary of the Vulgate NT, but since the Latin texts are not tagged, there is no direct linkage between the words in the biblical text in the dictionary.
  • VulSearch includes the Douay-Rheims (DRA) English translation. With Accordance, the DRA has to be obtained as part of a bundle. The DRA is included with BW7, and one can also add the user-created Wycliffe translation. DRA is only available as a PBB download for Logos.
  • One disadvantage of VulSearch is that only two windows can be viewed/scrolled at a time. It is also not able to handle Greek and Hebrew, so you can't compare the Latin to the original languages. Here is where Accordance, BW, and Logos have the advantage. Finally, it's a Windows only program.
Bottom line: Not only is VulSearch a tremendous program that surpasses what is available in the big programs, but it is free! If you want to work with the Vulgate, this is a great resource.

Again, check the comments...


  1. I think the application is great, wonderful that it is open source and he provides the text in both HTML and Latex, but two things concern me. First, this line from the authors "Behind the Scenes" page:

    "But the Hebrew simplicity was perverted into the Talmud by Jews who had killed their Saviour;"

    By itself, that line makes me a little nervous the way it is phrased, but I can overlook the point.

    Second, a version of the software hosted on a different site with the Nova Vulgate (illegal to distribute in most countries do to copyright law, including the UK where it is hosted) is hosted on a vehemently racist, anti-Semetic website that espouses beliefs more inline with Bobby Fischer then they are the Catholic Church. You can find the link on his front page under "Additional texts", where it links to the "Catholic Voice" website where the application is hosted.

    As I said, the software is amazing, and is providing a great service to Catholics, but anything linking to the Catholic Voice website makes me a bit nervous, especially when coupled with a statement like above.

  2. sigh...
    Thank you, iarann, for noting the issues with the background of this program. I had not bothered to check this out.
    To be clear, the program is free and legal. The texts are free and copyright clear EXCEPT, apparently, the Nova Vulgata. (I'm having trouble finding copyright info. Text is online at: http://www.vatican.va/archive/bible/nova_vulgata/documents/nova-vulgata_index_lt.html) The program is an outstanding tool not only for Roman Catholics but for anyone interested in the history of biblical textual transmission.

    BUT, the vaguely anti-semitic statement of the author and the link to the virulently anti-semitic Catholic Voice web site is disturbing.

    SO, what is one to do? I try to be faithful and ethical in all things, but I unavoidably live in a system riddled with all sorts of questionable backgrounds. Is this a case where the program should be avoided because the background of its author is somewhat less questionable? Since the program itself is legal, that part is okay. If I had to pay for the program, I would maybe have to think again. In similar instances, I guess I have used the logic of "plundering the Egyptians"! (Exod 12.35f) And please don't read that as if I am anti-Egyptian...

  3. I believe that the Nova Vulgata is copyrighted by the Libreria editrcie Vaticana.
    The link is this:

  4. How can one search for perfect participles for example?