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Originally posted by Klassified
reply to post by avatard
It was supposedly a mistranslation of a word in the Latin Vulgate:
The Bible that was in use during Michelangelo's time was the Latin Vulgate. Exodus 34:29 says " When Moses came down from Mount Sinai, . . . he did not know that the skin of his face shone because he had been talking with God." For the word shone, the Latin uses the word cornuta (cornu means horn). So, Moses grew horns while he talked with God. In the original Hebrew, the word used here does mean shone.
Owing to the representations of the old painters and sculptors, it has become a wide-spread belief that Moses, when he came down from Mount Sinai with the tables of the Law, had two horns on his forehead. This strange idea, however, is based upon a wrong interpretation of Ex. xxxiv. 29, 35, ("And behold the skin of his face shone"), in which means "to shine" (comp. Hab. iii. 4, = "brightness was on his side"). The old translations give = "shine," with the exception of Aquila and the Vulgate, which read "his face had horns." This misunderstanding, however, may have been favored by the Babylonian and Egyptian conception of horned deities (Sin, Ammon), and by the legend of the two-horned Alexander the Great (see the Koran, sura xviii. 85).
However, there is some debate among scholars as to whether or not this was actually a mistranslation.