The Horns of Moses: An Error Due to Translation?

Did Michelangelo really make an error due to translation?

I guess we’ll never really know.

Art historians love to debate the horns of Moses. Michelangelo’s famous statue of Moses at Saint Peter in Chains in Rome depicts Moses with two horns. Most claim that the horns go back to Saint Jerome’s “translation error” in the Latin Vulgate. I’d like to challenge that assumption. Not only did Saint Jerome have reason to translate the horns of Moses, Michelangelo had reason to carve them.

And when Moses came down from the Mount Sinai, he held the two tables of the testimony, and he knew not that his face was horned from the conversation of the Lord. And Aaron and the children of Israel seeing the face of Moses horned, were afraid to come near.

It wasn’t just Michelangelo who read the wrong version.

It seems like plenty of other people thought he had horns as well. I would love to get to the bottom of this. No smoke without fire in my reality.

They must have got the wrong memo…

What do you guys think? Leave a comment below.

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