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 Issues | Church History | Jerome

Jerome (c340-418)
Biblical scholar and translator.
Properly his name was Sophronius Eusebius Hieroynyus)

Summary

  • born c340 in Dalmatia into a Christian family
  • Studied in Rome and later acted as a scribe in Treves and Aqauileia
  • 373 Travelled to Antioch where he underwent a religious experience. Retreated into the desert for four years.
  • 379 Ordained presbyters in Antioch
  • 380 Studied under Gregory Nazianzen in Constantinople.
  • 382 Travelled to Rome to mediate in the Meletian schism.
    Began work on a revised Latin version of the Bible.
    Jerome also undertook a programme of extensive Biblical exposition and commentary.
  • 386 Settled at a monastery in Bethlehem where he completed his translation work. He had to flee from here for two years after death threat from Pelagians.
  • 418 Returned to Bethlehem and died there a year or two later.

Jerome was an enthusiastic advocate of such clerical celibacy and aesthetic practices. Jerome’s correpondence tended to be very fiery whether engaging with enemies or with friends (such as Rufinus) or other scholars (eg. Augustine).

Jerome’s translation work was very controversial because of his attempts to correct Latin translations of the Bible. He was very unusual as a westerner in that he knew Greek and Hebrew well and both lived and traveled extensively in the east and in the Palestine. Jerome did not base his Old Testament translation on the received Greek text but on the Hebrew, which caused considerable opposition although in due course his work was accepted and became the primary western text. Unfortunately his translation itself became the source of misunderstanding and error in the Church since it too was in the end simply a translation of the original but came to be treated as if it were the original.

The Vulgate, which later became the standard Latin text is often regarded as Jerome’s work but it appears that it was actually a composite affair containing some of Jerome’s translation but ignoring it in places and using older texts.

See Also

The roots of Roman-catholic error - Jerome's mistranslation of the Bible (including is impact on Anglo-catholic belief and liturgy) - by Dennis Peterson

The Apocrypha - Attitudes

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