Jerome

Jerome

[juh-rohm; for 2, 3 also Brit. jer-uhm]
Jerome, Saint, c.347-420?, Christian scholar, Father of the Church, Doctor of the Church. He was born in Stridon on the border of Dalmatia and Pannonia of Christian parents (although he was not baptized until 366); his Roman name was Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus. He studied in Rome (c.359-363) under Aelius Donatus. After further study at Trier and Aquileia, he journeyed to the East. At Antioch, in 375, he experienced a vision in which Christ reproved him for his pagan studies. Renouncing his classical scholarship, he fled to the desert to live as an ascetic and to devote himself to scriptural studies, for which he learned Hebrew. In 378 he returned to Antioch, was ordained there the following year, and then went to Constantinople to study under St. Gregory Nazianzen. In 382, Jerome returned to Rome with Gregory, when Pope Damasus I asked them to help settle some Eastern problems; Jerome remained as papal secretary. He was acclaimed for his exposition of Scripture, and Damasus requested him to begin on a new version of the Bible. Jerome was spiritual adviser to a number of noble ladies leading conventual lives, among whom the most eminent was St. Paula. Jerome's outspoken criticism of the secular clergy, however, caused antagonism, and when Damasus died he returned East. From 386 to his death, Jerome worked in the monastery that Paula established for him in Bethlehem. There he did the bulk of revision of his Latin translations of the Bible. He also wrote commentaries on Ecclesiastes and the epistles of St. Paul, translated Origen's homilies, revised part of the Latin version of the Septuagint, and translated from the Hebrew Isaiah and other prophets, Psalms, Kings, and Job. Jerome's texts were the basis of the Vulgate. In 393 he wrote De viris illustribus [concerning illustrious men], biographies of 130 Christian writers. Other works include Adversus Jovinianum [against Jovinian], which praises virginity; a dialogue against the Pelagians; panegyrics on deceased friends (e.g., St. Paula); and brilliantly written letters, of which over 100 remain, which furnish a rare account of his time. His correspondence with St. Augustine, with whom he sometimes quarreled, is of particular interest. St. Jerome was involved in many theological and scholarly controversies, even with a long-established friend such as Rufinus. Collections of patristic literature have translations of many of his works. St. Jerome is buried in the Church of St. Mary Major in Rome. Feast: Sept. 30.

See his letters (ed. by J. Duff, 1942); P. Monceaux, St. Jerome: the Early Years (tr. 1933); D. S. Wiesen, St. Jerome as a Satirist (1964); J. N. D. Kelly (1973); E. F. Rice, Jr., St. Jerome in the Renaissance (1988).

Jerome, Jerome Klapka, 1859-1927, English humorist and playwright. His Idle Thoughts of an Idle Fellow (1886) and Three Men in a Boat (1889) gave him his reputation for genial humor. Of his dramatic works, The Passing of the Third Floor Back (1907), a contemporary morality play, was the most famous.

See study by R. M. Favrot (1973).

Jerome, William Travers, 1859-1934, American lawyer, b. New York City. Prominent in the cause of reform, he served (1894-95) on the Lexow commission to investigate political corruption and managed (1894) the successful campaign of William L. Strong for reform mayor of New York City. He helped frame the legislation that created the court of special sessions (1894) and became (1895) justice of that court. As district attorney (1901-9) of New York co., Jerome led a continuous and independent campaign against crime and political corruption. Frequently he led surprise raids in person, notably the one against the gambling house of Richard Canfield. Jerome was the prosecutor in the trial of Harry K. Thaw for the murder of Stanford White.

See biography by R. O'Connor (1963).

Robbins, Jerome, 1918-98, American choreographer and dancer, b. New York City as Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz. Robbins began his career dancing in musicals (1937). In 1940 he joined the Ballet Theatre and in 1948 became associate artistic director of the New York City Ballet. The first ballet he choreographed, Fancy Free (1944), was expanded into the musical On the Town. Robbins gained distinction as the exuberantly innovative choreographer of such Broadway musicals as High Button Shoes (1947) and The King and I (1951). Ultimately creating an evolved and organic kind of show that was more a work of art than a humble entertainment, he choreographed and directed the musicals Peter Pan (1954), West Side Story (1957), Gypsy (1959), and Fiddler on the Roof (1964). Meanwhile, during the 1940s and 50s he periodically returned to the New York City Ballet, where he created such works as Interplay (1945), Facsimile (1946), The Cage (1951), Fanfare (1953), The Concert (1956), and Moves (1959). Essentially leaving the world of musicals after the enormous success of Fiddler, he returned to the City Ballet and in the following years choreographed such works as Dances at a Gathering (1969), probably his finest ballet; Goldberg Variations (1971); Ives, Songs (1988); and Brandenburg (1997). From 1983 to 1990 Robbins was the City Ballet's co-ballet master in chief with Peter Martins, and many of his 66 ballets continue to be performed by the company.

See biographies by G. Lawrence (2001), D. Jowitt (2004), and A. Vaill (2006); C. Conrad, Jerome Robbins: That Broadway Man, That Ballet Man (2001); R. E. Long, Broadway, The Golden Years (2001).

Karle, Jerome, 1918-, American physicist, b. New York City, Ph.D. Univ. of Michigan, 1943. He worked on the Manhattan Project before beginning a career at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory. There, with Herbert Hauptman, he concentrated his studies on crystalline matter. They were awarded the 1985 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for the development of a mathematical model known as the "direct method." Devised in the 1950s and 60s, the innovation greatly improved methods for analyzing three-dimensional molecular structures.
Kern, Jerome, 1885-1945, American composer of musicals, b. New York City. After studying in New Jersey and New York he studied composition in Germany and England. His first success was the operetta The Red Petticoat (1912). Among the numerous musicals that followed were Leave It to Jane (1917), Sally (1920), Sunny (1925), The Cat and the Fiddle (1931), and Roberta (1933). After 1931 he wrote scores for many films, including versions of several of his stage successes. His outstanding work is Show Boat (1927), for which Oscar Hammerstein II wrote an adaptation of Edna Ferber's novel. Kern's many famous songs include "Ol' Man River," from Show Boat, and "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes," from Roberta. He also wrote an orchestral work, A Portrait of Mark Twain (1942).

See biographies by G. Bordman (1980) and M. Freedman (1986).

(born circa 347, Stridon, Dalmatia—died 419/420, Bethlehem, Palestine) Church Father and biblical translator. Born into a wealthy Christian family in Dalmatia, he was educated there and in Rome. Baptized circa 366, he spent most of the next 20 years in travel. He lived two years as a hermit in the desert of Chalcis. From 377 to 379 Jerome was in Antioch, where he studied biblical texts and translated the works of Origen and Eusebius. He lived in Rome (382–85), but theological controversy and opposition to his ascetic views led him to depart for the Holy Land, and he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived until his death. Traditionally regarded as the most learned of the Latin Fathers, he wrote numerous biblical commentaries and theological tracts on Pelagianism and other heresies. In 406 he completed his translation of the Bible into Latin, including his own translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew; Jerome's Latin Bible is known as the Vulgate.

Learn more about Jerome, Saint with a free trial on Britannica.com.

orig. Jerome Rabinowitz

Jerome Robbins in Fancy Free, 1944.

(born Oct. 11, 1918, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died July 29, 1998, New York City) U.S. dancer, choreographer, and director. He joined Ballet Theatre (later American Ballet Theatre) as a dancer in 1940. His first choreographic success was Fancy Free (set to a musical score by Leonard Bernstein), which was expanded into the musical On the Town (1944). He joined the New York City Ballet in 1948 and soon became associate director (1950–59), creating many works for the company. For the Broadway stage he choreographed successful musicals such as The King and I (1951; film, 1956), West Side Story (1957; film, 1961), Gypsy (1959; television, 1993), and Fiddler on the Roof (1964). Returning to the New York City Ballet, he was resident choreographer and ballet master (1969–83) and then codirector with Peter Martins until retiring in 1990. His choreography is marked by a blend of modern, academic, and popular dance styles in a variety of American idioms.

Learn more about Robbins, Jerome with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born circa 347, Stridon, Dalmatia—died 419/420, Bethlehem, Palestine) Church Father and biblical translator. Born into a wealthy Christian family in Dalmatia, he was educated there and in Rome. Baptized circa 366, he spent most of the next 20 years in travel. He lived two years as a hermit in the desert of Chalcis. From 377 to 379 Jerome was in Antioch, where he studied biblical texts and translated the works of Origen and Eusebius. He lived in Rome (382–85), but theological controversy and opposition to his ascetic views led him to depart for the Holy Land, and he settled in Bethlehem, where he lived until his death. Traditionally regarded as the most learned of the Latin Fathers, he wrote numerous biblical commentaries and theological tracts on Pelagianism and other heresies. In 406 he completed his translation of the Bible into Latin, including his own translation of the Old Testament from Hebrew; Jerome's Latin Bible is known as the Vulgate.

Learn more about Jerome, Saint with a free trial on Britannica.com.

orig. Jerome Rabinowitz

Jerome Robbins in Fancy Free, 1944.

(born Oct. 11, 1918, New York, N.Y., U.S.—died July 29, 1998, New York City) U.S. dancer, choreographer, and director. He joined Ballet Theatre (later American Ballet Theatre) as a dancer in 1940. His first choreographic success was Fancy Free (set to a musical score by Leonard Bernstein), which was expanded into the musical On the Town (1944). He joined the New York City Ballet in 1948 and soon became associate director (1950–59), creating many works for the company. For the Broadway stage he choreographed successful musicals such as The King and I (1951; film, 1956), West Side Story (1957; film, 1961), Gypsy (1959; television, 1993), and Fiddler on the Roof (1964). Returning to the New York City Ballet, he was resident choreographer and ballet master (1969–83) and then codirector with Peter Martins until retiring in 1990. His choreography is marked by a blend of modern, academic, and popular dance styles in a variety of American idioms.

Learn more about Robbins, Jerome with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Jan. 1, 1919, New York, N.Y., U.S.) U.S. writer. He began to publish short stories in periodicals in 1940. After World War II his stories, some based on his army experiences, appeared increasingly in The New Yorker. His entire literary output comprises 13 stories and novellas— collected in Nine Stories (1953), Franny and Zooey (1961), and Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters, and Seymour: An Introduction (1963)—and The Catcher in the Rye (1951), a novel of adolescent anguish that won great critical and popular admiration, especially among college students. He retreated into a mysterious seclusion in New Hampshire and ceased to publish.

Learn more about Salinger, J(erome) D(avid) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Sept. 16, 1838, near Guelph, Ont., Can.—died May 29, 1916, St. Paul, Minn., U.S.) Canadian-U.S. financier and railroad builder. He began his career in St. Paul overseeing steamboat transportation. In 1873 he reorganized a bankrupt railroad as the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba Railway Co. and was named its president in 1882. The Great Northern Railway Co. absorbed the St. Paul line in 1890, and Hill became its president (1893–1907) and chairman of the board (1907–12). The Northern Pacific and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroads also came under Hill's control; Edward Harriman's attempt to seize control of Northern Pacific from him (1901) triggered a Wall Street panic. Hill's banking activity as president of Northern Securities Co. was declared in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1904.

Learn more about Hill, James J(erome) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

(born Sept. 16, 1838, near Guelph, Ont., Can.—died May 29, 1916, St. Paul, Minn., U.S.) Canadian-U.S. financier and railroad builder. He began his career in St. Paul overseeing steamboat transportation. In 1873 he reorganized a bankrupt railroad as the St. Paul, Minneapolis, and Manitoba Railway Co. and was named its president in 1882. The Great Northern Railway Co. absorbed the St. Paul line in 1890, and Hill became its president (1893–1907) and chairman of the board (1907–12). The Northern Pacific and the Chicago, Burlington and Quincy railroads also came under Hill's control; Edward Harriman's attempt to seize control of Northern Pacific from him (1901) triggered a Wall Street panic. Hill's banking activity as president of Northern Securities Co. was declared in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act in 1904.

Learn more about Hill, James J(erome) with a free trial on Britannica.com.

Jerome (c. 347September 30, 420) (Latin: Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus; Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος; also known as Hieronymus Stridonensis) was a Catholic priest and Christian apologist best known for translating the Vulgate. He is recognized by the Catholic Church as a canonized saint and Doctor of the Church, and his version of the Bible is still an important text in Catholicism. He is also recognized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church, where he is known as St Jerome of Stridonium or Blessed Jerome. He is presumed by some to have been an Illyrian, but this may just be conjecture.

In the Catholic Church, it has been usual to represent him (the patron of theological learning) anachronistically, as a cardinal, by the side of Augustine of Hippo, Ambrose, and Pope Gregory I. Even when he is depicted as a half-clad anchorite, with cross, skull and Bible for the only furniture of his cell, the red hat or some other indication of his rank as cardinal is as a rule introduced somewhere in the picture. He is also often depicted with a lion, due to a medieval story in which he removed a thorn from a lion's paw, and less often with an owl, the symbol of wisdom and scholarship. Writing materials and the trumpet of final judgment are also part of his iconography. He is commemorated on 30 September with a memorial.

Life

Jerome was born at Stridon, on the border between Pannonia and Dalmatia, close to Aquileia, as mentioned in his De Viris Illustribus Chapter 135 (English translation below).

Jerome was possibly an Illyrian, born to Christian parents, but was not baptized until about 360 or 366, when he had gone to Rome with his friend Bonosus (who may or may not have been the same Bonosus whom Jerome identifies as his friend who went to live as a hermit on an island in the Adriatic) to pursue rhetorical and philosophical studies. He studied under the grammarian Aelius Donatus. Jerome learned Greek, but yet had no thought of studying the Greek Fathers, or any Christian writings.

Payne offers a different account of his conversion. As a student in Rome, he engaged in the gay activities of students there which he indulged in quite casually yet suffered terrible bouts of repentance afterwards. To appease his conscience, he would visit on Sundays the sepulchers of the martyrs and the apostles in the catacombs. This experience would remind him of the terrors of hell. "Often I would find myself entering those crypts, deep dug in the earth, with their walls on either side lined with the bodies of the dead, where everything was so dark that almost it seemed as though the Psalmist’s words were fulfilled, Let them go down quick into Hell. Here and there the light, not entering in through windows, but filtering down from above through shafts, relieved the horror of the darkness. But again, as soon as you found yourself cautiously moving forward, the black night closed around and there came to my mind the line of Vergil, Horror ubique animo, simul ipsa silentia terrent." (Jerome, Commentarius in Ezechielem, c. 40, v. 5)

Jerome initially used classical authors to describe Christian concepts, such as hell, that indicated both his classical education and his deep shame of their associated practices, such as male homosexuality. Although initially skeptical of Christianity, he finally converted.

After several years in Rome, he travelled with Bonosus to Gaul and settled in Trier "on the semi-barbarous banks of the Rhine" where he seems to have first taken up theological studies, and where he copied, for his friend Rufinus, Hilary of Poitiers' commentary on the Psalms and the treatise De synodis. Next came a stay of at least several months, or possibly years, with Rufinus at Aquileia where he made many Christian friends.

Some of these accompanied him when he set out about 373 on a journey through Thrace and Asia Minor into northern Syria. At Antioch, where he stayed the longest, two of his companions died and he himself was seriously ill more than once. During one of these illnesses (about the winter of 373-374), he had a vision that led him to lay aside his secular studies and devote himself to the things of God. He seems to have abstained for a considerable time from the study of the classics and to have plunged deeply into that of the Bible, under the impulse of Apollinaris of Laodicea, then teaching in Antioch and not yet suspected of heresy.

Seized with a desire for a life of ascetic penance, he went for a time to the desert of Chalcis, to the southwest of Antioch, known as the Syrian Thebaid, from the number of hermits inhabiting it. During this period, he seems to have found time for study and writing. He made his first attempt to learn Hebrew under the guidance of a converted Jew; and he seems to have been in correspondence with Jewish Christians in Antioch, and perhaps as early as this to have interested himself in the Gospel of the Hebrews, said by them to be the source of the canonical Matthew.

Returning to Antioch in 378 or 379, he was ordained by Bishop Paulinus, apparently unwillingly and on condition that he continue his ascetic life. Soon afterward, he went to Constantinople to pursue a study of Scripture under Gregory Nazianzen. He seems to have spent two years there; the next three (382-385) he was in Rome again, attached to Pope Damasus I and the leading Roman Christians. Invited originally for the synod of 382, held to end the schism of Antioch, he made himself indispensable to the pope, and took a prominent place in his councils.

Among his other duties, he undertook a revision of the Latin Bible, to be based on the Greek New Testament. He also updated the Psalter then at use in Rome based on the Septuagint. Though he did not realize it yet at this point, translating much of what became the Latin Vulgate Bible would take many years, and be his most important achievement (see Writings- Translations section below).

In Rome he was surrounded by a circle of well-born and well-educated women, including some from the noblest patrician families, such as the widows Marcella and Paula, with their daughters Blaesilla and Eustochium. The resulting inclination of these women to the monastic life, and his unsparing criticism of the secular clergy, brought a growing hostility against him amongst the clergy and their supporters. Soon after the death of his patron Damasus (December 10, 384), Jerome was forced to leave his position at Rome after an inquiry by the Roman clergy into allegations that he had improper relations with the widow Paula.

In August 385, he returned to Antioch, accompanied by his brother Paulinianus and several friends, and followed a little later by Paula and Eustochium, who had resolved to end their days in the Holy Land. In the winter of 385, Jerome acted as their spiritual adviser. The pilgrims, joined by Bishop Paulinus of Antioch, visited Jerusalem, Bethlehem, and the holy places of Galilee, and then went to Egypt, the home of the great heroes of the ascetic life.

At the Catechetical School of Alexandria, Jerome listened to the blind catechist Didymus the Blind expounding the prophet Hosea and telling his reminiscences of Anthony the Great, who had died thirty years before; he spent some time in Nitria, admiring the disciplined community life of the numerous inhabitants of that "city of the Lord", but detecting even there "concealed serpents", i.e., the influence of Origen of Alexandria. Late in the summer of 388 he was back in Palestine, and spent the remainder of his life in a hermit's cell near Bethlehem, surrounded by a few friends, both men and women (including Paula and Eustochium), to whom he acted as priestly guide and teacher.

Amply provided by Paula with the means of livelihood and of increasing his collection of books, he led a life of incessant activity in literary production. To these last thirty-four years of his career belong the most important of his works -- his version of the Old Testament from the original Hebrew text, the best of his scriptural commentaries, his catalogue of Christian authors, and the dialogue against the Pelagians, the literary perfection of which even an opponent recognized. To this period also belong most of his polemics, which distinguished him among the orthodox Fathers, including the treatises against the Origenism of Bishop John II of Jerusalem and his early friend Rufinus. As a result of his writings against Pelagianism, a body of excited partisans broke into the monastic buildings, set them on fire, attacked the inmates and killed a deacon, forcing Jerome to seek safety in a neighboring fortress (416).

Jerome died near Bethlehem on September 30, 420. The date of his death is given by the Chronicon of Prosper of Aquitaine. His remains, originally buried at Bethlehem, are said to have been later transferred to the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, though other places in the West claim some relics -- the cathedral at Nepi boasting possession of his head, which, according to another tradition, is in the Escorial.

Translations and commentaries

Jerome was a scholar at a time when that statement implied a fluency in Greek. He knew some Hebrew when he started his translation project, but moved to Jerusalem to perfect his grasp of the language and to strengthen his grip on Jewish scripture commentary. A wealthy Roman aristocrat, Paula, funded his stay in a monastery in Bethlehem and he completed his translation there. He began in 382 by correcting the existing Latin language version of the New Testament, commonly referred to as the Vetus Latina. By 390 he turned to the Hebrew Bible, having previously translated portions from the Septuagint. He completed this work by 405. Prior to Jerome's Vulgate, all Latin translations of the Old Testament were based on the Septuagint. Jerome's decision to use the Masoretic Text instead of the Septuagint went against the advice of most other Christians, including Augustine, who considered the Septuagint inspired.

For the next fifteen years, until he died, he produced a number of commentaries on Scripture, often explaining his translation choices. His knowledge of Hebrew, primarily required for this branch of his work, gives also to his exegetical treatises (especially to those written after 386) a value greater than that of most patristic commentaries. The commentaries align closely with Jewish tradition, and he indulges in allegorical and mystical subtleties after the manner of Philo and the Alexandrian school. Unlike his contemporaries, he emphasizes the difference between the Hebrew Bible "apocrypha" and the Hebraica veritas of the protocanonical books. Evidence of this can be found in his introductions to the Solomonic writings, the Book of Tobit, and the Book of Judith. Most notable, however, is the statement from his introduction to the Books of Samuel:

This preface to the Scriptures may serve as a helmeted [i.e. defensive] introduction to all the books which we turn from Hebrew into Latin, so that we may be assured that what is outside of them must be placed aside among the Apocryphal writings.

Jerome's commentaries fall into three groups:

  • His translations or recastings of Greek predecessors, including fourteen homilies on the Book of Jeremiah and the same number on the Book of Ezekiel by Origen (translated ca. 380 in Constantinople); two homilies of Origen of Alexandria on the Song of Solomon (in Rome, ca. 383); and thirty-nine on the Gospel of Luke (ca. 389, in Bethlehem). The nine homilies of Origen on the Book of Isaiah included among his works were not done by him. Here should be mentioned, as an important contribution to the topography of Palestine, his book De situ et nominibus locorum Hebraeorum, a translation with additions and some regrettable omissions of the Onomasticon of Eusebius. To the same period (ca. 390) belongs the Liber interpretationis nominum Hebraicorum, based on a work supposed to go back to Philo and expanded by Origen.
  • Original commentaries on the Old Testament. To the period before his settlement at Bethlehem and the following five years belong a series of short Old Testament studies: De seraphim, De voce Osanna, De tribus quaestionibus veteris legis (usually included among the letters as 18, 20, and 36); Quaestiones hebraicae in Genesin; Commentarius in Ecclesiasten; Tractatus septem in Psalmos 10-16 (lost); Explanationes in Mich/leaeam, Sophoniam, Nahum, Habacuc, Aggaeum. About 395 he composed a series of longer commentaries, though in rather a desultory fashion: first on the remaining seven minor prophets, then on Isaiah (ca. 395-ca. 400), on the Book of Daniel (ca. 407), on Ezekiel (between 410 and 415), and on Jeremiah (after 415, left unfinished).
  • New Testament commentaries. These include only Philemon, Galatians, Ephesians, and Titus (hastily composed 387-388); Matthew (dictated in a fortnight, 398); Mark, selected passages in Luke, Revelation, and the prologue to the Gospel of John. Treating Revelation in his cursory fashion, he made use of an excerpt from the commentary of the North African Tichonius, which is preserved as a sort of argument at the beginning of the more extended work of the Spanish presbyter Beatus of Liébana. But before this he had already devoted to the Revelation another treatment, a rather arbitrary recasting of the commentary of Saint Victorinus, with whose chiliastic views he was not in accord, substituting for the chiliastic conclusion a spiritualizing exposition of his own, supplying an introduction, and making certain changes in the text.

The works of Hippolytus of Rome and Irenaeus greatly influenced Jerome's interpretation of prophecy. He noted the distinction between the original Septuagint and Theodotion's later substitution.

His Commentary on Daniel was expressly written to offset the criticisms of Porphyry, who taught that Daniel related entirely to the time of Antiochus IV Epiphanes and was written by an unknown individual living in the second century BC. Against Porphyry, Jerome identified Rome as the fourth kingdom of chapters two and seven, but his view of chapters eight and 11 was more complex. Jerome held that hapter eight describes the activity of Antiochus Epiphanes, who is understood as a "type" of a future antichrist; 11:24 onwards applies primarily to a future antichrist but was partially fulfilled by Antiochus.

Jerome identified the four prophetic kingdoms symbolized in Daniel 2 as the Neo-Babylonian Empire, the Medes and Persians, Macedon, and Rome. Jerome identified the stone cut out without hands as "namely, the Lord and Savior".

Jerome refuted Porphyry's application of the little horn of chapter seven to Antiochus. He expected that at the end of the world, Rome would be destroyed, and partitioned among ten kingdoms before the little horn appeared.

Jerome believed that Cyrus of Persia is the higher of the two horns of the Medo-Persian ram of Daniel 8:3. The he-goat is Greece smiting Persia. Alexander is the great horn, which is then succeeded by Alexander's half brother Philip and three of his generals.

Historical writings

  • One of Jerome's earliest attempts in the department of history was his Chronicle (or Chronicon or Temporum liber), composed ca. 380 in Constantinople; this is a translation into Latin of the chronological tables which compose the second part of the Chronicon of Eusebius, with a supplement covering the period from 325 to 379. Despite numerous errors taken over from Eusebius, and some of his own, Jerome produced a valuable work, if only for the impulse which it gave to such later chroniclers as Prosper, Cassiodorus, and Victor of Tunnuna to continue his annals.
  • Three other works of a hagiological nature are:
    • the Vita Pauli monachi, written during his first sojourn at Antioch (ca. 376), the legendary material of which is derived from Egyptian monastic tradition;
    • the Vita Malchi monachi captivi (ca. 391), probably based on an earlier work, although it purports to be derived from the oral communications of the aged ascetic Malchus originally made to him in the desert of Chalcis;
    • the Vita Hilarionis, of the same date, containing more trustworthy historical matter than the other two, and based partly on the biography of Epiphanius and partly on oral tradition.
  • The so-called Martyrologium Hieronymianum is spurious; it was apparently composed by a western monk toward the end of the sixth or beginning of the seventh century, with reference to an expression of Jerome's in the opening chapter of the Vita Malchi, where he speaks of intending to write a history of the saints and martyrs from the apostolic times.
  • But the most important of Jerome's historical works is the book De viris illustribus, written at Bethlehem in 392, the title and arrangement of which are borrowed from Suetonius. It contains short biographical and literary notes on 135 Christian authors, from Saint Peter down to Jerome himself. For the first seventy-eight authors Eusebius (Historia ecclesiastica) is the main source; in the second section, beginning with Arnobius and Lactantius, he includes a good deal of independent information, especially as to western writers.

Letters

Jerome's letters or epistles, both by the great variety of their subjects and by their qualities of style, form the most interesting portion of his literary remains. Whether he is discussing problems of scholarship, or reasoning on cases of conscience, comforting the afflicted, or saying pleasant things to his friends, scourging the vices and corruptions of the time, exhorting to the ascetic life and renunciation of the world, or breaking a lance with his theological opponents, he gives a vivid picture not only of his own mind, but of the age and its peculiar characteristics.

The letters most frequently reprinted or referred to are of a hortatory nature, such as Ep. 14, Ad Heliodorum de laude vitae solitariae; Ep. 22, Ad Eustochium de custodia virginitatis; Ep. 52, Ad Nepotianum de vita clericorum et monachorum, a sort of epitome of pastoral theology from the ascetic standpoint; Ep. 53, Ad Paulinum de studio scripturarum; Ep. 57, to the same, De institutione monachi; Ep. 70, Ad Magnum de scriptoribus ecclesiasticis; and Ep. 107, Ad Laetam de institutione filiae.

Theological writings

Practically all of Jerome's productions in the field of dogma have a more or less vehemently polemical character, and are directed against assailants of the orthodox doctrines. Even the translation of the treatise of Didymus the Blind on the Holy Spirit into Latin (begun in Rome 384, completed at Bethlehem) shows an apologetic tendency against the Arians and Pneumatomachoi. The same is true of his version of Origen's De principiis (ca. 399), intended to supersede the inaccurate translation by Rufinus. The more strictly polemical writings cover every period of his life. During the sojourns at Antioch and Constantinople he was mainly occupied with the Arian controversy, and especially with the schisms centering around Meletius of Antioch and Lucifer Calaritanus. Two letters to Pope Damasus (15 and 16) complain of the conduct of both parties at Antioch, the Meletians and Paulinians, who had tried to draw him into their controversy over the application of the terms ousia and hypostasis to the Trinity. At the same time or a little later (379) he composed his Liber Contra Luciferianos, in which he cleverly uses the dialogue form to combat the tenets of that faction, particularly their rejection of baptism by heretics.

In Rome (ca. 383) he wrote a passionate counterblast against the teaching of Helvidius, in defense of the doctrine of The perpetual virginity of Mary, the Mary, and of the superiority of the single over the married state. An opponent of a somewhat similar nature was Jovinianus, with whom he came into conflict in 392 (Adversus Jovinianum, Against Jovinianus) and the defense of this work addressed to his friend Pammachius, numbered 48 in the letters). Once more he defended the ordinary Catholic practices of piety and his own ascetic ethics in 406 against the Spanish presbyter Vigilantius, who opposed the cultus of martyrs and relics, the vow of poverty, and clerical celibacy. Meanwhile the controversy with John II of Jerusalem and Rufinus concerning the orthodoxy of Origen occurred. To this period belong some of his most passionate and most comprehensive polemical works: the Contra Joannem Hierosolymitanum (398 or 399); the two closely-connected Apologiae contra Rufinum (402); and the "last word" written a few months later, the Liber tertius seu ultima responsio adversus scripta Rufini. The last of his polemical works is the skilfully-composed Dialogus contra Pelagianos (415).

Jerome's reception by later Christianity

Jerome is the second most voluminous writer (after St. Augustine) in ancient Latin Christianity. In the Roman Catholic Church, he is recognized as the patron saint of translators, librarians and encyclopedists.

He acquired a knowledge of Hebrew by studying with a Jew who converted to Christianity, and took the unusual position (for that time) that the Hebrew, and not the Septuagint, was the inspired text of the Old Testament. He used this knowledge to translate what became known as the Vulgate, and his translation was slowly but eventually accepted in the Catholic church. Obviously, the later resurgence of Hebrew studies within Christianity owes much to him.

Jerome sometimes seemed arrogant, and occasionally despised or belittled his literary rivals, especially Ambrose. It is not so much by absolute knowledge that he shines, as by a certain poetical elegance, an incisive wit, a singular skill in adapting recognized or proverbial phrases to his purpose, and a successful aiming at rhetorical effect.

He showed more zeal and interest in the ascetic ideal than in abstract speculation. It was this strict asceticism that made Martin Luther judge him so severely. In fact, Protestant readers are not generally inclined to accept his writings as authoritative. The tendency to recognize a superior comes out in his correspondence with Augustine (cf. Jerome's letters numbered 56, 67, 102-105, 110-112, 115-116; and 28, 39, 40, 67-68, 71-75, 81-82 in Augustine's).

Despite the criticisms already mentioned, Jerome has retained a rank among the western Fathers. This would be his due, if for nothing else, on account of the great influence exercised by his Latin version of the Bible upon the subsequent ecclesiastical and theological development.

Quotes

I praise wedlock, I praise marriage, but it is because they give me virgins. (Jerome's Letter 22, to Eustochium, section 20 on-line)

Be ever engaged, so that whenever the devil calls he may find you occupied. (Letter 125, to the priest Innocent)

Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. (Jerome's Prologue to the “Commentary on Isaiah”: PL 24,17)

See also

Notes

External links

Latin Texts:

Google Books' Facsimiles:

English Translations:

Bibliography

  • J.N.D. Kelly, "Jerome: His Life, Writings, and Controversies" (Peabody, MA 1998)
  • S. Rebenich, "Jerome" (London and New York, 2002)

References

  • "Biblia Sacra Vulgata," Stuttgart, 1994. ISBN 3-438-05303-9
  • This article uses material from Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religion.
  • birth/death dates fromCameron, A (1993). The Later Roman Empire. London: Fontana Press.

Search another word or see Jeromeon Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;