[St. Pachomius Library]

St. Jerome of Stridon, the Translator

IV/V Centuries
From 391-406, Eusebius Hieronymus completed and published a translation of the Bible that became the standard edition of Scripture for the Western church. St. Jerome's translation of the Old Testament came in large part from the Masoretic Hebrew, not from the Septuagint, and his translation of the New Testament was based on Greek texts of older origin than those used for the previous "Old Latin" translation.

St. Jerome was born c. 347 in Stridon, Dalmatia, to wealthy Christian parents. He was educated at Rome and studied under the grammmarian Aelius Donatus. Jerome was baptized at 19 (or 20) and soon joined an ascetic group under the Bishop Valerian. In 378, Jerome was ordained a priest, although he had no pastoral duties. He was secretary to Pope Damasus I from 382-385 and later settled in Bethlehem, where he lived in a double monastery established by his friend, St. Paula. He reposed in 420.

In addition to the Bible, Jerome translated homilies of Origen (whose Biblical commentaries he liked but whose theology he rejected) and several works of Eusebius of Cæsarea, including the Chronicle and the Book of the Interpretation of Hebrew Place Names. Jerome wrote original works defending the perpetual viginity of Mary and monastic celibacy; he attacked Pelagianism and Origenism. The best known of St. Jerome's Biblical commentaries is Opus prophetale, a commentary on all the prophetic books of the Bible. Jerome's first published work was a life of Paul the Hermit. Jerome was the first Latin Biblical scholar to rely on Hebrew texts in his commentary on Ecclesiastes.

Karen Rae Keck


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