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Confessional Lutheran theology, hagiography, philosophy, music, culture, sports, education, and whatever else is on the fevered mind of Orycteropus Afer

30 September 2014
  + Jerome, Scholar, Translator, Theologian +
30 September AD 420

Dürer: Jerome Saint Jerome (Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus), translator of Holy Scripture, was born in a little Dalmatian village on the Adriatic Sea around the year AD 345. Although he came from Christian parents, he wasn't baptized until he went to study in Rome in about AD 360.

After extensive travels, he chose the life of a monk and spent five years in the Syrian desert. There he learned Hebrew, the language of the Old Testament. However, the time spent there convinced him that the life of a hermit monk was not for him and he pursued holy orders and advanced education.

After ordination at Antioch and visits to Rome and Constantinople (where he studied under Gregory of Nazianzus), Jerome settled in Bethlehem. From the original Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek, he used his ability with languages to translate the Bible into Latin, the common language of his time.

Jerome chose to use "street" or "vulgar" Latin rather than its classical form. Thus, his translation was called the Vulgate (from its vulgar Latin) and was the authoritative version of the Bible in the western Church for over 1,000 years.

Jerome by Ghirlandaio A man of considerable brilliance, Jerome could also be argumentative, arrogant, dogmatic in trivial matters, and easily swayed by people holding superior office. Yet he also was able to break with the influence of Origen under which he was raised and was a champion of understanding the original languages of Scripture and of exegesis over allegory in interpretation.

In Roman Catholic hagiography, Jerome is patron saint of translators and librarians. His symbol in Christianity is often a pen. In religious art, it isn't unusual to see him portrayed with an odd blend of clothing and trappings ranging from ascetic anchorite to opulently garbed cardinal. He is often posed with a crucifix, a skull, and a Bible.

Considered one of the great scholars of the early church, he is listed with Saints Augustine, Ambrose, and Gregory the Great as one of the original Four Doctors of the Western Church. These four, plus four Eastern theologians, compose the eight Great Doctors of the early Church (see this article on Saint Ambrose for the entire list).

Jerome died on 30 September AD 420. Originally interred at Bethlehem, his remains were eventually taken to Rome.

More information is available from James Kiefer's Hagiographies and Wikipedia.

Lection

Psalm 19:7-11(12-14) or 119:97-104
2 Timothy 3:14-17
Luke 24:44-48

Collect

O Lord, O God of truth, whose Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give you thanks for your servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we pray that your Holy Spirit will overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, will transform us according to your righteous will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.

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