Jerome

In A.D. 331, Jerome was born to a well to do family that lived in Stridon, an Italian town. Since his family was very well off they would send Jerome off to study in Rome to study grammar and rhetoric. After living in Rome for some time he decided to become baptized and started collecting and reading theology books. The ascetic way of life called to him and he soon become part of a group at Aquileia in Italy. Unfortunately for Jerome, he had acquired a sharp tongue, and lacked tact which caused many rifts in the group that would soon lead to its break up. Jerome left and started out for Palestine but stopped at Antioch where he grew in his knowledge of Greek. By orders of a dream he stopped the Christian way of life and went to Syria to become a hermit. The hermit life did not do him well and many inner temptations plagued him during this time, so through a series of events Jerome ended up in Rome from 382 to 385. He was put to a job by the bishop of Damascus that would end up being his main contribution to western civilization, the Latin translation of the gospels, Psalms and eventually a large portion of the Old Testament. Jerome and a widow woman that he had a ministry with settled in Bethlehem where they established separate monasteries for men and women.
While living in Bethlehem, Jerome become more and more convinced that his translations for the Old Testament must be done with Hebrew and not Greek and so became what is known as the Vulgate. Later John Wyclif and Douay’s versions were based off the Vulgate. Jerome’s theory for translation was to “render sense for sense and not word for word”. One of his literary aspirations was to become a Christian Cicero, who would b a teacher and model of Christian culture. These dream roles in life could be what drove him to his insistent work and contradictions in character. Although he struggled with these things he came up with the first Historic Christian Work, “Lives of Illustrious Men”, which was written to prove to the pagans that Christians can produce distinguished literary works.

Jerome’s commentary works were lacking and many times very inconsistent due to working to hasty and relying on his memory for important information. He also found himself in many a controversy over issues and wrote works and responded sarcastically and strongly on the issues. One of the longest and most bitter controversies was a personal one with a friend from his childhood, Rufinus. Jerome had joined in the condemnation of Origen, but Rufinus refused to condemn the one he was so beholden too. Even though Jerome was very controversial in his writings and dealings his great literary works are regarded as great contributions to western Christendom.
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