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Hiero'nymus or St. Jerome

commonly known as SAINT JEROME: EUSEBIUS HIERONYMUS SOPHRONIUS was a native of Stridon, a town upon the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia, which having been utterly destroyed by the Goths in A. D. 377, its site cannot now be determined. His parents were both Christian, living, it would appear, in easy circumstances. The period of his birth is a matter of considerable doubt. Prosper Aquitanicus, in his chronicle, fixes upon the year A. D. 331; Dupin brings down the event as low as 345 ; while other writers have decided in favour of various intermediate epochs. That the first of the above dates is too early seems certain, for Jerome, in the commentary upon Habbakuk (100.3), speaks of himself as having been still occupied with grammatical studies at the death of Julian the apostate ; but since this took place in 363, he must, according to the statement of Prosper, have been at that time thirty-two years old, while the calculation adopted by Du Pin would make him just eighteen, an age corresponding much better with the expressions employed, unless we are to receive them in a very extended acceptation. After having acquired the first rudiments of a liberal education from his father, Eusebius, he was despatched to Rome for the prosecution of his studies, where he devoted himself with great ardour and success to the Greek and Latin languages, to rhetoric, and to the different branches of philosophy, enjoying the instructions of the most distinguished preceptors of that era, among whom was Aelius Donatus [DONATUS]. Having been admitted to the rite of baptism, he undertook a journey into Gaul, accompanied by his friend and schoolfellow Bonosus; and after a lengthened tour, passed some time at Treves, where he occupied himself in transcribing the commentaries of Hilarius upon the Psalms, and his voluminous work upon Synods. Here too he seems to have been, for the first time, impressed with a deep religious feeling, to have formed a steadfast resolution to amend his career, which had hitherto been somewhat irregular, and to have resolved to devote himself with zeal to the interests of Christianity. Upon quitting Gaul, he probably returned to Rome ; but in 370 we find him living at Aquileia, in close intimacy with Rufinus and Chromatius; and at this time he composed his first theological essay, the letter to Innocentius, De Muliere septica percussa. Having been compelled by some violent cause, now unknown (Subitus turbo me a latere tuo convulsit, Ep. iii. ad Ruf.), suddenly to quit this abode in 373, he set out for the East, along with Innocentius, Evagrius, and Heliodorus, and traversing Thrace, Bithynia, Galatia, Pontus. Cappadocia, and Cilicia, reached Antioch, where Innocentius died of a fever, and he himself was attacked by a dangerous malady. A great change seems to have taken place in the mind of Jerome during this illness; the religious enthusiasm first kindled upon the banks of the Moselle, assumed a more austere and gloomy form in the luxurious capital of Syria. In obedience, as he believed or pretended, to the warnings of a heavenly vision (Ep. xxii. ad Eustoch.), which reproached him especially on account of his excessive admiration of Cicero, he determined to abandon the study of the profane writers, and to occupy himself exclusively with holy toils and contemplations. From this time forward a devotion to monastic habits became the ruling principle, we might say, the ruling passion of his life. After having listened for some time to the instructions of Apollinarius, bishop of Laodiceia, whose errors with regard to the Incarnation had not yet attracted attention, he retired, in 374, to the desert of Chalcis, lying between Antioch and the Euphrates, where he passed four years, adhering strictly to the most rigid observances of monkish ascetism, tortured by unceasing remorse on account of the sinfulness of his earlier years. The bodily exhaustion produced by fasting and mental anguish did not prevent him from pursuing with resolute perseverance the study of the Hebrew tongue, although often reduced almost to despair by the difficulties he encountered; from composing annotations upon portions of Scripture ; and from keeping up an active correspondence with his friends. His retirement, however, was grievously disturbed by the bitter strife which had arisen at Antioch between the partisans of Meletius and Paulinus; for having, in deference to the opinion of the Western Church, espoused the cause of the latter, he became actively involved in the controversy. Accordingly, in the spring of 379, he found himself compelled to quit his retreat, and repair to Antioch, where he unwillingly consented to be ordained a presbyter by Paulinus, upon the express stipulation that he should not be required to perform the regular duties of the sacred office. Soon after he betook himself to Constantinople, where he abode for three years, enjoying the instructions, society, and friendship of Gregory of Nazianzus, and busily employed in extending and perfecting his knowledge of the Greek language, from which he made several translations, the most important being the Chronicle of Eusebius. In 381 Meletius died; but this event did not put an end to the schism, for his partisans immediately elected a successor to him in the person of Flavianus, whose authority was acknowledged by most of the Eastern prelates. The year following, Damasus, in the vain hope of calling these unseemly dissensions, summoned Paulinus, together with his chief adherents and antagonists, to Rome, where a council was held, in which Jerome acted as secretary, and formed that close friendship with the chief pontiff which remained firm. until the death of the latter, at whose earnest request he now seriously commenced his grand work of revising the received versions of the Scriptures, while at the same time he laboured unceasingly in proclaiming the glory and merit of a contemplative life and monastic discipline. His fame as a man of eloquence, learning and sanctity, was at this period in its zenith; but his most enthusiastic disciples were to be found in the female sex, especially among maidens and widows, to whom he was wont to represent in the brightest colours the celestial graces of an unwedded life. The influence exercised by Jerome over this class of persons, including many of the fairest and the noblest, soon became so powerful as to excite strong indignation and alarm among their relations and admirers, and to arouse the jealousy of the regular priesthood. He was assailed on every side by open invective and covert insinuation; and even the populace were incited to insult him when he appeared in public. These attacks he withstood for a while with undaunted firmness; but upon the death of his patron and steadfast supporter Damasus in 384, he found it necessary, or deemed it prudent to withdraw from the persecution. He accordingly sailed from Rome in the month of August, 385, accompanied by several friends; and after touching at Rhegium and Cyprus, where he was hospitably received by Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis, reached Antioch. There he was soon afterwards joined by the most zealous of his penitents, the rich widow Paula, and her daughter Eustochium, attended by a number of devout maidens, along with whom he made a tour of the Holy Land, visited Egypt, and returning to Palestine in 386, settled at Bethlehem, where Paula erected four monasteries, three for nuns and one for monks, she herself presiding over the former until her death, in 404, when she was succeeded by Eustochium, while Jerome directed the latter establishment. In this retreat he passed the remainder of his life, busied with his official duties, and with the composition of his works. Notwithstanding the pursuits by which he was engrossed in his solitude, the latter years of Jerome did not glide smoothly away. The wars waged against Rufinus, against John bishop of Jerusalem, and against the Pelagians, were prosecuted with great vigour, but with little meekness; and the friendship formed with Augustin must have been rudely broken off by the dispute regarding the nature of the difference betwen St. Peter and St. Paul, but for the singular moderation and forbearance of the African bishop. At length the rancorous bitterness of his attacks excited so much wrath among the Pelagians of the East, that an armed multitude of these heretics assaulted the monastery at Bethlehem; and Jerome, having escaped with difficulty, was forced to remain in concealment for upwards of two years. Soon after his return, in 418, both mind and body worn out by unceasing toil, privations, and anxieties, gradually gave way, and he expired on the 30th of September, A. D. 420.

The principal sources of information for the life of Jerome, of which the above is but a meagre sketch, are passages collected from his works, and these have been thrown into a biographical form in the edition of Erasmus, of Marianus Victorinus, of the Benedictines, and of Vallarsi. See also Surius, Act. Sanct. vol. v. mens. Septemb.; Sixtus Senensis, Bibl. Sacr. lib. iv. p. 302; Du Pin, History of Ecclesiastical Writers, fifth century; Martianay, La Vie de St. Jerome, Paris, 4to. 1706 ; Tillemont, Mén. Eccles. vol. xiii.; Schröck, Kirchengesch. vol. xi. pp. 1-244; Sebastian Dolci, Maximus Hieronymus Vitae suae Scriptor, Ancon. 4to. 1750; Engelstoff, Hieronymus Stridonensis, interpres, criticus, exegeta, apologeta, historicus, doctor, monachus, Hafn. 8vo., 1797; Bähr, Gesch. der Röm. Litterat. Suppl. Band. II. Abtheil, § 82; but perhaps none of the above will be found more generally useful than the article Hieronymus, by Cölln, in the Encyclopädie of Ersch and Gruber.


In giving a short account of the works of Jerome, which may be classed under the four heads --
  • 1. Epistolae
  • 2. Tractatus
  • 3. Commentarii Biblici
  • 4. Bibliotheca Divina
we shall follow closely the order adopted in the edition of Vallarsi, the best which has yet appeared.


Vol. I

In the earlier editions the letters of Jerome are grouped together according to their subjects, and are for the most part ranked under three great heads : Theologicae, Polemicae, Morales. This system being altogether vague and unsatisfactory, the Benedictines selected from the mass eighteen, including one from Pope Damasus, which refer directly to the interpretation of the Old Testament, and these they distinguished by the epithet Criticae or Exegeticae, placing them immediately before the commentaries on the Scriptures. (Ed. Bened. vol. ii. p. 561-711.) The remainder they endeavoured to arrange according to their dates, dividing them into six classes, corresponding to the most remarkable epochs in the life of the author, to which a seventh class was added, containing those of which the time is uncertain ; an eighth class, containing five epistles dedicatory, prefixed to various translations from the Greek; and a ninth class, containing some letters neither by nor to Jerome, but which in former editions had been mixed up with the rest. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 1 .... ad fin.) In the second class, however, they have thought fit to include all the biographical tracts of Jerome; and in the third class all his polemical and apologetical works; while in the fifth they have departed from their plan, for the purpose of presenting at one view the correspondence with Theophilus and Augustin, although of these epistles a few were written before some of those in the fourth class, and a few after some of those in the sixth class. Vallarsi has, moreover, pointed out several serious inaccuracies ; and after a minute investigation, in the course of which many letters hitherto received without suspicion have been rejected as spurious, and others undoubtedly authentic collected, for the first time, from various sources, has adopted the chronological order for the whole, distributing them into five periods or classes. The first embraces those written from A. D. 370, before Jerome betook himself to the desert, up to 381, when he quitted his solitude and repaired to Rome; the second those written during his residence at Rome from 382 until he quitted the city in 385, and sailed for Jerusalem ; the third those written at the monastery of Bethlehem, from 386 until the condemnation of Origen by the Alexandrian synod in 400; the fourth those written from 401 until his death in 420; the fifth those the date of which cannot be fixed with precision. The total number of epistles, including those written to, as well as those written by Jerome, is in the Benedictine edition 126, in the edition of Vallarsi 150.

Of these the larger portions have nothing of that easy and familiar tone which we expect to find in the correspondence even of the most learned, and are in fact letters in name and form only, and not in substance. Several, as we have seen above, are devoted to the criticism and interpretation of certain parts of the Bible, while many others are lengthened disquisitions on abstruse questions of doctrine and discipline. A general idea of their contents will be obtained from the following table, in which they follow each other according to the arrangement of Vallarsi, the probable date being appended to each, and also the number which it bears in the Benedictine and the earlier editions.

A. D. Ordo Veterum Editionum.     Ordo Editionis Vallarsianae. Ordo Editionis Benedictinae.
370 49   I. Ad Innocentium, de muliere septies percussa 17  
374 38   II. Ad Theodosium et ceteros Anchoretas 3  
374 41   III. Ad Ruffinum Monachum 1  
374 5   IV. Ad Florentium 2  
374 6   V. Ad eumdem 4  
374 37   VI. Ad Julianum 6  
374 43   VII. Ad Chromatium, Jovinum et Eusebium 7  
374 42   VIII. Ad Niceam Hypodiaconum 8  
374 44   IX. Ad Chrysogonum 9  
374 21   X. Ad Paulum Concordiensem 10  
374 39   XI. Ad Virgines Alnlonenses 12  
374 45   XII. Ad Antonium Monachum 11  
374 36   XIII. Ad Castorinam Materteram 13  
374 1   XIV. Ad Heliodorum 5  
376 57   XV. Ad Damasum Papam de Hypostasibus 14  
376 58   XVI. Ad eumdem 16  
379 77   XVII. Ad Marcum Presbyterum 15  
381--Divisa in 142 et 143 XVIII. Ad Damasum de Seraphim Inter Commentar. tom. 3.
383 124   XIX. Damasi ad Hieronymum de Osanna Inter Criticas, tom. 4. I.
383 145   XX. Ad Damastum de Osanna Ibid. II.
383 146   XXI. Ad eumdem de duobus filiis, frugi et luxurioso Ibid. III.
384 22   XXII. Ad Eustochium de Virginitate 18  
384 24   XXIII. Ad Marcellam de exitu Leae 20  
384 15   XXIV. Ad eamdem de laudibus Asellae 21  
384 136   XXV. Ad eamdem de decem Dei nominibus Inter Criticas, tom. 2. XIV
384 137   XXVI. Ad eamdem de quibusdam Hebraeis vocibs Ibid. XV.
384 102   XXVII. Ad eamdem adversus obtrectatores suos 25  
384 138   XXVIII. Ad eamdem de Diapsalma Inter Criticas, tom. 2. XVI
384 130   XXIX. Ad eamdem de Ephod et Teraphim Ibid. VII.
384 155   XXX. Ad Paulam de Alphabeto Ibid. XVII.
384 19   XXXI. Ad Eustochium de Munusculis 23  
384 74   XXXII. Ad Marcellam brevis 24  
384--Vacat XXXIII. Ad Paulum de Origene, fragmentum 29  
334 141   XXXIV. Ad Marcellan de Psalm. CXXVI Inter Criticas,tom.2.XVIII
384 124   XXXV. Damasi ad Hieronymum de quinque Quaestionibus Ibid. I.
384 125   XXXVI. Ad Damasum de quinque Quaestionibus Ibid. II.
384 133   XXXVII. Ad Marcellam de Commentariis Rheticii Ibid. X.
384 23   XXXVIII. Ad Marcellam de aegrotatione Blesillae 19  
384 25   XXXIX. Ad Paulam de obitu Blesillae 22  
384 100   XL. Ad Marcellam de Onaso 26  
384 54   XLI. Ad eamdem contra Montanum 27  
384 149   XLII. Ad eamdem contra Novatianos Inter Criticas, tom. 4. VI.
385 18   XLIII. Ad eamdem de laudibus ruris 45  
385 20   XLIV. Ad eamdem de Munusculis 46  
385 99   XLV. Ad Asellam 28  
386 17   XLVI. Paulae et Eustochii ad Marcellam 44  
393 154   XLVII. Ad Desiderium 48  
393 50   XLVIII. Ad Pammachium pro libris contra Jovinianum 30  
393 52   XLIX. Ad eumdem alia 31  
393 51   L. Ad Domnionem 32  
394 60   LI. Epiphanii ad Joannem Hierosolymitanum 110  
394 2   LII. Ad Nepotanum de vita Clericorum 34  
394 103   LIII. Ad Paulinum de studio Scripturarum 50  
394 10   LIV. Ad Furiam de viduitate servanda 47  
394 147   LV. Ad Amandum Inter Criticas, tom. 4. IV.
394 86   LVI. Augustini ad Hieronymum 65  
395 101   LVII. Ad Pammachium de optimo genere interpretandi 33  
395 13   LVIII. Ad Paulinum altera 49  
395 148   LIX. Ad Marcellam de quaestionibus N.T. Inter Criticas, tom. 4. V.
396 3   LX. Ad Heliodorum, Epitaphium Nepotiani 35  
396 75   LXI. Ad Vigilantium 36  
396(7) 76   LXII. Ad Tranquillinum 56  
397 68   LXIII. Ad Theophilum de Origenis causa 58  
397 128   LXIV. Ad Fabiolam de veste Sacerdotali Inter Criticas, tom. 2. V.
397 140   LXV. Ad Principiam in Psalmum XLIV Ibid. XII.
397 26   LXVI. Ad Pammachium de morte Paulinae 54  
397 87   LXVII. Augustini ad Hieronymum 67  
397 33   LXVIII. Ad Castrucium 100  
397 83   LXIX. Ad Oceanum 82  
397 84   LXX. Ad Magnum 83  
398 28   LXXI. Ad Lucinium 52  
398 132   LXXII. Ad Vitalem Inter Criticas, tom. 2. IX.
398 126   LXXIII. Ad Evangelum de Melchisedech Ibid. III.
398 131   LXXIV. Ad Ruffinum Romanum Presbyterum Ibid. VIII.
399 29   LXXV. Ad Theodoram 53  
399 32   LXXVI. Ad Abigaum 55  
399 30   LXXVII. Ad Oceanum de morte Fabiolae 84  
399 127   LXXVIII. Ad Fabiolam de XLII. Mansionibus Inter Criticas, tom. 2. IV
399(400) 9   LXXIX. Ad Salvinam 85  
399--Desideratur LXXX. Ruffini Praefatio in libros περὶ ἀρχῶν Numero caret.
399 66   LXXXI. Ad Ruffinum 42  
399--Abest. 61, 62   LXXXII. Ad Theophilum contra Joannem Hierosol 39  
399 64   LXXXIII. Pammachii et Oceani ad Hieronymum 40  
400 65   LXXXIV. Ad Pammachium et Oceanurnm 41  
400 153   LXXXV. Ad Paulinum de duabus Quaestiunculis 51  
400 70   LXXXVI. Ad Theophilum 59  
400 69   LXXXVII. Theophili ad Hieronymum 60  
400 71   LXXXVIII. Ad Theophilum 61  
400 72   LXXXIX. Theophili ad Hieronymum 62  
400 67   XC. Theophili ad Epiphanium 111  
400 73   XCI. Epiphanii ad Hieronymum 63  
400--Inedita XCII. Synodica Theophili ad Episcopos Palaestinos et Cyprios Inedita.
400--Inedita XCIII. Synodica Hierosolymitanae Synodi ad superiorem Inedita.
400--Inedita XCIV. Dionysii ad Theophilum Inedita.
400--Inedita XCV. Anastasii Papae ad Simplicianum Inedita.
401--Numero caret XCVI. Theophili Paschalis I Numero caret.
402 78   XCVII. Ad Pammachium et Marcellam 87  
402--Numero caret XCVIII. Paschalis II Numero caret.
402 31   XCIX. Ad Theophilum 64  
402--Numero caret C. Paschalis III Numero caret.
402 90   CI. Augustini ad Hieronymum 68  
402 91   CII. Ad Augustinum 69  
403 98   CIII. Ad eumdem 66  
403 88   CIV. Augustini ad Hieronymum 70  
403 92   CV. Ad Augustinum 71  
403 135   CVI. Ad Sunniam et Fretelam Inter Criticas, tom. 2. XI.
403 7   CVII. Ad Laetam de institutione filiae 57  
404 27   CVIII. Ad Eustochium, Epitaphium Paulae 86  
404 53   CIX. Ad Riparium de Vigilantio 37  
404 93   CX. Augustini ad Hieronymum 72  
404 95   CXI. Augustini ad Praesidium 73  
404 89   CXII. Ad Augustinum 74  
405--Numero caret CXIII. Theophili fragment. epist. ad Hieronymum 88  
405--Superiori juneta in un. CXIV. Ad Theophilum Superiori juncta in un.
405 96   CXV. Ad Augustinum 75  
405 97   CXVI. Augustini ad Hieronymum 76  
405 47   CXVII. Ad Matrem et Filiam 89  
406 34   CXVIII. Ad Julianum 92  
406 152   CXIX. Ad Minervium et Alexandrum Inter Criticas, tom. 4. IX.
407 150   CXX. Ad Hedibiam de XII. Quaestionibus Ibid. VII.
407 151   CXXI. Ad Algasiam de XI. Quaestionibus N.T. Ibid. VIII.
408 46   CXXII. Ad Rusticum de Poenitentia 90  
409 11   CXXIII. Ad Ageruchiam de Monogamia 91  
410 59   CXXIV. Ad Avitum, de libris περὶ Ἀρχῶν 94  
411 4   CXXV. Ad Rusticum Monachum 95  
411 82   CXXVI. Ad Marcellinam et Anapsychiam 78  
412 16   CXXVII. Ad Principiam, Marcellae viduae Epitaphium 96  
413 12   CXXVIII. Ad Gaudentium de Pacatulae educatione 98  
414 129   CXXIX. Ad Dardanum de Terra Promissionis Inter Criticas, tom. 2. VI.
414 8   CXXX. Ad Demetriadem de servanda Virginitate 97  
415--Vacat CXXXI. Augustini ad Hieronymum de origine Animae Vacat.
415--Vacat CXXXII. Augustini ad Hieron. de sententia Jacobi Apostoli Vacat.
Numero caret CXXXIII. Ad Ctesiphontem 43  
416 94   CXXXIV. Ad Augustinum 79  
417   { CXXXV. Innocentii Papae ad Aurelium } Non habentur.
417--Non habentur CXXXVI. Innocentii Papae ad Hieronymum
417   CXXXVII. Innocentii Papae ad Joannem Hierosolym
417 55   CXXXVIII. Ad Riparium 102  
417 56   CXXXIX. Ad Apronium 103  
418 139   CXL. Ad Cyprianum de Psalmo LXXXIX. Inter Criticas, tom. 2. XIII.
418 80   CXLI. Ad Augustinum 80  
418 81   CXLII. Ad eumdem 77  
419 79   CXLIII. Ad Alypium et Augustinum 81  
420--Desideratur   CXLIV. Augustini ad Optatum de Hieronymo Desideratur.
Incert. 35   CXLV. Ad Exsuperantium 99  
Incert. 85   CXLVI. Ad Evangelum 101  
Incert. 48   CXLVII. Ad Sabinianum 103  
Falso adscriptae
  14   CXLVII. Ad Celantiam 109  
Inedita     CXLIX. De solennitatibus Paschae Inedita.
Non habetur   CL. Procepii, Graece et Latine Ultima absque numero.


Vol. II. Par 1

These in the older editions are mixed up at random with the epistles. Erasmus, Victorinus, and the Benedictines, although not agreeing with each other, have sought to establish some sort of order, by attaching the tracts to such epistles as treat of kindred subjects, but unfortunately this is practicable to a very limited extent only. Vallarsi has merely collected them together, without attempting any regular classification.


Vita S. Pauliprimi Eremitae, who at the age of sixteen fled to the deserts of the Thebaid to avoid the persecutions of Decius and Valerian, and lived in solitude for ninety-eight years. Written about A. D. 375, while Jerome was in the desert of Chalcis. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 68.)


Vita S. Hilarionis Eremitae, a monk of Palestine, a disciple of the great St. Anthony. Written about A. D. 390. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 74.)


Vita Malchi Monachi captivi. Belonging to the same period as the preceding. A certain Sophronius, commemorated in the De Viris Illustribus (100.134) wrote a Greek translation, now lost, of the lives of St. Hilario and St. Malchus, a strong proof of the estimation in which the biographies were held at the time they were composed. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 90.)


Regula S. Pachomii, the founder of Egyptian monasticism. Written originally in Syriac, translated from Syrian into Greek by some unknown hand, and translated from Greek into Latin by Jerome about A. D. 405, after the death of Paula.


S. Pachomii et S. Theodorici Epistolae et Verba Mystica. An appendix to the foregoing.


Didymi de Spiritu Sancto Liber III. This translation from the Greek was commenced at Rome in 382, at the request of Damasus, but not finished until 384, at Jerusalem. See Praef. and Ep. xxxvi. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. i. app. p. 493.)


Altercatio Luciferiani et Orthodox. The followers of Lucifer of Cagliari [LUCIFER] maintained that the Arian bishops, when received into the church, after an acknowledgment of error, ought not to retain their rank, and that the baptism administered by them while they adhered to their heresy was null and void. Written at Antioch about A. D. 378. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 289.)


Adversus Helvidium Liber. A controversial tract on the perpetual virginity of the mother of God, against a certain Helvidius, who held that Mary had borne children after the birth of our Saviour. Written at Rome about A. D. 382. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 130.)


Adversus Jovinianum Libri II. Jovinianus was accused of having revived many of the here tical doctrines of the Gnostic Basilides, but his chief crime seems to have been an attempt to check superstitious observances, and to resist the encroaching spirit of monachism (Milman, History of Christianity, vol. iii. p. 332), which was now seeking to tyrannise over the whole church. Written about A. D. 393. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 144. These editors have subjoined, p. 229, the epistle of Jerome, entitled Apologeticus ad Pammachium pro Libris adversus Jovinianum.


Contra Vigilantium Liber. The alleged heresies of Vigilantius were of the same character with those of Jovinianus; in particular, he denied that the relics of martyrs ought to be regarded as objects of worship, or that vigils ought to be kept at their tombs. Written about A. D. 406. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 280.)


Contra Joannem Hierosolymitanum. John, bishop of Jerusalem, was accused of having adopted some of the views of Origen. Written about A. D. 399. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 336, where it is considered as an Epistola ad Pammachium, and numbered xxxviii. of the series.)


Apologetici adversus Rufinum Libri III. See RUFINUS. Written about A. D. 402. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 349.)

Vol. II. Par. 2.


Dialogi contra Pelagianos, in three books. See PELAGIUS. Written about A. D. 415. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. p. ii. p. 483.)


De Viris Illustribus s. De Scriptoribus Ecclesiaslicis (see Epist. cxii.), a series of 135 short sketches of the lives and writings of the most distinguished advocates of Christianity, beginning with the apostles Peter and James, the brother (or cousin) of our Lord, and ending with Hieronymus himself, who gives a few particulars with regard to his own life, and subjoins a catalogue of the works which he had published at the date when this tract was concluded, in the fourteenth year, namely, of Theodosius, or A. S. 392. The importance of these biographies, as materials towards a history of the church, has always been acknowleded, and can scarcely be overrated, since they form the only source of accurate information with regard to many persons and many books connected with the early history of Christianity. A Greek version was printed for the first time by Erasmus, professing to be taken from an ancient MS., and to have been executed by a certain Sophronius, who is commonly supposed to be the same with the individual of that name mentioned in the De Viris Illustribus (100.134), but certain barbarisms in style, and errors in translation, have induced many critics to assign a muen later date to the piece, and have even led some, among whom is Vossius, to imagine that Erasmus was either imposed upon himself or wilfully sought to palm a forgery upon the literary world. (Fabric. Bibl. Graec. lib. v. e. 16.)

The original of Hieronymus is to be found in vol. iv. p. ii. p. 98, of the Benedictine edition, while both the original and the translation are given by Vallarsi. It was published separately, along with the catalogues of Gennadius, Isidorus, &c. Colon. 8vo. 1500, Antw. fol. 1639, and with the commentaries of Miraeus and others, Helmst. 4to. 1700.

Vol. III. Par. 1


De Nominibus Hebraicis. An explanation of all the Hebrew proper names which occur in the Scriptures, those in each book being considered separately, in alphabetical order. Many of the derivations are very forced, not a few evidently false, and several words which are purely Greek or purely Latin, are explained by reference to Semitie roots.

Philo Judaeus had previously executed a work of the same description for the Old Testament, and Origen for the New, and these formed the basis of the present undertaking; but how much is original and how nuch borrowed from these or other similar compilations we cannot determine accurately. (Vid. Praef.) Written about 388 or 390, while he was still an admirer of Origen, who is pronounced in the preface to be second to the Apostles only. (Ed. Boned. vol. ii. p. 1.)


De Situ et Nominibus locorum Hebraicorum. Eusebius was the author of a work upon the geography of Palestine, in which he first gave an account of Judaea and of the localities of the twelve tribes, together with a description of Jerusalem and of the temple; and to this was appended a dictionary of the names of cities, villages, mountains, rivers, and other places mentioned in the Bible. Of the last portion, entitled Περὶ τῶν τοπικῶν ὀνομάτων τῶν ἐν τῆ Δείᾳ γραφῇ, which is still extant in the original Greek, we are here presented with a translation, in which, however, we find many omissions, additions, and alterations. The names found in each book are placed separately, in alphabetical order. Written about 388. (Ed. Bened. vol. ii. p. 382.)

In the present state of our knowledge, neither of the above productions can be regarded as of much importance or authority; but in so far as purity of text is concerned, they appear under a much more accurate form in the edition of Vallarsi than any of the earlier impressions, especially the latter, which was carefully compared with a very ancient and excellent MS. of Eusebius in the Vatican, not before collated.

3. , or annotations, critical and exegetical, on the Scriptures.

Vol. III. Par. 2

We now come to the largest and most important section of the works of Hieronymus, to which the two preceding tracts may be considered as introductory, viz.--


Quaestionum Hebraicarum in Genesim Liber. Dissertations upon difficult passages in Genesis, in which the Latin version as it then existed is compared with the Greek of the Septuagint and with the original Hebrew. Jerome speaks of these investigations with great complacency in the preface to his glossary of Hebrew proper names. " Libros enim Hebraicarum Quaestionum nunc in manibus habeo, opus novum, et tam Graecis quam Latinis usque ad id locorum inauditum," and had resolved (see Praef. in Heb. Quaest.) to examine in like manner all the other books of the Old Testament, a plan which, however, he never executed, and which, in fact, was in a great measure superseded by his more elaborate commentaries, and by his translation of the whole Bible. Written about 388. (Ed. Bened. vol. ii. p. 505.)


Commentarii in Ecclesiasten, frequently referred to in his Apology against Rufinus. Written at Bethlehem about A. D. 388. (Ed. Bened. vol. ii. p. 715.)


In Canticum Canticorum Tractatus II. From the Greek of Origen, who is strongly praised in the preface addressed to Pope Damasus. Translated at Rome in A. D. 383. (Ed. Bened. vol. ii. p. 807 ; comp. vol. v. p. 603.)

Vol. IV.


Commentarii in Iesaiam, in eighteen books. The most full and highly finished of all the labours of Jerome in this department. It was commenced apparently as early as A. D. 397, and not completed before A. D. 411. Tillemont considers that there is an allusion to the death of Stilicho in the preface to the eleventh book. (Ed. Bened. vol. iii. p.i.)


Homiliae novem in Visiones Iesaiae ex Graeco Origenis. Rejected by Vallarsi in his first edition as spurious, but admitted into the second, upon evidence derived from the Apology of Rufinus. (See Vallarsi, vol. iv. p. ii. p. 1098.) This must not be confounded with a short tract which Jerome wrote upon the visions of Isaiah (Comment. in les. c. vi.), when he was studying at Constantinople in 381, under Gregory of Nazianzus, and in which he seems to have called in question the views of Origen with regard to the Seraphim. (Ep. xviii. ad Damasumn.


Commentarii in Jeremiam, in six books, extending to the first thirty-two chapters of the prophet, one or two books being wanting to complete the exposition which was commenced late in life, probably about A. D. 415, frequently interrupted, and not brought down to the point where it concludes until the year of the author's death. (Ed. Bened. vol. iii. p. 526.)

Vol. V.


Commentarii in Ezechielem, in fourteen books, written at intervals during the years A. D). 411-414, the task having been begun immediately after the commentaries upon Isaiah, but repeatedly broken off. See Prolegg. and Ep. 126 ad Marcellin. et Anapsych. (Ed. Bened. vol. iii. p. 698.)


Commentarius in Danielem in one book. Written A. D. 407, after the completion of the notes on the minor prophets, and before the death of Stilicho. See praef. (Ed. Bened. vol. iii. p. 1072.)


Homiliae Origenis XXVIII. in Jeremium et Ezechielem, forming a single work, and not two, as Erasmus and Huetius supposed. Translated at Constantinople after the completion of the Eusebian Chronicle (A. D. 380), and before the letter to Pope Damasus on the Seraphim (Ep. xviii.), written in 381.

Vol. VI.


Commentarii in XII. Prophetas minores, drawn up at intervals between A. D. 392 and 406. Nahum, Micah, Zephaniah, Haggai, and Habakkuk were printed in 392, Jonah in 397, Obadiah probably in 403, the remainder in 406. (Ed. Bened. vol. iii. p. 1234-1806.)

Vol. VII.


Commentarii in Matthaeum, in four books. They belong to the year 398. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. pt. i. p. 1.)


Homiliae XXXIX. in Lucam ex Origene. A translation, executed about A. D. 389.


Commentarii in Pauli Epistolas. Those namely to the Galatians, to the Ephesians, to Titus, and to Philemon. Written about A. D. 387. (Ed. Bened. vol. iv. pt. i. p. 222-242.)

Vol. VIII.

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The Chronicle of Eusebius

Chronica Eusebii. The Chronicle of Eusebius, translated from the Greek, enlarged chiefly in the department of Roman history, and brought down to A. D. 378, that is, to the sixth consulship of Valens, the events of fifty-three years being thus added to the original. [EUSEBIUS.]

Vols. IX. X., and Vol. I., ed. Bened.

The most important contribution by Jerome to the cause of religion was his Latin version of the Old and New Testament. A Latin translation, or perhaps several Latin translations, existed in the second century, as we learn from the quotations of Tertullian, but in the course of two hundred years the text had fallen into lamentable confusion. A multitude of passages had been unscrupulously omitted or interpolated or altered by successive transcribers, to suit their own fancy or for the sake of supporting or of overturning particular doctrines, so that scarcely two copies could be found exactly alike, and in many cases the discrepancies were of a most serious character. Such a state of things had reasonably excited the greatest alarm among all sincere believers, when Jerome, who was admirably qualified for the task, undertook, at the earnest solicitation of his friend and patron, Pope Damasus, to remedy the evil.

He commenced his labours with the four Evangelists, comparing carefully the existing Latin translations with each other and with the original Greek, his object being to retain the existing expressions as far as possible, and to introduce new phraseology in those places only where the true sense had entirely disappeared. Prefixed is an introduction explaining the principle by which he had been guided, and ten synoptical tables, exhibiting a complete analysis and harmony of the whole. The remaining books of the New Testament were published subsequently upon the same plan, but from the absence of any introduction it has been doubted by some critics whether the translation of these was really executed by Jerome. His own words, however, elsewhere, are so explicit as to leave no rational ground for hesitation upon this point. (See the catalogue given by himself of his own works de Viris Ill. 100.135, Epist. lxxi., and Vallarsi, Praef. vol. x. p. xx.)

The Latin version of the Old Testament, as it existed at that epoch, had not been derived directly from the Hebrew, but from the Septuagint, and at first Jerome did not contemplate any thing more than a simple revision and correction of this version by comparing it with the Greek. Accordingly, he began with the book of Psalms, which he improved from an ordinary copy of the LXX, but here his work ended for the time. But when residing at Bethlehem in 390-391, he became acquainted with the Hexapla of Origen, in which the Greek text had been carefully corrected from the original Hebrew, and with this in his hands lie revised the whole of the Old Testament. But of this improved translation no portion has descended to us except the Psalms and Job, together with the Prologues to the Verba Dierum or Chronicles, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Solomon's Song. Indeed, the above-named were the only books ever published, the MS. of the remainder having been lost by the carelessness or abstracted by the treachery of some one who had gained possession of them. (See Epist. cxxxiv. " Pleraque enim prioris laboris fraude cujusdam amisimus.")

Nothing daunted by this misfortune, Jerome resolved to recommence his toil upon a different and far more satisfactory basis. Instead of translating a translation, he determined to have recourse at once to the original, and accordingly, after long and patient exertion, he finished in A. D. 405 an entirely new translation made directly from the Hebrew. This is in substance the Latin translation of the Old Testament now in circulation, but it was not received into general use until formally sanctioned by Pope Gregory the Great, for a strong prejudice prevailed in favour of every thing connected with the ancient Septuagint, which at that period was universally believed to have been the result of a miracle.

Jerome did not translate any part of the Apocrypha, with the exception of Tobit and Judith, which he rendered, at the request of Chromatius and Heliodorus, from the Chaldaean, not literally, as he himself informs us, but in such a manner as to convey the general sense. Indeed, his knowledge of Chaldaean could not have been very profound, since all he knew was obtained in the course of a single day from the instructions of one versed in that tongue. (See Pref. to Tobit.)

The history of the Vulgate, therefore, as it now exists, is briefly this:--

1. The Old Testament is a translation made directly from the original Hebrew by Jerome. 2. The New Testament is a translation formed out of the old translations carefully compared and corrected from the original Greek of Jerome. 3. The Apocrypha consists of old translations with the exception of Tobit and Judith freely translated from the original Chaldaean by Jerome.

In addition to the contents of the Vulgate, we find in the works of Jerome two translations of the Psalms, and a translation of Job, the origin of which we have already explained. The first translation of the Psalms was adopted soon after its appearance by the Church in Rome, and hence is called Psalterium Romanum ; the second by the Church in Gaul, and hence is called Psalterium Gallicanum, and these are still commonly employed, not having been superseded by the translation in the Vulgate, since the introduction of the latter would have involved a complete change of the sacred music established by long use.

In conclusion, we may remark that the Vulgate in its present form is by no means the same as when it issued from the hands of its great editor. Numerous alterations and corruptions crept in during the middle ages, which have rendered the text uncertain. A striking proof of this fact has been adduced by bishop Marsh, who states that two editions published within two years of each other, in 1590 and 1592, both printed at Rome, both under papal authority, and both formally pronounced authentic, differ materially from each other in sense as well as in words.

The Old Testament, or the Canon Hebraicae Veritatis, was anciently divided into three orders, Primus Ordo, Legis, comprehending the Pentateuch ; Secundus Ordo, Prophetarum, Joshua, Judges, Samuel, I. and II., Kings, I. and II., Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and the Twelve Minor Prophets ; Tertius Ordo, Hagiographorum, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Solomon's Song, Daniel, Verba Dierum, or Chronicles I. and II., Ezra, and Esther; to which are sometimes added a fourth ordo, including the books of the Apocrypha. In like manner the New Testament was divided into the Ordo Evangelicus, containing Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John; and Ordo Apostolicus, containing the remainder, from the Acts to the Apocalypse.

Vol. XI: Lost Works

The lost works of Jerome are divided by Vallarsi into two classes: I. Those which unquestionably existed at one period; II. Those of which the existence at any time is very doubtful. To the first class belong,--

I. Work which unquestionably existed at one period


Interpretatio vetus SS. V. T. ex Graeco τῶν LXX. emendata, of which we have already spoken in our account of the history of the Vulgate.


Evangelium juxta Hebraeos, written in the Chaldaean dialect, but in Hebrew characters. Jerome obtained a copy of this from some Nazareans living at Beroea in Syria, probably at the time when he himself was in the wastes of Chalcis, and translated it into Greek and Latin. Some suppose that this was the Gospel according to St. Matthew in its original form, but this does not seem to have been the opinion of Jerome himself (Comment. in Matth. 12.13, de Viris Ill. 2, 3).


Specimen Commentarii in Abdiam, composed in early youth while dwelling in solitude in the Syrian desert, and revised after a lapse of thirty years.


Commentarii in Psalmos, not to be confounded with the confessedly spurious Breviarium in Psalmos. The extent of this work, whether it comprehended the whole of the Psalms, or was confined to a few only, is absolutely unknown. Tillemont has conjectured that it consisted of extracts from homilies of Origen on the entire Psalter.


Commentarioli in Psalmos, frequently referred to under this title in the first book against Rufinus.


Versio Latina Libri Origeniani Περὶ Ἀρχῶν. A few fragments are to be found in Ep. 124, ad Avitum. (See Ed. Bened. vol. v. p. 255.)


Versio Libri Theophili Episcopi Alexandrini in S. Joannem Chrysostomum. A very few fragments remain.


Epistolae. We find allusions to many letters which have altogether disappeared. A catalogue of them, with all the information attainable, will be found in Vallarsi.

Works of which the existence at any time is very doubtful


Quaestiones Hebraicae in Vetus Testamentum, different from those upon Genesis. Jerome certainly intended to compose such a work, and even refers to it several times, especially in his geographical work on Palestine, but there seems good reason to believe that it was never finished.


Commentarii breviores in XII. Prophetas ὑπομνήματα dicti. Different from those now existing. The belief that such a work existed is founded upon a passage in Epist. 49, addressed to Pammachius.


Libri XIV. in Jeremiam, in which he is supposed to have completed his unfinished commentary upon Jeremiah. (See Cassiodor. Instit. 100.3.)


Alexandri Aphrodisei Commentarii Latine conversi. (See Ep. 50, ad Domnionem.


Liber ad Abundantium (or, Antium). No allusion is to be found to this piece in any ancient author except Cassiodorus (Instit. 100.2).


De Similitudine Carnei Peccai contra Manichaeos. Designated as a short and very elegant work of Hieronymus by Agobardus (ad v. Fel. 100.39.) For full information with regard to these consult the dissertations of Vallarsi.


Having given a full list of the genuine and lost works of Jerome, it is unnecessary to add a catalogue of those which have from time to time been erroneously ascribed to his pen, and which found their way into the earlier editions. Many of these are collected in the fifth volume of the Benedictine edition, while Vallarsi has placed some as appendices among the genuine works, and thrown the rest together into the second and third parts of his eleventh volume.

Jerome was pronounced by the voice of antiquity the most learned and eloquent among the Latin fathers, and this judgment has been confirmed by the most eminent scholars of modern times. His profound knowledge of the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages; his familiarity with ancient history and philosophy, his personal acquaintance with the manners and scenery of the East, enabled him to illustrate with great force and truth many of the darkest passages in Scripture. But notwithstanding all these advantages, his commentaries must be employed with the greatest caution. The impetuosity of his temperament induced him eagerly to seize upon any striking idea suggested by his own fancy or by the works or conversation of his contemporaries, and to pour forth with incautious haste a mass of imposing but crude conceptions. Hence we can detect many glaring inconsistencies, many palpable contradictions, many grievous errors. The dreamy reveries of Origen are mixed up with the fantastic fables of Jewish tradition, and the plainest texts obscured by a cloudy veil of allegory and mysticism. Nor, while we admire his uncompromising boldness and energy in advocating a good cause, can we cease to regret the total absence of gentleness, meekness, and Christian charity, which characterises all his controversial encounters. However resolute he may have been in struggling against the lusts of the flesh, he never seems to have considered it a duty to curb the fiery promptings of a violent temper. He appears to have regarded his opponents with all the acrimony of envenomed personal hostility, and gives vent to his fury in the bitterest invective. Nor were these denunciations by any means in proportion to the real importance of the question in debate; it was chiefly when any of his own favourite tenets were impugned, or when his own individual influence was threatened, that his wrath became ungovernable. Perhaps the most intemperate of all his polemical discourses is the attack upon Vigilantius, who had not attempted to assail any of the vital principles of the faith, or to advocate any dangerous heresy, but who had sought to check the rapid progress of corruption.

The phraseology of Jerome is exceedingly pure, bearing ample testimony to the diligence with which he must have studied the choicest models. No one can read the Vulgate without being struck by the contrast which it presents in the classic simplicity of its language to the degenerate affectation of Appuleius, and the barbarous obscurity of Ammianus, to say nothing of the ecclesiastical writers. But the diction in which he embodied his own compositions, where he was called upon to supply the thoughts as well as the words, although so much vaunted by Erasmus, and in reality always forcible and impressive, is by no means worthy of high praise.


A most minute account of the editions of Hieronymus is given by Schönemann. (Bibliotheca Patrum Latinorum, vol. 1.4.3.) It will be sufficient here to remark, that as early as 1467 a folio volume, containing some of his epistles and opuscula, was printed at Rome by Ulric Han, constituting one of the earliest specimens of the typographical art. Two folio volumes were printed at Rome in 1468, by Sweynheim and Pannartz, " S. Hieronymi Tractatus et Epistolae," edited by Andrew bishop of Aleria, which were reprinted in 1470; in the same year " Beati Ieronimi Epistolae," 2 vols. fol. issued from the press of Schoffer, at Mayence; and from that time forward innumerable impressions of various works poured forth from all parts of Italy, Germany, and Gaul.

The first critical edition of the collected works was that superintended by Erasmus, Bas. 9 vols. fol. 1516; reprinted in 1526 and 1537, the last being the best; and also at Lyons, in 8 vols. fol. 1530. Next comes that of Marianus Victorinus, Rom. 9 vols. fol. 1566; reprinted at Paris in 1578, in 1608, 4 vols. and in 1643, 9 vols. An edition containing the notes of Erasmus and Victorinus appeared at Francfort and Leipsic, 12 vols. fol. 1684, succeeded by the famous Benedictine edition, Par. 5 vols. fol. 1693-1706, carried as far as the end of the first volume by Pouget, and continued after his death by Martianay, which is, however, superseded by the last and best of all, that of Vallarsi, Veron. 11 vols. fol. 1734-1742; reprinted, with some improvements, Venet. 11 vols. 4to. 1766.K


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