1. Education

St. Jerome - Translator of the Bible

By

Definition:

Name: Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus or Εὐσέβιος Σωφρόνιος Ἱερώνυμος
Dates:c. 340 - September 30, 420
Birthplace: Stridon, Dalmatia
Occupation: Theologian/Scholar

Jerome made the Bible accessible. He is known as the 4th-5th century scholar who translated the Bible into the language ordinary people could read. At this time, the declining decades of the Roman Empire, the ordinary language was Latin. Jerome's version of the Bible is known as the Vulgate.

Jerome is considered the most learned of the Latin Church Fathers, being fluent in Latin, Greek, and Hebrew, with knowledge of Aramaic, Arabic, and Syriac, according to St. Jerome: Perils of a Bible Translator. In addition, he made available to westerners other Greek texts. Jerome had a dream in which he was criticized for being a Ciceronian, which he interpreted to mean he should read Christian material, not the Classics, so he changed his focus. [Cicero was a Roman orator and statesman contemporary with Julius and Augustus Caesar.]

Jerome was born in Dalmatia, according to Barry Baldwin, in the 340s and died in Bethlehem on Sept. 30, 419/420. He studied grammar, rhetoric, and philosophy at Rome. He lived for two years as a desert (in Calchis) hermit beginning in 375. From 382-385 he served in Rome as secretary to Pope Damasus. In 386 Jerome moved to Bethlehem where he set up and lived in a monastery. He died there at about the age of 80.

Jerome translated 39 sermons of Origen on Luke, whom he opposed. He also wrote against Pelagius and the Pelagian heresy. Jerome had disagreements, as well, with the North African Christian theologian (Saint) Augustine (354-386) of City of God and Confessions fame, who died in Hippo Regia during the siege by the Vandals, one of the groups blamed for the Fall of Rome.

Sources:

  • "Jerome, Saint." Encyclopædia Britannica. 2007.
  • Barry Baldwin "Jerome" The Oxford Dictionary of Byzantium. Ed. Alexander P. Kazhdan. Oxford University Press 1991

Christianity Glossary

Go to Other Ancient / Classical History Glossary pages beginning with the letter

a | b | c | d | e | f | g | h | i | j | k | l | m | n | o | p | q | r | s | t | u | v | wxyz
Also Known As: Eusebios Hieronymos Sophronios

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.