When Jerome Doesn’t Like Your Book, You Know It

[I have been sent] the books which [Vigilantius] vomited forth in a drunken fit. … He is a barbarian both in speech and knowledge. His style is rude. He cannot defend even the truth; but, for the sake of laymen, and poor women, laden with sins, ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth, I will spend upon his melancholy trifles a single night’s labour, otherwise I shall seem to have treated with contempt the letters of the reverend persons who have entreated me to undertake the task. — St. Jerome

Now that’s a book review.

Another Gem from Jerome

If there is anything of which you are ignorant, if you have any doubt about Scripture, ask one whose life commends him, whose age puts him above suspicion, whose reputation does not belie him. … Or if there should be none such able to explain, it is better to avoid danger at the price of ignorance than to court it for the sake of learning. — St Jerome

And that’s a gem!

Luther’s Rendering of this Line is Still the Best

Denn der glaube ist nicht jedermans ding, (2 Thess. 3:2, Luther, 1545).  The 2017 edition of the Luther Bible translates it the same way.

The Zurich Bible of 2008 does a good job as well-  Denn der Glaube ist nicht jedermanns Sache.

The English versions all woodenly follow the Greek text- οὐ γὰρ πάντων ἡ πίστις, even the usually superb REB.

The advantage of the German editions is that they see well what the text means, rather than simply what it says.  And that’s what separates good translations from great ones.

If you’re a translator, do the hard work of communicating the sense and intent of the text and don’t just provide a silly ‘interlinear-ization’ (because that’s exactly what wooden translations are).  No one’s helped by that.

Mary Beard is Headed to Zurich

Im November kommt die wohl bekannteste Althistorikerin Dame Prof. Dr. Mary Beard (Cambridge) zu uns. Am 17. November 2022 wird Mary Beard mit einem renommierten Preis ausgezeichnet. Wir gratulieren ihr dazu ganz herzlich! Ihre ZAZH-Lecture „Does Classics have a Future?“, zu der wir Sie gerne einladen, findet deswegen eine Woche früher als bisher angekündigt schon am 10. November 2022 statt. Am 11. und 12. November 2022 bietet sie einen Workshop zu „‘Classics’, ‘Whiteness’, Empire and Radical Politics“ an. Interessierte können gerne teilnehmen und melden sich bitte bei der Geschäftsführung an.

Go if you can.

Jerome’s Advice To An Annoying Critic

Wherefore cease to worry me and to overwhelm me with your scrolls. Spare at least your money with which you hire secretaries and copyists, employing the same persons to write for you and to applaud you. Possibly their praise is due to the fact that they make a profit out of writing for you. If you wish to exercise your mind, hand yourself over to the teachers of grammar and rhetoric, learn logic, have yourself instructed in the schools of the philosophers; and when you have learned all these things you will perhaps begin to hold your tongue.

And yet I am acting foolishly in seeking teachers for one who is competent to teach everyone, and in trying to limit the utterance of one who does not know how to speak yet cannot remain silent. The old Greek proverb is quite true “A lyre is of no use to an ass.” For my part I imagine that even your name was given you out of contrariety. For your whole mind slumbers and you actually snore, so profound is the sleep—or rather the lethargy—in which you are plunged.

In fact amongst the other blasphemies which with sacrilegious lips you have uttered you have dared to say that the mountain in Daniel out of which the stone was cut without hands is the devil, and that the stone is Christ, who having taken a body from Adam (whose sins had before connected him with the devil) is born of a virgin to separate mankind from the mountain, that is, from the devil. Your tongue deserves to be cut out and torn into fragments.

Amen.  #AmIRight

Be Like Jesus

Jesus was so angry when the wealthy and powerful disadvantaged the poor that he made a whip and overturned their tables and drove them out of the Temple.
Be like Jesus. Drive those oppressing the poor out of your churches.

Jerome’s Advice to Preachers

When teaching in church seek to call forth not plaudits but groans. Let the tears of your hearers be your glory.

A presbyter’s words ought to be seasoned by his reading of scripture. Be not a declaimer or a ranter, one who gabbles without rhyme or reason; but shew yourself skilled in the deep things and versed in the mysteries of God.

To mouth your words and by your quickness of utterance astonish the unlettered crowd is a mark of ignorance.  – St Jerome

Challenge Accepted.

Jerome: To A Linguistic Pretender

jerome11You know enough Latin and Greek to make the Greek think you a Latin scholar and the Latin a Greek.  – St Jerome

I read that and thought right off of the folk who cite Strong’s concordance in an attempt to persuade others of their linguistic skills.  They ‘know’ enough Hebrew and Greek to make the person who knows neither think they are a scholar of both.

I love Jerome.  A straight-talker if ever there were one.

St. Jerome: A Dose a Day Keeps the Heretics Away

2014-JeromebyGhirlandaioWhen God formed man out of slime, and through the grace of His own inspiration gave him a soul, had that soul previously existed and subsisted which was afterwards bestowed by the inspiration of God, and where was it? or did it gain its capacity both to exist and to live from the power of God, on the sixth day, when the body was formed out of the slime?

You are silent regarding this, and pretend you do not know what is wanted, and busy yourself with irrelevant questions. You leave Origen untouched, and rave against the absurdities of Marcion, Apollinaris, Eunomius, Manichæus, and the other heretics. You are asked for a hand and you put out a foot, and all the while covertly insinuate the doctrine to which you hold. You speak smooth things to plain men like us, but in such a way as in no degree to displease those of your own party.

Evasion.  It’s what the heretics love.

Happy Feast of St Jerome

This from the Catholic Biblical Association –

Wishing you a blessed feast day of Saint Jerome, our patron saint.  Saint Jerome is a Doctor of the Church and the Patron Saint of Scholars and in particular of the Catholic Biblical Association. He was born in 331 AD in what is now known as Croatia and eventually lived the last 30 years of his life in a cave in Bethlehem, dying in 420.  Arguably, his most famous line is “Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ” which occurred in his commentary on Isaiah.  His learning was a way of purification for him. He is most famous for his translation of the Scriptures in Latin (the Vulgate).

May the Lord richly bless all our endeavors and keep us faithful. May our work help in the building up of His kingdom.

Joe Atkinson

Amen and amen.  I love Jerome.  Happy Jerome day to one and all.

Zwingli: On Jerome

When asked in Einsiedeln, when he was already widely known as an expert in Scripture and its interpretation, where a new student of Scripture should begin, Zwingli remarked

“Study the Holy Scriptures, and that you may better understand them, read Saint Jerome. However, the time will soon come, with God’s help, when Christians will little esteem Saint Jerome or others, but the Word of God only.”

Later on Zwingli would come to realize that those left to Scripture alone, without the benefit of sensible guides, would become Spiritualists and Heretics.

Remembering Stephanie Fisher

She died the morning of September 30, 2021 at her sister’s house in New Zealand following a brief battle with a terribly aggressive form of cancer.

Steph was a student of Maurice Casey, a scholar in her own right, and a dear friend of many years. She was a unique and wonderfully intelligent woman with a cutting but loving wit and a deep intelligence.

Those of us who knew her will miss her. Those of you who didn’t know her missed out.

RIP, Steph. We love you, friend.

It’s St. Jerome’s Feast Day! Yay!

Today we celebrate the greatest of all the Church’s Fathers.

Today is the Feast Day of Saint Jerome, probably the greatest biblical scholar of the Patristic period and a Doctor of the Church. Jerome was skilled in translation and is responsible for much of the translation of the Latin Bible that came to be known as the Vulgate. He was conversant with the translations of the Old Testament in Greek and the Hebrew text itself. He was also familiar with the traditions of rabbinical interpretation. As F.X. Murphy writes in the New Catholic Encyclopedia,

“Jerome brought to his exegesis an enormous erudition beginning with his knowledge of the classics and amplified with a close attention to Hebrew tradition and an on-site appreciation of the milieu in which the Scriptures were composed. He had an original mind and excellent human intuition. He employed a well-defined hermeneutical method, borrowing what was good from all three traditions of exegesis, the Alexandrian, Antiochene, and Rabbinical, and while his earlier works abound in allegorical interpretation, his later demonstrate a well-balanced utilization of the best thought then available for “giving my Latin readers the hidden treasures of Hebrew erudition” in keeping with the true meaning of the Scriptures” (759)

He remains in so many ways a model for Scripture scholars today, as his attention to languages, hermeneutics, literary and social context and a close relationship with Jewish methods and scholars reveals. He is even more a model for all lovers of Scripture. In his letter to Laeta concerning her infant daughter Paula (Letter 107), who was to be raised as a consecrated virgin, Jerome advises that the Scriptures be a part of daily life for the little girl. Dei Verbum 25 cites his famous dictum, “for ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ” (St. Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah, Prol.: PL 24,17). His extensive work on the Bible, which even more significantly was careful and skillful, demonstrates just how intimate he was with Christ.  The best way to celebrate his Feast Day is obvious: read as much Scripture as you are able! Not just today, but everyday.