The style is so barbarous, and the language so vile and such a heap of blunders, that I could neither understand what he was talking about, nor by what arguments he was trying to prove his points. At one moment he is all bombast, at another he grovels: from time to time he lifts himself up, and then like a wounded snake finds his own effort too much for him. Not satisfied with the language of men, he attempts something loftier. – St Jerome, Against Jovinianus
I love you Jerome. You’re my bff!
You urge me to revise the old Latin version, and, as it were, to sit in judgment on the copies of the Scriptures which are now scattered throughout the whole world; and, inasmuch as they differ from one another, you would have me decide which of them agree with the Greek original.
The labour is one of love, but at the same time both perilous and presumptuous; for in judging others I must be content to be judged by all; and how can I dare to change the language of the world in its hoary old age, and carry it back to the early days of its infancy?
Is there a man, learned or unlearned, who will not, when he takes the volume into his hands, and perceives that what he reads does not suit his settled tastes, break out immediately into violent language, and call me a forger and a profane person for having the audacity to add anything to the ancient books, or to make any changes or corrections therein? – St. Jerome
Fortunately, he listened to his better angels instead of his fears (all of which, by the way, were realized).
Amen and amen, good St. Jerome!
When you go a short way into the country, do not leave your daughter behind you. Leave her no power or capacity of living without you, and let her feel frightened when she is left to herself. Let her not converse with people of the world or associate with virgins indifferent to their vows.
Let her not be present at the weddings of your slaves and let her take no part in the noisy games of the household.
As regards the use of the bath, I know that some are content with saying that a Christian virgin should not bathe along with eunuchs or with married women, with the former because they are still men at all events in mind, and with the latter because women with child offer a revolting spectacle.
For myself, however, I wholly disapprove of baths for a virgin of full age. Such an one should blush and feel overcome at the idea of seeing herself undressed. By vigils and fasts she mortifies her body and brings it into subjection. By a cold chastity she seeks to put out the flame of lust and to quench the hot desires of youth. And by a deliberate squalor she makes haste to spoil her natural good looks. Why, then, should she add fuel to a sleeping fire by taking baths?
See? It’s stuff like that which endears Jerome to my Jerome-esque heart.
Jerome wasn’t fond of the lily fragrant pseudo piety too common in his day and ours.
Because Augustine couldn’t have if he had wanted to.
Vulgate (1477 edition)(Pitts Theological Library)
We must seek peace if we are to avoid war. And it is not enough merely to seek it; when we have found it and when it flees before us we must pursue it with all our energies. — St Jerome
I am not dull-witted nor coarsely ignorant – qualities which my enemies take for holiness, calling themselves the disciples of fishermen as if men were made holy by knowing nothing. – St. Jerome
He can never be at a loss for words who has believed on the Word. – St. Jerome
Confess the shameful truth. No woman marries to avoid cohabiting with a husband. At least, if passion is not your motive, it is mere madness to play the harlot just to increase wealth. — St. Jerome
No one can be a better churchman than one who has never been a heretic – Jerome
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.
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
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.
Some persons are so ignorant of themselves and so stupid and foolish that they make themselves laughing stocks to those who see them [for what they are] because of their gesture or gait or dress or conversation. — Jerome
If all sinners are punished alike, it is unjust for one to be slain while another is admonished by his comrade’s death. — 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.
Amen and amen. I love Jerome. Happy Jerome day to one and all.