Nicene and Ante-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol. VI:Early Church Fathers Index Previous Next
Prolegomena to Jerome.: Chapter IV
IV.—The Writings of Jerome.
The following is a list of the writings arranged under various heads, and showing the date of composition and the place held by each in the Edition of Vallarsi, the eleven volumes of which will be found in Mignes Patrologia, vols. xxii. to xxx. The references are to the volumes of Jeromes works (i.–xi.) in that edition.
I. Bible translations:
(1) From the Hebrew.—The Vulgate of the Old Testament, written at Bethlehem, begun 391, finished 404, vol. ix.
(2) From the Septuagint.—The Psalms as used at Rome, written in Rome, 383, and the Psalms as used in Gaul, written at Bethlehem about 388. These two are in parallel columns in vol. x. The Gallican Psaltery is collated with the Hebrew, and shows by obeli (†) the parts which are in the LXX. and not in the Hebrew, and by asterisks (*) the parts which are in the Hebrew and not in the Greek.
The Book of Job, forming a part of the translation of the LXX. made between 386 and 392 at Bethlehem, the rest of which was lost (Ep. 134), vol. x.
(3) From the Chaldee.—The Books of Tobit and Judith, Bethlehem, 398, vol. x.
(4) From the Greek.—The Vulgate version of the New Testament made at Rome between 382 and 385. The preface is only to the Gospels, but Jerome speaks of and quotes from his version of the other part also (De Vir. Ill. 135; Ep. 71 and 27), vol. x.
(1) Original.—Ecclesiastes, vol. iii., Bethlehem, 388; Isaiah, vol. iv., Bethlehem, 410; Jeremiah i.–xxxii., 41, vol. iv., Bethlehem, 419; Ezekiel, vol. v., Bethlehem, 410–14; Daniel, vol. v., Bethlehem, 407; the Minor Prophets, vol. vi., Bethlehem, at various times between 391 and 406; Matthew, vol. vii., Bethlehem, 398; Galatians, Ephesians, Titus, Philemon, vol. vii, Bethlehem, 388.
(2) Translated from Origen.—Homilies on Jeremiah and Ezekiel, vol. v., Bethlehem, 381; on Luke, vol. vii., Bethlehem, 389; Canticles, vol. iii., Rome and Bethlehem, 385–87.
There is also a Commentary on Job, and a specimen of one on the Psalms, attributed to Jerome, vol. vii., and the translation of Origens Homilies on Isaiah, also attributed to him, vol. iv.
Books illustrative of Scripture:
(1) Book of Hebrew names, or Glossary of Proper Names in the Old Testament, Bethlehem, 388, vol. iii. 1.
(2) Book of Questions on Genesis, Bethlehem, 388, vol. iii. 301.
(3) A translation of Eusebius book on the sites and names of Hebrew places, Bethlehem, 388, vol. iii. 321.
(4) Translation of Didymus on the Holy Spirit, Rome and Bethlehem, 385–87, vol. ii. 105.
IV. Books on Church History and Controversy (all in vol. ii.):
(1) Book of Illustrious Men, or Catalogue of Ecclesiastical Writers, Bethlehem, 392.
(2) Dialogue with a Luciferian, Antioch, 379.
(3) Lives of the Hermits: Paulus, Desert, 374; Malchus and Hilarion, Bethlehem, 390.
p. xxvi (4) Translation of the Rule of Pachomius, Bethlehem, 404.
(5) Books of ascetic controversy, against Helvidius, Rome, 304; against Jovinian, Bethlehem, 393; against Vigilantius, Bethlehem, 406.
(6) Books of personal controversy, against John, Bishop of Jerusalem, Bethlehem, 397 or 398; against Rufinus, i. and ii. 402, iii. 404.
(7) Dialogue with a Pelagian, Bethlehem, 416.
V. General History:
Translation of the Chronicle of Eusebius, with Jeromes additions, vol. viii., Constantinople, 382.
The series of letters, vol. i. Ep. i., Aquileia, 311; 2–4, Antioch, 374; 5–17, Desert 374–79; 18, Constantinople, 381; 19–45, Rome, 382–85; 46–148, Bethlehem, 386–418.
The works attributed to Jerome, but not genuine, which are given in Vallarsis edition are: A breviary, commentary, and preface on the Psalms, vol. vii.; some Greek fragment and a lexicon of Hebrew names; the names of places in the Acts; the ten names of God; the benedictions of the patriarchs; the ten temptations in the desert; a commentary on the Song of Deborah; Hebrew Questions in Kings and Chronicles; an exposition of Job, vol. iii.; three letters in vol. i., and fifty-one in vol. xi., together with several miscellaneous writings in vol. xi. most of which are by Pelagius.
Bibliography.—The writings of Jerome were, on the whole, well preserved, owing to the great honour in which he was held, in the Middle Ages. Considering the number of the mss., the variations are not numerous. The Editio Princeps of the Letters and a few of the Treatises appeared in Rome in 1470, and another almost contemporaneous with this in Maintz (Schöffer), after which they were reprinted in Venice (1476), Rome (1479), Parma (1480), Nürenberg (1485), and in several other places. The Editio Princeps of the Commentaries appeared in Nürenberg in 1477, and was several times reprinted in other places; that of the Translation of Origens Homilies on St. Luke, etc., in Basle, 1475; that of the Lives of the Hermits in Nürenberg, 1476, and of the Chronicle at Milan in 1475.
But the true Editio Princeps, containing Jeromes works as a whole, is that of Erasmus (Basle, 1516–20), who bestowed on it his great critical power, aided by his strong admiration for Jerome. He was assisted by Œcolampadius and other scholars. This held its ground till 1560, when an edition appeared by Marianus Victorius, afterwards Bishop of Rieti (Rome, Paulus Manutius), which enlarged the notes and corrected the text of Erasmus, but, like him, included many spurious writings. This edition was dedicated to Pius V. and Gregory XIII., and was the favourite edition of the Roman Church. In 1684 appeared the edition of Tribbechovius of Gotha (Frankfort and Leipzig) which embodied the emendations of critics up to that date, and was published at the expense of the Protestant Frederick, Duke of Saxony. In 1693 came the Benedictine edition of Martianay and Pouget (Paris), which gave the original text of the Vulgate and a new, though still very imperfect arrangement of the Letters and Treatises. But all previous editions were thrown into the shade by that of Dominic Vallarsi the learned priest of Verona (folio ed., Verona, 1734–42; quarto, Venice, 1766–72). In this edition the Treatises are separated from the Letters, and both Letters and Treatises are arranged in order of time, the dates and the process by which they are arrived at being clearly given. I have only in one or two instances found reason to alter Vallarsis dates. The explanatory notes, however, are not as complete as might be wished, and the references are often wrong or imperfect. This edition is reprinted by Migne, who marks the pages of it in large print in the text, and most modern writers refer to it alone, as has been done in this volume.
Literature.—Three short Lives of Jerome, composed in the Middle Ages by unknown authors (one of which was falsely attributed to Gennadius), are given by Vallarsi in his Prolegomena (vol. i. 175–214); one of these is said by Zockler to be by Sebastian of Monte Cassino. Another, written in the fourteenth century by John Andreas of Bologna, was printed at Basle in 1514; and a work by Lasserré was published at Paris in 1530, with a curious title, “La Vie de Monseigneur Sainct Hierome,” with “La Vie de Madame Saincte Paule”; and later works belonging to the uncritical region of thought were published later in Madrid by Bonadies in 1595, and by Cermellus in Ferrara (1648), the latter entirely made up of quotations from Jeromes writings.
Meanwhile the critical faculty had been aroused. Erasmus and Marianus Victorius prefixed Lives of Jerome to their editions of his works in 1516 and 1565; and Baronius in his Annals and Du Pin in his Bibliotheque des Auteurs Ecclésiastiques (1686) brought to light p. xxvii additional facts. Martianay at the close of his edition of Jeromes works published a Life, embodying many records of Jerome from the Fathers, but with many mistakes of chronology, some of which were rectified by Tillemont in his painstaking Mémoires (Paris, 1707) and by Ceillier in his Histoire des Auteurs Ecclésiastiques (Paris, 1742). The work of Sebastiano Dolci (Ancona, 1750) is entirely taken from Jeromes own writings.
But in reference to the Life as to the Writings of Jerome a new epoch was made by Vallarsi in the Preface and the Life prefixed to his Edition of Jerome. Though somewhat dry, it is thoroughly trustworthy, and in Mignes edition more accessible than any other to those who read Latin. The Bollandist Stilling (Acta Sanctorum, vol. viii., Antwerp, 1762), is less occupied with additions to our knowledge of the man and his works than with the honouring of the Saint. The work of the learned Dane, Engelstoft (1797), gives a more comprehensive estimate of Jeromes historical position than any of his predecessors. The account of Jerome in Schrökhs Ecclesiastical History (1786) and the articles of Cölln in Ersch and Grübers Encyclopädie and of Hagenbach in Herzogs Real-Encyclopädie are excellent. In French we have the account of Jeromes ascetic influence in Montalemberts Monks of the West (Paris, 1861); and the Histoire de St. Jérome by Collombet (Paris, 1844) is useful in the appreciation of the personal and archæological part of the subject, though accepting with uncritical partisanship the polemical attitude of Jerome. We may add for English readers the articles Hieronymus in the Dictionaries of Greek and Roman Biography and of Christian Biography.
Our own generation has produced two excellent works: that of Dr. Otto Zöckler, Hieronymus, Sein Leben und Werken (Gotha, Perthes, 1865), and that of Amédée Thierry, Saint Jérome, la Société chrétienne à Rome et lémigration romaine en terre sainte (Paris, 1867, originally published in the Revue des Deux Mondes). The former is a lucid, impartial, and comprehensive account of Jeromes Life and Writings; the latter, a series of very vivid and interesting sketches of Jerome himself, his friends and his times, which, though generally accurate, is occasionally swayed from truth by imagination, and at times is betrayed by sympathy with the modern Roman Catholic system into mistakes of judgment. Both these writers give copious and enlightening extracts from Jeromes writings in the original; but the value of those of Thierry is lessened by the references being to the ill-arranged edition of Martianay instead of that of Vallarsi.
It will be sufficiently obvious why it has been impossible to include all the works of Jerome in the present translation, but a few explanations may be desirable.
An exact translation of the Vulgate would serve no good purpose; and, if made, would naturally form part of a series designed to illustrate the criticism of the Scriptures.
The Commentaries and works illustrative of the Scriptures would by themselves form two volumes of equal size with the present. Though they contain much that is interesting—the opinions of various writers, such as Origen, Apollinarius, Gregory Nazianzen, or Didymus, a few celebrated passages, such as that which caused the controversy between Jerome and Augustin, and a few remarkable allusions to historical events, such as the capture of Rome by Heraclian—the general tenour of them is hardly of sufficient importance to justify the labour of translation or the bulk and expense of the additional volumes. An exception might be made in favour of the Book on the Site and Names of Hebrew Places; but this is a work of Eusebius rather than Jerome (see pp. 485, 486 and Prolegomena to Eusebius, Vol. i. of this series); and it was necessary to confine the Translation of Jerome to a single volume, with the exception of the Book On Illustrious Men and the Apology against Rufinus, which will be found in Vol. iii. of this Series.
The Chronicle of Eusebius would, if translated at all, find its place in the works of Eusebius.
The Books on Church History and Controversy are given in full.
Of the Letters, which, excepting the Vulgate, form the most important legacy of Jerome to posterity, all those which have a personal or a historical interest have been translated. The only omissions are (1) the exegetical letters, to which what has been said of the Commentaries applies; (2) the letters to Augustin, which will be found in Vol. i. of the first series of this Library, annexed to the letters of Augustin to which they are replies; and (3) the encyclicals and letters of Theophilus, which have been summarised.
For a separate statement of the works which are given in this volume the reader will naturally consult the table of contents; and, for a more detailed account of the books themselves, the introductions prefixed to each.
Next: Chapter V
Like & share St-Takla.org
© Saint Takla Haymanout Website: Coptic Orthodox Church - Alexandria, Egypt / URL: https://st-takla.org / Contact us at