September 30:Jerome; Priest, and Monk of Bethlehem, 420

Welcome to the Holy Women, Holy Men blog! We invite you to read about this commemoration, use the collect and lessons in prayer, whether individually or in corporate worship, and then tell us what you think. For more information about this project, click here.

About this commemoration

Jerome was the foremost biblical scholar of the ancient Church. His Latin translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek texts known as the Vulgate version, along with his commentaries and homilies on the biblical books, have made him a major intellectual force in the Western Church.

Jerome was born in the north Italian town of Stridon about 347, and was converted and baptized during his student days in Rome. On a visit to Trier, he found himself attracted to the monastic life, which he tested in a brief but unhappy experience as a hermit in the desert of Syria. At Antioch in 378, he reluctantly allowed himself to be ordained a presbyter, and there continued his studies in Hebrew and Greek. The following year he was in Constantinople as a student of Gregory of Nazianzus. From 382 to 384 he was secretary to Pope Damasus I in Rome, and spiritual director of many noble Roman ladies who were becoming interested in the monastic life. It was Damasus who set him to the task of making a new translation of the Bible into Latin—the vulgar tongue, as distinguished from the classical Greek. Hence the name of his translation, the Vulgate.

After the Pope’s death, Jerome returned to the East, and established a monastery at Bethlehem, where he lived and worked until his death on September 30, 420. He was buried in a chapel beneath the Church of the Nativity, near the traditional place of our Lord’s birth.

Jerome’s irascible disposition, pride of learning, and extravagant promotion of asceticism involved him in many bitter controversies over both theological and exegetical questions. Yet he was candid at times in admitting his failings, and was never ambitious for churchly honors. A militant champion of orthodoxy, an indefatigable worker, and a stylist of rare gifts, Jerome was seldom pleasant, but at least he was never dull.

COLLECTS

O Lord, thou God of truth, thy Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give thee thanks for thy servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we beseech thee that thy Holy Spirit may overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, may transform us according to thy righteous will; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

O Lord, O God of truth, your Word is a lantern to our feet and a light upon our path: We give you thanks for your servant Jerome, and those who, following in his steps, have labored to render the Holy Scriptures in the language of the people; and we pray that your Holy Spirit will overshadow us as we read the written Word, and that Christ, the living Word, will transform us according to your righteous will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Lessons

Nehemiah 8:1–3,5–8

2 Timothy 3:14–17

Luke 24:44–48

Psalm 119:97–104

Preface of Pentecost

Text From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.

We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?

If you’d like to participate in the official online trial use survey, click here. For more information about the survey, click here.

To post a comment, your first and last name and email address are required. Your name will be published; your email address will not. The first time you post, a moderator will need to approve your submission; after that, your comments will appear automatically

8 Responses to September 30:Jerome; Priest, and Monk of Bethlehem, 420

  1. Michael Hartney says:

    New Hebrew reading: This is the Water Gate reading and somehow I cannot help but think of Richard Nixon and his burglars whenever I read it.

    This bio has a wonderful ‘who he is’ and ‘why he is important’ statement. Every bio should be as blessed.

  2. Leonel L. Mitchell says:

    Jerome has been in LFF for many years, with these propers. Only the Nehemiah passage is new, and is most appropriate.
    Ther collect is excellent, and by omitting the phrases “for you servant Jerome”, and “following in his steps”
    it make an excellent alternative collect for Proper 28, and the beginning of Bible study groups . I have used it this way for years..

  3. John LaVoe says:

    September 30:Jerome; Priest, and Monk of Bethlehem, 420
    .
    I think this is one of the best examples of what I hope for when I turn to LFF or HWHM. The description of Jerome is believable, and encompasses aspects both of his devotional life and discipline as a Christian, as well as his contributions to the church’s mission in the world. I even feel it is acceptable, for our purposes, that reference to his work on the Vulgate (“his Latin translation of the Bible from the original Hebrew and Greek texts”) gives the simplified impression that old Latin translations had not been utilized by him, and that his product somehow escaped the ubiquitous problems of scribal copying after he had finished. The title line, in fact, could well include his role as Bible scholar and translator.
    .
    I think there’s one logical gaffe, where the text reads, “a new translation of the Bible into Latin—the vulgar tongue, as distinguished from the classical Greek.” Why would we distinguish vulgar (common) Latin from classical Greek? Wouldn’t we distinguish common Latin from “uncommon” Latin? From older, more archaic Latin? It’s koine Greek that is distinguished from classical Greek.
    .
    Maybe more than the write-up, I love the “graphic” illustration – granted, it’s not part of the print version of HWHM – i.e., the lion having its paw treated by Jerome. Somehow, to me, that expresses God’s deep tenderness toward the whole creation (including humanity). However, I’m also extremely fond of the ending of the concluding sentence, “Jerome was seldom pleasant, but at least he was never dull.” That seems so honest and non-stereotypical (not to mention humorous), it makes him all the more appealing, even though literally it says the opposite. I very much thank whoever wrote this commemoration.

  4. John LaVoe says:

    “It was Damasus who set him to the task of making a new translation of the Bible into Latin—the vulgar tongue, as distinguished from the classical Greek. Hence the name of his translation, the Vulgate.”
    .
    I never got around to the obvious: simply omit the problematic part of the sentence, so it reads,
    “It was Damasus who set him to the task of making a new translation of the Bible into Latin—the vulgar tongue. . Hence the name of his translation, the Vulgate.”

  5. Nigel Renton says:

    Jerome wasn’t born in “Northern Italy”, as we know it. We don’t know exactly where “Stridon” was, but it was in the Roman province of Dalmatia, near present-day Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia.

    There is also controversy about his place of birth, with one source suggesting it was at Caesarea Maritima, in Palestine. It is suggested that he was a descendant of Eusebius, Bishop of Caesarea–probably his son. It is suggested that the Stridon location was used to hide his true birthplace and parentage. For our purposes, unless someone does more research, I would suggest adding the word “reputedly” before “born”.

    Can we say with assurance that he worked on the “original” texts? I doubt it. He worked on early texts in the original Hebrew and Greek.

    For those unfamiliar with the location of Trier, I suggest “in the Rhineland” as a way to give them a clue.

    “The desert of Syria” in lines 3 & 4 of the second paragraph makes it sound like a specific desert. I suggest “the Syrian desert”.

    I find the last few words in the fourth paragraph inappropriate for our purposes. I would suggest simply “Jerome was a militant champion of orthodoxy, an indefatigable worker, and a stylist of rare gifts.”

  6. Steve Lusk says:

    For those whose Latin is rusty, “the vulgar tongue” is misleading: “Vulgar Latin” was the Latin used by the vulgus — “the common people” — not the vulgar — “crude, coarse” — tongue. The reference to “classical Greek” is a non sequitur bis: the New Testament was written in koine Greek, and Jerome’s translation was commissioned to replace the inferior Latin texts already in circulation.
    I like the reference to Jerome’s “irascible disposition, pride of learning, and extravagant promotion of asceticism.” HWHM should emulate the Biblical authors, who refused to whitewash the failings of Abraham and David, not the medieval hacks who gave “hagiography” its dismissive connotation.

  7. ‘Jerome was seldom pleasant, but at least he was never dull’—true, perhaps, but this has a slightly flippant tone that is probably better avoided in this context.

  8. Pingback: What would Jerome think? St. Jerome, that is. « Hear what the Spirit is saying

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: