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Godzdogz

The blog of the Dominican student brothers at Blackfriars, Oxford.

Built on the four pillars of our Dominican life – preaching, prayer, study, and community – Godzdogz offers many resources for exploring the Catholic Faith today.
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Doctors of the Church: St Jerome

Monday, February 26, 2018
The next of our western doctors of the Church in this series is the formidable character of St Jerome. It is to him we can give thanks for the Vulgate, the Latin translation of Holy Scripture, which continues to serve all these centuries later as the authoritative Latin Bible. It is this translation for which he is most well known. He produced also not only further translations of other works, such as the ‘Chronicon Eusebii Caesariensis’, but he also contributed to biblical scholarship through his commentaries on Holy Scripture. He was truly a man immersed in the world of the Bible. Furthermore he was known to engage in debate with heretics and schismatics, such as the Luciferians, and those who doubted the perpetual virginity of Our Lady. 

He was born sometime around AD 340-342 in Stridon in Dalmatia, somewhere around Croatia or Slovenia today, and received a comprehensive education. He rejected the Christian faith early on in his life, but after residing in Rome, and after visits to the catacombs there, he experienced his conversion and was baptised in roughly AD 360. 

His life was essentially devoted to scholarship, and a success of it he certainly made. A number of obstacles, you could say, at times disrupted the flow of his work, such as having to move cities, attempts to get him ordained, which he eventually was after pressure from Pope Damasus, accusations from enemies both inside and outside the Church, and the list continues. Nonetheless, he effectively and wholeheartedly devoted himself tirelessly to his scholarly endeavours, in a manner which ought to inspire all engaged in academic study. 

“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”--this familiar saying comes to us from St Jerome, and we ought not to be surprised. It is difficult to see how one could so entirely offer one’s life to the translation and exegesis of Holy Scripture, as St Jerome did, without a intimate and pining love for the Word made flesh: Christ Jesus. As a Doctor of the Church we rightly honour him as a teacher of Scripture, but we ought also to honour him, I would suggest, as an unreserved and devoted lover of Scripture.

Br Joseph Bailham O.P.

Br Joseph Bailham O.P.

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