30th September St.Jerome

St. Jerome was a great character, painted by Caravaggio and others. He had a great love of the scriptures and determined to translate the Greek Bible into Latin which became the basis of the Vulgate Bible that was used by the Church for centuries. To do this he set out from Rome for the Holy Land where he believed he would find the original Hebrew scriptures. Not an easy trip in those days. They were tough times, his own birthplace, Strido near modern Ljubjiana in what is now Slovenia and then Dalmatia, was destroyed in 377 A D while he was still alive to the extent no one now is sure exactly where it was. He found the Hebrew Bible, learnt Hebrew and his version has fewer books than the larger current Catholic Bible as some of the books are not in the Hebrew Bible. He assumed that these were therefore not original. (As it happened the larger Bible had been in use for many years until the Jewish scholars later began to exclude certain books. The result is that Luther’s Bible, Luther following Jerome, has fewer books than the Catholic version which accepted the extra books under the guidance of St. Augustine. Alive at about the same time as Jerome.) Jerome was most excited by Isaiah and called the writer(s) of this book the fifth evangelist. He famously said that ignorance of the scriptures is ignorance of Christ. He settled in the end in Bethlehem.

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