Saint Jerome’s letters constitute one of the most notable collections in Latin literature. They are an essential source for our knowledge of Christian life in the fourth and fifth centuries. They also provide insight into one of the most striking and complex personalities of the time. Born Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus, Saint Jerome traveled extensively, studying rhetoric, philosophy, history, and theology. Though he is best known for his translation of the Latin Vulgate, Jerome was a prolific writer whose letters and comments on Scripture have substantially informed our understanding of the early church.
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Saint Jerome (Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus, ca. 345–420) was baptized in 360 by Pope Liberius. He traveled widely in Gaul and Asia Minor, and in 379, went to Constantinople as an ordained presbyter. He was called to Rome in 382 to help Pope Damasus, at whose suggestion he began his revision of the Old Latin translation of the Bible (which came to form the core of the Vulgate version). Wrongly suspected of luxurious habits, he left Rome in 385, toured Palestine, visited Egypt, and then settled in Bethlehem, presiding over a monastery and translating the Old Testament from Hebrew. Saint Jerome was a great scholar and is considered the most learned of the Latin church fathers.