Born in 342AD in the Roman territory called Dalmatia, St. Jerome was one of the greatest Scripture scholars of all time. He was baptized later in life and became a monk. A student of Greek, St. Jerome studied Hebrew under a rabbi in Syria. He served as priest secretary for Pope Damasus in Rome. Moving to the Holy Land after the pope died, Jerome founded a monastery in Bethlehem and devoted the rest of his life to studying the Scripture. A well-known quote of St. Jerome is ” ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ”. He translated the Bible from Hebrew and Greek into the vernacular, Latin. This is the Latin Vulgate.
I’ve heard Father Mitch Pacwa SJ comment on how Jerome became a scripture scholar. He used to have temptations to impure thoughts (he had been living in Rome too long…and those dancing girls…). So for every temptation he studied his Hebrew! How do you think that he became the great Scripture scholar that he was! If only people did something constructive for every temptation, Father Mitch jokes. What a different world it would be. America certainly wouldn’t be in this economic chaos.
Saint Jerome died in 420AD. He is famous for having a violent temper and resorting to name calling… yet he became a saint and is one of the western four great Doctors of the Church. All things are possible for God!
I interpret as I should, following the command of Christ: Search the Scriptures, and Seek and you shall find. Christ will not say to me what he said to the Jews: You erred, not knowing the Scriptures and not knowing the power of God. For if, as Paul says, Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God, and if the man who does not know Scripture does not know the power and wisdom of God, then ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.
– from St. Jerome’s Commentary on Isaiah