By Sister M. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH
If you’re thinking “Bible” at the mention of Jerome, you’d be correct. By the late 300’s and early 400’s, disgusted by the Greek used in writing the Gospels, he was determined to re-translate the Bible from Greek into Latin, the common language of that era. He intended to return to the original Hebrew as his beginning and set himself to polishing up his Hebrew with the help of a rabbi. His friend and co-worker, Paula, set herself to learning Hebrew from scratch – those two were authentic, deep-diving scholars!
So, establishing his living and working space in a cave near Bethlehem (after starting out near Rome), he worked with Paula (also a saint) to rewrite the entire Bible, a version called “the Vulgate” that was in use for 1500 years, the official version of the Bible.
Jerome was snarky: irascible, sarcastic, earning enemies almost without effort. He could also be devoted and tender – his shadow side for sure, and not commonly spoken of! His contradictory traits (snark, especially) give us comfort: he is a saint and doctor (teacher) of the church to boot. Maybe there is hope for us?