AskDefine | Define Jerome

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Jerome n : (Roman Catholic Church) one of the great fathers of the early Christian Church whose major work was his translation of the Scriptures from Hebrew and Greek into Latin (which became the Vulgate); a saint and Doctor of the Church (347-420) [syn: Saint Jerome, St. Jerome, Hieronymus, Eusebius Hieronymus, Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus]

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English vernacular form of the saint's name Hieronymos, from Ἱερώνυμος hieros "holy" + onoma "name".

Proper noun

  1. A given name.


male given name

Extensive Definition

Jerome (ca. 347September 30, 420) whose real name in Latin was Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus (also known as Hieronymus Stridonensis), and in ). A Christian apologist, he is presumed by some to have been an Illyrian, but this may just be conjecture. He is best known for translating the Vulgate, a widely popular Latin edition of the Bible. He is recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as a canonised Saint and Doctor of the Church, and his version of the Bible is still an important text in Catholicism. He is also recognized as a saint by the Eastern Orthodox Church, where he is known as St. Jerome of Stridonium or Blessed Jerome.
In the artistic tradition of the Roman Catholic Church, it has been usual to represent him, the patron of theological learning, anachronistically, as a cardinal, by the side of the Bishop Augustine, the Archbishop Ambrose, and the Pope Gregory I. Even when he is depicted as a half-clad anchorite, with cross, skull and Bible for the only furniture of his cell, the red hat or some other indication of his rank is as a rule introduced somewhere in the picture. He is also often depicted with a lion, due to a medieval story in which he removed a thorn from a lion's paw, and, less often, an owl, the symbol of wisdom and scholarship. Writing materials and the trumpet of final judgment are also part of his iconography. Obviously, the later resurgence of Hebrew studies within Christianity owes much to him.
Jerome sometimes seemed arrogant, and occasionally despised or belittled his literary rivals, especially Ambrose. It is not so much by absolute knowledge that he shines, as by a certain poetical elegance, an incisive wit, a singular skill in adapting recognized or proverbial phrases to his purpose, and a successful aiming at rhetorical effect.
He showed more zeal and interest in the ascetic ideal than in abstract speculation. It was this strict asceticism that made Martin Luther judge him so severely. In fact, Protestant readers are not generally inclined to accept his writings as authoritative. The tendency to recognize a superior comes out in his correspondence with Augustine (cf. Jerome's letters numbered 56, 67, 102-105, 110-112, 115-116; and 28, 39, 40, 67-68, 71-75, 81-82 in Augustine's).
Despite the criticisms already mentioned, Jerome has retained a rank among the western Fathers. This would be his due, if for nothing else, on account of the great influence exercised by his Latin version of the Bible upon the subsequent ecclesiastical and theological development.

Prophetic exegesis

Jerome's Commentary on Daniel, 407 AD, was expressly written to offset the criticisms of Porphyry (231-301) who taught that the book of Daniel related entirely to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and was written by an unknown individual living in the second century BCE. Jerome's exposition of Daniel was incorporated into the Glossa Ordinaria of Walafrid Strabo, the standard marginal notes of medieval Latin Bibles. Against Porphyry, Jerome identified Rome as the fourth kingdom of chapters 2 and 7, but his view of chapters eight and eleven was more complex. Chapter eight describes the activity of Antiochus Epiphanes who is understood as a "type" of a future antichrist; chapter 11:24 onwards applies primarily to a future antichrist but was partially fulfilled by Antiochus.
Both of these views fail in light of Jesus' quote of the last prophecy of Daniel in the first part of Matthew 24 when answering the question of when the then third temple would be destroyed. Daniel identified the "abomination of desolation" as that which would permanently "end the daily sacrifice" of the Jews, which did not occur when Epiphanes destroyed the second temple as it was rebuilt by the Macabees and expanded by Herod, but did occur in 70 A.D. when the third temple was destroyed by the Romans, so it is not a future event either. This was one of seven items that Jesus said would occur in His answer to the disciple's first question in Matthew 24, all of which did occur by 70 A.D.
The works of Hippolytus and Irenaeus greatly influenced Jerome's interpretation of prophecy. He noted the distinction between the original Septuagint and Theodotion's later substitution
Jerome's writings about the book of Daniel have been analysed by L. E. Froom.. Froom demonstrated that Jerome identifies the four prophetic kingdoms symbolized in Daniel 2 as Babylon, Medes and Persians, Macedon and Rome. Jerome understood the partitioning of the Roman Empire into fragments by the barbarians, as fulfillment of the feet of iron and clay. According to Froom, Jerome identifies the stone cut out without hands as "the Lord and Saviour" Jerome identifies the four beasts of Daniel 7 as the same kingdoms of Daniel 2.
Froom also commented on Jerome's understanding of the antichrist. He shows that Jerome refuted Porphyry's application of the Little Horn to Antiochus, and expected that Rome would be divided into ten kingdoms before the Little Horn can appear. Jerome held that the Antichrist would appear in the near future, and taught that he would come from within the church, not the Jewish temple. The antichrist would rule for three and a half years, and his rule would end with the second coming
According to Froom's analysis, Jerome believed that Cyrus of Persia is the higher of the two horns of the Medo-Persian ram of Daniel 8:3. The hairy goat is Grecia smiting Persia. Alexander is the great horn. Which is then succeeded by Alexander's half brother Philip and three of the generals.
Jerome applied chapter 8 first and foremost to Antiochus Epiphanes but also observed that "our [people] think that all these things are prophesied of Antichrist who will be in the last time." With others, Jerome surmises that he will arise from the Jews and come from Babylon, and mentions the belief of "many of ours" that he will be Nero.
Froom showed that, in Jerome's understanding, "Babylon" refers to Rome in the book of Revelation.
Jerome's commentaries on Isaiah 14 in connection to his mistranslation of Luke 10 started the false idea that Satan was "Lucifer" and a fallen angel. The passage in Isaiah is referring only to the then king of Babylon, there is no basis for applying it to anyone else. His error in Luke is still in all translations today; he quotes Jesus as saying "I BEHELD" Satan cast down when the Greek is clearly present tense, i.e.- "I SEE" Satan cast down. This fits with the two passages in John's gospel that state Satan was to be judged soon and with Revelation 12 (which is parallel in time to Acts 2) where Satan was cast out of heaven AFTER Christ's ascention and defeated by Christ's blood (which was shed on the cross). Also, both Peter and Jude declare that all angels who fell are held in chains of darkness in hell until judgment day, and Satan is in the earth (again Rev. 12). Jerome also popularized the false idea that "antichrist" is a being when the only author that used the word (John) defined it himself as a teaching. John wrote his gospel and epistles in order to refute the first apostasy, that of the Gnostics. They believed that material is evil and spiritual is good and that the two could never meet or have direct contact. Thus they denied that God actually created the universe, but rather He sent "eminations" out that did it for Him. The Gnostics were divided into two schools of thought about Jesus. One group declared that he was material, only a man, to which John directed his gospel affirming repeatedly the Deity of Jesus (examples: "the Word was God" and seven times quoting Jesus saying "I AM" with the same Greek as the Septaguant uses for God's reply to Moses...) and the other group saying that He really wasn't human, He just looke human and didn't even leave footprints in sand, to which John directed his epistles, defining such teaching as "antichrist".

Year-day principle

In his exposition of Ezekiel 4:6 Jerome attempts to outline the 390 years of the captivity of the Israelites, represented by Ezekiel's lying on his left side, beginning with Pekah and ending with the fortieth year of Artaxerxes Mnemon, whom he supposes to be the Ahasuerus of Esther. He makes the forty days during which Ezekiel had to lie on his right side refer to forty years, beginning with the first year of Jechoniah and ending with the first year of Cyrus, king of the Persians. On this point Elliott remarks that Jerome incidentally supports the old Protestant view of furnishing a Scriptural precedent for the year-day theory.
Jerome apparently acquiesces in the application of the year-day principle to the seventy weeks as made by others whom he quotes at great length; but he himself refuses to set forth an interpretation of the seventy weeks, for "it is dangerous to judge concerning the opinions of the masters of the church." He thereupon gives the interpretations of Africanus, Eusebius, Hippolytus, Apollinaris of Laodicea, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Tertullian, and "the Hebrews," so that the reader may choose for himself.


I praise wedlock, I praise marriage, but it is because they give me virgins. (Jerome's Letter XXII to Eustochium, section 20 on-line)
Be ever engaged, so that whenever the devil calls he may find you occupied.
Ignorance of the Scriptures is ignorance of Christ. (Jerome's Prologue to the “Commentary on Isaiah”: PL 24,17)


  • J.N.D. Kelly, Jerome: His Life, Writings, and Controversies (Peabody, MA 1998)
  • S. Rebenich, Jerome (London and New York, 2002)


  • Biblia Sacra Vulgata Stuttgart, 1994. ISBN 3-438-05303-9
  • This article uses material from Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religion.
  • birth/death dates from The Later Roman Empire
wikisource author Jerome
Jerome in Arabic: جيروم
Jerome in Belarusian: Еранім Стрыдонскі
Jerome in Bulgarian: Йероним
Jerome in Catalan: Sant Jeroni
Jerome in Czech: Svatý Jeroným
Jerome in Welsh: Sierôm
Jerome in Danish: Hieronymus
Jerome in German: Hieronymus (Kirchenvater)
Jerome in Estonian: Hieronymus
Jerome in Spanish: Jerónimo de Estridón
Jerome in Esperanto: Sankta Hieronimo
Jerome in French: Jérôme de Stridon
Jerome in Galician: Xerome de Estridón
Jerome in Korean: 히에로니무스
Jerome in Croatian: Sveti Jeronim
Jerome in Indonesian: Hieronimus
Jerome in Interlingua (International Auxiliary Language Association): Jeronimo
Jerome in Italian: San Girolamo
Jerome in Hebrew: הירונימוס
Jerome in Latin: Hieronymus
Jerome in Lithuanian: Šv. Jeronimas
Jerome in Hungarian: Szent Jeromos
Jerome in Malayalam: ജെറോം
Jerome in Dutch: Hiëronymus van Stridon
Jerome in Dutch Low Saxon: Hiëronymus van Stridon
Jerome in Japanese: ヒエロニムス
Jerome in Norwegian: Hieronymus
Jerome in Norwegian Nynorsk: Hieronymus
Jerome in Polish: Hieronim ze Strydonu
Jerome in Portuguese: Jerónimo de Strídon
Jerome in Romanian: Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus
Jerome in Russian: Иероним Стридонский
Jerome in Albanian: Shën Jeronimi
Jerome in Slovak: Hieronym
Jerome in Serbian: Јероним Стридонски
Jerome in Finnish: Hieronymus
Jerome in Swedish: Hieronymus
Jerome in Thai: นักบุญเจอโรม
Jerome in Ukrainian: Ієронім
Jerome in Chinese: 耶柔米
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