ST. JEROME
PREFACES

The Prefaces to Jerome's works have in many cases a special value. This value is sometimes personal; they are the free expressions of his feelings to those whom he trusts. Sometimes it lies in the mention of particular events; sometimes in showing the special difficulties he encountered as a translator, or the state of mind of those for whom he wrote; sometimes in making us understand the extent and limits of his own knowledge, and the views on points such as the inspiration of Scripture which actuated him as a translator or commentator; sometimes, again, in the particular interpretations which he gives. These things gain a great importance from the fact that Jerome s influence and that of his Vulgate was preponderant in Western Europe for more than a thousand years.

We have had to make a selection, not only from want of space, but also because the Prefaces are of very unequal value, and sometimes are mere repetitions of previous statements. We have therefore given specimens of each class of Preface; we have given also all which bears on the better understanding of the life and views of Jerome; but where a Preface repeats what has been said before, or where it gives facts or interpretations which are well known or of no particular value, we have contented ourselves with a short statement of its contents.

The Prefaces fall under three heads: 1st. Those prefixed to Jerome's early works bearing on Church history or Scripture. 2d. The Prefaces to the Vulgate translation. 3d. Those prefixed to the Commentaries.

PREFACES TO JEROME'S EARLY WORKS.

PREFACE TO THE CHRONICLE OF EUSEBIUS.

The "Chronicle" is a book of universal history, giving the dates from the call of Abraham, and the Olympiads. For an account of it the reader is referred to the article of Dr. Salmon in the "Dictionary of Christian Antiquities." It was translated by Jerome in the years 381-82, at Constantinople, where he was staying for the Council. This Preface shows that Jerome was already becoming aware of the difficulties arising from the various versions of the Old Testament, and of the necessity of going back to the Hebrew.

Jerome to his friends[1] Vincentius and Gallienus, Greeting:

1. It has long been the practice of learned men to exercise their minds by rendering into Latin the works of Greek writers, and, what is more difficult, to translate the poems of illustrious authors though trammelled by the farther requirements of verse. It was thus that our Tully literally translated whole books of Plato; and after publishing an edition of[2] Aratus (who may now be considered a Roman) in hexameter verse, he amused himself with the economics of Xenophon. In this latter work the golden river of eloquence again and again meets with obstacles, around which its waters break and foam to such an extent that persons unacquainted with the original would not believe they were reading Cicero's words. And no wonder! It is hard to follow another man s lines and everywhere keep within bounds. It is an arduous task to preserve felicity and grace unimpaired in a translation. Some word has forcibly expressed a given thought; I have no word of my own to convey the meaning; and while I am seeking to satisfy the sense I may go a long way round and accomplish but a small distance of my journey. Then we must take into account the ins and outs of transposition, the variations in cases, the diversity of figures, and, lastly, the peculiar, and, so to speak, the native idiom of the language. A literal translation sounds absurd; if, on the other hand, I am obliged to change either the order or the words themselves, I shall appear to have forsaken the duty of a translator.

2. So, my dear Vincentius, and you, Gallienus, whom I love as my own soul, I beseech you, whatever may be the value of this hurried piece of work, to read it with the feelings of a friend rather than with those of a critic. And I ask this all the more earnestly because, as you know, I dictated with great rapidity to my amanuensis; and how difficult the task is, the sacred records testify; for the old flavour is not preserved in the Greek version by the Seventy. It was this that stimulated Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion; and the result of their labors was to impart a totally different character to one and the same work; one strove to give word for word, another the general meaning, while the third desired to avoid any great divergency from the ancients. A fifth, sixth, and seventh edition, though no one knows to what authors they are to be attributed, exhibit so pleasing a variety of their own that, in spite of their being anonymous, they have won an authoritative position. Hence, some go so far as to consider the sacred writings somewhat harsh and grating to the ear; which arises from the fact that the persons of whom I speak are not aware that the writings in question are a translation from the Hebrew, and therefore, looking at the surface not at the substance, they shudder at the squalid dress before they discover the fair body which the language clothes. In fact, what can be more musical than the Psalter? Like the writings of our own[1] Flaccus and the Grecian Pindar it now trips along in iambics, now flows in sonorous alcaics, now swells into sapphics, now[2] marches in half-foot metre. What can be more lovely than the strains of Deuteronomy and Isaiah? What more grave than Solomon's words? What more finished than Job? All these, as Josephus and Origen tell us, were composed in hexameters and pentameters, and so circulated amongst their own people. When we read these in Greek they have some meaning; when in Latin they are utterly incoherent. But if any one thinks that the grace of language does not suffer through translation, let him render Homer word for word into Latin. I will go farther and say that, if he will translate this author into the prose of his own language, the order of! the words will seem ridiculous, and the most eloquent of poets almost dumb.

3. What is the drift of all this? I would not have you think it strange if here and there we stumble; if the language lag; if it bristle with consonants or present gaping chasms of vowels; or be cramped by condensation of the narrative. The most learned among men have toiled at the same task; and in addition to the difficulty which all experience, and which we have alleged to attend all translation, it must not be forgotten that a peculiar difficulty besets us, inasmuch as the history is manifold, is full of barbarous names, circumstances of which the Latins know nothing, dates which are tangled knots, critical marks blended alike with the events and the numbers, so that it is almost harder to discern the sequence of the words than to come to a knowledge of what is related.

[Here follows a long passage showing an arrange merit according to which the dates are distinguished by certain colours as belonging to one or another of the kingdoms, the history of which is dealt with. This passage seems unintelligible in the absence of the coloured figures, and would be of no use unless the book with its original arrangement were being studied.]

I am well aware that there will be many who, with their customary fondness for universal detraction (from which the only escape is by writing nothing at all), will drive their fangs into this volume. They will cavil at the dates, change the order, impugn the accuracy of events, winnow the syllables, and, as is very frequently the case, will impute the negligence of copyists to the authors. I should be within my right if I were to rebut them by saying that they need not read unless they choose; but I would rather send them away in a calm state of mind, so that they may attribute to the Greek author the credit which is his due, and may recognize that any insertions for which we are responsible have been taken from other men of the highest repute. The truth is that I have partly discharged the office of a translator and partly that of a writer. I have with the utmost fidelity rendered the Greek portion, and at the same thee have added certain things which appeared to me to have been allowed to slip, particularly in the Roman history, which Eusebius, the author of this book, as it seems to me, only glanced at; not so much because of ignorance, for he was a learned man, as because, writing in Greek, he thought them of slight importance to his countrymen. So again from Ninus and Abraham, right up to the captivity of Troy, the translation is from the Greek only. From Troy to the twentieth year of Constantine there is much, at one thee separately added, at another intermingled, which I have gleaned with great diligence from Tranquillus and other famous historians. Moreover, the portion from the aforesaid year of Constantine to the sixth consulship of the Emperor Valens and the second of Valentinianus is entirely my own. Content to end here, I have reserved the remaining period, that of Gratianus and Theodosius, for a wider historical survey; not that I am afraid to discuss the living freely and truthfully, for the fear of God banishes the fear of man; but because while our country is still exposed to the fury of the barbarians everything is in confusion.

PREFACE TO THE TRANSLATION OF ORIGEN'S TWO HOMILIES ON THE SONG OF SONGS.

Written at Rome, A.D. 383.

Jerome to the most holy Pope Damasus:

Origen, whilst in his other books he has surpassed all others, has in the Song of Songs surpassed himself. He wrote ten volumes upon it, which amount to almost twenty thousand lines, and in these he discussed, first the version of the Seventy Translators, then those of Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, and lastly, a fifth version which he states that he found on the coast of Atrium, with such magnificence and fulness, that he appears to me to have realized what is said in the poem: "The king brought the into his chamber." I have left that work on one side, since it would require almost boundless leisure and labour and money to translate so great a work into Latin, even if it could be worthily done; and I have translated these two short treatises, which he composed in the form of daily lectures for those who were still like babes and sucklings, and I have studied faithfulness rather than elegance. You can conceive how great a value the larger work possesses, when the smaller gives you such satisfaction.

PREFACE TO THE BOOK ON HEBREW NAMES.

The origin and scope of this book is described Preface itself. It was written in the year 388, two years after Jerome .had settled at Bethlehem. He had, immediately on arriving in Palestine, three years previously, set to work to improve his knowledge of Hebrew, with a view to his translation of the Old Testament, which was begun in 391. This book, therefore, and the two which follow, may be taken as records of studies preparatory to the Vulgate.

Philo, the most erudite man among the Jews, is declared by Origen to have done what I am now doing; he set forth a book of Hebrew Names, classing them under their initial letters, and placing the etymology of each at the side. This work I originally proposed to translate into Latin. It is well known in the Greek world, and is to be found in all libraries. But I found that the copies were so discordant to one another, and the order so I confused, that I judged it to be better to say nothing, rather than to write what would justly be condemned. A work of this kind, however, appeared likely to be of use; and my friends Lupulianus and Valerianus[1] urged me to attempt it, because, as they thought, I had made some progress in the knowledge of Hebrew. I, therefore, went through all the books of Scripture in order, and in the restoration which I have now made of the ancient fabric, I think that I have produced a work which may be found valuable by Greeks as well as Latins.

I here in the Preface beg the reader to take notice that, if he finds anything omitted in this work, it is reserved for mention in another. I have at this moment on hand a book of Hebrew Questions, an undertaking of a new kind such as has never until now been heard of amongst either the Greeks or the Latins. I say this, not with a view of arrogantly puffing up my own work, but because I know how much labour I have spent on it, and wish to provoke those whose knowledge is deficient to read it. I recommend all those who wish to possess both that work and the presentone, and also the book of Hebrew Places, which I am about to publish, to make no account of the Jews and all their ebullitions of vexation. Moreover, I have added the meaning of the words and names in the New Testament, so that the fabric might receive its last touch and might stand complete. I wished also in this to imitate Origen, whom all but the ignorant acknowledge as the greatest teacher of the Churches next to the Apostles; for in this work, which stands among the noblest monuments of his genius, he endeavoured as a Christian to supply what Philo, as a Jew, had omitted.

PREFACE TO THE BOOK ON THE SITES AND NAMES OF HEBREW PLACES.

For the scope and value of this book see Prolegomena. It was written A.D. 388.

Eusebius, who took his second name from the blessed Martyr Pamphilus, after he had written the ten books of his" Ecclesiastical History," the Chronicle of Dates, of which I published a Latin version, the book in which he set forth the names of the different nations and those given to them of old by the Jews and by those of the present day, the topography of the and of Juda and the portions allotted to the tribes, together with a representation of Jerusalem itself and its temple, which he accompanied with a very short explanation, bestowed his about at the end of his life upon this little work, of which the design is to gather for us out of the Holy Scriptures the names of almost ill the cities, mountains, rivers, hamlets, and other places, whether they remain the same or have since been changed or in some degree corrupted. I have taken up the work of this admirable man, and have translated it, following-he arrangement of the Greeks, and taking the words in the order of their initial letters, but leaving out those names which did not seem worthy of mention, and making a considerable number of alterations. I have explained my method once for all in the Preface to my translation of the Chronicle, where I said that I might be called at once a translator and the composer of a new work; but I repeat this especially because one who had hardly the first tincture of letters has ventured upon a translation of this very book into Latin, though his language is hardly to be called Latin. His lack of scholarship will be seen by the observant reader as soon as he compares it with my translation. i do not pretend to a style which soars to the skies; but I hope that I can rise above one which grovels on the earth.

PREFACE TO THE BOOK OF HEBREW QUESTIONS.

Written A.D. 388. For the scope and character of this work, see Prolegomena.

The object of the Preface to a book is to set forth the argument of the work which follows; but I am compelled to begin by answering what has been said against me. My case is somewhat like that of Terence, who turned the scenic prologues of his plays into a defence of himself. We have a[1] Luscius Lanuvinus, like the one who worried him, and who brought charges against the poet as if he had been a plunderer of the treasury. The bard of Mantua suffered in the same way; he had translated a few verses of Homer very exactly, and they said that he was nothing but a plagiarist from the ancients. But he answered them that it was no small proof of strength to wrest the club of Hercules from his hands. Why, even Tully, who stands on the pinnacle of Roman eloquence, that king of orators and glory of the Latin tongue, has actions for embezzlement[2] brought against him by the Greeks. I cannot, therefore, be surprised if a poor little fellow like me is exposed to the gruntings of vile swine who trample our pearls Tinder their feet, when some of the most learned of men, men whose glory ought to have hushed the voice of ill will, have felt the flames of envy. It is true, this happened by a kind of justice to men whose eloquence had filled with its resonance the theatres and the senate, the public assembly and the rostra; hardihood always courts detraction, and (as Horace says):

"The[3] highest peaks invoke

The lightning's stroke."

But I am in a corner, remote from the city and the forum, and the wranglings of crowded courts; yet, even so (as Quintilian says) ill-will has sought me out. Therefore, I beseech the reader,

"If[1] one there be, if one.

Who, rapt by strong desire, these lines shall read,"

not to expect eloquence or oratorical grace in those Books of Hebrew Questions, which I propose to write on all the sacred books; but rather, that he should himself answer my detractors for me, and tell them that a work of a new kind can claim some indulgence. I am poor and of low estate; I neither possess riches nor do I think it right to accept them if they are offered me; and, similarly, let me tell them that it is impossible for them to have the riches of Christ, that is, the knowledge of the Scriptures, and the world's riches as well. It will be my simple aim, therefore, first, to point out the mistakes of those who suspect some fault in the Hebrew Scriptures, and, secondly, to correct the faults, which evidently teem in the Greek and Latin copies, by a reference to the original authority; and, further, to explain the etymology of things, names, and countries, when it is not apparent from the sound of the Latin words, by giving a paraphrase in the vulgar tongue. To enable the student more easily to take note of these emendations, I propose, in the first place, to set out the true[2] reading itself, as I am now able to do, and then, by bringing the later readings into comparison with it, to[3]indicate what has been omitted or added or altered. It is not my purpose, as snarling ill-will pretends, to convict the LXX. of error, nor do I look upon my own labour as a disparagement of theirs. The fact is that they, since their work was undertaken for King Ptolemy of Alexandria, did not choose to bring to light all the mysteries which the sacred writings contain, and especially those which give the promise of the advent of Christ, for fear that he who held the Jews in esteem because they were believed to worship one God, would come to think that they worshipped a second. But we find that the Evangelists, and even our Lord and Saviour, and the Apostle Paul, also, bring forward many citations as coming from the Old Testament which are not contained in our copies; and on these I shall dilate more fully in their proper The Preface to Book xiii. records a severe illness which had stopped his work, though he was restored to health suddenly; and that to Book xiv. thanks Eustochium for her kind offices during this illness. The remaining Prefaces, though they have occasionally some interest in the history of the interpretation of Scripture, need not delay us.

JEREMIAH.

The Commentary on Jeremiah is in six books; but Jerome did not live to finish it. It was written between the years 317 and 319, but only extends to chapter xxxii. It was dedicated to Eusebius of Cremona. The Prefaces, which are full of vigour, contain many allusions to the events and controversies of the last years of Jerome's life. In the Preface to Book i., after speaking of the Book of Daniel and the apocryphal Letter of Jeremiah as not belonging to the prophet's writings, he continues:

I pay little heed to the ravings of disparaging critics who revile not only my words, but the very syllables of my words, and suppose they give evidence of some little knowledge if they discredit another man's work, as was exemplified in that[1] ignorant traducer who lately broke out, and thought it worth his while to censure my commentaries on Paul's Epistle to the Ephesians. He does not understand the rules of commenting (for he is more asleep than awake and seems utterly dazed), and is not aware that in our books we give the opinions of many different writers, the authors' names being either expressed or understood, so that it is open to the reader to decide which he may prefer to adopt; although I must add that, in my Preface to the First Book of that work, I gave fair notice that my remarks would be partly my own, partly those of other' commentators, and that thus the commentary would be the work conjointly of the ancient writers and of myself. [2]Grunnius, his precursor, overlooked the same fact, and once upon a time did his best to cavil. I replied to him in two books, and there I cleared away the objections which he adduced in his own name, though the real traducer was some one else; to say nothing of my treatises against Jovinianus where, you may remember, I show that he (Jovinianus) laments that virginity is preferred to marriage, single marriage to digamy, digamy to polygamy. The stupid labouring under his load of Scotch porridge, does not recollect that we said, in that very work, "I do not condemn the twice married, nor the thrice married, and, if it so be, the eight times married; I will go a step farther, and say that I welcome even a penitent whoremonger; for things equally lawful must be weighed in an even balance." Let him read the Apology[1] for the same work which was directed against his[2] master, and was received by Rome with acclamation many years ago. He will then observe that his revilings are but the echoes of other men's voices, and that his ignorance is so deep that even his abuse is not his own, but that he employs against us the ravings of foes long since dead and buried.

The Preface to Book ii. is short and contains nothing of special importance. In that to Book iii. Jerome declares that he will, like Ulysses with the Sirens, close his ears to the adversary. The devil, who once spoke through Jovinianus, "now barks through the hound of Albion (Pelagius), who is like a mountain of fat, and whose fury is more in his heels than in his teeth; for his offspring is among the Scots, in the neighbourhood of Britain; and, according to the fables of the poet, he must, like Cerberus, be smitten to death with a spiritual club, that, in company with his master Pluto, he may forever hold his peace.

In the Preface to Book iv. Jerome says he has been hindered in his work by the harassing of the Pelagian controversy. He regards Pelagius as reproducing the doctrines of impassibility and sinlessness taught by Pythagoras and Zeno, and revived by Origen, Rufinus, Evagrius Ponticus, and Jovinian. Their doctrines, he says, were promulgated chiefly in Sicily, Rhodes, and other islands; they were propagated secretly, and denied in public. They were full of malice, but were but dumb dogs, and were refuted in "certain writings," probably those of Augustin; but he declares his intention of writing against them, which he did in his anti-Pelagian Dialogue.

The Prefaces to Books v. and vi. contain nothing noteworthy.

EZEKIEL.

The Commentary on Ezekiel is in fourteen Books. It was dedicated to Eustochium, and was written between the years 410 and 414. The Prefaces gain a special interest from their descriptions of the sack of Rome by Alaric and the consequent immigration into Palestine. We give several passages.

In Preface to Book i.

Having completed the eighteen books of the exposition of Isaiah, I was very desirous, Eustochium, Christ's virgin, to go on to Ezekiel, in accordance with my frequent promises to you and your mother Paula, of saintly memory, and thus, as the saying is, put the finishing touches to the work on the prophets; but alas! intelligence was suddenly brought me of the death of Pammachius and [3] Marcella, [4]the siege of Rome, and the falling asleep of many of my brethren and sisters. was so stupefied and dismayed that day and night I could think of nothing but the welfare of the community; it seemed as though I was sharing the captivity of the saints, and I could not open my lips until I knew something more definite; and all the while, full of anxiety, I was wavering between hope and despair, and was torturing myself with the misfortunes of other people. But when the bright light of all the world was put out, or, rather, when the Roman Empire was decapitated, and, to speak more correctly, the whole world perished in one city,[1] "I became dumb and humbled myself, and kept silence from good words, but my grief broke out afresh, my heart glowed within me, and while I medi-rated the fire was kindled;" and I thought I ought not to disregard the saying,[2] "An untimely story is like music in a time of grief." But seeing that you persist in making this request, and a wound, though deep, heals by degrees; and [3]the scorpion lies beneath the ground with [4]Enceladus and Porphyrion, and the many-headed Hydra has at length ceased to hiss at us; and since opportunity has been given me which I ought to use, not for replying to insidious heretics, but for devoting myself to the exposition of Scripture, I will resume my work upon the prophet Ezekiel.

Book ii. has, instead of a Preface, merely a line calling the attention of Eustochium to its opening words.

The Preface to Book iii. has a noteworthy passage on the sack of Rome and its results.

Who would believe that Rome, built up by the conquest of the whole world, had collapsed, that the mother of nations had become also their tomb; that the shores of the whole East, of Egypt, of Africa, which once belonged to the imperial city, were filled with the hosts of her men-servants and maid-servants, that we should every day be receiving in this holy Bethlehem men and women who once were noble and abounding in every kind of wealth but are now reduced to poverty? We cannot relieve these sufferers: all we can do is to sympathise with them, and unite our tears with theirs. The burden of this holy work was as much as we could carry; the sight of the wanderers. coming in crowds, caused us deep pain; and we therefore abandoned the exposition of Ezekiel, and almost all study, and were filled with a longing to turn the words of Scripture into action, and not to say holy things but to do them. Now, however, in response to your admonition, Eustochium, Christ's virgin, we resume the interrupted labour, and approach our third Book.

The Prefaces to Books iv., v., and vi. contain nothing remarkable.

The following is the important part of the Preface to Book vii.

There is not a single hour, nor a single moment, in which we are not relieving crowds of brethren, and the quiet of the monastery has been changed into the bustle of a guest house. And so much is this the case that we must either close our doors, or abandon the study of the Scriptures on which we depend for keeping the doors open. And so, turning to profit, or rather stealing the hours of the nights, which, now that winter is approaching, begin to lengthen somewhat, I am endeavouring by the light of the lamp to dictate these comments, whatever they maybe worth, and am trying to mitigate with exposition the weariness of a mind which is a stranger to rest. I am not boasting, as some perhaps suspect, of the welcome given to the brethren, but I am simply confessing the causes of the delay. Who could boast when the flight of the people of the West, and the holy places, crowded as they are with penniless fugitives, naked and wounded, plainly reveal the ravages of the Barbarians? We cannot see what has occurred, without tears and moans. Who would have believed that mighty Rome, with its careless security of wealth, would be reduced to such extremities as to need shelter, food, and clothing? And yet, some are so hard-hearted and cruel that, instead of showing compassion, they break up the rags and bundles of the captives, and expect to find gold about those who are nothing than prisoners. In addition to this hindrance to my dictating, my eyes are growing dim with age and to some extent I share the suffering of the saintly Isaac: I am quite unable to go through the Hebrew books with such light as I have at night, for even in the full light of day they are hidden from my eyes owing to the smallness of the letters. In fact, it is only the voice of the brethren which enables me to master the commentaries of Greek writers.

The Prefaces to Books viii. to xiv. contain nothing of special interest.

DANIEL.

The Commentary on Daniel was dedicated to Pammachius and Marcella in the year 407. It is in a single book, and is aimed at the criticisms of Porphyry. who, like most modern critics, took the predictions in the Book of Daniel as relating to the time of Antiochus Epiphanes and the Maccabees, and written near that date. The Preface is very similar to that prefixed to the Vulgate translation of Daniel.

PREFACES TO THE COMMENTARIES ON THE MINOR PROPHETS.

For the order and date of writing of these Commentaries see the Preface to Amos, Book iii., and the note there.

HOSEA.

This Commentary was dedicated to Pammachius, A.D. 406 (sixth consulate of Arcadius--Preface to Amos, Book iii.). The Preface to Book i. is chiefly taken up with a discussion on Hosea's "wife of whoredoms." He takes the story as allegorical; it cannot be literal, for "God commands nothing but what is honourable, nor does he, by bidding men do disgraceful thins, make that conduct honourable which is disgraceful. Jerome then describes, as in former Prefaces, the chief Greek commentators, of whom Apollinaris and Origen had written very shortly on Hosea, Pierius at great length, but to little purpose; and says that he had himself obtained from Didymus of Alexandria that he should complete the Commentary of Origen. He had himself often judged independently, though with little knowledge of Hebrew, but he had been in earnest, while most scholars were "more concerned for their bellies than their hearts, and thought themselves learned if in the doctors' waiting rooms they could disparage other men's works."

In the Preface to Book ii. Jerome complains of his detractors, and appeals from the present favour of high-placed men to the posthumous authority of sound ability.

In Book iii. he claims Pammachius as his defender, though he fears the judgment of his great learning.

JOEL.

This Commentary also is addressed to Pammachius, A.D. 406. It is in one hook. It gives the order of the Twelve Prophets adopted by the LXX. and the Hebrew respectively, the Hebrew order being that now in use. It also gives the etymological meaning of their names.

AMOS.

In three books, addressed also to Pammachius, A.D. 406 (Preface to Amos, Book iii.). The Preface to Book i. merely gives a description of Tekoa, Amos' birthplace. That to Book if. speaks of old age, with its advantages for self-control and its trials in various infirmities, such as phlegm, dim eyesight, loosened teeth, colic, and gout. That to Book iii. contains the passage several times referred to for the order of these Commentaries, which is as follows:

We have not discussed them in regular sequence from the first to the ninth, as they are read, but as we have been able, and in accordance with requests made to us. Nahum, Micah, Zephaniah, Haggai, [1]I first addressed to Paula and Eustochium, her daughter, who are never weary; I next dedicated two books on Habakkuk to Chromatius, bishop of Aquileia; I then proceeded to explain, at your command, Pammachius, and after a long interval of silence, Obadiah and Jonah.[1] In the [2]present year, which bears in the calendar the name of the sixth consulate of Arcadius Augustus and Anitius Probus, I interpreted Malachi for Exsuperius, bishop of Toulouse, and Minervius and Alexander, monks of that city. Unable to refuse your request I immediately went back to the beginning of the volume, and expounded Hosea, Joel, and Amos. A severe sickness followed, and I showed my rashness in resuming the dictation of this work too hastily; and, whereas others hesitate to write and frequently correct their work, I entrusted mine to the fortune which attends those who employ a secretary, and hazarded my reputation for ability and orthodoxy; for, as I have often testified, I cannot endure the toil of writing with my own hand; and, in expounding the Holy Scriptures, what we want is not a polished style and oratorical flourishes, but learning and simple truth.

OBADIAH.

Addressed to Pammachius A.D. 403. The Preface records how in early youth (some thirty years before), he had attempted an allegorical commentary of Obadiah, of which he was now ashamed, though it has lately been praised by a youth of similar years.

JONAH.

This was addressed to Chromatius,[3] but belongs to the year 395. It is said in the Preface to be three years after the commentary on Micah, Nahum, etc. The Preface merely touches on the various places of Scripture in which Jonah is named.

MICAH.

Addressed to Paula and Eustochium. A.D. 392. It is in two books. In the Preface to Book ii., Jerome vindicates himself against the charge of making mere compilations from Origen. He confesses, however, his great admiration for him. "What they consider a reproach," he says, "I regard as the highest praise. since I desire to imitate him who, I doubt not, is acceptable to all wise men, and to you."

NAHUM.

Also to Paula and Eustochium, A.D. 392. The Preface contains little of importance. Jerome mentions that the village of Elkosh, Nahum's birthplace, was pointed out to him by a guide in Galilee.

HABAKKUK.

Addressed to Chromatius, A.D. 392. The commentary is in two books. The Preface to Book i. is long, but merely describes the contents of the book. That to Book if. mentions among his adversaries, "The Serpent, and Sardanapalus, whose character is worse than his name"--expressions which have been referred to Rufinus; but the enmity between Jerome and Rufinus had not broken out in 392.

ZEPHANIAH.

Addressed to Paula and Eustochium, A.D. 392. In the Preface Jerome defends himself for writing for women, bringing many examples from Scripture and from classical writers to show the capacity of women.

HAGGAI.

Also to Paula and Eustochinm, A.D. 392. The preface merely describes the occasion of the book, but says that Haggai's prophecy was contemporary with the reign of Tarquinius Superbus (B.C. 535-510).

ZECHARIAH.

Addressed to Exsuperius, bishop of Toulouse, A.D. 406, in three books, and sent, "in the closing days of autumn, by the monk, Sisinnius, who had been sent with presents for the poor saints at Jerusalem, and was hastening to Egypt on a similar errand." The Prefaces to the three books mention these facts, but have nothing in them of note which has not been said before.

MALACHI.

Addressed, A.D. 406, to Minervius and Alexander, presbyters of the diocese of Toulouse. The Jews, the Preface says. believe Malachi to be a name for Ezra. Origen and his followers believe that (according to his name) he was an angel. But we reject this view altogether, lest we be compelled to accept the doctrine of the fall of souls from heaven.

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