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St Jerome Revision F.A Wright, Jerome: Select Letters (Loeb Translation)?Born AD 345 o Born to moderately wealthy Christians o Well-educated
? Roman education
? Studied rhetoric o 370
? Travelled to Aquileia
? Established his first ascetic society o Returns to Antioch o 375-377
? Went to Chalcis (a Syrian desert)
? A crisis happens
? Jerome resolved to seek complete solitude.
? Underwent rigorous penance o Did this until 379 o Return to Antioch for the second time
? Was ordained presbyter by Bishop Paulinus
? Attended Second General Council at Constantinople o 382
? Became good friends with Pope Damasus
? Was asked to translate a Bible for Damasus o Followers
? In Rome
? Paula o Heiress to the Aemilian family
? Two daughters
? Blesilla and Eustochium.
? Marcella 385 o Change of Fortune
? Death of Damasus
? New Pope, Siricius sees him as a rival
? Death of Blessila
? A product of her excessive fasting o Jerome forced to flee. Moved to Bethlehem o With Paula and Eustochium o Monastery
? Built one and presided over it.
? Paula paid for all,
? When she could no longer, Jerome sold his family property for their support. o Not a peaceful life
? Argued with Bishop of Jerusalem
? Sack of Rome (410)
? Jerome is 'stupefied and dismayed'
Body buried beside Paula near grotto of the Nativity at Bethlehem. Later,
? Transferred to Rome and brought many miracles to the Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome.
Letter 22, To Eustochium, The Virgin's Profession, Written AD 384????(1) 'Hear, O daughter, and consider, and incline thine ear; forget also thine own people and thy father's house and the king shall desire thy beauty'1 o Jerome
? Soul must leave for the land of the living. o But you, Eustochium, must leave and forget your past and your father's house.
? The reward?
o 'the king shall desire thy beauty' o i.e. the reward for renunciation of material life is the sacrament. (2) 'I write to you, Lady Eustochium' o Why?
? Not about virginity or marriage, but actually it sort of is. Flattery o None of this, Jerome says you should be fearful not proud. 'Nor will there be any pomp or rhetoric in expounding the beatitude of virginity' A training manual o This letter is an exhortation or an advice manual on the life of virginity. o Jerome associates 'rhetoric' with 'pomp'
? Similar to Augustine's criticism of rhetoric as pejoratively 'copious and ornate': but hold on. o Jerome saw no possible reconciliation between Christianity and classicalism, o While in On Christian Doctrine, Augustine argued the application of rhetoric to the communication of Christian truth was acceptable. The 'gold of the Egyptians' metaphor. o But is this is, again, just a trope and Jerome does use plenty of rhetoric to persuade?
World o An evil,scary place
? Enemies everywhere
? Flesh is weak and will soon be ashes. Only thing that can save us is God and grace. o 'As long as we are held down by this frail body; as long as we keep our treasure in earthen vessels, and the flesh lusteth against the spirit, the spirit against the flesh: so long can there be no victory.'2
1 Page 55 2 Page 61
Virginity 'Virginity can be lost even by a thought' o Not enough to be a "virgin of the flesh"
? A little unfair?
o Jerome says "Whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart' o so when a woman is lusted after, she loses her virginity, 'in a thought'. o God cannot save a fallen Virgin. Temptation o Counter this wither prayer to God
? 'The Lord is on my side; I will not fear what the flesh can do unto me'. Man o Virtuous if he can see thoughts of lust rising, 'but dashes them straightway against the rock. And the Rock is Christ'3
? Man can fight temptation through meditation on God. Jerome o Recounts how even in the desert ('a savage dwelling-place') he was "surrounded by bands of dancing girls"4
? He coped with this desire he 'used to fling myself at Jesus' feet'5 Advice for combating lust. o Avoid wine "as you would avoid poison"6
? It is the first weapon that devils use in attacking the young. o It incites lust. (10) o Avoid gluttony; get fasting!
? It is another temptation. o Why avoid food and alcohol?
? Not that God wants us to starve
? This is the only way of preserving chastity. o See the story of Jacob o He had 75 children, but once he wrestled with the Lord and lost the stoutness of his thigh
? He begat no more children. o Devil's strength lies in man's loins and in women's navels.
? Food and alcohol stimulates the loins, making humans more lusty?
(13) 'You may see many women who have been left widows before they were ever wed, trying to conceal their consciousness of guilt by means of a lying garb' o Jerome means unmarried women who pretend to be widows.
? Abortion and drugs o There are some women who do this or even commit suicide.
3 Page 67 4 Page 67 5 Page 69 6 Page 69
? Some women say, my conscience is enough for me. But "it is a pure heart that God craves."7 o These women are harlots o They are "displeasing"8. Concubine o Jerome does not spare them either.
? They are 'one-man harlots'. o Their aim is to 'indulge at home in carnal intercourse'. Jerome's advice: how to carry on being a 'virgin of high rank at Rome" Married life o Blesilla
? She was "inferior in firmness of will"9 o She had a husband, but was widowed in 7 months. o Jerome's point here is that marriage leads to pain and misery. Now Blessila has neither the joy of marriage nor the crown of virginity.
? Marital chastity o Second-rank virginity o Not bad, but just think:
? As she is not a virgin she gets lesser rewards than Eustochium, but finds it harder to stay continent. Don't consort with either harlots or married women. o Virgin, God's bride
? Thus, why should she consort with a wife of a mortal man. o Must learn a "holy pride; know that you are better than they"10 o Widows
? They are 'puffed up with their husband's honour'11 o They wear gaudy things o They love to have entourages with 'a row of eunuchs walking in front" o Their houses are "full of flatterers, full of guests"12 Virgin's ideal life o Virgin's Companions o??7 Page 79 8 Page 81. 9 Page 83 10 Page 85 11 Page 85 12 Page 85.
Should be other virgins 'thin with fasting'13 who rejoice in Christ and 'have a desire to depart and to be with Christ'14 o Martyrs o Don't go to their shrines
? Excuse for a holiday o Eat in moderation
? Avoid satiety o Read often o Spiritual love
? Replace carnal desire with spiritual love. o Don't think of married women and children
? Don't subject yourself to the statement: o 'In pain and in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children"15 o This is for married women - your husband is Christ. o Say "for me virginity is consecrated in the persons of Mary and of Christ"16
? But doesn't God say to go forth and multiply?
o But this command took place after the expulsion from Paradise, after recognition of the nakedness and putting on the fig-leaves, symbolising the approach of marital desire. o Jerome
? Let married one's procreate, they are products of Original Sin and their produce is choked with thorns. o By contrast, o Virginity, an ode to the perfection of Paradise? Pre-sin?
Absolutely BANG ON 'Paradise is your home. Keep therefore as you were born, and say: 'Return unto thy rest, O my soul'17. o Virginity is natural
? Virgins come from wedlock and 'renders what in its parent root it had lost'18
? 'There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a flower shall grow out of his roots'19 o The flower of the rod o This is Christ
? He would be born a Virgin of a Virgin.?
13 Page 87. 14 Page 87. 15 Page 91 16 Page 91 17 Page 93 18 Page 93. 19 Page 93.
Noah's Ark o The dirty animals taken in pairs, while the clean animals are brought uneven. Marriage and Wedlock o Jerome praises them, only because they 'produce me virgins'20
? A pearl from the oyster. 'Blessed is he who hath seed in Zion and a family in Jerusalem': and curse is the barren woman who beareth not children' o No command to virgin life
? Indeed, Scripture says the opposite. o Barren women are cursed. o That was Old Testament Law
? New Testament says: o 'Think not that you are a dry tree; for instead of sons and daughters have you a place for ever in heaven'
? Old days o Earth was unpopulated, reproduction was a necessity o Didn't Abraham marry Keturah in old age?
o Soon, crop grew high o Male continence stressed
? New Testament: o Christ born in a Virgin's womb o Women's virginity emphasised. 'No solider takes a wife with him when he is marching into battle' 'Unmarried careth for the things that belong to the Lord' o Unmarried care for spiritual things So many inconveniences in wedlock o In his treatise against Helvidius
? Perpetual virginity of Mary o Apostle bids us pray without ceasing o Married men cannot do this because of their marriage. o While a woman does not sin by marrying, she 'shall have trouble in the flesh'. Various books on Virginity o Tertullian's
? De habit viginum o Cyprian o Pop Damasus o Ambrose
? De Virginibus 'Never incline your ear to words of mischief'21 o Men often make improper remarks
? This is a test o If you laugh, they might call you merry, but a 'true handmaid of Chirst: behold complete frankness"22????
20 Page 95. 21 Page 105 22 Page 105
??Don't smile on flatterers o Why?
o Like Ark of Covenant, Christ's bride should guard the "law of the lord"23
? In the ark, there was nothing but the covenant, so in you let there be no thought of anything outside.
Be secluded o 'ever let the Bridegroom sport with you within' o Going outside
? Leaves you open to being seduced
? You won't find Him outdoors o 'Let foolish virgins roam abroad'
? God will come when you are praying in your room: o 'Behold I stand at the door and knock: if any man open, I will come in to him and will sup with him, and he with me' Vainglory o As Jesus said: "How can ye believe, which receive glory one from another?'
? The glory is God o Let Him see you; don't try and attain worldly glory o Working and giving alms o Don't be elegant or slovenly o Those who spurn admiration are often the ones who seek it o False humility
? When meeting people o Don't o Sit on floor o Lower your voice o Pretend to be exhausted. o Beware men with long hair. Holy Men o Those who seek the 'office of presbyter"24so that they can meet women freely.
? In fact, there is a law in the Theodosian Code which expressly forbids deacons and presbyters meeting women freely - now I think I now why. Proceed Jerome. o These men
? Think of nothing but their appearance o Hair curled o Fingers glisten with rings o They look like 'bridegrooms than as clergymen' o They spend all their time finding out about married ladies and households. o A sketch of the quintessential lecherous deacon:
? Takes shortcuts in prayers
? Will admire beautiful objects o Indeed, extort it from their owners.
23 Page 107. 24 Page 119
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