Thursday, December 14, 2006

Jerome: Preface to Jeremiah

by Jerome

Translated by Kevin P. Edgecomb


The Prophet Jeremiah, for whom this prologue is written, was seen among the Hebrews to be certainly more rustic in style than Isaiah and Hosea and certain other prophets, but equal in meanings, which the same Spirit obviously prophesied. Furthermore, his simplicity of speech happened from the place in which he was born. For he was from Anathoth, which is up to today a village three miles distant from Jerusalem, a priest from priests and sanctified in his mother’s womb, dedicating with her virginity a man of the Gospel to the Church of Christ. This boy began to prophesy the captivity of the city and Judea both not only by the Spirit, but also with eyes of flesh. The Assyrians had already transferred the ten tribes of Israel, and now colonies of gentiles had taken possession of their lands. For this reason he prophesied only in Judah and Benjamin, and he lamented the ruins of his city in a fourfold alphabet, which we have presented in the measure of the meter and in verses. Besides this, the order of visions, which is entirely confused among the Greeks and Latins, we have corrected to the original truth. And the Book of Baruch, his scribe, which is neither read nor found among the Hebrews, we have omitted, standing ready, because of these things, for all the curses from the jealous, to whom it is necessary for me to respond through a separate short work. And I suffer because you think this. Otherwise, for the benefit of the wicked, it was more proper to set a limit for their rage by my silence, rather than any new things written to provoke daily the insanity of the envious.

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