Jerome joined the church at the age of eighteen years under the guidance of Pope Liberius. An ambitious and hard worker, he began building a library that became one of the most famous in the world, copying most of the books himself. He continued this practice while living as a hermit in reflective isolation. He taught himself several languages in order to translate the works. His nights were spent writing letters and suffering the usual austerities of living in the desert. As a youth, Jerome (c 347-420) studied Latin literature in Rome, and as well had a mastery of Greek and Hebrew. Throughout his life, he remained an admirer of Cicero, Virgil, Lucretius, and other great Latin writers, and he defended the study of classical literature by people of the Christian church. While living in Rome as a secretary to Pope Damasus, and under his direction, Jerome completed translating the New Testament into simple Latin. He was only forty years old at the time.
He then translated the Old Testament, with the assistance of several learned companions. His Latin version of the Bible -- known as the Vulgate or common version -- was a major achievement. This Vulgate edition of the Bible became the popular version for the next ten centuries, in other words, right down to the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. After some of his writing caused controversy and led to his expulsion from Rome, in 386 he moved to Jerusalem and founded a monastery, in which he remained until his death in 420. Jerome and Augustine wrote to one another. Augustine was an admirer of Jerome, and wrote him a letter hoping to establish a friendship, but the letter went astray. (In those days there was no public postal service, and if you wanted to send a letter to a friend in Athens, you entrusted it to someone you knew who was travelling to Athens, or at least in that general direction, with instructions to deliver it or pass it on to someone else who would oblige.) Jerome did not receive the letter, and the contents became public knowledge before he heard of it. Augustine, in addition to saying how much he admired Jerome, had offered some criticisms of something Jerome had written, but Jerome did not receive the letter, and the contents became public knowledge before he heard of it.
After giving some praise Augustine had offered some criticisms of something Jerome had written. There is a good example of the restraint of Augustine in his discussion with Jerome over the interpretation of a text of Galatians. When a letter from Augustine was lost in transit, The impatient Jerome considered himself to have been publicly embarrassed by Augustine. Augustine wrote to him: "I ask you again and again to correct me confidently when you perceive me to stand in need of it; for though the office of a bishop be greater than that of a priest, yet in many things Augustine is inferior to Jerome." The topic that had inspired the letter by Augustine was a passage in the Epistle of Paul to the Galatians. Therein Paul had to reprimand Peter for a mistake. Jerome had come to the conclusion that this was role playing, that Peter could not have made an error. Augustine responded with quiet logic that, if such were the case, then the Scripture would be lying. Possibly Augustine had learned that it was advisable to interact with Jerome in a cautious way. Jerome hurled harsh words at correspondents in his disfavour. For example, Jerome is on record for calling the arguments of his opponents "an infant's noises" and "vomit." He also employed a bestiary of epithets for opponents: dogs, asses, pigs, snails, and snakes. Jerome called critics of his Latin (Vulgate) translation of the Bible "two-legged asses."
After the death of his supporter and protector, Pope Damasus, Jerome was verbally attacked in the same way that he attacked others. His enemies called him "an infamous rascal, a slippery traitor, a speaker of lies who used Satanic arts to deceive." Jerome decided to return to the East. He eventually settled in Bethlehem with a small community that he had formed. Jerome died in Bethlehem. According to legend, at the time his head was resting in the place where Christ had been born. In the year 392 Augustine had requested biblical commentaries from Jerome. They recommenced their correspondence after the year 411, when this time they were in accord. The Council of Carthage in 411 had condemned the works of Pelagius, who then moved from Carthage to Rome.
Jerome in Jerusalem was also quick to condemn Pelagius and Pelagianism, and in 415 received two letters from Augustine regarding this matter. Jerome called Augustine "the second founder of the ancient faith" for his success in discounting Pelagianism. Jerome's final letter to Augustine was written in 419, only months before Jerome died, and in 415 received two letters from Augustine regarding this matter. Jerome's final letter to Augustine was written in 419, only months before Jerome died. Jerome was one of the eight great scholars of the early Church: (Ambrose of Milan, Jerome, Augustine, Gregory the Great, Athanasius, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, and Gregory of Nazianzus). It is interesting that, when Augustine as a Manichee had first reached Rome in 383, both Pelagius and Jerome were Catholic chaplains to rich families in Rome , but Augustine never met either of them face-to-face. Augustine was to cross verbal swords with both of them when later he was a Catholic bishop.Jerome called Augustine "the second founder of the ancient faith" for his success in discounting Pelagianism.
Saint Jerome. A one-page biography from a very helpful web site of 4,00-plus pages entitled, The History Guide: Lectures on ancient and medieval European history. http://www.historyguide.org/ancient/jerome.html
Saints Jerome (c.342-420) and Augustine. He translated the Old Testament and New Testament into Latin. He accomplished this around 400, just ten years after Theodosius had declared the Christian religion to be the state religion of the Roman Empire. http://www.historyguide.org/ancient/lecture16b.html
Letter of Jerome to Augustine. This letter by Jerome is numbered 104 in his collection. http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/1102072.htm
Jerome and the Vulgate Bible. Approximately four pages.http://mariannedorman.homestead.com/Jerome.html AN1416