The Monk and the Book: Jerome and the Making of Christian by Megan Hale Williams

By Megan Hale Williams

In the West, monastic beliefs and scholastic goals are complementary; priests are popularly imagined copying classics, holding studying during the center a while, and setting up the 1st universities. yet this twin identification isn't really with out its contradictions. whereas monasticism emphasizes the virtues of poverty, chastity, and humility, the coed, against this, calls for pricey infrastructure—a library, a office, and the technique of disseminating his paintings. In The Monk and the e-book, Megan Hale Williams argues that Saint Jerome used to be the 1st to symbolize biblical research as a method of asceticism acceptable for an inhabitant of a Christian monastery, therefore pioneering the long-lasting linkage of monastic identities and associations with scholarship. Revisiting Jerome with the analytical instruments of contemporary cultural history—including the paintings of Bourdieu, Foucault, and Roger Chartier—Williams proposes new interpretations that eliminate stumbling blocks to knowing the lifestyles and legacy of the saint. reading matters akin to the development of Jerome’s literary personality, the shape and contents of his library, and the highbrow framework of his commentaries, Williams exhibits that Jerome’s textual and exegetical paintings at the Hebrew scriptures helped to build a brand new tradition of studying. This fusion of the identities of pupil and monk, Williams indicates, keeps to reverberate within the tradition of the fashionable collage.

''[Williams] has written a desirable examine, which supplies a chain of impressive insights into the occupation of 1 of the main colourful and influential figures in Christian antiquity. Jerome's Latin Bible could turn into the foundational textual content for the highbrow improvement of the West, offering phrases for the inner most aspirations and such a lot intensely held convictions of a whole civilization. Williams's booklet does a lot to illumine the conditions within which that basic textual content was once produced, and reminds us that fab rules, like nice humans, have specific origins, and their very own advanced settings.''—Eamon Duffy, New York evaluate of Books

 

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Rapisarda (“Ciceronianus es”), Thierry (“Date”), and Antin (Recueil ) argue for a date during Jerome’s stay in the desert. Contrary to the standard view, De Labriolle (“Songe”) persuasively suggests that the dream was a self-serving fiction, invented for use in letter 22. His argument depends in part on an analysis of the literary construction of the account, which makes clear that it is far from a straightforward recollection of experience. De Labriolle supplies close parallels to the story Jerome tells from Plutarch (transmitted by Eusebius), Lucian, and Eusebius himself.

Evagrius led a checkered career in government and the church. He was a protégé of Libanius and obtained two official posts, but he was dismissed from the second, flogged, and forced to pay a fine. His name was later cleared, but he was left impoverished. He seems to have converted to Christianity and accepted the priesthood in the wake of these reverses. He traveled to Illyricum in 363 with the returning Nicene bishop Eusebius of Vercelli, and there became involved with other Western bishops, including Damasus of Rome.

3, discussed below. 26 The network also held out opportunities: Jerome could hope to inject his own writings into the channels that conveyed other Christian works to eager audiences. As we have seen, a longer, more ambitious letter could attract the sustained support of a patron; at the same time, the acceptance of a work by its dedicatee marked the recipient’s approval of its content and helped to ensure its circulation. To judge from the books that Jerome mentions in these letters, his intellectual life during his years in Syria was exclusively and explicitly Christian.

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