Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus

Portrait: Hieronymus
Hieronymus in Kardinalstracht, painting by Peter Paul Rubens, around 1625
Kunsthistorisches Museum Wien / Wikimedia Commons

Sophronius Eusebius Hieronymus

Translator of the Bible

Copy books; that your hand may earn your food and your mind may be satisfied with reading.

Hieronymus, letter to the monk Mönch Rusticus, 411 CE

Paintings often depict Jerome as a hermit living in a modest dwelling with a tame lion. While the taming of the lion remains in the realm of legend, the eremitic life of the future saint in Syria has been verified. He went there after his baptism in Rome, and there acquired knowledge of ancient Greek and Hebrew. Consequently he managed to translate the Old Testament into Latin, which was known as the Vulgata. This contributed greatly to the canonisation of biblical texts. He also revised the text of the New Testament which had already been translated as the Vetus latina.

As a secretary to Pope Damasus I and as a pastor he lived in Rome once again from 382 to 384. He then went to Bethlehem, where he established a number of monasteries and worked until his death.