JEROME, SAINT (EUsEBtur HIERONYMUS SOPIIRONIUS), was b. at Stridon, a town whose site is now unknown, on the confines of Dalmatia and Pannonia, at some period between 331 and 345—probably nearer to the latter year. His parents were both Chris tians. His early education was superintended by his father, after which he studied Greek and Latin rhetoric and philosophy under Donatus at Rome, where he was also admitted to the rite of baptism. After a residence in Gaul he seems to have re visited Rome;.but in the year 370 he had settled in Aquileia with his friend Rufinus. For some unknown reason, he suddenly went hence to the east; and after a dangerous illness at Antioch, which appears to have still further added to the religious fervor of his disposition, he retired, in 374, to the desert of Chaleis, where he spent four years in penitential exercises and in study, especially of the Hebrew language. In 379 he was ordained a priest at Antioch, after which he spent three years in Constantinople in close intimacy with Gregory of Nazianzus; and in 382 he came on a mission connected with the Meletian schism at Antioch (see MELBTIUS) to Rome, where he resided, until 385, as secretary of the pope Damasus, and where, although already engaged in his great work of the revision of the Latin version of the Bible, he attained to great popularity and influence by his sanctity, learning, and eloquence. Many pious persons placed them selves under his spiritual direction, the most remarkable of whom were the lady Paula, and her daughter Eustochium. These ladies followed him to the Holy Land, whither he returned in 384. He permanently fixed his residence at Bethlehem in 380, the lady Paula having founded four convents, three for nuns, and one for monks, the latter of which was governed by Jerome himself. It was in this retreat that Jerome pursued
or completed the great literary labors of his life; and it was from these solitudes, all peaceful as they might seem, that he sent forth the fiery and vehement invectives which marked not only his controversy with the heretics Joviuian, Vigilantius, and the Pelagians (q.v.), but even with his ancient ally, Rufinus (q.v.), and, although in a minor degree, with St. Augustine. His conflict with the -Pelagians rendering even his life insecure at Bethlehem, he was compelled to go into concealment for above two years; and, soon after his return to Bethlehem in 418, he was seized with a lingering illness; which ter: ainated in his death, Sept. 30, 420. His original works, consisting of letters, treatises, polemical and ascetical, commentaries on Holy Scripture, and his version and revision of former versions of the Bible, were first published by Erasmus, 9 vols. folio (Basel, 1510), and have been several times reprinted. The best editions are that of the Benedictines, 5 vols. folio (Paris, 1093-1706), and, still more, that of Vallarsi, 11 vols. (Verona, 1734-12). St. Jerome is universally regarded as the most learned and eloquent of the Latin fathers. His commentaries on the Bible are especially valuable for the learning which they display; but his opinions are often exaggerated and fanciful, and through his controversial writings there runs a strain of violent invective, which contrasts unfavorably with the tone of his contemporary St. Augustine. See VULGATE.