Jerome was one of the most important Biblical commentators in the history of Christianity. He translated the Bible into Latin, and his translation served the Roman Catholic Church as its official translation for hundreds of years. He lived in Bethlehem, alongside the place of Christ's nativity.


jeromeJerome was born in about 342 in Dalmatia (today Croatia) and he was ordained a priest in 379. He was invited to Rome to assist the Pope and there began to translated the Bible into Latin. There was an existing Latin translation from the Greek but Jerome discovered in it much imprecision. He became convinced that it was necessary to translate the Bible from the original languages, Hebrew for the Old Testament (and Aramaic too in some sections) and Greek for the New Testament. He got to know the lands of the Bible from his numerous voyages and even learnt Hebrew and Biblical interpretation directly from Jews, a rare phenomenon in the history of the Church. He also emphasized that the Old Testament in Hebrew was the most authoritative version of the text, a position which was that of a tiny minority among the Church Fathers, who tended to rely on the Septuagint (the translation of the Old Testament into Greek).


For the last thirty years of his life, Jerome lived in a cave in Bethlehem, alongside the place of the nativity of Jesus. There he founded a community of monks and nuns who devoted many hours a day to the study of the Bible. Jerome died in 420, leaving behind him a vast array of writings on many domains in the life of the Church.