Saint Jerome's Hebrew Questions on Genesis

Saint Jerome's Hebrew Questions on Genesis

Saint Jerome's Hebrew Questions on Genesis

Saint Jerome's Hebrew Questions on Genesis

Synopsis

Jerome was one of the very few early Christian scholars to know any Hebrew. This new edition of his Questions on Genesis includes an introduction, translation, and commentary to reveal a fascinating work showing a Christian working alongside Jews in an age very different from our own. Jerome's influence on the Church is well known--but this work is equally important for the light thrown on the history and origin of many ideas at the heart of the Jewish tradition.

Excerpt

This translation of Jerome Hebrew Questions on Genesis, with commentary and introduction, is offered to students of Patristics and Judaica in the hope that what is an unusual, even in some respects unique, writing might become better known. In undertaking this enterprise, the richness and depth of Jerome's knowledge, especially his appreciation of the Jewish tradition, has impressed itself upon me with every passing day. Indeed, the commentary offered in the following pages represents only a fraction of what could have been written, space permitting, on almost any of the verses which Jerome chose to expound. The treatise is of particular interest for our own times, when Jewish--Christian relations seem to be entering a new era. For this little book of Jerome's, when viewed as a whole, confronts the reader with the question: what exactly was Jerome's relationship with the Jews of his day, and why were they willing to acquaint him with their teachings? Perhaps the present work will encourage others to grant this problem the attention it deserves.

By custom, this is the point at which thanks are offered to those who have helped the author in the course of his work. It is a particular pleasure for me to express my gratitude to my colleagues Carol Harrison and George Dragas, whose advice and assistance with regard to the patristic material in this book has been generous and invaluable. Special thanks are also due to Gerald Bonner, whose advice and criticisms were particularly encouraging when I began work on the book. To both Tony Gelston and Walter Moberly, fellow Hebraists, I owe important insights in this work, and I have been particularly helped by their willingness to discuss individual points of detail at length. To all these I owe much; but for the mistakes, omissions, and other imperfections which must surely attend a work of this kind they are not responsible.

My thanks are also due to David Hunt, Tessa Rajak, David Brown, Jeremy Black, and Jan Rhodes for their help in the elucidation of individual details, and to my pupil Keith Holland for his assistance in preparing the typescript. I am indebted also to Eric Halladay . . .

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