Dogmatic and Polemical Works

Dogmatic and Polemical Works

Dogmatic and Polemical Works

Dogmatic and Polemical Works

Excerpt

St. Jerome's reputation rests primarily on his achievements as a translator and as a scriptural exegete. The important service that he rendered to the Church in his doctrinal works is often overlooked or minimized by those who look for originality and independence of thought. St. Jerome was not a theologian in the strict sense of the word. He was no original thinker, and he never abandoned himself to personal meditation of dogma as St. Augustine did. Although he kept strictly to what he found in tradition, the importance of his doctrinal authority is not thereby lessened. He entered into controversy against Helvidius, Jovinian, Vigilantius, the Origenists, and the Pelagians, and refuted their heretical teachings on grace, on asceticism, on the perpetual virginity of Mary, and on the veneration of saints and relics so eloquently and so soundly that these heresies never again seriously threatened the Church. In order to get a better understanding of these dogmatic-polemical treatises, and to see them in their proper perspective, it will be necessary to recall important details in the life of St. Jerome, and to discuss briefly the principal points in the history of these heretical controversies.

St. Jerome was born at Stridon, on the border of Pannonia and Dalmatia, about the year 347. The first part of his long life, from the year 347 to 379, was chiefly a period of formation and preparation. After spending twelve years of his early life at his native Stridon, he was sent to Rome in the year 359 to finish his literary studies. For the next eight years, from . . .

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