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Letter XXXII. To Marcella.

Jerome writes that he is busy collating Aquila’s Greek version of the Old Testament with the Hebrew, inquires after Marcella’s mother, and forwards the two preceding letters (XXX., XXXI.). Written at Rome in 384 a.d.

1. There are two reasons for the shortness of this letter, one that its bearer is impatient p. 46 to start, and the other that I am too busy to waste time on trifles. You ask what business can be so urgent as to stop me from a chat on paper. Let me tell you, then, that for some time past I have been comparing Aquila’s version 744 of the Old Testament with the scrolls of the Hebrew, to see if from hatred to Christ the synagogue has changed the text; and—to speak frankly to a friend—I have found several variations which confirm our faith. After having exactly revised the prophets, Solomon, 745 the psalter, and the books of Kings, I am now engaged on Exodus (called by the Jews, from its opening words, Eleh shemôth 746 ), and when I have finished this I shall go on to Leviticus. Now you see why I can let no claim for a letter withdraw me from my work. However, as I do not wish my friend Currentius 747 to run altogether in vain, I have tacked on to this little talk two letters 748 which I am sending to your sister Paula, and to her dear child Eustochium. Read these, and if you find them instructive or pleasant, take what I have said to them as meant for you also.

2. I hope that Albina, your mother and mine, is well. In bodily health, I mean, for I doubt not of her spiritual welfare. Pray salute her for me, and cherish her with double affection, both as a Christian and as a mother.



This version, made in the reign of Hadrian by a Jewish proselyte who is said by some to have been a renegade Christian, was marked by an exaggerated literalism and a close following of the Hebrew original. By the Church it was regarded with suspicion as being designedly anti-Christian. Jerome, however, here acquits Aquila of the charge brought against him.


I.e. all the sapiential books, viz. Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Ecclesiasticus, Wisdom.


Exod. i. 1, תומש הלא, A.V., “these are the names.”


The name means runner. Hence the allusion to Gal. ii. 2.



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