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This Commentary was specially prized by Jerome as exhibiting his true views (Letter LXXXIV. 2), and they became in consequence one of the chief subjects of controversy between him and Rufinus, who traced in them, not unjustly, the influence of Origen. It was written immediately after that on the Epistle to the Galatians, in a.d. 387, and, like that, addressed to Paula and Eustochium. In the Preface to Book i. Jerome defends himself against various accusations. He declares that he has been, in the main, his own instructor, but yet that he has constantly consulted others as to Scriptural difficulties, and that he had, not long before, been to Alexandria to consult Didymus. “I questioned him about everything which was not clear to me in the whole range of Scripture.” As to his indebtedness to Origen, he speaks as follows, certainly not blaming his doctrines: “I remark in the Prefaces, for your information, that Origen composed three volumes on this Epistle, and I have partly followed him. Apollinaris and Didymus also published some commentaries, and, though we have gleaned a few things from them, we have added or omitted such as we thought fit. The studious reader will, therefore, understand at the outset that this work is partly my own, and that I am in part indebted to others.” The Preface to Books ii. and iii. is short. It speaks in praise of Marcella, who had invited him to his task, and declares that he in his monastery could not accomplish as much as that noble woman amidst the cares of her household. “I beseech you,” he says, “to bear in mind that the language of this publication has not been long thought over or highly polished. In revealing the mysteries of Scripture I use almost the language of the street, and sometimes get through a thousand lines a day, in order that the explanation of the Apostle which I have begun may be completed with the aid of the prayers of Paul himself, whose Epistles I am endeavouring to explain.”

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