Translations of Jerome’s biblical prefaces

I’d like to highlight that Kevin Edgecomb has been quietly working away translating into English the prefaces to books of the bible from the Vulgate written by St. Jerome. These are all interesting, and offer insight into the way in which Jerome worked. Those done so far are here. We should all be grateful to him. I hope that Kevin will place them in the public domain, and we’ll all be able to use them.

4 Responses to “Translations of Jerome’s biblical prefaces”


  1. Roger Pearse

    That is great news, Kevin! I will mirror them in the Additional Fathers collection (with your name as translator and a link to the primary site, of course).

    I suspect that these translations will circulate and be enjoyed long after you and I are dust. A scholarly paper is soon superceded, but a translation is useful as long as the language lasts. Indeed as Syriac shows us, if the original is lost, a translation is valuable even after that, sometimes. Good stuff indeed.

  2. Kevin P. Edgecomb

    Thanks Roger! I’m enjoying doing them, and learning alot, not least about how the Latin of a well-educated scholar of the late 4th and early 5th century is put together. Feisty St Jerome is one fine writer!

    Actually, I already consider the prefaces and all the other translations I’ve posted in the public domain. So have at them! I’ll make the public domain thing more explicit on the individual posts, I guess, so that there’s no confusion on that score.

    These are only the first drafts, too. Once they’re all done, I’ll go back over them and re-edit, providing short introductions, a few explanatory notes and whatnot.

    Thanks again!

  3. Kevin P. Edgecomb

    Sure, Roger! Of course, I was going to tell you they were there once they were all done, too, but there’s no harm in going at them piecemeal. I think you’ll also find it interesting to see the differences between the very literal translations I’m doing and the more paraphrastic ones for Ezra and Judith you’ve got up there already by Mark DelCogliano, and also the few that are included in the NPNF Second Series. I’m trying to keep mine literal so as to be useful to those with the Latin originals at hand, so that they might also be helpful didactically.

    And yes, hopefully some way, these will still be useful long after we’re all dust.

  4. Roger Pearse

    I think that fairly literal must be best, unless the Latin is so involved that this is really impossible. Luckily those bits of Jerome that I have worked on should be possible to translate thus. Again, many thanks for your public spiritedness!