Jerome’s Prologue to Genesis

I’ve decided to translate next all the prologues contained in the Vulgate, which were written by Jerome except for the Prologue to Paul’s Letters, apparently. I have previously translated Jerome’s Prologue to the Gospels, which included a discussion of the Eusebian canon table system used in the Gospels, more on which is here, in the earliest of my web pages. This translation of the Prologue to the Pentateuch is just a first draft, of course. Once I’ve finished all the prologues, I’ll probably have a better grasp on some of the peculiarities of Jerome’s language and be able to fix some of these renderings which I wasn’t so sure of here. So, this isn’t written in stone, obviously, but I also beg the reader’s indulgence, now and in the future, for any peculiarities, particularly if you’re familiar with the Latin versions.

[See also the final draft version of this translation, on this page]



I have received the desired letters of my Desiderius, who in a foretelling of things to happen has obtained with Daniel a certain name [see Vulgate Daniel 9.23: quia vir desideriorum es tu, “for you are a man of desires”], beseeching that I might hand over to our hearers a translation of the Pentateuch in the Latin tongue from the Hebrew words. Certainly a dangerous work, open to the barkings of detractors, who accuse me of insult to the Seventy to prepare a new interpretation from the old ones, thus approving ability (or “genius”) like wine. As has very often been testified by me, I, for my part, am able to offer a portion in the Tabernacle of God, without the riches (or “abilities”) of one being damaged by the poverties of others.

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