Letter of Jerome to Pope Damasus

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The beginning of the Epistle in Codex Sangallensis 48 (left) and in Codex Beneventanus (right)

The Epistle of Jerome to Pope Damasus I (Latin: Epistula Hieronymi ad Damasum papam), written in 376 or 377 AD, is a response of Jerome to an epistle from Damasus, who had urged him to make a new translational work of the Holy Scripture. The letter was written before Jerome started his translational work (382–405).

Jerome agreed that Old-Latin translation should be revised and corrected, acknowledging the numerous differences between every Latin manuscript such that each one looked like its own version. To remedy the problem, Jerome agreed that they should be corrected on the basis of the Greek manuscripts. Jerome explained why the Old-Latin order of the Gospels (Matthew, John, Luke, Mark) should be changed into the order Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, because it is relevant for the Greek manuscripts. Jerome also explained the importance of the Eusebian Canons and how to use them.

Copies of the letter occur in many Latin manuscript Gospel books and Bibles (even in Old Latin Codex Sangallensis 48). Usually it is placed at the beginning of the gospel book (e.g. Codex Sangallensis 48 or the Lindau Gospels).

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