This introductory chapter first sets out the book's purpose, which is to interpret Saint Jerome's career as a biblical scholar and Christian writer within its immediate historical context, in the last decades of the fourth and the first decades of the fifth centuries. Jerome himself, seen through the lens of his own writings, is be the focus of attention. Taking advantage of progress in the historiography of the period, and of innovations in the history of scholarship in general, it proposes new interpretations of Jerome's scholarship that promise to remove enduring obstacles to understanding this major figure in the Western tradition. The chapter then discusses changes in the Roman world that created a new Roman culture; the emergence of Christian commentary on scripture; a brief biography of Saint Jerome; and studies of Jerome's scholarship.
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