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Classifying Jerome

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Chapter Summary

Erasmus' own taxonomy of his publications inspired the classificatory system of Jean Leclerc's early eighteenth-century edition of Erasmus' opera omnia as well as the Amsterdam modern critical edition, whose volumes began appearing in print as of 1969. More than half of a century ago, Paul Antin emphasized the sheer diversity of Jerome's letters. Antin believed that the early effort to arrange the letters into distinct categories was a mistake, criticizing this sort of classification as arbitrary and as harmful to chronology. Antin's criticism betrays a modern editorial bias, beginning with Jean Martianay and perpetuated by Domenico Vallarsi and Isidore Hilberg, that Jerome's letters should be arranged in chronological order. Editors and printers asserted Jerome's identity not only through more or less elaborate schemes of classification but also through the inclusion of literary and visual portraits.

Keywords: Antin's criticism; classificatory system; Erasmus; Jerome's letters; opera omnia



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