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Introduction

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Chapter Summary

This introductory chapter provides a brief overview of the book Herculean Labours: Erasmus and the Editing of St. Jerome's Letters in the Renaissance. With the publication in Paris in 1500 of his first collection of proverbs, the Adagiorum collectanea, Erasmus of Rotterdam began a long editorial career. Erasmus' edition of Jerome's genuine and misattributed letters combined with the edition of the Church Father's biblical commentaries, overseen by Amerbach's sons Bruno, Basil, and Boniface, to form the opera omnia. The letters did not consist of simply familiar correspondence but included what Erasmus called "epistolary books," such as Jerome's polemical treatises and exegetical essays. How Erasmus and other editors arranged and commented on these letters is the focus of the book. The Herculean labours of Erasmus of Rotterdam, offered to readers, manifest both his accomplished editorial work on Jerome and an advertisement of his consummate editorial prowess.

Keywords: biblical commentaries; Church Father; Erasmus; Herculean labours; Rotterdam; St. Jerome's Letters

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