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The Preservation of 4Ezra in the Vulgate: Thanks to Ambrose, not Jerome

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Chapter Summary

This purpose of this chapter is to put to rest the notion that Jerome contributed in any positive way to the preservation or dissemination of 4Ezra in the western Church. It shows that Jerome expressed nothing but contempt for 4Ezra, a feeling which is explicable within the context of his views on the canon of the Old Testament and also his ambivalence toward Judaism and especially Jewish eschatology. No single factor explains 4Ezra's eventual appearance, supplemented by Christian additions referred to as 5 and 6 Ezra, in several Vulgate manuscripts of the ninth to thirteenth centuries, mostly emanating from Spain and France. The chapter argues that one of the factors contributing to the preservation of 4Ezra in the Vulgate was the high esteem in which Ambrose of Milan held it, which counterbalanced the disdain of his fellow Church Father, Jerome, for the book.

Keywords: Ambrose of Milan; Jerome; Jewish eschatology; Judaism; Old Testament; preservation of 4Ezra; Vulgate manuscripts



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