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Learning by Example: Exempla in Jerome’s Translations and Revisions of Biblical Books

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Jerome’s interest in provinding Exempla for his readers in his letters and the Vitae Patrum extended to his translations and revisions of canonical Books—Ruth 4,11; Deut 29,22(23), Esth 1,18; Zech 13,4—and to a book he considered non-canonical (Tob 2,12). Jerome related the noun exemplum to a variety of lexemes in the semantic field of obiecta aversionis. His views regarding the regulation of female behavior played a role in the plus in Esth 1,18. He viewed Ruth to some extent as a positive exemplum for his female audience, although he likely had conflicted feelings about the fact that the widow remarried. Although the lexeme does not occur in the Book of Judith, his predilections for Judith as exemplum of the chaste and virtuous widow was the impetus for the pluses in Jdt 16,26 and 10,4.

Affiliations: 1: St. Catherine University 2004 Randolph Ave St. Paul, Minnesota, 55105 USA, Email:


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