Sunday, July 29, 2018

Apocryphal Saint Jerome and Church Slavonic

OLD CHURCH SLAVONIC WATCH: Professor Debunks the Mistaken Origins of the Creator of the Slavonic Language (Anne Snabes, Cornell Daily Sun).
Prof. Julia Verkholantsev, Slavic Languages and Literatures, University of Pennsylvania, discussed how St. Jerome — a scholar who came from Dalmatia and lived from the mid 300s to the early 400s — became mistakenly known as the creator of the Slavonic language in a talk Thursday.

In the mid-13th century, people started to think that St. Jerome had translated liturgical texts into Slavonic, Verkholantsev explained. However, St. Jerome did not create the Slavonic language.

“Among the Christian saints, St. Jerome has always occupied a special place as a translator and exegete of the Bible whose labors brought the faithful closer to God,” she said. “A native of Dalmatia, Jerome became recognized for allegedly translating the liturgical books of the Croatian clergy in Dalmatian monasteries into Church Slavonic and for having supplied them with their special Slavic letters.”

Verkholantsev said historical and archeological evidence has shown that the Slavs did not come to Dalmatia until the 6th century, which was after Jerome’s life. This means Jerome “could have no connection, either to Slavs or to their writing,” she said.

This tradition is new to me. The actual inventors of the Slavonic script were Saints Cyril and Methodius in the ninth century. More on them and their work is here and links. Their work led to the conversion of the Slavs and the preservation of much interesting literature, including some important Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, in Old Church Slavonic. I keep up with Old Church Slavonic news for that reason.

For more on the real Saint Jerome and his translation work, see here and here and links.

This story is from March of 2017, but for some reason it only just showed up in my searches.

Visit PaleoJudaica daily for the latest news on ancient Judaism and the biblical world.