Catullus in Jerome?

Notes on the Cohortatoria de paenitentia ad Sabinianum (Epist. 147)

in Vigiliae Christianae
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Recently it has been argued that the letter in which Jerome urges Sabinian to repentance contains an echo of Catullus. The attempt is made in the present article to rebut this view: the wording in question would in fact appear to have been appropriated instead from St. Cyprian. Evidence is also adduced to show that the same epistle is characterized by a number of similarly unidentified reminiscences of the pagan classics: if Catullus must be discounted, this letter does evince a debt to Cicero, Florus, Sallust and Virgil.

Catullus in Jerome?

Notes on the Cohortatoria de paenitentia ad Sabinianum (Epist. 147)

in Vigiliae Christianae



Cf. CavalleraJérôme51–52.


Cf. the present writer“Consolation” 42–43. Jerome’s other reminiscences of this text of the Divinatio employ the Ciceronian animo: Epist. 98134 (a translation of Theophilus of Alexandria’s Easter pastoral for 402: quomodo ergo non toto et animo et corpore perhorrescit?); In Ioel 21 ll. 86–88 (ut omnes per circuitum nationes et animo et corpore perhorrescant immo crucientur); In Ezech. 611a ll. 454–455 (tam corpore quam animo perhorrescimus); In Ier. 4482 (propheta et animo et corpore perhorrescit). The echo in the commentary on Joel is not identified by B. Löfstedt “Hieronymus’ Kommentare zu den kleinen Propheten” Acta Classica 25 (1982) 119–126 at 124.


Cf. HagendahlFathers401.




HagendahlFathers105. For a date of 375–377 for this work cf. A. de Vogüé “La Vita Pauli de S. Jérôme et sa datation: Examen d’un passage-clé (ch. 6)” in: G.J.M. Bartelink A. Hilhorst and C.H. Kneepkens (edd.) Eulogia: Mélanges offerts à Antoon A.R. Bastiaensen à l’occasion de son soixante-cinquième anniversaire (Steenbrugge 1991) (Instr. Patr. 24) 395–406.


Cf. KellyJerome157–158.


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