Not long ago while located in Rome, I emended the Psalter, and had corrected it, though cursorily, for the most part according to the (version of the) Seventy interpreters. Because you see it again, O Paula and Eustochium, corrupted by the error of the scribes, and the more ancient error to prevail rather than the new emendation, you urge that I work the land like some kind of field already ploughed, and uproot with sideways furrows the thorns being reborn,1 saying it is proper that what so frequently sprouts badly is just as frequently cut down. For this reason I remind by my usual preface, both you for whom this mighty work exerts itself, and those who would have copies of such, that those things to have been diligently emended might be transcribed with care and diligence. Each may himself note either a horizontal line or a radiant sign, that is, either an obelus or an asterisk, and wherever he sees a preceding virgule,2 from there to the two points which we have marked in, he knows more is to be found in the (version of the) Seventy interpreters; and where he has looked at the image of a star,3 he will have recognized an addition from the Hebrew scrolls, likewise up to the two points,4 only according to the edition of Theodotion who did not differ from the Seventy interpreters in simplicity of speech. I, knowing myself to have done this for you and for each studious person, do not doubt there will be many who, either envious or arrogant, “prefer to be seen to condemn the brilliant rather than to learn,”5 and to drink from a turbulent river much rather than from an entirely pure spring.


1 This is an oblique reference to Jerome’s use of the obelus, which is a “sideways” mark: ÷
2 Virgule = obelus
3 Jerome’s asterisk mark was
4 Like our colon mark :
5 A saying of unknown origin.

We thank Kevin Edgecombe for permission to publish his translation on our page.

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