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A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Sophronius, Ecclesiastical Writer

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Sophronius (7), a learned Greek friend of Jerome, who was with him in 391–392, and is included in his catalogue of ecclesiastical writers. He had, while still young, composed a book on the glories of Bethlehem, and, just before the catalogue was written, a book on the destruction of the Serapeum, and had translated into Greek Jerome's letter to Eustochium on virginity, his Life of Hilarion, and his Latin version of the Psalms and Prophets. Jerome records that it was at Sophronius's instance that he wrote the last-named. Sophronius had, in dispute with a Jew, quoted from the Psalms, but the Jew said that the passages read differently in Hebrew. Sophronius therefore asked from Jerome a version direct from the Hebrew, which Jerome gave, though he knew that alterations from the received version would cause him some obloquy. The importance of these alterations led Sophronius to translate the versions into Greek. They were well received, and were read in many of the Eastern churches instead of the Septuagint. The translations have not come down to us; but a Greek version of the catalogue of ecclesiastical writers bears the name of Sophronius. It is not quite accurate, but appears to have been the version used by Photius. The presence of his name on this book probably gave rise to its insertion in some MSS. between the names of Jerome, who, however, does not appear to have adopted it. Hieron., de Vir. Ill. 134; cont. Ruf. ii. 24; Ceillier, vi. 278; and Vallarsi's pref. to Jerome, de Vir. Ill.


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Sophronius, Ecclesiastical Writer'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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