On Reading Apocryphal Narratives

Today, whilst reading some Jerome, I stumbled upon the following gem from his Epistulae, in which he instructs a certain Laeta on how to raise her daughter:

Let her avoid all apocryphal writings, and if she is led to read such not by the truth of the doctrines which they contain but out of respect for the miracles contained in them; let her understand that they are not really written by those to whom they are ascribed, that many faulty elements have been introduced into them, and that it requires infinite discretion to look for gold in the midst of dirt (Epist. 107.12).

Gold in the midst of dirt? Ouch, Jerome. Ouch.

Wonder what he’d say about those of us who write dissertations on apocryphal writings?

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3 thoughts on “On Reading Apocryphal Narratives

  1. See, now that I think about it, I want to think that his comment is actually a complement for us apocryphal-text-reading persons: we are able to find gold because we HAVE infinite discretion. What do you think…too optimistic?

  2. I’m now going with your reading of Jerome here, if only because it makes me feel better about myself.

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