TH Darmstadt, Germany, Dipl.
Paula and Eustochium or is Egeria the only European woman to visit the Holy Places in Africa and Asia during this period and to write letters describing her experiences. Let us also look at the Roman matron and widow Paula and her virgin daughter Eustochium.
We often see paintings of scarlet-clad Cardinal Jerome in his study at his labours, but his womenfolk are forgotten and omitted from those canvesses, except in three, One in the Santissima Annunziata in Florence, one now in the National Gallery in London, but which was at San Girolamo in Fiesole, which shows the widowed Paula, at her side her most beautiful virgin daughter, Eustochium, and another by Francisco Zurburan and Workshop now in the National Gallery in Washingtonand originally painted for the Hieronymite Order founded by Alfonso of Jaen's brother, and to which belonged the famous Sor Juana de la Cruz in Mexico City.
Paula movingly contrasts the wealth of Rome and the poverty of Bethlehem: Where are gilded ceilings? Where are houses decorated by the sufferings and labours of condemned wretches?
Where are halls built by the wealth of private men on the scale of palaces, that the vile carcase of man may move among more costly surroundings, and view his own roof rather than the heavens, as if anything could be more beauteous than creation?
In the village of Christ. Whithersoever you turn yourself, the ploughman, holding the plough handle, sings Alleluia ; the perspiring reaper diverts himself with psalms, and the vine-dresser sings some of the ballads of this country, these are the love-songs, as they are commonly called; these are whistled by the shepherds, and are the implements of the husbandman.
Indeed, we do not think of what we are doing or how we look, but see only that for which we are longing. These insights into the injustices of privileged wealth bridge time; one can find them in the Prophets and the Gospels, in Horace and Juvenal, in Wyclif and More; but they are especially likely to be perceived by women who stand outside the structures of power, such as Simone WeilHannah Arendt, and Nadine Gordimer.
Paula's style is shaped by Cicero and Virgil, Horace and Juvenal; while her social thought is shaped by the Prophets, the Gospels and by Josephus. But in it she has also presented a discussion of the places she and her daughter physically visited in Jerusalem, Bethany, Bethlehem, Nazareth, Galilee, Cana, Tabgha, Capharnaum, Egypt and elsewhere, noting often the meanings of the Hebrew names of places and blending that philological knowledge with theology.
Hebrew is a language centered upon the word, even the word for English's 'thing' being what is a spoken word, dabar, with the implication that all creation is God's Word and Adam's naming. Paula and Egeria grasp at that concept and for these women the names of places deeply involve the meaning of those names with the place.
But Paula adds to Egeria's knowledge of the Bible in its Old Latin translation and her curiosity about Greek and comparative liturgy, her own knowledge not only of classical Latin but also of Greek and the Hebrew she is avidly studying.
Helena, Egeria and Paula all use time and space, the book of the Bible and geography of the Holy Land as their Internet upon which to weave a web of links to sanctity, retrieving what is hallowed and hallowing.
We learn much about Paula in Jerome's voluminous writings. He tells of her luxurious Roman life, her wealth, and her very great status.
She, who had once always dressed in silks, and who had been used to being carried about Rome by her eunuch slaves so that her feet might never touch the ground, who was descended from Agamemnon, and whose husband was descended from Aeneas, had joined Marcella's group of high-born, wealthy Roman ladies, who together attempted to follow a life of monastic severity.
Jerome became their teacher, expounding the Scriptures to them. But he quarrelled with Church officials in Rome most bitterly and found it expedient to return to Bethlehem.
Paula and her daughter, Eustochium, joined him there, Paula leaving behind the rest of her children weeping on the quay. In the Holy Land Paula studied Hebrew so that she might sing the psalms, the chief early Christian devotional practice, in their original language and assist him in his translation work.
She lived for twenty years in Bethlehem, dying there in A.
We find other male scholars making the same statements of Heloise's letters, that they are Abelard's, yet that they are in a totally different style than his.
Paula and Eustochium begin their letter by stating that, although the Crucifixion may have made Jerusalem an accursed place, there is ample scriptural justification for Christians to return to that holy city. Paula relies not only on the Scriptures and upon her growing knowledge of Hebrew but also upon Cicero for her arguments, describing both St.
Paul speaking of his need to return to Jerusalem and Cicero speaking of his need to learn one's Greek not only in Sicily but in Athens, one's Latin not in Lilybaeum but in Rome. She adds, in a capstone to her argument, that Jerusalem is 'our Athens.
Jerome is also fond of this phrase, but states it the opposite way: Chaucer may have had it in mind with his Wife of Bath, who so often speaks of Jerome. Jerome writes the letter after Paula's death ingiving Paula's vita to her virgin daughter, Eustochium.
He does, however, mention the ' fables of the poets', de fabulis Poetarumin giving the tale of Andromeda chained to a rock, as happening at Joppa, which he notes was also the harbor of the fugitive Jonah.
He had earlier cited some lines of the Aeneid concerning the Greek Isles. But, unlike Paula, he does not show off his classical learning.
He is here being more Christian than Ciceronian. We recall his dream in which he is chided, or chides himself, by being told, 'Thou art not a Christian. Thou art a Ciceronian. He is writing in her praise as had Valerius in that of Egeria. The letter waxes most sentimental about her parting from her family members, describing her as torn between the love of her children and her love for God.
Then he describes her entering into the cave of the Nativityweeping and as if seeing the Virgin wrapping the Child in swaddling clothes and placing him in the manger between the ox and the ass written of in the Prophets, the Magi adoring him, the star shining above, the Mother nursing the Child, the shepherds coming by night and seeing the Word which was made flesh as John wrote in the beginning of his Gospel: Her zeal was wonderful - her courage scarcely credible for a woman.
Forgetful of her sex and the weakness of her frame, she desired to dwell with her maidens among so many thousands of monks' in the Egyptian Thebaid, but returned to Jerusalem.History Camp brings together people from all walks of life who are passionate about history.
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