n HTS : Theological Studies - The crown of virginity, paradise regained : a study of Jerome’s ascetic exegesis in a selection of his works - research

Volume 75 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0259-9422
  • E-ISSN: 2072-8050



This article explores, in the first place, Jerome’s creation of pro-virginal propaganda in a selection of his treatises and letters, through the employment of scriptural justification by means of ascetic exegesis and rhetorical strategies. The study focuses, in particular, on his Epistulae 22 and 130, both addressed to virgins, and his treatise Adversus Iovinianum. Jerome interpreted and deployed carefully selected biblical texts and employed classical rhetorical conventions to construct his ascetic ideal mainly based on sexual renunciation. The article argues that by extolling the virginal body through metaphorical figurations and careful textualisation, this ‘apostle of virginity’ aimed to create, in the first instance, for ascetically minded virgins, a means of achieving perfection and union with God, and receiving the awards of heaven. The analysis of the selected works and of Jerome’s ascetic exegesis, however, also reveals some significant markers, indicating his own carefully disguised quest for personal redemption and regaining paradise.

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


Article metrics loading...


This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error