Jeromes exegesis and translation of Ecclesiastes, written 1600 years ago, shows methodological particularities now being rediscovered in modern biblical hermeneutics.
This study on Jeromes exegesis and translation on Ecclesiastes 1:1-11 shows the following particularities:Ƒ) Jerome tried to be faithful to the Hebraic understanding of the text on the basis of the study of Hebrew materials, such as Aquila, Theodocion, Symmachus, etc.(vv. 2, 5, 10b). Showing Christological understanding of the text on the basis of the clear understanding of the Hebrew text, he succeeded to reduce the subjective element of Origins spiritual(allegorical) interpretation of the biblical text.
ƒ) Jerome tried to perceive the particularities of the development and the structure of the contents of the text on the basis of the observation of the textual context and the textual interrelationship(vv. 3, 9-10a, 11; cf. vv. 12, 16).
Ɠ) Jerome tried to be faithful to Hebraic expression, structure and meaning in his translation and showed the practice of close reading with his careful observation and analysis of the text in his exegesis(vv. 1-2, 4, 9, 11; cf. v. 16). He tried to single out Christological meanings on this basis.
Ɣ) He tried to find out the real meaning of the text wrapped in the metaphoric.
ƕ) In his translation he tried to reflect the own characteristics of target language(Latin) with his reader-oriented translation, while maintaining the contents of the Hebrew text(vv. 3, 5, 11; cf. v. 7). Especially he tried to represent the elegancy and fluency of the Latin expression in his Vulgate(vv. 3, 5, 10b[=MT v. 10], cf. v. 16).
It cannot be denied there was some deficiency in his exegesis and translation from the modern point of view. But his close analysis of the biblical text provides lots of interpretative insights for us not only for the methodological principles of the translation and exegesis of the text but also for solving interpretative matters unsolved yet.