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Home > Fathers of the Church > Letters of St. Jerome > Letter 28

Letter 28

To Marcella

An explanation of the Hebrew word Selah. This word, rendered by the LXX. διάψαλμα and by Aquila εί, was as much a crux in Jerome's day as it is in ours. Some, he writes, make it a 'change of metre,' others 'a pause for breath,' others 'the beginning of a new subject.' According to yet others it has something to do with rhythm or marks a burst of instrumental music. Jerome himself inclines to follow Aquila and Origen, who make the word mean forever, and suggests that it betokens completion, like the explicit or feliciter in contemporary Latin manuscripts. Written at Rome A.D. 384.

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Source. Translated by W.H. Fremantle, G. Lewis and W.G. Martley. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Second Series, Vol. 6. Edited by Philip Schaff and Henry Wace. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1893.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. <http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/3001028.htm>.

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