La memoria consolatrice: riuso dei classici e ricodificazione letteraria nell'epist. 60 di S. Girolamo
Saint Jerome, a highly industrious polygraph, considerably neglected the stylistic and rythmic aspects of his exegetical, polemical, homiletical and chronographic prose; his epistolary, however, is in this sense a very notable exception. The ep. 60, written to Heliodorus in 396 marks a different and specific stylistic choice. Scourfield, in his recent edition, comes to the conclusion that “his letter of consolation to Heliodorus is testimony to how an emergent culture can absorb and assimilate the history and literature of the culture it is supplanting”. From this affirmation the textual analysis carried out in this paper takes its cue, recovering its diverse sources, both pagan and Christian. Indeed, in this epistle we find a combination of pagan laudatio funebris and reminiscences from the Scriptures, as well as from Virgil, the Ciceronian consolatio ad se ipsum (the latter openly declared by Jerome), and from St Paul’s meditatio mortis and cotidie morior (probably following in the footsteps of Ambrose’s de excessu Satyri). The pagan literary loci quoted by Saint Jerome are almost exclusively of pre-Christian authors; thus, it is as if the watershed marked by the Resurrection of Christ was felt to make impossible the fruition of the non-Christian literature composed in an Age illuminated by the Christan message: hence the only pagan texts which the author admits, as it were, into his own text are those written entirely ante Christum natum.