First English edition of the Nuremberg chronicle: being the Liber chronicarum of Dr. Hartmann Schedel…

Jerome (Hieronymus), a very pious and celebrated teacher, cardinal of the Roman church, and a priest, whose father was Eusebius, was born in the city of Stridonium, which was devastated by the Goths. To some extent it was bounded by Dalmatia and Pannonia. This man, brilliant in the learning and art of all the world, lived at Bethlehem in the land of Palestine, and enlightened that same country. Too much cannot be said of the extent to which he promoted the churches of God by his life and writings, while his most holy life brilliantly shone before all mankind. His teachings and writings are highly esteemed and held in veneration; for he was a very eloquent man and knew many tongues and writings. When he came to Rome he was consecrated a cardinal and priest. Gregory (Gregorius) Nazianzen was his master and teacher in the Holy Scriptures. Subsequently he donned the garb of monks in the desert of Syria. After four years he returned to Bethlehem. There with verse and the writing of many books he erected an invulnerable tower for the Christian churches against the poisoned darts of unbelievers. It is impossible to comprehend all that concerns this pious man. Once at vespers while St. Jerome and his brethren were sitting at a lecture, a great lion came limping into the cloister. The brethren were frightened, but Jerome approached the lion as a guest. And the lion showed Jerome his wounded feet; and Jerome healed them. And the lion lived among them as a domestic animal. At last, in the time of Honorius and Theodosius the Younger, at Bethlehem of Palestine, Jerome completed the ninety-eighth year of his life and journed to Christ.[Jerome (whose name in Latin was Eusebius Sophronius Hieronymus) was born about 342 at Stridonium in Dalmatia. His father, Eusebius, was rich, and as his son showed a disposition for learning, he was sent to Rome to complete his studies. There, through his own passions and evil company he fell into temptation, and for a time abandoned himself to worldly pleasures. He took up the law and became a celebrated lawyer. When over 30, he traveled to Gaul, visiting the schools of learning. It was about this time he was baptized, and vowed perpetual celibacy. In 373 he went east to animate his piety by dwelling for a time in the places where Jesus lived. On his way he visited some of the famous hermits and ascetics, of whom he has given a graphic account, and who inspired him to a monastic life of solitude. Shortly after his arrival in Syria, he retired to the desert in Chalcis on the confines of Arabia; and there he spent four years in study and seclusion. He has left us a most vivid picture of his life in penance, his trials and temptations, his fastings and his sickness of soul and body in the wilderness. He overcame the difficulties of Hebrew; and then, wearied by the religious controversies of the East, he returned to Rome, where he boldly combated the luxurious self-indulgence of the clergy, and preached religious abstinence and mortification. After three years at Rome he returned to Palestine, taking up residence in a monastery he had founded at Bethlehem. He died there in 420, leaving, beside his famous translation of the Scriptures into the Latin tongue (called The Vulgate) numerous controversial writings, epistles and commentaries. Jerome, Ambrose, Augustine and Gregory are called the Four Latin Fathers or Doctors.]

Paula, Roman matron of marvelous piety, disciple of St. Jerome and daughter-in-Christ, died in this year at Bethlehem (like St. Martin), on the 27th day of January at the age of 56 years. Her worthiness, retired life, abandonment of the fatherland, and her wanderings to Jerusalem, are spoken of by St. Jerome with great praise in a small book in which he described her pilgrimages to holy places, her humility and moderation, her kind deeds to the poor, her incredible patience, deeds, and faith, her firmness against heretics, her blessed demise, and the assembly of the holy at her interment. They say this Paula was descended of the race of Agamemnon, the king who destroyed Troy. She was espoused to a renowned man born of the Roman Julian family. On her tomb he (i.e., Jerome) inscribed the following verse: You are gazing upon a narrow tomb made from hewn rock. It is the resting place of Paula, who holds the celestial kingdoms, etc.

Jerome was particularly remarkable for his influence over the Roman women. We find them subdued or excited by his eloquent exhortations, devoting themselves to perpetual chastity, distributing their possessions among the poor, attending the sick, and ready to follow their teacher to the Holy Land – to the desert – even to death. His most famous female convert was Paula, the noble Roman matron, a descendant of the Scipios and the Gracchi.

All the text from the phrase "On her tomb…" until the end of this paragraph is not in the German edition of the Chronicle.

Pelagius, a certain monk, and very evil heretic, went from Rome to England, and poisoned this whole island with his despicable errors; for he proclaimed that any person may be saved without the grace of God, and that a man might be influenced to righteousness by his own conduct and his own virtue. He also said that children are born without sin, and that it is not necessary to baptize them to relieve them of their inherited sins. But the holy Augustine, together with other priests, mightily opposed this heretic, and wrote a book on the baptism of children. Jerome also wrote a book against this heretic.

Pelagius (c. 360-c. 420) was an early British theologian, of whose origin little is known. He seems to have been one of the earliest of those remarkable men who issued from the monasteries of Scotland and Ireland, and carried back to the Continent in a purified form the religion they received from it. Coming to Rome in the beginning of the fifth century (his earliest known writing is from 405), he found a scandalously low tone of morality prevalent; but his remonstrances were met by the plea of human weakness. To remove this plea by exhibiting the actual powers of human nature became his first object. It seemed to him that the Augustinian doctrine of total depravity and of the consequent bondage of the will both cut the sinew of all human effort and threw upon God the blame that really belonged to man. His practical counsels are marked by sagacity, and are expressed with the succinctness of a proverb. When Rome was sacked by the Goths, Pelagius and his friend Coelestius, who had abandoned the legal profession for an ascetic life, crossed to Africa. Soon afterwards Pelagius sailed for Palestine, where he expected his opinions to be more cordially received, while his companion remained at Carthage with a view of receiving ordination. But the bishop of Carthage, being warned, summoned a synod, at which Coelestius was charged with holding the following six errors: (1) that Adam would have died even if he had not sinned; (2) that the sin of Adam injured himself alone, not the human race; (3) that new-born children are in the same condition in which Adam was before the fall; (4) that the whole human race does not die because of Adam's death or sin, nor will the race rise again because of the resurrection of Christ; (5) that the law gives entrance to heaven as well as the gospel; (6) that even before the coming of Christ there were men who were entirely without sin. To these propositions a seventh is sometimes added, "that infants, though unbaptized, have eternal life," a corollary from the third. Although Coelestius maintained that these were open questions on which the church had never pronounced, the synod condemned and excommunicated him. After a futile appeal to Rome, he went to Ephesus and there received ordination.

In Palestine Pelagius lived unmolested and revered until 415, when he was cited by Jerome before John, the bishop of Jerusalem, and charged with holding that man may be without sin, if he only desires it. This prosecution broke down, but in December of the same year Pelagius was summoned before a synod of 14 bishops; and although he repudiated the assertion of Coelestius, that the divine grace and help consists only in free will, and in the giving of law and instruction, he at the same time affirmed that a man is able, if he likes, to live without sin and keep the commandments of God, inasmuch as God gives him this ability. They synod expressed itself satisfied with these statements, but in 418 Zosimus, bishop of Rome, invited the bishops of Christendom to subscribe to a condemnation of Pelagian opinions, and the cause of Pelagius was rendered hopeless when the Eastern Church (Ephesus 431) confirmed the decision of the West. Pelagius himself disappears after 420.

The first principle of Pelagianism is a theory that affirms the freedom of the will, in the sense that in each volition, and at each moment of life, no matter what the previous career of the individual has been, the will is in equipoise, able to choose good or evil. We are born characterless and with no bias towards good or evil. It follows that we are uninjured by the sin of Adam, save in so far as the evil example of our predecessors misleads and influences us. There is in fact no such thing as original sin, sin being a thing of will and not of nature; for if it could be of nature, our sin would be chargeable to God the creator. This will, capable of good as of evil, being the natural endowment of man, is found in the pagan as well as in the Christian, and the pagan may therefore perfectly keep such law as they know. Pelagius maintains that it is the human will which takes the initiative, and is the determining factor in the salvation of the individual; while the Church maintains that it is the divine will that takes the initiative by renewing and enabling the human will to accept and use the aid or grace offered by God.

Alexis (Alexius), a Roman, a very holy and worthy confessor, died at Rome, unbeknown, on the 16th day of the month of July, under a staircase in the house of his father, a counsellor named Eufemian, after much patient suffering; and he ascended to God. The emperors Arcadius and Honorius were present at his interment; for, by the will of God, he left a very beautiful spouse.

Alexis was born of a mother who had long been sterile. He escaped from the nuptial chamber, deserted his bride, and lived in exile from his country in great poverty; but where is not stated. He returned to his native place, where he took up his abode in the house of his parents, unknown to them, and was abused and mocked by the servants; he finally disclosed himself to his parents. Immediately the clergy, the emperor, and all the people crowded to see him, and to witness the miracles he wrought. He was buried by the patriarch in the presence of the emperor and a great train of monks. There were various accounts of this saint—a Greek life, a Syriaic life, and an Arabic life. According to the Acts, Alexis was born at Rome where his father, Euthemian, was a senator. His mother's name was Aglamades. According to some of these versions Alexis spent seventeen years in his father's house, lodged in the atrium, and fed on scraps from the kitchen. The servants used to mock him and throw dishwater over him.

According to the Latin version Alexis died at Rome, and it was not long before the stone step under which he had spent so many years in his father's house was also found. This step is now in the church of Alexis, and those who venerate it on ordinary days receive indulgence of one hundred years, and forty times as many on every double festival and in Lent. The Acts say nothing about his having lived under a step, but popular imagination speedily amplified the story and gave the saint a den in which to sleep under the stairs of his father's mansion.

John (Iohannes), surnamed Chrysostom (Crisostomus), a bishop of Constantinople, came to rest in peace at this time. He led a Christian life in word, example, and teaching. At the hands of Eudoxia and Arcadius he suffered many hardships for defending truth and righteousness. Also, in addition to his great holiness, he wrote very elegant books and sermons and letters.

John Chrysostom was born at Antioch of illustrious parents. He lost his father when young, and his mother superintended his education with care and intelligence. At the age of 20 he was already a renowned pleader at the bar, but six years later he felt a strong urge to retire from the world altogether. The law became hateful to him and he wanted to become a hermit. For a time he yielded to the entreaties of his mother not to leave her. However, two years later he fled society, passing five or six years in the wilderness near Antioch, devoting himself to reading the Bible, penance, and prayer. His abstinence was so severe that his health failed, and he was obliged to return to Antioch. Soon after he emerged from the desert, the bishop of Antioch ordained him and appointed him preacher. He entered on his true vocation as a Christian orator, the greatest next to Paul. He was next appointed patriarch of Constantinople, and was a model of a Christian bishop—humble, self-denying, content with little, hospitable to the poor, and an indefatigable preacher. He denounced vice and thundered against the irregularities of the monks, the profligacy of the Empress Eudoxia, and the servility of her flatterers. Because of that he brought down upon himself the vengeance of that haughty woman. He was banished; but the voice of the people obliged the empress to recall him. Persisting in his old course, he was again banished. On his way to exile, he sank under fatigue and the cruel treatment of his guards, who exposed him bare-headed and bare-footed to the burning sun of noon; and thus he perished at the age of sixty-three.

The last sentence in this paragraph is not in the German edition of the Chronicle.

Cassianus, also a monk, of Constantinople or Scythia, and a deacon of the aforesaid John (Iohannis) Chrysostom (Crisostomi), was sent to Marseilles (Masilliam) by the latter. There he built two monasteries, and collected many people of both sexes for monastic life. He wrote and left many and various books serviceable to the clergy.[Cassianus (aka, Joannes Eremita Cassianus, or Joannes Massiliensis) (360-435), a celebrated recluse, was one of the founders of the monasticism in the west. His early life was spent in the monastery of Bethlehem, and after dwelling for several years among the ascetics of the Nile desert, in 403 he went to Constantinople where he was ordained deacon by Chrysostom. Becoming a priest at Rome, he journeyed to Marseilles, where he founded a convent for nuns and the abbey of St. Victor. He was a Semi-Pelagian, and of these one of the first, maintaining that while the immediate gift of grace is necessary to salvation, conversion may begin by the exercise of man's will. He wrote two treatises on the monastic life, and a number of other works.]


Jerome. Represented by a large woodcut, in the robes and headdress of a cardinal, seated at a writing desk, with open books before him. Looking cut from behind him, its paws on a parapet, is the (rather sad-looking) lion he healed, and which became a domestic pet in the cloister according to legend. The artist has sanctified both man and beast by a nimbus.