Redeam (Jerome, Epist. 22, 36, 3): A Solecism?'
Jerome concludes the celebrated excursus on monasticism in his Libellus de virginitate servanda (Epist. 22) as follows: nunc ad propositum redeam, quia de avaritia disserens ad monachos veneram (36, 3). Recently de Vogüe has lavished a massive treatment on Jerome's Libellus in general and on this thirty-sixth chapter in particular 2 . De Vogüe is clearly embarrassed by the form redeam, which he translates ambiguously as «je reviens» 3 ; elsewhere he significantly mis-cites the word as an unambiguously subjunctive plural: nunc ad propositum redeamus 4 . The immediately antecedent first-person singular future 5 . Moreover a slightly earlier chapter of the Libellus (31, 5) had quoted the Old Latin version of Job 1, 21 (nudus exivi de utero matris meae, nudus et redeam), in which redeam is indubitably future 6 . Both of these foregoing futures would naturally lead the reader to take the redeam of the present passage as another one 7 .
1 Works are cited according to the conventions of Thesaurus Linguae Latinae: índex librorum scriptorum inscripionum 2 , Leipzig 1990. 2 A. de Vogüé, Histoire littéraire du mouvement monastique dans l'antiquité 1: Le monachisme latin; De la mort d'Antoine á la fin du séjour de Jéróme á Rome (356-385), Paris 1991, 235-325, of which no fewer than eight pages (315-22) are devoted just to ch. 36, which occupies a mere 17 unes of CSEL text. 3 0.c. (n. 2) 316. 4 0.c. (n. 2) 245, n. 88. 5 horum laborem et conversationem in carne, non carnis, alio tempore, si volueris,
explicabo nunc ad propositum redeam.
6 It translates LXX durrcXeixrown. 7 In the whole of Jerome's vast literary output there is only one other case of a redeam which could be a future indicative rather than a present subjunctive (Adv. Rufin, 2, 11). Translators of this text evince a tellingly similar embarrassment to de Vogüé's: while J. Bareille, Oeuvres complétes de S. Jérbme 3, Paris 1878, 100 gives the same equivocal rendering «je reviens», the same unwarranted transformation into a plural («revenons-en») is