Jerome, Commentary on Galatians, [J.P. Migne, Editor]. Patrologiae Tomus XXVI. Paris: D’Ambroise, Pres La Barriere D’Enfer, ou Petit-Montrouge, 1845. pp. 307-438.
As Jerome opens the second book of his commentary on Galatians he considers the heritage of the Galatians. Referring to Varro and Vergil, Jerome identifies the Galatians as an immigrant people from Gaul (Jerome, Galatians, 353). However, he does retain the possibility that there were some Greek and “oriental” elements in the people (Jerome, Galatians, 354). Jerome observes at length that people from various places have a multi-ethnic heritage, so they may well be better identified with their current location rather than their ancestry. He observes that this is especially important within Christianity, as Christians are idenfied by their allegialce to Christ, not by their place of residence or origin (Jerome, Galatians, 355). Jerome continues by laying out some of the principles which unify Christians, such as care for one another, sharing in goods, and giving dignity to others. What impresses Jerome is that the Galatians, from these Christian ideals, have become those Paul would call “fools” (Jerome, Galatians, 356). Then again, Jerome is aware of and lists numerous schisms and heresies which have arisen in Galatia, so perhaps it isn’t as inconceivable as he suggested.
At issue for Jerome, as for Paul, is human inability to be justified by the Law (Jerome, Galatians, 357). Salvation is not from human works, but by Christ’s work of redeeming a people from the Law. Jerome draws from numerous passages of Scripture to confirm that salvation is only found in Christ’s death on behalf of the believer (Jerome, Galatians, 358).