Archive E.J. Hutchinson Nota Bene Reformed Irenicism

Luther on Jerome and Aesop

While we’re on the subject of Martin Luther and Classical authors, a comment in which he compares Aesop and Jerome, about whom he expresses a deep ambivalence. This is also from his Tabletalk (no. 445).1

Ergo nullum doctorem scio, quem aeque oderim, cum tamen ardentissime eum amaverim et legerim.2 In Aesopo certe plus est eruditionis quam in toto Hieronymo.

Therefore I know of no doctor [of the church] whom I hate equally, although, still, I have loved and read him most eagerly. Surely there is more instruction in Aesop than in all of Jerome.3

  1. The translation is my own.
  2. One is reminded here of Catullus’ odi et amo (Catullus 85).
  3. For some discussion of this excerpt and the rest of the Tabletalk entry, see here. Carl Springer has also written a book-length treatment of Luther and Aesop.

By E.J. Hutchinson

E.J. Hutchinson is Assistant Professor of Classics at Hillsdale College.