This article is intended as a case study to introduce students to the life and work of St Jerome,
and more specifically to his exegetical method. Letter 21 to Pope Damasus contains Jerome’s
interpretation of the parable of the Prodigal Son and offers the ideal text to read with third year
or honours Latin students. Since Professor Dircksen has a special interest in the teaching and
learning of Latin, this contribution is meant for that section of the Festschrift. My aim is twofold:
firstly, to offer an introduction to the text, focusing on several aspects which illustrate Jerome’s
exegetical method; and secondly, to illustrate how this material can be presented to students.
Students are introduced to a well-known patristic author’s approach to a biblical text, but in
this process, they are taught how to approach any text themselves.