Though having pursued encyclopedic studies, he was seized by the desire to lead an ascetic life and retired to the desert of Antioch, where he lived in penance. Having become a priest on condition that he could maintain his independence as a monk, he began an intense literary activity. In Rome, he assisted Pope Damasus and, upon his death, he returned to Jerusalem where he took part in many debates on faith, establishing not far from the Church of the Nativity, the monastery in which he died. Of fiery character, especially in his writings, he was never a mystic and was the source of consensus as well as of controversy, railing against vices and hypocrisy. An untiring writer, great scholar and excellent translator, to him we owe the Latin version of the Bible, to which he added comments that, together with those on the books of the Prophets, are still important today.