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November 11, 1968


JAMA. 1968;206(7):1560-1561. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150070098021

We would like to call attention to an extraordinary prevision enunciated by the 4th century holy man, St. Jerome, who in describing what he saw in his own day also described what we see again now. Jerome, scholar and anchorite, and a man of strong dislikes, had renounced the world for a holy life. In one of his letters prescribing appropriate behavior, he admonished his correspondent, "Avoid those men also whom you see loaded with chains and wearing their hair long like a woman's,... and with all this a shaggy goat's beard, a black cloak, and bare feet braving the cold. All these things are plain signs of the devil.1

Ordinarily dress is simply one aspect of behavior, and there were many different kinds of behavior of which Jerome disapproved. The men he described would "deceive 'silly women laden with sins...' " These men would put on "a mournful face,