I am currently working on a passage in St. Jerome's commentary to Ezekiel where he writes the following (transl. from Scheck's recent edition, p. 155):
but when they washed their feet and cleansed them from all defilement, they are shod in ὑακίνθινις or ιανθινις, each of which pertains to the colors ἀέρίον and κύανέον, so that they are caught up to meet the Lord in the air (Thess 4,17) and hasten to the heavenly kingdom
A number of points:
1. He seems to be purposefully giving the color terms in Greek (I've double-checked this in the ancient, important manuscripts). Any clue why? Perhaps these words (i.e. ὑακίνθινις and ιανθινις) were not common at the time (at least as garment colors), and Jerome borrowed the identification from some other literary, presumably Greek, source? The second word however, is attested somewhat.
2. Jerome seems to be drawing a connection between the color (ἀέρίον and κύανέον) and the fact that " they are caught up to meet the Lord in the air". This works well for the first color term. How does the second one, κύανέον, fit into the metaphor? Perhaps the referent is the sky? (Do we find contemporaneous usage of this color term in reference to the sky?)
3. The color of ιανθινις is undoubtedly violet (there are sources in which ὑακίνθινις is this color too). How does this fit in with the statement that it "pertains to the colors ἀέρίον and κύανέον"? Perhaps this is more of a metaphorical connection than an accurate color definition? Or maybe κύανέον retained additional meanings in Jerome's time, besides for blue?
Any ideas and help are greatly appreciated!