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The Apostolic Fathers

The Apostolic Fathers by J.B. Lightfoot: Part I, Volume 2: Hippolytus of Portus

§ 5.


With most writers the obvious order would be the life first and the works afterwards. The works are the fruits and consequence of the life; the works live and flourish after the life is ended. But with Hippolytus it is convenient to reverse the natural order. We know next to nothing about Hippolytus except what we learn from his own works; and, as the genuineness of the productions ascribed to him is beset in many cases with great difficulties, we are quite powerless to deal with the life, until the preliminary questions affecting these are first settled.


In the following account I have been greatly assisted by J. A. Fabricius Bibl. Graec. VII. p. 183 sq (ed. Harles); Bunsen Hippolytus and His Age I. p. 514 sq (1854); Caspari Taufsymbol u. Glaubensregel III. p. 377 sq; and especially Salmon in Smith-Wace's Dict. of Christ. Biogr. III. p. 91 sq s. v. 'Hippolytus Romanus,' whose list is the most careful and complete.

His work may be divided conveniently for my purpose into four classes;

(A) Biblical and Exegetical;
(B) Theological and Apologetic;
(C) Historical and Chronological;
(D) Heresiological.

Where a strictly logical classification is impossible, and where in many cases either from the character of writing itself or from the defect of our information wwe may doubt where to place any particular work, this rough division will suffice.


  1. The Muratorian Canon. The reasons for assigning this work to Hippolytus require to be stated in full, and are given in a separate section. See below, p. 405 sq.

  2. On the Hexaemeron. This work on the days of Creation seems to have been well known in early times. It is mentioned in several lists, and Jerome (AR. 8. g) tells us more especially that S. Ambrose in his extant work on the same subjects made great use of it. Some fragments are given in Lagarde, p. 123-141. The reference to Jerome to the charge brought against himself or misinterpretation in explaining the odd and even days of Creation (AR. 8. d) must be to this work.

  3. On the Sequel to the Hexaemeron. This work (εις τα μετα την εξαημερον) is mentioned by Eusebius and others. The commentary In Genesim, included by Jerome in his list, is probably the same. It would deal with certain passages in the patriarchal history. Jerome elsewhere (AR. 8. c) gives a mystical interpretation of one of these from Hippolytus. Isaac symbolizes God the Father, Rebecca the Holy Spirit, etc.

  4. On Exodus, only in Jerome's list. It is questionable whether η ωδη η μεγαλη in Theodoret's quotation (AR. 12. b) has anything to do with the Song of Moses Exod. 15.

  5. On the Benedictions of Balaam. This work is quoted by Leontius


    of Byzantium (AR. 21. b), but there is a v. 1. Αβρααμ for Βαλααμ (see Lagarde, p. 140). The blessings of Balaam are a more likely subject to have been chosen by Hippolytus; and a copyist would be tempted to substitute the commoner word Αβρααμ. The extract itself contains nothing which is decisive.

    Fabricius (II. p. 33 sq) gives extracts from some Arabic MSS at Oxford of a Catena on the Pentateuch, which contains numerous passages ascribed to 'Hippolytus the expositor of the Targum.' We are not encouraged either by the source of these extracts, or by their contents, to regard them as a genuine work of our Hippolytus.

  6. On Elkanah and Hannah. This discourse is twice quoted by Theodoret (AR. 12. a, b).

  7. On Saul and the Witch of Endor (περι Σαουλ και πυθωνος) or, as it is described on the chair, [εις την εγ]γαστριμυθον. It is also found in Jerome's list. This same incident is made the subject of a discussion by Hippolytus' contemporary Origen; and his representation of it was considered to be so important that it was specially answered by Eustathius of Antioch. The two tracts have been recently edited together by Jahn in Gebhardt u. Harnack Texte u. Untersuchungen, 1886.

  8. On the Psalms. Theodoret (AR. 12) quotes from the commentary on the 2nd, the 23rd, the 24th, and (if he means this by την ωδην την μεγαλην), the 119th Psalm. See also in Migne (p. 611) a fragment on the 77th Psalm, published by Bandini (Catal. Cod. Graec. Medic. I. p. 91). There is likewise a possibility that the Demonstration against the Jews may be a commentary on Ps. lxix.

    There is also a long passage extant (Lagarde, p. 187 sq) entitled the 'hypothesis' or 'introduction of Hippolytus the bishop of Rome to the Psalms,' which seems to show the influence of Origen's Hexapla (Overbeck Quaest Hippol. p. 6 sq). The genuine introduction of Hippolytus appears to be preserved in the corresponding Syriac (Lagarde's Anal. Syr. p. 83), and confirms Overbeck's view, as pointed out by Salmon ('Hippolytus Romanus,' p. 103). The writer of the extant Greek fragment has worked together materials of Hippolytus and Origen. We find a characteristic trait of Hippolytus which appears much more definitely in the Syriac than in the Greek. In the Chronicon he enumerated the 72 nations of the earth (25 from Shem, 15 from Japhet, 32 from Ham); and in the Philosophumena (X. 20) he refers to his enumeration. Now in the Syriac fragment he tells how David's four chief singers had each 72 players of instruments under him, corresponding to the 72 nations, which again he distributes in the same way, 25 to Shem, 16 to Japhet, and 32 to Ham.

  9. 391

  10. On the Proverbs, mentioned in several lists. Some fragments are given in Lagarde, p. 196; and one long additional passage in Migne p. 616 sq from Mai Bibl. Nov. VII. ii. p. 71 (1854).

  11. On Ecclesiastes, mentioned by Jerome. A quotation is given by S. de Magistris as from Anastasius of Sinai, but it is not in the printed editions; comp. Lagarde p. 201.

  12. On the Song of Songs in several lists; see Lagarde p. 200 sq. Apparently extant in a Syriac translation; Assem. Bibl. Orient. I. p. 607.

  13. On Isaiah, mentioned by Jerome. Theodoret (AR. 12. a) quotes from the beginning of it. See Lagarde Hippol. p. 142 and Anal. Syr. p. 87.

  14. On Jeremiah. At least Assemani (Bibl. Or. I. p. 607) mentions the existence of such a work, but does not state whether it is a complete commentary.

  15. On parts of Ezekiel, in the list of Eusebius. The owrk on 'the four living creatures' is mentioned by Assemani (Bibl. Or. I. p. 607) as extant in a Syriac translation.

  16. On Daniel, in most of the lists, though not in Eusebius. Apparently a very popular work and several times quoted (AR. 8. h, 18, 32, 33, 35). This work is the subject of a careful monograph by Bardenhewer (1877), who had pointed out that the long and important Chigi fragment (Lagarde p. 151 sq) does not preserve the Commentary of Hippolytus in the original form. For the fragments known when this work was written see Lagarde p. 145 sq, Migne p. 633 sq. Quite recently a very important discovery has been made. Georgiades has published in the Εκκλησιαστικη Αληθεια, May 1885 for the first time, Anal. Syr. περι `ορασεως του προφητου Δανιηλ λογος δ', and is preparing a greater work for which he is collating in the libraries of Europe. Meanwhile Kennedy (Dublin 1885) has reprinted the Greek text with an English translation. As the fourth book contains the last six chapters, Georgiades infers that λογος α contained the History of Susannah, λογος β the Song of the Three Children, and λογος γ the earlier portion of the Canonical Daniel. On p. 13 εν τηι προ ταυτης βιβλωι σεσημανται we ought probably in the light of this new discovery to see a reference to the 3rd book, as the prophet was divided in Hippolytus. Hippolytus states (p. 42) that our Lord was born on viii Kal. Jan. on the 4th day, in the 55th year of Augustus being the 5500th year from Adam; and that He was crucified in His 33rd year, on viii Kal. Apr. on Friday (παρασκευηι) in the 18th year of Tiberius, in the consulship of Rufus (Fufius) and Rubellio, or (as it elsewhere expressed) 'duobus Geminis' (see I. p. 253). He thus places the Crucifixion on March 25 A.D. 29, and the Birth on


    Dec. 25 B.C. 4, which he regards as the 42nd of Augustus. If this be the genuine text of Hippolytus (and there seems no reason to doubt it), the information is highly important. It shows that the date which we find elsewhere for the Crucifixion in the Liberian chronicle expresses Hippolytus' deliberate view. This date also of the Crucifixion is involved in the Paschal Tables. For the reasons which led Hippolytus to fix on this day, though not the real full-moon in A.D. 29, see Salmon in Smith-Wace Dict. of Christ. Biogr. s.v. 'Chronicon Canisianum' I. p. 506; 'Hippolytus Romanus' III. p. 92 sq; and Hermathena I. p. 96. But it has a still more important bearing. In the corresponding fragment in the Chisian fragment of Daniel (Lagarde p. 153) we have exactly the same statement επαθε δε τωι πριακοστωι τριτωι ετει, though without the same particulars. Salmon (Hermath. l.c.) expresses his surprise that, while Hippolytus defends the authenticity of the fourth Gospel and founds his chronology of the passover on S. John (see III. p. 104), he has not in the Paschal Tables and in the Chronicle made the usual inference from S. John's account as to the duration of our Lord's ministry. This indeed would be the more surprising because his master Irenaeus not only does this, but exaggerates the inference from S. John, alleging the tradition of the elders that Christ's ministry extended over many years and thus refuting the Valentinian argument for their thirty aeons derived from the thirty years of Christ's earthly life1. He therefore supposes that 'thirty third' was a transcriber's correction in the Christian fragment to improve the chronology. Now however that this new authority is discovered it seems impossible to maintain this view. If the crucifixion which he certainly places 'duobus Geminis' i.e. A.D. 29, and the duration of our Lord's life to His 33rd year, are both inconsistent with the reckonings of the Chronicle and the Paschal Tables, the inconsistency must be allowed. The real difficulty is with the Paschal Tables, where the ΓENECIC XC is placed on iv Non. Apr. in the 2nd year of the first cycle, and the PAΘOC XC on viii. Kal. April in the 16th year of the second, thus making an interval of 31 years with a few days between the two, it being assumed that the ΓENECIC means the visitation. As the Commentary on Daniel was apparently written much earlier than the other works, perhaps Hippolytus saw some way meanwhile of fitting in the three passovers of S. John into his later chronology. At all events he cannot have been unaware of the difficulty.

    In the ordinary Greek Bibles Susannah precedes, the Song of the Three Children follows, and last comes the Book of Daniel proper.

    1 Iren. Haer. ii. 22; see Essays on Supernatural Religion, p. 245 sq.


    This was doubtless the case with the copy of Hippolytus. The long fragment (Lagarde p. 145 sq) relating to Susannah has every appearance of being the introduction to the whole work. Hippolytus begins by explaining why, though the events took place later, they are recorded at the beginning of the work (η ιστορια γεγενηται υστερον, προεγραφη δε της βιβλου προωτης); for it was customary, he adds, for the scribes to record things in reversed order (υστεροπρωτα), as we find with many visions of the prophets. It is needless to say that Susannah signifies the Church, and the two elders are the two peoples, the Jewish and the Gentile. This mystical interpretation constituted its great attraction to the fathers. But what is the Little Daniel, which according to Ebedjesu (AR. 36) Hippolytus commented on? It is commonly explained of the ordinary LXX apocryphal additions to Daniel (Susanna, the Three Chrildren, Bel and the Dragon); but these would all be included ordinarily under Daniel, and in Ebedjesus list Susannah is specially mentioned. In Wrights Syriac MSS Brit. Mus. I. p. 19 (see above, p. 350 sq) there is a fragment from the 'Daniel the less (or the youth) on our Lord and the end of the world.' It seems to be a distinctly apocryphal writing. Daniel is represented as preaching the future judgment in the language of S. John's Gospel 'He will come to His own, and His own will not recognise Him...I am not able to explain who He is, but by the Spirit in a mystery. The servant is not able to overcome his master, but I give signs and preach concerning Him.'

    The book recovered and published by Georgiades evidently preserves the Commentary of Hippolytus in its original form. Bardenhewer had surmised that in the long fragment of the Chisian MS (Largarde p. 151-168) it was much compressed; and this new discovery has confirmed his suspicion.

    Moreover this new discovery throws some light on the date of the work. Bardenhewer (p. 68), impressed by the language used of the persecutions of the Church, places it as early as 202. To this early date Salmon (III. p. 104) objects, calling attention to the fact that according to Eusebius (H. E. vi) Judas, writing on the 70 weeks of Daniel, brought his chronography down to the 10th year of Severus and maintained that the coming of Antichrist was imminent (ηδη τοτε παρειναι), and he argues that at least a dozen years must have elapsed to 'allow the minds of the Christians to cool down.' But now that we have the complete words of Hippolytus, we see that the excitement was still at a red heat and that probably this treatise was written to calm men's fears. He mentions apparently this very Judas; 'I will relate,' he says, 'what took place not long ago (το συμβαν ου προ πολλου χρονου) in Syria,' where a


    certain leader of the Church led himself and others astray, persuading 'many of the brethren with their wives and children to go out into the wilderness to meet Christ.' He adds that if his wife, who was also a Christian, had not been wiser than himself and prevailed upon the governor, he would have slain them all as robbers. He mentions also another ruler of a church in Pontus, whom I do not know whether it is possible to identify, 'a pious and humble man, but with no firm grasp (μη προσεχων ασφαλως) of the scriptures,' who, misled by visions, staked his credit on the immediate coming, and the people sold their lands accordingly.

  17. On Zachariah, mentioned by Jerome.

  18. On S. Matthew. This is not included in Jerome's list, but he himself (AR. 8. i) especially elsewhere mentions Hippolytus as having written on this Gospel. De Magistris has given an extract on επιουσιος in the Lord's prayer, purporting to come from Hippolytus (Migne p. 700); and quite recently Gwynn has printed and translated from the Syriac of Dionysius Barsalibi (Hermathena VII. p. 137, 1889) a long and important comment on Matt. xxiv. 15-22, which may have come from this work. Indeed Barsalibi (p. 142) seems to state this 'in the Commentary on the Gospel,' as if distinguishing it from an earlier quotation taken from some other work. Assemani (Bibl. Or. I. p. 607) mentions Hippolytus as writing on the five persons omitted in S. Matthew's genealogy.

  19. From the way in which they are quoted by Theodoret (AR. 12. b, c) The Discourse on the Distribution of the Talents, and The Discourse on the Two Thieves would seem to have been separate homilies, not portions of a Commentary.

    What may be the source of the fragments relating to the early chapters of S. Luke (Lagarde p. 202), we do not know. There is no notice of any Commentary on this Gospel. They may have been taken from the περι οικονομιας, or from almost any of his theological works.

  20. Defence of the Gospel and Apocalypse of S. John. From the preposition (`υπερ, not περι) and from the association of the two works together, it is a safe inference that this was an apologetic work, directed against those persons who objected to both works alike, because they described our Lord as the Λογοσ; but they must have contained much exegetical matter. Indeed we may suspect that Epiphanius borrowed the name αλογοι 'the irrational ones,' from Hippolytus; for these jokes are very much in his way; e.g. νοντος, ανοντος (ix. 10), and δοκος, δοκειν, δοκηται (viii. 1). Dionysius Barsalibi states that Hippolytus, like Irenaeus, hods the Apocalypse to have been written by John the Evangelist under Domitian (Gwynn Hermathena VII. p. 137.


    The Heads against Gaius are mentioned in the list of Ebedjesu (AR. 37) as a separate work. But they have every appearance of being extracts from that part of this apologetic work which relates to the Apocalypse. I have already considered what relation these bear to the notices of other writers relating to Gaius the Roman presbyter (p. 388).


  22. Demonstratio c. Judaeos (Αποδεικτικη προς Ιουδαιους). A large portion of this treatise was first published by Fabricius (II. p. 2 sq) from a Vatican MS communicated to thim by Montfaucon.

    But besides this Greek portion De Magistris (p. 435 sq) connected with it, as part of the same work, a Latin treatise commonly printed among the spurious works of Cyprian (e.g. Hartel's edition, III. p. 133 sq). So far as I can discover, he had no ground whatever except his own arbitrary assumption for assigning it to Hippolytus. At least he gives none. If there is no reason for assigning this work to Cyprian, it seems even less possible to maintain the Hippolytean authorship. Yet Bunsen (I. p. 450) accepts it without a question, describing it as 'far more interesting than the part preserved in the Greek text.' The connexion of this Latin tract with the Greek fragment is purely arbitrary. On this subject see Dräseke Jahrb. f. Prot. Theol. XII. p. 456 sq (1886).

    This might seem at first sight to be part of his commentary on the 69th Psalm. But the mutilated title on the Chair cannot be so well supplied as [προς τους Ιουδα]ιους. Moreover the Jews are directly addressed again and again, ω Ιουδαιε, ω Ιουδαιοι. Again, though it is largely taken up with the exposition of htis one psalm, it is not wholly so. Lastly; the sequence of sriptural authorities quoted (p. 66 sq Lagarde) Δαυιδ ο σος χριστος ως ο μεγας Ιωβ, φερω δη ες μεσον και την προφητειαν Σολομων, και παλιν ο Δαυιδ εν ψαλμοις, και παλιν Σολομων, points to a more general treatise than the exposition of an individual psalm.

  23. On the Nature of the Universe or, as it is described on the Chair, Against the Greeks or Against Plato or Concerning the Universe. I may observe by the way, that according to the general arrangement of titles (see p. 325) χρονικων is a distinct work from προς Ελληνας κ.τ.λ., and that the two should not be fused, as is sometimes done. Thus the genuineness and identity of the work are established on the best possible authority. Nevertheless Photius (AR. 32. a) found it ascribed in his copy to Josephus; but he saw that this was impossible owing to


    its distinctly Christian theology. He adds that he has found it stated in some notices that it was really written by Gaius the Roman presbyter, the author of the Labyrinth. This Labyrinth, as I have shown elsewhere (see above, p. 379), is probably the tenth book of the Philosophumena, in which Hippolytus distinctly mentions himself as having written a treatise Concerning the Nature of the Universe (Ref. x. 32). Photius further mentions the report that, having been left anonymous, it is assigned by some to Josephus, by others to Justin Martyr, and by others to Irenaeus, just as some assign the Labyrinth to Origen. In the so-called John Damascene (Sacr. Parallel. II. pp. 755, 789) it is twice quoted, and ascribed in the one passage to Meletius, in the other to Josephus. By Joannes Philoponus (Lagarde, p. 124), who gives a few lines, it is ascribed to 'Josephus the Hebrew' and entitled περι της του παντος αιτιας. In the MS from which Hoeschel first printed the important fragment (Lagarde p. 68) in his notes to Photius (Phot. Op. IV. p. 362 Migne) it was ascribed to Josephus, and seems to have borne the title περι της του παντος αιτιας η ουσιας. The resemblances of language and substance bespeak the same authorship with the Philosophumena, even if we had not the author's own certification (see Wordsworth, p. 211 sq). Wordsworth (p. 306) gives the latter part of Hoeschel's fragment (from p. 27, l. 5 `ο μεγας των δικαιων κ.τ.λ. Lagarde, onward), where it is carried a few lines farther from an Oxford MS, Barocc. 26, which however had been previously printed by Hearne. This additional part contains the apocryphal quotation εφ' `οις αν `ευρω `υμας, επι τουοις κρινω, which is quoted by Justin Martyr and several fathers (Resch Agrapha p. 112 sq, 226 sq, 290 sq, in Gebhardt u. Harnack Texte u. Untersuch. v. Hft. 4, 1889). This is quoted as from Ezekiel (i.e. the pseudo-Ezekiel) by some of the fathers; and it is noticeable that Clem. Alex. Quis div. Salv. 40 (p. 957) after κρινω ends the quotation in the same way as Hippolytus, και γαρ' `εκαστα Βοα το τελος παντων.

    In the long extant fragment Hiipolytus addresses the Greeks more than once, and he mentions Plato by name (p. 70, Lagarde). Photius also says that he refutes Alcinous 'concerning the soul and matter and resurrection,' and shows after the manner of the Christian apologists generally, and indeed of Josephus, 'the much greater antiquity of the Jews than the Greeks' (AR. 32. a). Alcinous is not mentioned in the extant fragments.

    In the passage of the Philosophumena (x. 32) he expounds briefly the cosmogony which was the foundation of this treatise. God was absolute and alone. He created from simple elements, fire, spirit,


    water, and earth. Those creatures which are composed of more than one element are capable of dissolution. The soul is pure air or spirit (πνευμα). The great interest in the extant fragment is the application of his cosmogony to explain the intermediate state, which was a favourite subject of Hippolytus.

  24. An exhortation addressed to Severina (προτρεπτικος προς Σεβηρειναν). This is mentioned on the Chair, and it is generally identified with προς βασιλιδα τινα επιστολη twice quoted by Theodoret (AR. 12. b, c). The fragments have reference to the Resurrection, and more especially to Christ as the απαρχη. No princess bearing the name Severina is mentioned anywhere either in inscriptions or in literature. Bunsen supposed that she was a daughter of Alexander Severus, but he only married in 229, and his daughter, if he even had one, can only have been four or five years old at Hippolytus' death. Le Moyne identified her with Severa the wife of Philippus; and Döllinger (p. 25) with Julia Aquilia Severa the second wife of Elagabalus. But no reason is given why either of these should have been called Severina. As no princess of the name is known, it is perhaps better to identify the βασιλις of Theodoret with Julia Mammaea the mother of Alexander.

    22*. A letter to a certain princess twice quoted by Theodoret (AR. 12. b, c). See the last section.

    The quotation in Anal. Syriac. p. 87 sq (Lagarde) belongs not improbably to the same work. It runs as follows;

    'OF HIPPOLYTUS BISHOP AND MARTYR On the Resurrection to the Empress Mammaea; for she was the mother of Alexander who was at that time emperor of the Romans.'

    'Now the cause of the heresies of the Nicolaitans was first brought forward in like manner by Nicolas—he was one of the deacons who were elected at the first and is recorded in the Acts—when he was troubled by strange spirits saying that the resurrection had taken place; supposing that the resurrection was to believe in the Messiah and to be baptized, not meaning the resurrection of the flesh.'

    To him Hippolytus goes on to trace the errors of Hymenaeus and Philetus and of the Gnostics; and he couples with them the false teachers at Corinth, explaining S. Paul's language 'we have this treasure in earthen vessels' of the gift of immortality; for 'what is our dead flesh but these vessels before mentioned, into which the treasure of incorruption being put makes them immortal?'

    This may be the passage to which Stephanus Gobarus refers (AR. 20), but the same opinion was expressed by Hippolytus in both his general works on Heresies.

  25. 398

  26. On the Resurrection, mentioned by Jerome (AR. 8. b), and on the Chair (περι Θεου και σαρκος αναστασεως).

  27. A Homily on the praise of our Lord and Saviour (προσομιλια de Laude Domini Salvatoris) mentioned by Jerome as having been delivered before Origen. I shall have occasion to refer to this again, as it is one of our very few chronological land-marks (see below, p. 423). It is possible that this homily is the περι οικονομιας of the Chair and Ebedjesu (A. R. 37).

  28. On Christ and Antichrist. This work is mentioned by Jerome under the title 'de Antichristo,' and under the further title περι Χριστου και Αντιχριστου by Photius who read it.

    A spurious work bearing the title περι της συντελειας του κοσμου και περι του Αντιχριστου και εις την δευτεραν παρουσιαν του Κυριου `ημων Ιησου Χριστου was published by Joannes Picus (Paris 1556), and still retains a place in the editions (e.g. Fabricius II. p. 4 sq, Lagarde p. 92); but it is universally condemned as spurious. It begins Επειδη `οι μακαριοι κ.τ.λ.

    The genuine treatise, which was read by Photius, entitled περι του σωτηρος `ημων Ιησου Χριστου και περι του Αντιχριστου was first published by Gudius (Paris 1611), and will be found in Fabricius I. p. 4 sq and in Lagarde p. 1-36. It is apparently almost complete. It is addressed to one 'brother Theophilus,' possibly like the Theophilus whose name the Acts bears on the forefront, an imaginary person; and, as it deals with prophecy affecting the future of the Roman empire, Hippolytus not unnaturally cautions his friend in the language of S. Paul to Timothy to guard the deposit carefully, and only to commit it to faithful and discreet disciples. The general schem of the world's history and the end of all things is the same which this father has evolved from Daniel's prophecy as described above; though in some respects it is more fully drawn out. He deals with the mystical number of the beast in the Apocalypse, mentioning the alternative explanations τειταν, εγανθας, and λατεινος, as Irenaeus has done before him (Haer. v. 30. 1), and deciding in favour of the last (p. 26). For other obligations of Hippolytus to his master in the work on Antichrist see Overbeck p. 70 sq.

    On the whole there seems to be reasonable ground for Overbeck's contention (p. 88 sq), that this work was written at a time of persecution, and therefore presumably in the age of Severus, about A.D. 200. The awe of the Roman power, and the warnings of caution, both point in this direction. The coincidences of interpretation, which he mentions between Hippolytus and Origen, are curious but not sufficient, I think, to establish on either side any direct obligation of the one from the other; which is improbable in itself.

  29. 399

  30. On the Holy Theophany (εις τα `αγια θεοφανεια). This is a discourse on the Baptism of our Lord, preserved in a Gale MS Trin. Coll. 0. 5. 36 at Cambridge. It was probably addressed to candidates when they presented themselves for baptism (see Wordsworth, p. 224). Though it is nowhere quoted (at least under this name), so far as I am aware, by ancient writers, there is nothing which Hippolytus might not have written.


  32. Chronica. This work is mentioned on the Chair, and even without this certification it contains unquestionable internal evidence of its authorship. The original Greek is lost; but it is extant in two Latin translations, of which the one first published by Canisius may be conveniently consulted in Ducange Chron. Pasch. II. p. 96 sq (ed. Bonn.) under the title Liber Generationis; the other, being incorporated in the collection of the Chronographer of 354, is admirably edited by Mommsen. In this latter connexion I have had occasion to speak of it at length in my previous volume (I. p. 258 sq). It is brought down to A.D. 234 (the xiiith year of Alexander), when doubtless it was completed. It is not in any strict sense a chronicle, but is partly ethnography and partly chronography. One of its main purposes, as with most early apologists, was to show the superior antiquity of the Jews to the Classical nations of antiquity.

  33. Paschal Tables1. This record is found inscribed in full on the sides of the Chair, where it is described as αποδειξις χρονων του πασχα κατα [τα] εν τω πινακι. The more important parts of it are given above (AR. 2). It is a calculation of the times of Easter according to a cycle of sixteen years from A.D. 222-333. Salmon however has given strong reasons (Hermathena I. p. 88 sq; Smith-Wace Dict. of Christ. Ant. s.v. 'Hippolytus Romanus' III. p. 93) for supposing that it was issued A.D. 224. It has received great attention from Scaliger, Bucher, Bianchini, and others; and more recently from De Rossi and from Salmon, who have rendered very efficient service. The table not only calculates the Easters for more than a century, but likewise fixes all those mentioned in the Old Testament. Thus it affords many tests for establishing the authorship of works ascribed to Hippolytus, as well as for the criticism of his life in other ways. I shall have occasion more than once to refer to it for these purposes.

  34. 1 This work is mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome, as well as by others, and seems to have excited considerable attention, though within a few years after its construction the calculation was found to be incorrect, and it had to be abandoned in faovour of other systems.



  35. The Compendium against all the Heresies, an early work, founded on the lectures of Irenaeus. This will be considered immediately in a section to itself. See below, p. 413 sq.

    29*. Against Noetus. Reasons will be given presently for supposing that this is only the peroration of the previous treatise; which is known to have ended with the heresy of Noetus.

    29**. Against the Heresy of Artemon. The reasons for assigning this work to Hippolytus have been given already (p. 377 sq).

    Only one objection of apparent force to the Hippolytean authorship is alleged by Salmon (p. 98). The anonymous writer against Artemon (Euseb. H. E. v. 28) speaks of Victor as the 13th bishop of Rome from Peter; whereas in the Liberian list Cletus and Anacletus are made two distinct persons, so that he would be the 14th. I have anticipated this objection, and shown already (I. p. 282 sq) strong reasons for believing that Hippolytus cannot be made responsible for these blunders in the earlier part of the papal list.

  36. Against Marcion. This treatise is mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome and by others, and seems to have been one of considerable importance. As the fundamental idea of Marcion's theory was the dual principle of good and evil (Ref. Haer. vii. 30 αντιπαραθεσις αγαθου και κακου, vii. 31 `η πρωτη και καθαριωτατη Μαρκιωνος `αιρεσις εξ αγαθου και κακου την συστασιν εχουσα), there is every reason to think that this is the same treatise which is designated on the Chair 'Concerning the Good and whence cometh the Evil.'

  37. Concerning Spiritual Gifts (χαρισματων) the Apostolic Tradition. This work is mentioned on the Chair, but its purport has been differently explained. For reasons which I have given in another instance (p. 395), we must regard this as a single title, and not, as has been suggested (see Caspari III. p. 390), separate it and regard it as giving two distinct works; (1) περι χαρισματων, and (2) αποστολικη παραδοσις. The Apostolic use of the word χαρισματα seems to furnish the safest key to the purport of this work. In his discourses on the 'Witch of Endor' and the 'Blessings of Balaam' Hippolytus sought to explain some of the anomalies attending the bestowal of these graces, and it seems probable that in this treatise he attempted to give something like a systematic exposition of the whole subject based upon the Apostolic teaching. The vagaries of Montanism more especially would force it on his notice, as pressing for some reasonable treatment. How far and under what


    circumstances was the presence of moral or intellectual obliquity consistent with the bestowal of such exceptional graces from above? In fact all those questions which are suggested by S. Paul's account of the abuses in the Corinthian Church, and many more which start up when we stir the question ourselves, must have been more rampant in early ages, when the disciples were face to face with similar phenomena in heathendom.

    This I believe to have been the intention of our author's treatise respecting charismata. On the other hand a wholly different explanation has been sometimes given of it. It is supposed to have been a code of Church ordinances or constitutions regulating the appointment to ecclesiastical offices. Though this view does not commend itself at first sight, it can claim a large amount of traditional support of a certain kind. I cannot however reckon in this the statement of Jerome (AR. 8. f) who quotes Hippolytus as explicit on the point whether fasting should be observed on the sabbath and whether there should be a daily celebration of the eucharist. He might have delivered himself of such dicta in many other places, as in his treatise on the Hexaemeron or in his books on the Paschal Festival or in his Demonstration against the Jews. But there is extant in the Alexandrian Church a code of 38 Canons first published by Ludolf (A.D. 1691) and bearing the name of 'Abulides,' which is only another transliteration of Hippolytus, here styled 'first patriarch of the city of Rome' and 'chief bishop of the city of Rome'; though Wansleb who first called attention to these canons (1672, 1673) did not know who could be meant. These have been recently re-edited by Haneberg Canones S. Hippolyti Arabice (Monarchii 1870), who has given reasons for supposing that they were originally written in Greek. Connected with these are the διαταχεις των αυτων `αγιων αποστολων περι χειροτονιων δια `Ιππολυτου, as they are called in the MS from which Lagarde has edited them (Monac. 380), and their designation is similar in others (see Caspari III. p. 387). Corresponding to the 8th Book of the Apostolic Constitutions are two early elements in Greek, from which it was apparently compounded and amplified: (1) Διδασκαλια των `αγιων αποστολων περι χαρισματων corresponding to Apost. Const. viii. 1, 2 (Rel. Jur. Eccl. Ant. p. 1 sq, Lagarde), which contains a sort of preface concerning spiritual gifts; and (2) Διαταχεις κ.τ.λ. as already given, corresponding to Apost. Const. viii. 4 sq (p. 5 sq) on ecclesiastical offices, etc. The name of Hippolytus is attached to this latter only. Yet here we have seemingly the explanation which we seek. Not improbably to these ecclesiastical rules were prefixed (with modifications) some remarks of the genuine Hippolytus from the work


    whose title is given on the Chair; and in this way he came to be regarded as the author of the Canons themselves. It is hardly probable that even in their present comparatively simple form they can have been his product, as they are attributed to the several Apostles, 'I Peter first,' 'I the beloved of the Lord,' etc., and prefixed with the fiction 'We the twelve Apostles of the Lord met together in conjunction with Paul the vessel of election our fellow-Apostle and James the bishop and the rest of the presbyters and the seven deacons.' We have also Canons extant in Syriac designated 'Ordinances of the Apostles given through Hippolytus' (Wright's Syriac Catal. of MSS of Brit. Mus. II. pp. 949, 1033, 1037). All these Canons which are ascribed to Hippolytus are apparently simpler and allied forms of the ordinances in the present 8th Book of the Apostolic Constitutions. As against the supposition of the Hippolytean authorship however of the portion περι χαρισματων, Caspari (III. p. 389) observes that it presents no coincidences of conception with the parts of the genuine Hippolytus where we should expect to find them, the conclusions of the Refutatio and of the Treatise against Noetus; whereas several may be found with the other parts of the Apostolic Constitutions. On the other hand I note—what seems to me a more weighty consideration on the other side—that in this very short treatise consisting of five octavo pages great emphasis is laid on two topics which are characteristically Hippolytean; (1) The enumeration of the prophetesses, to which Hippolytus devotes a section in his Chronicon (Mommsen p. 641, Ducnage II. p. 108); (2) The stress laid on the history of Balaam, which Hippolytus made the subject of a special treatise (see above, p. 389). We can imagine how Hippolytus, starting from the discussion of the χαρισματα generally, might have been led to speak about some of the special gifts mentioned in S. Paul's two lists (1 Cor. xii. 28, Ephes. iv. 11), and that some later editor, working up the material of Hippolytus and others, would give to it the name of this father. The fact that Hippolytus is designated 'an acquiantance (γνωριμος) of the Apostles' by Palladius (AR. 11), as soon as the early decades of the fifth century, is significant in this connexion. It seems to indicate that some such work had been already attributed to him; and at all events it shows that a spurious progeny was fathered upon him as coeval with the Apostles. The next writer who so designates him, του παλαιου και γνωριμου των αποστολων (AR. 16), lived in the middle of the sixth century. There seems therefore to be some ground for the opinion of Bunsen (see esp. II. p. 412 sq) and others, that the treatise mentioned on the Chair lies at the root of the tradition respecting the authorship; but when with him we expunge the 'We the Apostles' and


    other dramatic parts, we introduce a vital change into the document, which is altogether capricious, and we have no basis of criticism for the reproduction of the Canons of Hippolytus, if he drew up any.

    This appears to me to be the most probable account. At the same time I do not wish to speak with any confidence; for this would not be justified without a thorough investigation of the origin and development of the Apostolic Constitutions such as I cannot pretend to have given.

  38. On the Passover. This work must be carefully distinguished from the Paschal Cycle with the Paschal tables engraved on the Chair. It is mentioned separately in the lists both of Eusebius and of Jerome. From the reference in the Chron. Pasch. (AR. 22) we find that it consisted of more than one book. Along with Irenaeus and (so far as we know) all the Asiatic fathers of the school of S. John1, Hippolytus maintained that our Lord Himself was the true Passover, suffering on the 14th Nisan, and thus superseding the legal Jewish passover. This position he took up also in both his general books against the heresies, the early Compendium and the later Refutatio. It may be regarded therefore as written to refute the Quartodecimans, as the fragments in the Chron. Pasch. (AR. 22) show.

  39. The Philosophumena or Refutation of All Heresies, his final work, probably left incomplete at his death. This will demand a section to itself2.


  1. The treatise Contra Beronem et Helicem (?) haereticos de Theologia et Incarnatione Sermo is now almost universally allowed to be spurious, though accepted as genuine by Dorner (Lehre v. der Person Christi I. p. 536 sq) and by Bunsen (I. p. 448 sq) in our own generation, as at an earlier date it had been defended by Bull. Its rejection by most recent critics, e.g. Haenell, Kimmel, Fock, Döllinger, Overbeck, Caspari, Dräseke, and Salmon, has left it without a friend; and I have no intention of defending a hopeless cause.

    Anastasius the Apocrisiarius, or Papal Nuncio at Constantinople (A.D. 665), saw this work at Constantinople and made a few extracts from it, which are preserved (AR. 24). It is quoted also (AR. 30) by Nicephorus of Constantinople [† A.D. 828]. The manuscripts vary between `Ηλικος

    1 This is distinctly the case with Claudius Apollinaris, whose language Hippolytus closely resembles; and there is no ground for separating him from the rest of the school; see Essays on Supernatural Religion, p. 237 sq.

    2 [The section in question was never written.]


    or `Ηλικιονος (`Ηλικιωνος) as the companion heretic of Bero or Vero. But no Helix or Helicion is mentioned in the extant fragments; whereas in one place we read (p. 61, Lagarde) Βηρων τις εναγχος μεθ' `ετερων τινων την Βαλεντινου φαντασιαν αφεντες κ.τ.λ. There can be little or no doubt therefore that Fabricius (Hippol. Op. I. p. 225) was right in his conjecture `ηλικιωτων `αιρετικων for `Ηλικος των `αιρετικων. On the title see Dräseke Zahrb. f. Prot. Theol. x. p. 342 sq.

    Of this Vero or Bero we never hear in the heresiological writers of the fifth and earlier centuries. This would be astonishing if the treatise had been genuine or even early. Epiphanius and Philaster and Theodoret—the two former especially—are eager to make their list as complete as possible. Moreover all the three were acquainted with the writings of Hippolytus; and therefore their silence would be the more inexplicable; for nothing else so explicit or so important was written by Hippolytus on questions of Christology, and we should have expected frequent references and quotations to it.

    Moreover, when we investigate the fragments themselves, the treatise condemns itself by its style and substance. It is much more philosophical in its language than Hippolytus itself. It uses terms and modes of thought which betoken a later stage of the Christological controversy. On this point however it should be observed that κενωσιν is probably a false reading and that we should probably read `ενωσιν instead (Dräseke l. c. p. 344 sq). Bunsen, accepting the work as genuine, considers one expression only εκ της παναγιας αειπαρθενου Μαριας to be interpolated (I. p. 448). If this had been the only difficulty, we should have agreed with him that it 'proves nothing against the authenticity of the work.' But, as Döllinger (p. 319 sq) points out, the terminology bristles with difficulties on the supposition that it was a work of the beginning of the first half of the third century. Fock and Döllinger connect it with the Monophysite disputes, and assign it to the sixth or seventh century. The subject has more recently been investigated by Dräseke (Zeitschr. f. Wiss. Theol. XXIX. p. 291 sq, 1886), who would assign it to a somewhat earlier date. He ascribes it to the Apollinarian school, and supposes it to have been written not later than the early decades of the fifth century (p. 318). I need not pursue the subject further. It has no bearing on my theme, the life and opinions of Hippolytus, though not without an interest for the later stages of the Christological controversy.

  2. A story told at length by Palladius (AR. 11), in which a virgin was placed in great danger to her chastity by the iniquity of the magistrate, and only rescued by the continence and purity of a youth to whom her honour was to be sacrificed.

  3. The Arabic Catena on the Pentateuch, of which mention has been made already (p. 390).

  4. The treatise De Consummatione Mundi, which for some time took the place of the genuine work De Christo et Antichristo; see above, p. 398.

  5. The Apostolical Canons, which however are perhaps not without some foundation of fact; see above, p. 401 sq.

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