« Prev Hippolytus Next »

§ 183. Hippolytus.


(I.) S. Hippolyti episcopi et martyris Opera, Graece et Lat. ed. J. Afabricius, Hamb. 1716–18, 2 vols. fol.; ed. Gallandi in "Biblioth. Patrum," Ven. 1760, Vol. II.; Migne: Patr. Gr., vol. x. Col. 583–982. P. Ant. de Lagarde: Hippolyti Romani quae feruntur omnia Graece, Lips. et Lond. 1858 (216 pages). Lagarde has also published some Syriac and Arabic fragments, of Hippol., in his Analecta Syriaca (p. 79–91) and Appendix, Leipz. and Lond. 1858.

Patristic notices of Hippolytus. Euseb.: H. E. VI. 20, 22; Prudentius in the 11th of his Martyr Hymns (περ́ὶ στεφάνων) Hieron De Vir. ill. c. 61; Photius, Cod. 48 and 121. Epiphanius barely mentions Hippol. (Haer. 31). Theodoret quotes several passages and calls him "holy Hippol. bishop and martyr" (Haer. Fab. III. 1 and Dial. I., II. and III.). See Fabricius, Hippol. I. VIII.-XX.

S. Hippolyti EpIs. et Mart. Refutationis omnium haeresium librorum decem quae supersunt, ed. Duncker et Schneidewin. Gött. 1859. The first ed. appeared under the name of Origen: Ὠριγένους φιλοσοφύμενα ἣ κατὰ πασῶν αἱρέεων ἔλεγχος. Origenis Philosophumena, sive omnium haeresium refutatio. E codice Parisino ninc primum ed. Emmanuel Miller. Oxon. (Clarendon Press), 1851. Another ed. by Abbe Cruice, Par. 1860. An English translation by J. H. Macmahon, in the "Ante-Nicene Christian Library, " Edinb. 1868.

A MS. of this important work from the 14th century was discovered at, Mt. Athos in Greece in 1842, by a learned Greek, Minoïdes Mynas (who had been sent by M. Villemain, minister of public instruction under Louis Philippe, to Greece in search of MSS.), and deposited in the national library at Paris. The first book had been long known among the works of Origen, but had justly been already denied to him by Huet and De la Rue; the second and third, and beginning of the fourth, are still wanting; the tenth lacks the conclusion. This work is now universally ascribed to Hippolytus.

Canones S. Hippolyti Arabice e codicibus Romanis cum versione Latina, ed. D. B. de Haneberg. Monach. 1870. The canons are very rigoristic, but "certain evidence as to their authorship is wanting."

O. Bardenhewer: Des heil. Hippolyt von Rom. Commentar zum B. Daniel. Freib. i. B. 1877,

(II.) E. F. Kimmel: De Hippolyti vita et scriptis. Jen. 1839. Möhler: Patrol. p. 584 sqq. Both are confined to the older confused sources of information.

Since the discovery of the Philosophumena the following books and tracts on Hippolytus have appeared, which present him under a new light.

Bunsen: Hippolytus and his Age. Lond. 1852. 4 vols. (German in 2 vols. Leipz. 1855); 2d ed. with much irrelevant and heterogeneous matter (under the title: Christianity and Mankind). Lond. 1854. 7 vols.

Jacobi in the "Deutsche Zeitschrift," Berl. 1851 and ’53; and Art." Hippolytus" in Herzog’s Encykl. VI. 131 sqq. (1856), and in Herzog2 VI. 139–149.

Baur, in the "Theol. Jahrb." Tüb. 1853. Volkmar and Ritschl, ibid. 1854,

Gieseler, in the "Stud. u. Krit." for 1853.

Döllinger (R. Cath., but since 1870 an Old Cath.): Hippolytus und Callistus, oder die röm. Kirche in der ersten Haelfte des dritten Jahrh. Regensburg 1853. English translation by Alfred Plummer, Edinb. 1876 (360 pages). The most learned book on the subject. An apology for Callistus and the Roman see, against Hippolytus the supposed first anti-Pope.

Chr. Wordsworth (Anglican): St. Hippolytus and the Church of Rome in the earlier part of the third century. London 1853. Second and greatly enlarged edition, 1880. With the Greek text and an English version of the 9th and 10th books. The counter-part of Döllinger. An apology for Hippolytus against Callistus and the papacy.

L’abbé Cruice (chanoine hon. de Paris): Etudes sur de nouv. doc. hist. des Philosophumena. Paris 1853 (380 p.)

W. Elfe Tayler: Hippol. and the Christ. Ch. of the third century. Lond. 1853. (245 p.)

Le Normant: Controverse sur les Philos. d’ Orig. Paris 1853. In "Le Correspondant," Tom. 31 p. 509–550. For Origen as author.

G. Volkmar: Hippolytusund die röm. Zeitgenossen. Zürich 1855. (174 pages.)

Caspari: Quellen zur Gesch. des Taufsymbols und der Glaubensregel. Christiania, vol. III. 349 sqq. and 374–409. On the writings of H.

Lipsius: Quellen der ältesten Ketzergesch. Leipzig 1875.

De Smedt (R.C.): De Auctore Philosophumenon. In "Dissertationes Selectae." Ghent, 1876.

G. Salmon: Hipp. Romanus in Smith and Wace III. 85–105 (very good.)


I. Life Of Hippolytus. This famous person has lived three lives, a real one in the third century as an opponent of the popes of his day, a fictitious one in the middle ages as a canonized saint, and a literary one in the nineteenth century after the discovery of his long lost works against heresies. He was undoubtedly one of the most learned and eminent scholars and theologians of his time. The Roman church placed him in the number of her saints and martyrs, little suspecting that he would come forward in the nineteenth century as an accuser against her. But the statements of the ancients respecting him are very obscure and confused. Certain it is, that he received a thorough Grecian education, and, as he himself says, in a fragment preserved by Photius, heard the discourses of Irenaeus (in Lyons or in Rome). His public life falls in the end of the second century and the first three decennaries of the third (about 198 to 236), and he belongs to the western church, though he may have been, like Irenaeus, of Oriental extraction. At all events he wrote all his books in Greek.14181418    Dr. Caspari (III. 351 note 153) thinks it probable that Hippolytus came from the East to Rome in very early youth, and grew up there as a member, and afterwards officer of the Greek part of the Roman congregation. Lipsius (p. 40 sqq.) supposes that Hippolytus was a native of Asia Minor, and a pupil there of Irenaeus in 170. But this is refuted by Harnack and Caspari (p. 409)418

Eusebius is the first who mentions him, and he calls him indefinitely, bishop, and a contemporary of Origen and Beryl of Bostra; he evidently did not know where he was bishop, but he gives a list of his works which he saw (probably in the library of Caesarea). Jerome gives a more complete list of his writings, but no more definite information as to his see, although he was well acquainted with Rome and Pope Damasus. He calls him martyr, and couples him with the Roman senator Apollonius. An old catalogue of the popes, the Catalogus Liberianus (about a.d. 354), states that a "presbyter" Hippolytus was banished, together with the Roman bishop Pontianus, about 235, to the unhealthy island of Sardinia, and that the bodies of both were deposited on the same day (Aug. 13), Pontianus in the cemetery of Callistus, Hippolytus on the Via Tiburtina (where his statue was discovered in 1551). The translation of Pontianus was effected by Pope Fabianus about 236 or 237. From this statement we would infer that Hippolytus died in the mines of Sardinia and was thus counted a martyr, like all those confessors who died in prison. He may, however, have returned and suffered martyrdom elsewhere. The next account we have is from the Spanish poet Prudentius who wrote in the beginning of the fifth century. He represents Hippolytus in poetic description as a Roman presbyter (therein agreeing with the Liberian Catalogue) who belonged to the Novatian party14191419    He calls it schisma Novati, instead of Novatiani. The two names are often confounded, especially by Greek writers including Eusebius.419(which, however, arose several years after the death of Hippolytus), but in the prospect of death regretted the schism exhorted his numerous followers to return into the bosom of the catholic church, and then, in bitter allusion to his name and to the mythical Hippolytus, the son of Theseus, was bound by the feet to a team of wild horses and dragged to death over stock and stone. He puts into his mouth his last words: "These steeds drag my limbs after them; drag Thou, O Christ, my soul to Thyself."14201420    Ultima vox autdita senis venerabilis haec est.
   "Hi rapiant artus, tu rape, Christe, animam."
420 He places the scene of his martyrdom at Ostia or Portus where the Prefect of Rome happened to be at that time who condemned him for his Christian profession. Prudentius also saw the subterranean grave-chapel in Rome and a picture which represented his martyrdom (perhaps intended originally for the mythological Hippolytus).14211421    No. xi. of the Peristephanon Liber. Plummer, in Append. C. to Döllinger, p. 345-35l, gives the poem in full (246 lines) from Dressel’s text (1860). Baronius charged Prudentius with confounding three different Hippolytis and transferring the martyrdom of Hippolytus, the Roman officer, guard, and disciple of St. Lawrence, upon the bishop of that name. Döllinger severely analyses the legend of Prudentius, and derives it from a picture of a martyr torn to pieces by horses, which may have existed near the church of the martyr St. Lawrence (p. 58).421 But as no such church is found in the early lists of Roman churches, it may have been the church of St. Lawrence, the famous gridiron-martyr, which adjoined the tomb of Hippolytus. Notwithstanding the chronological error about the Novatian schism and the extreme improbability of such a horrible death under Roman laws and customs, there is an important element of truth in this legend, namely the schismatic position of Hippolytus which suits the Philosophumena, perhaps also his connection with Portus. The later tradition of the catholic church (from the middle of the seventh century) makes him bishop of Portus Romanus (now Porto) which lies at the Northern mouth of the Tiber, opposite Ostia, about fifteen miles from Rome.14221422    So first the Paschal Chronicle, and Anastasius.422 The Greek writers, not strictly distinguishing the city from the surrounding country, call him usually bishop of Rome.14231423    Salmon says: ’Of the fragments collected in De Lagardes edition the majority are entitled merely of ’Hippolytus,’ or ’of Hippolytus, bishop and martyr,’ but about twenty describe him as ’bishop of Rome,’ and only three place him elsewhere. The earliest author who can be named as so describing him is Apollinaris in the fourth century .... Hippol. likewise appears as pope and bishop of Rome in the Greek menologies, and is also honored with the same title by the Syrian, Coptic, and Abyssinian churches."See the authorities in Döllinger.423

These are the vague and conflicting traditions, amounting to this that Hippolytus was an eminent presbyter or bishop in Rome or the vicinity, in the early part of the third century, that he wrote many learned works and died a martyr in Sardinia or Ostia. So the matter stood when a discovery in the sixteenth century shed new light on this mysterious person.

In the year 1551, a much mutilated marble statue, now in the Lateran Museum, was exhumed at Rome near the basilica of St. Lawrence on the Via Tiburtina (the road to Tivoli). This statue is not mentioned indeed by Prudentius, and was perhaps originally designed for an entirely different purpose, possibly for a Roman senator; but it is at all events very ancient, probably from the middle of the third century.14241424    The reasons for this early age are: (1) The artistic character of the statue, which ante-dates the decline of art, which began with Constantine. (2) The paschal cycle, which gives the list of the paschal full moons accurately for the years 217-223, but for the next eight years wrongly, so that the table after that date became useless, and hence must have been written soon after 222. (3) The Greek language of the inscription, which nearly died out in Rome in the fourth century, and gave way to the Latin as the language of the Roman church. Dr. Salmon fixes the date of the erection of the statue at 235, very shortly after the banishment of Hippolytus. A cast of the Hippolytus-statue is in the library of the Union Theol. Seminary in New York, procured from Berlin through Professor Piper.424 It represents a venerable man clothed with the Greek pallium and Roman toga, seated in a bishop’s chair. On the back of the cathedra are engraved in uncial letters the paschal cycle, or easter-table of Hippolytus for seven series of sixteen years, beginning with the first year of Alexander Severus (222), and a list of writings, presumably written by the person whom the statue represents. Among these writings is named a work On the All, which is mentioned in the tenth book of the Philosophumena as a product of the writer.14251425    Περὶ τοῦ παντός. See the list of books in the notes.425 This furnishes the key to the authorship of that important work.

Much more important is the recent discovery and publication (in 1851) of one of his works themselves, and that no doubt the most valuable of them all, viz. the Philosophumena, or Refutation of all Heresies. It is now almost universally acknowledged that this work comes not from Origen, who never was a bishop, nor from the antimontanistic and antichiliastic presbyter Caius, but from Hippolytus; because, among other reasons, the author, in accordance with the Hippolytus-statue, himself refers to a work On the All, as his own, and because Hippolytus is declared by the fathers to have written a work Adversus omnes Haereses.14261426    On the chair of the statue, it is true, the Philosophumena is not mentioned, and cannot be concealed under the title Πρὸσ Ἕλληνας, which is connected by καί with the work against Plato. But this silence is easily accounted for, partly from the greater rarity of the book, partly from its offensive opposition to two Roman popes.426 The entire matter of the work, too, agrees with the scattered statements of antiquity respecting his ecclesiastical position; and at the same time places that position in a much clearer light, and gives us a better understanding of those statements.14271427    The authorship of Hippolytus is proved or conceded by Bunsen, Gieseler, Jacobi, Döllinger, Duncker, Schneidewin, Caspari, Milman, Robertson, Wordsworth, Plummer, Salmon. Cardinal Newman denies it on doctrinal grounds, but offers no solution. The only rival claimants are Origen (so the first editor, Miller, and Le Normant), and Cajus (so Baur and Cruice, the latter hesitating between Caius and Tertullian). Origen is out of the question, because of the difference of style and theology, and because he was no bishop and no resident at Rome, but only a transient visitor (under Zephyrinus, about 211). The only claim of Caius is the remark of Photius, based on a marginal note in his MS., but doubted by himself, that Caius wrote a work περὶ τοῦ παντός and an anti-heretical work called " The Labyrinth," and that he was " a presbyter of Rome," and also declared by some " a bishop of the heathen."But Caius was an anti-Chiliast, and an opponent of Montanism; while Hippolytus was probably a Chiliast, like Irenaeus, and accepted the Apocalypse as Johannean, and sympathized with the disciplinary rigorism of the Montanists, although he mildly opposed them. See Döllinger, l. c. p. 250 sqq. (Engl. translation), Volkmar, l. c. p. 60-71; and Wordsworth, l.c. p. 16-28. Two other writers have been proposed as authors of the Philosophumena, but without a shadow of possibility, namely Tertullian by the Abbé Cruice, and the schismatic Novatian by the Jesuit Torquati Armellini, in a dissertation De priscarefutatione haereseon Origenis nomine ac philosophumenon tituto recens vulgata, Rom.,1862 (quoted by Plummer, p. 354).427 The author of the Philosophumena appears as one of the most prominent of the clergy in or near Rome in the beginning of the third century; probably a bishop, since he reckons himself among the successors of the apostles and the guardians of the doctrine of the church. He took an active part in all the doctrinal and ritual controversies of his time, but severely opposed the Roman bishops Zephyrinus (202–218) and Callistus (218–223), on account of their Patripassian leanings, and their loose penitential discipline. The latter especially, who had given public offence by his former mode of life, he attacked without mercy and not without passion. He was, therefore, if not exactly a schismatical counter-pope (as Döllinger supposes), yet the head of a disaffected and schismatic party, orthodox in doctrine, rigoristic in discipline, and thus very nearly allied to the Montanists before him, and to the later schism of Novatian. It is for this reason the more remarkable, that we have no account respecting the subsequent course of this movement, except the later unreliable tradition, that Hippolytus finally returned into the bosom of the catholic church, and expiated his schism by martyrdom, either in the mines of Sardinia or near Rome (A. D. 235, or rather 236, under the persecuting emperor Maximinus the Thracian).

II. His Writings. Hippolytus was the most learned divine and the most voluminous writer of the Roman church in the third century; in fact the first great scholar of that church, though like his teacher, Irenaeus, he used the Greek language exclusively. This fact, together with his polemic attitude to the Roman bishops of his day, accounts for the early disappearance of his works from the remembrance of that church. He is not so much an original, productive author, as a learned and skilful compiler. In the philosophical parts of his Philosophumena he borrows largely from Sextus Empiricus, word for word, without acknowledgment; and in the theological part from Irenaeus. In doctrine he agrees, for the most part, with Irenaeus, even to his chiliasm, but is not his equal in discernment, depth, and moderation. He repudiates philosophy, almost with Tertullian’s vehemence, as the source of all heresies; yet he employs it to establish his own views. On the subject of the trinity he assails Monarchianism, and advocates the hypostasian theory with a zeal which brought down upon him the charge of ditheism. His disciplinary principles are rigoristic and ascetic. In this respect also he is akin to Tertullian, though he places the Montanists, like the Quartodecimanians, but with only a brief notice, among the heretics. His style is vigorous, but careless and turgid. Caspari calls Hippolytus "the Roman Origen." This is true as regards learning and independence, but Origen had more genius and moderation.

The principal work of Hippolytus is the Philosophumena or Refutation of all Heresies. It is, next to the treatise of Irenaeus, the most instructive and important polemical production of the ante-Nicene church, and sheds much new light, not only upon the ancient heresies, and the development of the church doctrine, but also upon the history of philosophy and the condition of the Roman church in the beginning of the third century. It furthermore affords valuable testimony to the genuineness of the Gospel of John, both from the mouth of the author himself, and through his quotations from the much earlier Gnostic Basilides, who was a later contemporary of John (about a.d. 125). The composition falls some years after the death of Callistus, between the years 223 and 235. The first of the ten books gives an outline of the heathen philosophies which he regards as the sources of all heresies; hence the title Philosophumena which answers the first four books, but not the last six. It is not in the Athos-MS., but was formerly known and incorporated in the works of Origen. The second and third books, which are wanting, treated probably of the heathen mysteries, and mathematical and astrological theories. The fourth is occupied likewise with the heathen astrology and magic, which must have exercised great influence, particularly in Rome. In the fifth book the author comes to his proper theme, the refutation of all the heresies from the times of the apostles to his own. He takes up thirty-two in all, most of which, however, are merely different branches of Gnosticism and Ebionism. He simply states the heretical opinions from lost writings, without introducing his own reflection, and refers them to the Greek philosophy, mysticism, and magic, thinking them sufficiently refuted by being traced to those heathen sources. The ninth book, in refuting the doctrine of the Noëtians and Callistians, makes remarkable disclosures of events in the Roman church. He represents Pope Zephyrinus as a weak and ignorant man who gave aid and comfort to the Patripassian heresy, and his successor Callistus, as a shrewd and cunning manager who was once a slave, then a dishonest banker, and became a bankrupt and convict, but worked himself into the good graces of Zephyrinus and after his death obtained the object of his ambition, the papal chair, taught heresy and ruined the discipline by extreme leniency to offenders. Here the author shows himself a violent partizan, and must be used with caution.

The tenth book, made use of by Theodoret, contains a brief recapitulation and the author’s own confession of faith, as a positive refutation of the heresies. The following is the most important part relating to Christ:

"This Word (Logos) the Father sent forth in these last days no longer to speak by a prophet, nor willing that He should be only guessed at from obscure preaching, but bidding Him be manifested face to face, in order that the world should reverence Him when it beheld Him, not giving His commands in the person of a prophet, nor alarming the soul by an angel, but Himself present who had spoken.

"Him we know to have received a body from the Virgin and to have refashioned the old man by a new creation, and to have passed in His life through every age, in order that He might be a law to every age, and by His presence exhibit His own humanity as a pattern to all men,14281428    This idea is borrowed from Irenaeus.428 and thus convince man that God made nothing evil, and that man possesses free will, having in himself the power of volition or non-volition, and being able to do both. Him we know to have been a man of the same nature with ourselves.

"For, if He were not of the same nature, He would in vain exhort us to imitate our Master. For if that man was of another nature, why does He enjoin the same duties on me who am weak? And how can He be good and just? But that He might be shown to be the same as we, He underwent toil and consented to suffer hunger and thirst, and rested in sleep, and did not refuse His passion, and became obedient unto death, and manifested His resurrection, having consecrated in all these things His own humanity, as first fruits, in order that thou when suffering mayest not despair, acknowledging thyself a man of like nature and waiting for the appearance of what thou gavest to Him.14291429    The reading here is disputed.429

"Such is the true doctrine concerning the Deity, O ye Greeks and Barbarians, Chaldaeans and Assyrians, Egyptians and Africans, Indians and Ethiopians, Celts, and ye warlike Latins, and all ye inhabitants of Europe, Asia, and Africa, whom I exhort, being a disciple of the man-loving Word and myself a lover of men ( ). Come ye and learn from us, who is the true God, and what is His well-ordered workmanship, not heeding the sophistry of artificial speeches, nor the vain professions of plagiarist heretics, but the grave simplicity of unadorned truth. By this knowledge ye will escape the coming curse of the judgment of fire, and the dark rayless aspect of Tartarus, never illuminated by the voice of the Word ....

Therefore, O men, persist not in your enmity, nor hesitate to retrace your steps. For Christ is the God who is over all ( , comp. Rom. 9:5), who commanded men to wash away sin [in baptism],14301430    The passage is obscure: ὁς τὴν ἁμαρτίαν ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀποπλύνειν προσέταξε. Wordsworth translates: " who commanded us to wish away sin from man;" Macmahon: " He has arranged to wash away sin from human beings."Bunsen changes the reading thus: " For Christ is He whom the God of all has ordered to wash away the sins of mankind."Hippolytus probably refers to the command to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sin.430 regenerating the old man, having called him His image from the beginning, showing by a figure His love to thee. If thou obeyest His holy commandment and becomest an imitator in goodness of Him who is good, thou wilt become like Him, being honored by Him. For God has a need and craving for thee, having made thee divine for His glory."

Hippolytus wrote a large number of other works, exegetical, chronological, polemical, and homiletical, all in Greek, which are mostly lost, although considerable fragments remain. He prepared the first continuous and detailed commentaries on several books of the Scriptures, as the Hexaëmeron (used by Ambrose), on Exodus, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, the larger prophets (especially Daniel), Zechariah, also on Matthew, Luke, and the Apocalypse. He pursued in exegesis the allegorical method, like Origen, which suited the taste of his age.

Among, his polemical works was one Against Thirty-two Heresies, different from the Philosophumena, and described by Photius as a "little book,"14311431    βιβλιδάριον. The more usual diminutive of βιβλίςor βίβλος is βιβλίδιον.431 and as a synopsis of lectures which Hippolytus heard from Irenaeus. It must have been written in his early youth. It began with the heresy of Dositheus and ended with that of Noëtus.14321432    Lipsius, in his Quellenkrilik des Epiphanios, has made the extraordinary achievement of a partial reconstruction of this work from unacknowledged extracts in the anti-heretical writings of Epiphanius, Philaster, and Pseudo-Tertullian.432 His treatise Against Noëtus which is still preserved, presupposes previous sections, and formed probably the concluding part of that synopsis.14331433    As suggested by Fabricius (T., 235), Neander (I. 682, Engl. ed.), and Lipsius. It bears in the MS. the title "Homily of Hippolytus against the Heresy of one Noëtus" ὁμιλία Ἱππολ. εἰς αἵρεσιν Νοήτου τινος, and was first printed by Vossius in Latin, and then by Fabricius in Greek from a Vatican MS. (vol. II. 5-20, in Latin, vol. I. 235-244), and by P. de Lagarde in Greek (Hippol. Opera Gr. p. 43-57). Epiphanius made a mechanical use of it. It presupposes preceding sections by beginning: "Certain others are privily introducing another doctrine, having become disciple, ; of one Noëtus." The only objection to the identification is that Photius describes the entire work against thirty-two Heresies as a little book (βιβλιδάριον). Hence Lipsius suggests that this was not the suvntagma itself, but only a summary of its contents, such as was frequently attached to anti-heretical works. Döllinger (p. 191 sqq.) shows the doctrinal agreement of the treatise against Noëtus with the corresponding section of the Philosophumena, and finds both heretical on the subject of the Trinity and the development of the Logos as a subordinate Divine personality called into existence before the world by an act of the Father’s will, which doctrine afterwards became a main prop of Arianism. Döllinger finds here the reason for the charge of partial Valentinianism raised against Hippolytus, as his doctrine of the origination of the Logos was confounded with the Gnostic emanation theory.433 If not, it must have been the conclusion of a special work against the Monarchian heretics,14341434    So Volkmar (l.c. p. 165: "Der Cod. Vatic. ’Contra Noëtum’ ist der Schluss nicht jener kürzeren Häreseologie, sondern einer anderen, von Epiphanius noch vorgefundenen Schrift desselben Hippolyt, wie es scheint, gegen alle Monarchianer." Caspari (III. 400 sq.) decides for the same view.434 but no such work is mentioned.

The book On the Universe14351435    Περὶ τῆς τοῦ παντὸς αἰτίας (or οὐσίας, as Hippol. himself gives the title, Philos. X. 32 ed. D. and Schn.), or Περὶ τοῦ παντός(on the Hippolytus-statue). Greek and Latin in Fabricius I. 220-222. Greek in P. de Lagarde, p. 68-73. The book was a sort of Christian cosmogony and offset to Plato’s Timaeus.435 was directed against Platonism. It made all things consist of the four elements, earth, air, fire, and water. Man is formed of all four elements, his soul, of air. But the most important part of this book is a description of Hades, as an abode under ground where the souls of the departed are detained until the day of judgment: the righteous in a place of light and happiness called Abraham’s Bosom; the wicked in a place of darkness and misery; the two regions being separated by a great gulf. The entrance is guarded by an archangel. On the judgment day the bodies of the righteous will rise renewed and glorified, the bodies of the wicked with all the diseases of their earthly life for everlasting punishment. This description agrees substantially with the eschatology of Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian.14361436    Comp. Döllinger, p. 330 sqq. He connects the view of Hippolytus on the intermediate state with his chiliasm, which does not admit that the souls of the righteous ever can attain to the kingdom of heaven and the beatific vision before the resurrection. Wordsworth on the other hand denies that Hippol. believed in a millennium and "the Romish doctrine of Purgatory," and accepts his view of Hades as agreeing with the Burial Office of the Church of England, and the sermons of Bishop Bull on the state of departed souls. Hippol. p. 210-216. He also gives, in Appendix A, p. 306-308, an addition to the fragment of the book On the Universe, from a MS. in the Bodleian library.436

The anonymous work called The Little Labyrinth,14371437    ΣμικρὸςΛαβύρινθος(Theodoret, Haer. Fa b. II. 5) or σπούδασμα κατὰ τῆσ Ἀρτέμωνος αἱρέσεως (Euseb. H. E. V. 28).437 mentioned by Eusebius and Theodoret as directed against the rationalistic heresy of Artemon, is ascribed by some to Hippolytus, by others to Caius. But The Labyrinth mentioned by Photius as a work of Caius is different and identical with the tenth book of the Philosophumena, which begins with the words, "The labyrinth of heresies."14381438    Caspari, III. 404 sq., identifies the two books.438

The lost tract on the Charismata14391439    Περὶ χαρισμάτων άποστολικὴ παράδοσις. On the Hippolytus-statue.439 dealt probably with the Montanistic claims to continued prophecy. Others make it a collection of apostolical canons.

The book on Antichrist14401440    Περὶ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ περὶ άντιχρίστου , in Fabricius I. 4-36 (Gr. and Lat.), and in P. de Lagarde, 1-36 (Greek only).440 which has been almost entirely recovered by Gudius, represents Antichrist as the complete counterfeit of Christ, explains Daniel’s four kingdoms as the Babylonian, Median, Grecian, and Roman, and the apocalyptic number of the beast as meaning , i.e., heathen Rome. This is one of the three interpretations given by Irenaeus who, however, preferred Teitan.

In a commentary on the Apocalypse14411441    Included in Jerome’s list, and mentioned by Jacob of Edessa and by Syncellus. Fragments from an Arabic Catena on the Apocalypse in Lagarde’s Anal. Syr., Append. p. 24-27. See Salmon in Smith and Wace, III. 105.441 he gives another interpretation of the number, namely Dantialos (probably because Antichrist was to descend from the tribe of Dan). The woman in the twelfth chapter is the church; the sun with which she is clothed, is our Lord; the moon, John the Baptist; the twelve stars, the twelve apostles; the two wings on which she was to fly, hope and love. Armageddon is the valley of Jehoshaphat. The five kings (17:13) are Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius, Alexander, and his four successors; the sixth is the Roman empire, the seventh will be Antichrist. In his commentary on Daniel he fixes the consummation at a.d. 500, or A. M. 6000, on the assumption that Christ appeared in the year of the world 5500, and that a sixth millennium must yet be completed before the beginning of the millennial Sabbath, which is prefigured by the divine rest after creation. This view, in connection with his relation to Irenaeus, and the omission of chiliasm from his list of heresies, makes it tolerably certain that be was himself a chiliast, although he put off the millennium to the sixth century after Christ.14421442    See Döllinger, p. 330 sqq. (Engl. ed.)442

We conclude this section with an account of a visit of Pope Alexander III. to the shrine of St. Hippolytus in the church of St. Denis in 1159, to which his bones were transferred from Rome under Charlemagne.14431443    We are indebted for this curious piece of information to Dr. Salmon, who refers to Benson, in the "Journal of Classical and Sacred Philology, " I. 190.443 "On the threshold of one of the chapels the Pope paused to ask, whose relics it contained. ’Those of St. Hippolytus,’ was the answer. 'Non credo, non credo,’ replied the infallible authority, ’the bones of St. Hippolytus were never removed from the holy city.’ But St. Hippolytus, whose dry bones apparently had as little reverence for the spiritual progeny of Zephyrinus and Callistus as the ancient bishop’s tongue and pen had manifested towards these saints themselves, was so very angry that be rumbled his bones inside the reliquary with a noise like thunder. To what lengths he might have gone if rattling had not sufficed we dare not conjecture. But the Pope, falling on his knees, exclaimed in terror, I believe, O my Lord Hippolytus, I believe, pray be quiet.’ And he built an altar of marble there to appease the disquieted saint."


Notes.


The questions concerning the literary works of Hippolytus, and especially his ecclesiastical status are not yet sufficiently solved. We add a few additional observations.

I. The List of Books on the back of the Hippolytus-statue has been discussed by Fabricius, Cave, Döllinger, Wordsworth, and Volkmar. See the three pictures of the statue with the inscriptions on both sides in Fabricius, I. 36–38, and a facsimile of the book titles in the frontispiece of Wordsworth’s work. It is mutilated and reads—with the conjectural supplements in brackets and a translation—as follows



[πρὸς τοὺς Ἰουδἂ ἰους.

Against the Jews.


[Περὶ παρθε] νίας.

On Virginity.


[Or, perhaps, εἰς παροιμίας]

[Or, On the Proverbs.]


[εἰς τοὺς ψ] αλμούς.

On the Psalms.


[εἰς τὴν ἐ] γγαστρίμυθον.

On the Ventriloquist [the witch at Endor?]


[ἀπολογία] ὑπὲρ τοῦ κατὰ Ἰωάννην

Apology of the Gospel according to John,


εὐαγγελίου καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως.

and the Apocalypse.


Περὶ χαρισμάτων

On Spiritual Gifts.


ἀποστολικὴ παράδοσις

Apostolic Tradition.


Χρονικῶν [sc. Βίβλος]

Chronicles [Book of]


πρὸς Ἕλληνας,

Against the Greeks,


καὶ πρὸς Πλάτωνα,

and against Plato,


ἤ καὶ περὶ τοῦ παντὸς

or also On the All.


προτρεπτικὸς πρὸς σεβήρειναν

A hortatory address to Severina. [Perhaps the Empress Severa, second wife of Elogabalus]


ἀπόδἔἲξις χρόνων τοῦ πάσχα

Demonstration of the time of the Pascha


κατὰ ̓́τἂ ἐν τῷ πίνακι.

according to the order in the table.


ᾠδαί ̓́ἒἰς πάσας τὰς γραφὰς.

Hymns on all the Scriptures.


Περὶ θ̓́εὂῦ, καὶ σαρκὸς ἀναστάσεως.

Concerning God, and the resurrection of the flesh.


Περὶ τοῦ ἀγαθοῦ, καὶ πόθεν τὸ κακόν

Concerning the good, and the origin of evil.



Eusebius and Jerome give also lists of the works of Hippolytus, some being the same, some different, and among the latter both mention one Against Heresies, which is probably identical with the Philosophumena. On the Canon Pasch. of Hippol. see the tables in Fabricius, I. 137–140.

II. Was Hippolytus a bishop, and where?

Hippolytus does not call himself a bishop, nor a "bishop of Rome," but assumes episcopal authority, and describes himself in the preface to the first book as "a successor of the Apostles, a partaker with them in the same grace and principal sacerdocy (ἀρχιεράτεια), and doctorship, and as numbered among the guardians of the church." Such language is scarcely applicable to a mere presbyter. He also exercised the power of excommunication on certain followers of the Pope Callistus. But where was his bishopric? This is to this day a point in dispute.

(1.) He was bishop of Portus, the seaport of Rome. This is the traditional opinion in the Roman church since the seventh century, and is advocated by Ruggieri (De Portuensi S. Hippolyti, episcopi et martyris, Sede, Rom. 1771), Simon de Magistris (Acta Martyrum ad Ostia Tiberina, etc. Rom. 1795), Baron Bunsen, Dean Milman, and especially by Bishop Wordsworth. In the oldest accounts, however, he is represented as a Roman "presbyter." Bunsen combined the two views on the unproved assumption that already at that early period the Roman suburban bishops, called cardinales episcopi, were at the same time members of the Roman presbytery. In opposition to this Dr. Döllinger maintains that there was no bishop in Portus before the year 313 or 314; that Hippolytus considered himself the rightful bishop of Rome, and that he could not be simultaneously a member of the Roman presbytery and bishop of Portus. But his chief argument is that from silence which bears with equal force against his own theory. It is true that the first bishop of Portus on record appears at the Synod of Arles, 314, where he signed himself Gregorius episcopus de loco qui est in Portu Romano. The episcopal see of Ostia was older, and its occupant had (according to St. Augustin) always the privilege of consecrating the bishop of Rome. But it is quite possible that Ostia and Portus which were only divided by an island at the mouth of the Tiber formed at first one diocese. Prudentius locates the martyrdom of Hippolytus at Ostia or Portus (both are mentioned in his poem). Moreover Portus was a more important place than Döllinger will admit. The harbor whence the city derived its name Portus (also Portus Ostien Portus Urbis, Portus Romae) was constructed by the Emperor Claudius (perhaps Augustus, hence Portus Augusti), enlarged by Nero and improved by Trajan (hence Portus Trajani), and was the landing place of Ignatius on his voyage to Rome (Martyr. Ign. c. 6: τοῦ καλουμένου Πόρτου) where he met Christian brethren. Constantine surrounded it with strong walls and towers. Ostia may have been much more important as a commercial emporium and naval station (see Smith’s Dict. of Gr. and Rom. Geogr. vol. II 501–504); but Cavalier de Rossi, in the Bulletino di Archeol., 1866, p. 37 (as quoted by Wordsworth, p. 264, secd ed.), proves from 13 inscriptions that "the site and name of Portus are celebrated in the records of the primitive [?] church," and that "the name is more frequently commemorated than that of Ostia." The close connection of Portus with Rome would easily account for the residence of Hippolytus at Rome and for his designation as Roman bishop. In later times the seven suburban bishops of the vicinity of Rome were the suffragans of the Pope and consecrated him. Finally, as the harbor of a large metropolis attracts strangers from every nation and tongue, Hippolytus might with propriety be called "bishop of the nations" (ἐπίσκοπος ἑθνῶν). We conclude then that the Portus-hypothesis is not impossible, though it cannot be proven.

(2.) He was bishop of the Arabian Portus Romanus, now Aden on the Red Sea. This was the opinion of Stephen Le Moyne (1685), adopted by Cave, Tillemont, and Basnage, but now universally given up as a baseless conjecture, which rests on a misapprehension of Euseb. VI. 20, where Hippolytus accidentally collocated with Beryllus, bishop of Bostra in Arabia. Adan is nowhere mentioned as an episcopal see, and our Hippolytus belonged to the West, although he may have been of eastern origin, like Irenaeus.

(3.) Rome. Hippolytus was no less than the first Anti-Pope and claimed to be the legitimate bishop of Rome. This is the theory of Döllinger, derived from the Philosophumena and defended with much learning and acumen. The author of the Philosophumena was undoubtedly a resident of Rome, claims episcopal dignity, never recognized Callistus as bishop, but treated him merely as the head of a heretical school (διδασκαλεῖον) or sect, calls his adherents "Callistians," some of whom he had excommunicated, but admits that Callistus had aspired to the episcopal throne and "imagined himself to have obtained" the object of his ambition after the death of Zephyrinus, and that his school formed the majority and claimed to be the catholic church Callistus on his part charged Hippolytus, on account of his view of the independent personality of the Logos, with the heresy of ditheism (a charge which stung him to the quick), and probably proceeded to excommunication. All this looks towards an open schism. This would explain the fact that Hippolytus was acknowledged in Rome only as a presbyter, while in the East he was widely known as bishop, and even as bishop of Rome. Dr. Döllinger assumes that the schism continued to the pontificate of Pontianus, the successor of Callistus, was the cause of the banishment of the two rival bishops to the pestilential island of Sardinia (in 235), and brought to a close by their resignation and reconciliation; hence their bones were brought back to Rome and solemnly deposited on the same day. Their death in exile was counted equivalent to martyrdom. Dr. Caspari of Christiania who has shed much light on the writings of Hippolytus, likewise believes that the difficulty between Hippolytus and Callistus resulted in an open schism and mutual excommunication (l. c. III. 330). Langen (Gesch. der röm. Kirche, Bonn. 1881, p. 229) is inclined to accept Döllinger’s conclusion as at least probable.

This theory is plausible and almost forced upon us by the Philosophumena, but without any solid support outside of that polemical work. History is absolutely silent about an Anti-Pope before Novatianus, who appeared fifteen years after the death of Hippolytus and shook the whole church by his schism (251), although he was far less conspicuous as a scholar and writer. A schism extending through three pontificates (for Hippolytus opposed Zephyrinus as well as Callistus) could not be hidden and so soon be forgotten, especially by Rome which has a long memory of injuries done to the chair of St. Peter and looks upon rebellion against authority as the greatest sin. The name of Hippolytus is not found in any list of Popes and Anti-Popes, Greek or Roman, while that of Callistus occurs in all. Even Jerome who spent over twenty years from about 350 to 372, and afterwards four more years in Rome and was intimate with Pope Damasus, knew nothing of the see of Hippolytus, although he knew some of his writings. It seems incredible that an Anti-Pope should ever have been canonized by Rome as a saint and martyr. It is much easier to conceive that the divines of the distant East were mistaken. The oldest authority which Döllinger adduces for the designation "bishop of Rome," that of Presbyter Eustratius of Constantinople about a.d. 582 (see p. 84), is not much older than the designation of Hippolytus as bishop of Portus, and of no more critical value.

(4.) Dr. Salmon offers a modification of the Döllinger-hypothesis by assuming that Hippolytus was a sort of independent bishop of a Greek-speaking congregation in Rome. He thus explains the enigmatical expression ἐθνῶν ἐπισκοπος,which Photius applies to Caius, but which probably belongs to Hippolytus. But history knows nothing of two independent and legitimate bishops in the city of Rome. Moreover there still remains the difficulty that Hippolytus notwithstanding his open resistance rose afterwards to such high honors in the papal church. We can only offer the following considerations as a partial solution: first, that he wrote in Greek which died out in Rome, so that his books became unknown; secondly, that aside from those attacks he did, like the schismatic Tertullian, eminent service to the church by his learning and championship of orthodoxy and churchly piety; and lastly, that be was believed (as we learn from Prudentius) to have repented of his schism and, like Cyprian, wiped out his sin by his martyrdom.

III. But no matter whether Hippolytus was bishop or presbyter in Rome or Portus, he stands out an irrefutable witness against the claims of an infallible papacy which was entirely unknown in the third century. No wonder that Roman divines of the nineteenth century (with the exception of Döllinger who seventeen years after he wrote his book on Hippolytus seceded from Rome in consequence of the Vatican decree of infallibility) deny his authorship of this to them most obnoxious book. The Abbé Cruice ascribes it to Caius or Tertullian, the Jesuit Armellini to Novatian, and de Rossi (1866) hesitatingly to Tertullian, who, however, was no resident of Rome, but of Carthage. Cardinal Newman declares it "simply incredible" that a man so singularly honored as St. Hippolytus should be the author of "that malignant libel on his contemporary popes," who did not scruple "in set words to call Pope Zephyrinus a weak and venal dunce, and Pope Callistus a sacrilegious swindler, an infamous convict, and an heresiarch ex cathedra." (Tracts, Theological and Ecclesiastical, 1874, p. 222, quoted by Plummer, p. xiv. and 340.) But he offers no solution, nor can he. Dogma versus history is as unavailing as the pope’s bull against the comet. Nor is Hippolytus, or whoever wrote that "malignant libel "alone in his position. The most eminent ante-Nicene fathers, and the very ones who laid the foundations of the catholic system, Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Cyprian (not to speak of Origen, and of Novatian, the Anti-Pope), protested on various grounds against Rome. And it is a remarkable fact that the learned Dr. Döllinger who, in 1853, so ably defended the Roman see against the charges of Hippolytus should, in 1870, have assumed a position not unlike that of Hippolytus, against the error of p



« Prev Hippolytus Next »





Advertisements



| Define | Popups: Login | Register | Prev Next | Help |