« Hegesippus, father of church history Hegesippus, author Helena, companion of Simon Magus »

Hegesippus, author

Hegesippus (2) (Egesippus), the alleged author of a work of which a translation from Greek into Latin, or what purported to be such, appeared c. 400, and is commonly referred to as de Bello Judaico or as de Excidio Urbis Hierosolymitanae. It is mainly taken from the Wars of Josephus. The translator freely adds to his author, sometimes from the later books of the Antiquities of Josephus, sometimes from Roman historians and other sources, and also freely composes speeches for the actors.

The work is that of an earnest defender of the Christian faith. An approximation to his date is supplied by several passages; as when he speaks of Constantinople having long become the second city of the Roman empire (iii. 5, p. 179), and of Antioch, once the metropolis of the Persians, being in his time the defence of the Byzantines against that people. He also speaks of the triumphs of the Romans in "Scotia" and in "Saxonia," using language strikingly similar to that of Claudian (c. 398) (v. 18, p. 299; Claud. de iv. Cons. Honor. 31–34). The work early acquired a considerable reputation. Some have ascribed the translation to Ambrose. The Benedictines, however, strongly reject the Ambrosian authorship, asserting that it contains nothing whatever in Ambrose's style; while Galland earnestly contends for it, and reprints an elaborate dissertation of Mazochius which he regards as conclusive (Galland. Biblioth. Patr. vii. prolegom. p. xxix.). The editors of the Patrologia incline to reject the Ambrosias authorship, though they print it among his writings (xv. 1962). The most correct edition (Marburg, 1858, 1864, 4to) was commenced by Prof. C. F. Weber of Marburg, and completed after his death by Prof. Julius Caesar, who elaborately discussed the authorship and date (pp. 389–399). Cf. G. Landgraf, "Die Hegesippus Frage" in Archiv. f. Latin Lexicogr. (1902), xii. 465·472, who decides in favour of the Ambrosian authorship.

[T.W.D.]

« Hegesippus, father of church history Hegesippus, author Helena, companion of Simon Magus »





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