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Hippolytus Romanus

Hippolytus (2) Romanus. Though so celebrated in his lifetime, Hippolytus has been but obscurely known to the church of subsequent times. He was at the beginning of the 3rd cent. unquestionably the most learned member of the Roman church, and a man of very considerable literary activity; his works were very numerous, and their circulation spread from Italy to the East, some having been translated into Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Ethiopic, and perhaps other languages. His name assumes various disguises, as Poltus in the popular memory of Italy, in Egypt as Abulides. There is evidence also that he took a very active part in the affairs of his own church; but there are no contemporary witnesses to inform us concerning his personal history. A century after his death Eusebius evidently knew nothing of him beyond what he could infer from such works of his as had reached him. These works were soon superseded by those of other more able and learned writers. Scarcely one has come down to us without mutilation, and the authenticity of almost every work assigned to him has been disputed. Yet his celebrity survived, and various legends, not always carefully distinguished from the authentic history of the saint, arose. It has been disputed whether Hippolytus was a presbyter or a bishop; and if a bishop, of what see; whether he laboured in Italy or Arabia; whether he was orthodox or a schismatic; whether he was a martyr, and if so, by what death he died. At length the recovery of the work on heresies, now by general consent attributed to him, cleared away some obscurities in his personal history, though many questions can still receive only doubtful answers.

The earliest notice of Hippolytus is by Eusebius in two passages (H. E. vi. 20, 22). In the first, speaking of ecclesiastical writers of whom letters were then preserved in the library at Jerusalem, Eusebius mentions "likewise Hippolytus, who was bishop of another church somewhere." In the second he gives a list of the works of Hippolytus which he had met with (not including any letters), this being probably the list of those in the library at Caesarea, but adds that many other works by him might be found elsewhere.

If the earliest witnesses give no certain information as to where Hippolytus laboured, they enable us to determine when he lived. Eusebius says that he wrote a work on the Paschal feast, in which he gives a sixteen-years' Easter table, and accompanies it with a chronology, the boundary of his calculations being the first year of the emperor Alexander, i.e. A.D. 222. In 1551, in some excavations made on the Via Tirburtina, near Rome, a marble statue was found, representing a venerable person sitting in a chair, clad in the Greek pallium. The back and sides of the chair contain Greek inscriptions. The back has a list of works presumably written by the person represented. One side has a sixteen-years' cycle, exactly corresponding to the description of Eusebius and beginning with the first year of Alexander. Other evidence makes it certain that this cycle is that of Hippolytus. The works sufficiently agree with those ascribed to Hippolytus by Eusebius and Jerome; and no doubt is entertained that Hippolytus is the person commemorated. The list of Paschal full moons in the cycle gives accurately the astronomical full moons for the years 217–223 inclusive. For the next eight years the true full moons are a day or two later than those given, and after that deviate still further; so that after two or three revolutions of the cycle the table would be useless. This table must, then, have been framed about the time specified, a.d. 222, and the chair must be a nearly contemporary monument, for it is not conceivable that the table would be put on record, to do its author honour, after it had been tried long enough to make its worthlessness apparent. Further, the inscription is in Greek, and the early Roman church contained a large section, if not a majority, of foreigners, whose habitual language was Greek. This inscription must have been placed before that section had disappeared and Latin had become the exclusive language of the church. A further proof of antiquity is furnished by the list of writings, which is independent of those of Eusebius and Jerome, and which no one in the West could have drawn up long after the death of Hippolytus. The date thus fixed agrees with what we otherwise know, that Hippolytus was a contemporary of Origen, Jerome telling us that it appeared from a homily of Hippolytus then extant that it had been delivered in Origen's hearing. We know from Eusebius (H. E. vi. 14) that Origen visited Rome in the reign of Caracalla and episcopate of Zephyrinus, i.e. some time in the years 211–217. In one of these years he might thus have heard Hippolytus preach. We must place the commencement of the activity of Hippolytus as early as the 2nd cent. Photius tells us that the treatise of Hippolytus Against all the Heresies professed to be a synopsis of lectures delivered by Irenaeus. The simplest supposition seems to be that Hippolytus heard Irenaeus lecture in Rome. Eusebius tells of one visit of Irenaeus to Rome c. 178. A note in a Moscow MS. of the martyrdom of Polycarp (Zahn's Ignatius, p. 167) represents him as teaching at Rome several years before. It is not unlikely that Irenaeus came again to Rome and there delivered lectures against heresies. The time could not have been long after the beginning of the last decade of the 2nd cent. It has been shewn that the author of the cycle engraved on the chair must also have been the author of a chronicle, a Latin translation of which is extant, the last event in which is the death of the emperor Alexander (235). In that year an entry in the Liberian Catalogue of bishops of Rome records that Pontianus the bishop, and Hippolytus the presbyter, were transported as exiles to the pestilent island of Sardinia. It is difficult to believe that the 483Hippolytus here described as presbyter is not our Hippolytus, and probably both he and Pontianus gained the title of martyrs by dying in the mines. >From the "depositio martyrum" of the Liberian Catalogue it appears that the bodies of Pontianus and Hippolytus were both deposited on the same day (Aug. 13), the former in the cemetery of Callistus, the latter in that on the Via Tiburtina, and it is natural to think that both bodies were brought from Sardinia to Rome. The translation of Pontianus, we are told, was effected by pope Fabianus, probably in 236 or 237. A very different account of the martyrdom of Hippolytus is given by Prudentius (Peristeph. 11), who wrote at the beginning of the 5th cent. His story is that Hippolytus had been a presbyter, who was torn in pieces at Ostia by wild horses, like the Hippolytus of mythology. Prudentius describes the subterranean tomb of the saint and states that he saw on the spot a picture representing this execution, and that this martyrdom was commemorated on Aug. 13. He gives an account of the crowds who flocked to the commemoration and a description of a stately church, with a double row of pillars, which Döllinger considers was the church of St. Laurence († 258), a saint whose cultus attained much greater celebrity, and who was also buried on the Via Tiburtina, his church being adjacent to the tomb of Hippolytus.

The picture which Prudentius saw may well have been originally intended to depict the sufferings of the mythological Hippolytus, and, being inscribed with that name, have been ignorantly copied or transferred by Christians to adorn the resting-place of the martyr of that name. The tale told by Prudentius is plainly the offspring of the picture, and the authentic evidence of the deposition, on Aug. 13, on the Via Tiburtina of the remains of a Hippolytus who is coupled with Pontianus indicates the real owner of the tomb, of whom, in the century and a half which passed before Prudentius visited it, all but his name and the day of his feast had been forgotten.

What light has been cast upon his history by the recovery of the treatise against heresies? The portion previously extant had been known under the name of Origen's Philosophumena. We make no scruple in treating this as the work of Hippolytus, for this is the nearly unanimous opinion of critics, Lipsius alone hesitating and cautiously citing the author as Pseudo-Origenes. From this work it appears that he took an active part in the affairs of the Roman church in the episcopates of Zephyrinus and Callistus. Döllinger has shewn that, without imputing wilful misstatement to Hippolytus, it is possible to put on all that he relates about CALLISTUS a very much more favourable interpretation than he has done; and with regard to the charge that Callistus in trying to steer a middle course between Sabellianism and orthodoxy had invented a new heresy, the retort may be made that it was Hippolytus himself who in his dread of Sabellianism had laid himself open to the charge of Ditheism. But the point to which Döllinger called attention, with which we are most concerned here, is that Hippolytus in this work never recognizes Callistus as bp. of Rome. He says that Callistus had aspired to the episcopal throne and that on the death of Zephyrinus "he supposed himself to have obtained what he had been hunting for." But Hippolytus treats him only as the founder of a school (διδασκαλεῖον) in opposition to the Catholic church, using the same word with regard to Noetus (cont. Haer. Noeti, Lagarde, p. 44), of whom he says that when expelled from the church he had the presumption to set up "a school." Hippolytus says that Callistus and his party claimed to be the Catholic church and gloried in their numbers, though this multitude of adherents had been gained by unworthy means, namely, by improper laxity in receiving offenders. Callistus had received into his communion persons whom Hippolytus had excommunicated. He adds that this school of Callistus still continued when he wrote, which was plainly after the death of Callistus, and he refuses to give its members any name but Callistians. Evidently the breach between Hippolytus and Callistus had proceeded to open schism. But if Hippolytus did not regard Callistus as bp. of Rome, whom did he so regard? To this question it is difficult to give any answer but Döllinger's: Hippolytus claimed to be bp. of Rome himself. In the introduction to his work, Hippolytus claims to hold the episcopal office; he declares that the pains which he took in the confutation of heresy were his duty as successor of the apostles, partaker of the grace of the Holy Spirit that had been given to them and which they transmitted to those of right faith, and as clad with the dignity of the high priesthood and office of teaching and guardian of the church. Afterwards we find him exercising the power of excommunication upon persons, who thereupon joined the school of Callistus. Thus we seem to have a key to the difficulty that Hippolytus is described in the Liberian Catalogue only as presbyter, and yet was known in the East universally as bishop; and very widely as bp. of Rome. His claim to be bishop was not admitted by the church of Rome, but was made in works of his, written in Greek and circulating extensively in the East, either by himself in the works or more probably in titles prefixed to them by his ardent followers. We have also a key to the origin of the tradition that Hippolytus had been a Novatianist. He had been in separation from the church, and the exact cause of difference had been forgotten. Against another hypothesis, that Hippolytus was at the same time bp. of Portus and a leading presbyter of Rome, Döllinger urges, besides the weakness of the proof that Hippolytus was bp. of Portus, that there is no evidence that Portus had then a bishop, and that, according to the then constitution of the church, the offices of presbyter and bishop could not be thus combined. Döllinger contends that the schism could not have occurred immediately on the election of Callistus; but there is exactly the same reason for saying that Hippolytus refused to recognize Zephyrinus as bishop, as that he rejected Callistus; for he speaks of the former also as "imagining" that he governed the church. In consistency, then, Döllinger ought to have made the schism begin in the time of Zephyrinus, 484and so de Rossi does, adding a conjecture of his own, that the leader of the schism had been Victor's archdeacon, and had in that capacity obtained his knowledge of the early life of Callistus, and that he was actuated by disappointment at not having been made bishop on Victor's death. On the other hand, to make a schism of which no one in the East seems to have ever heard begin so early ascribes to it such long duration as to be quite incredible. For it continued after the death of Callistus, some time after which the account in the treatise on heresies was plainly written, and Döllinger thinks it even possible that it may have continued up to the time of the deportation of Pontianus and Hippolytus to Sardinia. He regards with some favour the hypothesis that this banishment might have been designed to deliver the city from dissensions and disputes for the possession of churches between the adherents of the rival leaders. It seems to us most likely that Pontianus and Hippolytus were banished early in the reign of Maximin as the two leading members of the Christian community. We find it hard to refuse the explanation of von Döllinger, which makes Hippolytus the first anti-pope; but the difficulties arising from the fact that the existence of so serious a schism has been absolutely unknown to the church from the 4th cent. to the 19th are so great, that if we knew of any other way of satisfactorily explaining the language of Hippolytus we should adopt it in preference. We are not told who consecrated Hippolytus as bishop, but a schism in inaugurating which bishops thus took the lead must have been a serious one: it lasted at least 5 or 6 years, and, if we make it begin in the time of Zephyrinus as we seem bound to do, perhaps 20 years, and it had as its head the most learned man of the Roman church and one whose name was most likely to be known to foreign churches. Yet the existence of this schism was absolutely unknown abroad. All Greek lists of the popes, as well as the Latin, include Callistus, and make no mention of Hippolytus; and the confessed ignorance of Eusebius about the see of Hippolytus is proof enough that he was not in possession of the key to the difficulty. In the Novatianist disputes which commenced about 15 years after the death of Hippolytus, when many would still be alive who could have remembered the controversy between him and Callistus, we find no allusion on either side to any such comparatively recent schism of which a man holding rigorist views resembling those of Novatian was the head. Bearing in mind the excitement caused in the case of Novatian, we ask, Was the question who was bp. of Rome regarded as a matter of such purely local concern that controversy could go on at Rome for years and the outside world know nothing of it, and that although the unsuccessful claimant was a person on other grounds very widely known? Is it conceivable, if Hippolytus really set up a rival chair to Callistus, that he, whose books and letters widely circulated in the East, made no attempt to enlist on his side the bishops of the great Eastern sees? Or is it likely, if Hippolytus had started a long-continued and dangerous schism at Rome, that the predominant party should have completely condoned his offence, that he should have been honoured for centuries as a saint and a martyr, and that his name should have been handed down with no hint of that schism until words of his own came to light to suggest it? These improbabilities in the theory hitherto most generally received, amount almost to impossibilities, though we confess it difficult to find a satisfactory substitute. We can only suggest that if there were at the time, as there are grounds for supposing, a Greek congregation at Rome, the head of it is very likely to have been Hippolytus, and the head of such a congregation might naturally be entrusted with the episcopal power of admitting or excluding members, since doubtful cases could scarcely be investigated by a Latin-speaking pope. The supposition that he may have received episcopal consecration, besides explaining the enigmatical dignity ἐθνῶν ἐπίσκοπος ascribed by Photius to Caius, would give a less violently improbable account of the claim of Hippolytus to episcopal dignity than the theory that he had been consecrated as anti-pope. As he was probably the last holder of his anomalous office, it is not surprising if no remembrance was retained of its exact constitution; but it is in the nature of things probable that the period when the church of Rome was Greek and when it was Latin should be separated by a bilingual period; and it is not unnatural that the arrangements made during that interval should be forgotten when the need for them had passed. The severity of the persecutions at Rome under Decius and Valerian seems to have obliterated much of the recollections of the history of the early part of the century. Whether Hippolytus was bishop or presbyter, he wrote his attacks on Callistus in Greek and addressed them to Greek-speaking people, and there is no evidence that he made any assault on the unity of the Latin-speaking church. This may account for the faintness of the impression which his schismatic language produced and for the facility with which it was pardoned. That the arrogance and intemperance of language which he displayed did not deprive him of permanent honour in the Roman church is to be accounted for by the leniency with which men treat the faults of one who has real claims to respect. Hippolytus was a man of whose learning the whole Roman church must have been proud; he was of undoubted piety, and of courage which he proved in his good confession afterwards. The way of return would not be made difficult for such a man when he really wished all dissension to end.

The preceding discussions have told all that is known of the life of Hippolytus. We now proceed to enumerate his works; acknowledging the great help of the list of Caspari, Taufsymbol und Glaubensregel, iii. 377.

(1) Most completely associated with his name is the 16 years' cycle (mentioned by Eusebius and Jerome, u.s.), and the little treatise in which he explained it. This is among the list of works on the statue, Ἀπόδειξις χρόνων τοῦ πάσχα καὶ τὰ ἐν τῷ πίνακι. That the cycle engraved on the statue is undoubtedly that of Hippolytus is not only proved by facts already pointed out and by its interpretation 485of the 70 weeks of Daniel in the manner peculiar to Hippolytus, but is placed beyond doubt by its literal agreement with a Syriac version of the cycle of Hippolytus preserved in a chronological work by Elias of Nisibis (Lagarde, Analecta Syriaca, p. 89). The cycle of 8 years used by Greek astronomers for harmonizing lunar and solar years is much older than Hippolytus. What was novel in the scheme of Hippolytus was his putting two eight-years' cycles together in order to exhibit readily the days of the week on which the full moons fell. The cycle of Hippolytus is not astronomically correct, and, as the Syriac writer correctly states, the error accumulates at the rate of three days for every sixteen-years' cycle. Of this Hippolytus has no suspicion, and he supposed that he could by means of his cycle determine all Paschal full moons future or past.

(2) Eusebius, in the passage where he has spoken of the work on the Paschal feast just considered (τὸ περὶ τοῦ πάσχα σύγγραμμα), proceeds with a list of the other works of Hippolytus he had met with, among which is one περὶ τοῦ πάσχα. The use of the definite article in the first case might suggest that Eusebius only knew one such work, and mentions it the second time in its order in his collection of works of Hippolytus. But it may be considered certain that Hippolytus treated doubly of the Paschal celebration: in (1) giving rules for finding Easter; in another writing, which probably was an Easter-day sermon, treating of its doctrinal import.

(3) Among the works enumerated on the statue is a chronicle. The list runs χρονικῶν πρὸς Ἕλληνας, and it has been questioned whether this describes two separate works, or a chronicle written with a controversial object; but the remains of the chronicle itself shew it to have been written for the instruction of Christians and not as a polemic against heathenism. The chronicle records the death of the emperor Alexander, and therefore the deportation of Hippolytus and Pontianus to Sardinia could not have taken place under Alexander as the later Papal Catalogue has it, but under Maximin. It follows, also, that this chronicle is likely to be the latest work of Hippolytus, and therefore that a passage common to it and to the later treatise on heresy was taken from an earlier work, a supposition which presents no difficulty.

(4) We pass now from the chronological to the anti-heretical writings; first, the treatise against all heresies, which may have been the earliest work of Hippolytus. It is mentioned in the lists of both Eusebius and Jerome, and a passage is quoted from it in the Paschal Chronicle, though it is not in the list on the chair as we have it, which shews that we cannot build any conclusion on the absence of a name therefrom. The fullest account of this treatise is given by Photius (Cod. 121). He describes it as a small book, βιβλιδάριον, against 32 heresies, beginning with the Dositheans and ending with Noetus and the Noetians; that it purported to be an abstract of discourses of Irenaeus; was written in a clear, dignified style, though not observant of Attic propriety. It denied St. Paul's authorship, of Hebrews. It was probably published in the early years of the episcopate (199–217) of Zephyrinus, to lead up to an assault on Noetianism, then the most formidable heresy at Rome.

(5) A work, or rather a fragment, bearing in the MS. the title of Homily of Hippolytus against the Heresy of one Noetus, appears on examination to be not a homily, but the conclusion of a treatise against more heresies than one. It begins: "Certain others are privily introducing another doctrine, having become disciples of one Noetus." It proceeds to refute the Noetian objection that the assertion of the distinct personality of our Lord contradicts those texts of Scripture which declare the absolute unity of God. At the end of this discussion he says, "Now that Noetus also has been refuted, let us come to the setting forth of the truth, that we may establish the truth, against which all so great heresies have arisen, without being able to say anything." The orthodoxy of the tract seems unsuspected by Tillemont, Ceillier, Lumper, and others. It was formally defended by bp. Bull, and was published by Routh (Ecc. Script. Opusc.) as a lucid exposition of orthodox doctrine. When, however, it came to light that the teaching of Hippolytus had been censured by pope Callistus, Döllinger had no difficulty in pointing out features in it open to censure. Though Hippolytus acknowledges the Logos to have been from eternity dwelling in God as His intelligence, he yet appears to teach that there was a definite epoch determined by the will of God, prior no doubt to all creation, when that Logos, which had previously dwelt impersonally in God, assumed a separate hypostatic existence, in order that by Him the world should be framed and the Deity manifested to it. Thus, beside God there appeared another; yet not two Gods, but only as light from light, a ray from the sun. Hippolytus also teaches that it was only at the Incarnation that He Who before was the Logos properly became Son, though previously He might be called Son in reference to what He was to be. Döllinger imagines that this emanation doctrine of Hippolytus may, in the controversies of the time, have been stigmatized as Valentinian, and that thus we may account for a late authority connecting this heresy with his name.

(6) Refutation of all Heresies.—In 1842 Minoides Mynas brought to Paris from Mount Athos, besides other literary treasures, a 14th-cent. MS. containing what purported to be a refutation of all heresies, divided into 10 books. Owing to mutilation, the MS. begins in the middle of bk. iv.; but from the numbering of the leaves it is inferred that the MS. had never contained any of the first three books. Miller, who published it in 1851 for the Univ. of Oxford, perceived that it belonged to the work published under the name of Origen's Philosophumena by Gronovius, and afterwards in the Benedictine ed. of Origen, though it had been perceived that the ascription to Origen must be erroneous, as the author claims the dignity of high priesthood, and refers to a former work on heresies, while no such work is said to have been composed by Origen. Miller in his edition reprinted the Philosophumena as bk. i. of the Elenchus, but ascribed the whole to Origen, an ascription which was generally 486rejected. Jacobi, in a German periodical, put forward the claims of Hippolytus, a theory which was embraced by Bunsen (Hippolytus and his Age, 1852; 2nd ed., Christianity and Mankind, 1854) and Wordsworth (St. Hippol. and the Ch. of Rome, 1853, 2nd ed. 1880), and completely established by Döllinger (Hippolytus und Kallistus, 1853). From the book itself we infer that the author lived at Rome during the episcopates of Zephyrinus and Callistus and for some time afterwards; that he held high ecclesiastical office, and enjoyed much consideration, being not afraid to oppose his opinion on a theological question to that of the bishop, and able to persuade himself that fear of him restrained the bishop from a course on which he otherwise would have entered. Hippolytus satisfies these conditions better than any one else for whom the authorship has been claimed. Further, the hypothesis that Hippolytus was the author gives the explanation of the prevalent Eastern belief that he was bp. of Rome, of the tradition preserved by Prudentius that he had been once in schism from the church, and of the singular honour of a statue done him; for as the head of a party his adherents would glorify his learning and prolific industry. That the work on heresies connects itself with six distinct works of Hippolytus makes the ascription certain. A trans. of the Refutation and of other fragments is in the vol. Apost. Fathers in Ante-Nic. Lib. (T. & T Clark).

(a) The Treatise against the Thirty-two Heresies.—The author begins by saying that he had a long time before (πάλαι) published another work against heresy, with less minute exposure of the secret doctrines of the heretics than that which he now proposes to make. Of those for whom the authorship has been claimed, Hippolytus is the only one whom we know to have published a previous work on heresies. The time between the two works would be 20 years at least.

(b) The Treatise on the Universe.—At the end of the Refutation (x. 32, p. 334, Plummer's trans.) the author refers to a previous work of his, περὶ τῆς τοῦ παντὸς οὐσίας, and among the works ascribed to Hippolytus on the statue we read, πρὸς Ἕλληνας καὶ πρὸς Πλάτωνα ἣ καὶ περὶ τοῦ παντός. Photius remarks that the author of the work on the universe also wrote the Labyrinth, according to a statement at the end of that work. Now, bk. x. begins with the words, "The labyrinth of heresies." We may, then, reasonably conclude that what Photius knew as the Labyrinth was our bk. x. which was known by its first word.

(c) The Chronicle and the Treatise on the Psalms.—The enumeration of the 72 nations among whom the earth was divided (x. 30), and which the author states that he had previously given in other books, precisely agrees with that in the Chronicle of Hippolytus; and though this chronicle was probably later than the Refutation, Hippolytus wrote commentaries on Genesis, where this enumeration would naturally be given in treating of c. x., and he appears to have been, like many prolific writers, apt to repeat himself. This same enumeration is given in his commentary on the Psalms (No. 29 infra).

(d) The Tract against Noetus.—On comparing this tract with the exposition of the troth given at the end of the Refutation, the identity of doctrine, and sometimes of form of expression, decisively proves common authorship. The same doctrine is found, that the Logos, Which had from eternity dwelt in the Deity as His unspoken thought, afterwards assumed a separate hypostatic existence; differing from created things not only in priority but also because they were out of nothing, He of the substance of the Godhead; and being the framer of the universe according to the divine ideas (in the Platonic sense of the word) which had dwelt in Him from the first. That the Son's personal divinity was not by the original necessity of His nature, but given by an act of the divine will, is stated more offensively than in the earlier tract. He says to his reader, "God has been pleased to make you a man, not a god. If He had willed to make you a god He could have done so; you have the example of the Logos."

(e) The Treatise on Antichrist.—In c. ii. of this treatise (Lagarde, p. 2), when telling how the prophets treated not only of the past but of the present and the future, he uses language in some respects verbally coinciding with what is said in the Elenchus (x. 33, p. 337).

The evidence which has been produced amounts to a demonstration of the Hippolytine authorship. The title of the work would be φιλοσοφούμενα ἢ κατὰ πασῶν αἱρέσεων ἐλέγχος; the name Philosophumena properly applying to the first 4 books, the Elenchus to the last 6. Its chief value to us consists, in addition to the light cast on the disputes in the church of Rome at the beginning of the 3rd cent., in its extracts from otherwise unknown gnostic writings, inserted by the author to shame these sects by an exposure of their secret tenets. Its attack on the character of pope Callistus was fatal to its circulation. No doubt when a reconciliation was effected at Rome all parties desired to suppress the book. Bk. i. was preserved as containing a harmless and useful account of the doctrines of heathen philosophers; and bk. x., which presented no cause for offence (there being nothing to indicate that the heretic Callistus mentioned in it was intended for the bp. of Rome), also had some circulation and was seen by Theodoret and Photius. But these two writers are the only ones in whom we can trace any knowledge of bk. x., which was certainly not used by Epiphanius. The rest of the work is mentioned by no extant writer, and but for the chance preservation of a single copy in the East would have altogether perished.

(7) The Little Labyrinth.—Eusebius (H. E. v. 27) gives some long extracts from an anonymous work against the heresy of Artemon. Internal evidence shews that the writer was a member of the Roman church and speaks of things that occurred in the episcopate of Zephyrinus as having happened in his own time. On the other hand, Zephyrinus is described as Victor's successor, language not likely to be used if Zephyrinus were at the time bishop, or even the last preceding bishop. The writer's recollection too does not appear to go back to the episcopate of Victor. The date would therefore be soon after the episcopate of Callistus. Theodoret (Haer. Fab. 487ii. 5) refers to the same work as known in his time under the name of the Little Labyrinth and attributed by some to Origen; though Theodoret considers this assumption disproved by the difference of style. Photius (Cod. 48) ascribes to Caius a book called the Labyrinth, which we have identified with the summary of the Elenchus. He does not mention the Little Labyrinth, but adds that it was said that Caius had composed a special treatise against the heresy of Artemon. We have no reason to think that the Labyrinth of Photius and the Little Labyrinth of Theodoret were the same; on the contrary, the latter was probably identical with the treatise against Artemon, which Photius expressly distinguishes from his Labyrinth. Internal evidence, and the fact that we have some external evidence for the authorship of Caius and none for that of Hippolytus, cause us to give our verdict for Caius.

(8) The Work against Bero and Helix.—A certain Anastasius of the 7th cent. is the earliest authority for designating Hippolytus as bp. of Portus. He so calls him in sending to Rome extracts made by him at Constantinople from what purported to be a treatise of Hippolytus, περὶ θεολογίας καὶ σαρκώσεως, against the above-named heretics, his adversaries having hindered Anastasius from getting possession of the entire work. Döllinger (p. 295) has given conclusive reasons for regarding this as no work of Hippolytus, but as a forgery not earlier than the 6th cent. The technical language of these fragments is also that of the controversies of the 5th cent., and quite unlike that of the age of Hippolytus. It was doubtless Anastasius who supplied another passage from the discourse περὶ θεολογίας produced at the Lateran Council in 649.

(9) A Syriac list of the writings of Hippolytus given by Ebed Jesu, a writer of the very beginning of the: 14th cent. (Assemani, Bibl. Or. iii. 1, p. 15), contains a work whose Syriac title is translated by Ecchelensis de Regimine, by Assemani de Dispensatione. Adopting the latter rendering and taking "dispensatio" to be equivalent to οἰκονομία, we should conclude its subject to be our Lord's Incarnation. It may therefore be identical with (8). If the other rendering be adopted, the work would relate to church government, and might be identical with some part of (21).

(10) The Treatise against Marcion.—Mentioned in the catalogues of Eusebius and Jerome, but nothing of it remains.

(11) On the statue is enumerated a work περὶ τἀγαθοῦ καὶ πόθεν τὸ κακόν. This may well have been an anti-Marcionite composition, and possibly that mentioned by Eusebius (10).

(12) Defence of the Gospel and Apocalypse of St. John.—We may probably class among anti-heretical writings the work described on the chair as ὑπὲρ τοῦ κατὰ Ἰωάννην εὐαγγελίου καὶ ἀποκαλύψεως, and in the list of Ebed Jesu as "a defence of the Apocalypse and Gospel of the apostle and evangelist John." The work on the Apocalypse mentioned by Jerome we take to be different, and we notice it among the exegetical works. Hippolytus in his extant remains constantly employs the Apocalypse, and his regard for it is appealed to by Andrew of Caesarea (Max. Bibl. Patr. v. 590). It has been supposed that CAIUS was the writer, replied to by Hippolytus, who ascribes the Apocalypse and the Gospel to Cerinthus; but the arguments for supposing that Caius rejected the Apocalypse are inconclusive, and it is highly improbable that he, an orthodox member of the Roman church, rejected the Gospel of St. John.

(13) One argument in support of the view just referred to is that Ebed Jesu (u.s.) enumerates among the works of Hippolytus Chapters (or heads) against Caius, which, it has been conjectured, were identical with (12). But Ebed Jesu reckons the two works as distinct. What other heresy of Caius Hippolytus could have confuted is unknown.

(14) It is hard to draw the line between controversial and dogmatic books. Thus, with regard to the treatise cited by Anastasius Sinaita (Lagarde, No. 9, p. 90), περὶ ἀναστάσεως καὶ ἀφθαρσίας, which may be the same as that described on the statue as περὶ Θεοῦ καὶ σαρκὸς ἀναστάσεως and by Jerome as de Resurrectione, we cannot tell whether it was a simple explanation of Christian doctrine or directed against the errors of heretics or heathens.

(15) A controversial character more clearly belongs to another work on the same subject, a fragment of which is preserved in Syriac (Lagarde, Anal. Syr. p. 87), and contains what Stephen Gobar (Photius, Cod. 232) noted as a peculiarity of Hippolytus, found also in both his treatises against heresy, viz. that he makes Nicolas the deacon himself, and not any misunderstood saying of his, the origin of the errors of the Nicolaitanes. Here he is charged with maintaining that the resurrection has passed already and that Christians are to expect none other than that which took place when they believed and were baptized.

(16) One work at least Hippolytus specially directed to the heathen, and though this is not included in the list of Jerome he probably alludes to it (Ep. ad Magnum, i. 423) where he classes Hippolytus with others who wrote "contra gentes." On the chair we read χρονικῶν πρὸς Ἕλληνας καὶ πρὸς Πλάτωνα ἢ καὶ περὶ τοῦ παντός. We might take πρὸς Ἕλληνας as a distinct work, or with what precedes or with what follows. That the last is the true construction appears both from the title given in one of the MSS., in which a fragment is preserved, ὁ λόγος πρὸς Ἕλληνας ὁ ἐπιγεγραμμένος κατὰ Πλάτωνα περὶ τῆς τοῦ παντὸς αἰτίας, and from the fact that the same fragment contains addresses to the Greeks. This, then, is evidently the treatise περὶ τῆς τοῦ παντὸς οὐσίας, mentioned at the end of the Elenchus, and of which Photius speaks in a passage already referred to (Cod. 48). He says that the treatise was in two short books, that it shewed that Plato was inconsistent; that the Platonic philosopher Alcinous had spoken falsely and absurdly about the soul, matter, and the resurrection; and that the Jewish nation was much older than the Greek. The theory of the universe embodied in this work made all things consist of the four elements, earth, air, fire, or water. Things formed of more elements than one are subject to death by the dissolution of their component parts, but things formed of one element (e.g. angels, 488formed of fire alone) are indissoluble and immortal. Angels also have no female, for from water the generative principle is derived. Man is made of all four elements, his soul being formed of air and called ψυχή, because this element is colder than the other three. The principal extant fragment contains a description of Hades as a place underground where souls are detained until the judgment. The gate is guarded by an archangel. When the angels appointed to that service conduct thither righteous souls, they proceed to the right to a place of light called Abraham's bosom, where they enjoy continued present pleasures with the expectation of still greater happiness in the future. The wicked, on the other hand, are hurried down to the left into a place of darkness where is the lake of fire, into which no one has yet been cast, but which is prepared for the future judgment. There they not only suffer present temporary punishments, but are tormented by the sight and smoke of that: burning lake and the horrible expectation of the punishment to come. The sight of the righteous also punishes them, between whom and them a great gulf is fixed; and while the bodies of the righteous will rise renewed and glorified, theirs will be raised with all their diseases and decay. Bunsen conjectures that Hippolytus may have taken some points for which he has not Scripture authority from the Apoalypse of Peter.

(17) The Demonstration against the Jews.—The Greek text of a fragment of a work bearing this title was first published by Fabricius (vol. ii. 1) from a copy supplied by Montfaucon from a Vatican MS. There is no external evidence to confirm the ascription in the MS. of this work to Hippolytus. The mutilated list on the chair begins -ους; but it is bare conjecture which completes this into πρὸς Ἰουδαίους. There is nothing in the fragment which forbids us to suppose Hippolytus the writer. It shews that the Jews have no reason to glory in the sufferings they inflicted on Jesus of Nazareth, for it had been foretold that the Messiah should so suffer, and these sufferings had been the cause of the misery afterwards endured by the Jewish nation.

(18) We pass now to dogmatic writings. Jerome, in his list of the writings of Hippolytus, gives "Προσομιλία de laude Domini salvatoris." This is the homily delivered in the presence of Origen.

(19) The Work on Antichrist.—Of all the writings of Hippolytus this is the only one extant in a perfect state, or nearly so. It appears in Jerome's list with the title de Antichrista; Photius calls it περὶ Χριστοῦ καὶ ἀντιχρίστου; and the title it bears in the MS. from which the first printed edition was made is περὶ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ περὶ τοῦ ἀντιχρίστου. The work is addressed to one Theophilus, and the author cautions him against communicating to unbelievers what he was about to teach him, quoting Paul's directions to Timothy, "the things thou hast heard of me commit thou to faithful men." The doctrine of the treatise as to the coming overthrow of the Roman power would give good reason for this caution. Jerome's title best describes the treatise, of which, after some introductory remarks on prophetic inspiration, Antichrist is almost exclusively the subject. The later title has some justification in the parallel between Christ and Antichrist, with which he begins, shewing how the deceiver had sought in all things to liken himself to the Son of God. He was to be, like Christ, a lion (Deut. xxxiii. 22), a king, a lamb (Rev. xiii. 11), he was to come in the form of a man, and to be of the circumcision; he was to send out false apostles and gather in a people, and as the Lord had given a seal to those who believe in Him, so should he, etc. The writer then quotes fully all the prophecies of Antichrist, and concludes that he shall be of the tribe of Dan; that Daniel's four kingdoms are the Babylonian, Median, Grecian, and Roman; that the ten toes of the image are ten kings among whom the Roman empire should be divided, that from among these Antichrist should arise and overthrow three of the kings, viz. those of Egypt, Libya, and Ethiopia, and make an expedition against Tyre and Berytus, and then should gain the submission of the Jews, hoping to obtain vengeance by their means; that he should shew himself forth as God, and persecute to the death those who refuse to worship him; that he should reign three years and a half and then that he and his kingdom should be destroyed by Christ's second coming. For the problem of the number of the beast, while other solutions mentioned by Irenaeus are noticed, that of Λατεῖνος is preferred. This is one of many coincidences shewing that Hippolytus used the treatise of Irenaeus against heresies and enumerated (§ iv.) by Overbeck in an able monograph on this tract Quaestionum Hippol. specimen. Overbeck discusses also the points of contact between this tract and Origen, deciding that these may be accounted for without supposing either writer indebted to the other.

(20) The text of a homily on the Holy Theophany was communicated to Fabricius by Gale from a MS. still preserved at Cambridge. There is also extant a Syriac translation of great part of this homily, viz. to the end of c. 7 (Wright, Catal. of Syr. MSS. of Brit. Mus. ii. 842). The ascription of the MSS. is not confirmed by any external evidence, nor is this homily mentioned in any list of the Hippolytine works, nor quoted by any ancient author. We do not, however, see anything in it which Hippolytus might not have written, and Wordsworth has pointed out a remarkable coincidence with the Refutation, viz. that in both man is spoken of as becoming a god by the gift of new birth and immortality.

(21) On the chair is enumerated περὶ χαρισμάτων ἀποστολικὴ παράδοσις. It is doubtful whether this is the title of one work or two. For various speculations see Fabricius, p. 83. The most probable theory is that it treated of Montanist claims to inspiration.

(22) On the chair we have words which have been read ᾠδαὶ εἰς πάσας τὰς γραφάς. If the line describes only a single work it may denote hymns, one in praise of each of the books of Scripture and perhaps giving a poetical account of its contents.

(23) On the Hexaemeron.—We now pass to the exegetical writings. This work is given in the lists of Eusebius And Jerome. The 489latter states (Ep. liv., ad Pammach. et Ocean. vol. i. p. 525) that Ambrose had made use of it in his work on the same subject.

(24) εἰς τὰ μετὰ τὴν ἑξαήμερον (Eus.). In Genesim (Hieron.). From this we suppose the account of the 72 nations to have been taken.

(25) On Exodus.—This we only know from Jerome's list. No quotations have been preserved, though Magistris makes a doubtful suggestion that Theodoret's citations from the λόγος εἰς τὴν ᾠδὴν τὴν μεγάλην are from a commentary on the Song of Moses (Ex. xv.).

(26) There is extant a fragment (Lagarde, 51) of a commentary on "the blessings of Balaam"; and Trithemius also ascribes to Hippolytus a commentary on Numbers. An Arabic catena on the Pentateuch, of which a portion was pub. by Fabricius, ii. 33–44, and the whole of Gen. by Lagarde, Materialien zur Kritik und Geschichte des Pentateuchs, contains numerous extracts from an Hippolytus whom it describes as the expounder of the Targum. It is generally admitted that the scholia do not belong to our Hippolytus.

(27, 28) Theodoret cites several passages from the Discourse on Elkanah and Hannah. Another part of Samuel was the subject of a special treatise called by Jerome de Saul et Pythonissa, and in Gk. εἰς τὴν ἐγγαστρίμυθον, for so an imperfect line on the chair is generally, and, as we believe, correctly, completed.

(29) The Commentary on the Psalms.—The existence of this work is testified by Jerome and by the inscription on the chair. Yet elsewhere when writing to Augustine Jerome gives a list of commentators on the Psalms (Ep. cxii., vol. i. p. 754), leaving out Hippolytus and counting Eusebius as the next Greek commentator after Origen, either through mere forgetfulness or because Jerome had only read of Hippolytus, homilies on particular Psalms and some general observations on the whole book. Theodoret quotes from the commentary on Pss. ii. xxiii. and xxiv., and on the ᾠδὴ μεγάλη, which may mean Ps. cxix. These quotations may be from separate homilies, and not from the present work. A fragment published by Bandini comments on Ps. lxxviii. Several other fragments of doubtful genuineness are given by Magistris (Migne, x. 722). Hippolytus classifies the Psalms according to their authors and inscriptions, and explains that they are all called David's because he originated the institution of temple psalmody, as the book of Esther is called after her, and not after Mordecai, of whom it has much more to tell, because Esther, by her act of self-sacrifice, was the originator of the whole deliverance. Hippolytus points out that the Psalms are not in chronological order, and supposes that Ezra did not find them all at once and placed them in books as he found them. The Greek, on the contrary, supposes that the chronological order was deranged to establish a mystical connexion between the number of a Psalm and its subject. Eusebius here follows Hippolytus.

(30) On Proverbs. Mentioned in Jerome's list. Some fragments have been preserved in catenae (Lagarde, pp. 196–199). Others pub. by Mai (Bib. Nov. Pat. vii.) will be found in Migne (p. 6).

(31, 32) Jerome enumerates a commentary on Ecclesiastes; both Eusebius and Jerome one on the Song of Songs. Lagarde gives one fragment from the former (No. 136, p. 200) and four from the latter (No. 35, p. 200; and Anal. Syr. p. 87). One of these states that Hezekiah suppressed the works of Solomon on natural history, because the people sought in them for the recovery of their diseases, instead of seeking help from God.

(33, 34, 35) Jerome enumerates a commentary on Isaiah; Eusebius one on parts of Ezekiel. Assemani states (Bibl. Or. i. 607) that there is Syriac testimony to the existence of one on Jeremiah.

(36) On Daniel.—In Jerome's list. It is the subject of an article by Photius; is quoted by several other writers, and large fragments of it remain. In a most valuable contribution to Hippolytine literature, Bardenhewer (Freiburg, 1877) collects all the notices of this work, discusses the different extant fragments, and restores the original as far as possible. Catenae quote passages from the commentary of Hippolytus on Susanna, but the early lists do not mention this as a separate treatise, and Bardenhewer is probably right in thinking that it was the commencement of the commentary on Daniel, to which book that of Susanna was then commonly prefixed. The list of Ebed-Jesu attributes to Hippolytus an exposition of Susanna and of Daniel the Little. This writer's list of O.T. books includes Daniel, Susanna, and Daniel the Little. There is no evidence what is meant by the last. Hippolytus supposes Susanna to have been the daughter of the high-priest Hilkiah (II. Kings xxii. 4) and sister to the prophet Jeremiah, and he probably, like Africanus, identified her husband with the Jehoiachin who was kindly treated by Evil-Merodach. Hippolytus thought, like so many of the Fathers, that the persons, institutions, and events of O.T. included, beside their literal meaning, a typical representation of things corresponding in the new dispensation. The remains of the commentary on Daniel contain a theory attested by Photius, that our Lord had come in the year of the world 5500, and that its end should be in the year 6000, that is, not until 500 years after the Incarnation. In Scripture proof of this calculation, Hippolytus appeals to the 5 1/2 cubits which he finds in Ex. xxv. 10; to the sixth hour, John xix. 14, which denotes half a day or 500 years; and to Rev. xvii. 10. This 5500 years must be understood as round numbers, for the Chronicle of Hippolytus counts the exact number of years as 5502.

(37) On Zechariah.—Known only from Jerome's list and the prologue to his commentary on Zechariah.

(38) On Matthew.—We know of this from the prologue to Jerome's commentary on Matthew; and Theodoret quotes from a discourse on the parable of the talents, which, however, may have been a separate homily.

(39) On Luke.—Two fragments are given by Mai (Lagarde, p. 202), and Theodoret has preserved part of a homily on the two thieves.

(40) On the Apocalypse.—In the list of Jerome, and mentioned by Jacob of Edessa (Eph. Syr. Opp. Syr. i. 192) and Syncellus, 358. Some fragments are preserved in an Arabic 490Catena on the Apocalypse (Lagarde, Anal. Syr. app. pp. 24–27). It appears that Hippolytus (who is described as pope of Rome) interpreted the woman (Rev. xii. 1) to be the church; the sun with which she is clothed, 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. He understood xii. 10 to speak, not of an actual swallowing up by the earth of the hostile armies, but only that they wandered about in despair. He understood by the wound of the beast (xiii. 3) the contempt and refusal of obedience with which Antichrist would be received by many at first; and by the healing of it the subsequent submission of the nations. The two horns (xiii. 11) are the law and the prophets, for this beast will be a lamb outwardly, though inwardly a ravening wolf. Of the number of the beast, beside the Irenaean solutions, Lateinos, Euanthas, and Teitan, he gives one of his own, Dantialos, a name possibly suggested by the theory that Antichrist was to be of the tribe of Dan. The kings of the East (xvi. 12) come to the support of Antichrist. Armageddon is the valley of Jehoshaphat. The five kings (xvii. 13) are Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Darius, Alexander and his four successors. The next is the Roman empire, whose time was not yet completed; the seventh, who had not yet come, was Antichrist.

This enumeration includes all the works for which there is evidence of Hippolytine authorship, unless we add the letters with which it would seem Eusebius was acquainted. The list of genuine writings is quite enough to establish the immense literary activity of Hippolytus, especially as an interpreter of Scripture; and his labours must have given a great impulse to the study of God's word. As a writer he must be pronounced active rather than able or painstaking. Yet he must be admitted to deserve the reverence his literary labours gained from his contemporaries and the honour paid him at his death. For centuries afterwards his name was obscured; but his glory blazed out again when in the time of Charlemagne his relics were transferred to France. For some interesting particulars of this translation see Benson, Journ. of Classical and Sacred Philology, i. 190. We quote his account of the visit of pope Alexander III. to his shrine in the church of St. Denys in 1159. "on the threshold of one of the chapels he paused to ask, ' Whose relics it contained?' 'Those of St. Hippolytus,' was the answer. 'I don't believe it—I don't believe it' ('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 he rumbled his bones inside the reliquary with a noise like thunder ('ut rugitus tonitrui putaretur'). 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."

Literature.—Arts. on Hippolytus are to be found in Tillem. vol. iv.; Ceillier, vol. i.; Fabr. Bibl. Gr. vii. 183, ed. Harles, where is the best account of the older bibliography. The discovery of the Refutation made a good deal of the older literature antiquated. We have already referred to some of the more important writings which that discovery elicited. The more important special dissertations on the other works have been referred to under their respective sections. The most important discussion on the life and works of Hippolytus is that in vol. xi. of part i. of Bp. Lightfoot's Apost. Fathers, pp. 137–477.

[G.S.]

« Hilarius, bp. of Rome Hippolytus Romanus Hippolytus (5), an apocryphal martyr »





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