« Hesychius (3), Egyptian bp Hesychius (25), presbyter of Jerusalem Hesychius (27) Illustris, a writer »

Hesychius (25), presbyter of Jerusalem

Hesychius (25), presbyter of Jerusalem in the first half of 5th cent., a copious and learned writer whose comments on Holy Scripture and other works gained a great reputation. Considerable confusion exists as to the authorship of several of the treatises ascribed to him—a confusion which it is hopeless entirely to remove. It is possible that some were written by the bp. of Salona. [HESYCHIUS (6).] It is altogether a mistake 457to speak of Hesychius as bp. of Jerusalem. According to the Greek Menology, Mar. 28, he was born and educated at Jerusalem, where "by meditating on the Scriptures he obtained a deep acquaintance with divine things." On reaching manhood he left home and devoted himself to a solitary life in the desert, where he "with bee-like industry gathered the flowers of virtue from the holy Fathers there." He was ordained presbyter against his will by the patriarch of Jerusalem, and spent the rest of his life there or at other sacred places. Hesychius the presbyter is mentioned by Theophanes, who, in 412, speaks of him as "the presbyter of Jerusalem," and in 413 records his celebrity for theological learning. He is mentioned in the Life of St. Euthymius by Cyril of Scythopolis (Coteler. Eccl. Graec. Monism. t. ii. p. 233, § 42), as accompanying Juvenal, patriarch of Jerusalem, to the consecration of the church of the "laura" of St. Euthymius, a.d. 428 or 429, and as received with much honour by the abbat. He is said by Allatius (Diatriba de Simeonibus, p. 100) to have been Chartophylax or Keeper of the Records of the church of the Anastasis at Jerusalem. His death can only be placed approximately c. 438. He is twice mentioned by Photius, who shares to some extent in the confusion as to the Hesychii, and assigns him no date. In Cod. 275 Photius quotes a rhetorical passage from a sermon on James the Lord's brother and David (θεοπάτωρ), evidently delivered at Jerusalem. Hesychius compares Bethlehem and Sion, to the great advantage of the latter, and, in a manner very natural in a presbyter of Jerusalem, elevates St. James's authority above that of St. Peter in the council of Jerusalem.

Of several of the numerous works attributed to this author, all we can say is that they bear the name of Hesychius in one of its forms, but whether actually the composition of the presbyter of Jerusalem or of some other Hesychius it is difficult, if not impossible, to determine. Tillemont feels no insuperable difficulty in assigning them all to the same author, but confesses that fuller light might lead to a different conclusion.

(1) In Leviticum Libri VII. Explanationum Allegoricarum sive Commentarius, dedicated to the deacon Eutychianus, is the most extensive work extant under the name of Hesychius. It has frequently been printed. The earliest editions are those of Basle (1527, fol.) and Paris (1581, 8vo). It is in the various Bibliothecae Patrum, as that of Lyons, t. xii. p. 52, and the Vet. Patr. Bibl. of Galland, t. xi.

(2) Commentaries on the Psalms.—Harles and Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. vol. vii. p. 549, speak of many portions of this work existing in MS., especially one in the University Library of Cambridge containing Pss. lxxvii.–cvii. The only portions printed are the Fragmenta in Psalmos, extracted from the Greek Catena in Psalmos, with a Latin trans. by Balthazar Corderius. These are very sensible and useful, and lead us to wish for the publication of the whole. See Faulhaber, Hesych. Hierosol. Interpr. Is. Proph. 1900 sqq.; att. to Faulhaber in Theol. Quartalschr. 1901. The Commentary on the Psalms att. to Athanasius (Migne, Patr. Gk. xxvii.) is by Hesychius.

(3) Στιχηρὸν sive κεφάλαια in XII. Prophetas et Esaiam, an epitome of the 12 Minor Prophets and Isaiah, section by section.

(4) Fragments of Commentaries on Ezk., Dan., Acts, James, I. Peter, and Jude.

(5) Difficultatum et Solutionum Collectio.—A harmonizing of 61 discrepant passages in the Gospel history, generally characterized by sound common sense and a reluctance to force an unreal agreement.

(6) Eight Sermons, or Fragments of Sermons.

(7) Ἀντιρρητικὰ καὶ Εὐτικά. Two Centuries of Moral Maxims on Temperance and Virtue and Instructions on Prayer, addressed to one Theodotus.

(8) The Martyrdom of Longinus the Centurion.—The author, according to Fabricius, belonged to a much later period than the one who wrote the works previously enumerated.

(9) An Ecclesiastical History, of which a fragment is given in the Acts of the council of Constantinople, a.d. 353, Collat. Quinta, condemnatory of Theodore of Mopsuestia.

Cave, Hist. Lit. t. i. p. 570; Fabricius, Bibl. Graec. ed. Harles, t. vii. pp. 548–551; Galland, Vet. Patr. Bibl. t. xi.; Migne, Patr. Gk, vol. xciii. pp. 781–1560.


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