The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great

By Henry Chadwick | Go to book overview

20 Hippolytus and Liturgy

During the third and fourth centuries the Christian community in Rome gradually became predominantly Latin-speaking, and memories of its Greek beginnings were lost in mist. The last ancient Christian of Rome to write in Greek was Hippolytus. The calendar of Filocalus of the year 354 records under the year 235 that Bishop Pontianus and Presbyter Hippolytus were exiled to Sardinia, no doubt to sweat as labourers in the mines under the usual lethal conditions. Both names occur in the list of martyrs. A number of works by Hippolytus were known to Eusebius, for example On the Pascha together with an Easter table on a 16-year cycle starting in ad 222; a Hexaemeron expounding the six days of Genesis 1; Against Marcion; On the Song of Songs, On Ezekiel; and Against all Heresies. Extant also is a commentary on Daniel, written to discourage millennial excitements (in Syria a bishop had lately led his flock out into the desert to await the second coming, and had had to be rescued by imperial authority). The work twice alludes to personal envy against the author. His colleagues may have found him difficult. Other works transmitted under his name, probably correctly, are On the universe attacking Plato for incompetence, On Christ and Antichrist, On the Benedictions of Moses. Fragments survive of a letter on the resurrection theme in Paul's Corinthian letters addressed to the empress Mammaea.

Two works attributed to him by modern scholars have been the subject of controversy, namely his Elenchos or 'Refutation of all Heresies', found on Mount Athos and first printed in 1851, and a Church Order which presupposes a situation at Rome early in the third century and was composed by a passionate conservative anxious about recent innovations. In 1551 a statue on a chair was discovered in Rome, on which was a list of titles of Hippolytus' works, including his Easter table (not the Elenchos), and recording work on spiritual charisms and the Apostolic Tradition. The Elenchos is indispensable to students of pre-Socratic Greek philosophy because of the number of quotations of otherwise lost texts; Hippolytus' thesis is that the gnostic heresies have been plagiarized from very uninspired philosophers. The climax of the work turns into a direct and very personal assault on Bishop Callistus of Rome, who had enraged the author by denouncing his Logos theology as ditheism.

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The Church in Ancient Society: From Galilee to Gregory the Great
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Church in Ancient Society iii
  • Prefatory Note vi
  • Contents vii
  • Abbreviations ix
  • Introduction 1
  • 1: The First Followers of Jesus 5
  • 2: The Jewish Matrix 13
  • 3: Jews and Christians Survive Rome's Crushing of Revolts 21
  • 4: The Hebrew Scriptures in the Church 27
  • 5: Interpreting Scripture 32
  • 6: Apostles and Evangelists 43
  • 7: Women Among Jesus' Followers 53
  • 8: 'Barnabas', Jewish Christianity, Trouble at Corinth 56
  • 9: Ignatius of Antioch 65
  • 10: Didache 84
  • 11: Marcion 89
  • 12: Justin 93
  • 13: Irenaeus of Lyon 100
  • 14: The New Testament Text 108
  • 15: Celsus: A Platonist Attack 110
  • 16: Montanism: Perpetua 114
  • 17: Tertullian, Minucius Felix 118
  • 18: Clement of Alexandria 124
  • 19: Julius Africanus 130
  • 20: Hippolytus and Liturgy 132
  • 21: Origen 135
  • 22: Cyprian of Carthage 145
  • 23: Dionysius of Alexandria 161
  • 24: Paul of Samosata 166
  • 25: Mani 170
  • 26: Plotinus, Porphyry 173
  • 27: Diocletian and the Great Persecution; Rise of Constantine 176
  • 28: Constantine 190
  • 29: The Seeds of Reaction 201
  • 30: The Church at Prayer 212
  • 31: Athanasius, Marcellus, and the Gathering Storm 226
  • 32: A Fiasco at Serdica 240
  • 33: Religious Division 254
  • 34: Athanasius' Return 260
  • 35: Constantius' Double Council of Unity 279
  • 36: Julian and the Church 295
  • 37: Damasus, Siricius, Papal Authority, Synesius of Cyrene 314
  • 38: Basil of Caesarea (Cappadocia) 331
  • 39: Ambrose 348
  • 40: Ambrosiaster 379
  • 41: Donatism 382
  • 42: Monks: The Ascetic Life 394
  • 43: Messalians 411
  • 44: Schism at Antioch 415
  • 45: Jerome and Rufinus 433
  • 46: Pelagius, Caelestius, and the Roman See in Gaul and North Africa 446
  • 47: Julian of Eclanum 464
  • 48: Augustine 473
  • 49: John Chrysostom 479
  • 50: Innocent I and John Chrysostom's Honour 499
  • 51: The Christological Debate, I 515
  • 52: The Christological Debate, Ii 538
  • 53: The Christological Debate, Iii 557
  • 54: The Aftermath of the Council of Chalcedon 592
  • 55: Justinian, Origen, and the 'Three Chapters' 612
  • 56: The Ancient Oriental Churches 628
  • 57: The Church and the Barbarian Invasions in the West 633
  • 58: Pope Gregory the Great (590-604) 658
  • 59: Worship After Constantine 675
  • 60: Pilgrims 684
  • 61: Penance 688
  • Further Reading 694
  • Dates of Roman Emperors 714
  • Index 721
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