Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Post by Peter Kirby » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:14 pm

I've got a new article out, and in it I track down the citations of Hegesippus and put together an account of this text.

http://peterkirby.com/chasing-hegesippus.html

In summary, Hegesippus did not write under this name. His work come to be attributed to Josephus in Alexandria and then corrupted to the name of Hegesippus in Caesarea, where Eusebius quotes from it extensively. The author refers to his text as books of “memoirs,” but it is possible, given the confusion already demonstrated about the author, that this was not the formal title of the text. We find a similar reference from his contemporary, Justin Martyr, who refers to the “Gospels,” which have only ever held that title, as memoirs. All of the quotations that are placed in a particular book, whether form Eusebius or from Stephen Gobar through Photius, are placed in the fifth book.

We might suppose, if we want to make a particular suggestion to explain this data, that the text ended the narrative with the fifth book and started this book with a statement to the effect that, “This is the fifth book of memoirs…” Between a false title written as Josephus in Alexandria (possibly a pagan error) and a correction of that obviously false title at Caesarea (a corruption of the name Josephus otherwise attested), this would account for the name given authorship, the title attributed to the work, and the number of books assigned to the work.

Although the fifth book and its two false titles do not give us the author’s name, we can make certain deductions from the fragments still known. Both Clement of Alexandria and Eusebius of Caesarea put the best evidence for the date of authorship in the reign of Antoninus. The reference from Clement allows us to narrow it down further, between 138 AD and 148 AD, the period of the reign of Antoninus up to the tenth year, the extremity of its chronology.

The author was in Rome when Anicetus was its bishop. Traditional chronology for the bishops of Rome has faithfully followeed the statements presented by Eusebius of Caesarea and chronographers before him, Hippolytus of Rome and Julius Africanus. There has even been a tendency to attribute a list of bishops of Rome, falsely, to the text of Hegesippus. This cannot be sustained. The chronology is doubtless correct starting from some point in the second half of the second century, but it is nebulous data for the first half of the second century. The contemporary of Anicetus as bishop of Rome wrote no later than 148 AD, so Anicetus must be understood as taking the bishopric of Rome a full ten years earlier than usually believed. This likewise pushes backward the chronology of Pius and his predecessors, but this is just as well, as there needs to be room when fictitious persons such as “Sextus” are removed from the list.

The author is an opponent of heresy in the bishoprics of Anicetus and his predecessor, Pius. He says the errors only became prevalent after the death of the last witness to Jesus, Symeon, leader of the relatives of Jesus (around 115 AD). As someone who was in Rome during the bishopric of Anicetus, he may also have been witness to the foreshadowings of the quartodeciman controversy in the confrontation said to have taken place between Polycarp and Anicetus then. He also clearly knows of the Marcionites at first hand as a heresy that arose in his own day, as Eusebius says of him and as one of the listed heresies in the quote attributed to him. The author is, in fact, the first known person to put in writing an opposition to named heretics including Simonians and Marcionites. His text may have been used by later heresiologists, most significantly for the names of some Jewish sects that are only known through writers that repeat Hegesippus.

The author met with several bishops of his time, according to Eusebius, to ascertain the content of their faith and to see how it was in agreement. The author also makes use of unwritten Jewish traditions. The author claims that texts had been falsely produced by heretics in his own day. These facts may be connected. The author may be gathering such oral statements in his own writing as a sort of brief against the heretics who draw their opinions from forged texts. The oral statements that matter would have to be ones that agree with the witnesses of Jesus such as Symeon, who guaranteed the churches against error until he passed away. There is no evidence that he drew up lists of bishops, but he did go to several churches to try to see whether they agreed with the ideas of apostolic tradition as he saw them. His emphasis on the witness of the apostles who knew Jesus stands in stark contrast to his contemporary opponent, Marcion, who drew his theology from the writings of “the Apostle” who did not know Jesus.

- See more at: http://peterkirby.com/chasing-hegesippus.html
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

User avatar
stephan happy huller
Posts: 1480
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:06 pm
Contact:

Re: Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Post by stephan happy huller » Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:30 pm

The author refers to his text as books of “memoirs,”
Don't forget that hypomnema (or 'hypomnemata' as Hegesippus used it) is a famously complex word. Foucault devotes a whole book to this one word and does not begin to exhaust its significance. From what I remember - it's late - it was conceived as a memory aid associated with the use of wax tablets in antiquity. I might be tired. The term can also mean 'notes' and was used in the sense of a work which wasn't fully completed yet. Students create hypomnemata when they copy down a teacher's lecture. The idea in Justin seems to be that the disciples established hypomnemata (there is another related word he uses too that starts with apo-). This interestingly suggest that the Marcionite claim that the disciples didn't write 'gospels' wasn't necessarily contradicted by Justin. The same idea appears in Clement's Letter to Theodore - i.e. Mark had notes of Peter and his own notes before writing his gospel. Have to sleep. Will read later. Interesting
Everyone loves the happy times

User avatar
MrMacSon
Posts: 5614
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:34 am

The third possible witness (and first sure witness) to Hegesippus is Eusebius of Caesarea. Take note of the fact, however, that Origen, to whom Eusebius owes much, changed his center of studies from Alexandria to Caesarea. If there was a manuscript falsely attributed to Josephus in Alexandria, which Clement of Alexandria and Origen quote, it or a copy of it could have traveled with Origen to Caesarea so that it could be later quoted by Eusebius. This makes it even more remarkable that Eusebius quotes a passage from Hegesippus that resembles very closely the kind of passage that Origen apparently had in mind for Josephus.

... When a copy of the manuscript arrived at Caesarea, either Eusebius or someone before him realized that this text could not possibly be one written by Flavius Josephus. This led to the invention of a similar-sounding name, Hegesippus, to account for the mistake.

- See more at http://peterkirby.com/chasing-hegesippu ... No9ZH.dpuf
Have you looked at or considered the person interposed b/w Origen & Eusebius - Pamphilus of Caesarea??

In discussing how Ken Olson ...
... has blogged about how the most common arguments against Christian authorship of the Testamonium Flavium are ironically among the best arguments for its forgery by Eusebius ...

... Richard Carrier recently said ..
... the case is now pretty strong that Eusebius did indeed fabricate the TF.

Or… that Pamphilus of Caesarea did.

This is a possibility Olson does not consider, but that I think deserves equal attention. My impression from the work of Eusebius is that he is kind of a doof and didn’t actually know where passages like this came from. I suspect he is not the forger. But Olson’s evidence entails that if Eusebius is not the forger, then his teacher and predecessor almost certainly is, and that’s Pamphilus of Caesarea. We have almost none of what was written by that man, thus we can’t check directly, but all the evidence Olson finds of Eusebian authorship of the TF could be remnants of vocabulary, idioms, and ideas Eusebius inherited from his teacher. And the timeline fits (I argue the accidental interpolation in the other passage occurred under Pamphilus’s watch as well, since it’s clear Eusebius didn’t know that had occurred, as I show in my article, yet it must have occurred after Origen, as I also show in my article, and Pamphilus was Origen’s successor; I also demonstrate there that all present copies of Josephus derive from the copy Eusebius held in his library, which was Pamphilus’s library, inherited from Origen).

http://freethoughtblogs.com/carrier/archives/4391

User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

Re: Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Post by Peter Kirby » Fri Nov 08, 2013 9:57 am

MrMacSon wrote:
The third possible witness (and first sure witness) to Hegesippus is Eusebius of Caesarea. Take note of the fact, however, that Origen, to whom Eusebius owes much, changed his center of studies from Alexandria to Caesarea. If there was a manuscript falsely attributed to Josephus in Alexandria, which Clement of Alexandria and Origen quote, it or a copy of it could have traveled with Origen to Caesarea so that it could be later quoted by Eusebius. This makes it even more remarkable that Eusebius quotes a passage from Hegesippus that resembles very closely the kind of passage that Origen apparently had in mind for Josephus.

... When a copy of the manuscript arrived at Caesarea, either Eusebius or someone before him realized that this text could not possibly be one written by Flavius Josephus. This led to the invention of a similar-sounding name, Hegesippus, to account for the mistake.

- See more at http://peterkirby.com/chasing-hegesippu ... No9ZH.dpuf
Have you looked at or considered the person interposed b/w Origen & Eusebius - Pamphilus of Caesarea??
Yes, I had him in mind. But it's really impossible to say and doesn't add to our understanding, so I've left it at "someone."
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

User avatar
MrMacSon
Posts: 5614
Joined: Sat Oct 05, 2013 3:45 pm

Re: Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Nov 08, 2013 10:38 am

Peter Kirby wrote:... But it's really impossible to say and doesn't add to our understanding, so I've left it at "someone."
Sure, it may never be possible to say; and may not add a lot to our understanding, other than the roles of both vertical/inter-generational influence & integration, and the siginificance & role/s of teams of closely related people eg. Origen-Pamphilus-Eusebius.

User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

Re: Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Post by Peter Kirby » Fri Nov 08, 2013 1:26 pm

Good point. I've added his name to the text of the article.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

Re: Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Post by Peter Kirby » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:37 pm

I've now got a post arguing that "Hegesippus" may actually be Papias:

http://peterkirby.com/that-hegesippus-was-papias.html
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

User avatar
stephan happy huller
Posts: 1480
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:06 pm
Contact:

Re: Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Post by stephan happy huller » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:45 pm

Interesting but linguistically speaking 'Hegesippus' is either a preservation of an extremely archaic Greek name (unlikely for a Jew) or a corruption of Ιώσηπος an extremely common Jewish name. The form Hegesippus is an adaptation to the phonetics of Greek, to make the name sound Greek (not Latin). As such it Is probably an artificial name.

With respect to the rest of your evidence, the two may be the same person but you haven't uncovered any strong evidence to demonstrate that conclusively.
Everyone loves the happy times

User avatar
Peter Kirby
Site Admin
Posts: 5238
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 2:13 pm
Location: Santa Clara
Contact:

Re: Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Post by Peter Kirby » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:48 pm

Don't I agree with you? I think I do.

My idea is that the fifth roll of Papias broke off from the rest, started with something sorta like "this is the fifth book of memoirs" and contained the work's conclusion, was falsely attributed to Josephus in Alexandria (where Clement and Origen read it), and then got falsely reassigned to the corruption of that name "Hegesippus" in the library at Caesarea.
stephan happy huller wrote:With respect to the rest of your evidence, the two may be the same person but you haven't uncovered any strong evidence to demonstrate that conclusively.
Hard to disagree with that. It's the same old stuff people have been staring at for centuries now. I've only presented it in a way that had not been acknowledged by the great masters of the late 19th/early 20th centuries, whose ideas have been more or less transmitted until today without modification.
"... almost every critical biblical position was earlier advanced by skeptics." - Raymond Brown

User avatar
stephan happy huller
Posts: 1480
Joined: Fri Oct 04, 2013 3:06 pm
Contact:

Re: Chasing Hegesippus: a short commentary

Post by stephan happy huller » Sun Nov 24, 2013 11:50 pm

From what I remember of Jastrow there were Jews named Papias or something pretty close.
Everyone loves the happy times

Post Reply