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Hegesippus

HEGESIPPUS, two writers by that name:

(1) - (fl. A.D. 150-180), early Christian writer, was of Palestinian origin, and lived under the Emperors Antoninus Pius, Marcus Aurelius and Commodus. Like Aristo of Pella he belonged to that group of Judaistic Christians which, while keeping the law themselves, did not attempt to impose on others the requirements of circumcision and Sabbath observance. He was the author of a treatise (inrofivfi fiord) in five books dealing with such subjects as Christian literature, the unity of church doctrine, paganism, heresy and Jewish Christianity, fragments of which are found in Eusebius, who obtained much of his information concerning early Palestinian church history and chronology from this source. Hegesippus was also a great traveller, and like many other leaders of his time came to Rome (having visited Corinth on the way) about the middle of the 2nd century. His journeyings impressed him with the idea that the continuity of the church in the cities he visited was a guarantee of its fidelity to apostolic orthodoxy: " in each succession and in every city, the doctrine is in accordance with that which the Law and the Prophets and the Lord [i.e the Old Testament and the evangelical tradition] proclaim." To illustrate this opinion he drew up a list of the Roman bishops. Hegesippus is thus a significant figure both for the type of Christianity taught in the circle to which he belonged, and as accentuating the point of view which the church began to assume in the presence of a developing gnosticism.

(2) - the supposed author of a free Latin adaptation of the Jewish War of Josephus under the title De hello Judaico et excidio urbis Hierosolymitanae. The seven books of Josephus are compressed into five, but much has been added from the Antiquities and from the works of Roman historians, while several entirely new speeches are introduced to suit the occasion. Internal evidence shows that the work could not have been written before the 4th century A.D. The author, who is undoubtedly a Christian, describes it in his preface as a kind of revised edition of Josephus. Some authorities attribute it to Ambrose, bishop of Milan (340- 397), but there is nothing to settle the authorship definitely. The name Hegesippus itself appears to be a corruption of Josephus, through the stages 'IOJOTJTTOS, losippus, Egesippus, Hegesippus, unless it was purposely adopted as reminiscent of Hegesippus, the father of ecclesiastical history (2nd century).

Best edition by C. F. Weber and J. Caesar (1864); authorities in E. Schurer, History of the Jewish People (Eng. trans.), i. 99 seq. ; F. Vogel, De Hegesippo, qui dicitur, Josephi interprete (Erlangen, 1881).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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