There are good presentations about Hegesippus online already, particularly that of Ben C. Smith’s Text Excavation. I’d like, however, to present the possibility that Clement of Alexandria or Origen preserve fragments of Hegesippus alongside those fragments that are more commonly attributed to him.
There is at least one known case of the names “Josephus” and “Hegesippus” being confused, in the direction traveling from Josephus to Hegesippus. That is the text known to be from “Pseudo-Hegesippus,” a Latin text also known as “On the Ruin of the City of Jerusalem” that recycles much material from Josephus’ Jewish Wars, which some scribes have attributed to a “Hegesippus.”
This should at least alert us to the possibility of the names being confused at times. For patristic references to Josephus, if they don’t cite the particular context or book or work of Josephus and don’t mention material that is otherwise attested in the manuscripts of Josephus, we should be ready to consider the possibility that the person being called Josephus is in fact another author. One of the most likely authors to be confused with Josephus is someone called Hegesippus.
First we find a reference to a chronological calculation from Josephus in Clement of Alexandria.
Clement of Alexandria, Stromata 1.21. Flavius Josephus the Jew, who composed the history of the Jews, computing the periods, says that from Moses to David were five hundred and eighty-five years; from David to the second year of Vespasian, a thousand one hundred and seventy-nine; then from that to the tenth year of Antoninus, seventy-seven. So that from Moses to the tenth year of Antoninus there are, in all, two thousand one hundred and thirty-three years. (link)
Φλαύιος δὲ Ἰώσηπος ὁ Ἰουδαῖος ὁ τὰς Ἰουδαϊκὰς συντάξας ἱστορίας καταγαγὼν τοὺς χρόνους φησὶν ἀπὸ Μωυσέως ἕως Δαβὶδ ἔτη γίγνεσθαι φπεʹ, ἀπὸ δὲ Δαβὶδ ἕως Οὐεσπεσιανοῦ δευτέρου ἔτους ͵αροθʹ. εἶτα ἀπὸ τούτου μέχρι Ἀντωνίνου δεκάτου ἔτους ἔτη οζʹ, ὡς εἶναι ἀπὸ Μωυσέως ἐπὶ τὸ δέκατον ἔτος Ἀντωνίνου πάντα ἔτη ͵αωλγʹ. (TLG)
The reference is clearly attributing seventy seven years between the second year of Vespasian (the destruction of Jerusalem) and the tenth of Antoninus to a calculation made by Josephus the Jew. Clement of Alexandria immediately goes on to speak about “others, counting from Inachus and Moses to the death of Commodus,” which makes it hard to argue that Clement of Alexandria is imposing the terminus on his source. Because of the chronological implausibility of Josephus writing in the reign of Antoninus, this reference to Josephus must refer to a text falsely attributed to Josephus or, alternatively, a text being recalled incorrectly as a work of Josephus.
In his reference to the death of James the Just, Clement of Alexandria shows no sign at all of having read Josephus, but he does mention details that can be drawn from the account quoted by Eusebius from Hegesippus.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.1.3-5. But Clement in the sixth book of his Hypotyposes writes thus: “For they say that Peter and James and John after the ascension of our Saviour, as if also preferred by our Lord, strove not after honor, but chose James the Just bishop of Jerusalem.” But the same writer, in the seventh book of the same work, relates also the following things concerning him: “The Lord after his resurrection imparted knowledge to James the Just and to John and Peter, and they imparted it to the rest of the apostles, and the rest of the apostles to the seventy, of whom Barnabas was one. But there were two Jameses: one called the Just, who was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple and was beaten to death with a club by a fuller, and another who was beheaded.”
Κλήμης ἐν ἕκτῳ τῶν Ὑποτυπώσεων γράφων ὧδε παρίστησιν· »Πέτρον γάρ φησιν καὶ Ἰάκωβον καὶ Ἰωάννην μετὰ τὴν ἀνάληψιν τοῦ σωτῆρος, ὡς ἂν καὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ σωτῆρος προτετιμη μένους, μὴ ἐπιδικάζεσθαι δόξης, ἀλλὰ Ἰάκωβον τὸν δίκαιον ἐπίσκοπον τῶν Ἱεροσολύμων ἑλέσθαι.» ὁ δ’ αὐτὸς ἐν ἑβδόμῳ τῆς αὐτῆς ὑποθέσεως ἔτι καὶ ταῦτα περὶ αὐτοῦ φησιν· »Ἰακώβῳ τῷ δικαίῳ καὶ Ἰωάννῃ καὶ Πέτρῳ μετὰ τὴν ἀνάστασιν παρέδωκεν τὴν γνῶσιν ὁ κύριος, οὗτοι τοῖς λοιποῖς ἀποστό λοις παρέδωκαν, οἱ δὲ λοιποὶ ἀπόστολοι τοῖς ἑβδομήκοντα· ὧν εἷς ἦν καὶ Βαρναβᾶς. δύο δὲ γεγόνασιν Ἰάκωβοι, εἷς ὁ δίκαιος, ὁ κατὰ τοῦ πτερυγίου βληθεὶς καὶ ὑπὸ γναφέως ξύλῳ πληγεὶς εἰς θάνατον, ἕτερος δὲ ὁ καρατομηθείς.»
Next, Origen also refers to Josephus in a way suggestive of a non-Josephan source.
Origen, Commentary on Matthew 10.17. “And to so great a reputation among the people for righteousness did this James rise, that Flavius Josephus, who wrote the ‘Antiquities of the Jews’ in twenty books, when wishing to exhibit the cause why the people suffered so great misfortunes that even the temple was razed to the ground, said, that these things happened to them in accordance with the wrath of God in consequence of the things which they had dared to do against James the brother of Jesus who is called Christ. And the wonderful thing is, that, though he did not accept Jesus as Christ, he yet gave testimony that the righteousness of James was so great; and he says that the people thought that they had suffered these things because of James.” (link)
Ἐπὶ τοσοῦτον δὲ διέλαμψεν οὗτος ὁ Ἰάκωβος ἐν τῷ λαῷ ἐπὶ δικαιοσύνῃ ὡς Φλάβιον Ἰώσηπον ἀναγράψαντα ἐν εἴκοσι βιβλίοις τὴν Ἰουδαϊκὴν ἀρχαιολογίαν, τὴν αἰτίαν παραστῆσαι βουλόμενον τοῦ τὰ τοσαῦτα πεπονθέναι τὸν λαὸν ὡς καὶ τὸν ναὸν κατασκαφῆναι, εἰρηκέναι κατὰ μῆνιν θεοῦ ταῦτα αὐτοῖς ἀπηντηκέναι διὰ τὰ εἰς Ἰάκωβον τὸν ἀδελφὸν Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ ὑπ’ αὐτῶν τετολμημένα. Καὶ «τὸ θαυμαστόν ἐστιν» ὅτι, τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἡμῶν οὐ καταδεξάμενος εἶναι Χριστόν, οὐδὲν ἧττον Ἰακώβῳ δικαιοσύνην ἐμαρτύρησε τοσαύτην. Λέγει δὲ ὅτι καὶ ὁ λαὸς ταῦτα ἐνόμιζε διὰ τὸν Ἰάκωβον πεπονθέναι. (TLG)
Origen, Against Celsus 1.47. “I would like to say to Celsus, who represents the Jew as accepting somehow John as a Baptist, who baptized Jesus, that the existence of John the Baptist, baptizing for the remission of sins, is related by one who lived no great length of time after John and Jesus. For in the 18th book of his Antiquities of the Jews, Josephus bears witness to John as having been a Baptist, and as promising purification to those who underwent the rite. Now this writer, although not believing in Jesus as the Christ, in seeking after the cause of the fall of Jerusalem and the destruction of the temple, whereas he ought to have said that the conspiracy against Jesus was the cause of these calamities befalling the people, since they put to death Christ, who was a prophet, says nevertheless-being, although against his will, not far from the truth-that these disasters happened to the Jews as a punishment for the death of James the Just, who was a brother of Jesus called Christ,–the Jews having put him to death, although he was a man most distinguished for his justice. Paul, a genuine disciple of Jesus, says that he regarded this James as a brother of the Lord, not so much on account of their relationship by blood, or of their being brought up together, as because of his virtue and doctrine. If, then, he says that it was on account of James that the desolation of Jerusalem was made to overtake the Jews, how should it not be more in accordance with reason to say that it happened on account (of the death) of Jesus Christ, of whose divinity so many Churches are witnesses, composed of those who have been convened from a flood of sins, and who have joined themselves to the Creator, and who refer all their actions to His good pleasure.” (link)
Ἐβουλόμην δ’ ἂν Κέλσῳ, προσωποποιήσαντι τὸν Ἰουδαῖον παραδεξάμενόν πως Ἰωάννην ὡς βαπτιστὴν βαπτίζοντα τὸν Ἰησοῦν, εἰπεῖν ὅτι τὸ Ἰωάννην γεγονέναι βαπτιστήν, εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτημάτων βαπτίζοντα, ἀνέγραψέ τις τῶν μετ’ οὐ πολὺ τοῦ Ἰωάννου καὶ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ γεγενημένων. Ἐν γὰρ τῷ ὀκτωκαιδεκάτῳ τῆς ἰουδαϊκῆς ἀρχαιολογίας ὁ Ἰώσηπος μαρτυρεῖ τῷ Ἰωάννῃ ὡς βαπτιστῇ γεγενημένῳ καὶ καθάρσιον τοῖς βαπτισαμένοις ἐπαγγελλομένῳ. Ὁ δ’ αὐτός, καίτοι γε ἀπιστῶν τῷ Ἰησοῦ ὡς Χριστῷ, ζητῶν τὴν αἰτίαν τῆς τῶν Ἱεροσολύμων πτώσεως καὶ τῆς τοῦ ναοῦ καθαιρέσεως, δέον αὐτὸν εἰπεῖν ὅτι ἡ κατὰ τοῦ Ἰησοῦ ἐπιβουλὴ τούτων αἰτία γέγονε τῷ λαῷ, ἐπεὶ ἀπέκτειναν τὸν προφητευόμενον Χριστόν· ὁ δὲ καὶ ὥσπερ ἄκων οὐ μακρὰν τῆς ἀληθείας γενόμενός φησι ταῦτα συμβεβηκέναι τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις κατ’ ἐκδίκησιν Ἰακώβου τοῦ δικαίου, ὃς ἦν ἀδελφὸς «Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ», ἐπειδήπερ δικαιότατον αὐτὸν ὄντα ἀπέκτειναν. Τὸν δὲ Ἰάκωβον τοῦτον ὁ Ἰησοῦ γνήσιος μαθητὴς Παῦλός φησιν ἑωρακέναι ὡς «ἀδελφὸν τοῦ κυρίου», οὐ τοσοῦτον διὰ τὸ πρὸς αἵματος συγγενὲς ἢ τὴν κοινὴν αὐτῶν ἀνατροφὴν ὅσον διὰ τὸ ἦθος καὶ τὸν λόγον. Εἴπερ οὖν διὰ Ἰάκωβον λέγει συμβεβηκέναι τοῖς Ἰουδαίοις τὰ κατὰ τὴν ἐρήμωσιν τῆς Ἱερουσαλήμ, πῶς οὐχὶ εὐλογώτερον διὰ Ἰησοῦν τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦτο φάσκειν γεγονέναι; Οὗ τῆς θειότητος μάρτυρες αἱ τοσαῦται τῶν μεταβαλόντων ἀπὸ τῆς χύσεως τῶν κακῶν ἐκκλησίαι καὶ ἠρτημένων τοῦ δημιουργοῦ καὶ πάντ’ ἀναφερόντων ἐπὶ τὴν πρὸς ἐκεῖνον ἀρέσκειαν. (TLG)
Origen, Against Celsus 2.13. “But at that time there were no armies around Jerusalem, encompassing and enclosing and besieging it; for the siege began in the reign of Nero, and lasted till the government of Vespasian, whose son Titus destroyed Jerusalem, on account, as Josephus says, of James the Just, the brother of Jesus who was called Christ, but in reality, as the truth makes dear, on account of Jesus Christ the Son of God.” (link) [alternatively, “… of James the Just, the brother of Jesus, the so-called Messiah, but in reality, as the truth makes clear, an account of Jesus, God’s Messiah.”]
Καὶ οὐδαμῶς τότε ἦν στρατόπεδα περὶ τὴν Ἱερουσαλὴμ κυκλοῦντα αὐτὴν καὶ περιέχοντα καὶ πολιορκοῦντα. Τοῦτο γὰρ ἤρξατο μὲν ἔτι Νέρωνος βασιλεύοντος παρέτεινε δὲ ἕως τῆς Οὐεσπασιανοῦ ἡγεμονίας· οὗ ὁ υἱὸς Τίτος καθεῖλε τὴν Ἱερουσαλήμ, ὡς μὲν Ἰώσηπος γράφει, διὰ Ἰάκωβον τὸν δίκαιον, τὸν ἀδελφὸν Ἰησοῦ τοῦ λεγομένου Χριστοῦ, ὡς δὲ ἡ ἀλήθεια παρίστησι, διὰ Ἰησοῦν τὸν Χριστὸν τοῦ θεοῦ. (TLG)
Origen has been said to be reading too much into Josephus. But that explanation is not sufficient, not least because we know that the very same kind of tradition to which Origen reacts exists in another writer (i.e., Hegesippus). Origen must be confusing a tradition not found in Josephus with the account of Josephus in book 20 of the Antiquities; alternatively, Origen may be getting his information from a source improperly attributed to Josephus. It is a curious fact that both exegetes from early third century Alexandria should make the same kind of error and one which leads us to wonder about the otherwise-unattested manuscript tradition of Hegesippus and/or Josephus that may have existed there. It seems vain to suppose they independently decided to misrepresent Josephus. Moreover, Origen had an opportunity to refresh his memory between the two works but still persists in stating so emphatically that Josephus said something that we cannot actually find in our manuscripts of Josephus.
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.
The conclusion that explains this data simply is not hard to reach: this manuscript was falsely attributed to Josephus when it was in Alexandria. It was written by another person, whether that person was a Jew or a Christian (or a Jewish Christian). The false attribution may have been secondary, performed (possibly by a pagan, possibly in that famous library of Alexandria) by mistake after a view of the contents, which would mean that we may not be able to recover the original author’s name. When a copy of the manuscript arrived at Caesarea, either Eusebius or someone before him (such as Pamphilus of Caesarea) 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. (We’ll keep calling him Hegesippus by convention.)
This hypothesis immediately explains two other facts. One fact is that Hegesippus as a boy’s name had become extremely rare in the Roman period, as indicated, for example, by a search of the Packard Humanities Institute epigraphy collection. If it were not a given name but an invented name, this is not so unusual. Another fact is simply that the text has such slender attestation after Eusebius despite seemingly wide interest in its ostensible subject, church history. Only one other person ever bothers to reference it directly, a certain sixth century Stephen Gobar (mentioned by Photius) who, for all we know, may have found it in the same place Eusebius left it in Caesarea. If this text has been misattributed, the false attribution seems to have been a fairly local phenomenon, affecting three authors of connected provenance (Alexandria and then Caesarea) and a single fourth author of unknown provenance. (I leave it to the reader to demonstrate that the statements of Jerome and George Syncellus are derived from Eusebius.)
The hypothesis, along with the already widely discussed matter of the actions of Hadrian being “in our day” (and also mentioned by Eusebius as living “immediately after the apostles,” both of which are frequently harmonized so awkwardly to agree with an assumption that the text is dated later than 175 AD), implies that we can fix the date of the text quite exactly. It belongs to the reign of Antoninus, which is why it brings its chronological calculation down to the 10th year of Antoninus. If we believe this is the year it is written, then it belongs to 147/148 AD. If we believe the calculation to be of future significance to the author, then it belongs between 138 and 148 AD, which makes it one of those rare early Christian texts that can be pinned down to a decade.
Let’s turn, then, to the quotations from Eusebius, starting with the lengthy one regarding the death of James.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.23.3-7. The manner of James’ death has been already indicated by the above-quoted words of Clement, who records that he was thrown from the pinnacle of the temple, and was beaten to death with a club. But Hegesippus, who lived immediately after the apostles, gives the most accurate account in the fifth book of his Memoirs. He writes as follows: “James, the brother of the Lord, succeeded to the government of the Church in conjunction with the apostles. He has been called the Just by all from the time of our Saviour to the present day; for there were many that bore the name of James. He was holy from his mother’s womb; and he drank no wine nor strong drink, nor did he eat flesh. No razor came upon his head; he did not anoint himself with oil, and he did not use the bath. He alone was permitted to enter into the holy place; for he wore not woolen but linen garments. And he was in the habit of entering alone into the temple, and was frequently found upon his knees begging forgiveness for the people, so that his knees became hard like those of a camel, in consequence of his constantly bending them in his worship of God, and asking forgiveness for the people. Because of his exceeding great justice he was called the Just, and Oblias, which signifies in Greek, ‘Bulwark of the people’ and ‘Justice,’ in accordance with what the prophets declare concerning him. (link)
τὸν δὲ τῆς τοῦ Ἰακώβου τελευτῆς τρόπον ἤδη μὲν πρότερον αἱ παρατεθεῖσαι τοῦ Κλήμεντος φωναὶ δεδηλώκασιν, ἀπὸ τοῦ πτερυγίου βεβλῆσθαι ξύλῳ τε τὴν πρὸς θάνατον πεπλῆχθαι αὐτὸν ἱστορηκότος· ἀκριβέστατά γε μὴν τὰ κατ’ αὐτὸν ὁ Ἡγήσιππος, ἐπὶ τῆς πρώτης τῶν ἀποστόλων γενόμενος διαδοχῆς, ἐν τῷ πέμπτῳ αὐτοῦ ὑπομνήματι
τοῦτον λέγων ἱστορεῖ τὸν τρόπον· »διαδέχεται τὴν ἐκκλησίαν μετὰ τῶν ἀποστόλων ὁ ἀδελφὸς τοῦ κυρίου Ἰάκωβος, ὁ ὀνομασθεὶς ὑπὸ πάντων δίκαιος ἀπὸ τῶν τοῦ κυρίου χρόνων μέχρι καὶ ἡμῶν, ἐπεὶ πολλοὶ Ἰάκωβοι ἐκαλοῦντο, οὗτος δὲ ἐκ κοιλίας μητρὸς αὐτοῦ ἅγιος ἦν, οἶνον καὶ σίκερα οὐκ ἔπιεν οὐδὲ ἔμψυχον ἔφαγεν, ξυρὸν ἐπὶ τὴν κεφαλὴν αὐτοῦ οὐκ ἀνέβη, ἔλαιον οὐκ ἠλείψατο, καὶ βαλανείῳ οὐκ ἐχρήσατο. τούτῳ μόνῳ ἐξῆν εἰς τὰ ἅγια εἰσιέναι. οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐρεοῦν ἐφόρει, ἀλλὰ σινδόνας. καὶ μόνος εἰσήρχετο εἰς τὸν ναὸν ηὑρίσκετό τε κείμενος ἐπὶ τοῖς γόνασιν καὶ αἰτούμενος ὑπὲρ τοῦ λαοῦ ἄφεσιν, ὡς ἀπεσκληκέναι τὰ γόνατα αὐτοῦ δίκην καμήλου, διὰ τὸ ἀεὶ κάμπτειν ἐπὶ γόνυ προσκυνοῦντα τῷ θεῷ καὶ αἰτεῖσθαι ἄφεσιν τῷ λαῷ. διά γέ τοι τὴν ὑπερβολὴν τῆς δικαιοσύνης αὐτοῦ ἐκαλεῖτο ὁ δίκαιος καὶ ὠβλίας, ὅ ἐστιν Ἑλληνιστὶ περιοχὴ τοῦ λαοῦ, καὶ δικαιοσύνη, ὡς οἱ προφῆται δηλοῦσιν περὶ αὐτοῦ. (TLG)
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.23.8-11. Now some of the seven sects, which existed among the people and which have been mentioned by me in the Memoirs, asked him, ‘What is the gate of Jesus?’ and he replied that he was the Saviour. On account of these words some believed that Jesus is the Christ. But the sects mentioned above did not believe either in a resurrection or in one’s coming to give to every man according to his works. But as many as believed did so on account of James. Therefore when many even of the rulers believed, there was a commotion among the Jews and Scribes and Pharisees, who said that there was danger that the whole people would be looking for Jesus as the Christ. Coming therefore in a body to James they said, ‘We entreat thee, restrain the people; for they are gone astray in regard to Jesus, as if he were the Christ. We entreat thee to persuade all that have come to the feast of the Passover concerning Jesus; for we all have confidence in thee. For we bear thee witness, as do all the people, that thou art just, and dost not respect persons. Do thou therefore persuade the multitude not to be led astray concerning Jesus. For the whole people, and all of us also, have confidence in thee. Stand therefore upon the pinnacle of the temple, that from that high position thou mayest be clearly seen, and that thy words may be readily heard by all the people. For all the tribes, with the Gentiles also, are come together on account of the Passover.’
τινὲς οὖν τῶν ἑπτὰ αἱρέσεων τῶν ἐν τῷ λαῷ, τῶν προγεγραμμένων μοι (ἐν τοῖς Ὑπομνήμασιν), ἐπυνθάνοντο αὐτοῦ τίς ἡ θύρα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ, καὶ ἔλεγεν τοῦτον εἶναι τὸν σωτῆρα· ἐξ ὧν τινες ἐπίστευσαν ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ἐστιν ὁ Χριστός. αἱ δὲ αἱρέσεις αἱ προειρημέναι οὐκ ἐπίστευον οὔτε ἀνάστασιν οὔτε ἐρχόμενον ἀποδοῦναι ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἔργα αὐτοῦ· ὅσοι δὲ καὶ ἐπίστευσαν, διὰ Ἰάκωβον. πολλῶν οὖν καὶ τῶν ἀρχόντων πιστευόντων, ἦν θόρυβος τῶν Ἰουδαίων καὶ γραμματέων καὶ Φαρισαίων λεγόντων ὅτι κινδυνεύει πᾶς ὁ λαὸς Ἰησοῦν τὸν Χριστὸν προσδοκᾶν. ἔλεγον οὖν συνελθόντες τῷ Ἰακώβῳ· «παρακαλοῦμέν σε, ἐπίσχες τὸν λαόν, ἐπεὶ ἐπλανήθη εἰς Ἰησοῦν, ὡς αὐτοῦ ὄντος τοῦ Χριστοῦ. παρακαλοῦμέν σε πεῖσαι πάντας τοὺς ἐλθόντας εἰς τὴν ἡμέραν τοῦ πάσχα περὶ Ἰησοῦ· σοὶ γὰρ πάντες πειθόμεθα. ἡμεῖς γὰρ μαρτυροῦμέν σοι καὶ πᾶς ὁ λαὸς ὅτι δίκαιος εἶ καὶ ὅτι πρόσωπον οὐ λαμβάνεις. πεῖσον οὖν σὺ τὸν ὄχλον περὶ Ἰησοῦ μὴ πλανᾶσθαι· καὶ γὰρ πᾶς ὁ λαὸς καὶ πάντες πειθόμεθά σοι. στῆθι οὖν ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ἱεροῦ, ἵνα ἄνωθεν ᾖς ἐπιφανὴς καὶ ᾖ εὐάκουστά σου τὰ ῥήματα παντὶ τῷ λαῷ. διὰ γὰρ τὸ πάσχα συνεληλύθασι πᾶσαι αἱ φυλαὶ μετὰ καὶ τῶν ἐθνῶν».
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.23.12-15. The aforesaid Scribes and Pharisees therefore placed James upon the pinnacle of the temple, and cried out to him and said: ‘Thou just one, in whom we ought all to have confidence, forasmuch as the people are led astray after Jesus, the crucified one, declare to us, what is the gate of Jesus.’ And he answered with a loud voice, ‘Why do ye ask me concerning Jesus, the Son of Man? He himself sitteth in heaven at the right hand of the great Power, and is about to come upon the clouds of heaven.’ And when many were fully convinced and gloried in the testimony of James, and said, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ these same Scribes and Pharisees said again to one another, ‘We have done badly in supplying such testimony to Jesus. But let us go up and throw him down, in order that they may be afraid to believe him.’ And they cried out, saying, ‘Oh! oh! the just man is also in error.’
ἔστησαν οὖν οἱ προειρημένοι γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι τὸν Ἰάκωβον ἐπὶ τὸ πτερύγιον τοῦ ναοῦ, καὶ ἔκραξαν αὐτῷ καὶ εἶπαν· δίκαιε, ᾧ πάντες πείθεσθαι ὀφείλομεν, ἐπεὶ ὁ λαὸς πλανᾶται ὀπίσω Ἰησοῦ τοῦ σταυρωθέντος, ἀπάγγειλον ἡμῖν τίς ἡ θύρα τοῦ Ἰησοῦ. καὶ ἀπεκρίνατο φωνῇ μεγάλῃ· τί με ἐπερωτᾶτε περὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ τοῦ ἀνθρώπου, καὶ αὐτὸς κάθηται ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ ἐκ δεξιῶν τῆς μεγάλης δυνάμεως, καὶ μέλλει ἔρχεσθαι ἐπὶ τῶν νεφελῶν τοῦ οὐρανοῦ; καὶ πολλῶν πληροφορηθέντων καὶ δοξαζόντων ἐπὶ τῇ μαρτυρίᾳ τοῦ Ἰακώβου καὶ λεγόντων· ὡσαννὰ τῷ υἱῷ Δαυίδ, τότε πάλιν οἱ αὐτοὶ γραμματεῖς καὶ Φαρισαῖοι πρὸς ἀλλήλους ἔλεγον· κακῶς ἐποιή σαμεν τοιαύτην μαρτυρίαν παρασχόντες τῷ Ἰησοῦ· ἀλλὰ ἀναβάντες καταβάλωμεν αὐτόν, ἵνα φοβηθέντες μὴ πιστεύσωσιν αὐτῷ. καὶ ἔκραξαν λέγοντες· ὢ ὤ, καὶ ὁ δίκαιος ἐπλανήθη,
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 2.23.15-18. And they fulfilled the Scripture written in Isaiah, ‘Let us take away the just man, because he is troublesome to us: therefore they shall eat the fruit of their doings.’ So they went up and threw down the just man, and said to each other, ‘Let us stone James the Just.’ And they began to stone him, for he was not killed by the fall; but he turned and knelt down and said, ‘I entreat thee, Lord God our Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.’ And while they were thus stoning him one of the priests of the sons of Rechab, the son of the Rechabites, who are mentioned by Jeremiah the prophet, cried out, saying, ‘Cease, what do ye? The just one prayeth for you.’ And one of them, who was a fuller, took the club with which he beat out clothes and struck the just man on the head. And thus he suffered martyrdom. And they buried him on the spot, by the temple, and his monument still remains by the temple. He became a true witness, both to Jews and Greeks, that Jesus is the Christ. And immediately Vespasian besieged them.”
καὶ ἐπλήρωσαν τὴν γραφὴν τὴν ἐν τῷ Ἡσαΐᾳ γεγραμμένην· ἄρωμεν τὸν δίκαιον, ὅτι δύσχρηστος ἡμῖν ἐστιν. τοίνυν τὰ γενήματα τῶν ἔργων αὐτῶν φάγονται. ἀναβάντες οὖν κατέβαλον τὸν δίκαιον. καὶ ἔλεγον ἀλλήλοις· λιθάσωμεν Ἰάκωβον τὸν δίκαιον, καὶ ἤρξαντο λιθάζειν αὐτόν, ἐπεὶ καταβληθεὶς οὐκ ἀπέθανεν· ἀλλὰ στραφεὶς ἔθηκε τὰ γόνατα λέγων· παρακαλῶ, κύριε θεὲ πάτερ, ἄφες αὐτοῖς· οὐ γὰρ οἴδασιν τί ποιοῦσιν. οὕτως δὲ καταλιθοβολούντων αὐτόν, εἷς τῶν ἱερέων τῶν υἱῶν Ῥηχὰβ υἱοῦ Ῥαχαβείμ, τῶν μαρτυρουμένων ὑπὸ Ἱερεμίου τοῦ προφήτου, ἔκραζεν λέγων· παύσασθε· τί ποιεῖτε; εὔχεται ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ὁ δίκαιος. καὶ λαβών τις ἀπ’ αὐτῶν, εἷς τῶν γναφέων, τὸ ξύλον, ἐν ᾧ ἀποπιέζει τὰ ἱμάτια, ἤνεγκεν κατὰ τῆς κεφαλῆς τοῦ δικαίου, καὶ οὕτως ἐμαρτύρησεν. καὶ ἔθαψαν αὐτὸν ἐπὶ τῷ τόπῳ παρὰ τῷ ναῷ, καὶ ἔτι αὐτοῦ ἡ στήλη μένει παρὰτῷ ναῷ. μάρτυς οὗτος ἀληθὴς Ἰουδαίοις τε καὶ Ἕλλησιν γεγένηται ὅτι Ἰησοῦς ὁ Χριστός ἐστιν. καὶ εὐθὺς Οὐεσπασιανὸς πολιορκεῖ αὐτούς».
Then the reference regarding the succession to James with Symeon, the son of Clopas.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.11.1-2. After the martyrdom of James and the conquest of Jerusalem which immediately followed, it is said that those of the apostles and disciples of the Lord that were still living came together from all directions with those that were related to the Lord according to the flesh (for the majority of them also were still alive) to take counsel as to who was worthy to succeed James. They all with one consent pronounced Symeon, the son of Clopas, of whom the Gospel also makes mention; to be worthy of the episcopal throne of that parish. He was a cousin, as they say, of the Saviour. For Hegesippus records that Clopas was a brother of Joseph.
Μετὰ τὴν Ἰακώβου μαρτυρίαν καὶ τὴν αὐτίκα γενομένην ἅλωσιν τῆς Ἱερουσαλὴμ λόγος κατέχει τῶν ἀποστόλων καὶ τῶν τοῦ κυρίου μαθητῶν τοὺς εἰς ἔτι τῷ βίῳ λειπομένους ἐπὶ ταὐτὸν πανταχόθεν συνελθεῖν ἅμα τοῖς πρὸς γένους κατὰ σάρκα τοῦ κυρίου (πλείους γὰρ καὶ τούτων περιῆσαν εἰς ἔτι τότε τῷ βίῳ), βουλήν τε ὁμοῦ τοὺς πάντας περὶ τοῦ τίνα χρὴ τῆς Ἰακώβου διαδοχῆς ἐπικρῖναι ἄξιον, ποιήσασθαι, καὶ δὴ ἀπὸ μιᾶς γνώμης τοὺς πάντας Συμεῶνα τὸν τοῦ Κλωπᾶ, οὗ καὶ ἡ τοῦ εὐαγγελίου μνημονεύει γραφή, τοῦ τῆς αὐτόθι παροικίας θρόνου ἄξιον εἶναι δοκιμάσαι, ἀνεψιόν, ὥς γέ φασι, γεγονότα τοῦ σωτῆρος (τὸν γὰρ οὖν Κλωπᾶν ἀδελφὸν τοῦ Ἰωσὴφ ὑπάρχειν Ἡγήσιππος ἱστορεῖ). (TLG)
There is a reference regarding Hegesippus attesting that there was a sedition in Corinth as mentioned in the text known as the first epistle of Clement. It’s worded cautiously enough to make us wonder both whether Hegesippus acknowledged the authorship of Clement (instead of just using quotes from the same anonymous text) and when exactly Hegesippus himself considered this sedition to take place (other than that it is contemporaneous with the writing of the letter). There’s just enough ambiguity there to claim that Hegesippus made a statement regarding the letter being written from the church at Rome to the church at Corinth to fix a contemporary situation of which Hegesippus has personal information, as the only things Eusebius does actually say are that Hegesippus offers additional confirmation of the tumult (consistent with contemporary experience of it) and that this confirmation regards the same situation in the text.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.16. There is extant an epistle of this Clement which is acknowledged to be genuine and is of considerable length and of remarkable merit. He wrote it in the name of the church of Rome to the church of Corinth, when a sedition had arisen in the latter church. We know that this epistle also has been publicly used in a great many churches both in former times and in our own. And of the fact that a sedition did take place in the church of Corinth at the time referred to Hegesippus is a trustworthy witness. (link)
Τούτου δὴ οὖν ὁμολογουμένη μία ἐπιστολὴ φέρεται, μεγάλη τε καὶ θαυμασία, ἣν ὡς ἀπὸ τῆς Ῥωμαίων ἐκκλησίας τῇ Κορινθίων διετυπώσατο, στάσεως τηνικάδε κατὰ τὴν Κόρινθον γενομένης. ταύτην δὲ καὶ ἐν πλείσταις ἐκκλησίαις ἐπὶ τοῦ κοινοῦ δεδημοσιευμένην πάλαι τε καὶ καθ’ ἡμᾶς αὐτοὺς ἔγνωμεν. καὶ ὅτι γε κατὰ τὸν δηλούμενον τὰ τῆς Κορινθίων κεκίνητο στάσεως, ἀξιόχρεως μάρτυς ὁ Ἡγήσιππος.
Eusebius quotes this account of harassment of “the grandchildren of Judas” in the reign of Domitian. (I’ve adjusted the translation of the ANF to refer consistently to the name of the grandfather, which switches between Jude and Judas.)
“Of the family of the Lord there were still living the grandchildren of Judas, who is said to have been the Lord’s brother according to the flesh. Information was given that they belonged to the family of David, and they were brought to the Emperor Domitian by the Evocatus. For Domitian feared the coming of Christ as Herod also had feared it. And he asked them if they were descendants of David, and they confessed that they were. Then he asked them how much property they had, or how much money they owned. And both of them answered that they had only nine thousand denarii, half of which belonged to each of them; and this property did not consist of silver, but of a piece of land which contained only thirty-nine acres, and from which they raised their taxes and supported themselves by their own labor. Then they showed their hands, exhibiting the hardness of their bodies and the callousness produced upon their hands by continuous toil as evidence of their own labor. And when they were asked concerning Christ and his kingdom, of what sort it was and where and when it was to appear, they answered that it was not a temporal nor an earthly kingdom, but a heavenly and angelic one, which would appear at the end of the world, when he should come in glory to judge the quick and the dead, and to give unto every one according to his works. Upon hearing this, Domitian did not pass judgment against them, but, despising them as of no account, he let them go, and by a decree put a stop to the persecution of the Church. But when they were released they ruled the churches because they were witnesses and were also relatives of the Lord. And peace being established, they lived until the time of Trajan.” These things are related by Hegesippus. (link)
»Ἔτι δὲ περιῆσαν οἱ ἀπὸ γένους τοῦ κυρίου υἱωνοὶ Ἰούδα τοῦ κατὰ σάρκα λεγομένου αὐτοῦ ἀδελφοῦ· οὓς ἐδηλατόρευσαν ὡς ἐκ γένους ὄντας Δαυίδ. τούτους ὁ ἠουοκᾶτος ἤγαγεν πρὸς Δομετιανὸν Καίσαρα. ἐφοβεῖτο γὰρ τὴν παρουσίαν τοῦ Χριστοῦ ὡς καὶ Ἡρῴδης. καὶ ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτοὺς εἰ ἐκ Δαυίδ εἰσιν, καὶ ὡμολόγησαν. τότε ἠρώτησεν αὐτοὺς πόσας κτήσεις ἔχουσιν ἢ πόσων χρημάτων κυριεύουσιν. οἱ δὲ εἶπαν ἀμφοτέροις ἐννακισχίλια δηνάρια ὑπάρχειν αὐτοῖς μόνα, ἑκάστῳ αὐτῶν ἀνήκοντος τοῦ ἡμίσεος, καὶ ταῦτα οὐκ ἐν ἀργυρίοις ἔφασκον ἔχειν, ἀλλ’ ἐν διατιμήσει γῆς πλέθρων λθʹ μόνων, ἐξ ὧν καὶ τοὺς φόρους ἀναφέρειν καὶ αὐτοὺς αὐτουργοῦντας διατρέφεσθαι». εἶτα δὲ καὶ τὰς χεῖρας τὰς ἑαυτῶν ἐπιδεικνύναι, μαρτύριον τῆς αὐτουργίας τὴν τοῦ σώματος σκληρίαν καὶ τοὺς ἀπὸ τῆς συνεχοῦς ἐργασίας ἐναποτυπωθέντας ἐπὶ τῶν ἰδίων χειρῶν τύλους παριστάντας. ἐρωτηθέντας δὲ περὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ καὶ τῆς βασιλείας αὐτοῦ ὁποία τις εἴη καὶ ποῖ καὶ πότε φανησομένη, λόγον δοῦναι ὡς οὐ κοσμικὴ μὲν οὐδ’ ἐπίγειος, ἐπουράνιος δὲ καὶ ἀγγελικὴ τυγχάνοι, ἐπὶ συντελείᾳ τοῦ αἰῶνος γενησομένη, ὁπηνίκα ἐλθὼν ἐν δόξῃ κρινεῖ ζῶντας καὶ νεκροὺς καὶ ἀποδώσει ἑκάστῳ κατὰ τὰ ἐπιτηδεύματα αὐτοῦ. ἐφ’ οἷς μηδὲν αὐτῶν κατεγνωκότα τὸν Δομετιανόν, ἀλλὰ καὶ ὡς εὐτελῶν καταφρονήσαντα, ἐλευθέρους μὲν αὐτοὺς ἀνεῖναι, καταπαῦσαι δὲ διὰ προστάγματος τὸν κατὰ τῆς ἐκκλησίας διωγμόν. τοὺς δὲ ἀπολυθέντας ἡγήσασθαι τῶν ἐκκλησιῶν, ὡς ἂν δὴ μάρτυρας ὁμοῦ καὶ ἀπὸ γένους ὄντας τοῦ κυρίου, γενομένης τε εἰρήνης, μέχρι Τραϊανοῦ παραμεῖναι αὐτοὺς τῷ βίῳ. ταῦτα μὲν ὁ Ἡγήσιππος· (TLG)
Eusebius quotes an account of the death of Symeon in the reign of Trajan, apparently in response to the Kitos War uprising recorded by Dio Cassius, a rebellion of Jews outside of Judea around 115-117 AD.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.32.1-3. It is reported that after the age of Nero and Domitian, under the emperor whose times we are now recording, a persecution was stirred up against us in certain cities in consequence of a popular uprising. In this persecution we have understood that Symeon, the son of Clopas, who, as we have shown, was the second bishop of the church of Jerusalem, suffered martyrdom. Hegesippus, whose words we have already quoted in various places, is a witness to this fact also. Speaking of certain heretics he adds that Symeon was accused by them at this time; and since it was clear that he was a Christian, he was tortured in various ways for many days, and astonished even the judge himself and his attendants in the highest degree, and finally he suffered a death similar to that of our Lord. But there is nothing like hearing the historian himself, who writes as follows: “Certain of these heretics brought accusation against Symeon, the son of Clopas, on the ground that he was a descendant of David and a Christian; and thus he suffered martyrdom, at the age of one hundred and twenty years, while Trajan was emperor and Atticus governor.” (link)
Μετὰ Νέρωνα καὶ Δομετιανὸν κατὰ τοῦτον οὗ νῦν τοὺς χρόνους ἐξετάζομεν, μερικῶς καὶ κατὰ πόλεις ἐξ ἐπαναστάσεως δήμων τὸν καθ’ ἡμῶν κατέχει λόγος ἀνακινηθῆναι διωγμόν· ἐν ᾧ Συμεῶνα τὸν τοῦ Κλωπᾶ, ὃν δεύτερον καταστῆναι τῆς ἐν Ἱεροσολύμοις ἐκκλησίας ἐπίσκοπον ἐδηλώσαμεν, μαρτυρίῳ τὸν βίον ἀναλῦσαι παρειλήφαμεν. καὶ τούτου μάρτυς αὐτὸς ἐκεῖνος, οὗ διαφόροις ἤδη πρότερον ἐχρησάμεθα φωναῖς, Ἡγήσιππος· ὃς δὴ περί τινων αἱρετικῶν ἱστορῶν, ἐπιφέρει δηλῶν ὡς ἄρα ὑπὸ τούτων κατὰ τόνδε τὸν χρόνον ὑπομείνας κατηγορίαν, πολυτρόπως ὁ δηλούμενος ὡς ἂν Χριστιανὸς ἐπὶ πλείσταις αἰκισθεὶς ἡμέραις αὐτόν τε τὸν δικαστὴν καὶ τοὺς ἀμφ’ αὐτὸν εἰς τὰ μέγιστα καταπλήξας, τῷ τοῦ κυρίου πάθει παραπλήσιον τέλος ἀπηνέγκατο· οὐδὲν δὲ οἷον καὶ τοῦ συγγραφέως ἐπακοῦσαι, αὐτὰ δὴ ταῦτα κατὰ λέξιν ὧδέ πως ἱστοροῦντος· »ἀπὸ τούτων δηλαδὴ τῶν αἱρετικῶν κατηγοροῦσί τινες Σίμωνος τοῦ Κλωπᾶ ὡς ὄντος ἀπὸ Δαυὶδ καὶ Χριστιανοῦ, καὶ οὕτως μαρτυρεῖ ἐτῶν ὢν ρκʹ ἐπὶ Τραϊανοῦ Καίσαρος καὶ ὑπατικοῦ Ἀττικοῦ.» (TLG)
The next sentence has been considered strange, but it shouldn’t be when compared to other fragments attributed to Hegesippus. Elsewhere, he is quoted as saying that jealousy arose because of the election of Symeon among the people who belonged to the family of the Lord (and descendants of David) who comprised the leadership of the church. It is most plausible that the one depicted as being snubbed is one who had some kind of legitimate claim to being elected at all, i.e., Thebuthis, a grandson of Judas (one of the remaining “family of the Lord” in the account above), the brother of James the Just, instead of Symeon, supposedly the ancient son of Clopas, the brother of Joseph. He was one of those who were arrested and hassled by Domitian “when search was made for the descendants of David,” as already quoted.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.32.4. And the same writer says that his accusers also, when search was made for the descendants of David, were arrested as belonging to that family. And it might be reasonably assumed that Symeon was one of those that saw and heard the Lord, judging from the length of his life, and from the fact that the Gospel makes mention of Mary, the wife of Clopas, who was the father of Symeon, as has been already shown. (link)
φησὶν δὲ ὁ αὐτὸς ὡς ἄρα καὶ τοὺς κατηγόρους αὐτοῦ, ζητουμένων τότε τῶν ἀπὸ τῆς βασιλικῆς Ἰουδαίων φυλῆς, ὡς ἂν ἐξ αὐτῶν ὄντας ἁλῶναι συνέβη. λογισμῷ δ’ ἂν καὶ τὸν Συμεῶνα τῶν αὐτοπτῶν καὶ αὐτηκόων εἴποι ἄν τις γεγονέναι τοῦ κυρίου, τεκμηρίῳ τῷ μήκει τοῦ χρόνου τῆς αὐτοῦ ζωῆς χρώμενος καὶ τῷ μνημονεύειν τὴν τῶν εὐαγγελίων γραφὴν Μαρίας τῆς τοῦ Κλωπὰ, οὗ γεγονέναι αὐτὸν καὶ πρότερον ὁ λόγος ἐδήλωσεν. (TLG)
Here’s the next passage. Apparently, the grandsons of Judas (also translated as Jude) were a group that included both the faithful and “his [Symeon’s] accusers also.” Despite the fact that heretics arose during the lifetime of Symeon, son of Clopas, the author says that the real trouble began when he died, in the reign of the next emperor, Hadrian.
The “relatives of the Lord,” as also attested by Julius Africanus, play a leadership role in the period after 70 AD and, according to this source, up to approximately 115 AD. They are leaders and witnesses whose presence was felt until the end of Trajan’s reign. The picture here is that of Symeon leading the churches up to the end of Trajan’s reign, with several leaders under him in many locations whose primary qualification is that they are descended from Judas, one of the “so-called brothers of the Saviour.” I’m glossing this outside the quote only because it’s very easy to read this account, quite startling in fact when we consider how marginal the family of Jesus is in the New Testament Gospels, and then forget about it and go on to other things in the literature of early Christianity.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.32.5-6. The same historian says that there were also others, descended from one of the so-called brothers of the Saviour, whose name was Judas, who, after they had borne testimony before Domitian, as has been already recorded, in behalf of faith in Christ, lived until the same reign. He writes as follows: “They came, therefore, and took the lead of every church as witnesses and as relatives of the Lord. And profound peace being established in every church, they remained until the reign of the Emperor Trajan, and until the above-mentioned Symeon, son of Clopas, an uncle of the Lord, was informed against by the heretics, and was himself in like manner accused for the same cause before the governor Atticus. And after being tortured for many days he suffered martyrdom, and all, including even the proconsul, marveled that, at the age of one hundred and twenty years, he could endure so much. And orders were given that he should be crucified.” (link)
ὁ δ’ αὐτὸς συγγραφεὺς καὶ ἑτέρους ἀπογόνους ἑνὸς τῶν φερομένων ἀδελφῶν τοῦ σωτῆρος, ᾧ ὄνομα Ἰούδας, φησὶν εἰς τὴν αὐτὴν ἐπιβιῶναι βασιλείαν μετὰ τὴν ἤδη πρότερον ἱστορηθεῖσαν αὐτῶν ὑπὲρ τῆς εἰς τὸν Χριστὸν πίστεως ἐπὶ Δομετιανοῦ μαρτυρίαν, γράφει δὲ οὕτως· »ἔρχονται οὖν καὶ προηγοῦνται πάσης ἐκκλησίας ὡς μάρτυρες καὶ ἀπὸ γένους τοῦ κυρίου, καὶ γενομένης εἰρήνης βαθείας ἐν πάσῃ ἐκκλησίᾳ, μένουσι μέχρι Τραϊανοῦ Καίσαρος, μέχρις οὗ ὁ ἐκ θείου τοῦ κυρίου, ὁ προειρημένος Σίμων υἱὸς Κλωπᾶ, συκοφαντηθεὶς ὑπὸ τῶν αἱρέσεων ὡσαύτως κατηγορήθη καὶ αὐτὸς ἐπὶ τῷ αὐτῷ λόγῳ ἐπὶ Ἀττικοῦ τοῦ ὑπατικοῦ. καὶ ἐπὶ πολλαῖς ἡμέραις αἰκιζόμενος ἐμαρτύρησεν, ὡς πάντας ὑπερθαυμάζειν καὶ τὸν ὑπατικὸν πῶς ρκʹ τυγχάνων ἐτῶν ὑπέμεινεν, καὶ ἐκελεύσθη σταυρωθῆναι». (TLG)
Eusebius is paraphrasing below. The “sacred college of apostles” and “generation … deemed worthy to hear the inspired wisdom” are parallel phrases. Eusebius states above that Symeon, at 120 years of age, and being a cousin of Jesus, can be assumed to have known Jesus. The implication of the source being paraphrased here is that the crucifixion of Symeon ends the apostolic generation (at the latest extremity of Trajan’s reign, 115-117 AD). This is a contrast to the prevailing contemporary assumption that “the beloved disciple” of John’s Gospel was the last of that troop. After Symeon dies, so the source says, trouble began because none of the apostles were still living.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 3.32.7-8. In addition to these things the same man, while recounting the events of that period, records that the Church up to that time had remained a pure and uncorrupted virgin, since, if there were any that attempted to corrupt the sound norm of the preaching of salvation, they lay until then concealed in obscure darkness. But when the sacred college of apostles had suffered death in various forms, and the generation of those that had been deemed worthy to hear the inspired wisdom with their own ears had passed away, then the league of godless error took its rise as a result of the folly of heretical teachers, who, because none of the apostles was still living, attempted henceforth, with a bold face, to proclaim, in opposition to the preaching of the truth, the ‘knowledge which is falsely so-called.’ (link)
ἐπὶ τούτοις ὁ αὐτὸς ἀνὴρ διηγούμενος τὰ κατὰ τοὺς δηλουμένους, ἐπιλέγει ὡς ἄρα μέχρι τῶν τότε χρόνων παρθένος καθαρὰ καὶ ἀδιάφθορος ἔμεινεν ἡ ἐκκλησία, ἐν ἀδήλῳ που σκότει ὡς εἰ φωλευόντων εἰς ἔτι τότε τῶν, εἰ καί τινες ὑπῆρχον, παραφθείρειν ἐπιχειρούντων τὸν ὑγιῆ κανόνα τοῦ σωτηρίου κηρύγματος· ὡς δ’ ὁ ἱερὸς τῶν ἀποστόλων χορὸς διάφορον εἰλήφει τοῦ βίου τέλος παρεληλύθει τε ἡ γενεὰ ἐκείνη τῶν αὐταῖς ἀκοαῖς τῆς ἐνθέου σοφίας ἐπακοῦσαι κατηξιωμένων, τηνικαῦτα τῆς ἀθέου πλάνης ἀρχὴν ἐλάμβανεν ἡ σύστασις διὰ τῆς τῶν ἑτεροδιδασκάλων ἀπάτης, οἳ καὶ ἅτε μηδενὸς ἔτι τῶν ἀποστόλων λειπομένου, γυμνῇ λοιπὸν ἤδη κεφαλῇ τῷ τῆς ἀληθείας κηρύγματι τὴν ψευδώνυμον γνῶσιν ἀντικηρύττειν ἐπεχείρουν.(TLG)
The context of this next bit is important. Book IV, Chapter 6, discusses the revolt under Hadrian. Chapter 7 discusses heretics from Pius to Anicetus in Rome and leads into some of the subsequent orthodox writers, Hegesippus and Justin Martyr. Book IV, Chapter 8, discusses Justin Martyr, saying he wrote in the reign of Antoninus. Chapter 9 continues quoting from Justin Martyr, and Chapter 10 discusses bishops in Rome and Alexandria in the reign of Antoninus.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 4.7.15 – 4.8.3. Nevertheless, in those times the truth again called forth many champions who fought in its defense against the godless heresies, refuting them not only with oral, but also with written arguments. Among these Hegesippus was well known. We have already quoted his words a number of times, relating events which happened in the time of the apostles according to his account. He records in five books the true tradition of apostolic doctrine in a most simple style, and he indicates the time in which he flourished when he writes as follows concerning those that first set up idols: “To whom they erected cenotaphs and temples, as is done to the present day. Among whom is also Antinoüs, a slave of the Emperor Adrian, in whose honor are celebrated also the Antinoian games, which were instituted in our day. For he [i.e. Adrian] also founded a city named after Antinoüs, and appointed prophets.” At the same time also Justin, a genuine lover of the true philosophy, was still continuing to busy himself with Greek literature. He indicates this time in the Apology which he addressed to Antonine, where he writes as follows: “We do not think it out of place to mention here Antinoüs also, who lived in our day, and whom all were driven by fear to worship as a god, although they knew who he was and whence he came.” (link)
Ὅμως δ’ οὖν κατὰ τοὺς δηλουμένους αὖθις παρῆγεν εἰς μέσον ἡ ἀλήθεια πλείους ἑαυτῆς ὑπερμάχους, οὐ δι’ ἀγράφων αὐτὸ μόνον ἐλέγχων, ἀλλὰ καὶ δι’ ἐγγράφων ἀποδείξεων κατὰ τῶν ἀθέων αἱρέσεων στρατευομένους· ἐν τούτοις ἐγνωρίζετο Ἡγήσιππος, οὗ πλείσταις ἤδη πρότερον κεχρήμεθα φωναῖς, ὡς ἂν ἐκ τῆς αὐτοῦ παραδόσεως τινὰ τῶν κατὰ τοὺς ἀποστόλους παραθέμενοι. ἐν πέντε δ’ οὖν συγγράμμασιν οὗτος τὴν ἀπλανῆ παράδοσιν τοῦ ἀποστολικοῦ κηρύγματος ἁπλουστάτῃ συντάξει γραφῆς ὑπομνηματισάμενος, καθ’ ὃν ἐγνωρίζετο σημαίνει χρόνον, περὶ τῶν ἀρχῆθεν ἱδρυσάντων τὰ εἴδωλα οὕτω πως γράφων· »οἷς κενοτάφια καὶ ναοὺς ἐποίησαν ὡς μέχρι νῦν· ὧν ἐστιν καὶ Ἀντίνοος, δοῦλος Ἁδριανοῦ Καίσαρος, οὗ καὶ ἀγὼν ἄγεται Ἀντινόειος, ὁ ἐφ’ ἡμῶν γενόμενος. καὶ γὰρ πόλιν ἔκτισεν ἐπώνυμον Ἀντινόου καὶ προφήτας». κατ’ αὐτὸν δὲ καὶ Ἰουστῖνος, γνήσιος τῆς ἀληθοῦς φιλοσοφίας ἐραστής, ἔτι τοῖς παρ’ Ἕλλησιν ἀσκούμενος ἐνδιέτριβεν λόγοις. σημαίνει δὲ καὶ αὐτὸς τουτονὶ τὸν χρόνον ἐν τῇ πρὸς Ἀντωνῖνον ἀπολογίᾳ ὧδε γράφων· »οὐκ ἄτοπον δὲ ἐπιμνησθῆναι ἐν τούτοις ἡγούμεθα καὶ Ἀντινόου τοῦ νῦν γενομένου, ὃν καὶ ἅπαντες ὡς θεὸν διὰ φόβον σέβειν ὥρμηντο, ἐπιστάμενοι τίς τε ἦν καὶ πόθεν ὑπῆρχεν». (TLG)
This explicitly mentions an interest in determining the date in which the author flourished (most naturally understood as the time in which he composed his texts), comes in a discussion of the Antonine period, sets the text of Hegesippus next to Justin Martyr chronologically, and quotes a very similar passage to the one in Justin in order to support the conclusion that Hegesippus flourished in the reign of Antoninus. We may suppose that here, above all, is where Eusebius took the most care in figuring out what he thinks about the date of Hegesippus. The answer is that Hegesippus comes from the Antonine period.
This is consistent with the evidence from Clement of Alexandria suggesting that Hegesippus (called there Josephus) contained a chronological calculation involving the tenth year of Antoninus. It is contra-indicated by an error of memory that Eusebius makes in an incidental reference to Hegesippus in his discussion of Justin Martyr, which leads most people to repeat the 170 AD date (which must actually be 175-189 AD for the chronology of Eleutherus in Eusebius) assigned to Hegesippus. Here is that reference:
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 4.11.7. And in Rome Pius died in the fifteenth year of his episcopate, and Anicetus assumed the leadership of the Christians there. Hegesippus records that he himself was in Rome at this time, and that he remained there until the episcopate of Eleutherus. (link)
καὶ κατὰ τὴν Ῥωμαίων δὲ πόλιν πεντεκαιδεκάτῳ τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς ἐνιαυτῷ Πίου μεταλλάξαντος, Ἀνίκητος τῶν ἐκεῖσε προΐσταται· καθ’ ὃν Ἡγήσιππος ἱστορεῖ ἑαυτὸν ἐπιδημῆσαι τῇ Ῥώμῃ παρα μεῖναί τε αὐτόθι μέχρι τῆς ἐπισκοπῆς Ἐλευθέρου. (TLG)
It’s worth quoting from Philip Schaff’s note here:
Eusebius evidently makes a mistake here. That Hegesippus remained so long in Rome (Anicetus ruled from 154–168 (?), and Eleutherus from 177–190) is upon the face of it very improbable. And in this case we can see clearly how Eusebius made his mistake. In chap. 22 he quotes a passage from Hegesippus in regard to his stay in Rome, and it was in all probability this passage from which Eusebius drew his conclusion. But Hegesippus says there that he “remained in Rome until the time of Anicetus,” &c. It is probable, therefore, that he returned to the East during Anicetus’ episcopacy. He does not express himself as one who had remained in Rome until the reign of Eleutherus; but Eusebius, from a hasty reading, might easily have gathered that idea.
It is with this misunderstanding now in our mind, which is demonstrably a misunderstanding in the mind of Eusebius, that we approach the passage that has misled so many regarding the date of the text of Hegesippus.
Eusebius, Eccleasiastical History, 4.21. At that time there flourished in the Church Hegesippus, whom we know from what has gone before, and Dionysius, bishop of Corinth, and another bishop, Pinytus of Crete, and besides these, Philip, and Apolinarius, and Melito, and Musanus, and Modestus, and finally, Irenæus. From them has come down to us in writing, the sound and orthodox faith received from apostolic tradition. (link)
Ἤκμαζον δ’ ἐν τούτοις ἐπὶ τῆς ἐκκλησίας Ἡγήσιππός τε, ὃν ἴσμεν ἐκ τῶν προτέρων, καὶ Διονύσιος Κορινθίων ἐπίσκοπος Πινυτός τε ἄλλος τῶν ἐπὶ Κρήτης ἐπίσκοπος Φίλιππός τε ἐπὶ τούτοις καὶ Ἀπολινάριος καὶ Μελίτων Μουσανός τε καὶ Μόδεστος καὶ ἐπὶ πᾶσιν Εἰρηναῖος, ὧν καὶ εἰς ἡμᾶς τῆς ἀποστολικῆς παραδόσεως ἡ τῆς ὑγιοῦς πίστεως ἔγγραφος κατῆλθεν ὀρθοδοξία. (TLG)
Hegesippus in the five books of Memoirs which have come down to us has left a most complete record of his own views. In them he states that on a journey to Rome he met a great many bishops, and that he received the same doctrine from all. It is fitting to hear what he says after making some remarks about the epistle of Clement to the Corinthians. His words are as follows: “And the church of Corinth continued in the true faith until Primus was bishop in Corinth. I conversed with them on my way to Rome, and abode with the Corinthians many days, during which we were mutually refreshed in the true doctrine. And when I had come to Rome I remained there until Anicetus.” His deacon was Eleutherus, and Anicetus was succeeded by Soter, and he by Eleutherus. In every succession, and in every city that is held which is preached by the law and the prophets and the Lord. (link)
Ὁ μὲν οὖν Ἡγήσιππος ἐν πέντε τοῖς εἰς ἡμᾶς ἐλθοῦσιν ὑπομνήμασιν τῆς ἰδίας γνώμης πληρεστάτην μνήμην καταλέλοιπεν· ἐν οἷς δηλοῖ ὡς πλείστοις ἐπισκόποις συμμίξειεν ἀποδημίαν στειλάμενος μέχρι Ῥώμης, καὶ ὡς ὅτι τὴν αὐτὴν παρὰ πάντων παρείληφεν διδασκαλίαν. ἀκοῦσαί γέ τοι πάρεστιν μετά τινα περὶ τῆς Κλήμεντος πρὸς Κορινθίους ἐπιστολῆς αὐτῷ εἰρημένα ἐπιλέγοντος ταῦτα· »καὶ ἐπέμενεν ἡ ἐκκλησία ἡ Κορινθίων ἐν τῷ ὀρθῷ λόγῳ μέχρι Πρίμου ἐπισκοπεύοντος ἐν Κορίνθῳ· οἷς συνέμιξα πλέων εἰς Ῥώμην καὶ συνδιέτριψα τοῖς Κορινθίοις ἡμέρας ἱκανάς, ἐν αἷς συνανεπάημεν τῷ ὀρθῷ λόγῳ· γενόμενος δὲ ἐν Ῥώμῃ, διαδοχὴν ἐποιησάμην μέχρις Ἀνικήτου·» οὗ διάκονος ἦν Ἐλεύθερος, καὶ παρὰ Ἀνικήτου διαδέχεται Σωτήρ, μεθ’ ὃν Ἐλεύθερος. ἐν ἑκάστῃ δὲ διαδοχῇ καὶ ἐν ἑκάστῃ πόλει οὕτως ἔχει ὡς ὁ νόμος κηρύσσει καὶ οἱ προφῆται καὶ ὁ κύριος. (TLG)
The adjustments I’ve made to the translation by Philip Schaff are to move the quotation marks (which, obviously, do not form part of the Greek manuscript) and to change the division of sentences (another thing not clear in Greek). It is a sensible option simply on the grounds that the entire construction is awkward if attributed to Hegesippus but natural if attributed to Eusebius, who is harmonizing his faulty statement made from memory with the manuscript now before him. Earlier Eusebius stated that Hegesippus stayed in Rome until Eleutherus, but now Hegesippus states that he stayed in Rome until Anicetus. Instead of the comment immediately following, “his deacon was Eleutherus,” being taken as evidence for a second century practice of pairing bishops with special deacons, it should be taken as a way for Eusebius to harmonize the idea that Hegesippus remained there down to Anicetus with his earlier statement that Hegesippus remained their down to Eleutherus. The next sentence is then necessary to explain that Eleutherus did not succeed Anicetus but that Soter came between them. The whole construction is just ill-considered, so Eusebius rounds it out with a panegyric to the apostolic succession being in agreement in every city before returning to the text in front of him.
There is a bit of a textual issue with the Greek phrase “διαδοχὴν ἐποιησάμην μέχρις Ἀνικήτου,” which others have taken to mean that the author wrote down a list of the bishops up through Anicetus upon his arrival in Rome. Schaff writes in his note:
But the words διαδοχήν ἐποιησ€μην, if they can be made to mean anything at all, can certainly be made to mean nothing else than the composition of a catalogue, and hence it seems necessary to make some correction in the text. It is significant that Rufinus at this point reads permansi ibi, which shows that he at least did not understand Hegesippus to be speaking of a list of bishops. Rufinus’ rendering gives us a hint of what must have stood in the original from which he drew, and so Savilius, upon the margin of his ms., substituted for διαδοχὴν the word διατριβήν, probably simply as a conjecture, but possibly upon the authority of some other ms. now lost. He has been followed by some editors, including Heinichen, who prints the word διατριβήν in the text. Val. retains διαδοχὴν in his text, but accepts διατριβήν as the true reading, and so translates. This reading is now very widely adopted; and it, or some other word with the same meaning, in all probability stood in the original text. In my notice of Lightfoot’s article, I suggested the word διαγωγήν, which, while not so common as διατριβήν, is yet used with ποιεῖσθαι in the same sense, and its very uncommonness would account more easily for the change to the much commoner διαδοχὴν, which is epigraphically so like it.
I have followed Rufinus and Schaff here. There is thus no evidence that the text of Hegesippus originally contained a list of Roman bishops, which also is the most natural explanation, as Schaff himself notes, why no bishop lists are referred to Hegesippus by Eusebius himself, who would be proud to have such an ancient authority.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 4.22.4-5. The same author also describes the beginnings of the heresies which arose in his time, in the following words: “And after James the Just had suffered martyrdom, as the Lord had also on the same account, Symeon, the son of the Lord’s uncle, Clopas, was appointed the next bishop. All proposed him as second bishop because he was a cousin of the Lord. Therefore, they called the Church a virgin, for it was not yet corrupted by vain discourses. But Thebuthis, because he was not made bishop, began to corrupt it. He also was sprung from the seven sects among the people, like Simon, from whom came the Simonians, and Cleobius, from whom came the Cleobians, and Dositheus, from whom came the Dositheans, and Gorthæus, from whom came the Goratheni, and Masbotheus, from whom came the Masbothæans. From them sprang the Menandrianists, and Marcionists, and Carpocratians, and Valentinians, and Basilidians, and Saturnilians. Each introduced privately and separately his own peculiar opinion. From them came false Christs, false prophets, false apostles, who divided the unity of the Church by corrupt doctrines uttered against God and against his Christ.” (link)
ὁ δ’ αὐτὸς καὶ τῶν κατ’ αὐτὸν αἱρέσεων τὰς ἀρχὰς ὑποτίθεται διὰ τούτων· »καὶ μετὰ τὸ μαρτυρῆσαι Ἰάκωβον τὸν δίκαιον, ὡς καὶ ὁ κύριος, ἐπὶ τῷ αὐτῷ λόγῳ, πάλιν ὁ ἐκ θείου αὐτοῦ Συμεὼν ὁ τοῦ Κλωπᾶ καθίσταται ἐπίσκοπος, ὃν προέθεντο πάντες, ὄντα ἀνεψιὸν τοῦ κυρίου δεύτερον. διὰ τοῦτο ἐκάλουν τὴν ἐκκλησίαν παρθένον, οὔπω γὰρ ἔφθαρτο ἀκοαῖς ματαίαις· ἄρχεται δὲ ὁ Θεβουθὶς διὰ τὸ μὴ γενέσθαι αὐτὸν ἐπίσκοπον ὑποφθείρειν ἀπὸ τῶν ἑπτὰ αἱρέσεων, ὧν καὶ αὐτὸς ἦν, ἐν τῷ λαῷ, ἀφ’ ὧν Σίμων, ὅθεν Σιμωνιανοί, καὶ Κλεόβιος, ὅθεν Κλεοβιηνοί, καὶ Δοσίθεος, ὅθεν Δοσιθιανοί, καὶ Γορθαῖος, ὅθεν Γοραθηνοί, καὶ Μασβώθεοι. ἀπὸ τούτων Μενανδριανισταὶ καὶ Μαρκιανισταὶ καὶ Καρποκρατιανοὶ καὶ Οὐαλεντινιανοὶ καὶ Βασιλειδιανοὶ καὶ Σατορνιλιανοὶ ἕκαστος ἰδίως καὶ ἑτεροίως ἰδίαν δόξαν παρεισηγάγοσαν, ἀπὸ τούτων ψευδόχριστοι, ψευδοπροφῆται, ψευδαπόστολοι, οἵτινες ἐμέρισαν τὴν ἕνωσιν τῆς ἐκκλησίας φθοριμαίοις λόγοις κατὰ τοῦ θεοῦ καὶ κατὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ αὐτοῦ». (TLG)
The first list of five heresies are, apparently, more recent heresies that spring up within the circumcision, “from the seven sects among the people” mentioned by Hegesippus below. This must be why only the Simonians and Dositheans have any independent attestation in later Christian sources. The list of six more sects are heresies that are not within the circumsion but which spring from the tribe of Christ.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 4.22.6. The same writer also records the ancient heresies which arose among the Jews, in the following words: “There were, moreover, various opinions in the circumcision, among the children of Israel. The following were those that were opposed to the tribe of Judah and the Christ: Essenes, Galileans, Hemerobaptists, Masbothæans, Samaritans, Sadducees, Pharisees.” (link)
ἔτι δ’ ὁ αὐτὸς καὶ τὰς πάλαι γεγενημένας παρὰ Ἰουδαίοις αἱρέσεις ἱστορεῖ λέγων· »ἦσαν δὲ γνῶμαι διάφοροι ἐν τῇ περιτομῇ ἐν υἱοῖς Ἰσραηλιτῶν κατὰ τῆς φυλῆς Ἰούδα καὶ τοῦ Χριστοῦ αὗται· Ἐσσαῖοι Γαλιλαῖοι Ἡμεροβαπτισταὶ Μασβώθεοι Σαμαρεῖται Σαδδουκαῖοι Φαρισαῖοι». (TLG)
As already indicated in another blog post, another name for Zealots, used here, is “Galileans.” Masbothaeans have already been mentioned as a recent school of Masbotheus, perhaps intended primarily to bring the count to seven (how otherwise does a recent sect spring from the an ancient sect of the same name?). Essenes, Samaritans, Sadducees, and Pharisees are all schools that are commonly understood and described by Josephus.
This leaves the Hemerobaptists, a word which might be translated into English as “morning bathers.” To judge by his description, Josephus may have followed one such named Banus:
Nor did I content myself with these trials only; but when I was informed that one, whose name was Banus, lived in the desert, and used no other clothing than grew upon trees, and had no other food than what grew of its own accord, and bathed himself in cold water frequently, both by night and by day, in order to preserve his chastity, I imitated him in those things, and continued with him three years. (Life, 2)
A tradition is likewise quoted by the rabbis and in the third century Christian texts known as Clementina, as discussed by the Jewish Encyclopedia (cf. Josephus, Jewish Wars, 2.8.1 for the claimed Essene connection):
Division of Essenes who bathed every morning before the hour of prayer in order to pronounce the name of God with a clean body (Tosef., Yad., end; the correct version being given by R. Simson of Sens: “The morning bathers said to the Pharisees: ‘We charge you with doing wrong in pronouncing the Name in the morning without having taken the ritual bath’; whereupon the Pharisees said: ‘We charge you with wrong-doing in pronouncing the Name with a body impure within'”). In the time of Joshua b. Levi (3d cent.) a remnant still existed, but had no clear reason for their practise (Ber. 22a). The Clementina speak of John the Baptist as a Hemerobaptist, and the disciples of John are accordingly called “Hemerobaptists” (“Homilies,” ii. 23; comp. “Recognitions,” i. 54). (link)
Justin Martyr, a contemporary of Hegesippus, names simply the “Baptists” among the heresies of the Jews (Dialogue with Trypho, 80). Also, of course, the New Testament itself names John “the Baptist.” The “hemerobaptists” appear as the seventeenth sect discussed by Epiphanius (Panarion). We can easily see that the two names were both used to refer to the same sect in the first four centuries AD.
Now we come to the last account of Hegesippus from Eusebius, which shows that Hegesippus knew a Gospel of the Hebrews, that Hegesippus drew on unwritten traditions of the Jews, and that Hegesippus records that some heretics composed false books in his own time.
Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History, 4.22.7-8. And he wrote of many other matters, which we have in part already mentioned, introducing the accounts in their appropriate places. And from the Syriac Gospel according to the Hebrews he quotes some passages in the Hebrew tongue, showing that he was a convert from the Hebrews, and he mentions other matters as taken from the unwritten tradition of the Jews. And not only he, but also Irenæus and the whole company of the ancients, called the Proverbs of Solomon All-virtuous Wisdom. And when speaking of the books called Apocrypha, he records that some of them were composed in his day by certain heretics. But let us now pass on to another. (link)
καὶ ἕτερα δὲ πλεῖστα γράφει, ὧν ἐκ μέρους ἤδη πρότερον ἐμνημονεύσαμεν, οἰκείως τοῖς καιροῖς τὰς ἱστορίας παραθέμενοι, ἔκ τε τοῦ καθ’ Ἑβραίους εὐαγγελίου καὶ τοῦ Συριακοῦ καὶ ἰδίως ἐκ τῆς Ἑβραΐδος διαλέκτου τινὰ τίθησιν, ἐμφαίνων ἐξ Ἑβραίων ἑαυτὸν πεπιστευκέναι, καὶ ἄλλα δὲ ὡς ἐξ Ἰουδαϊκῆς ἀγράφου παραδόσεως μνημονεύει. οὐ μόνος δὲ οὗτος, καὶ Εἰρηναῖος δὲ καὶ ὁ πᾶς τῶν ἀρχαίων χορὸς πανάρετον Σοφίαν τὰς Σολομῶνος Παροιμίας ἐκάλουν. καὶ περὶ τῶν λεγομένων δὲ ἀποκρύφων διαλαμβάνων, ἐπὶ τῶν αὐτοῦ χρόνων πρός τινων αἱρετικῶν ἀναπεπλάσθαι τινὰ τούτων ἱστορεῖ. ἀλλὰ γὰρ ἐφ’ ἕτερον ἤδη μεταβατέον. (TLG)
The references to Hegesippus from Jerome and George Syncellus are derivative of the account by Eusebius. The only other reference to the author by this name comes in a lost work by an otherwise unknown Stephen Gobar, perhaps writing in the sixth century, as epitomized by Photius in the ninth century. Stephen Gobar’s work contains contrasting statements of the patristic tradition, a sort of Sic et Non.
“The good things prepared for the just the eye has not seen, the ears have not heard, and they are not found in the heart of man.” Hegesippus, however, one of the ancients, a contemporary of the apostles, in the fifth book of his memoirs, in I do not know what context, says that these are empty words and that those who say them are liars since the holy scriptures say: Blessed are your eyes because they see and your ears because they hear, and the rest. (link – link)
Ὅτι τὰ ἡτοιμασμένα τοῖς δικαίοις ἀγαθὰ οὔτε ὀφθαλμὸς εἶδεν οὔτε οὖς ἤκουσεν οὔτε ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου ἀνέβη. Ἡγήσιππος μέντοι, ἀρχαῖός τε ἀνὴρ καὶ ἀποστολικός, ἐν τῷ πέμπτῳ τῶν ὑπομνημάτων, οὐκ οἶδ’ ὅ τι καὶ παθών, μάτην μὲν εἰρῆσθαι ταῦτα λέγει, καὶ καταψεύδεσθαι τοὺς ταῦτα φαμένους τῶν τε θειῶν γραφῶν καὶ τοῦ Κυρίου λέγοντος· «Μακάριοι οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ὑμῶν οἱ βλέποντες καὶ τὰ ὦτα ὑμῶν τὰ ἀκούοντα» καὶ ἑξῆς. (TLG)
Generally speaking, commentary on this passage has followed one of two opinions, represented by the author of Supernatural Religion and by J.B. Lightfoot in his own Essays on the Work Entitled Supernatural Religion. The anonymous author, often identified as W.R. Cassels, maintained that this is a negative comment on Paul’s letter in 1 Cor 2:9, which contains the same quote. J.B. Lightfoot in reply stated that this is a negative comment on gnostic interpretation of the statement instead of on Paul who quotes it.
Neither opinion is a satisfactory conclusion. The identification of the source with 1 Corinthians is tenuous. The author of 1 Corinthians attributes this quotation to something he has read when he prefaces it with the words, “as it is written.” This implies that the statement existed before him. Indeed some form of it preceded him in Isaiah 64. But 1 Corinthians is also not the only text known to quote the statement. At least one other quotation can be found in 1 Clement. The difficulty of attribution can be illustrated by a little synopsis of the quotes.
Septuagint, Isaiah 64.
ἀπὸ τοῦ αἰῶνος
οὐκ ἠκούσαμεν οὐδὲ
οἱ ὀφθαλμοὶ ἡμῶν εἶδον θεὸν πλὴν σοῦ καὶ τὰ ἔργα σου,
ἃ ποιήσεις τοῖς ὑπομένουσιν ἔλεον.
1 Clement 34:8.
«Ὀφθαλμὸς οὐκ εἶδεν
καὶ οὖς οὐκ ἤκουσεν
καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἀνέβη,
ὅσα ἡτοίμασεν τοῖς ὑπομένουσιν αὐτόν.»
1 Corinthians 2:9.
ἀλλὰ καθὼς γέγραπται,
«Ἃ ὀφθαλμὸς οὐκ εἶδεν
καὶ οὖς οὐκ ἤκουσεν
καὶ ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου οὐκ ἀνέβη,
ἃ ἡτοίμασεν ὁ θεὸς τοῖς ἀγαπῶσιν αὐτόν.»
Stephen Gobar in Photius, Bibliotheca, codex 232.
Ὅτι τὰ ἡτοιμασμένα τοῖς δικαίοις ἀγαθὰ
οὔτε ὀφθαλμὸς εἶδεν
οὔτε οὖς ἤκουσεν
οὔτε ἐπὶ καρδίαν ἀνθρώπου ἀνέβη.
The only thing that is really quite clear is that all the Christian quotes have stemmed from a text that is distinct from Isaiah, as that is required to explain their common disagreement against Isaiah. However, the assumption that does not follow is that this common source is 1 Corinthians. Yes, it is true that 1 Clement does mention a letter of Paul to the Corinthians. However, it is also argued earlier, in another post, that 1 Clement as we know it has incorporated an earlier non-Christian text due to an editor’s interpolation. We thus have this synoptic solution:
(1) The Isaiah text has been transformed by the source embedded in 1 Clement, which is non-Christian and thus should be assumed to be ignorant of the letters of Paul.
(2) The epistle of 1 Corinthians has been influenced by the same non-Christian text, possibly quoted from memory.
(3) The reference in Hegesippus, coming twice removed through Stephen Gobar and Photius, could be to a form of 1 Clement, to a form of 1 Corinthians, or even to the non-Christian text later incorporated into 1 Clement.
There are three clues, however, that suggest that the composite form of 1 Clement, including the underlying non-Christian text, has been quoted in Hegesippus. The first clue is simply that Eusebius tells us twice explicitly that Hegesippus used 1 Clement. The second clue is that Stephen Gobar is contrasting the opinions of pastristic writers, not setting these lesser luminaries against scripture itself. The plausible conclusion, then, is that Hegesippus had taken exception to the statement of 1 Clement 34:8. This leads us to the third clue. The text of 1 Clement 34:8 starts with “He says,” while Hegesippus contrasts it with a saying of Jesus. Hegesippus apparently understood the reference in the book of 1 Clement as an alleged saying of the Lord and discarded it because of its incompatibility with another saying that he accepted on better authority.
As to the location of the statement in the text of Hegesippus, both the Greek text of the TLG and the Greek text presented by Ben C. Smith attribute it to the fifth book of Hegesippus, as does the translation of Harnack, as do all the other references I can find in secondary sources. While it is possible that there is a manuscript on which the other translation referring to a “third book” is based, I will assume that this translation is unfounded until proven otherwise. If any reader has access to a critical edition or manuscript photographs of Photius in order to help with this problem, I would be very interested to know whether any of them agree with the idea that this reference belonged to the “third” book.
In summary, Hegesippus did not write under this name. His work came 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 from 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 for its authorship, the title attributed to the work, and the number of books assigned to the work.
Although the fifth book and its two false attributions 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 followed 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.