Saturday, February 05, 2022

Hippolytus of Rome: On the Twelve Apostles & On the Seventy Disciples



This is a reading of two short annotated lists that are among the literary remains of an early Christian writer name Hippolytus of Rome (c. 170-236). The two briefly annotated lists are of the twelve apostles and then of the Seventy Disciples sent out by Christ (cf. Luke 10:1-20).

First, a brief biography of Hippolytus of Rome. I am making use here of the entry on Hippolytus from the Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church.

He is described there an ecclesiastical writer and Doctor (teacher) of the church.

He is called “the most important 3rd cen. theologian of the Roman Church.”

Little is known of his early life, though there is a questionable anecdote from Photius suggesting he was a disciple of Irenaeus of Lyons (so we could trace a line from Hippolytus to Irenaeus to Polycarp to the apostle John). He was not far removed from the time of the apostles.

An indication of his esteem includes the fact that when the celebrated Origen visited Rome in c. 212 he is said to have attended Hippolytus’s sermons.

He is said later to have come into conflict with some of the bishops of Rome, but was later reconciled and died as a martyr.

In 1551 a statue of Hippolytus was discovered in Rome that included a list of his many writings, most of which have not survived. His principal work, “Refutation of All Heresies,” exists only in part. Other works include a commentary on Daniel and on the Song of Songs, as well as a manual on church order, “The Apostolic Tradition.”

The two documents we will be reading may be found in the translation by J.H. MacMahon. From Ante-Nicene FathersVol. 5. Edited by Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1886.). Found online here.

On the Twelve Apostles

On the Seventy Disciples


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