Irish Theological Quarterly
http://itq.sagepub.com Hippolytus' Commentary on the Song of Songs and John 20: Intertextual Reading in Early Christianity
Brendan McConvery Irish Theological Quarterly 2006; 71; 211 DOI: 10.1177/0021140006075744 The online version of this article can be found at: http://itq.sagepub.com
On behalf of:
Pontifical University, St. Patrick's College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare, Ireland
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L. 1961). A. Jean Daniélou regards him ‘comme inaugurant l’exégèse suivie des textes scripturaire dans le christianisme. Hippolytus and his Commentary Hippolytus was a shadowy figure. Despite the colourful legends which later grew up around him. the schismatic bishop of Rome has been holding the ground for some hundred and twenty years ever since Döllinger first invented him. The suggestion that Hippolytus was an anti-pope.1 There are three main sections to this paper.
ippolytus’ Commentary on the Song of Songs is the earliest known Christian commentary on this book. in antiquity.’ Message Evangélique et Culture Hellénistique au II et III siècle (Tournai: Desclee. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.sagepublications. Oxford Theological Monographs (Oxford: Blackwell. is now in decline: ‘Hippolytus.sagepub.2 little is known of him with any degree of certainty and part of the difficulty may spring from the fact that the name Hippolytus was common. 1. Cerrato.Irish Theological Quarterly 71 (2006) 211–222 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly Sage Publications [www. 211
Downloaded from http://itq.’ D. who flourished in the late second/early third century of the Christian era. and finally a martyr of the Roman Church. we shall present Hippolytus and his rediscovered commentary in the light of some recent scholarship. Powell. first proposed by Ignaz von Döllinger. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly. we shall look at Hippolytus’ use of the Fourth Gospel in one lengthy section of his exposition of the Song. if not indeed the earliest extant example of the Christian verse-by-verse commentary genre.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30. All rights reserved. 141.com] DOI: 10. J. Then in the third part. a view supported by the most recent study of the commentaries.’ Studia Patristica 12 (1975): 449–56. ‘The Schism of Hippolytus. Mystery surrounding the origins of Hippolytus is already apparent in the earliest references
Hippolytus’ Commentary on the Song of Songs and John 20
Intertextual Reading in Early Christianity
The author studies the method of intertextual exegesis in Hippolytus’ Commentary on the Song of Songs as exemplified in the exposition of the poem of the Night Search for the Beloved (Song 3:1–5) in the light of the finding of the Empty Tomb in John 20. the first anti-pope. In the first. 2. 2002). among Christians and pagans.
. The second part will consist of a brief overview of the commentary and its exegetical method. 251. Hippolytus Between East and West: The Commentaries and the Provenance of the Corpus. making him in turn the converted guard of the martyred deacon St Lawrence of Rome.
3 Jerome lists some twenty works of Hippolytus. 4. the Paschal Canon and the Chronicon. offered to defray the cost of writing and copying a series of commentaries ‘in emulation of Hippolytus. his patron. but he clearly knows little about the writer beyond the fact that he was ‘bishop of some church. Ecclesiastical History 6:2. Jerome. All rights reserved.
. Cerrato suggests that. One. an Eastern writer. it is intriguing that. suggests that he was active in the reign of Caracalla (211–217). including the Commentary on the Song. a Roman.A. In the course of history. ‘he was president of another church (proestõs ekklesias) somewhere’ and. The other. the name of the city I have been unable to ascertain.’ Given Jerome’s intimate knowledge of the Roman Church. given the lack of clarity in the oldest sources. A factor which strengthened the development of an association between Hippolytus and Rome (Hippolytus Romanus) – a connection suggested in manuscript colophons as early as the fifth century – was the discovery of fragments of a statue of a seated human figure near the Campo Verano in Rome in the mid-16th century. a comparatively large collection of texts has been ascribed to Hippolytus. Hippolytus
3. who reconstituted the fragments. It is more likely that it was originally a monumental statue of a seated female figure. known from Book IX of the Lives of the Philosophers by Diogenes Laertius. J. It has been suggested that such a statue might originally have stood in the library of Alexander Severus and that the list was an addition by a later hand in tribute to a Christian Greek author. perhaps the Epicurean woman philosopher. Summing up recent study of the Hippolytan collection. that it was a monumental statue in honour of Hippolytus.sagepub.5 In the meantime. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30. produced the Refutatio. On the sides of the chair and the plinth of the statue was a list of what appeared to be early theological works. Both Eusebius of Caesarea and Jerome mention Hippolytus as a writer and church leader. in view of the development of the later tradition of ‘Hippolytus Romanus. By the respected Vatican archaeologist Marguerita Guarducci. According to Eusebius. The suggestion that the statue was of a female form had indeed been made tentatively at the time of its discovery.212
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to him and his work. produced the remainder. Themista of Lampsacus. some of which had come to be associated with Hippolytus. 5.’ he is ignorant of his presumed Roman career. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. a scholarly consensus (that rather rare and sometimes dangerous thing) appears to have emerged that ascribes the work traditionally associated with Hippolytus to two distinct writers. Eusebius. Careful archaeological study of this statue some twenty years ago suggests otherwise. Pirro di Liguorio.
Downloaded from http://itq. It was assumed by its discoverer.’4 Jerome also suggests that Origen’s career as a biblical commentator may have been launched when Ambrosius. from the context. De Viris Illustribus LXI. including the Commentary on the Song of Songs which is the more immediate concern of this paper.
These fragments were included in Migne’s Patrologia Greca and were translated into English by the editors of the Ante-Nicene Fathers. NF VIII.
. IL: Eerdmans. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly. Daniel. If the identity of the author of the Commentary on the Song of Songs is elusive.’ in The Ante-Nicene Fathers. which would make him an early and prolific contributor to the commentary genre. Vol. 232–5.’ Texte und Untersuchungen.9 Marr’s work reached the Western academic community through the German translation of the commentary by Gottlieb Nathanael Bonwetsch in the Texte und Untersuchungen series in 1902. Georgia. Bonwetsch. is more inclined to locate him in association with Jewish or Jewish-Christian centres of influence. Matthew and the Book of Revelation. 8. G.HIPPOLYTUS’ COMMENTARY ON THE SONG OF SONGS
was most likely to have been a bishop of a minor city in the Eastern Mediterranean region. 7. Hippolytus: ‘Fragments.
Downloaded from http://itq. Cyprian. 251) in view of the strong traditional elements in his work. N. such as the Paschal Canon and the Apostolic Tradition (the ascription increasingly contested by liturgical scholars). including fragments of the Paschal Chronicle and seven treatises of Hippolytus. J. 1901). 258.sagepub.8 Some years later. 176. one of which was our Commentary on the Song of Songs.10 A further find in the Greek Patriarchal Library of Jerusalem in 1924 brought to light yet another copy
6. 5: Fathers of the Third Century: Hippolytus. Ipolyt. psalms. All rights reserved. B. Close reading of the commentaries shows the efficacy of the supposition that he was a resident of the environs of Laodicea or Ephesus.6 Apart from other writings ascribed to Hippolytus. Pervods Armanscago (St Petersburg. 627–30. eighteen commentary-type texts of the Hippolytan corpus have survived either in their entirety or in fragments: they include comments on portions of Genesis. 1884). Montanist overtones of gender inclusiveness.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30.7 The situation was to change dramatically slightly more than a century ago. 9. 1902). Daniélou (Message Evangélique. Pitra. Novatian (Grand Rapids. Tokovanie Pjesni pjesni. First. For centuries its existence was known only from its inclusion in lists such as Jerome’s or from fragments cited with approval by later authors such as Ambrose of Milan. a 10thcentury manuscript containing a Georgian translation from the Armenian of patristic texts. 10. Gruzinskij Tekst po Ruposki X vjeka. a larger fragment that had survived in an Armenian translation was published in the late 19th century. Cerrato. ‘Hippolyts Kommentar zum Hohenlied auf Grund von N. It was identified and published with a translation by the Russian scholar Nikolai Marr. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. the commentary as it has come down to us is no less problematical. Hippolytus PG 10. Caius. 1951). 2c (Leipzig. Marr. the use of New Testament apocrypha believed to be integral to the region and general apocalyptic milieu. Analecta Sacro Spicilegio Solesmensi Parata. was discovered in a monastic library in Tiblisi. II Patres Antenicaeni (Frascati. through consideration of the Quartodeciman evidence. Hippolytus. N. J. Marrs Ausgabe des Grusisinischen Textes. portions of the prophetic books and fragments on John (on the two thieves). A.
or indeed.13 Homiletic features are apparent in the surviving texts and the Jerusalem manuscript carries the title ‘Sermon of the blessed Father Hippolytus on the Song of Songs. 14. 264 (Louvain: CSCO. In the first. In the next. Despite these limitations.
Downloaded from http://itq. ‘Die Auslegung des Hohenlied durch Hippolytus von Rom. nevertheless there are passages in this commentary similar in treatment to those of the Jewish writers of the Songs Rabbah and the Targum. Although the extant texts of Jewish exegesis of the Song are later than commentaries such as those of Hippolytus or Origen. ‘as we keep this most holy festival today.
. Gertrude Chappuzeau has suggested that our text may have begun life. the original Greek version of the Songs commentary may appear: until then. G. Corpus Scriptorum Christianorum Orientalium Vol. of translation several times removed from the original. we are at the mercy of translation. the oral tradition was the staple of Christian didasklia. we rejoice with the angels’ (XXV:10) and the whole commentary concludes with a short doxology ‘glorifying God to whom is glory and power for ever and ever’ (XXVIII:12). The text to be studied later in this paper may lend further support
11. 237. the reconstructed commentary may open some windows for us into the earliest history of Christian exegesis of the Song. All rights reserved.sagepub. the accent would shift to the written Book in the form of the Old and New Testaments. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly. Hippolytus’ treatment is less systematic than Origen’s and remains more firmly anchored in the earlier tradition with its stress on the pastoral and liturgical value of the text. Daniélou. not as a systematic commentary. on the frontier between two vital periods in early Christianity. et sur l’Antéchrist. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. 12. Gérard Garritte used both these manuscripts as the basis for his critical edition – with a Latin translation – for the Corpus Christianorum series in 1965. Message Evangélique. Sur le Cantique des Cantiques. together with Origen. 13. for which it set a style that survived until the rise of the historical critical method in modern times. Traités d’Hippolyte sur David et Goliath. Chapter and verse indications are from Garritte’s edition.214
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of the same Hippolytus Corpus. 2. Armenian to Georgian and Georgian into Latin or German.11 Garritte’s edition and translation has become the standard reference source for Hippolytus.12 Despite his rather full verse-by-verse exegesis of the text.14 It is impossible to say with any degree of certainty whether these come from the work of later editors and scribes or whether they were features of Hippolytus’ original text. Chappuzeau. 1965).’ Jahrbuch für Antiche und Christentum 19 (1976): 45–81.’ One of the Armenian fragments contains a verse alluding to the celebration of the feast of Easter. Greek to Armenian. however. The Commentary and its Method Jean Daniélou regards Hippolytus as standing. but as a homily on the occasion of an Easter baptismal liturgy. 263.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30. again in Georgian. Some day. Hippolytus is heir to a tradition of exegesis that goes back to Jewish or Judaeo-Christian interpretation. Gérard Garritte.
according to LXX. This is commonplace in the Jewish interpretative tradition reflected. the present commentary ends at Song 3:8. the hermeneutical starting point for interpreting the scriptures of Israel was the Christ-event as expressed in lapidary fashion by Luke the Evangelist: ‘beginning with Moses and all the prophets.
. verses 2:4–7. Solomon is worthy of respect: he found grace through God.’ Bonwetsch. The Song. For Hippolytus.000. he suggests.’ 90. ‘Ein Homilie in der strengen Sinne ist dieser Kommentar nicht.000 parables of Solomon (cf. A relatively leisurely introduction (three pages out of a total of 20 in Garritte’s translation) discusses the putative Solomonic authorship of the three Wisdom books of Proverbs. as for the other writers of the Patristic age. For Hippolytus this triad of books immediately suggests the triad of the Holy Trinity. 2:11–13.15 If it were indeed a paschal homily. the bible is the great selfreferential text where obscurities in one place can be illumined by reference to another on the basis of a similarity of words within the text. and the Song.’ will be taught by the Son (I:5). but he was himself neither grace nor wisdom – that belongs to Christ. While Hippolytus does supply this three-fold division of the book.000 of his songs (cf. perhaps what Hippolytus considered to be the limits of the first song. ‘Hippolyts Kommentar. and there is probably fertile work to be done on a detailed exploration of the links between the Jewish exegetical tradition and Hippolytus. Just as the scribes of the court of Hezekiah chose from among the 3. such as the Coptic and Ethiopian. Ecclesiastes teaches that the world. 16–17. and was given the gift of wisdom. Prov 25:1). As son of David. For him. 5. the Son of David par eminence – but he composed his three books under the guidance of the Spirit. The extent of this intertextual reading of the scriptures can be seen by the fact that there are approximately 60 (62) quotations from other Old Testament
15. 3:2.sagepub. Bonwetsch had already observed the presence of homiletic-style rhetorical flourishes but did not consider it a homily in the strict sense. as for all Patristic exposition of the Old Testament. 5 receive no special treatment. teaches many things through consolation and praise (I:5). Hebrew and modern translations ‘one thousand and five’). the Song represents the best three of the 5.HIPPOLYTUS’ COMMENTARY ON THE SONG OF SONGS
to the homiletic origins of the commentary. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly. as part of the divine economy of the Holy Spirit.
Downloaded from http://itq. While the commentary is a relatively complete exposition of the text. In the first modern study of the text. it may prove to be a link between the Jewish liturgical use of the Song at Passover and its use as a reading text in the Easter Vigil in some ancient Christian Churches of the Alexandrian tradition. in the Midrash Rabbah on Songs. for example. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. he interpreted to them the things about himself in all the scriptures’ (Luke 24:27). aber er besitzt doch noch ungleich mehr als In Danielem den Charakter einer Ansprache. is as much a sample of the work of Solomon as Proverbs. ‘the gathering place of darkness.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30. 1Kgs 4:32. Qoheleth and the Song. Proverbs reveals the wondrous wisdom of the Father. All rights reserved. Hippolytus’ method of interpretation is perforce an intertextual one.
The mare drawing the chariot of Pharaoh (VIII. Song 1:9). Hippolytus established the ground rules that were to determine the typological and allegorical exegesis of the Song for the next millennium and a half. the window through which the Beloved peers represent the prophets.’ For what is the leaping of the
16. the description of Solomon’s litter surrounded by sixty sword-bearing heroes of Israel is interpreted as Christ as the true place of rest (XXVIII. churning the mighty waters. Some of Hippolytus’ interpretations are memorable. without counting the abundance of implied or indirect citations.
. See Bonwetsch. ‘You trampled the sea with your horses. Hinrichs. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly. Commenting on the Beloved who comes leaping on the mountains (Cant 2:8ff). 17. as one might expect. the King-Beloved is a figure for Christ while the Spouse represents Israel/the Church/the human soul. It is not possible to present even a brief résumé of the contents of the commentary within the limits of the present paper. 1897). the question of which direction the influences followed must remain open.
Downloaded from http://itq. The desire to be kissed by the Beloved represents desire for intimacy. Detailed evidence of how the earliest generation of rabbis interpreted the details of the text is lacking and so. Although in their present forms at least. becomes a symbol of the apostles preaching to the Gentiles on the basis of an association with Habakkuk 3:15. an identification which seems to have become commonplace by the middle of the second century. occasionally ingenious. Thus. Solomon’s bodyguard of sixty warriors is identified with the sixty generations between Adam and Christ. There are strong similarities between some of the typological meanings suggested by Hippolytus and those of the later rabbis in the Midrash Rabbah and the Targum. the breasts of the Beloved are the two laws of love. 78–80. Luke 12. Hippolytus explores many dimensions of the rest Christ brings. the existence of a ‘more than literal’ interpretation of the Song in 1st-century Judaism is attested by the early mishnaic debate about the ‘canonical status’ of the Song (mYadaim 3:5). as they are listed in the Gospel genealogies. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. C. Similarly. including the miracles of raising people from the dead.’ This in turn evokes Ezekiel’s vision of the heavenly chariot and the identification of the four living creatures with the four evangelists.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30. ‘Das Hohenlied Kommentar’ in Hippolytus Werke I.17 It continued. these are later texts.216
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books apart from the Song and a more or less similar number from the New (61). for instance. Hippolytus writes (XXI: 1) O dispensation of new grace! O exceedingly great mystery! ‘Behold my beloved comes leaping.16 As might be expected. Her dark colour represents sin but she is beautiful by virtue of the grace of the Beloved. John 9). the most frequently cited books are Genesis and the Gospels (Matt 13. etc. which brings the commentary to a close.sagepub. in the notes of Calvin’s Genevan Bible or in the commentary of John Wesley. the husband of Mary. Hippolytus’ attempts to distil meaning from sometimes highly unpromising texts are. ending with Joseph. and which survived the Reformation. for union with the heavenly Word. Mark 9. 2: Exegetische und homiletische Schriften. Die Griechischen christlichen Schriftsteller der ersten drei Jahrhunderte (Leipzig: J. Song 3:7–8). All rights reserved. for instance. the foxes that spoil the vines represent the heretics or false prophets.
ipse ascendit super montes. The Gospel writings say. O blessed voice! O blessed women revealed by an earlier type! Because of this. ‘I sought him but I did not find him.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30. he leapt down to the underworld. nec est qui se abscondat a calore ejus (Ps 18:6. Translated with an introduction and notes by Mary Dove (Kalamazoo: Medieval Institute Publications. Luke 24:1. from the wood. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly. Here he sits at the right hand of the Father. Iste est qui ascendit super Occasum. but did not find him. Hippolytus is no detached commentator. ‘the women went by night to seek the tomb’ (cf. de cruce in tumulum. See the recent English translation. 3.sagepub. de Oriente super Occidentem. John 20:1). Hippolytus on the Easter Mystery: Translation of XXIV–XXV XXIV 1. to bring retribution or reward.’ See this fulfilled in [Martha and] Mary.’ 3. PL 15. a summo coelo egressio ejus. The Glossa Ordinaria of the Song of Songs. et nunc currit.HIPPOLYTUS’ COMMENTARY ON THE SONG OF SONGS
Word? He leapt from heaven into the womb of the Virgin.19 With them. et occursus ejus usque ad summum ejus. 7). just as perfume gives forth its fragrance when poured from its container. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Et nunc salit. proba currentem. This passage entered the Western tradition through Ambrose of Milan: ‘Salit de coelo in Virginem. in coelum de sepulcro. We now pass on to a close reading of what is probably the best-known text of the commentary: Hippolytus’ reading of Song 3:1–6 which constitutes Chapters 24 and 25 of the commentary. O new resurrection! Then he leapt from the earth to heavens. All rights reserved. and I found him whom my soul loves.’
Downloaded from http://itq. she cries out and says: ‘I sought him by night whom my soul loves: I sought him. ipse super coelos coelorum ad Orientem. ‘I sought by night him whom my soul loves. It is cited in the Glossa Ordinaria on the Song in a form derived from Gregory the Great through Bede. 1565. she cries out and says. so the Word.
.’ ‘Why do you seek the living among the dead?’ (Luke 24:5). 2. de Jordane in crucem. Sermo VI. Proba mihi David salientem. He maintains a lively dialogue with his audience. I found him whom my soul loves. tu enim dixisti: Exsultavit ut gigas ad currendam viam. The watchmen who kept the city found me: ‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves?’ And now that I had gone a short distance past them. sealed in the bosom of the Father. addressing it in apostrophes or calling attention to the wondrous mystery he discerns within the text. de utero in praesepe. but traceable ultimately through Ambrose to Hippolytus. ipse super colles’ (In Psalmum David CXVIII Expositio. Armenian version omits ‘Martha’ but adds ‘and in their synagogue. No one
18. 2004).18 Similarly. a clue perhaps to the original oral mode of the book’s composition. I found him and will not let him go until I bring him into my mother’s house and into the treasure house of her who conceived me’ (Song 3:1a. the synagogue was diligently seeking the dead Christ whom it did not expect to see alive. 19. Therefore she teaches us and says. de Septentrione super Meridiem. For this reason then. transmits the fragrance of his presence to the world from the beginning of creation. ‘I sought him by night. and then he will leap down to earth once more.31). from the holy womb he leapt to the wood [of the Cross]. de corde Patris super sanctos suos. 3–4). Then he leapt back to the earth in human flesh.
’ Who were those who found her. Eve.’ 21.’ The Saviour replies and says ‘Martha.
. because heaven.21 4.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30.
Downloaded from http://itq. no longer wandering but clinging with her hands to the tree of life. become strengthened. That is why she says. Matt 28:9. perfected that you may even be joined to the heavenly body. Ascend to the Father and offer a new victim. take it up. for I have not yet ascended to my Father’ (John 20:17).’ When they had turned and gone away. Therefore she cries out: ‘I have found him and will not let him go. But she holds fast and says: ‘I will not let you go until I bring you in and set you in my heart. Sections 4 and 5 are missing in the Armenian version. Behold the new and perfect mystery here that sounds forth and says: ‘I sought him. Luke 24:2). All rights reserved. but I have clung to the feet of Christ. not like a cord that can be broken. bring it to heaven. John 20:14). Matt 28:6). into the treasure house of her who conceived me.’ At the same time. Mark 16:4.’ These women ask them: ‘Have you seen him whom my soul loves?’ But they say: ‘Who are you looking for? Jesus of Nazareth? He is not here. let it be united with the Spirit.’ O blessed women who did not wish to be separated from Christ.’ O blessed woman who clings to the feet of him who is about to fly off into the air! 3. Do not cast me to the earth lest I wander. Mark 16:6. the body of Christ? ‘The watchmen who kept the city found me. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly. I have clung to his knees.’ Receive my soul.
20. Let this body of mine be joined with the heavenly body. The mystery of Martha was shown earlier through Solomon: ‘We will not permit you to fly away. the stone is rolled away (cf. The watchmen who kept the city found me. the stone is rolled away. if not the angels who were sitting there? And what city were they keeping if not the new Jerusalem. but I did not find him. John 20:17). I found him whom my soul loves.sagepub.’ ‘I will not let him go. This is what Martha and Mary say to him. snatch me up into heaven. I found him whom my soul loves. Behold he is risen’ (cf.218
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was to be found there. the Saviour came to meet them (cf. Armenian version adds: ‘why do you seek the perfect stone? Behold.1. ‘And when I had gone a short distance from them.’ Her heart is overwhelmed with the love of Christ and she does not wish to be separated from him. Why do you look on the earth for him who is exalted and sits on the throne? Why do you look in a despicable grave for the one who is the most glorious of all?20 Why do you seek the perfect one in a tomb? Behold. Mary. she embraces his feet and clasps him fast (cf. Matt 28:2. and not the tomb. that the woman may follow whom she wishes and that she may not stray. then a new cup mixed. ‘When I had gone on a short distance. XXV. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Then was fulfilled the saying ‘Behold when I had gone a short distance. But he calls out to her and said ‘Do not cling to me. ‘I have found him whom I love and I will not let him go. Behold. until I bring him into my mother’s house. was his home.’ And they reply to him ‘Rabbuni. John 20:16). Why do you seek in a tomb one who is already in heaven full of grace? Why do you seek for that which has been freed as though bound and shut up in prison? 4. Drink it as though it were wine.’ which is translated ‘My Lord’ (cf.
She now hates the one she formerly trusted and considers him as an enemy who once seduced her through concupiscence. O good helpmate who brought the news to her husband! So do the women announce the good news to the disciples. nor having attained the tree of knowledge.
. it is clear. Now from these facts. beloved. Gen 2:18). she appears as perfected. 6. for her clothing is no longer the leaves of the fig-tree (cf. Hereafter she has been made a conqueror over the tree through death. 5.22 Jesus himself comes to meet the apostles so that the women might be truly recognised as apostles of Christ and make good the failure of ancient Eve by their obedience. Offer Eve as something new. sent by Christ. there you shall see him” ’ (Mark 16:7. Now she will no longer hunger nor offer men corruptible food. Gen 3:7). She now rejoices in life through the tree.’
Downloaded from http://itq. She has received the incorruptible.sagepub. O new consolations! Eve has become an apostle. Armenian version reads: ‘lest those sent by angels should be slow. he was not naked. groans and sorrows are ended. So that the apostles might not doubt that these women were sent by the angels. All rights reserved. Now he is again found to be clothed. Luke 24:11). But they considered them to be deceived because they themselves were [still] doubting (cf. how the synagogue is subdued and the Church is glorified. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly. The tree of seduction no longer deceives her. Christ [himself] was revealed to them at that time and said ‘Peace be with you’ (cf. Armenian version adds: ‘As we keep this most holy festival today. John 20:19).com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30. because her pains. Hearing now with obedience. Matt 28:7). let the synagogue cry out and confess through these women. O women. and tastes of the tree through confessing Christ.’ 10. Now she understands the cleverness of the serpent and will not be overcome again. Eve is now the single-minded helpmate of Adam (cf. as though to say ‘It is I who appeared to these women and wished to send them to you as apostles. not now as one who is naked. no longer like a woman groaning in childbirth. After this.’ 23.23
22. receive and offer this offering which is approved by the Father. 8. Christ is not naked: although the shroud lay in the tomb. But so that they should not be thought to be deceived but speaking the truth. What is this new word that you have. Receive Eve now walking in order. It is to these that the angel first said ‘Go and tell his disciples: “He goes before you into Galilee. The cause of this was that it was Eve’s custom to announce deception and not the truth. but now she is clothed with the Holy Spirit. of which he was stripped after he was deceived. Receive Eve. 7. They show us a good testimony who were made apostles to the apostles. of the resurrection? And because of this they believed them to be deceived. Even the first Adam was not naked: he had put on the renewed vesture of sinlessness and humility and incorruptibility. She is worthy of the good and desires food.HIPPOLYTUS’ COMMENTARY ON THE SONG OF SONGS
no longer wounded in the heel. we rejoice with the angels. for she has put on the good garment in which there is no corruption. 9. Christ himself comes to meet them sending them as women apostles of Christ. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.
For the purpose of comment. such as its anti-Gnostic tendencies and its concern with the imminence of the Parousia. holding on to his feet. she is named as an Easter witness in two texts from the non-canonical tradition. More unexpectedly. greeting him as Rabbouni. Mary. following the simplification of the Fourth Gospel. The Women and the Spouse 3. The Women and the Gospel Hippolytus’ identification of the women at the tomb as Mary and Martha (XXIV:2) is puzzling. The Epistle of the Apostles (Epistula Apostolorum) which has survived in Coptic and Ethiopic from the fourth or fifth centuries. identifies the women as Martha. the text can be divided into three sections: 1. and perhaps of greater theological interest.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30. In the Fourth Gospel. Mary Magdalene and a third called either Sarah (Ethiopic) or the daughter of Martha (Coptic) (Ep.sagepub. We shall treat both questions separately. All rights reserved. who has edited a recent collection of these texts. Eliot. Hippolytus does not read it in isolation from the corresponding synoptic versions of the Easter event. the mother of James. Luke is vaguer still: along with Mary Magdalene. Mary Magdalene and the third rather confusingly as ‘the other Mary’ (28:1). Along with Magdalene. While the dominant text is clearly John 20: 1–18 (visit to the tomb while it is still dark. he names Joanna. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly. This manner of proceeding. however. The girl’s night-time search for her beloved (Song 3:1–5) provides Hippolytus with a key text with which to explore the meaning of the resurrection of Jesus from the context of the discovery of the tomb by the women. and ‘the other women with them’ (24:10). Mark includes Mary. One might be forgiven for thinking that this is merely a lapse of attention of a writer who. While none of the canonical Gospels includes Martha. J. The Gospels show little agreement on the point. is the way in which the story of Eve and the Fall becomes a second intertext through which the Easter mystery is explored. beyond the name of Mary Magdalene. Some Comments on Hippolytus’ Text The highly rhetorical flourishes employed in this section are evident and may lend weight to the suggestion that this section of the commentary at least originated as an Easter homily or instruction. Ap 9).K. Matthew names two women. their mission to the disciples). may be indicators of the comparatively early origin of the
Downloaded from http://itq. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. and Salome (16:1). she is mentioned alone. meeting with Jesus. creates several fresh problems of interpretation along the way. suggests that some of its distinctive characteristics. The Woman and the Watchman 2. the mother of James.
. perhaps a first step towards simplifying what may already have been conceived as a problem of interpretation and consistency.220
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4. was attempting to offer his own solution to the already confusing question of who exactly were the women disciples present at the tomb on Easter day. who is a constant in the tradition.
associate Eve with Adam in hearing from the victorious Christ the Gospel of Resurrection. the Mother of Jesus. See the discussion in Cerrato. but this enterprise sometimes owes as much to the ingenuity of the interpreter as to the language of the text. 1 Cor 15). and indeed. with Mary Magdalene being identified with the sister of Martha (cf. ‘The Epistle of the Apostles (Epistula Apostolorum)’ in The Apocryphal New Testament: A Collection of Apocryphal Christian Literature in an English Translation.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30. Rom 5. that included Martha as a witness to the empty tomb. 5. 26. the Latin version of Christ’s Descent into Hell (9:1)27 and The Book of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Bartholomew the Apostle already cited. 27. The Book of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ by Bartholomew the Apostle. however. it has been suggested that the reason for including Martha as a Resurrection witness is to counter the prominence given to Mary Magdalene in some Gnostic circles. 25. Apocryphal New Testament. There are only two passing references to Eve in the NT (2 Cor 11:3 and 1 Tim 2:13). e. 28. especially those depicting Christ’s descent to the underworld.25 This may suggest that Hippolytus was familiar with a popular tradition. Commentators are unanimous in asserting our author’s theological orthodoxy. patriarchal tendency in the early third century. K. Hippolytus. Later Fathers will apply Evetypology to Mary.g. ch 13. 554–85.26 Later apocryphal texts. 12) or with the woman who anointed the head of Jesus.’ we may have the beginnings of the tendency to confuse the personages of the Gospel. edited by J. Summary in Apocryphal New Testament. While the commentaries are not
24. 668–72. ‘The Theology of Martha and Mary.HIPPOLYTUS’ COMMENTARY ON THE SONG OF SONGS
traditions underlying the Epistula Apostolorum. Hippolytus. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution.24 Martha is also mentioned as a resurrection witness in another (probably later) Coptic text.’
Downloaded from http://itq. There is no hint of concession to Gnostic ideas. 1993).28 In contrast to the prevailing portrayal of women in patristic texts.
. sees the women at the tomb as the true anti-types of Eve. the New Testament shows little interest in a corresponding figure of the New Eve.sagepub. 203. Theology and Milieu of Hippolytus There are several unusual features in Hippolytus’ reading of the Easter story. Since Hippolytus nowhere explicitly names Mary as ‘Magdalene. the commentaries [of Hippolytus] convey an attitude towards women quite different from that of Tertullian and other patristic sources of the period … These texts [of the Fathers] have been adduced as evidence of a growing subtle. Roman Catholic exegetes have occasionally attempted to trace an Eve–Mary parallel in several texts. All rights reserved. Luke 10:38–42 and John 11. whose earlier disobedience and infidelity are replaced by the faithful search of Martha and Mary. Eliot (Oxford: Oxford University Press. and sometimes not so subtle. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly.g. Of equal interest is the role Hippolytus ascribes to Eve. possibly of Egyptian origin. Despite Paul’s interest in the figure of Christ as the New or Last Adam (e.
sagepub. Intertextual reading of the text of Songs and the Johannine resurrection story survived in the liturgical tradition.30 It is a fertile field.29 These signs include the absence of prescriptive texts about women. with interesting results. perhaps including exegetical commentary. 210–11. Cerrato is tempted to detect influences from the Montanist movement and pleads the need for a more nuanced reading of this movement. BRENDAN MCCONVERY.
. and Hippolytus has shown us the way. it continued to exercise its influence through its inclusion in the growing body of commentary on the Song from the Patristic era through the High Middle Ages. Dean of the Faculty of Theology.’ Trying to locate such a community in time and space is difficult. signs of an attempt to transcend elements of patriarchy appear. bishops and ministers of other ranks. MN: Liturgical Press. Of late. 1998).ie
29. Some Concluding Observations This essay has sought to investigate some aspects of this intriguing commentary of the early church.g. to read the Song and John intertextually. composing and publishing literature’ and that ‘they appear to have been concerned with the interpretation of scripture. even if they were attributed to other writers. Hippolytus’ images and ideas were passed down by the commentators who believed that the first duty of a commentator was to be a responsible tradent of the wisdom of the past rather than an innovator.mcconvery@may. For example. Anne Winsor.222
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exempt from the culture in which they were composed. Although Hippolytus’ work disappeared from view in the West at an early stage. brendan. 2007 © 2006 Irish Theological Quarterly. Maynooth. All rights reserved. whereby ‘Eve becomes an Apostle. Ireland. Co. exegetes have attempted. the equality of men and women in the divine economy. Studies in Biblical Literature 6 (Oxford: Peter Lang. Cerrato.
Downloaded from http://itq.’ that they developed a high view of the ecclesiastical status of women. 1999) and Adeline Fehrenbach. Kildare. His inference that the women of the movement were ‘bookish. Patrick’s College. runs the risk of making them just a little too modern! 6. The Women in the Life of the Bridegroom (Collegeville. 30. as presbyters. Not for commercial use or unauthorized distribution. Hippolytus. and finally the inclusion of women in the mission of the community. A King is Bound in the Tresses. St.com by Ilie Chiscari on November 30.