Friday, January 2, 2015

ANF 5: Hippolytus Exegetical Fragments I

Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 5

Hippolytus: Works and Fragments I.--Exegetical

This section, taking up forty pages in the 19th century Schaff/Coxe edition, is as big a grab-bag as you would expect. As with the Refutation of All Heresies, reading all of these bits and pieces is not strictly necessary unless you are interested in the field of early church studies specifically. For general edification, I'd look to the longer and more coherent writers like Tertullian, Origen, or one of the Clements.

With that said, there are a few useful bits and pieces here and there. Specifically pay attention to:

  • Genesis 49:21-26: Hippolytus has some interesting comments on how this passage points prophetically to Christ. 
  • On Kings: Where Hippolytus tackles the difficult question of the Witch of Endor, and whether she actually summoned the spirit of Samuel, or a demon instead. (And no, I have no opinion on that.)
  • On Psalm II and XXII/XXIII: We get a clear and faithful exposition of the humanity and Deity of Christ.
  • On Psalm CIX/CX: Hippolytus gives us an excellent overview of what Christ does by means of His life and death.
  • On Proverbs: This is a worthwhile introduction to a difficult book of the Bible. "Proverbs, therefore, are words of exhortation serviceable for the whole path of life," all of which are summed up in Christ: "the fruit of righteousness and the tree of life if Christ. He alone, as man, fulfilled all righteousness." Christ is the Wisdom we find in the book, calling all to heed and obey Him.

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