Zeitschrift für Kirchengeschichte 2 (1878) pp. 288-291

The Greek Irenaeus and the complete Hegesippus in the 16th century.(RP)


Th. Zahn  
in Kiel.


        The hope that, instead of the miserable fragments and the uncomprehending translations in which the larger part of the oldest church literature is preserved, the complete and original version might appear, has been encouraged by some rediscoveries of buried treasures during the last thirty years, most recently by the complete rediscovery of the letters of Clement of Rome and thankfully fulfilled to this extent. Each fact, which encourages this hope, earns attention, even if it does not promise at the start to immediately fulfil it. On one such fact, which would probably have remained unknown to us theologians if my college Blass had not kindly made me aware of it, I would like to report here briefly.

        In the preface to an edition appearing two years ago, the Athens-based editor, Demetrios Ch. Semitelos, has reprinted an as yet unedited scholia of Pindar 1) which had already eleven years previously appeared in the Greek magazine "Pandora" (vol. 15, p. 445 f.)


        1) Πινδάρου σχόλια Πατμιακὰ, νὺν πρῶτον ἀναλώμασι τοῖς του ̀ Ἀθηναίου ἐπίχλην περιοδικοὺ συγγράμματος ἐχδιδόμενα. Ἀθήνηνσιν 1875. The statement is in the prologue, pp. 3-5. The prologue is subtitled: Δεμέτριος Χ. Σεμιτέλος.


in a communication of Mr. Johannes Sakkelion on Patmos 1).  It refers to a copy of the Editio princeps in the library of the abbey of St. John there, which Zacharias Kallierges published in 1515 in Rome. At the edge of this copy and now published by Semitelos are the scholia which Sakkelion prepared for publication, and in Sakkelion's judgement written by two different hands during the first half of the 16th century. A part of these scholia has the signature Φορτίου, in whom Sakkelion recognizes a certain Αλέξανδρος ὁ Φόρτιος, who released five Greek epigrams and two Italian sonnets in connection with the other poems in 1555 at Venice. Sakkelion suggests, for very plausible reasons which it seems unnecessary to repeat, that this is the same Phortios as the writer who signed his name also to the majority of the remaining scholia written in the margin of the same 1515 edition and also added three indexes to the scholia. After these statements Sakkelion continues as follows: Ἐπὶ δὲ τοὺ πρώτου ἐξωφύλλου εὕρηται ἀπογραφὴ τῶν ἑξῆς συγγραφέων :

  Ἀρεταὶος Καππαδόκης μὴ λειπόμενος
Μενάνδρου τραγῳδιαι
Εἰρηναίου Ἐπισκόπου Λουγδούνων κατὰ
             αἱρέσεων βιβλία Ε ́
Ἡγησίππου ἀνδρὸς ἀποστολικοὺ βιβλία Ε&
Ἀμφιλοχίου ἐπισκόπου λόγοι διάφοροι
Γαληνοὺ περὶ ἀποδείξεως βιβλία ΙΔ ́.
Ἀρτεμιδώρου γεωγραφικά.
(Ἥρωνος περὶ κενού.

Sakkelion does not state expressly that this listing is written by the same hand that he believes is that of Phortios. But if this should not be his opinion, then it must be by the other simultaneous scholia-writer. Because he relies on the date of these two men, in the middle of the 16th century, when he immediately continues: Μετ' οὐ πολὺ δὲ περιῆλθε τὸ τεῦχος εἰς τὴν κυριότητα Νικηφόρου Ἱερομονάχου τοὺ Χαρτοφύλακος, καθὰ δηλοῖ τὸ ἐπὶ τοῦ προμετωπιδίου φύλλου ἰδιοχείρως σεσημασμένον: Νικηφόρου ἱερομονάχου τοῦ


        1)  Semitelos does not identify his position there and labels him as βιβλιοφύλαξ a Ἱερόθεος Φλωρίδης. Tischendorf, "Aus dem heiligen Lande", p. 342 calls Sakkelion the scholarly librarian of the monastery.

        2) Sakkelion adds in parentheses: γράφε κωμῳδίαι.


Χαρτοφίλακος. This Nikephoros, on whom Sakkelion says little, is the actual founder of the monastery library on Patmos and was at the end of the 16th and in the beginning of the 17th century a teacher, and later the abbot on Patmos, later still titular metropolitan of Laodicea and died in 1628. If Nikephoros found, as Sakkelion assumes, the listing already in the book when he acquired it, then the latest date of the listing would be "around 1600". If Phortios wrote it, then it could have been written in Italy, otherwise somewhere on the way between the Roman printing-press, from which this Pindar came out in 1515, and the monastery of Patmos; where it has been since approximately 1600. We must be content with the certainty that this listing, whose word naturally would be more difficult to take, the later its writing is placed, was written between 1515 and 1628, probably however between 1550 and 1600 by a Greek on a white sheet between cover and title 1) of his copy of Pindar. This Greek must have owned in manuscripts this collection of largely now lost or only fragmentarily received works enumerated by him. Probably he possessed it. What could have caused him to collect together otherwise this multicolored collection of books, which stand neither by itself nor with the contents of the volume, on whose first sheet he registered their titles? It is a book catalogue or a fragment of one, belonging to an owner. Differing contents and the range of the writings mentioned require, that it was distributed over a considerable number of codices. The content of one of these codices must have not corresponded completely to its title, or the whole codex must have been misplaced from the collection catalogued here, when it is noted against the medical writer Aretaeus 2) that it is no longer present (μὴ λειπόμενος). The more certainly from this one may assume the fact that the remaining codices were present at the time of this recording (λειπόμενα) and the record seemed to be complete. The man can hardly have suspected, how much the philologist and theologian of today would envy him his riches.

        Limiting myself to the theologically important, he possessed the Greek text of all five books of Irenaeus' ἔλεγχος καὶ ἀνατροπὴ τῆς ψευδωνύμου γνώσεως, to whose existence to my knowledge until now there was no Greek witness later than Photius


        1)  Thus I believe ἐπὶ τοῦ πρώτου ἐξωφύλλου should be correctly understood.

        2)  See on him Pauly's Realencykl., 2. Aufl. I, 1505.


(cod. 120). As Meletios Syrigos around 1640, from a citation from Iren. IV communicated to me by Massuet from a manuscript in the possession of E. Renaudot 1), translated back from Latin into Greek, as already the use of the chapter arrangement and the comparison with a Greek fragment shows (Massuet, p. 251). Our Greek writer cited the work in the same manner as e.g. Maximus Confessor with the shortened title κατὰ αἱρέσεως 2), which Photius notes in explanation next to the fuller version.

        Even more surprising is the fact that this Greek of the 16th century had seen the five books of Hegesippus, as their youngest witness until now had been Stephanos Gobaros, usually assigned to the 6th century following Photius (cod. 232). That the old Hegesippus of the 2nd century is meant, is shown by the attribute ἀνὴρ ἀποστολικός  (cf. Eus. H. e. II, 23, 3) and the number of the books (cf. Eus. IV. 8, 2; 22, 1).

        Were the third mentioned in the list not the Amphilochius but Papias of Hierapolis also with his five books, then our surprise would be still greater; but after everything we have experienced, no-one can call it pointless to hope for new discoveries of age-old treasures. It remains only to wish that the storm, which is now sweeping over the Greek-speaking Orient, should drive away the dust which has piled up for centuries, but not the pages on which it lies.

      Kiel, June 1877.


        1)  Irenaei opera Par. 1710, p. CLXVI.

        2)  Cf. Euseb. H. e. III, 23, 3: πρὸς τὰς αἱρέσεις.

Transcribed and translated by Roger Pearse, 2001.  Greek text in unicode.

This page has been online since 20th January 2001.

Return to the Tertullian Home Page Original Language About these pages