Hades of Hippolytus or Tartarus of Tertullian

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  • 7/27/2019 Hades of Hippolytus or Tartarus of Tertullian


    Vigihae Christianae 43 (1989), 105-126, E. J Brill, Leiden




    C. E. HILL

    The variously-titled fragment De Universo found in the Sacra

    Parallela of (pseudo) John Damascene1

    is today nearly without excep

    tion ascribed to Hippolytus of Rome.2

    It will be the purpose of this

    paper, however, first of all to show that the fragment's doctrine of the

    intermediate state of the righteous is radically opposed to that found in

    the authentic3

    works of Hippolytus,4

    secondly to uncover other

    discrepancies which together weigh quite heavily against Hippolytan

    authorship and finally to offer another name, already disclosed in our

    title, which may be connected much more appropriately with the frag

    ment De Universo.


    In the view of the author of De Universo, all the dead, righteous and

    unrighteous alike, are detained' in the subterranean hades until thetime of the resurrection of the body. The righteous there inhabit a plea

    sant compartment, the bosom of Abraham, where they may con

    template the blessings in their view and await the 'rest and eternal

    revival in heaven which succeed this location'. Separated from these by

    'a deep and vast abyss', the wicked are dragged to a lower section of

    hades where they endure ghastly torments anticipatory of their ultimate

    ruin. The significant point for our study so far is that redeemed and

    non-redeemed alike are to be found in the underworld until the last day.

    When we turn to Hippolytus however we find that in his view

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    106 C. E. HILL

    above and bore upward () him who was below unto the thingsabove; he who becomes the evangelist of the dead and the redeemer of

    souls and the resurrection of the buried; he it was who had become thehelper of the conquered man...The heavenly one who calls the earthly (one)unto the things above; the well-born one who wills through his own obedience to set free the slave; the one who turned man into adamant, whendestroyed in the earth and become the food of serpents. And having beensuspended on the tree he made him (man) lord over him who had conquered and on this account he was found through the tree a victory-


    It is clear from this that the descensus of Christ into hades actually

    effected a release, a 'drawing out' of Adam, and presumably of others

    as well, and a bearing aloft to heaven.7

    Though it is true that Hippolytus

    often speaks of Christ's own ascension to heaven in terms of his pre

    senting 'man' , i.e. his own human nature, to God, by mentioning here

    the rescue of the individual Adam (a controverted issue since Tatian had

    denied salvation to the first sinner) Hippolytus shows that he, like many

    of his predecessors,8

    held to a storming of hades by Christ. Christ's

    rescue of Adam 'from the deepest pit of Hades' is again proclaimed inDe David et Goliath l l .


    Maintaining in his treatment of Dan. 9.24 (Commentary on Daniel

    IV.33.4) that Christ in his first advent loosed what was until then sealed

    up, Hippolytus says, 'As many, therefore, as Satan had ensnared and

    bound, these the Lord, when he came, loosed from the bonds of death,

    having bound the one who was strong against us, but having set

    humanity free. As also Isaiah says, "Then he will say to the men in

    bonds, 'Come forth', and to those in darkness, 'Show yourselves' "

    (Isa. 49.9)'.10

    A comparison with the passage quoted above from On the

    Great Song would suggest that those who were in the 'bonds of death'

    were deceased and in hades.11

    Consistent with this view of a transferrai of the ancients from hades

    to heaven is Hippolytus's belief that the righteous of the Christian era

    are no longer subject to the hold of the underworld but instead rise to

    heaven to be with Christ. In Comm. Dan. 1.21.4, 5 Hippolytusexpounds upon Susanna's cry that it is better for her to fall prey to the

    f l

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    escape the clutches of the persecutors but, condemned by them, theydie...for it is better to die by means of unrighteous men in order to live withGod ( ), than consenting to them and being released by them to 'fall

    into the hands of God' (Heb. 10.13).

    The martyr, by refusing to save himself for this world through

    unrighteous means, is killed by men but goes to live with God as, it

    would seem, an immediate consequence of his faithful suffering unto


    And in fact, Hippolytus frequently tells us that saints such as

    Daniel, Isaiah, Stephen and David and indeed all who have departed

    pure from this world now possess () their heavenly crowns

    (Antichr. 31; De David et Goliath 12.1; Comm Dan. II.35.5; 37.3).

    Though dead as regards the world and asleep as regards their bodily

    condition, they are alive nonetheless (Antichr. 30, 31). To this might

    also be compared Apostolic Tradition 36.5, 12 wherein mention is made

    in both the nones and mattins prayers of the 'souls of the righteous' who

    praise and glorify God. In the latter text the righteous souls are listed

    along with the ministering angels.

    In Antichrist 59 Hippolytus enlarges upon the metaphor of the church

    as a ship, with Christ her skilled pilot:

    The Church has mariners on the right and left as holy angels, assessorsthrough whom she is always governed and defended.

    There is in her a ladder which leads aloft to the sailyard as an image ofthe sign of Christ's passion, which is drawing the faithful unto the ascentto heaven.

    There are top sails upon the sailyard, being united on high as orders ofprophets, martyrs and apostles at rest in the kingdom of Christ.


    The faithful are being drawn up to heaven by the mechanism of thecross (cf. Ignatius, Eph. 9.1, 2), the special orders of prophets, martyrs

    and apostles forming the uppermost tiers of the exalted resting in the

    kingdom of Christ.14

    This kingdom, as the metaphorical description and

    indeed the teaching of Hippolytus elsewhere demonstrate, is the

    kingdom of Christ in heaven which he has inherited since his resurrec

    tion and ascension to the Father's right hand (Antichr. 61; Comm. Dan.

    IV.9.3, 4; 11.4; Ref. 30; Against Noetus 6, 18).

    Despite this fairly abundant and clearly intelligible evidence that Hippolytus taught a 'heavenly' view of the intermediate state of the

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    108 C. E. HILL

    notre auteur'.15

    In his excellent article on Hippolytus in the Dictionnaire

    de Spiritualit, Richard argues trenchantly both that the De Universo is

    an authentic work of Hippolytus and that its version of the intermediatestate is exactly that which is to be found in the saint's extant works. It

    will be necessary, therefore, owing to Richard's deserved authority in

    Hippolytan studies, to take up his treatment in this article point by


    After summarizing the teaching of De Universo, Richard seeks to

    show that 'Les traits principaux de ce schma se retrouvent, en effet,

    dans ses commentaires'.16

    He begins with two citations from the Com-

    mentary on Proverbs, sections 48 and 71. In both citations Richard uses

    the text of Pseudo-Anastasius in preference to that of the exegetical

    chain found in Vatican gr. 1802, the commentary or Epitome eclogarum

    of Procope and the chain given by Polychronius. The text of section 48

    in the exegetical chain reads, '

    , thus restricting the inhabitants of the lower

    world to the wicked, whereas the version of Ps.-Anastasius omits the

    word . The text of section 71 in the exegetical chain places the , whereas Ps.-Anastasius places

    the . Richard has edited all these mss in another

    work where he explains his preferences on these passages. His reason for

    discounting the witness of the exegetical chain and accepting that of Ps.-

    Anastasius is flatly stated to be that the readings of the latter conform

    better, in his opinion, to the doctrine of hades elsewhere expressed by

    Hippolytus, chiefly in De Universo (other texts he lists will be examined

    below)!17 Since we are here calling into question the Hippolytan authorship of De Universo we are left with no other reason to accept the

    readings of Ps.-Anastasius over against those of the exegetical chain in

    these two instances. If the readings of the latter are taken as (more)

    original, there is then no conflict in the Commentary on Proverbs with

    the view which I have suggested was that of Hippolytus. But even if the

    readings Richard prefers are accepted, it may be maintained that still no

    real contradiction is thereby offered. As to section 48, the text he preferswould simply say, 'For hades in no way ceases to receive the souls of

    ' d hi ld ill h h h d i h l f

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    God').1 8

    But Richard omits to mention the fact that section 72 goes on

    to speak of a storming of hell by Christand the text of Ps.-

    Anastasius is more explicit on this than that of the exegetical chain:

    , .19


    the most that can have been affirmed in section 71 is that in the days

    ofSolomon (Hippolytus is commenting on Prov. 30.29) the souls of the

    righteous dead were . But Christ chose to loose the souls in hades

    which had been trodden down. These texts from the Comm. Prov. then

    on the contrary pose quite serious problems for Richard's view and not

    for the one taken here.Richard next refers to Antichrist 26 where Hippolytus states that

    Christ has been made 'King of things in heaven, and things on earth and

    things under the earth, and Judge of all' (cf. Phil. 2.10). He is King of

    things underthe earth, 'because he also was numbered among the dead,

    evangelizing the souls of the saints, conquering death through death'.2 0

    Richard continues, 'Ces sont, en effet, les esprits des anges

    Tartarouchoi et les mes des justes (In Dan. II, 29,11)'. But the

    reference in Comm. Dan. 11.29.11 cannot be determinative, for here

    Hippolytus is clarifying just whom the three Hebrew children were

    addressing when they said, ye spirits and souls of the righteous, bless

    ye the Lord'. The 'spirits' are the angels of Tartarus, the 'souls of the

    righteous' are the righteous in hades. But again, in the view of Hip

    polytus the souls of the righteous would have been in hades at the time

    of the Babylonian captivity, before the descensus ad inferos of Christ.

    This does not at all tell us that he agrees with the doctrine of DeUniverso.

    Richard then mentions two texts of Hippolytus which speak of

    Christ's descent into and ascent out of hades, Blessings of Moses21


    Dt. 33.13) and Comm. Cant. 21.2, neither of which, it must be admit

    ted, says anything about a rescue accomplished by Christ.

    Next Richard brings us to a fascinating section from the Comm. Dan.

    III.31.2-3, where 'Aprs avoir comment l'pisode de Daniel dans la

    fosse aux lions, Hippolyte utilise ce rcit pour dcrire l'arrive de l'me

    dans l'Hads' (col 566) The following text is then cited

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    110 C E HILL

    might tame the beasts and might be reverenced () by them as aservant of God...


    This at last seems to be proof positive that Hippolytus expected allthe righteous even in his own day, upon departing this life, to make their

    abodes in hades until the resurrection. The text, however, will repay

    closer scrutiny. Richard ends his quotation where we have ended it

    above but the text in fact goes on to say,

    ...and 'corruption' might not be found in you, but that you might be bornealoft out of the den alive and might be found a partner of the resurrectionand might rule over your enemies and might render thanks to the ever-

    living God.23

    No sooner does Hippolytus mention a 'sojourn' for some of his

    readers in hades, than he also says theywill be extracted therefrom. The

    question is, is this a delayed extraction, to take place at the time of the

    resurrection of the body,24

    or a practically immediate one? It is crucial

    at this point to recognize that Hippolytus does not have in mind all his

    Christian readers in general, but those who will be called upon to bear

    witness before the authorities and thus depart this world, that is, he ismaking his analogy with the situation of the martyr. Richard recognizes

    this, as his next words indicate.25

    But if Hippolytus is making his

    analogy with the situation of the martyr we have already a grid provided

    by him into which we may place and by which we may seek to interpret

    this statement: The martyr Stephen, as we have seen above, is said by

    Hippolytus already to have received his heavenly crown. Along with the

    apostles and prophets the martyrs form the highest echelons of the

    saints in the kingdom of Christ above. To the martyr if to nobody else

    is granted a place in heaven before the bodily resurrection and there

    fore, unless we are prepared to admit that Hippolytus in this passage is

    blatantly contradicting his own teaching on martyrdom, we must reckon

    with the necessity of finding another explanation of his import here.

    Our present passage says that these martyrs will be brought up from

    hades 'alive' (), and this parallels Antichrist 30, 31 where Hippolytus

    addresses the deceased prophets as 'living ones' (). Richard himselfrefers to a text from an earlier portion of the Comm. Dan. (II.37.4)

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    , seems rather to emphasize a contrast between the

    position the martyr found himself in at the time of his death and the new

    position obtained as an immediate consequence. This is even more

    plausible because a judging prerogative for the martyr after death is

    found previous to Hippolytus in the writings of Clement of Alexandria

    (Strom. VI.xiii. 106.2, though Clement does not restrict this to martyrs

    alone), and reappears in Origen (Exh.Mart. 28) and Dionysius

    (Eusebius, H.E. VI.42.5). Such an interpretation also recalls the text

    from 1.21 cited above, in which Hippolytus says of the martyr that he

    is killed by men but lives with God ( ). That is, the martyralready has his portion in 'the first resurrection', a resurrection which

    Hippolytus seems then to have understood as a rising of the soul to

    heaven at death. This in turn would indicate that neither is the resurrec

    tion spoken of in the present passage (III.31.2, 3) the resurrection of the

    body at the last day but rather a rising of the soul to heaven at death,

    equivalent to the 'bearing aloft' mentioned in the previous line of text.27

    To the statement that the martyr 'rules () over his foes'

    should be compared Rev. 3.21 (no foe mentioned); 12.11 (the diabolical

    adversary); Hermas, The Shepherd, Sim. 8.3.6 (the devil); Mand. 12.5.2

    (the devil); Martyrdom of Polycarp 19.2 (the unrighteous ruler, either

    the proconsul or perhaps Satan); Epistle of Vienne and Lyons (Euseb.

    H.E.) V.l.23, 29, 38, 42 (Satan and sometimes his human underlings);

    Minucius Felix, Octavius 37 (the human judge); Tertullian,

    Apologeticum 27 (the demons which inspire persecution against Chris

    tians). Though these all denote a triumph in the act of martyrdom itselfand not in the life beyond, a triumph over demons in the other world

    as we see mentioned in Comm. Dan. III.31.3 would have been a simple

    mental extension of the repercussions of the victory accomplished in

    martyrdom. It would be at the very least incongruous for the martyr to

    have gained the victory over the dark powers in his death only to be

    stymied by them immediately after death and subjected to their captivity

    for the duration until the bodily resurrection. As we have already seen,

    Hippolytus himself says in On the Great Song fragm 1 that Christ has

    upset the dominion of death making the once conquered man lord

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    112 C. E. HILL

    it is merely his desire to draw an analogy between the story of Daniel

    in the lion's den and the contemporary situation which prompts Hip

    polytus even to mention a 'sojourn' in hades. The point would still seemto be that the righteous, with the spotlight on the martyrs who are

    faithful unto death, will not be held in hades but are able to elude the

    powers which rule there.

    Richard continues by citing from the Blessings of Moses28

    a comment

    on Dt. 33.18. In the French translation of Maries from the Georgian

    and Armenian this comment reads, 'Et Mose dit: Sois joyeux,

    Zbulon, en ta sortie.. .parce que ceux qui sortent de ce monde-ci en tat

    de saintet deviennent joyeux cause de l'esprance de la rsurrection

    des morts. Et ceux qui dans ce golfes du Pre ont trouv le repos, voici

    qu'ils sont des fils de rsurrection qui sont prts hriter l'incorruptible

    ternit dans le Paradis de dlices'. According to L. Maris the word

    translated 'golfes' might have been in the original29


    can mean 'bay' or 'gulf, or it can mean 'bosom'. In Richard's citation

    of this text, not only does he opt for the latter meaning but he translates

    with the singular 'sein'.30

    Moreover, at this point in his citation he

    inserts an explanatory parenthesis, '(le sein d'Abraham)', presumably

    to effect a parallel with the doctrine of the De Universo which uses the

    title 'bosom of Abraham' for the compartment of the righteous in


    It should be pointed out, however, that Hippolytus is expounding the

    blessing of Moses on Zebulon from Dt. 33.18 and that in doing so he

    refers, in the previous section, to Jacob's blessing on Zebulon in Gen.

    49.13: 'Zebulon shall dwell on the coast, and he shall be by a haven ofships, and shall extend to Sidon'. Hippolytus then says that the Lord

    is the 'harbour' and the individual churches are the 'ships'. But he has

    also referred the reader to his comments on Jacob's blessing in the first

    book of his work. In this book (which is extant in Greek) Hippolytus

    explains this blessing by saying that the gentiles, storm-tossed by

    tribulations, have found anchorage and have taken refuge in harbours

    ( , that is, * ,

    . It would seem

    th t th ' lf ' f th F th th th th h h f G d

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    in a less concrete sense, simply His places of safe refuge wherein the

    churches, as ships, find repose.31

    But, in any case, the reference is

    plainly not to the bosom of Abraham as a compartment of the dead in

    hades. Not only do the 'bosoms' or 'bays' belong to the Father and not

    to Abraham but this is transparently a continuation of the nautical

    imagery Hippolytus has been using. How much more intelligible if we

    understand the whole: 'He says "rejoice, Zebulon, in your going-out",

    because those who are departing this world in a state of holiness become

    joyous because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead. And those

    who have found repose in the bays of the Father [the churches?] beholdthat they are of the "sons of the resurrection", who are ready to inherit

    the incorruptible eternity in the paradise of delights'. Hippolytus is

    speaking all the way through of living Christians who are about to

    depart this life. This would place their inheriting of paradise not at a dis

    tant pole but imminent in relation to their deaths. An entry into

    paradise at death is contemplated by Hippolytus elsewhere, in his

    Comm. Prov. on Prov. 30.28, for the thief on the cross.32 And, that the

    soul on its taking leave of the body participates in incorruption is statedby him in no uncertain terms in a fragment from his Discourse on the

    Resurrection and Incorruption.

    Finally, Richard alludes to the notion found in Antichrist 45 that

    John the Baptist carried on his role as forerunner even into hades where

    he announced the soon arrival of Christ there.33

    Referring to the words

    of Antichrist 46, 'But since the Saviour was the first fruits of the

    resurrection of all men, it was necessary that only the Lord be raised

    from the dead', Richard concludes, 'Seul le Christ, prmices de notre

    rsurrection, pouvait devancer l'heure du jugement'. But here the resur

    rection of which Christ was the first fruits and even yet the sole partici

    pant is the resurrection of the body. The closing lines of Antichr. 45,

    however, tell us the content of John the Baptist's good news in hell,

    which was that 'the Saviour was about to descend there, the one who

    ransoms the souls of the saints out of the hand of death'.34

    I believe we may conclude with certainty that none of Richard'sparallels to the doctrine of the intermediate state found in De Universo

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    114 C E HILL

    unconscious inconsistency. Hippolytus could have changed his mind.

    But no other work attributed to Hippolytus seems to teach the doctrine

    of the De Universo, and its doctrine is very mature, full and ratherdogmatically set out and there is no hint anywhere of a conscious retrac

    tion. Much more likely, on the grounds of content alone, is the supposi

    tion that De Universo is not the work of Hippolytus at all.

    It should be recalled that the fragment was added to the accepted

    works of Hippolytusin no manuscript does it bear his nameat a

    time when authorship of the Refutation of All Heresies was still in


    Previously the Refutation had been attributed to Origen and

    efforts were then being made to establish it as Hippolytan. The author

    of the Refutation, in book X, mentions another work of his composed

    under the title . The statue of Hippolytus also

    includes as a work of his one ' []

    . Hence our fragment, which presents a notion of the afterlife

    and judgment quite foreign to that of Origen, if it could be understood

    as the work mentioned by the statue and the author of the Refutation,

    would provide strong evidence against Origenic authorship of the latter


    Since the middle of the present century, maintaining the Hip

    polytan authorship of the fragment has been high on the agenda of

    those who could not accept Nautin's thesis that De Universo, the

    Refutation and the Chronicon are the works of one Josipe of Rome.

    The strongest link between De Universo and the Refutation would

    seem to be the fact just mentioned that Hippolytus, according to the

    evidence of the Refutation and the statue, did compose a work with a

    title similar to that which heads the fragment of De Universo found inthe Sacra Parallela.

    11Yet it is also a fact that by the time of Hippolytus

    a good many Christian treatises 'against the Greeks' had been circulated

    and we may scarcely doubt that some had borne titles similar to that of

    the Hippolytan tract in question. Eusebius tells of two lost works of

    Justin Martyr, one entitled " (H.E. IV. 18.2) and another

    (H.E. IV. 18.5). Melito wrote a (H.E.

    IV.26.2), Apolinarius five books ' (H.E. IV.27.1),

    Miltiades a ' as well as an to the secular rulers

    on behalf of the christian philosophy (H E V 17 5) and Tatian a

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    ' . Speaking of the

    time around the reign of Septimius Severus, Eusebius also testifies that

    there were 'countless' treatises by orthodox Christians to which their

    authors (due perhaps to risks to open professions of Christianity) did

    not attach their names (H.E. V.27.1). Nor is our confidence that the

    fragment from the Sacra Parallela is from a work which originally bore

    the title strengthened by the recognition that in

    every manuscript containing any part of our fragment in which it bears

    this or a similar title the fragment is attributed to Josephus the Jewa

    mystery still unsolved.


    But even on the premise that this was itsoriginal title, the factors just stated make it very possible that another

    or might have been written by someone

    other than Hippolytus.

    Another link between the De Universo and the Refutation sometimes

    thought to be sure evidence of common authorship is the injunction to

    the Greeks in the last chapter of book X of the latter work which con

    tains a description of tartarus thought to resemble the language of the

    De Universo.19 Though tartarus and its angels appear a few more times

    in the writings of Hippolytus (tartarus: Ref. 1.23 [citing Hesiod]; IV.32

    [another citation]; X.30; : Comm. Dan. 11.29.11;

    Ref. X.30), De Universo itself does not mention tartarus, the abode of

    fallen angels, by name. And even if the descriptions of the lower regions

    in De Universo and tartarus in the Refutation are thought similar in

    other respects (which may be reduced to the one comment that they are

    both places of darkness in the underworld!), the Refutation never

    asserts that righteous as well as unrighteous dwell either in tartarus or



    But if our fragment is not from the pen of Hippolytus, whence has

    it come? Photius says that what is apparently our fragment had been

    assigned by some to Josephus the Jew, by others to Justin, by others to

    Irenaeus, and finally, in the margin of a copy he used, to Gaius of Rome(whom he favours). In the various recensions of the Sacra Parallela,

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    116 C. E. HILL

    Of these candidates, Eusebius tells us concerning Justin's

    ' that 'after a long and expanded argument about very many

    things inquired into both by Christians and the philosophers of the

    Greeks, he discourses on the nature of demons...' (H.E. IV. 18.3). The

    fragment De Universo begins with the words

    , indicating that the original contained a section devoted to the

    subject. And there are two places in the Dialogue with Trypho (chs. 5,

    80) which might indicate that the version of the intermediate state Justin

    entertained would have been consistent with that of our fragment. Yet

    there is another author who has expressed himself in a way so resembl

    ing the doctrine of the De Universo as to invite a more careful comparison.

    Schmidt had already perceived in 1919 that 'Diese Schilderung des

    Hades und die Annahme eines Wartezustandes fr alle Seelen entspricht

    vollstndig den Gedanken Tertullians...soda man bei der Echtheit

    glauben mte, da Hippolyt unter dem Einflsse Tertullians seine Idee

    von dem Descensus gendert htte'.41

    Schmidt went on to express his

    doubt that the fragment was truly Hippolytus's but did not make any

    more of the correspondences with Tertullian. But there are in fact quitea number of correspondences with the views of Tertullian and many of

    these are at points which find no parallel in the known works of Hip

    polytus. The initial difficulty with a hypothesis which would propose

    Tertullian as author of our fragment is that the fragment only exists in

    Greek. This difficulty, however, cannot be a decisive one for we know

    that several of his treatises were published as well in Greek.42

    The fragment from the Sacra Parallela treats three topics, namely,

    hades (or the intermediate state), the resurrection and the last judgment,

    and its first line indicates that the immediately preceding section of the

    original treated the subject of demons. Thus we know it dealt with at

    least these four topics (evidently in a quite methodical manner). John

    Philoponus indicates that it spoke concerning the division of the waters

    during the creation recorded in Gen. 1. The four fragments discovered

    and published by Malley give samples of the polemics of the work aimed

    at the delusions of Greek philosophy, particularly those of Plato.Taking first the section on hades or the intermediate state, there is,

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    tion the conception of hades as a prison. De Universo calls hades a

    'guard-house' () for souls, warded by an archangel and his

    ; the unrighteous are dragged downward as by the

    angels of punishment ([I] 11. 6, 7, 20, 33-35).43

    For Tertullian too hades

    is a prison (career, De An. 7.4, 35.3, 55.3, 58.8) where souls are kept

    underguard (custodiae, De An. 7.3) from which even the righteous will

    not be released until 'the smallest even of your delinquencies be paid off

    in the period before the resurrection' (De An. 35.3). Though De

    Universo*s representation of the angels of hades may be thought to echo

    statements of Hippolytus (see Comm. Dan. 11.29.11 and Ref. X.30,where angels of Tartarus are referred to), it is also very consonant with

    statements of Tertullian, who mentions an evocatoris animarum, 'Mer

    cury of the poets' (De An. 53.6) and an angelus exsecutionis who has

    charge of the souls in the prison of hades (De An. 35.3). This compares

    favourably with De Universo [I] 11. 19, 20,

    , .

    Also common to both Tertullian and the fragment is the view that

    gehenna is a fiery reservoir at the lowest reaches of hades preserved for

    the punishment of the last day but on whose banks, close enough to feel

    a scorching foretaste of their ultimate ruin, the ungodly already are

    deposited (De Universo [I] 11. 9-11, 37-43; De Res. Cam. 17; Apol. 47).

    There is also the characteristic expression that all men, righteous as

    well as unrighteous, are 'detained' in hades until the resurrection. De

    Universo uses the words ([I] 11. 2, 18), and ^[I] 1. 48);

    Tertullian uses the words detinatur (De An. 7.3), reservatur (De An.7.3) sequestrari (De An. 55.5) and retinen (De An. 57.1) for the souls

    in hades. In De An. 55.5 Tertullian speaks of his position that omnem

    animam apud inferos sequestrari in diem domini, which should be com

    pared to the almost identical summary statement in De Universo,

    , ,


    Finally, on the intermediate state, there is De Universo'^ use of the

    name 'bosom of Abraham' from Luke 16.22, 23 as a technical term to

    designate the lightsome compartment of the righteous in hades ([I] 1.

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    118 C. E. HILL

    underground hades is standard and is assumed in three separate treatises

    (De An. 7.4, (9.8), 55.2, (57.11); On Idolatry 13; Adv. Marc. III.24;


    There is, it must be said, one important feature of Tertullian's view

    of the intermediate state which does not surface in De Universo, and

    that is the special dispensation allowed to the martyrs to enter heaven

    at death and before the resurrection of the body.45

    De Universo does not

    mention any such provision and this might well constitute a real dif-

    ference with Tertullian. It is, however, to be remembered that Tertullian

    himself often omits to mention this exception for the martyrs, makes

    dogmatic statements which would seem not to regard any such


    and can summarize his view of the intermediate state by say

    ing, 'we have established the position that every soul (omnem animam)

    is detained in safe keeping in Hades until the day of the Lord' (De An.


    On the matter of the last judgment there is one interesting trait

    peculiar to Tertullian which also shows up in De Universo. It is habitual

    for Tertullian in apologetic treatises to place Christ as final judge in contraposition to Minos and Rhadamanthus of the Greeks: 'Poets also,

    trembling not before the judgment-seat of Rhadamanthus or Minos, but

    of the unexpected Christ!' (De Spectaculis 30). See also Ad Nationes

    1.19; Apologeticum 23. Hippolytus, on the other hand, never does this.

    Yet it is done by the author of De Universo: '...He cometh as Judge

    whom we call Christ. For it is not Minos and Rhadamanthys that are

    to judge (the world), as ye fancy, O Greeks, but He whom God the

    Father hath glorified, of whom we have spoken elsewhere more in particular...' ([Ill] 11. 79-83). What is more, in De Universo this is later fol

    lowed by a reference to I Cor. 2.9, just as Tertullian does in De

    Spectaculis 30. There is the further corresponding opposition of

    'punishment' to 'bliss', in De Universo (III) 11. 89, 90 ( and

    ) and in Apologeticum 47 (poena and amoenitas).

    We shall not treat the fragments preserved by Malley beyond remark

    ing that there seems to be nothing in them which would forbid ascrip

    tion to either Hippolytus or Tertullianboth authors would have been

    capable of the anti Hellenic rhetoric with which these fragments bristle

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    In his day it existed in two booklets (). The extract has to do

    with the author's view of the composition of man, which is, that man

    is formed by a synthesis of the four elements. Photius adds that the

    fourth element, , is also called by the author. He then gives

    the extract:

    Gathering up the greater part of this [i.e., the spirit] He moulded it

    together with the body and furnished a course for it through everymemberand joint. That which he moulded together with the body, and penetrating

    through all, was stamped with the same image of the visible body, but innature being colder than the three through which the body was put


    Remarkably, this finds almost a mirror image in De Anima 9.7:

    Foronly carefully consider, after God hath breathed upon the face of manthe breath of life, and man had consequently become a living soul, surelythat breath must have passed through the face at once into the interiorstructure, and have spread itself throughout all the spaces of the body; andas soon as by the divine inspiration it had become condensed, it must have

    impressed itself on each internal feature, which the condensation had filledin, and so have been, as it were, congealed in shape.48

    Tertullian also calls the soul the 'little image' (sigiIlaria) which moves

    and animates the surface of the body (De An. 6.3). The shape (effigies)

    of the soul is none other than the shape of the human body it motivates

    (De An. 9; cf. De Res. Cam. 53). Though a partial authority might have

    been Irenaeus (A.H. II. 19.6), the exceptional nature of this idea is

    attested by Waszink: 'To my knowledge, Tert.'s purely materialistic

    conception of the body-like shape of the soul is only shared by his

    imitator Vincentius Victor'49

    (Tertullian in De Res. Carn. 17 labels the

    'common opinion' the position that the soul is incorporeal). That Ter

    tullian and the author of De Universo both give expression to such a

    view and that both expressions occur in nearly identical accounts of the

    original inspiration of Adam is too coincidental not to require some

    theory of dependence. On the other hand, Hippolytus is not known to

    have said anything similar about the formation of Adam or to haveendorsed the corporeity of the soul, though he mentions this Stoic doc

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    120 C. E. HILL

    defended by Tertullian in De Anima 5.2, 3 (also 10.8, 9, 11.1) with the

    aid of the Stoics, who speak 'almost in our own terms' . I have not been

    able to observe a similar equation in Hippolytus. As to the idea, contained in Photius's extract, of the soul being colder than the other

    elements (earth, fire, water), it may be remarked that although Ter

    tullian does not repeat this specification in De Anima (neither am I able

    to find it in Hippolytus), it is a peculiarly Stoic idea (Ref. 1.18; De An.

    25.6; 26.3) and is thus likely to have been picked up by Tertullian,

    whose psychology is so greatly indebted to the Stoics, especially if this

    came at an early stage in his theological development.

    Photius also tells us that the treatise known to him as De Universoconfutes Plato and proves that Alcinus (certainly a mistake for


    speaks irrationally and falsely

    . Hippolytus in the Refutation shows himself a capable critic

    of Plato but neither in this work nor in any other does he ever mention

    Albinus, the second-century a.d. proponent of Middle Platonism. On

    the other hand, the work of Albinus we know exercised a sizable influ

    ence on Tertullian. Waszink concludes that Albinus, whom Tertullian

    mentions by name twice in De Anima (28.1, 29.4), provided Tertullian

    with knowledge of 'the most important particulars of the [Platonic]

    doctrine of metempsychosis ( , invariability in the total

    number of souls, interim of a thousand years, metempsychosis as a

    retribution in the beyond)'.5 1

    Danilou adds that Tertullian's Platonic

    source for the confuted idea that animation takes place at birth when

    the infant draws its first breath, was most likely Albinus, who defends

    what is effectively this view in his work Didaskalikos.52

    It would thushave been very suitable for Tertullian to have taken up the pen against

    Albinus along with Plato on the topics of the soul, matter and resur


    One more remark by Photius is worthy of comment. Photius says of

    the author ofDe Universo that

    , ,

    . But if the author of De

    Universo spoke as Hippolytus spoke, it is somewhat difficult to believe

    Photius could describe this author as speaking 'in irreproachable

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    in his Christology for a post-Nicene theologian, especially one of the

    calibre and dogmatic precision of Photius (whose great work was a

    defense of the Eastern doctrine of the Son's procession from the Father)

    to find fault. This is so especially if the Hippolytan authorship of the

    Contra Noetum is admitted.53 But even Richard, who rejects this

    treatise as Hippolytan, on the basis of the Refutation and the commen

    taries feels constrained to characterize Hippolytus as a concrete and not

    a very gifted metaphysical thinker, for whom 'la gnration du Verbe

    tait lie de quelque faon la cration.54 On the other hand, while this

    remark of Photius on the author's view of the procession of the Sonmay not point distinctly in the direction of Tertulliano thought on the

    matter, which never fully extricated itself from subordinationist

    language inherited from earlier Christian apologists, a high assessment

    of the orthodoxy of expressions drawn from him might at least be more

    believable (see e.g., Apol. 21; Adv. Prax. 8; Adv. Marc. III.6).

    It would be tempting to propose that ours is a fragment of the lost

    work On Paradise by Tertullian. Tertullian alludes to this work in De

    Anima 55.5, describing it thus: Habes etiam de paradiso a nobis

    libellum, quo constituimus omnem animam apud inferos sequestrari in

    diem domini. In other words this lost book establishes the very position

    which a section of De Universo establishes. Though the proof for the

    proposition that every soul is detained in hades until the day of the Lord

    constitutes only part of our fragment, its remaining contents would be

    easily consonant with a treatise entitled De Paradiso. This reference in

    De Anima to De Paradiso might also explain why the De Anima of allTertulliano treatises bears the most resemblance to De Universo. The

    nature of many of these resemblances is such that De Anima could often

    be seen as complementing the teaching of the earlier De Universo.55 An

    objection to this theory might be that the description of Photius and the

    fragments uncovered by Malley do not immediately suggest a work

    whose main object is an explication and defense of Tertulliano under

    standing of paradise, though given Tertulliano ability to treat a subject

    broadly and discursively this objection cannot be a particularly strong

    one In Against Marcion V 12 he claims for the lost work the merit of

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    122 C E HILL

    the present supposition, that Photius does not mention the specific

    material on paradise which Tertulliano work must have contained. Ter

    tullian describes the treatise as a 'small book' (libellus) whereas Photiusknows it in an edition of two 'small books ' (XoytStoc). Could it be that

    the second of these known to Photius is Tertulliano (perhaps De

    Paradiso with the first pages missing) and had at some time been bound

    to another work independently authored and known to someone as

    Josephus0 De Universo!


    We are left with many unresolved questions about the fragment under

    review. But I believe we have found more than sufficient grounds for

    dismissing its confident ascription to Hippolytus so commonly made by

    recent scholarship. De Universo reveals a view of the intermediate state

    as well as details of other anthropological and eschatological tenets so

    like those of Tertullian as practically to necessitate the conclusion that

    it was penned under his influence if not by him personally. The onlyother plausible thesis is that it was written earlier by someone who

    would profoundly influence Tertullian. But the only non-biblical author

    capable of leaving such an impression on Tertullian was Irenaeus, a

    name which is in fact thrown up in some later manuscripts of the Sacra

    Parallela and which had been suggested to Photius. And in some points,

    such as the shape of the soul and the conviction that hades will be the

    intermediate abode for all the dead until the resurrection, the doctrine

    of De Universo could veritably be called Irenaean. The almost stylistic

    details common to De Universo and Tertullian and absent from

    Irenaeus, however, such as the technical use of the term 'bosom of

    Abraham' to denote a compartment in hades, the picture of hades as

    a prison and use of the word 'detain', the contrast of Christ to Minos

    and Rhadamanthus, and the descriptions of the original inspiration of

    Adam, shift the balance decisively from Irenaeus to the great North


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    48 ( G CHI, cols 84, 85) and John Philoponus, De Opificio Mundi, III 16, edited by

    G Reichardt (Lipsiae, 1897), pp 154, 155, and the new fragments in W J Malley, 'Four

    Unedited Fragments of the De Universo of the Pseudo-Josephus Found in the Chroniconof George Hamartolus (Coishn 305)', JTS 16 (1965), pp 13-252

    The most notable dissent is from Nautin, Hippolyte etJosipe, (Pans, 1947), pp 71-

    79 Nautin's well-known thesis is that De Universo, the Refutation and the Chronicon are

    the work of the same author, an otherwise unknown Josipe of Rome I have been unable

    to consult the view of V Loi, 'L'identit letteraria di Ippolito di Roma', in Ricerche su

    Ippolito, Studia Ephemendis "August inianum" 13 (Rome, 1977), pp 67-88, which, I am

    told, posits the existence of two contemporaries each named Hippolytus For the con

    sensus see e g , C Wordsworth, St Hippolytus and the Church of Rome in the Earlier

    Part of the Third Century, second edition (London, Oxford, Cambridge, 1880), pp 211-216, Adolf Harnack, Geschichte der altchristlichen Litteratur bis Eusebius (Leipzig,

    1893), part one, pp 622, 623, Otto Bardenhewer, Geschichte der altkirchlichen Literatur

    (Darmstadt, 1962 reprint of the 1914 second edition), vol 2, pp 571, 572, Johannes

    Quasten, Patrology, (Westminster, Maryland, 1984 reprint of 1950 original), vol 2, pp

    195, 196, M Richard, 'Hippolyte de Rome (saint)' , in Dictionnaire de Spiritualit, vol

    7 (Pans, 1969), cols 542, 565-568, Berthold Altaner and Alfred Stuiber, Patrologie

    Leben, Schriften und Lehre der Kirchenvater, eighth edition (Freiburg/Basel/Vienna,

    1978), pp 167, 168


    The use of this adjective for any work attributed to Hippolytus is liable to draw argument from some corner I have in mind at least the Commentary on Daniel, Treatise on

    Christ and Antichrist and, with two or three reservations, the rest of the works treated

    as genuine by Richard, 'Hippolyte' (see previous note)4 We have as a forerunner here Carl Schmidt, Gesprche Jesu mit semen Jungern nach

    der Auferstehung, TU 43 (1919), Exkurs II, who on the basis of this incompatiblity alone

    questioned the Hippolytan authorship of the fragment (p 512), though, to my knowledge,

    his assessment has gone virtually unnoticed by subsequent scholars Nautin, Josipe, 98,

    sees only that 'la description luxuriante des fins dernires qui se ht dans le traite Sur

    l'Univers contraste avec la reserve constante d'Hippolyte sur le mme sujet'5 Greek texts of Hippolytus, unless otherwise noted, will be taken from Hippolytus

    Werke, GCS I, part 1, Die Kommentare zu Daniel und zum Hohenliede, edited by G

    Nath Bonwetsch, part 2, Kleinere exegetische und homiletische Schriften, edited by Hans

    Achehs (Leipzig, 1897)6

    , ,

    , , ,

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    124 C E HILL

    8 E g , Odes of Solomon 17 10-12, 15, 42 11, 14-20, Ignatius, Magnesians 9 2, Hermas,

    The Shepherd, Sim 9 15, 169

    Traites D'Hippolyte sur David et Goliath, sur le Cantique des Cantiques et sur

    l'Antchrist, CSCO 263 (text), 264 (translation), translated by Gerard Garitte (Louvain,

    1965)10 ,

    , ' "" ,

    " [] , "1' Though he elsewhere (Blessing of Moses see Maurice Bnere, Louis Maries and B-Ch

    Mercier, eds , Hippolyte de Rome, Sur les Benedictions d'Isaac, de Jacob et de Mose,

    PO 27 (Pans, 1957), parts 1, 2, 162) can apply the words of Isa 49 9 to those liberated

    in this life Interestingly, Clement of Alexandria prefaces his treatment of Christ's

    preaching in hades by citing Isa 49 7-9 m Strom VI vi 44 2, with which cf Methodius

    (?) In Job (G Bonwetsch, GCS 27 [1917] 517) See also the verbal parallels between

    Comm Dan IV 33 4 and Gospel of Nicodemus V 22

    Cf Hermas, The Shepherd, Sim 9 28 3,4, where those who have laid down their lives

    for the sake of the name of the Son of God and those who did

    so cheerfully 13

    , '

    , '


    Schmidt, Gesprche, 508, cites Hermas, Sim 9 15 4, Ignatius, Philad 9 1,

    Mart Polyc 19 2 as parallels15

    Richard, 'Hippolyte', col 533 Alfred Stuiber, Refrigenum Interim Die

    Vorstellungen vom Zwischenzustand und die frhchristliche Grabeskunst, Theophania 11

    (Bonn, 1957), pp 63-67, is of a similar conviction16

    Richard, 'Hippolyte ', col 56617 M Richard, 'Les Fragments du commentaire de S Hippolyte sur les Proverbes de

    Salomon', Le Museon 79 (1966), 6318 A reading, however, that would at least have a precedent in Irenaeus (AH V 31 2)19

    With this loosing of in hades compare On the GreatSong fragm 1 and Comm

    Dan IV 33 4 cited above The exegetical chain has at this point ,

    Cf from Isa 49 9 (though the LXX has

    ) in Comm Dan IV 33 4 cited above20

    Cf On the Great Song fragm 1, cited above21

    Maurice Bnere, Louis Maries and B-Ch Mercier, eds , Hippolyte de Rome, Sur les

    Benedictions d'Isaac, de Jacob et de Mose, PO 27 (Pans, 1957), parts 1, 2, 17122

    [2] , ,

    , ' , [3] ,


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    25'Les mes des martyrs sont donc reues, comme celles des mchants, par les anges tor

    tionnaires' (col. 566). Stuiber does not take this into account.26

    , '27

    The word is probably used in this sense of an ascension of the soul to God

    at death by Ignatius in Romans 4 3. Cf also Martyrdom of Polycarp 14 228

    Bnere, Maries and Mercier, Benedictions, p. 177.29

    See Maries's note 379, Benedictions, 24630

    This is defensible given the peculiarnature of this Greek noun which allows the plural

    sometimes to be used for the singular; see Lk. 16.22, 23 (sing and pi ) and Blass, Debrun

    ner and Funk9

    1415 But if the original were , why would the Georgian translator

    not translate with a singular as does Richard?31

    See also his comments on Gen 49.13 in GCS I, 2, pp 61, 62 where Zebulon's portionby the sea is said to depict the calling of the Gentiles.

    32Richard, 'Proverbes des Salomon' Le Muson 79 (1966), p. 92.

    33 An idea known to Origen, In Lucam Homiliae IV; In Evangelium Johannem II 37

    Cf also Dialogue of Adamantius 1.26.34


    . Cf. On the Great Song, fragm I, cited above35

    Though some as early as Thomas Hearne's day, writing in 1720, had ascribed it to

    Hippolytus, A Collection of Curious Discourses, 2vols (London, 1771), vol I, vu, vol

    II, 394, note 136

    See J H. MacMahon's introductory article to his translation of the Refutation in the

    ANFedition, vol. V, pp. 5, 6, where he indicates that even at the time of his writing some

    critics still assigned the work to Origen; Wordsworth, St Hippolytus, pp. 7-15.37

    For some othercorrespondences between De Universo and the Refutation, but not the

    other works of Hippolytus, see Nautin, Josipe, pp. 74-7838

    Though see the suggestion of B. Botte, 'Note sur l'auteur du De universo attribue a

    saint Hippolyte', RTAM 18 (1951), especially 1339

    See Wordsworth, 5/ Hippolytus, pp. 210-212; Nautin, Josipe, 74.40

    For references see note 141

    Schmidt, Gesprche, 51242

    At least the Apologeticum, De Spectaculis, De Baptismo, De Virginibus Velandis and

    probably also the lost work On Ecstasy, see Quasten, Patrology, II , pp 260, 31743

    In refenng to De Universo the Ime numbers refer to those in Holl's edition (see note

    1) I have added, for convenience, Roman numeral in brackets which correspond to sec

    tions (marked in the English translation in ANF vol V) of the work associated with the

    topics of [I] hades; [II] resurrection; [III] judgment.44

    Only in the last-mentioned place does Tertullian draw a distinction, after close atten

    tion to the text of Luke 16 and the comments of Marcion, between Abraham's bosom and

    inferus: Aliud enim inferi, ut puto, aliud quoque Abrahae sinus. As his constant teaching

    elsewhere and even in the rest of the chapter (Apud inferos autem de eis dictum est:

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    126 C E HILL

    45See De An 55, De Res Cam 43, Scorpiace 12

    46'Hades is not in any case opened for (the escape of) any soul' (De An 57), 'For who

    is there that will not desire to continue his life by a happy escape from death without

    encountering too that Hades which will exact the very last farthing' (De Re Cam 42)47


    [ ]

    , ,

    , that is, earth, fire and water48

    Recogita enim, cum deus flasset in faciem homim flatum vitae, et factus esset homo

    in animam vivam, totus utique, per faciem statim flatum ilium in interiora transmissum

    et per universa corporis spatia diffusum simulque divina aspiratione densatum omni intus

    linea expressum esse, quam densatus impleverat, et velut in forma gelasse (The text isfrom J Waszink, Quinti Sept imi Florentis Tertulhani De Anima [Amsterdam, 1947],

    Cf 14 4, 5)49

    Waszink, De Anima, 17750

    Botte, 'Note', 7, Malley, 'Fragments', 185

    Waszink, De Anima, 42*52

    Damelou, Or Lai Chr , 22553

    Quasten, Patrology, II, pp 199, 200, who approves Callistus's charge of ditheism'54

    Richard, 'Hippolyte', col 546, see col 547 as well55

    This could explain the lack in De Universo of a provision for the martyrs to enterheaven, a concession clearly made late in the game by Tertullian In De Anima Tertullian

    would seem to give no place to the Stoic notion that the soul is of a colder substance than

    the other elements This would mark a retreat from a position adopted in De Universo

    19 Grange Road, Cambridge, England

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    ^ s

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