Hippolytus, on the Apostolic Tradition

On the Apostolic Tradition by Hippolytus of Rome

Old Review.  Read in March 2017.

This review is on multiple levels: (1) the content of Hippolytus’s writings, (2) the textual apparatus itself, and (3) the editor’s commentary. (1) is okay. (2) is painful. (3) is sometimes interesting.


Hippolytus provides us with a snapshot of what church might have looked like back then. There is a recognizable (if inchoate) liturgy based loosely on the Roman baptismal creed, which probably became the Apostle’s Creed. Hippolytus’s church exorcised demons (15.8), practiced prophecy and healing (14.1) and used the sign of the cross (42A 1-4).


Have you ever spent some time reading the textual criticism apparatus to some Greek bibles? That’s about as exciting as what you will find here. After Hippolytus’s own writings, the editor analyzes the text. I guess that’s necessary, but the downside is it crowds out what Hippolytus is saying.


When the editor comments on Hippolytus, he is illuminating. For example, Hippolytus forbids eunuchs into the church, which seems mean. The editor explains, however, that eunuchs as the term was used meant the passive partner in a homosexual act. That kind of makes sense.

St Vlad’s has done a new edition of this work, which is likely superior to this work.


One thought on “Hippolytus, on the Apostolic Tradition

  1. Pingback: A Patristic Linkstorm | The Tents of Shem

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