Canons of Hippolytus: an introductory essay

The post that was previously found here has been removed.

At the time of posting it represented a fair summary of the state of the field regarding the Canones Hippolyti.

However the publication of my book, The Canons of Hippolytus: An English Version, with Introduction and Annotation and an Accompanying Arabic Text (Sydney: SCD, 2021) containing an introduction which was based on that here, but extensively revised, means that the I have felt it right to remove this version. In many significant respects it was misleading… in particular in that, at the time of writing, I followed the consensus that the Canones were Egyptian in origin. I no longer believe this to be the case. If you are unable to obtain a copy of the book for whatever reason, please contact me.



Filed under Canons of Hippolytus

3 responses to “Canons of Hippolytus: an introductory essay

  1. Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging and commented:
    Excellent piece!


  2. Daniel Vaucher

    This is indeed a very nice essay on the CanHipp. I hope you get to publish it sometime somewhere.
    To 3.b.4, I would ask whether you think that the incorporation of ascetical material in egyptian “church orders” like CanHipp, SD, FP is an attempt to bring ascetics under tighter control of the church, or whether the ascetics of the 4th century split into a more organized branch and a more radical branch (or anything else…)?
    I like your final question very much. What are the boundaries of the genre / tradition. I might ask whether, for example, the Canons of Basil (Ps.-Basil?) would fit into the category (transl. in Riedel 1900). They have some striking parallels to CanHipp, who nobody would exclude from the genre (and by the way, intriguing provisions on slavery!). Bickell “Geschichte des Kirchenrechts” 1843 has other rather unknown texts that are pseudonymous and normative regarding church order. It might be too easy to reduce the church order genre to the well-known Didache, TA, DA etc.
    I’m looking forward to reading Bradshaws new monograph on the subject and seeing if he treats the question.

    Liked by 1 person

    • To answer your first question first, Bradshaw alludes to the issue, and mentions by way of example the Canons of Basil (for which we await Camplani’s Coptic text to supplement the Arabic of Riedel, could be very interesting) and the Statuta ecclesiae antiqua, though not those in Bickell, or indeed a number mentioned by Nau in his article on Canons apostoliques in Dictionnaire de théologie catholique. Just cataloguing these orders is a task in itself, which desperately needs to be undertaken. Here we are in absolute agreement, and it was this which led to my picking up the project of editing the Gnomai of Nicaea as a first step in this direction.

      As to the relationship of ascetics and the church I tend to agree with David Brakke in Athanasius and asceticism (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998) that there was a concerted effort by the wider fourth century Egyptian church to harness and organize the ascetics, so your suggestion that this relates in some way to the inclusion of ascetic material in the church order tradition and thus the asceticization of that tradition alongside the traditioning of ascetic practice, to which the Gnomai in part bear witness, is a very interesting one. Thank-you.


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