Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Τί καινὸν εἰσήνεγκε Χριστὸς εἰς τὸν κόσμον

What Christ brought new into the world

The title of a lost treatise by "Alexander, bishop of Hierapolis, and martyr [(Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἱεραπόλεως ἐπίσκοπος, καὶ μάρτυς)]" (Suda A 1125 = Svidae Lexicon, ed. Adler, vol. 1, p. 104; cf. the Suda On Line (, at Later works of reference conflate this Alexander of Hierapolis with the fifth-century Nestorian (Franz Overbeck's Kirchenlexicon; The new Schaff-Herzog encyclopedia of religious knowledge; etc.; cf. Alfons Fürst, "Der Einfluss des Christentums auf die Entwicklung der kulturellen Identität Europas in der Spätantike," Jahrbuch für Antike und Christentum 43 (2000): 6 and 6n5), but Smith's Dictionary of Greek and Roman biography and mythology (1867) distinguishes that Alexander of Hierapolis from a third-century bishop of Hierapolis in Phrygia, and attributes this treatise to the latter ( Also, some entries on the fifth-century Nestorian (DTC, BBKL, the fifth volume of the "Quasten" patrology, etc.)--who died in exile, and, so, could, I suppose, have been considered a martyr--don't mention it. Adler, in the critical edition mentioned above, cross references Photius' Bibliotheca, but is otherwise of no help. The Adler reference is to Photii Bibliotheca, ed. Immanuel Bekker (Berlin: G. Reimer, 1824-1825), vol. 1 (1824), p. 291, l. 25-28 (near the end of the section on codex 232, the Miscellany of Stephen Gobar): Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Ἱεραπόλεως ἐπίσκοπος καὶ μάρτυς. Cf. this emendation: "And Alexander, Bishop of the Holy Towns [i.e. Jerusalem], and martyr [(Ἀλέξανδρος ὁ Ἱεραπόλεων ἐπίσκοπος καὶ μάρτυς)], writing to the same Origen, treats him in the same manner", i.e. favorably (, following the Belles Lettres edition ed. René Henry; cf., which I've checked against the original in the Harvard theological review). In the substitution of Ἱεραπόλεων for Ἱεραπόλεως, and therefore the translation "des Villes Saintes", "C'est-à-dire de Jerusalem", Henry follows the David Hoeschel edition of 1601: "It was Fr. H. Crouzel who first drew my attention to this reading of Hoeschel and to the reasons for it: the mention by Eusebius, H. E., VI, 14, 8-9, of a letter from Origen to this Alexander and the mention by Eusebius, H. E., VI, 39, 2-3, of the martyrdom of the person of rank under Decius. Fr. Crouzel, whom I thank for this generous intervention, thinks that these notes of Eusebius could very well be Gobar's source of information" (Photius, Bibliothèque, ed. René Henry, vol. 5 (Paris: Société d'Édition 'Les Belles Lettres', 1967), pp. 79-80 (French), n. 3).

Interesting title, nonetheless.

An important book on the concept may be Wolfram Kinzig's Novitas Christiana: die Idee des Fortschrifts in den alten Kirche bis Eusebius (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 1994). But I found there no reference to this treatise by Alexander.

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