Hesychius of Jerusalem
HESYCHIUS OF JERUSALEM
Known to Theophanes Confessor [Chronographia, ed. C. de Boor, 1 (1883) 83] as a priest of Jerusalem (c. 412) who achieved fame as a theologian and preacher; d. probably after 450. cyril of scythopolis records his presence with Bp. Juvenal of Jerusalem at the consecration of the church at the monastery of Euthymius (Vita S. Euthymii: Patrologia Graeca, ed. J. P. Migne, 114:629) in 428 or 429. The Greek Menology (Patrologia Graeca 117:373) credited him with having commented on the whole of Sacred Scripture, and modern research is gradually showing the justice of that claim.
Hesychius wrote a Commentary on Leviticus preserved in the Latin translation of a certain 6th-century Jerome. His Commentary on Job (ch. 1–20) has come down in an Armenian version; Hesychius regarded Job as a historical person but explained the book as an allegorical foreshadowing of Christ and the Church. He wrote some 2,680 short glosses on Isaiah in imitation of origen and scholia on the minor prophets, as well as several works on the Psalms. However, the problem of authorship for both the citations in the catenae and the commentaries on the Psalms has not been resolved. The great glosses published among the works of Athanasius (Patrologia Graeca 27:649–1344) were actually written by Hesychius, as was a long commentary (Patrologia Graeca 93:1179–1340; 55: 711–784). Despite its use of Antiochene theological expressions, a second commentary on the Psalms is also probably of his authorship; so are 147 scholia on 13 Canticles of the Old and New Testament.
Of his sermons only a few have been definitively identified and published. These include a sermon for the Purification, representing the oldest mention of that feast, and discourses on the Annunciation and the Mother of God (Deipara ). Extant in manuscript are sermons on fasting, a second discourse on the Purification that is interesting for its exegesis of Lk 2.35, two homilies on the resurrection of Lazarus, and encomia of SS. Andrew, Luke, Peter and Paul, Stephen, Anthony the Hermit, and John the Baptist. Sermons on Christmas and the cross and encomia on St. Thomas and St. James have been lost.
After 428 Hesychius wrote a Church history in which he proved himself a strong opponent of nestorianism. The chapter dealing with theodore of mopsuestia was read at the Council of constantinople ii in 553 (J. D. Mansi, Sacrorum Conciliorum nova et amplissima collectio 9:248–249). His collection of Objections and Solutions deals with apparent discrepancies in the Gospels. It seems to be part of his lost Evangelica Symphonia (Patrologia Graeca 93:1391–1448).
Hesychius was greatly influenced by the exegetical methods of Origen and went so far as to deny that a literal meaning could be found for every sentence in Scripture (Patrologia Graeca 93:791, 1030). He opposed the use of philosophy for solving theological problems, particularly in Christology. He followed Alexandrian thought but preferred scriptural expressions reducing the Christological formula to Logos sarkotheis or Verbum incarnatum, the Word became flesh. He admitted no possibility of sin, ignorance, or moral progress in Christ and opposed Arian, Apollinarian, and Antiochene doctrine as subordinationist in tendency. He was considered a Monophysite by both Bishop John of Maïuma and the deacon, later pope, pelagius i.
Bibliography: j. quasten, Patrology, 3 v. (Westminster, Md.1950) 3:488–496. g. loeschke, Paulys Realenzyklopädie der klassischen Altertumswissenschaft, ed. g. wissowa et al. 8.2 (1913) 1328–30. k. jÜssen, Die dogmatischen Anschauungen des Hesychius von Jerusalem, 2 v. (Münster 1931–34); "Die Mariologie des Hesychius von Jerusalem," Theologie in Geschichte und Gegenwart: Festschrift M. Schmaus, ed. j. auer and h. volk (Munich 1957) 651–670. Bessarione 22 (1918) 8–46. a. wenger, Revue des études augustiniennes 2 (1956) 457–470. l. santifaller, Zentralblatt für Bibliothekswesen 60 (1943) 241–266. a. siegmund, Die Überlieferung der griechischen christlichen Literatur (Munich 1949) 87–88. c. nahapetian, Bessarione 17 (1913) 452–465. m. von faulhaber, Theologische Quartalschrift 83 (1901) 218–232; ed., Hesychii Hierosolymitani interpretatio Isaiae prophetae (Freiburg 1900). g. mercati, in Miscellanea Pio Paschini, 2 v. (Rome 1948–49) 2:205–211. v. jagiĆ, Ein unedierter griechischer Psalmenkommentar (Vienna 1906). r. devreesse, Revue biblique 33 (1924) 498–521. g. bardy, ibid. 42 (1933) 226–229.
[f. x. murphy]
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