Hippolytus lived between 170 and 236, but there are diverse ancient records concerning him. Well educated, he was a cultivated man from the Greek-speaking East. He became one of the leading scholars in the Roman church, and found himself embroiled in a bitter disagreement between bishops Zephyrinus and Callistus. The Eastern accounts of his life describe Hippolytus as a rival bishop of a schismatic Roman community. Emperor Maximinus Thrax exiled him in 235, although prior to martyrdom it seems that he reconciled with the clergy, because bishop Fabian brought his body back to Rome. He was buried on August 13 in the cemetery on the Via Tiburtina. Bishop Damasus I later honored Hippolytus with the title of martyr. He was the last prominent Greek writer of the Roman church; therefore, his works suffered in their transmission. The most important writing ascribed to him is the "Refutation of All Heresies," but not every scholar attributes it to him. He also wrote other works, including a series of commentaries.
Hippolytus's "Commentary on Daniel," preserved entirely in Slavonic, is the earliest surviving commentary in the East, and the first on the prophet. It is not mentioned in the East, however, until Photius, Patriarch of Constantinople, around the year 860. Its earliest fragments were published in Western Europe during the middle ages, and Hugo Broughton first published them in 1597. They consisted of the apocryphal selections of the Daniel tradition. Basilios Georgiades found a manuscript in the Theological College on the Island of Chalce that had been seriously damaged by fire and water. It contains the latter half of the long-lost commentary, the last six chapters of the canonical book of Daniel. With this section, the entire work may be reconstructed; it consisted of four parts: 1) Susanna, 2) Song of the Three Children and Bel and the Dragon, 3) commentary on the first six chapters of Daniel, and 4) the remaining six chapters. J. H. Kennedy supplies the Greek text, critical notes, and a complete translation of the Georgiades manuscript.
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