Introduction to Hegesippus the Historian

Who was Hegesippus?

Though relatively little is known of him, it is believed that Hegesippus was a convert from mainstream Judaism to belief in the Messiah. As such, he wrote from the perspective of a Hebrew to the Hebrews.

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About the Fragments of Hegesippus

Hegesippus is placed at the end of this edition writings for the simple reason that he came along later than the rest of the contributors; yet his works provide a valuable framework for the emergence of the gentile church and its departure from the Hebraic way of life. He had written five memoirs of early history of the Assembly, none of which are unfortunately available today.

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Textual Support for the Fragments of Hegesippus.

Hegesippus’ original work, Commentaries on the Acts of the Assembly, though originally spanning five volumes, is now lost to the pages of time. The fragments of his work are known exclusively through quotations from Eusebius of Caesarea, a church historian from the late 3rd to early 4th century CE.

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What do the writings of Hegesippus mean to us today?

The writings of Hegesippus record the definitively Hebraic nature of the early Assembly; specifically, “that the state of affairs was in accordance with the teaching of the Torah and of the Prophets and of the Lord.” He also points out that James the Just, the brother of Yeshua, was held in high esteem by the Jewish people because of his pious nature and observance in the Temple.

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