Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

Get access Subject: Biblical Studies And Early Christianity
General Editors: David G. Hunter, Boston College, United States, Paul J.J. van Geest, Tilburg University, Netherlands, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Netherlands.

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 The Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity focuses on the history of early Christian texts, authors, ideas. Its content is intended to bridge the gap between the fields of New Testament studies and patristics, covering the whole period of early Christianity up to 600 CE. The BEEC aims to provide a critical review of the methods used in Early Christian Studies and to update the historiography.

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(3,266 words)

Author(s): Somov, Alexey B.
Hades (ᾅδης) is a traditional Greek term for the underworld as the abode of the dead. In the Septuagint this term corresponds to Hebrew שְׁאוֹל/ ĕôl, the most commonly used name for the realm of the dead in the Old Testament. This biblical concept of Hades/Sheol as the abode of the dead originated in the beliefs in the afterlife current in ancient Israel. Later, it was developed further in early Jewish religion and in early Christian beliefs and literature. This article mostly deals with these early Israelite, Jewis…
Date: 2022-09-22

Hadrian’s Rescript

(785 words)

Author(s): Williams, D.H.
Upon immediate inspection, the text of Hadrian’s Rescript (122–123 CE) to Gaius Minucius Fundanus, proconsul of Asia, seems plain enough. The most obvious interpretation is to regard it as a reaffirmation of his predecessor’s (Trajan) policy as found in the brief rescript to the governor Pliny (c. 111 CE). Justin Martyr is the first to cite Hadrian’s Rescript in his apology (Just. 1 Apol. 68.6–10) as one of several appendices in support of his overall argument that just emperors do not persecute Christians (Persecution of Christians) based on rumors. By inc…
Date: 2022-09-22


(4,165 words)

Author(s): Tomson, Peter J.
The word halakhah means “law” and is used in rabbinic (Rabbi) literature to denote the law or custom accepted in Jewish practice and formulated in rabbinic tradition, in the sense of both an individual law and of the prevailing law. The concept is relevant to early Christianity insofar as the latter evidences elements of Jewish law.VocabularyAccording to a popular etymology, the phrase halakhah derives from the Hebrew verb halakh, “to go,” and means “the walk in which one goes.” More probably, however, it derives, along with its Aramaic equivalent hilkheta, from Akkadian alaktu, “cours…
Date: 2022-09-22


(2,842 words)

Author(s): Hartog, Paul
Hegesippus (c. 110–180 CE) was a Christian historian, chronicler, and heresiologist of the 2nd century CE. According to Eusebius of Caesarea, Hegesippus belonged to “the generation after the Apostles” (Eus. Hist. eccl. 2.23.3). Jerome positioned Hegesippus “near the apostolic age” and “not far from the Apostolic age” (Jer. Vir. ill. 2; 22). Photius (borrowing from Stephanus Gobarus, a 6th-cent. CE author) went further, claiming that Hegesippus was “one of the ancients, a contemporary of the apostles” (Phot. Bibl. 232). In modern reconstructions, however, the chronologica…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,596 words)

Author(s): Bergermann, Marc
Helvidius was a Christian writer in late 4th-century CE Rome (see Jer. Helv. 1); his status as layman or priest is uncertain. He was possibly a disciple of the “Arian” bishop Auxentius of Milan (see Gennad. Vir. ill. 32; Arianism). Around 380 CE he opposed the concept of an ascetic known as Craterius (see Helv. 16; alternative spellings: Carterius/Cartherius/Canterius), who claimed that Mary remained a virgin even after the birth of Christ ( virginitas post partum). Helvidius rejected this concept of Mary’s perpetual virginity and argued in favor of the equal status of…
Date: 2022-09-22

Hermas, Shepherd of

(4,447 words)

Author(s): Grundeken, Mark
In the Shepherd of Hermas, the author who calls himself Hermas offers a lengthy and detailed description of his visionary experiences and the dialogues he has with his revelatory agents of which the Shepherd is the most prominent one. The work consists of three parts: 5 Visions, 12 Mandates, and 10 Similitudes. Much about Hermas remains puzzling (see also Grundeken, 2015).Manuscripts and Modern Critical EditionsA first problem relates to the manuscript evidence (for an overview, see Leutzsch, 1998, 117–121). All witnesses to the Greek text are partial or fra…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,959 words)

Author(s): Mawdsley, Harry
Hermenegild (d. 585 CE) was a Visigothic prince born sometime during the mid-6th century CE. He was the son of King Leovigild (r. 568–586 CE) of the Visigoths (Goths) and his unnamed first wife, and the elder brother of King Reccared I (r. 586–601 CE). Nothing is known of Hermenegild’s childhood or education. The first datable event of his life occurred in 573 CE, when he and his brother were made co-regents with their father (John Bicl. Chron. a.573.5). Neither Hermenegild nor Reccared was given any territorial responsibilities at this stage, but they may have participa…
Date: 2022-09-22

Hermes Trismegistus

(1,763 words)

Author(s): Burns, Dylan M.
Hermes Trismegistus (Gk τρισμέγιστος, “Thrice-Greatest”) is a legendary figure whose name is synonymous with archaic knowledge about the mysteries of the universe, particularly the “occult sciences” of magic, astrology, and alchemy. An amalgam of Thoth – the ancient, native Egyptian god of magic and learning – and Greek Hermes, he is a “culture-hero” of Hellenistic Egypt who came in the Roman period to represent the lore of Egyptian antiquity through the literature where he appears as speaker or…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,811 words)

Author(s): Bull, Christian H.
The modern term “Hermetism” is sometimes used in a manner near-synonymous to such terms as “esotericism,” “occultism,” and “Gnosticism,” but is more properly used to refer to the teachings contained in the treatises attributed to the Egyptian divine sage Hermes Trismegistus or his associates. These treatises, referred to as Hermetica, consisting most often of dialogues between Hermes and his disciples, were all authored in Greek, though some are now only available in Latin, Coptic, or Armenian translations. Their dating remains uncertain; most…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,839 words)

Author(s): Eckhardt, Benedikt
Herod “the Great” (the title is used by Flavius Josephus in Ant. 18.130 to distinguish him from his offspring) was born in Idumea, possibly Maresha, around 73 BCE as the son of the Idumean Antipater and his Nabatean wife Kypros (Shatzman, 2013). Due to their father’s high position in the court of Hyrcanus II, Herod and his older brother Phasael held leading administrative roles early on. As governor of Galilee, his rigid actions against “bandits” led to legal complaints and a trial before the council in Je…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,994 words)

Author(s): Bernett, Monika
The House of Herod ( malkhut bet Hordos, ʿAbod. Zar. 9a) was a dynasty in Judea in 1st centuries BCE and CE, established by Herod “the Great” (40–4 BCE) after being appointed king by Rome. In a narrow sense, the term denotes Herod’s political successors on his territory (three generations). A wider definition includes all known male and female descendants of Herod and their offspring. They can be traced up to the end of the 2nd century CE.There were supporter groups of Herod and his house. During the Judean civil war (40–37 BCE), fighters and friends of Herod are called Herodeioi (Jos. Bell. 1.…
Date: 2022-09-22


(1,691 words)

Author(s): Brown, Andrew J.
The original term transliterated “hexaemeron” (ἑξαήμερον) describes a six-day unit or period. J.C.M. van Winden (1988, 1253) clarifies three patristic uses of this term (and Latin hexameron): 1.  the six-day creation process; 2.  the biblical account of the six-day creation found in Gen 1; 3.  a written work devoted to the exposition of this biblical narrative. Our natural focus here is this third sense, describing a genre of patristic literature. Yet along with self-conscious “hexaemera,” which sometimes formed part of a larger work, we remain alert…
Date: 2022-09-22