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Bible Dictionaries

A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

Hesychius (3), Egyptian bp

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Hesychius (3) ( Hesechius ), bp. of an Egyptian see, mentioned as the author, with Phileas, Theodorus, and Pachumius, of a letter to Meletius, schismatic bp. of Lycopolis in Egypt. The letter, given in a Latin version in Gallandius, Bibl. Patrum, iv. 67, is a remonstrance to Meletius on his irregular ordinations in other dioceses, and was written ( c. 296) when the authors were in prison and Peter of Alexandria alive. The martyrdom of Hesychius under Galerius, with Phileas, Pachumius, and Theodorus, is recorded in Eus. Hist. Eccl. viii. 13. This Hesychius has been usually identified with the reviser of the text of the LXX, and of N.T., or at least of the Gospels, which obtained extensive currency in Egypt. There are no grounds for questioning the truth of this conjecture. This Hesychian recension is mentioned more than once by Jerome, who states that it was generally accepted in Egypt, as that of his fellow-martyr, Lucian of Antioch, was in Asia Minor and the East (Hieron. Praef. in Paralipom. ad Chromat. Ep. 107, repeated in Apologia II. adv. Rufin. vol. i. p. 763, Paris, 1609). Jerome also refers to it as "exemplaria Alexandrina" ( in Esai. lviii. 11). We know little or nothing more of this edition of the LXX. It was doubtless an attempt, like that of Lucian, to purify the text in use in Egypt, by collating various manuscripts and by recourse to other means of assistance at hand. Jerome speaks with some contempt of his labours in the field of O.T. recension, and still more of his and Lucian's recension of the Gospels. If we interpret his words strictly, Hesychius, as well as Lucian, added so much to the text as to lay them open to the charge of falsifying the Gospels and rendering their work "apocryphal" (Hieron. Praef. in Evang. cad Damasum ). The words of the famous Decretal of Gelasius (c. 500) "on ecclesiastical books," which are, however, regarded by Credner ( Zur Gesch. d. K. p. 216) as additions to the original decree "made at the time it was republished in Spain under the name of Hormisdas, c. 700–800" (Westcott, Hist. of Can. p. 448, n. 1), are equally condemnatory: "Evangelia quae falsavit Isicius [See Hesychius]—Apocrypha" (Labbe, Conc. iv. 126). Westcott pronounces Hug's speculations as to the influence of this recension, "of which nothing is certainly known," "quite unsatisfactory" ( ib. ).


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Bibliography Information
Wace, Henry. Entry for 'Hesychius (3), Egyptian bp'. A Dictionary of Early Christian Biography. 1911.

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