The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A second Noël?

TC Schmidt in 2010 said that Hippolytus (d. 235 AD) said Christmas was 25 December. Hippolytus is a formidably early source. Some at the time said the text is likely interpolated; Schmidt denied this. Pro-Christian scholars at the time united around Schmidt. Roger Pearse laid out their argument.

And now Schmidt's work seems to be gone from the 'web.

I'll say up front that, where the base text is concerned, I'm just some guy on the interweb. I do not have a monastery behind me with vellum copies from the fifth century AD. If someone publishes a claim and looks to know what he's talking about - and if I can't see the obvious discrepancies - I'll probably accept it. But there are risks involved... like some guy posting an article that he then quietly retracts without a forwarding address. So thank heaven for Pearse!

Mind you we still have to question Hippolytus. First off, there's Clement of Alexandria (d. 215, 20 years before H.); who knew of several dates, but hadn't heard of 25 December and, we can assume, hadn't read this edition of Hippolytus's Commentary. Also, there's the Kathisma Church. This seems to commemorate a Nativity NOT in winter. The "Kathisma Christians" didn't preserve their writings, where the non-Semitic Christians preserved Hippolytus; but the Kathisma Christians did one better by erecting a big ol' CHURCH.

Why push the Nativity away from December? It seems all Hippolytus has done is to pull the debate into first-and-second century Palestine. Which was always the problem, wasn't it?

UPDATE 10/27/2015: dragged in a 2002 article.


posted by Zimri on 22:32 | link | 0 comments

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