Hippolytus of Rome: Commentary on Daniel (205)

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Hippolytus’ Commentary on Daniel is the oldest surviving Christian commentary on Scripture. It was composed by Hippolytus of Rome most likely between 202 and 211 AD, a time of great persecution. This is the first complete English translation.

Hippolytus of Rome: Commentary on Daniel

A.D. 205 / Translation by T.C. Schmidt, 2010



7.4. After these things he says, “iron legs”, so that he may signal the fearful and terrible beast, which has iron teeth, which are the Romans who rule now, who are strong as iron.

16.1 But one will say, “And when will these things be? In what season or time is the deceiver about to be revealed? And what shall be the day of the appearing of the Lord?”

16.2. The disciples also similarly sought to learn these things from the Lord, but he concealed the day from them, so that he may render them all as watchful for what is to come, always meditating and expecting each day the heavenly cloud, lest men, ever on account of the long time, neglecting what was prescribed by him, and growing sluggish while he tarries, fall from the life of heaven

16.3. For he says, “Be watchful for you do not know what day or what hour your Lord comes, either evening, or midnight, or morning.”

16.4. On account of this he says, “Blessed is that slave, whom when his Lord comes, he finds him awake. Truly I say to you that he will appoint him over all his possessions. But if the wicked slave says in his heart, ‘My Lord tarries to come,’ and he begins to beat his serving boys and serving girls, and to eat and to drink with drunkards, his Lord will come in a day which he does not expect and in an hour which he does not know and cut him in two and set his portion with the unbelievers. For there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” “On account of this I say to you: be watchful.”

16.5. And so our Lord himself in the Gospel, teaching these things, displays them to the disciples.

16.6. Similarly, also after his resurrection, the disciples broached these same things, “Asking him saying, ‘Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?’ But he said to them, ‘It is not for you to know the times or seasons which the Father has set in his own authority, but you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you and you will be for me martyrs in both Jerusalem and in Galilee and all the land of Samaria and unto the ends of the earth.’”

17.1. And so since he hid the day from them, but through the signs which have happened, through which a man will easily discover the time of the end, he declares that we ought to know the events according to their time, and when we see them, to be silent.

17.2. But it is necessary for these things to be even if we do not want them happen.  For the truth never lies.

17.3. For just as he said concerning the city of Jerusalem, “When you see Jerusalem encircled by armies, then you know that her desolation draws near,” and what was spoken about her has come, in this way it is needful to also now expect the rest to follow.

17.4. He says, “For whenever you see the abomination of desolation standing in the holy place, let the reader understand, then let those in Judea flee to the mountains, and he who is on the rooftop not descend to take anything from his house, and he who is in the field not return back to take his clothes. Woe to those who are pregnant and nursing in those days. For then there will be a great tribulation such which has not been from the beginning of the world nor shall ever be. And unless those days were shortened not any flesh would be saved.”

17.5. And so in this he made it clear to us, so that we may never doubt anything.

2 Replies to “Hippolytus of Rome: Commentary on Daniel (205)”

  1. i did some reading on in this translation. in the same book4 i found in 21.2 that he states that the people have to pray but not yet have to expect the day of judgement.

    doesnt sound very preterist to me… hope you can help me out here 🙂

  2. Certainly not full preterist. However, there are numerous elements in common with a historical preterist interpretation. One is equating Rome with the iron kingdom and the beast. This work also declares the fall of Jerusalem to be the fulfillment of numerous New Testament prophecies, including the abomination of desolation and the great tribulation. He may endorse a double sense of fulfillment, but I didn’t see that in this work. In all, a surprising early witness to the fulfillment of these elements.

    Thanks for posting!

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