Hegesippus the Nazarenes
Fragments from His Five Books of Memoirs
Hegesippus (Ha Gish’fa?) (c. 110 - c. April 7, 180 C.E.) was an early Nazarene writer who maintained some contact with Gentile Christendom. Hegesippus was conversant in the “oral tradition of the Jews” and made a written record of these traditions as well as other matters of import to Nazarenes. Hegesippus’ writings were compiled in a five volume work called “Memoirs”. According to Eusebius, Hegesippus quoted passages from The Gospel according to the Hebrews (a lost apocryphal Gospel once used by the ancient Nazarenes and Ebionites, recently reconstructed by W.N.A.E.). Eusebius also tells us that Hegesippus used Hebrew and Aramaic (“Syriac”) Scriptures. It is significant that Hegesippus made the first written record of the “oral tradition of the Jews” before the Mishna was later compiled by Rabbinic Jews. It is unfortunate that this Nazarene “Mishna” has not survived to us. Jerome says of Hegesippus that he “wrote a history of all ecclesiastical events from the passion of our Lord down to his own period... in five volumes.” (Jerome; Of Illustrius Men 22). It has been suggested that Jerome knew of Hegesippus only through Eusebius. If Memoirs were merely a chronologoical history, it would be odd that his account of Ya’akov HaTzadik (James the Just) did not occur until volme five. Also it is important to mention that certain elements of Hegesippus’ account of Ya’akov HaTzadik seem to be legendary and may be difficult to believe in terms of what we know of Second Temple Era Judaism. The claim that he alone was permitted to enter the Holy Place may reer to the fact that he was permitted to enter the Temple, not the Holy of Holies. If he was counted as an Essene, that would have been unusual, as Essenes abstained from the Temple service, and would have been forbidden to do so by the highly regimented Essene hierarchy.
James Trimm, President
Worldwide Nazarene Assembly of Elohim
PO Box 471
Hurst, TX 76053