A list of the fragments of Philip of Side’s “Christian History”

The rambling 24 book history written by Philip of Side is lost. The fragments that remain are of considerable interest, however. I intend to get them all put into English and make them available online.

There is an excellent article by Katharina Heyden, which lists all the fragments and discusses them: Die Christliche Geschichte des Philippos von Side: Mit einem kommentierten Katalog der Fragmente, in M. Wallraff (ed.), Julius Africanus und die christliche Weltchronistik (Berlin, 2006), pp. 209-243. Unfortunately German isn’t my best language, and I have to use a machine translator to make much of it. I don’t think I am alone in this. Since I need a digest for my own purposes, I thought I would share it.

[UPDATE (19/5/10): I’ve started to link to these where possible, and added some out of copyright articles online.]

A. Authentic fragments

Fr. 1. On Adam and Eve.

The text is found in Codex Bodleianus graecus 120, fol. 300r (14th century) and Codex Parisinus graecus Suppl 685, fol. 10r (16th century), and has been edited by D. Serruys, Autour d’un fragment de Philippe de Side, Melanges d’archeologique et d’histoire 26, (1906), 335-359. The text of Codex Parisinus Graecus Suppl 685 is in A. Wirth, Aus orientalischen Chroniken, Frankfurt (1894), p.208 f. (p.208 in the PDF).

The two manuscripts listed are both collections of miscellaneous snippets. There is a small note on a chunk of Old Testament numerical speculation from the Christian History. One attributes it to book (τόμος) 20, the other to book 22, but otherwise the text is the same. Philip seems to use now unknown apocrypha, as the calculated numbers differ from texts such as Jubilees.

Fr. 2. List of the presidents of the school of catechists at Alexandria.

Text: Codex Baroccianus 142, fol. 216r Z. 40 – 216v Z. 15; first edited by H. Dodwell, Dissertationes in Irenaeum. Accedit fragmentum Philippi Sidetae hactenus ineditum de catechistarum Alexandrinorum successione cum notis, Oxoniae 1689,488; again by: P. Nautin, La continuation de l'”Histoire Ecclesiastique” d’Eusebe par Gelase de Cesaree, Revue des Etudes Byzantines 50, 1992, 175 f. (gr. text); 177 f. (french trln.) sowie: G. C. Hansen, Theodoros Anagnostes Kirchengeschichte, GCS N.F. 3, Berlin 2 1995,160. [I have PDF’s of all these]

Literature: P. Nautin, ibid., 163-183; B. Pouderon, Le temoignage du Codex Baroccianus 142 sur Athenagore et les origines du Didaskaleion d’Alexandrie, in: G. Argoud (ed.), Science et vie intellectuelle a Alexandrie (I-III er siecle apres J.-C), Archipelegeen,Saint Etienne 1994,163-224.

A story of miracles at the temple of Hera at Babylon and the report of the Magi on their journey to Bethlehem.

This is a famous chunk, found in the Bodleian manuscript Codex Baroccianus 142, which was probably compiled by Nicephorus Callistus Xanthopoulos as part of preparations for his church history between 1303-1320. The codex contains on fol. 212r-224r und 236v-240v a short epitome of an ecclesiastical history. A marginal note ώς φησ’ι φίλιππος ό σϊδ έν λόγω κ 5 in the first hand clearly labels the source. A photo in Heyden shows this note, I gather. However the text also refers to Philip of Side himself, so is clearly not a direct quotation from his work. (Indeed the complete text was probably not extant at that late date).

Fr. 3. Fragments in the De gestis in Perside.

CPG 6968. Critical edition and study: E. Bratke, Das sogenannte Religionsgespräch am Hof der Sasaniden, TU 19/4, Leipzig 1899 (starting on p.448 of the PDF). No subsequent study has surpassed this, although Pauline Bringel has had a new critical edition forthcoming from the Sources Chretiennes for some years, based on her dissertation [I have a PDF of the dissertation].

Heyden notes: ‘The connection between this 5-6th century romance and the history of Philip has become so accepted that G. C. Hansen can simply record in the introduction to his edition of the Anonymous church history: “Pages and pages of excerpts from the giant work of Philip are found in the novelistic ‘Εξήγησις των πραχθέντων έν Περσίδι(…)”. However, we still await an answer to the question of what specific pieces from Pers. are to be classified as from the Christian History of Philip, even now.’ She lists the following, not all equally certainly by Philip, from Bratke’s edition.

Fr. 3.1. Narrative by Cassander (Pers. 5,11-9,5 Bratke). This is three pseudo-historical oracles about Alexander the Great and Christ.

Fr. 3.2. Narrative by Aphroditian (Pers. 11,2-19,9; 45,4-9 Bratke). A story of miracles at the temple of Hera at Babylon and the report of the Magi on their journey to Bethlehem.

From here on we are on more dodgy ground.

B. Less certainly authentic fragments

Fr. 3.3. Prophecies by Greek Sages (Pers. 31,27-33,7 Bratke). This is a discussion with the Jews about whether Jesus was the messiah; pagan pseudo-prophecies are adduced after Aphroditian asks, “Why should we cite the prophecies of the Jews and not those of our own?”.

Fr. 3.4. Material about god-fearing heathens (Pers. 19,25-21,10 Bratke) such as Cyrus.

Fr. 3.5. Legend of the shepherdess Koatos (Pers. 42,2-43,3 Bratke). This is a legend of a pagan virgin who preferred purity to an admirer.

Fragment 4. Additions to Eusebius in the Byzantine Church-Historical Epitome.

Manuscripts: Codex Baroccianus 142, fol. 212r-216r (extracts), Codex Oxoniensis Misc. 61 (Auct. E.4.18), fol. 136r-143r (unedited, extracts); Frg. 4.3-6 also in Codex Vatopedi 286, fol. 91r-218r (extracts).

Edition with commentary: C. de Boor, Neue Fragmente des Papias, Hegesippus und Pierius in bisher unbekannten Excerpten aus der Kirchengeschichte des Philippus Sidetes, TU V/2, Leipzig 1888,169-171 (p.322-341 of the PDF; the following 7 chunks of Greek are on pp.326-7 of the PDF).

Fr. 4.1. Information on the birthplace of Julius Africanus (Addition to Eusebius HE I 7:1) — Emmaus / Nicopolis, it says.

Fr. 4.2. Etymology of names; a quote from an unnamed writing by Pierus (Continuation to Eusebius HE II, 1:13)

Fr. 4.3. A quote from Hegesippus: the names of the sons of Judas, the brother of the Lord: Zoker and James (Addition to Eusebius, h.e. III, 17-20)

Fr. 4.4. A list of apocryphal Gospels (Eusebius addition to, HE III, 25). The following are labelled ευαγγέλια ψευδή; that of the Egyptians (κατ’ Αιγυπτίους), the Gospel of the Twelve (κατά τους δώδεκα) and the Gospel of Basilides (κατά Βασιλείδην). The same list is found in Origen, Homilia in Lucam I, which probably served here as the source.

Fr. 4.5. A quote from Pierios about Paul’s matrimonial abstinence (an addition to Eusebius, HE III 30). It states that Pierios said in his first Easter sermon (έν τω πρώτφ λόγω τών εις τό πάσχα) that the Apostle Paul was married, but lived celibate for God’s sake and renounced his wife for the service of the church (I hope I got that right!).

Fr. 4.6. A quote from the second book of the Λογίων κυριακών έξήγησις of Papias: the martyrdom of John and James (an addition to Eusebius, HE III, 39). Heyden adds that this fragment is particularly interesting because Papias says that the Evangelist John and his brother James had been killed by the Jews. The same words are quoted also in a homily of John Chrysostom on 1 Corinthians 2, with the promise of resurrection for all the martyrs – which alone would be a terminus post quem given for this source, but also further demonstrates the close relationship between Philip and John Chrysostom.

Fr. 4.7. The life and works of Pierios (Addition to Eusebius, HE. VII, 32). This is an important text for the history of the church of Alexandria.

Fr. 5. Fragments in the Anonymen Kirchengeschichte (AKG = ps.Gelasius of Cyzicos)

Text: CPG 6034. Edition: G.C. Hansen, Anonyme Kirchengeschichte, GCS N.E 9, Berlin 2002.

Literature: G. C. Hansen, intro to GCS N.F. 9; also Hansen in, Eine fingierte Ansprache Konstantins auf dem Konzil von Nikaia, ZAC 2,1998,173-198.

This work quotes from the original text of Philip, imitating Eusebius, attacking Eusebius of Nicomedia, and displaying the style that Socrates Scholasticus attributes to him. Hansen has catalogued a bunch of fragments, which I will simply list:

Fr. 5.1 Fabulous story of Constantine’s campaign on the right bank of the Rhine (AKG 14.2-5 [7.7 to 28 Hansen])

Fr. 5.2 Speculative reflection on the trophies of Constantine (AKG I from 5.2 to 7 [8.15 -9.20 Hansen])

Fr. 5.3. Report on the campaign of Constantine and Crispus against Licinius (AKG 111.19 to 21, 12.1 [18.18 to 19.2, from 21.1 to 9 Hansen])

Fr. 5.4. Report on a one-year vacancy in the episcopal office in Alexandria and the bishops Achillas and Alexander (AKG II 1.13 f. [Hansen 23.28 to 24.3])

Fr. 5.5. Fictional speech of Constantine on the Council of Nicaea (AKG II 7 [34.20 -42.9 Hansen])

Fr. 5.6. Polemic against the Arians (AKG II from 12.8 to 10 [47.5 to 19 Hansen])

Fr. 5.7. Report on the conversion of an Arian philosopher by a confessor (AKG II 13 [47.20 to 50.5 Hansen], excerpts)

C. Fragments whose authenticity has been denied

6. Fragments of Ecclesiastical History in the church history epitome

Editions: Carl de Boor also edited seven fragments from the church history epitome (v. a. Codex Baroccianus 142, fol. 216r Z. 11-39; s. Abb. 2a), which he attributed to Philip (and referenced the Dodwell fragment as the 8th(: C. de Boor, Neue Fragmente des Papias, Hegesippus und Pierius in bisher unbekannten Excerpten aus der Kirchengeschichte des Philippus Sidetes, TU V/2, Leipzig 1888, 167-184 (PDF p.322-341). Edition of the fragments on pp. 182-184 (339-341 of the PDF). There is a newer edition from the same codex of some of it by G. C. Hansen, Theodoros Anagnostes Kirchengeschichte, GCS N.F. 3,2 (1995) 158-160., who assigns them to Gelasius of Caesarea. After comparing the mss of the epitome Pierre Nautin edited a total of 8 fragments (including the list of the catechical school) from a “ouvrage sans titre”: P. Nautin, La continuation de l'”Histoire Ecclesiastique” d’Eusebe par Gelase de Cesaree, REByz 50, 1992, 174-176 (gr. text); 176-178 (fr. trnl.).  [I have a PDF of Nautin, and the relevant part of Hansen]

7. Alchemical fragments.

Codex Vindobonensis medicus graecus 2 (1564), fol. 106-107; Edition: M. Berthelot/Ch. Em. Ruelle, Collection des anciens alchimistes grecs vol. 2, Paris (1887-1888) p.346 f. (p.346 of the PDF is the Greek; there must be a French translation in there somewhere too)  There are two fragments in the Vienna medical manuscript attributed to a “Philip”. Lambeck ascribed them to Philip of Side; but it seems unlikely that this is correct.

So… quite a lot there.  I shall be taking a trip to Cambridge tomorrow, and hope to acquire most of these.

4 thoughts on “A list of the fragments of Philip of Side’s “Christian History”

  1. That’s one detailed list. So where’s the place where Philip of Side mentions the story about Justus drinking snake poison, under duress, and surviving unharmed?

    Yours in Christ,

    James Snapp, Jr.

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