Saint Hegesippus was an early Christian chronicler who flourished in the 4th century (c. A.D. 110 – c. April 7, 180). He is supposed to be the author of a free Latin adaptation of the Jewish War of Josephus, under the title De bello Judaico et excidio urbis Hierosolymitanae. The seven books of Josephus are compressed into five, but much has been added from the Antiquities of the Jews, also by Josephus, and from the works of Roman historians. He certainly wrote against heresies of the Gnostics and of Marcion. St. Hegesippus appealed principally to tradition as embodied in the teaching which had been handed down through the succession of bishops, thus providing for Eusebius information about the earliest bishops that otherwise would have been lost.
Hegesippus' works are now entirely lost, save eight passages concerning Church history quoted by Eusebius, who tells us that he wrote Hypomnemata (Ὑπομνήματα; "Memoirs" or "Memoranda") in five books, in the simplest style concerning the tradition of the Apostolic preaching.
Eusebius says that St. Hegesippus was a convert from Judaism, learned in the Semitic languages and conversant with the oral tradition and customs of the Jews., for he quoted from the Hebrew, was acquainted with the Gospel of the Hebrews and with a Syriac Gospel, and he also cited unwritten traditions of the Jews. He may indeed have been a Jewish convert to Christ, but he was clearly an orthodox Catholic and not a "Judaeo-Christian",
Through Eusebius Hegesippus was also known to Jerome, who is primarily responsible for asserting the erroneous idea that Hegesippus "wrote a history of all ecclesiastical events from the passion of our Lord down to his own period... in five volumes", which has established the Hypomnemata as a Church history. This assertion has been responsible for the widespread belief that Hegesippus is the "father of Church History", before Eusebius. See Falsehood.
- Eusebius, Church History, ii.23; iii.20; iii.32; iv.8; iv.22;
- Eusebius, iv.22.
- W. Telfer, "Was Hegesippus a Jew?" The Harvard Theological Review 53.2 (April 1960:143-153).
- Jerome, De viris illustribus 22.