In the third century CE, Emperor Septimius Severus unleashed a shocking and severe persecution against the Christian church. Witnessing the fear and confusion in his congregations, the presbyter Hippolytus crafted his Commentary on Daniel to encourage Christians confronted with the reality of martyrdom and persecution. In a work which comes to us as the earliest orthodox Christian commentary on scripture, Hippolytus interprets the text through allegory, typology, theodicy, paraenesis, and reflection to create a motif of martyrdom. By doing so, Hippolytus guides Christians iin their communities as they stand heroically before the tribunal of Caesar, like the Danielic characters stood before authorities in Babylon. His purpose in the commentary is clearly pastoral, arising from his role as presbyter: to exhort his Christian congregations to prepare to be martyred for Christ amidst Roman persecution.
Endorsements & Reviews-
'An important book that reveals some of the earliest layers of ancient Christian commentary on scripture, featuring especially the relation of the Daniel text to the early history of martyrdom during the persecution under Septimius Severus.' -- Thomas C. Oden is former Henry Anson Buttz Professor of Theology at The Theological Schook, Drew University.
'Shelton's examination of the enigmatic Hippolytus' commentary on Daniel captures, indeed advocates, its pastoral spirit encouraging perseverance in persecution. It reveals a window on Christian exegesis at the turn of the third century by an important and obscure figure linking East and West.' -- Robert Lee Williams is Professor of New Testament, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
W. Brian Shelton
W. Brian Shelton is Associate Professor of Sytematic and Historical Theology, Toccoa Falls College, Georgia. His publication work ranges from the The Journal of Early Christian Studies to the New England Journal of Medicine.