Karchagin E.V. The Problem of Justice in the Anti-Heretical Discourse of St. Hippolytus of Rome

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.4.2

Evgeniy V. Karchagin
Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor, Head of the Department of Philosophy, Sociology and Psychology, Volgograd State Technical University
Academicheskaya St, 1, 400074 Volgograd, Russian Federation
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https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7398-9292


Abstract. The article examines one of the key episodes of the semantic transformation of the moral and political category of justice, its fate in the era of the Christianization of philosophy. The article analyzes a Greeklanguage polemical treatise of the 3rd century A.D., known as the "Philosophoumena" (or more precisely, "Philosophical Opinions, or a Refutation of All Heresies"), recently attributed to Hippolytus of Rome, a prominent representative of pre-Nicene patristics. The article shows that in this treatise, justice appears as a significant concept used in a number of contexts. First of all, the author of the treatise is armed with justice for the trial of heretics, criticizes their own claims to justice. He argues that all heresies are a direct consequence of Greek philosophical teachings, and for this reason, justice occupies an essential place in the retelling and quotations of classical ancient Greek thinkers. At the same time, justice is an important component of various heretical cosmologies, theologies, and traditions of social organizations. In addition, justice appears as a theological attributive category: in heretical teachings, Christ is referred to as the fairest man, and one of several gods of pluralistic Gnostic theology is endowed with the property of justice. Hippolytus himself uses the category of justice in the narrative of "divine economy", where it is associated with the appearance of "the law and the prophets" and the incarnate Messiah. Thus, Hippolytus' anti-heretical discourse reflects the contradictory image of late-Antique philosophy and the early history of Christianity and shows justice as a term relevant both for the ancient philosophical tradition of the late Roman period and for the emerging heretical and "orthodox" Christian religious traditions.
Key words: justice, Hippolytus of Rome, heresies, antiheretic treatises, early Christianity.

Citation. Karchagin E.V. The Problem of Justice in the Anti-Heretical Discourse of St. Hippolytus of Rome. Logos et Praxis, 2023, vol. 22, no. 4, pp. 17-27. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.4.2

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