4. A Roman proconsul at first of Bithynia, and afterwards at Alexandria, in the time of Diocletian, A. D. 284-305.
It is said that this emperor was instigated to his persecution of the Christians, in A. D. 302, mainly by Hierocles, who was a man of great philosophical acquirements, and exerted all his powers to suppress the Christians and their religion, and raise the polytheistic notions of the Pagans by attributing to them a profound meaning, which had only been misunderstood and mistaken by the vulgar. (Lactant. Instit. Div.
5.2, de Mort. Persecut. 16.)
With this object in view, he published a work against the Christians, in which he attempted to point out contradictions in the Scriptures in the historical as well as in the doctrinal portions.
It bore the title Λόγοι φιλαλήθεις πρὸς τοὺς Χριστιανούς
, and consisted of two books the work itself is lost, but we may still form an idea of it from the notice which Lactantius takes of it (Div. Instit. l.c.
), and more especially from the refutation which Eusebius wrote of it. (See above, p. 116.) We there see that Hierocles attacked the character of Jesus Christ and his apostles, and put him on an equality with Apollonius of Tyana.
Comp. Fabric. Bibl. Graec.
vol. i. p. 792; Cave, Hist. Lit.
vol. i. p. 131, vol. ii. p. 99; Pearson, Prolegomena to Hierocles, p. xiii. ed. Needham, who, however, confounds our Hierocles with No. 5.