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Ma'ximus Hierosolymita'nus

or of JERUSALEM, of which city he was bishop, a Greek ecclesiastical writer of the latter part of the second century. Jerome (De Vitris Illust. 100.47) mentions Maximus, an ecclesiastical writer who wrote on the questions of the origin of evil and the creation of matter, as having lived under the emperors Commodus (A. D. 180-193) and Severus (A. D. 193-211), but he does not say what office he held in the church, or whether he held any; nor does he connect him with any locality. Honorius of Autun (De Scriptor. Eccles. 1.47), extracting from Jerome, reads the name Maximinus; and Rufinus, translating from Eusebius, who has a short passage relating to the same writer (H. E. 5.27), gives the name in the same form; but it is probably incorrect. There was a Maximus bishop of Jerusalem in the reign of Antoninus Pius or Marcus Aurelius, or the earlier part of that of Commodus, i.e. somewhere between A. D. 156 and A. D. 185, and probably in the early part of that interval: another Maximus occupied the same see from A. D. 185; and the successive episcopates of himself and seven successors occupy about eighty years, the length of each separate episcopate not being known. The date therefore of this latter Maximus of Jerusalem accords sufficiently with the notice in Jerome respecting the writer; but it is remarkable that though both Eusebius and Jerome mention the bishop (Eusebius, Chronic. and Hieron. Euseb. Chron. Interpretatio). they do not either of them identify the writer with him; and it is remarkable that in the list given by Eusebius of the bishops of Jerusalem in his Histor. Ecckes. (5.27), the names of the second Maximus and his successor, Antoninus, do not appear. It must be considered therefore uncertain whether the writer and the bishop are the same person, though it is most likely they were.


Περὶ τῆς ὕλης (

The title of the work of Maximus noticed by Jerome and Eusebius (for the two questions of the origin of evil and the creation of matter appear to have been comprehended in one treatise) was Περὶ τῆς ὕλης, De Materia. Eusebius has given a long extract from it. (Praep. Evanzg. 7.21, 22.) The same extract, or a portion of it, is incorporated, without acknowledgment, in the Dialogus Adamantii de recta in Deum Fide, or Contra Marcionitas, sect. iv. commonly ascribed to Origen, but in reality written or compiled long after his time. It is also quoted in the Philocalia, 100.24, compiled by Gregory Nazianzen and Basil the Great, almost entirely from the works of Origen. In the short inscription to the chapter they are said to be from the Praeparatio Evangelica of Eusebius; and their being contained also in the supposed work of Origen, De Recta Fide, is affirmed in a probably interpolated sentence of the concluding paragraph of the chapter. (Delarue, Opera Origenis, vol. i. p. 800, seq.)


This passage, apparently the only part of Maximus' work which has come down to us. is given in the Bilbliotheca Patrum of Galland (vol. ii. p. 146), who identities the author with the bishop, and gives his reasons for so doing in the Prolegomena to the volume, 100.6; see also Cave, Hist. Litt. ad ann. 196, vol. i. p. 95; Tillenlont, Mémoires, vol. ii. p. 760, &c., note xiii. sur Origène.

A Third Bishop of Jerusalem named Maximus

Beside the two bishops of Jerusalem of this name already noticed, there was a third in the reign of Constantine the Great and his sons. He suffered in one of the later persecutions of the heathen emperors, apparently under Maximian Galerius. (Philostorg. H. E. 3.12.) He suffered the loss of his right eye, and some infliction, possibly ham-stringing, in his right leg. (Theodoret. H. E. 2.26.) His sufferings in the cause of Christianity and the general excellence of his character so endeared him to the people of Jerusalem, among whom he officiated as priest, that when he was appointed by Macarmus, bishop of that city, to the vacant bishopric of Diospolis, the multitude would not allow him to depart; and Macarius was obliged to forego the appointment, and nominate another in his place. According to some accounts, Macarius repented almost immediately of the nomination of Maximus to Diospolis, and readily consented to his remaining at Jerusalem, taking him for his assistant in the duties of the episcopal office, and his intended successor, fearing lest Eusebius of Caesaraea and Patrophilus of Scythopolis should procure the election of a favourer of Arianism. (Sozomen, H. E. 2.20.) On the decease of Macarius some time between A. D. 331 and 335, Maximus succeeded him, and was present at the council of Tyre, A. D. 335, when Athanasius was condemned. Sozomen records (H. E. 2.25) that at this council Paphnutius, a bishop of the Thebais or Upper Egypt, and himself a confessor, took Maximus by the hand, and told him to leave the place: "For," said he, "it does not become us, who have lost our eyes and been hamstrung for the sake of religion, to join the council of the wicked." This appeal was in vain, and Maximus was induced by some unfairness to subscribe the decree condemning Athanasius. However, he soon repented of this step, and at a synod of sixteen bishops of Palestine joyfully admitted Athanasius to communion when returning from the council of Sardica, through Asia, to Alexandria. Sozomen relates (H. E. 4.20) that Maximus was deposed by the influence of Acacius of Caesaraea and Patrophilus, A. D. 349 or 350, and Cyril [CYRILLUS, T., of Jerusalem] appointed in his place; but if there is any truth in this statement, of which Jerome, in his Chronicle, does not speak, the death of Maximus must have very shortly succeeded his deposition.

Further Information

Socrat. H. E. 2.8; Sozom. ll. cc., and 3.6; Theodoret, l.c.; Philostorg. l.c.; Le Quien, Oriens Christianus, vol. iii. col. 156, &c.


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