The Earliest Ever Commentary on Scripture
The Commentary on Daniel by Hippolytus of Rome (d.235) “represents the earliest known exegetical treatise of the Christian Church that we possess.” The entire text is extant in an Old Slavonic version and much of it is exists in the original Greek in fragments (Quasten, Patrology, II.171). It might be surprising that the first commentary we have is on Daniel! It might also be surprising that this work has only recently been translated. Both the Greek text and the English translation can be downloaded from the links below. Origen visited Rome and heard Hippolytus preach, and so Hippolytus might well have served as some sort of inspiration for his great number of exegetical works (Quasten, II.163). Origen of course, went on to spark a great tradition of exegetical commentaries in the east that lasted for centuries. The picture to the left is likely a statue of Hippolytus that was constructed in the third century, but only discovered in a cemetery in Rome in 1551.
For the Greek text, click here.
For the English translation (for free!), click here. Many thanks to the translator!