Hierax, Or Hieracas
HIERAX, or HIERACAS, a learned ascetic who flourished about the end of the 3d century at Leontopolis in Egypt, where he lived to the age of ninety, supporting himself by caligraphy and devoting his leisure to scientific and literary pursuits, especially to the study of the Bible. He was the author of Biblical commentaries both in Greek and Coptic, and is said to have composed many hymns. He ultimately became leader of the so-called sect of the Hieracites, an ascetic society from which persons living in the married state were excluded, and of which one of the leading tenets was that only the celibate could enter the kingdom of heaven. This doctrine was based on a some. what too literal interpretation of the parable of the ten virgins ; on other points, however, Hierax followed Origen in allegorizing Scripture ; thus he thought that the narrative of the fall and the doctrine of the resurrection ought both to be taken in a spiritual sense. It is upon this apparently Manichtean view of matrimony, taken along with his denial of the resurrection and of a visible paradise, and his assertion that infants, as incapable of "striving lawfully," cannot inherit the kingdom of God, that his reputation as a heretic chiefly depends.