Zacharias Chrysopolitanus

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Zacharias Chrysopolitanus, also known as Zachary of Besançon, was from Besançon (Chrysopolis) and died about 1155. He was a biblical scholar of the Premonstratensian Order. He was headmaster of the Cathedral School at Besançon, France and then joined the order of the Premonstratensians at the Abbey of Saint Martin in Laon, where he concentrated on his writing. In about 1140 or 1145, he published a Gospel-Harmony with a grammatical and etymological explanation of the Greek, Hebrew, and some Latin words found in the text, under the title Unum ex quattuor, sive de concordia evangelistarum (printed in Patrologia Latina 186:11-620). The work is introduced by three prefaces: the first shows the relation of the Gospel to the Jewish Law, to philosophy, and to the symbols of the Evangelists; the second describes the Evangelists and their view of the mission of Christ; the third enumerates the authorities which he uses. The Gospel-Harmony is divided into 181 chapters. Zacharias attributes the Harmony itself to Ammonius of Alexandria; either way, it is a descendent of Tatian’s Diatesseron. He differs in one notable exception from Ammonius, where he assumes that Christ made another journey to Samaria after his triumphant journey into Jerusalem. His commentary relies on the Latin Fathers, including Ambrose, Augustine, and Jerome. Among the teachers of the Middle Ages, he employs mostly Bede, Alcuin, and Remigius of Auxerre.


This is based on the article Zacharias Chyrsopolitanus in the 1912 Catholic Encyclopedia. For a Protestant perspective, see J. Rendel Harris, “Some Notes on the Gospel-Harmony of Zacharias Chrysopolitanus,” Journal of Biblical Literature 43 no. 1/2 (1924): 32-45. For more recent scholarship see:
de Vregille, B., 'Notes sur la vie et l'œuvre de Zacharias de Besançon', Analecta Praemonstratensia 41 (1965), 293-309
Evans, G.R., 'Zachary of Besançon and the Bible's Contradictions', Analecta Praemonstratensia 58 (1982), 319-23

 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainHerbermann, Charles, ed. (1913). Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company.