Authenticity of Ignatian epistles


#1

I was wondering if anyone knew of any recent scholarship on the authenticity of the epistles Ignatius wrote. I know that epistles to the Antiochians, Tarsians, Philippians, Mary the Virgin, St. John, Hero, Maria of Cassoblae, and Mary at Neopolis are considered spurious by the large majority of scholars (at least that I know of).

On the other hand, the epistles to the Ephesians, Smyrneans, Philadelphians, Romans, Trallians, Magnesians and to Polycarp all have long and short versions, which makes for some interesting debate as to which, if either, is authentic.

On top of that, the epistles to the Ephesians, the Romans and Polycarp all have Syriac versions that differ from the longer/shorter versions of their Greek/Latin bretheren.

Does anyone know much about the authenticity of the Ignatian epistles, especially in regards to recent scholarship? (Referral to good books/weblinks are also appreciated:)) Thanks again guys.

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#2

Hi D.S.

I just took a course in Church History, and as far as I undersand, the authenticity judgments have not changed. What has changed is that it would seem that the letters were written closer to the year 200 than to the year 100.

Verbum


#3

Thanks for the reply, Verbum. What book(s) did you use in that class that related to this?

If i remember correctly, Ignatius was supposed to have been martyred during the reign of Trajan (at least according to Eusebius Origen, etc.), which ended in 117 A.D., how could they have been written around 200?

Sorry for the questions, I’m just a guy who is searching for the truth about the Catholic faith, and establishing in my mind that the writings of Ignatius support the hierarchical claims of the Church would help a lot.


#4

[quote=Deus Solus]Thanks for the reply, Verbum. What book(s) did you use in that class that related to this?

If i remember correctly, Ignatius was supposed to have been martyred during the reign of Trajan (at least according to Eusebius Origen, etc.), which ended in 117 A.D., how could they have been written around 200?

Sorry for the questions, I’m just a guy who is searching for the truth about the Catholic faith, and establishing in my mind that the writings of Ignatius support the hierarchical claims of the Church would help a lot.
[/quote]

God bless you. Read Jurgens Faith of the Early fathers Volume You will see Catholicism all over the Christian writings.

About Ignatius, he was martyred around 107AD I believe, so I think 200 AD is way off the mark. Understand the doctrine of the Eucharist, because if you believe that, then everything else will just fall into place. Given the Orthodox and Catholics are the only Christian denominations that have upheld the constant belief in this doctrine, your search for the Church Christ started and the belief he left us is narrowed from 30,000 to 2.


#5

[quote=Deus Solus]I was wondering if anyone knew of any recent scholarship on the authenticity of the epistles Ignatius wrote. I know that epistles to the Antiochians, Tarsians, Philippians, Mary the Virgin, St. John, Hero, Maria of Cassoblae, and Mary at Neopolis are considered spurious by the large majority of scholars (at least that I know of).

On the other hand, the epistles to the Ephesians, Smyrneans, Philadelphians, Romans, Trallians, Magnesians and to Polycarp all have long and short versions, which makes for some interesting debate as to which, if either, is authentic.

On top of that, the epistles to the Ephesians, the Romans and Polycarp all have Syriac versions that differ from the longer/shorter versions of their Greek/Latin bretheren.

Does anyone know much about the authenticity of the Ignatian epistles, especially in regards to recent scholarship? (Referral to good books/weblinks are also appreciated:)) Thanks again guys.

[/quote]

The consensus seems to be that the short Greek versions are genuine and everything else is spurious. As far as I know this hasn’t changed in 100+ years. And the letters were written fairly early in the 2nd century, I believe–I think Ignatius was martyred under Trajan.

Good general books are:
J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Doctrines (Anglican)
Robert Louis Wilken, The Spirit of Early Christian Thought (Catholic, convert from Lutheranism–I have only glanced at this recent book, but Wilken is generally very good and I’ve heard a lot of praise for this one)
Henry Chadwick, The Early Church (Anglican)
Jaroslav Pelikan, The Christian Tradition, vol. 1 (Lutheran, but has since converted to Orthodoxy)
Justo Gonzalez, History of Christian Thought, vol. 1 (Methodist)

In Christ,

Edwin


#6

Hi D.S.,

We had no texts, only notes and this was mentioned only in passing. A professor of Church history could possibly enlighten you on the latest discoveries and theories.

Verbum


closed #7

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