Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch one of the apostolical fathers (q.v.), called also Theoyhorus (ὁ θεοφόρος), a title which he explained to the emperor Trajan as meaning "one who has Christ in his heart." We have no trustworthy accounts of the life and ministry of Ignatius. The chief authority is the Martyrium Ignatii (see below), but even those who assert the genuineness of that work admit that it is greatly interpolated. There are several unsupported stories in the fathers, e.g. that Ignatius was the child whom Christ took into his arms (Mr 9:36), that he had seen Christ, etc. Abulpharagius (Dynasc. 7, 75, ed. Pococke, 1663) was understood to assert that Ignatius was born at Nura in Sardinia or Cappadocia, but Mr. Cureton (see below) shows that the words used have no such reference. The Martyrium (c. 3) asserts that he was, along with Polycarp, a hearer of St. John; Chrysostom says that he was nominal bishop of Antioch by the laying on of the hands of the apostles themselves but Eusebius fixes the date of his ordination at A.D. 69, when several of the apostles were dead. According to the same historian, he was the second successor of St. Paul, Evodius having been the first. The Apostolic Constitutions, on the other hand, say that Ignatius and Evodius held the office together, Evodius by appointment from Peter, Ignatius from Paul. So say, also, Baronius and Natalis Alexander, making, however, Evodius bishop of the Jews, and Ignatius of the Gentiles. "Of the episcopate of Ignatius we know little. He appears to have been over- earnest in insisting upon the prerogatives of the clergy, especially the bishops. The Miartyrium Ignatii represents him as anxious for the steadfastness of his flock during the persecution said to have taken place in Domitian's reign, and incessant in watching and prayer and in instructing his people, fearing lest the more ignorant and timid among them should fall away. On the cessation of the persecution he rejoiced at the little injury the church at Antioch had sustained. When the emperor Trajan, elated with his victories over the Dacians and other nations on the Danubian frontier, began to persecute the Church, the anxiety of Ignatius was renewed, and, eager to avert the violence of persecution from his flock, and to obtain the crown of martyrdom, he offered himself as a victim, and was brought before the emperor, then at Antioch on his way to the eastern frontier to attack the Armenians and Parthians. The conference between Trajan and the bishop is given in the Martyriuen Ignatii; it ended in an order of the emperor that Ignatius should be taken to Rome, and there thrown to the wild beasts. He was led thither by a long and tedious route, but was allowed to have communication with his fellow-Christians at the places at which he stopped. He was thrown to the wild beasts in the Roman amphitheatre, at the feast distinguished as ἡ τρισκαιδεκάτη, 'the feast of the thirteenth' (Smith, Dict. of Class. Antiq. s.v. Saturnalia). Such parts of him as remained were collected by his sorrowing friends, and taken back to Antioch, where in Jerome's time they were resting in the cemetery outside the gate toward Daphne. From thence they were removed by the emperor Theodosius II to the Church of Ignatius (previously known as the Tycheum, or Temple of Fortune), in the city of Antioch (Evang. Hist. Eccl.
1, 16). Their subsequent removals are uncertain. The martyrdom of St. Ignatius is commemorated by the Roman Church on the 1st of February; by the Greek 'Church on the 20th of December, the correct anniversary of his martyrdom." The year of Ignatius's death has been much disputed. Many of the best writers (following the Martyriume Ignatii) place it in A.D. 107; but, as it is now generally conceded that Trajan did not visit the East till 114, and as he probably spent the winter 114-115 at Antioch, the best critics agree on A.D. 115 as the most probable date.
Epistles of Igynatius. — On his way from Antioch to Rome, Ignatius is said to have written seven epistles. These are enumerated both by Eusebius (Hist. Eccl. 3, 36) and Jerome (De Viris Illustr. c. 16). At present, however, there are fifteen epistles extant, all ascribed to Ignatius. Seven of these are considered by many to be genuine, namely,
1. Πρὸς Ε᾿φεσίους, Ad Ephesios; 2. Μαγνησιεῦσιν, Ad Magnesianos; 3. Τραλλιανοῖς, Ad Tralliancs; 4. Πρὸς ῾Ρωμαίους, Ad Romanios; 5. Φιλαδελφεῦσιν, Ad Philadelphenos; 6. Σμυρναίοις, Ad Smyrnceos; and, 7. Πρὸς ΠολύκαρπονAd Polycarpumn.
The titles of these epistles agree with the enumeration of Eusebus and Jerome. There are found two recensions of them — a longer, now regarded as an interpolated one, first published by Pacaeus (1557), and a shorter form, which is considered as tolerably uncorrupted. Many doubt the genuineness of either (see below). Two ancient Latin versions are extant, corresponding in a great degree to the two forms or recensions of the Greek text: the larger, known as the common (vulyata) version, the other first discovered and published by archbishop Usher (1644) (see below). The epistles to the Ephesians, Romans, and Polycarp were published, with a translation, in a still shorter Syriac version, by Cureton (1845). Many of the interpolations found in the larger form are of passages from the N.T.
Five other epistles, though extant in Greek, are regarded by nearly all classes of critics as spurious, namely,
8. Πρὸς Μαρίαν εἰς Νεάπολιν τὴν πρὸς τῷ Ζαρθῷ, or Πρὸς Μαρίαν Κασταθολίτην, or ἐκ Κασοθήλων, or Κασταθαλῖτιν, or ἐκ Κασταθάλων Ad Macrinam, Neapo liem, quce est ad Zarbumn, or Ad Mariam Cassobolitam variously written Castabalitam, or Castabalensem, or ex Cossobelis, or Chassaobolorum, or Chasabolorum, or Castabolorm;
9. Πρός τοὺς ἐν Ταρσῷ, Ad Tarsenses;
10. Πρὸς Α᾿ντιοχεῖς, Ad Antiochenos;
11. Πρὸς ῞Ηρωνα, διάκονον Α᾿ντιοχείας, Ad Heronem Diaconum Antiochice;
12. Πρὸς Φιλιππησίους, Ad Philippenses. Some copies add to the title of this last epistle the words περὶ Βαπτίσματος, De Baptismate, an addition which by no means describes the contents. Of four of these spurious epistles two ancient Latin versions are extant, the common version, and that published by Usher. Of that to the Philippians there is but one version, namely, the common. The epistle to Polycarp in the common Latin version is defective, containing only about one third of what is in the Greek text. There is also extant, both in the Greek and in the two Latin versions, an epistle of Mary of Cassobele (called also Προσήλυτος, Proselta) to Ignatius, to which his letter professes to be an answer.
The remaining three epistles ascribed to Ignatius are found only in Latin. They are very short, and have long been given up as spurious. They are,
13. S. Joanni Evangelist; 14. Al Eundem; and, 15. Beatac Virginia.
With these is found a letter of the Virgin to Ignatius, Beata Virgo Ignatio, professing to be an answer to his letter. This also is given up as spurious.
The controversy respecting the genuineness of these writings began at an early period. In A.D. 1495 the three Latin epistles and the letter of the Virgin were printed at Paris, subjoined to the Vita et Processus S. Tholsm Cantuarensis Martyris super Libertate Ecclesiastica. In A.D. 1498, three years after the appearance of these letters, another collection, edited by J. Faber, of Staples (Stapulensis), was printed at Paris in folio, containing the common Latin version of eleven letters, that of Mary of Cassobelae not being among them. They were published with some of the works ascribed to Dionysius Areopagita and an epistle of Polycarp. These eleven epistles were reprinted at Ven. 1502; Paris, 1515; Basel, 1520; and Strasburg, 1527. In 1516 the preceding fourteen epistles, with the addition of the letter to Mary of Cassobelae, were edited by Symphorianus Champerius of Lyons, and published at Paris in 4to, with seven letters of St. Antony, commonly called the Great. In A.D. 1557, the twelve epistles of Ignatius, in Greek, were published by Valentinus Paceus, or Paceus, in 8vo, at Dillingen, in Suabia on the Danube, from an Augsburg MS. They were reprinted at Paris, 1558, with critical emendations. The same twelve Greek epistles, from another MS. from the library of Gaspar a Nydpryck, were published by Andreas Gesner, with a Latin version by Joannes Brunner, Ziurich, 1559, folio. In these editions the Greek text of the seven epistles was given in the larger form, the shorter form, both in Greek and Latin, being as yet undiscovered. The genuineness of these remains was now called in question. The authors of the Centuries Magdeburgenses were the first to express their doubts, though with caution and moderation. Calvin, in his Institutiones (1, 3), declared that "nothing could be more silly than the stuff (naeenice) which had been brought out under the name of Ignatius, and rendered the impudence of those persons more insufferable who had set themselves to deceive people by such phantoms (larvce)." The controversy grew warm, the Roman writers and the Episcopalians commonly contending for the genuineness of at least a part of the epistles, and the Presbyterians denying it. The three epistles not extant in Greek were the first given up, but the rest were stoutly contended for. Several, however, distinguished between the seven enumerated by Eusebius and the rest, and some contended that even those which were genuine were interpolated. While the controversy was in this state, Vedelius, a professor at Geneva, published an edition (S. Ignatii quae extant Omnia, Geneva, 1623, 4to) in which the seven genuine were arranged apart from the other five epistles; he marked, also, in the genuine epistles, the parts which he regarded as interpolations. In 1644 archbishop Usher's (4to, Oxford) edition of the epistles of Polycarp and Ignatius appeared. It contained,
1. Polycarpiana Epistolarum Ignatianarum Sylloge (Polycarp's Collection of the Epistles of Ignatius), containing Polycarp's epistle to the Philippians and six of the supposed genuine epistles of Ignatius;
2. Epistolce B. Ignatio adscriptae a Medice Etatis Graecis Sex (Six Epistles ascribed to St. Ignatius by the Greeks of the Middle Age). The epistle of Polycarp was included in this class, with the five spurious epistles extant in Greek. The common Latin version was also printed with these in parallel columns, and the three epistles which are extant only in Latin were subjoined;
3. A Latin version of eleven epistles (that to the Philippians being omitted) from the two MSS. obtained by Usher, and now first printed. This corresponds, in the main, to the shorter text of the so-called genuine epistles, The work of Usher contains also a valuable introduction and notes to the epistles of Ignatius and Polycarp, the Apostolical Constitutions, and the Canons ascribed to Clement of Rome. In 1646 the epistles of Ignatius were published by Isaac Vossius (4to, Amst.), from a MS. in the Medicean Library at Florence. The MS., which is not accurately written, and is mutilated at the end, is valuable as the only one containing the shorter recension of the genuine epistles; it wants, however, that to the Romans, which was given by Vossius in the longer form, as in the former editions. The five spurious epistles, and that of Mary of Cassobelae to Ignatius, from the Medicean MS., the text of which differs materially from that previously published; the three Latin epistles; Usher's Latin version of the eleven Greek epistles; and the common version of that to the Philippians, were all given by Vossius. In 1647 Usher published his Appendix Ignatiina, containing the Greek text of the seven epistles, and two Latin versions of the Martyriun Ignatii. He gave the Medicean text of six of the epistles; that to the Romans was the common text, with the interpolations expunged, as determined by a collation, of the epistle contained in the Martyriun, both in the Greek of Symeon Metaphrastes and the Latin version published by Usher. After the controversy had been carried on for some time, and great progress had been made towards the settlement of the text, the most formidable attack on the genuineness of the epistles was made by Daille (Dallaus), one of the most eminent of the French Protestants, in his work De Scriptis quae sub Dionysii Areopagite et Ignatii Antiocheni circumfrentur Libri duo (Genesis 1666, 4to). The works of Ignatius form the subject of the second book. This attack of Daille called forth the Vindiciae Ignatianae of bishop Pearson (Cambridge, 1672, 4to), which was long supposed to have settled the controversy. But it has recently been reopened with fresh vigor and interest. Archbishop Usher, in his edition of the Ignatian Epistles published at Oxford in 1644, declared that he could not venture to promise that the genuine Ignatius could be recovered without the aid of another Greek text, which he hoped to obtain from a MS. in the Medicean Library at Florence, or at least without the aid of a Syriac copy, which he did not despair of procuring from Rome. The Medicean MS. was published, but the difficulties remained the same. The Syriac version, which was then looked to as affording the only probable clew to the solution, eluded the most diligent and anxious search for a period of 200 years. It was reserved for the Rev. William Cureton, a canon of Westminster, to supply this clew. Mr. Cureton discovered, among a most important collection of Syriac MSS., procured for the British Museum by archdeacon Tattam, in the year 1843, from the monastery of St. Mary Deipara of the Syrians, in the Desert of Nitria, three entire epistles, which he published in the year 1845. This publication naturally excited great attention on the part of those who felt an interest in the subject, and called forth severe strictures from some who seemed to consider that to remove any part of the seven epistles of Ignatius was to take away so much from the foundations of episcopacy. The form Which the controversy now took led to the publication, in 1849, by Mr. Cureton, of the Corpus Ignatianum, in which the editor brought together a complete Collection of the Ignatian Epistles — genuine, interpolated, and spurious; together with numerous Extracts from them, as quoted by Ecclesiastical Writers down to the Tenth Century, and accompanied by a full history of the controversy from its commencement. Mr. Cureton's conclusion was that the three epistles which he published were the only genuine productions of Ignatius in the series bearing his name. If this did not "take away so much from the foundations of episcopacy," it is because the supposed testimony of a most venerable apostolic father is not one of its foundations, for certainly the three letters are as bare of prelatic allusion as any of Paul's. But the matter did not rest here. Several critical reviews of this position appeared, the most important of which was by Uhlhorn, in the 21st volume of the Zeitschriff d. Hist. Theol., in which a long and learned examination of the question, under the title Das Verhiltniss d. syrischen Recension cd. ignatianischen Briefe zu d. kürzern griechischen… Authentie d. Briefe uberhaupt (translated into English, in a somewhat condensed form, by the Rev. Henry Browne, in the Theol. Critic ), is entered into, which finally asserts that "the seven letters, according to the shorter Greek recension, are the genuine productions of Ignatius of Antioch." Another Translation of the Epistles of Ignatius (together with Clemens Romanus, Polycarp, and the Apologies of Justin Martyr and Tertullian), with notes, and an account of the present state of the question respecting the epistles of Ignatius, by the Rev. Temple Chevallier, B.D. (8vo), appeared in 1852. In 1859 the question was again opened, and again in the Zeitschfeiu hist. Theol., by Dr. R. A. Lipsius, who, in a paper entitled Ueber die Aechtheit der syrischen Recension der ignatianischen Briefe, goes over the ground again with all the learning of his predecessors in the same field, but more at length, examining in detail, and with great critical acumen, the arguments which have been adduced by both sides in this discussion. Dr. Lipsius adopts all the reasoning of the learned editor of the Corpus Ignatianum, and arrives at the same conclusion, namely, that the three letters to Polycarp, to the Ephesians, and to the Romans, in the form in which they appear in the Syriac recension, are the genuine letters of Ignatius, but that the present recession of the seven letters are from a later hand, in which the three genuine letters have been remodeled, and to these three four new ones added. It is a circumstance not to be overlooked that this full adoption of Mr. Cureton's views has appeared in the same journal which gave to the world Uhlhorn's lucubrations, and speaks highly for the honest desire of its conductors to promote the cause of truth, and that only. Bunsen also adopted the views of Cureton in his Die dreiechten und vier unechten Briefe des Ignatius (Hamburg, 1847, 8vo), and his conclusions have been admitted by some eminent Presbyterian authorities (see Bibl. Repos. July, 1849); but Dr. Killen, the Irish Presbyterian, in his Ancient Church (Belfast and N. Y. 1859, 8vo), condemns all the epistles as worthless and spurious. He remarks that "it is no mean proof of the sagacity of the great Calvin that upwards of three hundred years ago he passed a sweeping sentence of condemnation on these Ignatian epistles. At the time many were startled by the boldness of his language, and it was thought that he was somewhat precipitate in pronouncing such a decisive judgment. But he saw distinctly, and he therefore spoke fearlessly. There is a far more intimate connection than many are disposed to believe between sound theology and sound criticism, for a right knowledge of the Word of God strengthens the intellectual vision, and assists in the detection of error wherever it may reveal itself. Had Pearson enjoyed the same clear views of Gospel truth as the reformer of Geneva, he would not have wasted so many precious years in writing a learned vindication of the nonsense attributed to Ignatius. Calvin knew that an apostolic man must have been acquainted with apostolic doctrine, and he saw that these letters must have been the production of an age when the pure light of Christianity was greatly obscured. Hence he denounced them so emphatically; and time has verified his deliverance. His language respecting them has been often quoted, but we feel we cannot more appropriately close our observations on this subject than by another repetition of it, "There is nothing more abominable than that trash which is in circulation under the name of Ignatius." Dr. Killen's positive arguments against the genuineness of all the epistles are,
1. The style is suspicious;
2. The epistles ignore God's Word, which is never done by any of the genuine writings of the early fathers;
3. They contain chronological blunders;
4. They use words in meanings which they did not acquire till long after the time of Ignatius;
5. They abound in puerilities, vaporing, and mysticism;
6. They manifest an unhallowed and insane desire for martyrdom. Baur and Hilgenfeld also hold them all not to be genuine, but think that the seven of the shorter Greek recensions were the first to be forged after A.D. 150, and that the Syriac three are simply fragmentary translations from the Greek.
With Uhlhorn agree also many able and sound critics of the Romanists and Protestants, as Mohler, Hefele, and Gieseler.
The most complete edition of Ignatius is that contained in the Patres Apostolici of Cotelerius, the second edition of which, by Le Clerc (Almst; 1724, 2 vols. folio), contains all the genuine and spurious epistles (Greek and Latin), with the epistles of Mary of Cassobelse and of the Virgin, the two ancient Latin versions (the common one and Usher's), the Martyriumn Ignatii, the Dissertationes (i.e. the Introduction) of Usher, the Vindiciae of Pearson, a Dissertatio de Ignatianis Epistolis by Le Clerc, and variorum notes. A useful edition of the genuine epistles, with those of Clement of Rome and Polycarp, and the Martyria of Ignatius and Polycarp, was published by Jacobson (Oxford, 1838, 2 vols. 8vo). There are versions in several languages of modern Europe, including two English translations, an old one by archbishop Wake (Genuine Epistles of the Apostolic Fathers, Lond. 1693, 8vo), and a modern one by Clementson (1827. 8vo). Wake's translation has been repeatedly published.
The Martyrium Ignatii, which is our chief authority for the circumstances of Ignatius's death, professes to be written by eye-witnesses, the companions of his voyage to Rome, supposed to be Philo, a deacon of Tarsus or some other church in Cilicia, and Rheus Agathopus, a Syrian, who are mentioned in the epistles of Ignatius (Ad Philarlelph.c. 11; Ad Smyrneos, c. 13). Usher adds to them a third person, Gaius, but on what authority we know not, and Gallandius adds Crocus, mentioned by Ignatius (Ad Romanus, c. 10). The account, with many interpolations, is incorporated in the work of Symeon Metaphrastes (Dec. A.D. 20), and a Latin translation from him is given by Surius, De Probatis Sanctor. Vitis, and in the Acta Sanctorum, under the date of the 1st of February. The Martyrium was first printed in Latin by archbishop Usher, who gave two distinct versions from different MSS. The Greek text was first printed by Ruinart, in his Aeta Martyrium Sincera (Par. 1689, 4to), from a MS. in the Colbertine library, and in a revised edition in Le Clerc's Cotelerius. It is given by Jacobson and by most of the later editors of the epistles. Its genuineness is generally recognized, but it is thought to be interpolated. See the remarks of Grabe, quoted by Jacobson at the end of the Martyrium. A considerable fragment of an ancient Syriac version of the Martyrium of Ignatius has been published by Mr. Cureton.
See Smith, Dict. of Biog. and Mythol. s.v.; Cave, Hist. Litt. anno 117; Lardner, Credibility of Gospel History; Edinburgh Review, July, 1849; Coleman, Ancient Christianity, p. 197-200; Bohringer; Kirchengesch. in Biog. 1, 7 sq.; Milman. Lat. Christ. 1, 53 sq.; Neander, Ch. Hist. 1, 269, 295, 631; Cureton, Corpus Ignatianum (Lond. 1849, 8vo); Milton, Prose Works, 1, 78 sq.; NX Y. Review, 1, 367; Kitto, Journ. Sac. Lit. April, 1850; New Englander, Nov. 1849; Quarterly Review, Dec. 1850; Lipsius, in Zeitsch. f. history Theol. 1856, Heft 1; Uhlhorn, in Herzog's Real Encyklop. 6, 623 sq.; Brit. and For. Rev. 33, 640 sq.; Am. Presb. Rev. Jan. 1867, p. 137 sq.; Princet. Rep. 1849, p. 378 sq.; Amer. Quart. Church Review, Jan. 1870, p. 563 sq. SEE EPISTLES.