Trajectories through the New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers

By Andrew F. Gregory; Christopher M. Tuckett | Go to book overview

4
The Apostolic Christology of Ignatius of
Antioch: The Road to Chalcedon

Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M. Cap.

What New Testament teachings Ignatius of Antioch (d. c.107–10) was acquainted with, either in their written form or through the oral traditions that gave rise to them, has caused a great deal of debate. For example, did Ignatius have access to some or all of the written Gospels of Matthew, Luke, and John, or was he merely acquainted with their various oral traditions, or even traditions parallel to them? Which, and how many, of Paul’s letters did he possess or had he read? There is no scholarly consensus concerning these issues. Some authors offer a positive assessment, and affirm that Ignatius did possess some of the writings later canonized as the New Testament, the most likely being Matthew, John, and 1 Corinthians, and that he was acquainted with various oral traditions, the most likely being Lucan and Pauline traditions. Others scholars are more or less skeptical.1 At present, it is very difficult, and in the end most likely impossible, to ascertain exactly which Christian writings Ignatius either had read or knew simply from the various oral traditions that he had received. I would cautiously affirm that Ignatius did

1 For a careful recent survey see Paul Foster, Ch. 7 in the companion volume. Other discussions include W. Burghart, ‘Did Saint Ignatius of Antioch Know the Fourth Gospel?’, TS 1 (1940), 130–56; R. M. Grant, ‘Scripture and Tradition in St. Ignatius of Antioch’, CBQ 25 (1963), 322–35; idem, The Apostolic Fathers, iv: Ignatius of Antioch (London: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1966), 1–24; C. E. Hill, ‘Ignatius and the Apostolate: The Witness of Ignatius to the Emergence of Christian Scripture’, in M. Wiles and E. Yarnold (eds.), StPatr 36 (Leuven: Peeters, 2001), 226–48; D. L. Hoffman, ‘The Authority of Scripture and Apostolic Doctrine in Ignatius of Antioch’, JETS 28 (1985), 71–9; L. W. Hurtado, Lord Jesus Christ: Devotion to Jesus in Earliest Christianity (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2003), 235–40; S. E. Johnson, ‘Parallels between the Letters of Ignatius and the Johannine Epistles’, in E. W. Conrad and E. G. Newing (eds.), Perspectives on Language and Text (Winona Lake, Ind.: Eisenbrauns, 1987), 327–38; H. Koester, ‘History and Cult in the Gospel of John and in Ignatius of Antioch’, JTC 1 (1965), 111–23; C. C. Richardson, The Christianity of Ignatius of Antioch (New York: AMS Press, 1935), 60–75; J. Smit Sibinga, ‘Ignatius and Matthew’, NovT 8 (1966), 263–83; C. M. Trevett, ‘Approaching Matthew from the Second Century: The Under-Used Ignatian Correspondence’, JSNT 20 (1984), 59–67.

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