I was not able to hear Joe Mueller at Oxford when he spoke on the Apostolic constitutions, as I found myself chairing the liturgy session even as he was giving his paper in another room. I was, finally, able to run into him, however, after a few days of searching.
In due course I will read his paper, but what is interesting, and emerged from our brief discussion in the King’s Arms, is that he shares my suspicion that ps-Ignatius is not the redactor of the Apostolic Constitutions. Thus if the theology of Apostolic Constitutions does not square up with that of Meletius of Antioch (as he argued in his paper), rather than making my proposal that ps-Ignatius is of the Meletian party less likely, this indicates, rather, that there are grounds for not identifying the Constitutor with the Ignatian forger beyond the feeling in my waters.
I hope I shall be able to hear Joe Mueller this year. Here is the abstract:
Joseph Mueller: The Trinitarian Doctrine of the Apostolic Constitutions
Brian Daley has argued that the late-fourth-century Apostolic Constitutions (AC) represent an effort, allied with Meletius of Antioch, to steer a middle course between, on one hand, a conception of the Son and the Spirit as foreign to God’s nature and, on the other hand, an erasure of the Son’s and Spirit’s distinction from the Father, seen by many in the fourth-century East as the vice of Nicaea and its defenders. In the service of this project, the AC clung to biblical language and categories traceable to the influence of Origen and Eusebius of Caesarea. Daley’s argument here largely follows Metzger’s introduction to theSources chrétiennes edition of the AC. Daley also provides evidence that the other works of the redactor of the AC, the commentary on Job and the Pseudo-Ignatian letters, are in this same theological current (“The Enigma of Meletius of Antioch,” in Ronnie J. Rombs and Alexander Y. Hwang, Tradition and the Rule of Faith in the Early Church: Essays in Honor of Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J. [Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2010], 128-50). This present paper will submit that Daley’s arguments do not address sufficiently those made by Georg Wagner, Thomas Kopeček, and Dieter Hagedorn to link the AC, Pseudo-Ignatius, and his commentary on Job to currents closer to Eunomius. Tracing the Trinitarian revisions made by the AC to its source documents also provides support for relating the AC to such currents.
It is notable that Brian Daley has fingered the circle around Meletius of Antioch as that in which the Apostolic Constitutions originated, even as I suspected the same of pseudo-Ignatius. Nonetheless, I suspect that Mueller will be spot on as he usually is. What this leads me to ask, once again, is whether there is absolute identity between the Ignatian pseudographist and the apostolic pseudographist. Might fine but significant distinctions in their Trinitarian theology provide the key? Anyone out there looking for a PhD topic?
As so often, soon after publication I find an omission. Whilst looking for something else I have just stumbled across Oliver Hihn, “The election and deposition of Meletius of Antioch: the fall of an integrative bishop” in Johan Leemans et al. (ed.) Episcopal elections in late antiquity (Arbeiten zur Kirchengeschichte 119; Berlin: de Gruyter, 2011), 357-373. Since I argue, in my Ignatius, that ps-Ignatius was a member of the Meletian party its relevance is obvious, and given the links (to which allusion has already been made) with Apostolic constitutions, there may be some basis for connection. Nonetheless I am relieved to find that Hihn assesses Meletius much as I do, as an “integrative” bishop, namely one who “pursued a religious policy of integration and unity” (373). This is the tone and tenor of the pseudo-Ignatian correspondence, and it is in this light, I suggest, that we should read the non-Nicene elements in the Apostolic Constitutions.