Tag Archives: ps-Ignatius

Ps-Ignatius, Eudoxius and the Apostolic constitutions

Although I should perhaps be better employed during Holy Week I was able to attend the Kings London patristic seminar yesterday to hear Allen Brent on ps-Ignatius.

Brent argued that ps-Ignatius was what might roughly be called an anomoian, and in particular a disciple of Eudoxius, in Constantinople from 360, but previously in Antioch. This in turn, in an Antiochene setting, would point to Euzoius or one of his circle as the forger.

Brent’s fundamental evidence is a fragment of Eudoxius found in F. Diekamp, Doctrina patrum de incarnatione Verbi: ein griechisches Florilegium aus der Wende des 7 und 8 Jahrhunderts (2nd ed; Münster: Aschendorff, 1981), 64-5: We believe in one only true God and Father, the only first principle unbegotten and without a father, not worshipped because by nature no-one worships the completely transcendent, and in one Lord Jesus Christ the Son, able to be worshipped because he worships rightly the Father, and on the one hand only begotten because he s greater than all creation that came after him, and on the other hand, first-born because of his most excellent and placed first of all in the created order, made flesh not made human, for he did not assume a human soul, but he became flesh in order that through flesh he might communicate as divine through a veil to us humans…

Whereas we can see the points of contact with ps-Ignatius, particularly in the statements regarding the lack of a human soul (and cf. ps-Ignatius Philippians 9.4 for the matter of communicating pathē), as I have already noted, this is simply an outworking of a conventional position in Antiochene christology. Brent’s suggestion that Ignatius was chosen simply as a fundamentally orthodox figure likewise does not convince me. It might be possible to align the forger’s statement regarding being a man set on unity (derived partially from the authentic Ignatius) with a Eudoxian agendum of creating a single imperial church, but against this must be set ps-Ignatius Philadelphians 4. In other words, I see no reason to revise my opinion that the forger is derived from Meletian circles.

However, if Brent is indeed right, that would align ps-Ignatius more closely with the Apostolic constitutions. And yet Brent shares my opinion that the parallels are derived not from identity of authorship but a common exegetical tradition.

The puzzle continues to be as baffling as ever.


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Apostolic constitutions and ps-Ignatius

I was not able to hear Joe Mueller at Oxford, 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, 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.

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Also at Oxford…

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

Short Communication

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?

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ps-Ignatius and Meletius of Antioch:

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.

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A synopticon of Ignatius of Antioch and ps-Ignatius

I have just posted to sarum.academia.edu/AlistairStewart a synopticon of Ignatius of Antioch and ps-Ignatius. This is a by-product of my recently appeared translation from St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, and should be self-explanatory. I hope it proves useful.

In case anyone wonders what the connection with church orders might be, note that ps-Ignatius is widely held to be the redactor of the Apostolic Constitutions. Whether or not that is the case (although the magisterial treatment of Funk in Die apostolischen Konstitutionen: eine litterar–historische Untersuchung (Rottenburg: Wilhelm Bader, 1891) has yet to be bettered, I am still slightly unconvinced), they are certainly heirs to the same tradition. Possibly the synopticon will enable us more clearly than before to see the manner in which the pseudepigrapher worked.

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