Tag Archives: pseudo-Ignatius

An Antiochene version of the “eucharistic words”

I have just read Kevin Künzl, “The Ignatian eucharist in transition: textual variation as evidence for transformations in meal practice and theology” in Markus Vinzent (ed.), Studia patristica 126 (Leuven: Peeters, 2021), which is perhaps not as exciting as it sounds. Künzl observes the variations between the middle and long recensions of Ignatius in passages relating to meals, in order to demonstrate that the understanding of Eucharist had undergone some change between the second century and the fourth, though he interestingly observes other versional evidence. However, one fascinating observation, which I had overlooked, is the use of the verb θρύπτω in one passage, as opposed to the more usual κλάω.
This passage is in the long recension of Philadelphians 4: the expansion reads, “There is one bread which is broken (ἐθρύφθη) for all, and one cup which is shared with the whole congregation.” Künzl renders ἐθρύφθη as “ground”, which is perhaps overdoing it, but I really feel I should have observed this when I was working on the pseudo-Ignatians, and rendered “broken up”, rather than simply “broken.”
Künzl offers the following interesting parallels to the use of this word:
Constitutiones Apostolorum 8.12.36: …καὶ κλάσας ἔδωκεν τοῖς μαθηταῖς εἰπών· Τοῦτο τὸ μυστήριον τῆς καινῆς διαθήκης, λάβετε ἐξ αὐτοῦ, φάγετε, τοῦτό ἐστι τὸ σῶμά μου τὸ περὶ πολλὼν θρυπτόμενον εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.
Theodoret, Epistula 145 (PG 83, 1251A): καὶ τὰ θεῖα δὲ παραδοὺς μυστήρια, καὶ τὸ σύμβολον κλάσας καὶ διανείμας, ἐπήγαγε· Τοῦτό μού ἐστι τὸ σῶμα, τὸ ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν θρυπτόμενον εἰς ἄφεσιν ἁμαρτιῶν.
This peculiar version of the words of institution seems to be common Antiochene property. I would not, however, read more into it than that.


Leave a comment

Filed under Apostolic Constitutions

Didascalia apostolorum 2.26.4

Dani Vaucher’s comment below on the “breaf” abstract from the paper on Didascalia 9 has got me thinking.

The reconstruction of passages from Greek writings preserved only in ancient translations is an uncertain business; if only I had paid more attention in Greek prose composition classes as an undergraduate! Didascalia apostolorum 2.26.4 (from chapter 9 of the Syriac) is of particular interest.

The Constitutiones apostolorum reads: ὁ μὲν οὖν ἐπίσκοπος προκαθεζέσθω ὑμῶν ὡς θεοῦ ἀξίᾳ τετιμημένος (CA 2.26.4). That it is highly paraphrastic at this point (as an adaptation, rather than a translation, of the Didascalia) is evident from both the Latin and the Syriac versions of the Didascalia.

The Latin reads: “hic locum dei sequens sicuti deus honoretur a vobis quoniam episcopus in typum dei praesedet vobis” whereas in the Syriac we read: “But (ܐܠܐ) he leads (ܡܕܒܪ) you in the place of (ܒܕܘܟܬܐ) the Almighty one. He is to be honoured by you as God (ܐܝܟ ܐܠܗܐ) since the bishop sits among you in the place (ܒܕܘܟܬܐ) of God almighty.”

There are thus two major divergences between the versions. The first is in the verb (“following” or “leading”), the second in the statement that the bishop is in the place (Syriac) or as a type (Latin) of God. It is also to be observed that the Syriac supplies an object for the verb which is not present in Latin. Thus the Syriac translator understands this as referring to something that the bishop does,  whereas the Latin understands this to mean that the bishop has second place to God.

In asking which is correct in each part the primary question is that of which Greek verb might lead to either rendition. Given that none is obvious, we ask ourselves which verb might have been misread by either translator. We may suspect the presence of a participle, given that both versions employ participial forms, rather than a simple preposition. One possibility which presents itself is the aorist participle of ἀλλάσσω, ἀλλαχθείς, meaning that the bishop exchanged places with God. This would tend to support the Latin; the suggestion, in turn is that the Syriac translator read this as ἀλλʼ ἀχθείς (thus accounting for the ܐܠܐ in the Syriac) and supplied an appropriate object. As such this is entirely plausible, and so I find that I have persuaded myself, if nobody else.

The distinction between the two versions in the second part of the phrase is easier to explain. We may certainly suspect that the Latin is correct in reading typum, representing τύπος, and that this has been read by the Syriac translator as τόπος, perhaps on the basis that τόπος has appeared immediately beforehand. At Ignatius Magn. 6 we read of the bishop that he is προκαθημένου… εἰς τύπον θεοῦ. Although the MS tradition reads τόπον here. Lightfoot suggested τύπον, and is recently followed, very persuasively, by Brent.

As a result I would venture as a retroversion: ἀλλαχθείς τοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τόπου, ὑφʼ ὑμῶν ὡς θεοῦ τιμῆσθω (or τετιμημένος ), προκαθημένου τοῦ ἐπισκόπου εἰς τύπον θεοῦ. The use of the genitive absolute in the last clause, rather than ἐπεί or ἐπειδή or some similar conjunction, is a punt on the hypothesis that the Didascalist was citing Ignatius directly. To be honest the use of a conjunction is more probable, given the quoniam of the Latin and the ܐܠܐ of the Syriac, which rather indicates that he is not citing Ignatius directly. Thus: ἀλλαχθείς τοῦ τοῦ θεοῦ τόπου, ὑφʼ ὑμῶν ὡς θεοῦ τετιμημένος, ἐπεὶ εἰς τύπον θεοῦ προκαθημένος ὁ ἐπίσκοπος.

At the end of which we ask whether we have really learnt anything. Had I been persuaded by this exercise that the Didascalist had direct knowledge of Ignatius that would be worthwhile, although I suppose the lack of direct correspondence indicates a more widespread tradition. Otherwise it has simply exercised the little grey cells for a while without a great deal in the way of progress.

What is perhaps most interesting is that the Constitutiones apostolorum manifestly do not cite Ignatius. Were the redactor pseudo-Ignatius, as we are often told he is, then that would be decidedly odd.

Leave a comment

Filed under Didascalia Apostolorum

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.


Filed under Apostolic Constitutions

Apostolic constitutions and ps-Ignatius

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Apostolic Constitutions

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?

Leave a comment

Filed under Apostolic Constitutions

“Solomon was twelve”: an addendum to my Didascalia commentary

In Didascalia 2.1 we read that Solomon began to reign when he was twelve years of age. The source of this is not scriptural, though I had no idea whence the idea might have derived.

Subsequently, in investigating parallels between the Apostolic constitutions and ps-Ignatius, both of whom also make this statement, I found that Genesis Rabbah 11 makes the same statement. Is it possible that this is part of common haggadic discourse, and that this is the Didascalist’s source? As such this would hardly be surprising, as there are other examples of this. However, the blog allows me at least to made the addendum.

Leave a comment

Filed under Didascalia Apostolorum