The Martyrdom of Ignatius and the Martyrdom of Polycarp

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So, I've been reading through the Michael W. Holmes edition of The Apostolic Fathers and just finished re-reading The Martyrdom of Polycarp. In the introduction to the work they say that, "it was the model for what would become a popular genre of literature, the martyrdom" (pg. 298). However, as I was looking through volume 1 of the Schaff Ante-Nicene Fathers set I noticed that in addition to the letters included in the Holmes edition there is also a document called The Martyrdom of Ignatius. A couple of questions:

1) Is this document generally viewed as reliable, and if so, what date is usually attributed to it?

2) And, if it is reliable, would that not make it the model for the "martyrdom" genre rather than The Martyrdom of Polycarp?

3) Finally, any idea why The Martyrdom of Ignatius is not included in the Holmes edition? As far as I can tell there is no mention or discussion of it in the book.


Puritanboard Amanuensis
Hard to say. Until the Renaissance anything tagged with "Ignatios of Antioch" was seen as either by him or by those who knew him. During the Renaissance at least seven of his fifteen letters were proven to be forgeries (which was behind Calvin's strong reaction against Ignatios).

I don't know too much behind the above Martyrdom, but I hope that provides some literary context.

Phil D.

Puritan Board Junior
Many of the most notable textual historians sine the Reformation have regarded the Martyrdom of Ignatius as spurious (e.g. Ussher, Lightfoot, Neander, Schaff). Some editions of the AF (e.g. Schaff) include it for it's historical interest as it was certainly composed by the 6th century. But I would imagine the editorial staff of the Holme's edition excluded it because they were sufficiently convinced it was a forgery. Neander - a Lutheran, whom in my opinion is usually fairly objective in such matters - believed the evidence suggests it was created as a background over and against which the proven spurious epistles that bear Ignatius' name were then also created, which draw on the account to promote high-episcipal church polity. "The account of the martyrdom of Ignatius may be justly suspected, so too the letters which pre-suppose the correctness of this suspicious legend, do not wear at all a stamp of a distinct individuality of character, and of a man of these times addressing his last words to the churches. A hierarchical purpose is not to be mistaken". (Augustus Neander, Church History, Boston: 1864, 1:661)
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