Ignatius of Antioch
Ignatius of Antioch known as Ignatius Theophorus or Ignatius Nurono, was an early Christian writer and bishop of Antioch. En route to Rome, where he met his martyrdom, Ignatius wrote a series of letters; this correspondence now forms a central part of the collection known as the Apostolic Fathers, of which he is considered one of the three chief ones together with Pope Clement I and Polycarp. His letters serve as an example of early Christian theology. Important topics they address include ecclesiology, the sacraments, the role of bishops. Nothing is known of Ignatius' life apart from what may be inferred internally from his letters, except from traditions, it is said Ignatius converted to Christianity at a young age. Tradition identifies Ignatius, along with his friend Polycarp, as disciples of John the Apostle. In his life, Ignatius was chosen to serve as Bishop of Antioch. Theodoret of Cyrrhus claimed that St. Peter himself left directions that Ignatius be appointed to the episcopal see of Antioch.
Ignatius called. A tradition arose that he was one of the children whom Jesus Christ took in his arms and blessed, although if he was born around 35 AD, as supposed Christ had ascended five years prior. Ignatius' own writings mention his arrest by the authorities and travel to Rome to face trial: From Syria to Rome I fight with wild beasts, by land and sea, by night and by day, being bound amidst ten leopards a company of soldiers, who only grow worse when they are kindly treated. Ignatius' transfer to Rome is regarded by scholars as unusual, since those persecuted as Christians would be expected to be punished locally. If he were a Roman citizen, he could have appealed to the emperor, but would have been beheaded rather than tortured. Allen Brent has suggested that Ignatius was involved in conflict with other Christians and was executed for the capital crime of disturbing the peace. During the journey to Rome and his entourage of soldiers made a number of stops in Asia Minor. Along the route Ignatius wrote six letters to the churches in the region and one to a fellow bishop, bishop of Smyrna.
In his Chronicle, Eusebius gives the date of Ignatius's death as AA 2124, i.e. the 11th year of Trajan's reign, AD 108. Ignatius himself wrote that he would be thrown to the beasts, in the fourth century Eusebius reports tradition that this came to pass, repeated by Jerome, the first to explicitly mention "Lions". John Chrysostom is the first to allude to the Colosseum as the place of Ignatius' martyrdom. Contemporary scholars are not clear that any of these authors had sources other than Ignatius' own writings. After Ignatius' martyrdom in the Circus Maximus his remains were carried back to Antioch by his companions; the reputed remains of Ignatius were moved by the Emperor Theodosius II to the Tychaeum, or Temple of Tyche, converted into a church dedicated to Ignatius. In 637 the relics were transferred to the Basilica di San Clemente in Rome. Ignatius' feast day was kept in his own Antioch on 17 October, the day on which he is now celebrated in the Catholic Church and in western Christianity, although from the 12th century until 1969 it was put at 1 February in the General Roman Calendar.
In the Eastern Orthodox Church it is observed on 20 December. The Synaxarium of the Coptic Orthodox Church of Alexandria places it on the 24th of the Coptic Month of Koiak, corresponding in three years out of every four to 20 December in the Julian Calendar, which falls on 2 January of the Gregorian Calendar; the following seven letters preserved under the name of Ignatius are considered authentic as they were mentioned by the historian Eusebius in the first half of the fourth century. Seven authentic letters: The Letter to the Ephesians, The Letter to the Magnesians, The Letter to the Trallians, The Letter to the Romans, The Letter to the Philadelphians, The Letter to the Smyrnaeans, The Letter to Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna. Writing in 1886, Presbyterian minister and church historian William Dool Killen asserted none of the Ignatian epistles were authentic. Instead, he argued that Callixtus, bishop of Rome, pseudepigraphically wrote the letters around AD 220 to garner support for a monarchical episcopate, modeling the renowned Saint Ignatius after his own life to give precedent for his own authority.
Killen contrasted this episcopal polity with the presbyterian polity in the writings of Polycarp. Most scholars, accept at least the two Ignatian epistles which were referenced by Origen, believe that by the 5th century, this collection had been enlarged by spurious letters; the original text of six of the seven authentic letters are found in the Codex Mediceo Laurentianus written in Greek in the 11th century, while the letter to the Romans is found in the Codex Colbertinus. Some of the original letters were, at one point, believed to have been changed with interpolations; the oldest is known as the "Long Recension". These were created to posthumously enlist Ignatius as an unwitting witness in theological disputes of that age, but that position was vigorously combated by several British and German critics, including the Catholics Denzinger and Hefe
Gospel of Mary
The Gospel of Mary is an apocryphal book discovered in 1896 in a 5th-century papyrus codex written in Sahidic Coptic. This Berlin Codex was purchased in Cairo by German diplomat Carl Reinhardt. Although the work is popularly known as the Gospel of Mary, it is not technically classed as a gospel by scholastic consensus because "the term'gospel' is used as a label for any written text, focused on recounting the teachings and/or activities of Jesus during his adult life"; the Berlin Codex known as the Akhmim Codex contains the Apocryphon of John, the Sophia of Jesus Christ, a summary of the Act of Peter. All four works contained in the manuscript are written in the Sahidic dialect of Coptic. Two other fragments of the Gospel of Mary have been discovered. P. Oxy. L 3525 "... was in fact found by Grenfell and Hunt some time between 1897 and 1906, but only published in 1983," by P. J. Parsons; the two fragments were published in 1938 and 1983 and the Coptic translation was published in 1955 by Walter Till.
Most scholars agree. However, Hollis Professor of Divinity Karen King at Harvard Divinity School suggests that it was written during the time of Christ; the Gospel of Mary is not present in the list of apocryphal books of section five of the Decretum Gelasianum. Scholars do not always agree which of the New Testament people named Mary is the central character of the Gospel of Mary. Stephen J. Shoemaker and F. Stanley Jones have suggested. Arguments in favor of Mary Magdalene are based on her status as a known follower of Jesus, the tradition of being the first witness of his resurrection, her appearance in other early Christian writings, she is mentioned as accompanying Jesus on his journeys and is listed in the Gospel of Matthew as being present at his crucifixion. In the Gospel of John, she is recorded as the first witness of Jesus' resurrection. Esther de Boer compares her role in other non-canonical texts, noting that "in the Gospel of Mary it is Peter, opposed to Mary’s words, because she is a woman.
Peter has the same role in Pistis Sophia. In Pistis Sophia the Mary concerned is identified as Mary Magdalene." The final scene in the Gospel of Mary may provide evidence that Mary is indeed Mary Magdalene. Levi, in his defense of Mary and her teaching, tells Peter, "Surely the Savior knows her well; that is why he loved her more than us." In the Gospel of Philip, a similar statement is made about Mary Magdalene. King argues in favor of naming Mary Magdalene as the central figure in the Gospel of Mary, she summarizes: “It was the traditions of Mary as a woman, as an exemplary disciple, a witness to the ministry of Jesus, a visionary of the glorified Jesus, someone traditionally in contest with Peter, that made her the only figure who could play all the roles required to convey the messages and meanings of the Gospel of Mary.”Richard Valantasis writes in The Beliefnet Guide to Gnosticism and Other Vanished Christianities that the Mary here is Mary Magdalene. Valantasis clarifies that this doesn’t “confirm an earthly marriage between her and Jesus — far from it — but it opens an incredible window into the intellectual and spiritual world of the second century C.
E.” The idea that there would be a gospel from Mary Magdalene is “controversial,” however because Andrew objected to the strangeness of Mary’s revelations from Jesus. Peter argued, as Valantasis mentions, that “Jesus would not have revealed such important teachings to a woman,” and that “her stature cannot be greater than that of the male apostles." The most complete text of the Gospel of Mary is contained in the Berlin Codex, but so, it is missing six manuscript pages at the beginning of the document and four manuscript pages in the middle. As such, the narrative begins in the middle of a scene, leaving the setting and circumstances unclear. King believes, that references to the death of the Savior and the commissioning scene in the narrative indicate the setting in the first section of the text is a post resurrection appearance of the Savior; as the narrative opens, the Savior is engaged in dialogue with his disciples, answering their questions on the nature of matter and the nature of sin.
At the end of the discussion, the Savior departs leaving the disciples anxious. According to the story, Mary speaks up with words of encouragement. Peter asks Mary to share with them any special teaching she received from the Savior, “Peter said to Mary, ‘Sister, we know that the Savior loved you more than the rest of the women. Tell us the words of the Savior which you remember—which you know we do not, nor have we heard them.’” Mary responds to Peter’s request by recounting a conversation she had with the Savior about visions. Said, "I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to him, ‘Lord, I saw you today in a vision.’" He answered and said to me: “Blessed are you, that you did not waver at the sight of me. For where the mind is, there is the treasure." I said to him, "So now, does a person who sees a vision see it <through> the soul <or> through the spirit?" In the conversation, the Savior teaches that the inner self is composed of soul, spirit/mind, a third mind, between the two which sees the vision.
The text breaks off and the next four pages are missing. When the narrative resumes, Mary is no longer recalling her discussion with the Savior, she is instead recounting the revelation given to her in her vision. The revelation describes an ascent of a soul, which as
The Diatessaron, is the most prominent early gospel harmony, was created by Tatian, an Assyrian early Christian apologist and ascetic. Tatian sought to combine all the textual material he found in the four gospels—Matthew, Mark and John—into a single coherent narrative of Jesus's life and death. However, in contradistinction to most gospel harmonists, Tatian appears not to have been motivated by any aspiration to validate the four separate canonical gospel accounts. Tatian's harmony follows the gospels in terms of text but, in order to fit all the canonical material in, he created his own narrative sequence, different from both the synoptic sequence and John's sequence; this sequence is coherent and consistent within itself, but not consistent with that in all or any of the separate canonical gospels. Where the gospels differ from one another in respect of the details of an event or teaching, the Diatessaron resolves such apparent contradictions by selecting one or another alternative wording and adding consistent details from the other gospels.
Hence, in respect of the healing of the blind at Jericho the Diatessaron reports only one blind man, healed by Jesus when leaving the city according to the account in Mark 10:46ff. Otherwise, Tatian omitted altogether both of the different genealogies in Matthew and Luke, as well as Luke's introduction; this latter passage is, however considered to be a late addition to the Gospel of John, with the Diatessaron itself cited as an early textual witness in support of its omission. Most scholars agree that Tatian did, from the beginning, include the longer ending of Mark, correspondingly is amongst the earliest witnesses to this inclusion. Tatian added no significant wording to the textual material. Only 56 verses in the canonical Gospels do not have a counterpart in the Diatessaron the genealogies and the Pericope Adulterae; the final work is about 72 %. In the early Church, the gospels at first circulated independently, with Matthew the most popular; the Diatessaron is notable evidence for the authority enjoyed by the gospels by the mid- to late-2nd century.
Within twenty years after Tatian's harmony was written, Irenaeus was expressly arguing for the authoritative character of the Four Gospels. It is unclear whether Tatian intended the Diatessaron to supplement or replace the four separate gospels; the Diatessaron became adopted as the standard lectionary text of the gospels in some Syriac-speaking churches from the late 2nd to the 5th century, when it gave way to the four separate Gospels, in the Peshitta version. At the same time, in the churches of the Latin west, the Diatessaron circulated as a supplement to the four gospels in the Latin translation. Tatian was an Assyrian, a pupil of Justin Martyr in Rome, Justin says, the apomnemoneumata of the Apostles, the gospels, were read every Sunday; when Justin quotes the synoptic Gospels, he tends to do so in a harmonised form, Helmut Koester and others conclude that Justin must have possessed a Greek harmony text of Matthew and Mark. If so, it is unclear how much Tatian may have borrowed from this previous author in determining his own narrative sequence of Gospel elements.
It is unclear whether Tatian took the Syriac Gospel texts composited into his Diatessaron from a previous translation, or whether the translation was his own. Where the Diatessaron records Gospel quotations from the Jewish Scriptures, the text appears to agree with that found in the Syriac Peshitta Old Testament rather than that found in the Greek Septuagint—as used by the original Gospel authors; the majority consensus is that the Peshitta Old Testament preceded the Diatessaron, represents an independent translation from the Hebrew Bible. Resolution of these scholarly questions remained difficult so long as no complete version of the Diatessaron in Syriac or Greek had been recovered. There is scholarly uncertainty about what language Tatian used for its original composition, whether Syriac or Greek. Modern scholarship tends to favour a Syriac origin; the Diatessaron was used as the standard Gospel text in the liturgy of at least some sections of the Syrian Church for up to two centuries and was quoted or alluded to by Syrian writers.
Ephrem the Syrian wrote a commentary on it, the Syriac original of, rediscovered only in 1957, when a manuscript acquired by Sir Che
Gospel of Nicodemus
The Gospel of Nicodemus known as the Acts of Pilate, is an apocryphal gospel claimed to have been derived from an original Hebrew work written by Nicodemus, who appears in the Gospel of John as an associate of Jesus. The title "Gospel of Nicodemus" is medieval in origin; the dates of its accreted sections are uncertain, but according to the 1907 edition of the Catholic Encyclopedia scholars agree in assigning the resulting work to the middle of the fourth century AD. The section about Pilate is an older text found in the Greek Acts of Peter and Paul and is a purported official document from Pontius Pilate reporting events in Judea to Emperor Tiberius, referring to the crucifixion of Jesus, as well as his miracles; the oldest sections of the book appear first in Greek. The text contains multiple parts, which would seem to be by different hands; the Acts of Pilate does not purport to have been written by Pilate, but does claim to have been derived from the official acts preserved in the praetorium at Jerusalem.
The question of the original language is debated. Beyond Greek, the versions in Latin, Coptic, Georgian and other languages have survived; the authenticity of the document is unlikely and there is no historical basis that Roman governors wrote reports about non-citizens who were put to death. Most modern scholars view the Acts of Pilate as not authentic and as a Christian composition designed to rebut pagan sources; the main body of the Gospel of Nicodemus is in two sections, with an appendix, Descensus ad Infernos. The first contains the trial of Jesus based upon Luke 23. In addition to the Greek and Latin witnesses of the first part, there are three other notable ancient versions including Syriac or Aramaic and Coptic; the second part concerns the Resurrection. In it, Leucius and Charinus, the two souls raised from the dead after the Crucifixion, relate to the Sanhedrin the circumstances of the descent of Christ to Limbo. A literature of miracle-tale romance developed around a conflated "Leucius Charinus" as an author of further texts.
The Harrowing of Hell episode depicts St Dismas accompanying Christ in Hell, the deliverance of the righteous Old Testament patriarchs. An appended text purports to be a written report made by Pontius Pilate to Claudius, containing a description of the crucifixion, as well as an account of the resurrection of Jesus. One series of Latin manuscripts includes as an appendix or continuation, the episode Cura Sanitatis Tiberii, the oldest form of the Veronica legend, according to the Catholic Encyclopedia, in which Emperor Tiberius is cured of his malady; as the Church historian Eusebius of Caesarea shows no acquaintance with this Gospel, historians assume that it postdates this time. Eusebius was aware of related texts: the "Letters of Pilate" referred to by Justin and Tertullian as well as an anti-Christian text called Acts of Pilate, prescribed for reading in schools under the emperor Maximinus during the Diocletianic Persecution. "We are forced to admit, of origin, scholars agree in assigning it to the middle of the fourth century."
Epiphanius refers to an Acta Pilati, but the extant Greek texts show evidence of editing. Though the Acta Pilati purports to be a report by Pontius Pilate containing evidence of Jesus Christ's messiahship and godhead, there is no record in early Christian lore of Pilate's conversion to Christianity. Justin Martyr wrote, "And that these things did happen, you can ascertain from the Acts of Pontius Pilate." The Apology letters were written and addressed by name to the Roman Emperor Pius and the Roman Governor Urbicus. All three of these men lived between AD 138 – 161; the Acta Pilati have had a long history inspiring devotional works. A Meditatione sopra la Passione del nostro signore Iesu Christo, drawing in part on Acta Pilati for its expanded anecdotal elements in the Passion, was printed twenty-eight times in Italy between about 1476 and 1500, inspired the depiction of Christ before Pilate by Pontormo; the Gospel of Nicodemus names several minor New Testament figures who were not named in the canonical texts.
List of Gospels The Report of Pilate to the Emperor Claudius e-text, M. R. James, translator Herbermann, Charles, ed.. "Acta Pilati". Catholic Encyclopedia. New York: Robert Appleton Company. "Gospel of Nicodemus, or Acts of Pilate". The Apocryphal New Testament. Translated by James, M. R. Oxford: Clarendon Press. 1924. Archived from the original on 5 July 2015. Simmons, Austin. "The Cipherment of the Franks Casket". Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. An apocryphal tradition reflected in the Vindicta Salvatoris likely influenced the art carved into the back of the Franks Casket.
Acts of Xanthippe, Polyxena, and Rebecca
The Acts of Xanthippe and Rebecca is a New Testament Apocrypha dating from the third or fourth century. Regarding its place in literature, twentieth century classicist scholar Moses Hadas writes: "Christians learned not only from pagan preachers but from pagan romancers; the orthodox Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena... has all the thrilling kidnapings and surprises of the typical Greek romance". The tale is set in the time of Nero and consists of two completely separate stories: the tale of Xanthippe and the tale of Polyxena. Although a third woman named Rebecca is included in the title, she doesn't figure as a major character; the liturgical feast of these figures is Sept. 23. Having witnessed Paul preach in Rome, a servant returns to Spain and falls sick due to wishing to have heard Paul properly; the master's wife, overhears the servant explaining this, so she speaks with the servant, which causes statues of the household gods to fall down. Xanthippe thereupon proceeds to fast, lose sleep, enter into celibacy wasting away.
Paul is led by God to come to Xanthippe but, when she expresses a desire to be baptized, her husband throws Paul out and locks Xanthippe up. Xanthippe prays that her husband will fall asleep at dinner, which he does, so she is able to escape the house by bribing the porter. On her way to Paul, Xanthippe is attacked by demons wielding fire and lightning, from which she is saved by a vision of Jesus and Paul finding her. Paul takes her indoors where she is baptised and given the Eucharist. Returning home, Xanthippe collapses, her husband soon awakes and, asks some wise men for an interpretation. They declare that the dream reveals the struggle between Satan and Christ and advise that the husband be baptized; when they look in on his wife Xanthippe, expecting her to be near death, they discover her singing praises to Jesus. This impresses the wise men to the extent. All of this induces her husband to convert. Xanthippe's younger sister, Polyxena has a dream in which she is swallowed by a dragon but rescued by a beautiful youth.
Xanthippe thinks this means that Satan will win Polyxena unless she is baptized. But Polyxena's initial attempts to secure baptism fail and she is abducted in the night by an enemy of Polyxena's boyfriend and put on a ship to Babylonia; the winds, force the ship to approach one bearing the apostle Peter, directed by a vision. But demons prevent them meeting; the ship, goes off course to Greece, where the apostle Philip has come. Having been directed by a vision, Philip rescues Polyxena; when his thirty servants, armed with a cross, go to meet the abductor's army of 8,000, they slay 5,000 soldiers before the remainder flee. But Polyxena has meanwhile fled in fear, she ends up lost and unintentionally walks into the empty den of a lioness. When the lioness returns, Polyxena begs the animal not to eat her. So the lioness leads her east out of the woods to a road and goes back to her den; the apostle Andrew coincidentally walks past and Polyxena asks for baptism. So they find a Jewish slave held captive there.
Both are baptized when the lioness returns and asks Andrew to perform the task. After Andrew departs, the women gain the company of an ordinary Christian driving a cart but lose it when they are abducted by a passing prefect. Rebecca manages to escape and flee to an old woman's house. Meanwhile, Polyxena begs the prefect's servants to preserve her virginity; the prefect's son, a convert to Christianity after witnessing Paul's effect on Thecla, disguises her in his clothing and sends her to the shore to catch a ship. But a villainous servant reports them, they are thrown to a lioness in the arena. But the lioness turns out to be the one encountered and does no harm; as a result, the entire city takes this to be proof of the truth of Christianity and so convert en-masse. The narrator reveals himself as Onesimus, a sailor who has received a vision telling him to go to a certain part of Greece and pick up both Polyxena and the prefect's son. However, after his arrival, a storm keeps everyone there for seven days.
So Lucius, on board, teaches Christianity to the entire city. The prefect gratefully supplies provisions to the ship and it leaves, it comes to rest on an island. The fierce inhabitants there attack but are defeated, though Polyxena fearfully dives into the sea and has to be rescued. All arrive back in Spain and meet Paul; when Polyxena's abductor returns, Paul converts him as well. Gorman, Jill. Reading and Theorizing Women's Sexualities: The Representation of Women in the Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena. Gorman, Jill. Thinking with and about "Same-Sex Desire": Producing and Policing Female Sexuality in the Acts of Xanthippe and Polyxena Journal of the History of Sexuality - Volume 10, Number 3 and 4, July/October 2001, pp. 416–441. Moses Hadas. Three Greek Romances, The Liberal Arts Press, Inc. a division of The Bobbs Merrill Company, Inc.: Indianapolis, Indiana. 1953. ISBN 0-672-60442-6 English translation of the work on the website of the General Board of Global Ministries of the United Methodist Church.
Catholic.org Introduction to the Acts of Xanthippe and Rebecca
Martyrdom of Polycarp
Martyrdom of Polycarp is a manuscript written in the form of a letter that relates the religious martyrdom of Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna and disciple of John the Apostle in the 2nd century AD. It forms the earliest account of Christian martyrdom outside of the New Testament; the author of Martyrdom of Polycarp is unknown, but it has been attributed to members of the group of early Christian theologians known as the Church Fathers. The letter, sent from the church in Smyrna to another church in Asia Minor at Philomelium, is written from the point of view of an eye-witness, recounting the arrest of the elderly Polycarp, the Romans' attempt to execute him by fire, subsequent miraculous events; the letter takes influence from both Jewish martyrdom texts in the Gospels. Furthermore, the Martyrdom of Polycarp promotes an ideology of martyrdom, by delineating the proper conduct of a martyr. Modern critical editions of the Martyrdom of Polycarp are compiled from three different categories of manuscript: seven Greek manuscripts, the fourth century Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea, a single Latin manuscript.
The Greek manuscripts are all from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries. Of the seven manuscripts, six provide a similar account of the martyrdom of Polycarp and are thus believed to represent a single family of texts; the seventh manuscript, known as the Moscow Codex and dating to the thirteenth century, contains a more elaborate final chapter. In addition to the Greek manuscripts there are the writings of Eusebius related in his Ecclesiastical History, written around AD 324–325. Eusebius summarizes the martyrdom and ends his account at 19.1, omitting the concluding sections that relate the transmission of the text, as well as the passion narrative parallels. The Latin version of the Martyrdom dating from the tenth century exists as an independent account of the martyrdom but does not offer any variance upon the text. There is an Old Church Slavonic translation that serves as an independent witness. Little corroborating evidence exists to assist in the dating of the Martyrdom of Polycarp. Alternatively, historians have attempted to assign a date to the actual death of Polycarp.
Three dates have been proposed for Polycarp's death: Estimated as 155 AD or 156 AD due to the known proconsuls of Asia, such as Quadratus and the chronological statements in MartPol 21. 167 AD due to Eusebius dating of MartPol to the seventh year of the reign of Marcus Aurelius. 177 AD as argued by Grégoire and Orgels that the phrase “seventh year” in Eusebius's account is miswritten and means the “seventeenth year” of Marcus Aurelius. The'Martyrdom' of Polycarp, along with other documents of the Apostolic Fathers plays a central role in bridging the New Testament and emerging Christian writers in the latter half of the second century, such as Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. In his youth he is said to have known the apostles and in his years Irenaeus. Due to the linking historical weight that the martyrdom text carries its historicity is a point of debate in scholarship. A challenge to the dates could well call into question the authenticity of the document itself. Part of the skepticism regarding the MartPol text has centered on the number of parallels with the passion narratives of the Gospels, including Polycarp's prediction of his capture and death, the eirenarch named Herod, the arrest of Polycarp "with weapons as if he were a criminal", Polycarp being carried on a donkey back to Smyrna, miraculous occurrences such as the ‘voice from heaven’ urging Polycarp to ‘Be strong and be a man!’.
On the other hand, the fact of an overlay of interpretation does not in itself invalidate the historicity. Moreover, none of these elements is implausible; some have maintained that the most difficult aspect of the narrative to accept as authentic is its treatment of Roman legal proceedings. In fact, Polycarp's trial is represented as taking place before one of the leading magistrates of the Empire on a public holiday, in the middle of a sport stadium, with no use of the tribunal, no formal legal accusation, no official sentence. Though the trials of Christians, of all subjects for that matter, were subject to the governor's procedural method of cognitio extra ordinem, some feel that this still does not explain the lack of a formal legal accusation and sentence; this line of argumentation against historicity could be all the more serious in so far as Roman capital trial procedure would have been well known to the population of the time. Some have proposed that the Martyrdom of Polycarp is in fact a theological composition designed to support a particular understanding of martyrdom in relation to the Christian Gospel, among the elements cited being biblical parallelism, perceived apologia for lack of surviving relics, appearance of the expression'Catholic church', the behavior of Quintus, the inventio-styled epigrams, a clear preoccupation with the status of the martyrs.
Some have gone so far as to suggest a late date for the composition of the text in the first half of third century. The Martyrdom of Polycarp is recognized as taking on two literary forms, it is considered to be a letter as well as a martyr act. The construction of the text follows a letter format, it is a letter sent by the church in Smyrna to the church in Philomelium but was meant to be circulated t