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Ignatius of Antioch A Martyr Bishop and the Origin of Monarchial Episcopacy by Allen Brent

Ignatius of Antioch A Martyr Bishop and the Origin of Monarchial Episcopacy


Ignatius of Antioch A Martyr Bishop and the Origin of Monarchial Episcopacy by Allen Brent

Ignatius of Antioch (died c. 115) is one of the Apostolic Fathers of the Christian Church. In his letters to other churches he re-interpreted church order, the Eucharist and martyrdom against the backcloth of the Second Sophistic in Asia minor by using the cultural material of a pagan society. He so formed the idea and theology of the office of a bishop in the Christian church. This book is an account of the circumstances and the cultural context in which Ignatius constructed what became the historic church order of Christendom.Allen Brent defends the authenticity of the Ignatian letters by showing how the circumstances of Ignatius' condemnation at Antioch and departure for Rome fits well with what we can reconstruct of the internal situation in the Church of Antioch in Syria at the end of the first century. Ignatius is presented as a controversial figure arising in the context of a church at war with itself. Ignatius constructs out of the conflicting models of church order available to him one founded on a single bishop that he commends to Christian communities through which he passes in chains as a condemned martyr prisoner.


'[An] ingenious and stimulating book ... Brent writes persuasively, deploying valuable and illuminating historical and contemporary examples and analogies.'
Theology, May 2009 This is an outstanding study of Ignatius of Antioch, his life and times, some key theological contributions, and the historical and literary debates surrounding his letters

...Written with clarity and logic, this volume offers an excellent introduction to Ignatius and his world. Religious Studies Review, September 2009 Allen Brent's work on Ignatius of Antioch is breathtakingly innovative and pioneering. It introduces perspectives for a fresh understanding of Ignatius that will give all future research a new direction. Helmut Koester, Harvard Divinity School--Sanford Lakoff 'Allen Brent is a leading world expert on Ignatius and his epistles. Here he has written a wonderfully engaging and beautifully crafted exposition of the life and thought of the martyr bishop of Antioch. With much insight, he deftly covers a range of contested issues relating to the Ignatian writings such as the extent of the corpus, the historical context of the origin of that debate in the Puritan era, and the nature of episcopacy as conceived by Ignatius. The main strength of this book is, however, the highly sympathetic and insightful treatment of the 'Martyr Procession
of Ignatius as he was transported to his fate in Rome. Brent takes his readers not only deeper into the mind of Ignatius, but also into the intellectual spirit of the age in which the bishop of Antioch lived. This is a highly significant volume, which is accessible to scholar, student, and interested reader alike. Undoubtedly in will alter many perceptions concerning Ignatius and it will make an important contribution to future discussions

Paul Foster, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, UK

--Sanford Lakoff 'This book is the best available introduction to the world of Ignatius of Antioch, to his purpose in the composition of his seven letters, and to the controversies surrounding the authenticity and integrity of the corpus. Brent makes accessible to the general reader the conclusions of his magisterial study Ignatius of Antioch and the Second Sophistic , proving that the acts and aspirations represented in the letters would have been unintelligible to a reader who did not participate in the civic culture of the early second century. Brent's unfailing originality, his learned asides and his readiness to take new positions on old controversies ensure that his book is not just one more contribution to an abstruse debate but the signal for a paradigm shift in academic writing on this lively, eccentric and fearless architect of Christian unity.
Mark Edwards, Lecturer in Patristics at Oxford University

--Sanford Lakoff '[Allen Brent] argues convincingly for the authenticity of the seven letters usually attributed to Ignatius...[they] help us to understand the Church Fathers and their struggles, and also to share with them in their search for the truth.'--Sanford Lakoff Church Times

Brent ... is to be congratulated for delivering an accesible, enjoyable and generally persuasive introduction to the letters of Ignatius. Journal of Ecclesiastical History, January 2009--Sanford Lakoff required reading for scholars working on Ignatius...Advanced undergraduates and other non-specialists will be grateful for Brent's introduction to Ignatius. --Sanford Lakoff Expository Times

Allen Brent has produced a vivid, and exciting account of the many worlds of Ignatius of Antioch early Christianity (and especially the Syrian Church whence he came), the intellectual context of (pagan) Greek learning in which Ignatius
Christian culture emerged, the ideology of martyrdom and its specifically Ignatian construction, the long debate (Reformation and recent) about the very authenticity of the letters

. In every case we are plunged into a fascinating world of controversy and argument a world out of which ancient Christianity forged itself and post-Renaissance Christianity in the Reformation forged itself anew. Brent tackles issues of history, literary criticism, complex textual dispute and religious interpretation with gusto never dumbing-down but repeatedly making the recondite accessible. Jas Elsner, Corpus Christi College, Oxford University, UK--Sanford Lakoff

About the Author

Professor Allen Brent, formerly Professor in History, James Cook University of North Queensland, Australia, now member of the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, UK and Senior Member of St. Edmund's College, UK. His books include Cultural Episcopacy and Ecumenism (Brill 1992), Hippolytus and the Roman Church in the Third Century (Brill 1995), The Imperial Cult and the Development of Church Order (Brill 1999).

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Book Info

Publication date

31st May 2007


Allen Brent

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T.& T.Clark Ltd an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing PLC


176 pages





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