Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Ignatius and pseudo-Ignatius on Sabbath observation

ANCIENT JEW REVIEW: Dissertation Spotlight | Phillip Fackler.
Phillip Fackler, “Forging Christianity: Jews and Christians in Pseudo-Ignatius,” Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2017.
The early Christian writer, Ignatius of Antioch (d. ca. 107 ce) did not mince words about the issues that concerned him. He criticized people who denied Jesus’ divinity, warned against churches without bishops, raised suspicions about people who were too bookish in their piety, and railed against “Sabbatizers.” In his formulation, even ancient Israel’s prophets rejected the Sabbath (lit. sabbatizontes) and instead lived “according to the Lord’s day.” [1] That is, they revered Sunday and its association with Jesus rather than observing Sabbath.

Those familiar with Christian thought, especially certain readings of Paul, may understand a rejection of “Jewish” practice to be a crucial component of Christian thought, then or now. Curiously, however, the most careful ancient reader of Ignatius saw things rather differently. Sometime near the end of the fourth century, an anonymous scribe carefully read and revised the Ignatian epistles, extensively amending many of the letters and adding a few of his own in Ignatius’s name. This “Pseudo-Ignatius” amends the earlier text to support the view that Christians should observe Sabbath. What distinguishes Jews and Christians is not observing Sabbath but how they do so. ...

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