Ignatius on the Judaizers

St. Ignatius of Antioch.

The New Perspective on Paul has stressed the nature of the conflict between the Judaizers who insisted on the Sinatic definition of Israel and Paul and others who stressed the Abrahamic (by faith) nature of Israel. I thought the following extracts from Ignatius also shed some light on this conflict in the early church:

The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Magnesians

8:1 Be not deceived by heretical opinions, nor by ancient fables, which are unprofitable. For if we live until this present, according to the religion of the Jews, we acknowledge that we have not received grace.

8:2 For the divine prophets lived according to Christ Jesus. On this account were they also persecuted, who by his grace were inspired, to the end that the disobedient might be fully persuaded that there is one God who manifested himself through Jesus Christ, his Son, who is his eternal Word, who came not forth from Silence [some mss. omit “not”], who in all things was well pleasing to him that sent him.

9:1 If, therefore, they who were under the older dispensation came into a new hope, no longer keeping the Sab- bath, but living in observance of the Lord’s day, on which day also our life rose through him and through his death, which certain deny, through which mystery we have received faith (and through this abide, that we may be found disciples of Jesus Christ, our only teacher),

9:2 how shall we be able to live apart from him, of whom even the prophets were disciples, and waited for him in the spirit as their teacher? And on this account, he whom they rightly expected, when he came, raised them from

the dead.

10:1 Let us, therefore, not be insensible to his goodness. For if God should imitate our actions, we are undone. On this account, becoming his disciples, let us learn to live according to the religion of Christ. For he who is called by any other name than this is not of God.

10:2 Lay aside, therefore, the evil leaven, which hath waxed old and become sour, and be ye changed into a new leaven, which is Jesus Christ. Be ye salted in him, to the end that none of you become corrupt, since by your savour shall ye be tried.

10:3 It is inconsistent to name the name of Christ Jesus, and to live after the manner of the Jews. For Christianity did not believe upon Judaism, but Judaism upon Christianity, so that every tongue which believed might be gathered together unto God.

The Epistle of St. Ignatius of Antioch to the Philadelphians

6:1 But if any man preach unto you Judaism, hearken not unto him; for it is better to hear Christianity from one circumcised, than Judaism from one uncircumcised. But if both speak not concerning Jesus Christ, then are they in my view sepulchres and graves, on which are written only the names of men.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *