Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Greetings in Ignatius and Polycarp

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Women in the Apostolic Fathers.

Ignatius’s Epistle to Polycarp 8.2-3[1]

ἀσπάζομαι πάντας ἐξ ὀνόματος καὶ τὴν τοῦ Ἐπιτρόπου σὺν ὅλῳ τῷ οἴκῳ αὐτῆς καὶ τῶν τέκνων. ἀσπάζομαι Ἄτταλον τὸν ἀγαπητόν μου. ἀσπάζομαι τὸν μέλλοντα καταξιοῦσθαι τοῦ εἰς Συρίαν πορεύεσθαι. ἔσται ἡ χάρις μετ᾿ αὐτοῦ διὰ παντὸς καὶ τοῦ πέμποντος αὐτὸν Πολυκάρπου. 3. ἐρρῶσθαι ὑμᾶς διὰ παντὸς ἐν θεῷ ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστῷ εὔχομαι, ἐν ᾧ διαμείνητε ἐν ἑνότητι θεοῦ καὶ ἐπισκοπῇ. ἀσπάζομαι Ἄλκην, τὸ ποθητόν μοι ὄνομα. ἔρρωσθε ἐν κυρίῳ. I greet all by name, and the wife of Epitropus, along with the entire household of her and her children. I greet Attalus, my beloved. I greet the one who is about to be deemed worthy to go to Syria. God’s grace will be with him constantly, and with Polycarp who sends him. 3. I bid you constant farewell in our God Jesus Christ. May you remain in him, in the unity and care that comes from God. I greet Alce, a name dear to me. Farewell in the Lord.

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Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Greetings in Ignatius

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Women in the Apostolic Fathers.

Although characteristically brief, epistAncient Roman Womenolary greetings provide further insights into the contexts and conceptions of Ignatius and Polycarp regarding Christian women.[1] Continue reading

Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Familial Expectations in Ignatius (Part III)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Women in the Apostolic Fathers.

Ignatius’s Epistle to Polycarp 5.2[1]

εἴ τις δύναται ἐν ἁγνείᾳ μένειν εἰς τιμὴν τῆς σαρκὸς τοῦ κυρίου, ἐν ἀκαυχησίᾳ μενέτω. ἐὰν καυχήσηται, ἀπώλετο, καὶ ἐὰν γνωσθῇ πλέον τοῦ ἐπισκόπου, ἔφθαρται. πρέπει δὲ τοῖς γαμοῦσι καὶ ταῖς γαμουμέναις μετὰ γνώμης τοῦ ἐπισκόπου τὴν ἕνωσιν ποιεῖσθαι, ἵνα ὁ γάμος ᾖ κατὰ κύριον καὶ μὴ κατ᾿ ἐπιθυμίαν. πάντα εἰς τιμὴν θεοῦ γινέσθω. If anyone is able to honor the flesh of the Lord by maintaining a state of purity, let him do so without boasting. If he boasts, he has been destroyed, and if it becomes known to anyone beyond the bishop, he is ruined. But it is right for men and women who marry to make their union with the consent of the bishop, that their marriage may be for the Lord and not for passion. Let all things be done for the honor of God.

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Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Familial Expectations in Ignatius (Part II)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Women in the Apostolic Fathers.

Ignatius’s Epistle to Polycarp 4.3[1]

δούλους καὶ δούλας μὴ ὑπερηφάνει· ἀλλὰ μηδὲ αὐτοὶ φυσιούσθωσαν, ἀλλ᾿ εἰς δόξαν θεοῦ πλέον δουλευέτωσαν, ἵνα κρείττονος ἐλευθερίας ἀπὸ θεοῦ τύχωσιν. μὴ ἐράτωσαν ἀπὸ τοῦ κοινοῦ ἐλευθεροῦσθαι, ἵνα μὴ δοῦλοι εὑρεθῶσιν ἐπιθυμίας. Do not be arrogant towards male and female slaves, but neither let them become haughty; rather, let them serve even more as slaves for the glory of God, that they may receive a greater freedom from God. And they should not long to be set free through the common fund, lest they be found slaves of passion.

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Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Familial Expectations in Ignatius (Part I)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Women in the Apostolic Fathers.

Ancient Greek HouseWhile the Apostolic Fathers by-and-large eschew the household codes which are so prevalent in Pauline and post-Pauline literature, Ignatius’s Epistle to Polycarp and Polycarp’s Epistle to the Philippians each contain a section reminiscent  of Greco-Roman household duties. Continue reading

Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Christ and the Church in 2 Clement

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Women in the Apostolic Fathers.

ChristologyThe section of Second Clement which most clearly references women has been called “undoubtedly the most complex part of the whole of the text of 2 Clement.”[1] Not only is the text itself not entirely certain at points, but the author’s argument proves rather hard to follow. Continue reading

Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Paranetic Women in 1 Clement (Part II)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Women in the Apostolic Fathers.

1 Clement 12.1-8[1]

Διὰ πίστιν καὶ φιλοξενίαν ἐσώθη Ῥαὰβ ἡ πόρνη…. 3. ἡ οὖν φιλόξενος Ῥαὰβ εἰσδεξαμένη αὐτοὺς ἔκρυψεν εἰς τὸ ὑπερῷον ὑπὸ τὴν λινοκαλάμην…. 7. καὶ προσέθεντο αὐτῇ δοῦναι σημεῖον, ὅπως ἐκκρεμάσῃ ἐκ τοῦ οἴκου αὐτῆς κόκκινον, πρόδηλον ποιοῦντες ὅτι διὰ τοῦ αἵματος τοῦ κυρίου λύτρωσις ἔσται πᾶσιν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν καὶ ἐλπίζουσιν ἐπὶ τὸν θεόν. 8. ὁρᾶτε, ἀγαπητοί, ὅτι οὐ μόνον πίστις, ἀλλὰ καὶ προφητεία ἐν τῇ γυναικὶ γέγονεν. Because of her faith and hospitality Rahab the prostitute was saved from danger…. 3. And so, the hospitable Rahab brought them inside and hid them in the upper room under a pile of thatching straw…. 7. And they proceeded to give her a sign, that she should hang a piece of scarlet from her house–making it clear that it is through the blood of the Lord that redemption will come to all who believe and hope in God. 8. You see, loved ones, not only was faith found in the woman, but prophecy as well.

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Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Paranetic Women in 1 Clement (Part I)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Women in the Apostolic Fathers.

Saint Clement of RomeWomen’s voices are not directly heard in First Clement, although a number of women do appear as characters in Clement’s exhortations to the Corinthian church. While Trevett argues that Clement singled out the “uppity women” of Corinth, this seems unlikely for a couple of reasons.[1] First, Clement was highly familiar with Paul’s writings, especially those to Rome and Corinth.[2] Yet nowhere does he invoke the authority of Paul concerning ordered and submissive women in the church, instead generally discussing the order of all.[3] Second, Clement felt free to utilize biblical women as models for concord and order among the entire community, not just among women. These paranetic women include Lot’s Wife, Rahab, Judith, and Esther. Continue reading

Women in the Apostolic Fathers: Introductions (Part II)

This post is part of an ongoing series examining Women in the Apostolic Fathers.

Ignatius of Antioch

Ignatius of Antioch

While many Apostolic Fathers remain shrouded by history, Ignatius of Antioch has long been viewed as a vibrant and important character of the early Church. Written on the road to his martyrdom in Rome, Ignatius’s seven authentic Epistles were written to churches in Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, Rome, Philadelphia, Smyrna, and to Smyrnaean bishop Polycarp.[1] The precise dating of Ignatius’s writing remains a mystery, although many scholars suggest his composition and death to have occurred between 108 and 117 CE.[2] The specific purposes of these letters vary somewhat due to the fact that they are written to different churches. Spanning each of his letters, however, are Ignatius’s calls Christians to eschew Gnostic logic and Jewish exegesis, and to combat heresy and disorder through church order and obedience to the bishop.[3] Continue reading