|As you read through the seven
epistles of Ignatius of Antioch written in AD117 on the way to his
martyrdom, read for the following general themes:
- Ignatius' view of the authority of the bishops
and order of the churches
- His warnings about heresy and his instructions on
how to respond to it
- His characteristic themes, i.e. glory, silence,
- His teaching on the Eucharist
Comprehension Questions (in
addition to the above)
To the Ephesians
- What is important about the early hymn Ignatius
includes? (sec. 7) Compare it with the prose translation below:
is one Physician who is possessed both of flesh and spirit; both made
and not made; God existing in flesh; true life in death; both of Mary
and of God; first passible and then impassible, even Jesus Christ our
- How does Ignatius describe the coming of Christ
is imperial terms? (sec. 19)
- What do you think we means by calling communion
"the medicine of immortality"? (sec. 20)
To the Magnesians
- Why does he mean by "two coinages" in
- What is his view of Jewish customs?
To the Trallians
- What makes sections 8 and 9 catechetical?
- How does Ignatius describe the cross and Christ?
To the Romans
- How would you describe Ignatius' view of death?
- Why does he bring together martyrdom and
- Why do you think he includes so little discussion
of the issue of bishops and obedience in this epistle?
To the Philadelphians
- How does he respond to critics' views of
scripture? (sec. 8-9)
- What is his view of Judaism?
To the Smyrnaeans
- Why does he condemn Docetism?
- How does he use his view of the Eucharist to
- What advice does he give to the younger bishop?
- What is the central irony of the hymn in this
letter? (sec. 3)
- Do you find his view of slavery surprising? Why
or why not? (sec. 4)
General Response Questions
- How convergent or divergent do you believe his
views of church authority and of the Eucharist to be with that of the
- What does Ignatius' view of Judaism suggest about
Christianity's historical relationship with its Jewish origins at this
point in history?
- Do you find any of his metaphors surprising or
- What are we to learn from his writings?