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Old 10-03-2013, 04:14 PM   #1
MrMacSon
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Default Veracity of the Christian church's Early [Apostolic] Fathers?

How reliable or true is the information about these characters: Irenaeus, Polycarp, Ignatius, Justin Martyr, etc.

Could the information about them be subject to later redaction and embellishment?

For example, Polycarp's most significant work is said to be his 'letter to the Phillipians', & the most significant work about him is the 'Martyrdom of Polycarp'. There is little to verify these works or Polycarp's roles.
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:23 PM   #2
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There are problems with all of these historical characters. There has been quite a lot written on Ignatius. Scholars tend to think about half of the letters ascribed to him are later forgeries, with a minority who think all of the letters are forged. There is a bit of skepticism as to the idea that he traveled in chains to Rome, but was able to write long letters at each stop. Roger Parvus believes that Ignatius is to be identified with Peregrinus, who was satirized by Lucian (check the archives or Parvus' posts on vridar.org )

As for the others - who can say? They are more noted for the works in their names, and it is always possible that they wrote under a pseudonym or a nom de guerre. It would be typical if their stories were at least embellished by later writers.
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Old 10-03-2013, 05:51 PM   #3
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There are problems with all of these historical characters. There has been quite a lot written on Ignatius. Scholars tend to think about half of the letters ascribed to him are later forgeries, with a minority who think all of the letters are forged. There is a bit of skepticism as to the idea that he traveled in chains to Rome, but was able to write long letters at each stop...
One cannot presume that Ignatius was an historical character.

The letters attributed to Ignatius are compatible with the Late doctrine of the Trinity.

Ignatius' Epistle to Ephesians
Quote:
For our God, Jesus Christ, was, according to the appointment of God, conceived in the womb by Mary, of the seed of David, but by the Holy Ghost. He was born and baptized, that by His passion He might purify the water.
Ignatius' Epistle to Romans
Quote:
...continue in intimate union with Jesus Christ our God, and the bishop, and the enactments of the apostles.
Ignatius Epistle to Smyrnaeans
Quote:
You have done well in receiving Philo and Rheus Agathopus as servants of Christ our God..
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Old 10-03-2013, 06:02 PM   #4
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... They are more noted for the works in their names, and it is always possible that they wrote under a pseudonym or a nom de guerre. It would be typical if their stories were at least embellished by later writers.
or if later writers wrote under the names of these alleged "early church fathers"

I understand they are called "Apostolic fathers" b/c they are supposed to have known or studied under the apostles, which seems a stretch.
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Old 10-03-2013, 10:42 PM   #5
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The fact that it is known and admitted that there are many forgeries and manipulated Christian writings it cannot be presumed that any writing is credible.

We know that Bishops were invented.

Isidorian Decretals are perfect examples of forgeries and invented Bishops.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pseudo-Isidorian_Decretals
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:02 PM   #6
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John Bartram has some interesting views

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John Bartram
22 May 2013

My starting point now is that Christianity does not appear (in either the historical or archaeological) record until the early 6th century. So whatever there was before that is not Christian; much is similar to Christian and this I term broadly Chrestianity, because we have the Chi-Rho then and it means Chrest, and because Chrest appears in sites and artefacts (later adopted by and wrongly describedas Christian for that pre-Christian period).
http://www.academia.edu/4652874/Ghos...ical_Antiquity

Quote:
John Bartram
22 May 2013


Now, as to the lack of Christianity until the early-6th century, ...
... To recap in brief, the error arises by inserting textual artefacts from one period into an earlier - a method regarded in archaeology as fraud, yet a common practice by historians, despite therules of evidence in historiography.Christianity (as with Buddhism and Islam) has a textual tradition and its "histories" first appear in the6th century. Two notable examples: those attributed to "Eusebius of Caesarea" and "Lactantius". None of these purported authors exist, i.e. they fail to appear in the time and space claimed for them;

I term them "ghosts". They (all) were created in the 6th century (and later) and inserted into earlycultural layers.

Let's pick one example from those you mention, Dirk: the Edict of Milan. What do you know of it? From where, exactly? When was it penned and by whom? How do you know that?

It appears in a 6th century textual artefact. In the early 4th, there is nothing to support either it, or the purported author. This is so for most of the Christian textual tradition and from my study, I have to say that the vast majority of the Christian textual tradition is either stolen from other people and events, or "Christians" have been made from other people, sometimes with similar names.

Just as the NT is parody - of the messianic Jewish Resistance - so most of the Christian textual tradition is a parody of the history for imperial Rome, in which Antoninus Pius become Pope Pius,Roman adoptionism becomes the heresy of Adoptionism, and so on. Great Persecutions? Try and find the evidence for any. Those persecuted were Jews and later, Manichaeans. Some Chrestians were prosecuted, but likely for illegal magic.

It is high time somebody (other than me) asked: what happened to all the evidences, and why is fraud so well and so commonly rewarded in scholarship
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Old 10-03-2013, 11:41 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by MrMacSon View Post
John Bartram has some interesting views

Quote:
John Bartram 22 May 2013

My starting point now is that Christianity does not appear (in either the historical or archaeological) record until the early 6th century. .... Christianity (as with Buddhism and Islam) has a textual tradition and its "histories" first appear in the6th century. Two notable examples: those attributed to "Eusebius of Caesarea" and "Lactantius". None of these purported authors exist, i.e. they fail to appear in the time and space claimed for them; I term them "ghosts". They (all) were created in the 6th century (and later) and inserted into earlycultural layers.
About a month ago I went to look at a manuscript in the British Library, shelfmark Additional 12150. It was manufactured in 411 A.D., as the colophon tells us, and, to the best of my knowledge, nobody disputes this or has any reason to. It contains some of the Clementine Recognitions, then 5 books of Eusebius' Theophania, and then a couple of smaller works. I have held it in my hands, read some of the text, and worked on it in company with a Syriacist. I can tell you, for instance, that it has running headings, consisting of the author's name; "Clement" and then "Eusebius".

Examples might be multiplied indefinitely.

Ignorant and uneducated folk mostly do not believe in history. Notoriously they say things like "history is mostly bunk." To such people, it's a side-show, long ago and far away and they don't care about it anyway. The present is all.

To the educated man, the past is a deep deposit of information and culture and experience, laid down like the layers of an onion, with the present merely the current outmost layer, of no greater importance instrinsically than the others, and certain to be replaced in its turn.

I would imagine that this Bartram is merely an uneducated man.

Christianity may or may not be true. But crap like this does not show that it is false; it shows only that the author very very very much does not want it to be true. No proposition on earth is adorned by these kinds of games, and no proposition on earth is harmed by them. Anyone sufficiently ill-educated and impudent may play them. And if my opinions had to be verified by this kind of speculation and violence to history, I think that I would go and find some better ones.

All the best,

Roger Pearse
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Old 10-04-2013, 12:52 AM   #8
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Roger Pearse,

Sure, I thought that he was an academic archaeologist, but he may just be an amateur.

He had quite a good website, but now I look it seems to have been taken down, and now he seems to just have anecdotes
I still think his propositions warrant perusal & discussion, so thank you for your views.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:02 AM   #9
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Bartram seems to have defined everything before the 6th century as "Chrestianity", which is virtually indistinguishable from Christianity.

I wish you had never mentioned this.
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Old 10-04-2013, 01:23 AM   #10
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I was intrigued by that too. Why do you wish I had never mentioned this?
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