Saturday, 11 April 2015

Alistair Stewart: Ignatius contra Basildeanos?

In the seventeenth century Daillé identified a (false) Ignatius’ opponents as Valentinian. This argument is now revived by Lechner. In response to Daillé, Pearson suggested that Basilides was a more probable opponent. I have argued elsewhere, with new evidence, that Ignatius’ activity should be dated to the last years of Hadrian’s principate. Having thus found a mediating position between a Trajanic and authentic Ignatius and an Antonine pseudonym, namely an authentic figure from the period of Hadrian, and so determining Ignatius’ and Basilides’ contemporaneity (a point of dispute between Daillé and Pearson), we may examine what is known of Basilides’ teaching, and in particular his Christology, to determine whether there is any weight in Pearson’s argument.

The conclusion is ultimately that too little is known of Basilides’ system and that Ignatius’ polemic is insufficiently specific to allow an identification, but the process nonetheless brings results in laying bare the intellectual climate in which both Ignatius and Basilides operated.

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