Iraneus and Polycarp

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moses
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Iraneus and Polycarp

Post by moses » Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:47 am

Does Iraneus say that he heard from Polycarp that he knew the direct apostles of Jesus or does Iraneus say that he heard from the churches that Polycarp knew the apostles of Jesus?

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Iraneus and Polycarp

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Jan 22, 2020 9:01 am

moses wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 8:47 am
Does Iraneus say that he heard from Polycarp that he knew the direct apostles of Jesus or does Iraneus say that he heard from the churches that Polycarp knew the apostles of Jesus?
This is what we have from Irenaeus about Polycarp:

Irenaeus, Against Heresies 3.3.4: But Polycarp also was not only discipled by the apostles and acquainted with many that had seen Christ, but was also appointed by apostles in Asia bishop of the church of Smyrna. We too saw him in our early youth, for he lived a long time, and died, when a very old man, the glorious and most illustrious death of a martyr, having always taught the things which he had learned from the apostles, which the church also hands down, and which alone are true. To these things all the Asiatic churches testify, as do also those who down to the present time have succeeded Polycarp, who was a much more trustworthy and certain witness of the truth than Valentinus and Marcion and the rest of the heretics. He also was in Rome in the time of Anicetus and caused many to turn away from the above mentioned heretics to the church of God, proclaiming that he had received from the apostles this one and only system of truth which has been transmitted by the church. And there are those that heard from him that John, the disciple of the Lord, going to bathe in Ephesus and seeing Cerinthus within, ran out of the bathhouse without bathing, crying: Let us flee, lest even the bath fall, because Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is within. And Polycarp himself Marcion once met and said to him: Do you know us? He replied: I know the firstborn of Satan. Such caution did the apostles and their disciples exercise that they might not even converse with any of those who perverted the truth, as Paul also said: Reject a man that is a heretic after the first and second admonition, knowing that the one who is such is subverted, and is sinning, being condemned of himself. There is also a very powerful epistle of Polycarp written to the Philippians, from which those that wish to do so, and who are concerned for their own salvation, may learn the character of his faith and the preaching of the truth. But the church in Ephesus, which was founded by Paul, and where John remained until the time of Trajan, is also a faithful witness of the apostolic tradition.

Eusebius, History of the Church 5.20.4-8:

In the epistle to Florinus, of which we have spoken, Irenaeus mentions again his intimacy with Polycarp, saying:

These doctrines, Florinus, to speak mildly, are not of sound judgment. These doctrines disagree with the church and drive into the greatest impiety those who accept them. These doctrines not even the heretics outside of the church have ever dared to publish. These doctrines the presbyters who were before us and who were companions of the apostles did not deliver to you. For when I was a boy I saw you in lower Asia with Polycarp, doing brilliantly in the royal court, and endeavoring to gain his approbation. I remember the events of that time more clearly than those of recent years. For what boys learn, growing with their mind, becomes joined with it, so that I am able to describe the very place in which the blessed Polycarp sat as he discoursed, and his goings out and his comings in, and the manner of his life, and his physical appearance, and his discourses to the people, and the accounts which he gave of his intercourse with John and with the others who had seen the Lord. And as he remembered their words and what he heard from them concerning the Lord, and concerning his miracles and his teaching, having received them from eyewitnesses of the word of life, Polycarp related all things in harmony with the scriptures. These things being told me by the mercy of God, I listened to them attentively, noting them down, not on paper, but in my heart. And continually, through the grace of God, I recall them faithfully. And I am able to bear witness before God that, if that blessed and apostolic presbyter had heard any such thing, he would have cried out and stopped his ears and, as was his custom, would have exclaimed: O good God, unto what times have you spared me that I should endure these things? And he would have fled from the place where, sitting or standing, he had heard such words. And this can be shown plainly from the epistles which he sent, either to the neighboring churches for their confirmation or to some of the brethren, admonishing and exhorting them.

These are the things that Irenaeus wrote.

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lsayre
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Re: Iraneus and Polycarp

Post by lsayre » Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:27 am

Who was more likely to be a real person? Polycarp, or Marcion?

When it comes to Irenaeus, I've fully inherited the Secret Alias position. Irenaeus does not seem trustworthy in the least. He seems to be highly agenda driven.

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Re: Iraneus and Polycarp

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:27 am

It should be said that Irenaeus makes his comments acknowledging - implicitly - that Florinus the Valentinian spent more time with Polycarp than he did. In other words, Irenaeus is forced to justify his 'authority' by saying in effect, I saw him when I was a little kid. Florinus was closer to Polycarp than Irenaeus. Important thing to remember when we try and figure out who Polycarp is. The Martyrdom of Polycarp (Moscow MS) says that Irenaeus was in Rome while Polycarp was martyred. That he compiled a document about Polycarp. But again, his familiarity with Polycarp seems to have been next to nil. Saying that you heard someone when you were a little boy - what does that mean? Only in a supernatural setting do we believe that somehow a young child absorbed the teaching of a Christian prophet.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
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Nasruddin
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Re: Iraneus and Polycarp

Post by Nasruddin » Wed Jan 22, 2020 10:42 am

In Against Heresies Book 5 Ch.33.4, Iranaeus also notes;
And these things are borne witness to in writing by Papias, the hearer of John, and a companion of Polycarp

So Irenaeus was using the writings of Papias, who was a hearer of John. But Polycarp is used as an authoruty. So is Polycarp an important figure, where companionship to him is placed on a par with companionship with John? Was Polycarp so close to John that they were authoritarially indistinguishable in Irenaeus' view? If that is true, then is it possible that Irenaeus wanted to be associated with Polycarp inorder to be associated with John, the disciple of Jesus, and thus raise his own profile?

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Secret Alias
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Re: Iraneus and Polycarp

Post by Secret Alias » Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:34 pm

The image that is portrayed from the writings of these Church Fathers - and again we have to remember that these are just words - is that it is taken for granted that 'the Holy Spirit' is a living being which moved or transmigrated from body to body. The individual martyrs died (martyrs used in the broadest sense of the term - i.e. 'witnesses'). They spoke for the Holy Spirit which was in them. The Holy Spirit then left their body when the individual 'witness' died and transmigrated to another body.

The reason this is important is that Irenaeus theoretically could speak not only for Polycarp but as Polycarp. They were the same person allegedly. That's how one person spoke for another, corrected his writings.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Joseph D. L.
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Re: Iraneus and Polycarp

Post by Joseph D. L. » Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:23 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:34 pm
The image that is portrayed from the writings of these Church Fathers - and again we have to remember that these are just words - is that it is taken for granted that 'the Holy Spirit' is a living being which moved or transmigrated from body to body. The individual martyrs died (martyrs used in the broadest sense of the term - i.e. 'witnesses'). They spoke for the Holy Spirit which was in them. The Holy Spirit then left their body when the individual 'witness' died and transmigrated to another body.

The reason this is important is that Irenaeus theoretically could speak not only for Polycarp but as Polycarp. They were the same person allegedly. That's how one person spoke for another, corrected his writings.
The Martyrdom of Polycarp may be important in this regard. The dove that emerges from him calls back to the dove that descends upon Christ at the beginning of his ministry. This fulfills the double role of legitimizing his Apostolic authority, and of ceasing the line of Apostolic authority to ensure no one else can lay claim to it.

That Irenaeus is said to have authored the Martyrdom of Polycarp can also mean that he was granting himself this very Apostolic authority.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Iraneus and Polycarp

Post by Ben C. Smith » Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:58 am

Joseph D. L. wrote:
Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:23 am
Secret Alias wrote:
Wed Jan 22, 2020 4:34 pm
The image that is portrayed from the writings of these Church Fathers - and again we have to remember that these are just words - is that it is taken for granted that 'the Holy Spirit' is a living being which moved or transmigrated from body to body. The individual martyrs died (martyrs used in the broadest sense of the term - i.e. 'witnesses'). They spoke for the Holy Spirit which was in them. The Holy Spirit then left their body when the individual 'witness' died and transmigrated to another body.

The reason this is important is that Irenaeus theoretically could speak not only for Polycarp but as Polycarp. They were the same person allegedly. That's how one person spoke for another, corrected his writings.
The Martyrdom of Polycarp may be important in this regard. The dove that emerges from him calls back to the dove that descends upon Christ at the beginning of his ministry. This fulfills the double role of legitimizing his Apostolic authority, and of ceasing the line of Apostolic authority to ensure no one else can lay claim to it.

That Irenaeus is said to have authored the Martyrdom of Polycarp can also mean that he was granting himself this very Apostolic authority.
The dove may well link back to Jesus' baptism, agreed. But it also plays into another motif:
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sat Mar 05, 2016 6:10 am
andrewcriddle wrote:The Ultimate source of the motif of a bird ascending at the funeral pyre is the Funeral of Augustus
Agreed. Lucian's tale of the vulture in The Passing of Peregrinus comes off as a spoof of this motif:

39 In that business I assure you, my friend, I had no end of trouble, telling the story to all while they asked questions and sought exact information. Whenever I noticed a man of taste, I would tell him the facts without embellishment, as I have to you, but for the benefit of the dullards, agog to listen, I would thicken the plot a bit on my own account, saying that when the pyre was kindled and Proteus flung himself bodily in, a great earthquake first took place, accompanied by a bellowing of the ground, and then a vulture, flying up out of the midst of the flames, went off to Heaven, saying, in human speech, with a loud voice: “I am through with the earth; to Olympus I fare.” They were wonder-struck and blessed themselves with a shudder, and asked me whether the vulture sped eastwards or westwards; I made them whatever reply occurred to me.

40 On my return to the festival, I came upon a grey-haired man whose face, I assure you, inspired confidence in addition to his beard and his general air of consequence, telling all about Proteus, and how, since his cremation, he had beheld him in white raiment a little while ago, and had just now left him walking about cheerfully in the Portico of the Seven Voices, wearing a garland of wild olive. Then on top of it all, he put the vulture, swearing that he himself had seen it flying up out of the pyre, when I myself had just previously let it fly to ridicule fools and dullards.

Lucian elsewhere, in Icaromenippus, pairs off an eagle and a vulture. The character mounts one wing of each on his shoulders in order to fly, specifically noting the connection of the former to Zeus and the unfitness of the latter by comparison:

Well, I caught a fine eagle, and also a particularly powerful vulture, and cut off their wings above the shoulder-joint.

....

I caught the birds, and effectually amputated the eagle's right, and the vulture's left wing. These I fastened together, attached them to my shoulders with broad thick straps, and provided grips for my hands near the end of the quill-feathers.

....

When I approached the Moon, long after parting from the clouds, I was conscious of fatigue, especially in the left or vulture's wing.

....

Three days' flight through the stars, with the Sun on my right hand, brought me close to Heaven; and my first idea was to go straight in as I was; I should easily pass unobserved in virtue of my half-eagleship; for of course the eagle was Zeus's familiar; on second thoughts, though, my vulture wing would very soon betray me.

But the dove is not textually secure:
However, any original connection of either of these avian motifs (Augustan or Lucianic) to the death of Polycarp is dodgy: our extant copies of the Martyrdom of Polycarp 16.1-2 do describe a dove flying off:

1 At length, when those wicked men perceived that his body could not be consumed by the fire, they commanded an executioner to go near and pierce him through with a dagger. And on his doing this, there came forth a dove, and a great quantity of blood, so that the fire was extinguished; and all the people wondered that there should be such a difference between the unbelievers and the elect, 2 of whom this most admirable Polycarp was one, having in our own times been an apostolic and prophetic teacher, and bishop of the Catholic Church which is in Smyrna. For every word that went out of his mouth either has been or shall yet be accomplished.

1 Πέρας γοῦν ἰδόντες οἰ ἄνομοι μὴ δυνάμενον αὐτοῦ τὸ σῶμα ὑπὸ τοῦ πυρὸς δαπανηθῆναι ἐκέλευσαν προσελθόντα αὐτῷ κομφέκτορα παραβῦσαι ξιφίδιον. καὶ τοῦτο ποιήσαντος, ἐξῆλθεν περιστερὰ καὶ πλῆθος αἵματος, ὥστε κατασβέσαι τὸ πῦρ καὶ θαυμάσαι πάντα τὸν ὄχλον, εἰ τοσαύτη τις διαφορὰ μεταξὺ τῶν τε ἀπίστων καὶ τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν· 2 ὧν εἷς καὶ οὗτος γεγόνει ὁ θαυμασιώτατος μάρτυς Πολύκαρπος, ἐν τοῖς καθ’ ἡμᾶς χρόνοις διδάσκαλος ἀποστολιδὸς καὶ προφητικὸς γενόμενος, ἐπίσκοπος ἀποστολικὸς καὶ προφητικὸς γενόμενος, ἐπίσκοπος τῆς ἐν Σμύνῃ καθολικῆς ἐκκλησίας. πᾶν γὰρ ῥήμα, ὃ ἀφῆκεν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐτελειώθη καὶ τελειωθήσεται.

But in History of the Church 4.15.39, while copying directly from the Martyrdom, Eusebius famously fails to mention any dove:

39 And when he had done this there came forth a quantity of blood so that it extinguished the fire; and the whole crowd marveled that there should be such a difference between the unbelievers and the elect, of whom this man also was one, the most wonderful teacher in our times, apostolic and prophetic, who was bishop of the catholic Church in Smyrna. For every word which came from his mouth was accomplished and will be accomplished.

39 καὶ τοῦτο ποιήσαντος, ἐξῆλθεν πλῆθος αἵματος, ὥστε κατασβέσαι τὸ πῦρ καὶ θαυμάσαι πάντα τὸν ὄχλον εἰ τοσαύτη τις διαφορὰ μεταξὺ τῶν τε ἀπίστων καὶ τῶν ἐκλεκτῶν· ὧν εἷς καὶ οὗτος γέγονεν ὁ θαυμασιώτατος ἐν τοῖς καθ' ἡμᾶς χρόνοις διδάσκαλος ἀποστολικὸς καὶ προφητικὸς γενόμενος ἐπίσκοπος τῆς ἐν Σμύρνῃ καθολικῆς ἐκκλησίας· πᾶν γὰρ ῥῆμα ὃ ἀφῆκεν ἐκ τοῦ στόματος αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἐτελειώθη καὶ τελειωθήσεται.

Rufinus has: "quo facto tam largus profusus est sanguis ut restingueret rogum."

Either Eusebius has for some reason omitted the dove or the dove is a pious addition from a later pen.
I admit, I am not (yet) sure which of these options to espouse, although it has to be noticed how very disposable the dove is in its context.
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Secret Alias
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Re: Iraneus and Polycarp

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:20 am

But SINCE the dove has obvious parallels with Peregrinus AND Eusebius's text is likely quite old (his library quite good) good chance it was original and subsequently altered.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Iraneus and Polycarp

Post by Secret Alias » Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:20 am

Notice also that 'Herod' Atticus appears as a protagonist of both Polycarp and Peregrinus. Polycarp and Peregrinus = one and the same person. Ignatius the 'fiery one' is just 'old Polycarp' - i.e. pre-martyrdom - version of the same person. Notice that Peregrinus kept coming back to Atticus's exedra. https://dome.mit.edu/handle/1721.3/128891 The way the martyrdom of Polycarp reads, events led to the tragic death of the good man. The Passing of Peregrinus makes clear that the same man was a para-suicidal lunatic. He kept coming back every Olympics to goad Atticus. Gone is the hagiography.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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