The Short Recension of Three Letters of Ignatius

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MrMacSon
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The Short Recension of Three Letters of Ignatius

Post by MrMacSon »

The Short Recension of Three Letters - discovered and championed by Cureton - the Epistles to Polycarp, to the Ephesians and to the Romans - were almost certainly the first, original letters of Ignatius.

They do not include references to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Eucharist, or to Christianity’s relationship with Judaism or Jews, that the Middle Recension does (nor to other significant themes, such as the offices of presbyter and deacon).

So, they may not have been witness to 'the historicity of Jesus' themselves, let alone been arguing for one or against anyone denying it.



The proposition that these were removed from a primary Middle Recension of Seven Letters is preposterous; especially as the two recensions also have radically different lexicons.

Moreover, the scholarly consensus is that the Middle Recension alludes to and indeed quotes from the NT on several occasions, eg. making use of at least Matthew and some of the Pauline epistles.
Last edited by MrMacSon on Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:39 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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GakuseiDon
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Re:

Post by GakuseiDon »

MrMacSon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:24 am The Short Recension of Three Letters - discovered and championed by Cureton - the Epistles to Polycarp, to the Ephesians and to the Romans - were almost certainly the first, original letters of Ignatius.

They do not include references to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Eucharist, or to Christianity’s relationship with Judaism or Jews, that the Middle Recension does (nor to other significant themes, such as the offices of presbyter and deacon).
  • The proposition that these were removed from a primary Middle Recension of Seven Letters is preposterous; especially as the two recensions also have radically different lexicons.
Why is it preposterous? The shorter and longer recensions of "to the Romans" can be found here:
https://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ ... onger.html

The shorter one includes references to Paul and Peter, Jesus as the seed of David, Jesus dying and rising again, a quote from the Synoptic Gospels ("For what shall a man be profited, if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?"). The longer one contains in addition one reference to crucifixion, a few additional quotes, and not much more than that, from what I can see. So why preposterous?
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Re: Re:

Post by MrMacSon »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:55 am The shorter and longer recensions of "to the Romans" can be found here:
https://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ ... onger.html
  • I can't distinguish between two (shorter and longer) versions on that page
eta:
Here are Cureton's versions: https://www.google.com.au/books/edition ... YAAJ?hl=en
Last edited by MrMacSon on Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:30 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Further evidence that Ignatius faced old deniers of the historicity of Jesus

Post by GakuseiDon »

Each chapter has two paragraphs, with the first one being the shorter one and the second the longer one.
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Re: Further evidence that Ignatius faced old deniers of the historicity of Jesus

Post by GakuseiDon »

I may be confusing "shorter recension" with "short recension". Looks like "shorter recension" is actually the middle recension? So my comment above may be wrong. I'll have to investigate this more tomorrow. Bed-time now in the land of Oz.
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Re: re; re: reeeeeeee

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GakuseiDon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:55 am
MrMacSon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:24 am The Short Recension of Three Letters - discovered and championed by Cureton - the Epistles to Polycarp, to the Ephesians and to the Romans - were almost certainly the first, original letters of Ignatius.

They do not include references to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Eucharist, or to Christianity’s relationship with Judaism or Jews, that the Middle Recension does (nor to other significant themes, such as the offices of presbyter and deacon).
  • The proposition that these were removed from a primary Middle Recension of Seven Letters is preposterous; especially as the two recensions also have radically different lexicons.
Why is it preposterous? The shorter and longer recensions of "to the Romans" can be found here:
https://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ ... onger.html

The shorter one includes references to Paul and Peter, Jesus as the seed of David, Jesus dying and rising again, a quote from the Synoptic Gospels ("For what shall a man be profited, if he gain the whole world, but lose his own soul?"). The longer one contains in addition one reference to crucifixion, a few additional quotes, and not much more than that, from what I can see. So why preposterous?

1. Recent, as-yet-to-be-published scholarship (which I am privy to), puts what I think is a very good case that the Syriac Short Recension of Three Letters that we know about through William Cureton were, in fact, the original Ignatian letters (or reflect original Ignatian Letters), ie., the Ignatian Epistles to Polycarp, to the Ephesians and to the Romans (and that scholarship outlines what we know about their trajectory (my word), ie. witness to them and their transmission and circulation [often as single epistles, even into the 7th century]. Moreover, it highlights early interpolations in them, ie. before the development of the Middle Recension when they were further modified).

2. Furthermore, as noted in my modified-since-you-quoted-me post, something that will not show up in English translations, the two recensions also have radically different lexicons (which is but one, albeit main reason that the Short Recension is unlikely to be a truncated, secondary version of a supposed primary longer recension: it's very unlikely that anyone would or even could have changed the lexicon that much).
MrMacSon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:24 am
The Short Recension of Three Letters - discovered and championed by Cureton - the Epistles to Polycarp, to the Ephesians and to the Romans - were almost certainly the first, original letters of Ignatius.

They do not include references to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Eucharist, or to Christianity’s relationship with Judaism or Jews, that the Middle Recension does (nor to other significant themes, such as the offices of presbyter and deacon).

So, they may not have been witness to 'the historicity of Jesus' themselves, let alone been arguing for one or against anyone denying it.



The proposition that these were removed from a primary Middle Recension of Seven Letters is preposterous; especially as the two recensions also have radically different lexicons.

Moreover, the scholarly consensus is that the Middle Recension alludes to and indeed quotes from the NT on several occasions, eg. making use of at least Matthew and some of the Pauline epistles.

3. I have not yet assessed these epistles as to whether, as per the OP for and title of this thread, they might contain "evidence that Ignatius faced old deniers of the historicity of Jesus."

4. My post was merely in reference to concepts about the Ignatian Epistles and their potential use as 'witnesses' to such matters.

But I will say:
5. The fact that the Ignatian Epistle to the Romans mentions Paul and Peter - as Apostles - is not evidence for the 'historicity' of Jesus.

6. Nor are mentions of 'Jesus as the seed of David', 'Jesus dying and rising again', or 'a quote from the Synoptic Gospels.'
Last edited by MrMacSon on Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:16 pm, edited 5 times in total.
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short recension of three letters

Post by Peter Kirby »

Thank you for sharing this, MrMacSon.

The short recension of three letters does need to be considered in the puzzle of the Ignatian letters.
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GakuseiDon
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Re: Further evidence that Ignatius faced old deniers of the historicity of Jesus

Post by GakuseiDon »

Looking into this, if only for my own interest:

1. The long recessions were found in Greek and Latin manuscripts. There are 13 epistles, 6 regarded as spurious.

2. The middle recessions were found in Greek manuscripts in the 17th C by Archbishop James Ussher. There are 7 epistles, which matches the list of Ignatian epistles listed by Eusebius. These are the ones generally regarded as original versions (though undoubtedly tampered with along the way). These are listed on the earlywritings as "shorter recensions". https://www.earlychristianwritings.com/ignatius.html

3. The short recessions. There are three manuscripts, written in Syriac. They are also called Curetonian epistles, named after William Cureton who published them in the 19th C.

It's been generally thought that the short recessions were written as summaries, from the time of Lightfoot in the 19th C. Though as McMahon mentions earlier, some consider the short recessions as origins (though again, with tampering). Markus Vincent makes that case using "To the Romans" as an example here: https://markusvinzent.blogspot.com/2017 ... rs-of.html
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Re: re; re: reeeeeeee

Post by GakuseiDon »

MrMacSon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:59 pm1. Recent, as-yet-to-be-published scholarship (which I am privy to), puts what I think is a very good case that the Syriac Short Recension of Three Letters that we know about through William Cureton were, in fact, the original Ignatian letters (or reflect original Ignatian Letters), ie., the Ignatian Epistles to Polycarp, to the Ephesians and to the Romans (and that scholarship outlines what we know about their trajectory (my word), ie. witness to them and their transmission and circulation [often as single epistles, even into the 7th century]. Moreover, it highlights early interpolations in them, ie. before the development of the Middle Recension when they were further modified).
That sounds very interesting. I'll look forward to hearing more about this.
MrMacSon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:59 pm2. Furthermore, as noted in my modified-since-you-quoted-me post, something that will not show up in English translations, the two recensions also have radically different lexicons (which is but one, albeit main reason that the Short Recension is unlikely to be a truncated, secondary version of a supposed primary longer recension: it's very unlikely that anyone would or even could have changed the lexicon that much).
Going from Greek/Latin to Syriac? Over possibly hundreds of years of religious evolution? Off-hand, it sounds likely. But I'll be interested to read the case for why it was unlikely.
MrMacSon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:24 amThe Short Recension of Three Letters - discovered and championed by Cureton - the Epistles to Polycarp, to the Ephesians and to the Romans - were almost certainly the first, original letters of Ignatius.

They do not include references to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Eucharist, or to Christianity’s relationship with Judaism or Jews, that the Middle Recension does (nor to other significant themes, such as the offices of presbyter and deacon).

So, they may not have been witness to 'the historicity of Jesus' themselves, let alone been arguing for one or against anyone denying it.
The Syriac version refers to Paul and Peter, so that means either:

(1) the Paul and Peter that the short recension 'Ignatius' author read never referred to Jesus' crucifixion, resurrection, the Eucharist or to Christianity's relationship with Judaism or Jews so 'Ignatius' never heard of such things, or
(2) it wasn't important for short recension 'Ignatius' to mention those things.
MrMacSon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 3:24 amBut I will say:
5. The fact that the Ignatian Epistle to the Romans mentions Paul and Peter - as Apostles - is not evidence for the 'historicity' of Jesus.
Who cares whether it's evidence for historicity or not. It's all fan fiction anyway.

My view has always been that too much is made of what authors "should" have mentioned, based on Fourth C CE views of a Second C CE Christianity. Doherty was especially obsessed by such blatant anachronism.

So I look forward to an examination of the short recension letters which refers to Paul and Peter but nonetheless don't mention references to Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection, the Eucharist, or Christianity’s relationship with Judaism or Jews. How do we explain that?
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Re: The Recensions of the Letters attributed to Ignatius

Post by MrMacSon »

GakuseiDon wrote: Sun Mar 31, 2024 4:36 pm 3. The short recessions. There are three manuscripts, written in Syriac. They are also called Curetonian epistles, named after William Cureton who published them in the 19th C.
Jack Bull wrote:

"The seven epistles in the ‘middle’ recension that are widely accepted as genuine (IgnPol, IgnEph, IgnRom, IgnMag, IgnSm, IgnPhilad, IgnTral) are not attested as a standalone group in any MS, which makes them difficult to classify. The ‘middle recension’ of the seven epistles is always attached to at least six other epistles that are mostly considered spurious. Furthermore, IgnRom is often excluded from witnesses that attest the ‘middle recension’ of the other epistles which are supposedly genuine. For these reasons, we must refer to a collection of letters that are based on the work of previous colleagues, rather than a physical witness. The ‘middle recension’ is extant in Greek and Latin, [yet], despite being largely similar in their reading, they do differ substantially in some sections ...

"The ‘long recensions’ of Ignatiana are also extant in Greek and Latin. Witnesses of the ‘long recension’ either contain 12, 13, 15, or 17 epistles, including the seven that are considered genuine. For the most part, however, it is the 12/13 (IgnPol, IgnEph, IgnRom, IgnMag, IgnSm, IgnPhilad, IgnTral, IgnHer, IgnAnt, IgnTar, IgnPhilip, IgnMarC, MarCIgn) letter collection that is primarily referred to under this heading ..."


from
'A textual analysis and comparison of the various textual witnesses of Ignatius' letters to Polycarp, the Ephesians and the Romans'

(c) 2024 by Jack Bull, all rights reserved.

[a draft version of a thesis to be] submitted in part completion of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, Kings College, London

Publication forthcoming.

Last edited by MrMacSon on Sun Mar 31, 2024 6:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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