Ignatius and History

book_of_revelation
A lovely old dispensationalist Revelation history diagram. It’s hard to find pictures that depict history, but this one is particularly exciting – even if, like me, you’re not dispensationalist

This week I’m still thinking (and trying to write) about the interpretation of Scripture in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch. Now I’m looking at Ignatius’ assumed narrative of history and how that informs his understanding of what Scripture means. In Magnesians 8:1-2, Ignatius claims that the prophets of Israel’s past ‘lived according to Jesus Christ’ and preached the Gospel beforehand. Their whole concern, Ignatius says, was Jesus. I want to argue that this reflects the kind of theological narrative of history which climaxes in the person and work of Jesus Christ seen in 1 Peter 1:10-12 and Matt 13:17. Again, I think this New Testament similarity helps obscure the picture of Ignatius’ use of Scripture as an illustration of how far the Church has moved (in the early Second Century) from the conceptual world of the New Testament, shaped by Scripture and apocalyptic Jewish thought.

 

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