Original Research

Traditions of martyrdom in the Ignatian Letters

S. Fuhrmann
In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi | Vol 45, No 2/3 | a35 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v45i2/3.35 | © 1970 S. Fuhrmann | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 22 June 2011 | Published:

About the author(s)

S. Fuhrmann, Westfälische Wilhelms-Universität Münster, Unit for Reformed Theology, Potchefstroom Campus North-West University, POTCHEFSTROOM

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The letters of Ignatius represent one of the key texts for the emergence of martyrdom during the second century AD in Christianity. This article is concerned with the question whether Ignatius contributed to a “theology of martyrdom” or whether he rather relied on previous traditions. The author argues, by undertaking an analysis of certain pragmatics and semantics, that the motif of martyrdom is solely used to buttress Ignatius’ claim for authority among his intended addressees by referring to an understanding of martyrdom that has its roots in the New Testament. An identification of the author of the letters with a historical martyr is regarded as unlikely.


Ignatius Of Antioch; Martyrdom; Pragmatics; Ransom; Sacrifice


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1. The Term ἀντίψυχος as an Expiatory Sacrifice of Martyrs in the Light of The Fourth Book of Maccabees and Other Ancient Extra-Biblical Literature
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