Ignatius of Antioch on the Ecclesiastical Hierarchy: Logic and Methodology

Joseph Azize
Adjunct Associate Professor
University of Notre Dame, Sydney, NSW

Abstract: Ignatius of Antioch is an important early Christian writer, and probably the most significant patristic source for the development of the ecclesiastical hierarchy. However, his evidence of the hierarchy is often rejected as being tendentious. I conduct a methodological analysis of key elements of Allen Brent’s recent study of that evidence. The results allow us to confidently approach his seven authentic letters as reliable witnesses of the development of the early Church and its ecclesiastical hierarchy, theology and spirituality in Antioch and Asia Minor. The methodological lessons for history and New Testament studies are of general value.