The Jesus Memoirs

Ignatius, the bishop of Antioch who was nicknamed theophoros or “God-bearer,” was sent as a prisoner to Rome where he would be executed. Nevertheless, he was able to instruct his fellow believers and write his letters while on route there. The fourth-century church historian Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History3.36) places Ignatius, along with the bishops Polycarp of Smyrna and Papias of Hierapolis, during the reign of the Roman emperor Trajan (ca. 98-117 CE). Older scholarship dated Ignatius’s death near the tenth year of Trajan based on the notice about it after the 221st Olympiad (107 CE) in Eusebius’s Chronicon, but such precision may not be possible. Several epistles have been ascribed to Ignatius and transmitted down through history in variant forms, but the general consensus is that seven of the epistles are authentic (To the Smyrnaeans, To the Philadelphians, To the Romans, To the Trallians, To the Magnesians, To the Ephesians…

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