Taking a break with St. Ignatius…

Mom,

I’m still working up to the next email, but I thought I suggest something for you in the meantime.  I’ve found that the writings of Ignatius were some of the most impactful of the early Christian writings I’ve read.  They have the benefits of being short, very early, and containing much that sheds light on Christian life at the turn of the first century.  I can’t think of any other writing that fits into these criteria as well.  These writings really made a difference to me, and so I offer them up as a suggestion for you to read while you are waiting for that next email, or beyond that time.  They are written right at the end of the first century, so they are witnesses to Christianity within the first century of the life of the Church.  They also enjoy universal acceptance by modern scholars as being genuine.

English: Ignatius of Antioch, Russian: Игнатий...
Image via Wikipedia

Ignatius was the bishop of Antioch before he was martyred by the Romans.  As such he was a major leader in the early Church.  Antioch was an important city for Christians as attested in Acts.  As Ignatius was being led off to Rome (eventually to be eaten by animals) he wrote letters to Churches as he passed them.

If you want to read them over, and it wouldn’t take long, you have some options.  You can get free versions to read on your nook: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-epistles-of-st-ignatius-bishop-of-antioch-ignatius-james-herbert-srawley/1026003583?ean=2940019680887&itm=3&usri=ignatius%252bepistles.  Note that these are going to be older translations of the writings that are in the public domain, so it might not be the easiest way to read, and they might just be scanned pages.  I haven’t used any of them, so I don’t know what the quality will be.

Or you could read them online, either at Google Books with the same provisos above: http://books.google.com/books/about/The_epistles_of_St_Ignatius_bishop_of_An.html?id=5WMMAAAAIAAJ.  Or you could read them from the CCEL at http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf01.v.ii.html.  I like the CCEL version for nice readability, but there’s something you should note before starting there.  The translation is doubled up, because there are shorter and longer versions of the Ignatius letters, and the translation used by CCEL included both so that you could see the difference.  Unfortunately there’s no indication of where the short and long translation of each chapter meet up, so you just have to keep an eye out for it.  If you do read these, you can just read the short version part that’s at the first of each section.

Another option I like is the Early Christian Writings web site:
Letter to Ephesians: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-ephesians-roberts.html
Letter to Magnesians: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-magnesians-roberts.html
Letter to Tralians: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-trallians-roberts.html
Letter to Romans: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-romans-roberts.html
Letter to Philadelphians: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-philadelphians-roberts.html
Letter to Smyrnaens: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-smyrnaeans-roberts.html
Letter to Polycarp: http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/ignatius-polycarp-roberts.html

That was probably all a bit confusing.  Hopefully you can figure it out.  :o)

Love you,
Mark

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Taking a break with St. Ignatius…

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