Roger Parvus: Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius

In 2011 Roger Parvus posted a series here arguing that the letters of Ignatius were in fact composed by a follower of a breakaway sect from Marcionism. Roger’s thesis builds upon ideas advanced by earlier scholars that the letters of Ignatius show signs of the teachings of someone closely related to Marcionism, such as Apelles, a former disciple of Marcion. Roger also revisits and develops an idea that first appeared a century ago in scholarly publications that the author of the original letters was in fact that colorful character Peregrinus, the subject of a satire by Lucian.

Since then, Roger has nuanced some those posts, and I also have learned a little about more effective ways to present lengthy posts in a relatively quick-and-easy-to-follow layout on a blog page. So I will be posting a new series of the revised version of Roger’s posts over coming months.

1. The Letters of Ignatius: Originally Written By a Follower of an Ex-Marcionite? (Introduction)

PART  1 — that the letters were written by Peregrinus

2. The Letters of Ignatius: Originally Written By Peregrinus?

1 and 2 originally posted as The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch

3. Solving a Puzzle (or four) in the Letters of Ignatius: The Christian Years of Peregrinus

3 originally posted as [2] The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch: 2nd post in the series

4. Invitations to Watch a Martrydom: The Letters of Ignatius (or Peregrinus) continued

4 originally posted as [3] The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch: 3rd post in this series

5. Making Sense of the Letters and Travels of Ignatius

5 originally posted as [4] The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch: 4th post in this series

6. Writing Ignatius into History (How the Peregrinus thesis solves many problems)

6 originally posted as [5] The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch: 5th post in this series

PART 2 — that the author was an Apellean Christian

7. An Odd Mix of Beliefs in the Letters of Ignatius Peregrinus

7 originally posted as [6] The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch: 6th post in the series

8. The Teachings of Apelles, Marcion’s Apostate

8 originally posted as the first half of [7] The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch: 7th post in the series

9. The Author of the So-Called Ignatians was an Apellean Christian

9 originally posted as the second half of [7] The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch: 7th post in the series

10. The Ignatian Letters Written By a Follower Of Apelles? (Part 1)

10 originally posted as [8] The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch: 8th post in the series

11. The Gospel of Peregrinus (and Apelles)

11 originally posted as [9] The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch: 9th post in the series

Conclusion

12. Final of “Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius”: Tackling New Questions

12 originally posted as [10] The Letters Supposedly Written by Ignatius of Antioch: 10th and final post in the series

5 Comments

  • Jaime
    2014-01-05 10:15:45 UTC - 10:15 | Permalink

    [Apologies for originally posting this question in the wrong thread!]

    ———————————-

    Hi Roger,

    […]

    Have you anywhere addressed the idea that Apelles was alluded to as “Apollos” in Acts 18:24-28?

    “Now there came to Ephesus a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria. He was an eloquent man, well-versed in the scriptures. He had been instructed in the Way of the Lord; and he spoke with burning enthusiasm and taught accurately the things concerning Jesus, though he knew only the baptism of John. He began to speak boldly in the synagogue; but when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained the Way of God to him more accurately. And when he wished to cross over to Achaia, the believers encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him. On his arrival he greatly helped those who through grace had become believers, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, showing by the scriptures that the Messiah is Jesus.” [NRSV]

    My thoughts:
    1) The distinction between the “Way of the Lord” (things concerning Jesus) and the “the Way of God”, as well as the theme of “powerfully refuting the Jews”, strikes me as Apellean (as you describe it).
    2) Tertullian says that Apelles settled in Alexandria after he was expelled from the Marcionites in Rome.
    3) The ‘Johannine’ community is reputed to have resided in the vicinity of Ephesus/Smyrna/Patmos.
    4) In your discussion of Ignatius/Peregrinus, you suggest that the ‘Gospel of John’ (as we know it) may have been the proto-orthodox redaction of the Gospel of the Apelleans.

    Putting it all together, is it possible that the foregoing passage in Acts alludes to a connection between the Apollos/Apelles of Alexandria and the Apelles/Apollos of Ephesus?

    Anyway, I’m obviously new to all this, but I have (binge-)read and enjoyed all your posts so far on Ignatius/Peregrinus and Paul/Simon. If you get the chance let me know if I have missed anything… or am just generally bonkers!!

    Thanks!
    Jaime

  • Roger Parvus
    2014-01-05 11:13:00 UTC - 11:13 | Permalink

    Jaime,

    In my self-published book I suggested that the author of Acts of the Apostles may have created Apollos as a kind of prefiguration for Apelles. I didn’t include this in the blog series because, in order to convincingly argue it, I think it needs to be presented as part of a much larger discussion of Acts and its purpose.

    But, yes, I agree with you that the parallels are intriguing. I suspect the author of Acts wanted to create an early Christian precedent for “welcoming” (18:27) Apelles, someone whose teaching of Christianity was different but still quite close to that of the proto-orthodox. Notice how delicately the situation is handled. The teaching of Apollos is not described as being wrong or deficient. He taught “accurately” (18:25) the things concerning Jesus, but Priscilla and Aquila explained to him the Way of God “more accurately.” (18:26)

    It is worth noting too that there are a few manuscripts of Acts that actually have the name Apelles instead of Apollos in the 18:24-28 episode.

    • Roger Parvus
      2014-01-05 11:48:01 UTC - 11:48 | Permalink

      I should have mentioned too that, according to Robert M. Price, Darrell Doughty also proposed that Apollos = Apelles. And as I recall, Hermann Detering, in his The Falsified Paul, makes the same identification.

  • Greg Pandatshang
    2014-06-09 03:17:39 UTC - 03:17 | Permalink

    By the way, are there sources for Peregrinus’s life other than Lucian and Aulus Gellius? I seem to recall this being mentioned one way or the other in the series, but I can’t find it and I don’t recall what you said.

    • Roger Parvus
      2014-06-09 22:25:23 UTC - 22:25 | Permalink

      The only other second century references to Peregrinus are brief and by Christians: Tatian (in his “Address to the Greeks,” ch. 25) and Athenagoras (in his “Apologia,” ch. 26). A few years later Tertullian mentions him (in “To the Martyrs,” ch. 4).

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