Отто Барденхевер. Поликарп Смирнский

§ 10. Polycarp of Smyrna. I . HIS LIFE. — Irenaeus has preserved some precious details concerning Polycarp, the bishop of Smyrna, to whom Ignatius wrote one of his seven Letters. Irenaeus had listened, as a boy, to the discourses of the old bishop, and had «heard him tell of his relations with John (the Apostle) and with others who had seen the Lord, and how he quoted from their language, and how much he had learned from them concerning the Lord and His miracles and teaching»i. At the end of 154 or at the beginning of 155 Polycarp visited Rome, in the hope of coming to an understanding with Pope Anicetus concerning the manner of the celebration of Easter, «but neither could Anicetus move Polycarp to give up his custom, which he had always observed with the Apostle John, the disciple of Our Lord, and with the other Apostles with whom he had conversed, nor could Polycarp move Anicetus to adopt that custom, the latter declaring that he was bound to keep up the customs of his predecessors (t&v rtpo aozoo TTpeaßoripwv). Nevertheless, they preserved communion with one another, and in order to do him honour, Anicetus caused Polycarp to celebrate the Eucharist in his church, and they parted in peace»2.


Not long after this incident Polycarp died the death of a martyr at Smyrna in his eighty-sixth year. In an Encyclical Letter the community of Smyrna made known to all Christians his death and the circumstances of his martyrdom. From its context (c. 21; cf. 8, 1) we can ascertain with approximate certainty that Polycarp died February 23., in 155.

Th. Zahn, Forschungen zur Gesch. des neutestamentl. Kanons und der
altkirchl. Literatur (1891), iv. 249—283; (1900), vi. 94—109. [K. Bihlmeyer,
Der Besuch Polykarps bei Anicet und der Osterfeierstreit, in Katholik
[1902], i. 314—327.) Concerning the date of Polycarp’s death, cf. Harnack,
Gesch. der altchristl. Literatur (1897), ii. 1, 334—356. P. Corssen , Das
Todesjahr Polykarps, in Zeitschr. für neutestamentl. Wissensch. (1902), iii.
61—82. For the encyclical letter of the community of Smyrna, cf. § 59, 2.

2. LETTER TO THE PHILIPPIANS. — Irenaeus speaks of Letters sent by Polycarp «partly to neighbouring communities to confirm them (in the faith), partly to individual brethren to instruct and exhort them 3 .» On another occasion he writes: «There is a very excellent (ixava)zd~Y]) letter of Polycarp to the Philippians, from which the form of his faith and the teaching of truth can be seen by those who are of good will and intent on their salvation» i . Only fragments of the original Greek have reached us, but we possess the entire text in an old Latin translation. It is a word of comfort written at the request of the community of Philippi in Macedonia, and encourages all its members to constancy ; it inculcates, moreover, the special duties of married people, of widows, deacons, youths, virgins, and the clergy. This Letter of Polycarp is full of imitations and reminiscencies of the Letter of St. Clement to the Corinthians (c. 9, 2; 13, 2). As late as the end of the fourth century some communities af Asia Minor were wont to read it during divine service 1. Some recent writers have disputed its authenticity or denied its integrity, but only with the object of crippling its value as an evidence of the authenticity of the Ignatian Letters (cf. § 9, 3). Its authenticity is guaranteed by Irenaeus; nor can the distinction between a genuine nucleus and later accretions be upheld, in view of the striking unity of its style, and its constant dependence on the Letter of St. Clement.

The Greek codices of the Letter to the Philippians are all, directly or
indirectly, copies of one exemplar; all end at c. 9, 2, with the words xai
01 rjfjia? urjj. The rest of the Letter (cc. 10—14) is taken from an old
Latin translation, itself very carelessly made. However, the Greek text of
chapters 9 and 13 has been preserved in the Church History of Eusebius 2
.
The Latin translation was edited by J. Faber Stapulensis, Paris, 1498. The
Greek text (c. 1—9) was first edited by P. Halloix, Douai, 1633. The
Greek text in Migne (PG. , v. 1005—1016) is taken from Hefele, Opp.
Patr. apost. , Tübingen, 1847. The most important recent editions are
those of Zahn, Leipzig, 1876; Funk, Tübingen, 1878, 1887, 1901 ; Lightfoot,
London, 1885, 1889; [Hilgenfeld, Berlin, 1902; Vizzini, in the Bibliotheca
Sanct. Patrum, series ii, vol. ii, Rome, 1901 ; cf. § 4; 9, 1). Zahn retranslated
into Greek the part that has reached us in Latin only. His
translation has been improved by Funk in some places. Lightfoot executed
a new re-translation. New editions of the old Latin version (PG. , v.
1015—1022) are found in Zahn 1. c. , also in Funk, Die Echtheit der
Ignatianischen Briefe, Tübingen, 1883, pp. 205—212. Cf. A. Harnack, Zu
Polycarp ad Philipp, ii. , in Miscellen (Texte und Untersuchungen, new
series, v. 3), pp. 86—93. For new versions of the Letter to the Philippians
see § 4. (T. Nicklin, Three Passages in SS. Ignatius and Polycarp, in
Journal of Theological Studies [1902—1903], iv. 443.) Funk, Die Echtheit
der Ignat. Briefe, 14—42: «Der Polykarpbrief». The hypothesis of an
interpolation proposed by A. Ritschi (Die Entstehung der altkath. Kirche,
2 ed., Bonn, 1857, 584-— 600), was accepted by G. Volkmar, in his Epist.
Polyc. Smyrn. genuina, Zürich, 1885, and in Theol. Zeitschrift aus der
Schweiz (1886), iii. 99

in, also by A. Hilgenfeld, in Zeitschrift für
wissenschaftl. Theologie (1888) , xxix. 180—206. J. M. Cotterill found
citations from this Letter in the «Pandects» of the Palestinian monk Antiochus
(c. 620) whereupon he declared Antiochus to be the author of the
Letter of Polycarp; cf Journal of Philology (1891), xix. 241—285. This
discovery did not merit the honour of the solid refutation from the pen of
C. Taylor, ib. (1892), xx. 65—no. [jf. Turmel, Lettre et martyre de Saint
Polycarpe, in Annates de philosophie ehret. [1904t 22—33.)

3. Latin Fragments. — Five small Latin fragments, current under the name of Polycarp, treat of certain Gospel texts; they are, according to all appearances, spurious. These fragments were published by Fr. Feuardent in the notes to his edition of Irenaeus (Cologne 1596, reprinted 1639). They were taken by him from a Latin Catena on the four Gospels. The compiler of the Catena,
now lost, had found these fragments in a work of Victor, bishop of Capua (f 554). Other recensions of these fragments are in Migne (1. c. v. 1025—1028), Zahn (1. c. 171 — 172), and Lightfoot (1. c. 1001 — 1004), Funk, Patres apostolici (1901), ii. 288 sq. In his Geschichte des neutestamentl. Kanons, i. 782 f., Zahn undertook to defend their authenticity, with the exception of one phrase.

Цит. по PATROLOGY. THE LIVES AND WORKS OF THE FATHERS OF THE CHURCH BY OTTO BARDENHEWER, D. D., PH. D. 1908