Martyrdom of Polycarp


Martyrdom of Polycarp

The Martyrdom of Polycarp is one of the works of the Apostolic Fathers, and as such is one of the very few eyewitness writings from the actual age of the persecutions. The work details Polycarp's death at the age of 86 years old, at the hands of the Romans, in the 2nd century AD. It is among the first recorded Acts of the Martyrs.

Though the author of the "Martyrdom of Polycarp" is unknown, the story is recorded by Eusebius, who claims to have received it through a letter addressed to the Church of Philomelium by the Church of Smyrna.

Some scholars have challenged the authenticity and dating of the account. Although her argument has not been widely accepted, Italian scholar Silvia Ronchey argued in Indagine sul martirio di San Policarpo that the text is a late 3rd century composition. More recently Candida Moss argued in an article 'On the Dating of Polycarp' in Early Christianity that the account is not an eyewitness report and that the Martyrdom of Polycarp was written in the early 3rd century.

Polycarp's famous refusal to revile Jesus Christ is quoted below from the following English translations:

Charles H. Hoole's 1885 translation And when the proconsul pressed him, and said, Swear, and I will release thee, revile Christ; Polycarp said, Eighty and six years have I served him, and in nothing hath he wronged me; and how, then, can I blaspheme my King, who saved me?

J.B. Lightfoot. Adapt. and mod. (c) 1990 But when the magistrate pressed him hard and said, 'Swear the oath, and I will release thee; revile the Christ,' Polycarp said, 'Fourscore and six years have I been His servant, and He hath done me no wrong. How then can I blaspheme my King who saved me?'

Kirsopp Lake, 1912 But when the Pro-Consul pressed him and said: "Take the oath and I let you go, revile Christ," Polycarp said: "For eighty and six years have I been his servant, and he has done me no wrong, and how can I blaspheme my King who saved me?"

Roberts-Donaldson Then, the proconsul urging him, and saying, "Swear, and I will set thee at liberty, reproach Christ;" Polycarp declared, "Eighty and six years have I served Him, and He never did me any injury: how then can I blaspheme my King and my Saviour?"

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Look at other dictionaries:

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