# Saturday, April 22, 2006

Ten months ago, I blogged about the effect the Mohr-Siebeck catalogue can have on a well-meaning bibliophile such as myself.

Well, I succombed and ordered Hill's book, From the Lost Teaching of Polycarp (with SBL meeting discount order form, of course) at the end of the year last year. I received it in February. I've finally made it through the first part of Hill's book so I thought I'd comment.

Note also that the book was mentioned on the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog in early March.

Anyway, in Part 1, Hill seeks to show that Irenaeus bases portions of his Against Heresies on memorized recollections of his earlier teaching by Polycarp. The formal title of the first part is "Polycarp Contra Marcionem: Irenaeus' Presbyterial Source in AH 4.27-32".

That is, Hill's position is that in those sections, when Irenaeus appeals to "the presbyter", he is in actuality appealing to Polycarp's teaching, and that the teaching therein is direct recollection of Irenaeus' earlier teaching received under Polycarp.

The argument is convincing and well-supported. If Hill's position is correct, one of the interesting side-effects is a newfound position of Polycarp as heresiologist, specifically disputing against Marcion and his ilk. Another insight would be in the realm of interpretation of Scripture. The interpretive process shown in the specified sections would logically be tied back to Polycarp.

All in all, it is an interesting read. If you're interested in this sort of stuff (Patristics, Apostolic Fathers, early church history, development of early Christianity) then Part 1 of Hill's book is highly recommended.

I'm really looking forward to Part 2, where Hill advances speculation that Polycarp could be the ultimate source of the text we know as The Epistle to Diognetus. In his preface, Hill admits this is much more speculative than his position in Part 1. Given my interest in both Polycarp and the Epistle to Diognetus, this one should be fun to work through.

Post Author: rico
Saturday, April 22, 2006 11:51:53 AM (Pacific Daylight Time, UTC-07:00) 

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