Open main menu
This page needs to be proofread.

God.” Later tradition regarded the word as a passive form ( God-borne ) and explained it by the romantic theory that Ignatius was the child whom Christ took in his arms (Mark ix. 36- 37). The date at which he became bishop of Antioch cannot be determined. At the time when the Epistles were written he had just been sentenced to death, and was being sent in charge of a band of soldiers to Rome to light the beasts in the amphitheatre. The fact that he was condemned to the amphitheatre proves that he could not have been a Roman citizen. We lose sight of him at Troas, but the presumption is that he was martyred at Rome, though we have no early evidence of this.

But if the Epistles tell us little of the life of Ignatius, they give us an excellent picture of the man himself, and are a mirror in which we see reflected certain ideals of the life and thought of the day. Ignatius, as Schaff says, “ is the incarnation of three closely connected ideas: the glory of martyrdom, the omnipotence of episcopacy, and the hatred of heresy and schism.”

1. Zeal for martyrdom in later days became a disease in the Church, but in the case of Ignatius it is the mark of a hero. The heroic note runs through all the Epistles; thus he says:

“ I bid all men know that of my own free will I die for God, unless ye should hinder me . . . Let me be given to the wild beasts, for through them I can attain unto God. I am God's wheat, and I am ground by the wild beasts that I may be found the pure bread of Christ. Entice the wild beasts that they ma become my sepulchre

come fire and cross and grappling's with wild beasts, wrenching

of bones, hacking of limbs, crushing of my whole body; only be it mine to attain unto Jesus Christ " (Rom. 4-5).

2. Ignatius constantly contends for the recognition of the authority of the ministers of the church. “Do nothing, ” he writes to the Magnesians, “without the bishop and the presbyters.” The “ three orders ” are essential to the church, without them no church is worthy of the name (cfs Troll. 3). “It is not lawful apart from the bishop either to baptize or to hold a love-feast ” (Smyrrz. 8). Respect is due to the bishop as to God, to the presbyters as the council of God and the college of apostles, to the deacons as to Jesus Christ (Troll. 3). These terms must not, of course, be taken in their developed modern sense. The “ bishop ” of Ignatius seems to represent the modern pastor of a church. As Zahn has shown, Ignatius is not striving to introduce a special form of ministry, nor is he endeavouring to substitute one form for another. His particular interest is not so much in the form of ministry as in the unity of the church. It is this that is his chief concern. Centrifugal forces were at work. Differences of theological opinion were arising. Churches had a tendency to split up into sections. The age of the apostles had passed away and their successors did not inherit their authority. The unity of the churches was in danger. Ignatius was resisting this fatal tendency which threatened ruin to the faith. 'I' he only remedy for it in those days was to exalt the authority of the ministry and make it the centre of church life. It should be noted that (1) there' is no trace of the later doctrine of apostolical succession; (2) the ministry is never sacerdotal in the letters of Ignatius. As Lightfoot puts it: “ The ecclesiastical order was enforced by him (Ignatius) almost solely as a security for doctrinal purity. The threefold ministry was the husk, the shell, which protected the precious kernel of the truth ” (i. 40).

3. Ignatius fights most vehemently against the current forms of heresy. The chief danger to the church came from the Docetists who denied the reality of the humanity of Christ and ascribed to him a phantom body. Hence we find Ignatius laying the utmost stress on the fact that Christ “ was truly born and ate and drank, was truly persecuted under Pontius Pilate . . was truly raised from the dead ” (Troll. 9). “ I know that He was in the flesh even after the resurrection, and when He came to Peter and his company, He said to them, 'Lay hold and handle me, and see that I am not an incorporeal spirit ' ” (Smyrrt. 3). Equally emphatic is Ignatius's protest against a return to Judaism. “ It is monstrous to talk of Jesus-Christ and to practise Judaism, for Christianity did not believe in Judaism but Judaism in Christianity ” (Mogu. Io).

Reference must also be made to a few of the more characteristic points in the. theology of Ignatius. As far as Christology is concerned, besides the insistence on the reality of the humanity of Christ already mentioned, there are two other points which call for notice. (1) Ignatius is the earliest writer outside the New Testament to describe Christ under the categories of current philosophy; cf. the famous passage in Eph. 7. “There is one only physician, of flesh and of spirit (oapm/cos Kill '/rz/ev/<6s), generate and in generate (q/evvnrbs Kai d'Yé1/1/7]TOS'), God in man, true life in death, son of Mary and son of God, first passible and then impassible ” (vrpin-ov rraém-bs nal éuraévjs). (2) Ignatius is also the first writer outside the New Testament to mention the Virgin Birth, upon which he lays the utmost stress. “ Hidden from the prince of this world were the virginity of Mary and her child-bearing and likewise also-the death of the Lord, three mysteries to be cried aloud, the which were wrought in the silence of God ” (Eph. 19). Here, it will be observed, we have the nucleus of the later doctrine of the deception of Satan. In regard to the Eucharist also later ideas occur in Ignatius. Itis termed a uuarijpiov (Troll. 2), and the influence of the Greek mysteries is seen in such language as that used in Eph. 20, where Ignatius describes the Eucharistic bread as “ the medicine of immortality and the antidote against death.” When Ignatius says too that “ the heretics abstain from Eucharist because they do not allow that the Eucharist is the flesh of Christ, ” the words seem to imply that materialistic ideas were beginning to End an entrance into the church (Smyr. 6). Other points that call for special notice are: (1) Ignatius's rather extravagant angelology. In one place for instance he speaks of himself as being able to comprehend heavenly things and “ the arrays of angels and the mustering of principalities ” (Troll. 5). (2) His view of the Old Testament. In one important passage Ignatius emphatically states his belief in the supremacy of Christ even over “ the archives ” of the faith, i.e. the Old Testament: “ As for me, my archives-my inviolable archives-are Jesus Christ, His cross, His death, His resurrection and faith through Him” (Philodel. 8).

Authorities.-T. Zahn, Ignatius 'von Antiochieu (Gotha, 1873); J. B. Lightfoot, Apostolic Fathers, part ii. (London, 2nd ed., 1889); F. X. Funk, Die Echtheit der igiiot. Briefe (Tübingen, 1892); A. Harnack, Chrortologie der oltchristlichen Litterotur (Leipzig, 1897). There is a good bibliography in G. Kruger, Eorly Christian Literature (Eng. trans., 1897, pp. 28-29). See also APOSTOLIC FATHERS. (H. T. A.)

IGNORAMUS (Latin for “ we do not know,” “ we take no notice of ”), properly an English law term for the endorsement on the bill of indictment made by a grand jury when they “ throw out ” the bill, i.e. when they do not consider that the case should go to a petty jury. The expression is now obsolete, “ not a true bill,” “ no bill,” being used. The expressions “ ignoramus jury,” “ ignoramus Whig,” &c., were common in the political satires and pamphlets of the years following on the throwing out of the bill for high treason against the 2nd earl of Shaftesbury in 1681. The application of the term to an ignorant person dates from the early part of the 17th century. The New English Dictionary quotes two examples illustrating the early connexion of the term wi th the law or lawyers. George Ruggle (1575–1622) in 1615 wrote a Latin play with the title Ignoramus, the name being also that of the chief character in it, intended for one Francis Brakin, the recorder of Cambridge. It is a satire against the ignorance and pettifogging of the common lawyers of the day. It was answered by a prose tract (not printed till 1648) by one Robert Callis, serjeant-at-law. This bore the title of The Case and Argument against Sir Ignoramus of Cambridge.

IGNORANCE (Lat. ignorantia, from ignorare, not to know); want of knowledge, a state of mind which in law has important consequences. A well-known legal maxim runs: ignorantia juris non excusat (“ignorance of the law does not excuse”). With this is sometimes coupled another maxim: ignorantia fact excusat (“ignorance of the fact excuses”). That every one who has capacity to understand the law is presumed to know it is a very necessary principle, for otherwise the courts would be continually occupied in endeavouring to solve problems which by their very impracticability would render the administration of justice next to impossible. It would be necessary for the