To Each Their Own Letter
Structure, Themes, & Rhetorical Strategies
in the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch

By Mikael Isacson
November 2004
Almqvist & Wiksell
ISBN: 9122020705
238 pages, 6" x 8 "
$89.50 Paper Original

The collection of letters by Ignatius of Antioch has until now mainly been treated as a coherent whole. This has been the case irrespective of analyses of the authenticity or theology of these letters, or of discussions about the identity of Ignatius' opponents.

The present work underlines that each individual letter should be read as a specific act of communication between a sender and his recipients, and emphasizes that Ignatius wrote different letters to different addresses. The five Ignatian letters to the churches at Ephesus, Magnesia, Tralles, , and Smyrna are studied in order to highlight the individual character of each letter.

Tools from text linguistic analysis (discourse analysis) and rhetorical criticism are employed in order to allow the structure, the (main) themes, and the rhetorical strategy of each respective letter to emerge. The five letters can be divided into two groups: letters to churches that Ignatius has visited (ns, Smyrnarans), and letters to churches that have sent delegates to him during his stay at Smyrna (Ephesians, Magnesians, Trallians).

The difference between these two groups affects the structure and the (main) themes as well as the rhetorical strategies. Ignatius shows greater acquaintance with the situation prevailing in and Smyrna than with the other churches.

The Letter to the Ephesians
The Letter to the Magnesians
The Letter to the Trallians
The Letter to the ns
The Letter to the Smyrnaeans
Towards a Differentiated Understanding

Coniectanea Biblica New Testament Series, No. 42

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