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The best text, and the one used for the present translation, is that of K. Bihlmeyer, Die apostolischen Väter, Neubearbeitung der Funkschen Ausgabe, I Teil (Sammlung ausgewählter kirchen- und dogmengeschichtlicher Quellenschriften, II Reihe, I Heft, I Teil), Tübingen, 1924, a third revision of the text edited by F. X. Funk, Patres apostolici, 2 vols., Tübingen, 1901. Bihlmeyer's text was reprinted, with copious bibliography, in the collection of Acts of the Martyrs by R. Knopf, Ausgewählte Märtyrerakten, 3d rev. edition by G. Krüger (Sammlung ausgewählter kirchen- und dogmengeschichtlicher Quellenschriften, N. F. 3), J. C. B. Mohr, Tübingen, 1929. Indispensable, however, is the text and commentary of J. B. Lightfoot, The Apostolic Fathers, Part II, "S. Ignatius, S. Polycarp," Revised Texts with Introductions, Notes, Dissertations, and Translations, 3 vols., 2d ed., London, 1889. Lightfoot's text was reprinted again in the edition of J. R. Harmer, The Apostolic Fathers, Revised Texts with Short Introductions and English Translations, pp. 185–211, London, 1912. Lightfoot's text, collated with that of K. Lake, was published in pamphlet form, The Martyrdom of Polycarp (Texts for Students, No. 44), S.P.C.K., London, 1930.

Other editions of the text, and references to Eusebius and the Vita Polycarpi attributed to Pionius, will be found listed in the introduction to Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians, namely, those of Th. Zahn, A. Hilgenfeld, K. Lake (Vol. II, 1913, pp. 309–345), A. Lelong, and G. Bosio. Special studies of the text tradition are Hermann Müller, Aus der Überlieferungsgeschichte des Polykarp-Martyrium, Eine hagiographische Studie, Paderborn, 1908; and E. Schwartz, De Pionio et Polycarpo, 146Göttingen, 1905. Both these studies are critical of the received tradition of the Greek manuscripts. Some of Schwartz's suggestions were adopted by Bihlmeyer.

Translations, Commentaries, and Reference Works

Translations into English of the Martyrdom will be found in the works cited in the bibliography of Polycarp's Letter: The Ante-Nicene Fathers, B. Jackson, F. X. Glimm (pp. 147–163), J. A. Kleist (pp. 85–102), and E. J. Goodspeed (pp. 245–256); and also in the texts of Lightfoot and Lake, listed above. Lelong's text includes a French translation (pp. 128–161); and Bosio's, an Italian (pp. 203–247). A German translation will be found in G. Rauschen, Frühchristliche Apologeten und Märtyrerakten (Bibliothek der Kirchenväter, 14), Vol. II, pp. 297–308, Kempten and Munich, 1913. An English translation with notes, based on the text of Knopf, is given in E. C. E. Owen, Some Authentic Acts of the Early Martyrs, pp. 31–41, 129–134, Oxford, 1927.

In addition to the reference works and dictionary articles listed in the bibliography to Polycarp's Letter, one should consult the bibliography on the literature of the martyrs, in Knopf-Krüger's Ausgewählte Märtyrerakten, pp. vi–ix. To this list may be added Donald W. Riddle, The Martyrs, A Study in Social Control, University of Chicago Press, 1931; and Hans Freiherr von Campenhausen, Die Idee des Martyriums in der alten Kirche, Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht, Göttingen, 1936; and the thorough philological study (with copious bibliography) of the word martus and cognates by Hermann Strathmann in Gerhard Kittel, Theologisches Wörterbuch zum Neuen Testament, IV (1939), pp. 477–520.

Special Studies

Considerable skepticism respecting the historical trustworthiness of the Martyrdom of Polycarp was expressed by Hermann Müller, "Das Martyrium Polycarpi, Ein Beitrag zur altchristlichen Heiligengeschichte," Römische Quartalschrift, 22 (1908), pp. 1–16. Müller's study was effectively answered by Bernhard Sepp, Das Martyrium Polycarpi, Regensburg, 1911; Heinrich Baden, "Der Nachahmungsgedanke im Polykarpmartyrium," Theologie und Glaube, 3 (1911), pp.115–122, and "Das Polykarpmartyrium," Pastor bonus, 24 (1911), pp. 705–713, 25 (1912), pp. 71–81, 136—151; and Wilhelm Reuning, 147Zur Erklärung des Polykarpmartyriums, Darmstadt, 1917. Reuning's monograph is the best single treatment of the various problems of historicity and interpretation of the work. See also Cecil John Cadoux, Ancient Smyrna, A History of the City from the Earliest Times to 324 A.D. , pp. 303–367, Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1938.

Date of Polycarp's Martyrdom

Very few scholars, since the work of Waddington, have defended the traditional Eusebian date: see J. Chapman, "La Chronologie des prémières listes épiscopales de Rome," Revue Bénédictine, 19 (1902), pp. 145–149 ("La Date de la mort de S. Polycarpe"); and Daniel Völter, Polykarp und Ignatius und die ihnen zugeschriebenen Briefe (Die apostolischen Väter neu untersucht, Vol. II, 2), Leiden, 1910. For the date February 23, 155, established by Waddington, Lightfoot's discussion is fundamental, The Apostolic Fathers, Part 2, Vol. I, pp. 646–722. Also for this date see T. Randall, "The Date of St. Polycarp's Martyrdom," Studia Biblica, By Members of the University of Oxford, I (1885), pp. 175–207; Peter Corssen, "Das Todesjahr Polykarps," Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft, 3 (1902), pp. 61–82; Matthew Power, "The Date of Polycarp's Martyrdom in the Jewish Calendar," The Expository Times, 15 (1904), pp. 330, 331; W. M. Ramsay, "The Date of Polycarp's Martyrdom," The Expository Times, 15 (1904) pp. 221–222, "New Evidence on the Date of Polycarp's Martyrdom," ibid., 18 (1908), pp. 188, 189, and "The Date of St. Polycarp's Martyrdom," Jahreshefte des österreichischen archäologischen Institutes in Wien, 27 (1932), pp. 245–258; and Bernhard Sepp, "Das Datum des Todes des hl. Polykarps," Der Katholik (94, Vierte Folge, XIII, 1914), pp. 135–142. For the date of February 22, 156, the basic studies are those of C. H. Turner, "The Day and Year of St. Polycarp's Martyrdom," Studia Biblica et Ecclesiastica, By Members of the University of Oxford, II (1890), pp. 105–155; and E. Schwartz, Christliche und jüdische Ostertafeln (Abhandlungen der königlichen Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen, Phil.-hist. Klasse, Neue Folge, VIII, p. 6), "Die jüdische Pascharechnung und das Martyrium Polykarps," pp. 125–138, Berlin, 1905. For very recent attempts to defend a later dating see Henri Grégoire and Paul Orgel in Analecta Bollandiana, 69 (1951), pp. 1–38; and W. Telfer in The Journal of Theological Studies, New Series, 3 (1952), pp. 79–83.


The Prayer of Polycarp

Its liturgical character was first studied by J. Armitage Robinson, "Liturgical Echoes in Polycarp's Prayer," The Expositor, Fifth Series, IX (1899), pp. 63–72, and later by Hans Lietzmann, "Ein liturgisches Bruckstück des zweiten Jahrhunderts," Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Theologie, 54 (N.F., 19; 1912), pp. 56–61. Robinson returned to the subject in "The 'Apostolic Anaphora' and the Prayer of St. Polycarp," The Journal of Theological Studies, 21 (1920), pp. 97–105, to which reply was made by J. W. Tyrer, "The Prayer of St. Polycarp and Its Concluding Doxology," ibid., 23 (1922), pp. 390–392; Robinson made further answer in "The Doxology in the Prayer of St. Polycarp," ibid., 24 (1923), pp. 141–144. See also the comments of Reuning, op. cit., pp. 31–43; and Massey H. Shepherd, Jr., "Smyrna in the Ignatian Letters: A Study in Church Order," The Journal of Religion, 20 (1940), pp. 150, 151.

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