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The Christology of the Martyrdom of Polycarp: Martyrdom as Both Imitation of Christ and Election by Christ

Paul Hartog
  • Corresponding author
  • Faith Baptist Theological Seminary Loyola University Chicago) is Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa, United States of America.
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Published Online: 2014-11-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/perc-2014-0008


The Martyrdom of Polycarp narrates a martyrdom ‘according to the Gospel’. Numerous facets of the text echo the passion materials of the Gospels, and Polycarp is directly said to imitate Christ. Various scholars have discussed the imitatio Christi theme within the work. Such an approach focuses upon Christ as an exemplar of suffering to be imitated, through specific events of similar suffering. But the Christology of the Martyrdom of Polycarp is far richer than this focus alone. Jesus Christ is also the Son, Savior, eternal high priest, teacher, elector, king, and alternative to Caesar. As the sovereign , he actively coordinates events and chooses martyrs from among his servants.

Keywords: Polycarp; Christology; martyrdom; imitation; imitatio Christi; election


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About the article

Published Online: 2014-11-25

Published in Print: 2014-10-01

Citation Information: Perichoresis, Volume 12, Issue 2, Pages 137–152, ISSN (Online) 2284-7308, DOI: https://doi.org/10.2478/perc-2014-0008.

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© 2014. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 License. BY-NC-ND 3.0

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