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False Lives, False Martyrs: “Pseudo-Pionius” and the Redating of the Martyrdom of Polycarp

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AbstractThe final form of the Martyrdom of Polycarp has often been dated to the late fourth century on the basis of an alleged link between the “Pionius” who edited its final colophon and the anonymous author of a clearly apocryphal Life of Polycarp. In this article, I argue that the correlation between these two texts is problematic at best and should be discarded in light of recent scholarship. To replace this outdated construct, I submit that the variant Moscow colophon manuscript tradition, generally considered the latest edition of the text, betrays traces of an earlier polemical milieu that may allow us to redate the colophon to the third or early fourth century.

Affiliations: 1: Baylor UniversityWaco, TX


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