Candida moss on the dating of polycarp
But do we need to think that such an attempt at Christian re-interpretation of a Roman trial could only take a place a century after the event?Of the early Christian martyrdom accounts, the Martyrdom of Polycarp holds a place of particular honor.Modern critical editions of the Martyrdom of Polycarp (Mart Pol) are compiled from three different categories of manuscript: seven Greek manuscripts, the fourth century Ecclesiastical History of Eusebius of Caesarea, and a single Latin manuscript.The Greek manuscripts are all from the tenth to the thirteenth centuries.Of the seven manuscripts, six provide a similar account of the martyrdom of Polycarp and are thus believed to represent a single family of texts.In addition to the Greek manuscripts there are also the writings of Eusebius related in his Ecclesiastical History, written around AD 324–325.Alternatively, historians have attempted to assign a date to the actual death of Polycarp.Three dates have been proposed for Polycarp's death: The 'Martyrdom' of Polycarp, along with other documents of the Apostolic Fathers plays a central role in bridging the New Testament and emerging Christian writers in the latter half of the second century, such as Justin Martyr and Irenaeus.
Once these assumptions are put to one side, the dating of the account becomes more uncertain.
In fact, on this particular issue their scepticism now appears premature.
Barnes, Moss and Whitmarsh argue that the date, on the 23 February ‘when Philip of Tralles was high-priest and Statius Quadratus proconsul’ ( 21), is an impossible one, as Philip of Tralles was the high priest of the province of Asia not later than AD 149/50, and Statius Quadratus served as proconsul in the second half of the 150s.
That would date the martyrdom to 23 February 157 on both counts.
Barnes’s new view on this matter can in fact be further reinforced from another recently published epigraphic document which he does not consider.