Fake Fathers Quotes: St. Ignatius Edition

Somebody decided to make St. Ignatius of Antioch say something anti-Semitic, and those who are easily deceived are passing it around the Internet. The pro-Jewish people who are condemning Ignatius are being just as gullible as the anti-Jewish people who like the quote. Faugh.

St. Ignatius spends some time, in his letters written on his way to martyrdom, warning Christians against “Judaizing”. By this, he means exactly the same thing as St. Paul did. He’s telling Gentile Christians not to get circumcised or follow Jewish holidays and disciplines, and he’s telling Jewish Christians not to get concerned about the old Law and old interpretations.

(Why? Because they have been freed from these things by Christ dying and rising, and through His rabbinical teachings with the power of binding and loosing, which power He has also given to His Apostles and their successors, the bishops. As a bishop, St. Ignatius is one of those who has exercised this power.)

And St. Ignatius is largely doing this instruction through quotes from St. Paul, who was Jewish. Oh, how radical.

However, there’s another quote going around, which is not from St. Ignatius at all. It is scummy, besides being baldly unconvincing. Here it is:

“Christianity did not come from Judaism. Judaism is a perversion of Christianity.”


The closest thing to that which he said was:

It is out of place (ατοπον) to speak of (λαλειν) Jesus Christ and to Judaize. For Christianity did not believe in (επιστευσεν) Judaism; but Judaism believed in Christianity, so that “every” believing “tongue” was gathered into God. (Is. 45:23, Rom. 14:11, Phil. 2:11)’

  • St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Magnesians, Chapter X, 3.

Do you see how different this is? The fake quote treats Judaism like Islam, whereas St. Ignatius is pointing out that it was Jews who believed Christ and became Christians.

There are plenty of quotes where early Christians point out the disconnect between Jewish life while the Temple still existed, and Jewish life as basically remade by post-Temple rabbis. The Talmud spends a lot of time trying to justify those rabbinical choices. Obviously both sides have strong opinions about it, just as they had strong opinions about the legitimacy of Christianity.

But that’s not what St. Ignatius was talking about. At all. He died in AD 105, when the “new” Judaism barely even existed yet, and certainly didn’t yet have a system all worked out. The divinity of Jesus, circumcision, and kosher were the issues of his day. “Judaismos” did not meant to him what “Judaism” means today. And never mind “Christianismos” — it wasn’t that long ago when the term “Christian” had been coined. In Antioch.

(And yes, I also checked the spurious epistles attributed falsely to St. Ignatius, and even they didn’t say anything like this. Sheesh.)


Filed under Debunking Quotes, Greek Bible Stuff, Patristics

2 responses to “Fake Fathers Quotes: St. Ignatius Edition

  1. Reblogged this on Head Noises and commented:

    The fake quote treats Judaism like Islam, whereas St. Ignatius is pointing out that it was Jews who believed Christ and became Christians.

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