Charismatic patronage and brokerage: Episcopal leadership in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch.

Title: Charismatic patronage and brokerage: Episcopal leadership in the letters of Ignatius of Antioch.
Authors: Williams, Ritva H.
Date: 1997
Abstract: The goal of this dissertation is to engage in a comprehensive and systematic examination of the writings of Ignatius of Antioch on the subject of episcopal leadership. Working on the premise that the episcopacy is both an historical and a social phenomenon in the early church this study will attempt to combine historical and social-science methods of investigation. A review of 20th century scholarly work on the Ignatian correspondence will provide a point of departure for this work. In particular three issues raised by contemporary scholarship will be addressed. (1) With respect to the question of the historical plausibility of Ignatius' views on episcopal leadership, this study will seek to understand how his concept of the episcopacy fits into early 2nd century Christianity as it was developing in Syria. An examination of Matthew, the Didache, the Johannine Gospel and Epistles, and the Gospel of Thomas will be the basis of a reconstruction of leadership trends that are roughly contemporary with Ignatius. A comparison of these texts with the Syrian bishop's writings will show that his views seem to be partially rooted in developments that were preserved by the writers of the Didache and the Johannine texts. (2) Ignatius' notions about episcopal leadership also reflect hierarchical social arrangements that were prevalent in the Greco-Roman households which formed the immediate social context of the early church. Patronage was the means by which patriarchal authority was extended beyond the household into economic, political and religious relationships. The patron-broker-client model of social organization will be presented as an unconscious emic model shaping the way many early Christian writers, including Ignatius, understood and expressed the relationship between God and humans, and between church leaders and their congregations. (3) Weber's typology of authority, together with his work on the routinization of charisma, will be employed as an etic model to classify and compare the different leadership preferences displayed in the early Christian texts under review. This analysis will show that Ignatius' own personal authority was of the charismatic type deriving from his liminal position as a martyr-elect. He argues that bishops are chosen by the Holy Spirit to occupy an office which clothes them with "grace" and with spiritual gifts. These arguments point to a conception of episcopal authority that may be described etically as being of the routinized charismatic type. In this respect Ignatius moves beyond, and in a somewhat different direction than other early Syrian Christian writers.
CollectionTh├Ęses, 1910 - 2010 // Theses, 1910 - 2010
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