The so-called Canonical letter (or περὶ Μετανοίας, “On Repentance”) of St. Peter of Alexandria, sheds light on a variety of means that Christians chose to avoid the sacrifice test under the Diocletian persecution. Canons 5-7 deal explicitly with slave- owners using their slaves as surrogates. St. Peter condemns these practices heavily, while at the same time he condemns servile obedience. In this, Peter is almost alone in early Christianity, when almost all Christians preached blind obedience. The article examines these canons, and contextualizes them with other Christian perceptions of ancient slavery. At the same time, the letter is important for the understanding of the Great persecution, its mechanisms, and the personal situation of St. Peter. Hence, the letter is discussed in regards to its transmission, and its context.
Justin Martyr is commonly regarded as the “inventor of heresy,” an assessment that is based to a considerable extent on his authorship of the earliest-known, now lost anti-heretical treatise mentioned in Justin’s First Apology 26. Justin’s authorship of this treatise has often been assumed, but rarely argued, and it has been contested by a number of scholars. This study evaluates the grammatical, literary, and historical aspects of this question and argues, against recent claims to the contrary, that the hypothesis that Justin was involved in the production of this important document best accommodates the available evidence.
There is no consensus among editors and translators of Martyrium Polycarpi regarding what reading should be accepted in 2.4: κολαζόµενοι or κολαφιζόµενοι. A hitherto unnoticed intertextual reference to 2Cor 12:1-10 is proposed as an argument in favor of the reading κολαφιζόµενοι. Moreover, detecting this allusion deepens our understanding of the theology of martyrdom in Martyrium Polycarpi.