Reviews Of Books -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 64:2 (Fall 2002)
Article: Reviews Of Books
Author: Anonymous

Reviews Of Books

Paul Hartog: Polycarp and the New Testament: The Occasion, Rhetoric, Theme, and Unity of the Epistle to the Philippians and its Allusions to New Testament Literature. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament II/134. Tübingen: Mohr-Siebeck, 2002. 281 pp. $43.75, paper.

Paul Hartog’s book, Polycarp and the New Testament, could have been entitled Everything about Polycarp and His Letter. Actually, the “and the New Testament” part of the book is only found in chs. 11–13 (52 pages out of a total of 239 pages of text). But, as a book on everything about Polycarp and his letter (henceforth Pol. Phil.), it makes some excellent contributions.

The book is divided into 13 chapters of roughly equal length (12–25 pages each): (1) Review of Past Scholarship on Philippians, (2) The Life of Polycarp, (3) Smyrna, Philippi, and Their Churches, (4) The Text and Authenticity of Philippians, (5) The Background of Philippians, (6) The Problem of Heresy in Philippians, (7) The Epistolary Features of Philippians, (8) The Rhetorical Paraenesis of Philippians, (9) The Theme of “Righteousness” in Philippians, (10) The Unity of Philippians, (11) New Testament Allusions in Philippians, (12) Polycarp and Scripture, and (13) Polycarp and Paul.

Since Hartog covers so much territory in such a short span, his book will prove to be a helpful resource for anyone attempting to wade into the waters of scholarship devoted to Polycarp. In fact, Polycarp has been relatively neglected by scholars when one considers how much ink has been spilled on his big brothers, “Clement” and Ignatius. This may relate partly to the tendency of scholars in the past to characterize Polycarp unfairly as an uncreative simpleton. One of Hartog’s contributions is to debunk this persistent myth. Hartog correctly notes that “these caricatures are based upon a false dichotomy between creativity and the conservative use of tradition” (p. 67; cf. p. 237).

The book’s positive contributions are many. One is a new suggestion for the dating of Polycarp’s martyrdom—February 23, A.D. 161 (pp. 30–31). It provides the fullest historical description of Polycarp since Lightfoot (chs. 2–3). Third, it contains a well-argued section countering the idea that Polycarp was responding to Marcion when he wrote Pol. Phil. (pp. 89–106). There is, furthermore, a sustained attempt to apply form, rhetorical, and epistolary criticism to Pol. Phil. (chs. 7–9; ch. 9, in fact, may be the most important in Hartog’s book). Fifth, Hartog suggests five “tests” for determining Polycarp’s dependence upon the NT in...

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