Jonathon Lookadoo (Ph.D. University of Otago) is Assistant Professor at
Presbyterian University and Theological Seminary, Seoul, South Korea.
Abstract: This article examines the role of Jesus in the greetings of Ignatius of Antioch’s Letter to the Romans and the ways in which the Christology of the greeting foreshadows the presentation of Jesus in the letter body. After observing a trend in New Testament scholarship that sees lengthy greetings as precursors for what follows and a call in Ignatian scholarship to read Ignatius’s letters as individual compositions, the essay highlights the extraordinary length of Ignatius’s prescript. It argues that Jesus is depicted as Son, God, and law-giver. In each case, these terms prepare the way for how Jesus is portrayed in the body of the letter where he is described in relation to the Father, as the God who models faith and love, and as the one who speaks and teaches truly. These observations about Ignatius’s greeting to the Roman church suggest that the promising avenues of research noted in New Testament and Ignatian studies deserve further research in Ignatius’s letters and in relation to broader early Christian epistolary practice.
Key Words: Ignatius of Antioch, Romans, Christology, letter greetings, epistolary studies