Defensive and Constructive Identity Formation in the Lives and Times of the Two Quadratuses of Athens

David Evans (Speaker)

Activity: Talk or presentationPresentation


This paper will explore the function of references to early Christian accounts in the records relating to Quadratus the Apologist (c. 117-125CE) and Quadratus the Bishop (c. 180-200CE), both of Athens. The first Quadratus wrote a defence of the Christian religion to the Emperor Hadrian “because certain wicked men had attempted to trouble the Christians” (Eus. EH 4.3). The extant fragment of his apology claims that the works of Jesus were proven genuine by the people whom he had healed or resurrected and had lived down to “our day”. It will be suggested that as well as verifying Jesus’ miracles, Quadratus used this line of reasoning to differentiate the type of Christ-followers the early Christians were in contrast to the Jews who followed “their king Lucuas” in seditious uprisings in Egypt and Cyrene (the account of which Eusebius narrates before that of Quadratus; Eus. HE 4.2). The second Quadratus succeeded the martyred Publius as bishop of Athens (EH 4.23), and had the difficult job of regrouping the scattered church after a period of persecution. Dionysius, Bishop of Corinth, wrote an exhortatory letter to the Athenian church, which mentioned Dionysius the Areopagite. It will be proposed that this reference to Dionysius: (1) appealed to the ecclesiastical and urban identity of the Christians, urging them to be like their founding father who stood apart from the crowd and cultural institutions of the day to join Paul in the Christian faith; and (2) raised Quadratus’ profile, identifying him with the first “bishop” and his apostolic links. It will be discussed whether the trajectory from early “close proximity” argumentation to later “textual” argumentation reflects: (1) an increasing recognition of authoritative texts as the second century progressed; or (2) different types of argumentation for insiders and outsiders.
Period8 Sep 2018
Event titleBritish New Testament Conference 2018
Event typeConference
LocationLondon, United Kingdom
Degree of RecognitionInternational