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Heidegger's Bible Handbook: NT Apocrypha: Letter of the Virgin Mary to Ignatius

7. To the Blessed Virgin Mary is ascribed on Epistle to Ignatius, the νοθεία/ illegitimacy is asserted against Canisius.

To the Blessed Virgin Mary is ascribed in Sixtus Senensis’ Bibliotheca Sacra, book 2, and in the works of others, an Epistle to Ignatius, who was questioning her concerning Jesus. Now, in Sixtus Senensis she thus speaks: To Ignatius, beloved disciple, the humble handmaiden of Jesus Christ. What things thou hast heard and learned from John concerning Jesus are true. Believe those things, cleave to them, hold fast to the vow of Christianity, and conform thy manners and life to that vow. I will come, together with John, to see thee and those that are with thee. Stand firm, and quit thyself manfully in the faith; let not the hardness of persecution move thee; but may thy Spirit be strong and exult in thy saving God. That Epistle is cited by Canisius, de Deipara Virgine, book V, chapter I, demonstrating that Mary was especially diligent in exercising charity towards her neighbor. But not one of the ancients before the times of Bernard, who cites it in Sermon 7 on Psalm 90, makes mention of it: not even those that painstakingly related the history and writings of Saint Ignatius. Therefore, it is relegated to the writing Apocryphal, or at least uncertain, even by Joannes Maria, Master of the Sacred Apostolic Palace,[1] in Indice Romano Expurgandorum, tome I, and Baronius on 48 AD, note 25.

[1] Giovanni Maria Guanzelli (1557-1619) was Bishop of Polignano, Italy, and Dominican theologian in service of the Pope.

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Dr. Dilday
Dr. Dilday
May 21, 2022
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