Life, Scripture, Legacy
Publication Year: 2012
Published by: Augsburg Fortress Publishers
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Title Page, Copyright
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The editors would like to thank all those who helped to make the Irenaeus confer-ence—at the School of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh in August 2009—on which this volume was based such an enjoyable and stimulating occasion. This includes all those who attended, as well as our colleagues at the Centre for the Study of Chris-tian Origins, and particularly Professor Larry Hurtado. Heartfelt thanks are also due to Kirsty Murray, Mrs. Murray, Alex Peden, and Karl Shuve, and also to Scott Manor and ...
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The Writings of Irenaeus
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Two genuine works of Irenaeus survive: Against the Heresies and the Demonstration.1. Refutation and Overthrow of the Knowledge Falsely So Called, (a) extensive fragments of the original Greek, including the evidence of two damaged (i) P. Oxy 405, dated palaeographically to the beginning of the third century and (ii) a Jena papyrus, probably of the early fourth century, containing portions of ...
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Names of Roman emperors are in small caps under year of accession.185–190 (?) Writing of Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching...
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Irenaeus is the star witness of the post-sub-apostolic period of early Christianity, the period of the late second century. By then, not only were the eyewitnesses, the gen-eration that had known Jesus, dead, but so also were the generation that had known the apostles. Irenaeus himself, who became bishop of Lyons in Gaul in the late 170s or early 180s, was one of the last Christian writers who could plausibly claim to have learned directly from someone who had known the apostles, that someone being Poly-...
Part OneLifeIrenaeus and His Context
Chapter OneWho Was Irenaeus?
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Who was Irenaeus? This chapter will attempt to provide some sort of an answer to that rather complex question while, along the way, introducing some of the key We could try to answer it by looking at the bare bones of the little that is known of his life: he came from the East, was bishop of Lyons in the 180s, and wrote a monu-mental Against the Heresies. But that sort of an answer would not give us a handle on why he really matters—on why the question is of more than antiquarian interest in the ...
Chapter TwoThe Cultural Geography of a Greek Christian
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Seen within a broader context, Irenaeus is merely one among the thousands of Greeks—Christians and otherwise—who relocated themselves to Rome.1 But Ire-naeus stands out in this company because of his final destination: most of those who came before and after him went no further west and north than Rome itself, and not as Yet for all the uncommonness of Irenaeus’s ultimate place of residence, he says virtually nothing about Lyons and very little about Gaul. Little attention has been paid ...
Chapter ThreeHow Irenaeus Has Misled the Archaeologists
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The anonymous author of the Elenchos, a work clearly in the literary genre of hereti-cal exposure in the tradition of the lost work of Justin, and of the surviving one of Irenaeus, describes the action of Zephyrinus regarding Callistus in the following terms: “Wishing to have him as an associate [uni1F61uni03C2 συναράuni03BCενον αuni1F50τuni1F78ν θέλων uni1F14χειν] for the direction of the clergy [πρuni1F78uni03C2 τuni1F74ν κατάστασιν τοuni1FE6 κλήρου], he honoured him to his own harm and to this end brought him back from Antheion and placed him in charge ...
Par t TwoScriptureIrenaeus and His Scriptural Traditions
Chapter FourThe Parable of the Two Sons (Matt. 21:28-32)in Irenaeus and Codex Bezae
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In his introductory essay in William Sanday’s Novum Testamentum Sancti Irenaei, Alexander Souter remarks that as Irenaeus “is the earliest surviving writer of the Christian era who quotes the New Testament both extensively and accurately,” “it is obvious that if we can secure the words of his New Testament text as he dictated them we shall be in possession of an extremely early type of text, whose claims to be in close connection with the original autographs will deserve examination.”1 Of course, the ...
Chapter FiveIrenaeus and Hebrews
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In the sixth century, Stephanus Gobarus stated that Irenaeus (along with Hippolytus) denied the Pauline authorship of the Letter to the Hebrews.1 A couple of centuries before, Eusebius had written that Irenaeus had quoted from the Letter in a no lon-ger extant work. He had said that “[Irenaeus composed] a collection of addresses on various subjects, in which he mentions the Epistle to the Hebrews and the ‘Wisdom of Solomon,’ quoting several passages from them.”2 That Irenaeus knew the Letter and ...
Chapter SixIrenaeus’s Contribution to Early ChristianInterpretation of the Song of Songs
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The title of this chapter may strike the reader as odd, for Irenaeus neither cited nor alluded to the Song of Songs—at least as far as our extant evidence goes. What I hope to demonstrate, however, is that the bishop of Lyons had an important role to play in establishing the contextual framework according to which the Song would be interpreted by subsequent Christian exegetes. In so doing, I am contesting a trend in contemporary scholarship that attributes the rise in early Christian interest in the ...
Chapter SevenThe Man with No Name
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In Adversus haereses IV.27-32, Irenaeus repeatedly refers to the teachings of a certain elder. Despite the fact that the teachings of this man seem to be of high importance to Irenaeus, he omits revealing his name. This omission on Irenaeus’s part has given rise to much speculation regarding the identity of his source, starting as early as in the 1575 edition of Irenaeus’s works by François Feuardent. For some time, however, the books on this issue appeared to be closed. Scholars started to content themselves with the ...
Chapter Eig htThe Man Who Needed No Introduction
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Further attention to Irenaeus and the anonymous elder he quotes in Against Her-esies IV.27-32 is much welcomed. The testimony jointly given by these two second-century figures reflects the earliest response to Marcion that we possess, and provides information about other related controversies of the day. The material is therefore worthy of renewed consideration and of any serious attempt at further refinement in our understanding of it. I am happy, then, for Sebastian Moll’s contribution in this ...
Chapter NineIrenaeus and the Noncanonical Gospels
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Famously, Irenaeus is known as the earliest certain witness to the fourfold canon of Gospels contained in the New Testament. In book III of his Adversus haereses, Irenaeus not only states that there are four Gospels, but by using natural analogies he implies that “four” is the fitting number since this provides a stable basis because it allows the church equipped with “the gospel and the spirit of life” to bring life to humanity.1 As he states, “It is not possible that the Gospels can be either more or fewer ...
Chapter TenIrenaeus, the Scribes, and the Scriptures
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As a reader and as a writer, Irenaeus was well aware of the problem of scribal imper-fection in the production of books. Eusebius preserves for us a colophon Irenaeus placed at the end of his On the Ogdoad probably written around the year 190,1 which illustrates the gravity of textual corruption and Irenaeus’s efforts to ensure faithful trans-mission: “I adjure [uni1F41ρκίζω] you, who shall copy out this book [τuni1F78ν uni03BCεταγραψόuni03BCενον], by our Lord Jesus Christ, by his glorious advent when he comes to judge the living and ...
Part ThreeLegacyIrenaeus and His Theological Traditions
Chapter ElevenThe Heart of Irenaeus’s Theology
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The title of this chapter is meant to provoke. After all, many scholars and many books have described Irenaeus’s theology and located the heart of his thought in other places. Recapitulation is probably the theological idea most frequently pro-posed as the central theme for Irenaeus. Even if I did not harbor the suspicion that Irenaeus learned about recapitulation from Justin Martyr,1 I would consider mag-nitudo and dilectio to be at the heart of Irenaeus’s theology. Two other authors have ...
Chapter TwelveIrenaeus and the Knowledge of God as Father
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In both Adversus haereses and The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, Irenaeus uses the word Father to refer to God with great frequency.1 It is a commonplace of his theological vocabulary, and it is fundamental to his theology that it be understood that the creator God of the Old Testament and the Father of Christ of the New Tes-tament were one and the same. But did he have a conception of the fatherhood of God? Indeed, did the word have any particular theological significance for him? The ...
Chapter Thirteen“The Rule of Truth . . . which He Receivedthrough Baptism” (Haer. I.9.4)
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This chapter explores the relationship between baptismal ritual and catechesis in Ire-naeus’s context in the light of his statement that the rule of truth is received through baptism. For whereas it is entirely possible that this statement is a confusion of bap-tismal ritual with catechumenal process (it is taken as axiomatic that the rule of faith was the basis for catechetical direction),1 the possibility that there is a link between the substance of the material delivered in catechesis and the baptismal ritual itself might ...
Chapter FourteenIrenaeus, Women, and Tradition
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Questions of gender have from time to time been identified as key to Gnostic thought and writing. For Elaine Pagels, gender was central to Gnosticism’s implicit critique of patriarchal Christianity.1 For many other scholars, images of the feminine have con-tinued to be a refreshing part of what Gnosticism had to offer.2 As feminism has been replaced by gender studies in scholarly attention, this interest has continued. It has recently been argued by Jonathan Cahana that the rationale of Gnosticism can best be ...
Chapter FifteenIrenaeus and the Exegetical Rootsof Trinitarian Theology
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In 1988 Michael Slusser published an important article entitled “The Exegetical Roots of Trinitarian Theology.”1 Slusser’s thesis makes a significant contribution to the development of trinitarian theology in the early church. He calls attention to the dominance of analytical analysis in trinitarian discussions and reminds us that the very terms of the debate (proso¯pon, hypostasis, ousia, and physis) are derived from the exegesis of scripture. Thus there is a genetic exegetical discussion underlying the ...
Chapter SixteenThe Image of God in Irenaeus,Marcellus, and Eustathius
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The image of God is central to Irenaean theology and the extensive scholarship that explores it. Theological anthropology is deservedly important to this schol-arship. God’s image in Adam and Christ is fundamental to Irenaeus’s anthropology both because Adam represents the human race and because Christ, as New Adam, is “the first-fruits of the resurrection of uni1F04νθρωποuni03C2.” 1 He is the perfect human being—perfect uni1F04νθρωποuni03C2. Marcellus of Ancyra and Eustathius of Antioch have both, to vary-...
Chapter Seve nteenPackaging Irenaeus
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The Trappist monastery of Orval nestles in the midst of trees and green fields in southern Luxembourg, a mile or so from the French border. It is, of course, well known for beers, cheeses—and editions of Irenaeus. There Dom Adelin Rousseau, the editor of Irenaeus, died at the beginning of 2009, on 13 January, at the age of ninety-five.His edition of Adversus haereses1 is controversial, as well as magisterial, but it has been the fundamental resource for all serious work on the text for a generation now, ...
Chapter Eig hteenTracing the Irenaean Legacy
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Some legacies are easier to trace than others. Athanasius of Alexandria’s role in promulgating the creed and language of Nicaea, however one might assess it, ensured that he was remembered, quoted, discussed, and debated for centu-ries to follow. Exploring his influence and legacy is a project supported by rich, extensive testimony. Elsewhere one finds similar stories. Basil of Caesarea, dying far younger than his kin could have anticipated, was heralded at once as a great ...
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Page Count: 296
Publication Year: 2012