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    Irenaeus was a Greek from Polycarp 's hometown of Smyrna in Asia Minor, now İzmir, Turkey, born during the first half of the 2nd century. The exact date is thought to be between the years 120 and 140. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he was brought up in a Christian family rather than converting as an adult.

    • Life of Irenaeus
    • Writings of Irenaeus
    • Scholarly Critiques of Irenaeus' Writings
    • Analysis of Works
    • Conclusion
    • Notes
    • External Links

    Early Years/Life

    The facts about the life of Irenaeus are not extremely clear or plentiful. We doknow that he was born somewhere in Asia Minor—probably in Smyrna, as it iswritten that he studied under Polycarp of Smyrna in his youth. At some pointbefore 177 Irenaeus moved to the area of Lugdunum (Lyons) in the area of Gaul.It is known that Irenaeus was there at that time because in 177 AD MarcusAurelius authorized a mass slaughtering of the Christians in Lyons.^ ^ At thetime of this severe persecution of 177...


    Irenaeus died around the year 200 AD. There is a later tradition of Irenaeusbeing martyred under Septimus Severus. Jerome in one passage called Irenaeus amartyr, but no other early author gave that title to Irenaeus.^^ The nexttime that Irenaeus' death was mentioned was in the end of the 6th century inwriting by Gregory of Tours. This tradition was followed by martyrologiststhereafter. This tradition cannot be supported by evidence that is availablefrom early sources and it has been generally...

    During the second century many Christians sought to refute the various doctrinesthat they saw as a threat to Christianity. Eusebius records that Justin wroteAgainst All Heresies and Against Marcion, and Theophilus of Antioch wroteAgainst Marcion and Against Hermogenes. All of these writings have been lostexcept for the record that we have of them in Eusebius. Thus, the earliestheresiologist whose works we have is Irenaeus of Lyons. In the writings of the early church we have two documents extant fromIrenaeus—Adversus haereses, also titled Denunciation and Refutation of theSo-called Gnosis, and another work entitled Demonstration of ApostolicPreaching. There is account according to scholars of many more works from thepen of Irenaeus which have been lost.^^ The Adversus Haereses seeks todefend the postion of the Christians in the whole of the world against theincursion of the Valentian heresy. Irenaeus sought to dispel the myths andstructure of Valentians' Gnosticism, such as the comp...

    Debate Over Originality of Writings One classic debate over Irenaeus'writngs was framed by Friedrich Loofs. In the early 20th century Loofs suggestedthat Theophilus of Antioch was the source of Irenaeus' writings, not Irenaeushimself.^ ^ F.R.M. Hitchcock, in his article " Loof's Theory of Theophilusof Antioch as a source of Irenaeus"^^ has shown some of the weaknesses ofLoofs' study. He acknowledges that some writings from a different context areapparent at some points of Irenaeus' work but that this does not prove Loofstheory. An example is in Adversus haereses3. 22. 1, where Irenaeus makes useof an anti-Ebionite argument that proves that Christ was born of a virgin inorder to argue against the Gnostics that Christ had a human origin. There havebeen a slew of other academics who have taken positions on both sides of theissue, with the general appearance of the unity and validity of Irenaeus' workbeing favored.^ ^ Uses of the Writings of IrenaeusIrenaeus' writings, as have many othe...

    The most prominent feature of Irenaeus’ work his organic and eschatological viewof redemptive history. Opposed to the various Gnostic heresies of the earlychurch, which either ignored the Old Testament or invented strange teachings ofAeons and the like, Irenaeus viewed the whole of Scripture as a testament to theincarnational Son of God, who is the eschatological event of the cosmos. He isreferred to often as containing a biblical theology in his writings.^^Irenaeus displayed this doctrine in an organic view of revelation and thehistory of redemption, his view of the incarnation of God in Jesus, the unity ofthe Bible, and the Recapitulation of all things in Christ Jesus our Lord.

    Irenaeus is a testimony of the redemptive-historical paradigm unfolding in theteaching of the church from the first centuries of Christian history. Therecapitulation of the saved in Christ is a critical link that Irenaeus uses toshow the unity of the Bible, the organic nature of revelation and the history ofredemption, the incarnation of God in Christ Jesus, and the unity of God. TheBiblical-Theological approach that Irenaeus used allowed him to be a bastion oftruth against the Gnostic heresies that were so pervasive at his time. May heserve as an example to Christians today, to seek to find the eschatologicalChrist in the protological Adam, indeed the eschatological Gospel in all ofrevelation, so that we too may be guarded from straying from the path of thetrue Gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord.

    ? James T. Dennison Jr. Irenaeus of Lyons. (Outlook: December 2002) p. 9.
    ? James Beaven. An Account of the Life and Writings of S. Irenaeus, Bishop ofLyons and Martyr: Intended to Illustrate the Doctrine, Discipline, Practices,and History of the Church, and the Tenets a...
    ? Mary Ann Donovan, "Irenaeus in Recent Scholarship," Second Century 4.4(1984): 219-241.
    ? Justo L. Gonzalez. A History of Christian Thought (Abingdon:
  2. Irenaeus wrote in Greek many works which have secured for him an exceptional place in Christian literature, because in controverted religious questions of capital importance they exhibit the testimony of a contemporary of the heroic age of the Church, of one who had heard St. Polycarp, the disciple of St. John, and who, in a manner, belonged to ...

    • Overview
    • Biography
    • Writings

    An egraving of Saint Irenaeus (c. 130 - 302) Irenaeus (c. 120-202) was bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, which is now Lyons, France. His writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. The Roman Catholic Church considers him a Father of the Church. He was a disciple of Polycarp, who himself was a disciple of the Apostle John.

    Irenaeus is thought to have been a Greek from Polycarp's hometown of Smyrna in Asia Minor, now Izmir, Turkey. He was raised in a Christian family, rather than converting as an adult, and this may help explain his strong sense of orthodoxy. Irenaeus was one of the first Christian writers to use the principle of apostolic succession to refute his opponents. Irenaeus is remembered as the second bishop of Lyons, although there is no clear evidence that he ever officially assumed the episcopal duties...

    Irenaeus wrote a number of books, but the most important that survives is the five-volume On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis, normally referred to as Against Heresies. Only fragments in its original Greek exist, but a complete copy exists in a wooden Latin translation, made shortly after its publication in Greek, and Books IV and V are present in a literal Armenian translation. The purpose of Against Heresies is to refute the teachings of various gnostic groups he found in Ly...

  3. Jan 04, 2022 · Irenaeus (AD 130–202) was the bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul (modern Lyons, France), a stalwart opponent of heresy, and an influential witness concerning the development of the biblical canon. Little is known about the life of Irenaeus.

  4. Irenaeus also provides the first explicit witness to a four-fold gospel canon. Mary Ann Donovan writes ( The Anchor Bible Dictionary , v. 3, p. 457): Irenaeus' major extant writing is the Adversus Haereses (the full title of which is the Refutation and Overthrow of Knowledge falsely so-called ).

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