Creeds / Irenaeus / Tertullian

“the earliest creed is…” moving on…

I keep hearing this tired refrain: “‘Jesus is Lord’ is the earliest creed.” They are pulling this phrase from 1 Corinthians 12.3 although they seem to miss the first part of said verse. But, honestly, it isn’t. There are more “creeds” than that in Scripture. The New Testament, a collection of early works assembled later, contains references to traditions pre-dating Scripture (the same canon later assembled by the same church that developed the creeds). Let me name a few. There is the Christ hymn in Philippians 2.5–11. John 6.52–58 has some resemblance to an early eucharistic liturgical celebration. There

Galatians / Irenaeus

Good Stuff from St. Irenaeus on St. Paul (inspiration, rhetoric)

Holy cow. I love this sort of stuff. St. Irenaeus is fighting off Marcion and attempting to explain some things about St. Paul’s writing. Here, he cites Galatians 3.19. The Iion from Lyons writes, From many other instances also, we may discover that the apostle frequently uses a transposed order in his sentences, due to the rapidity of his discourses, and the impetus of the Spirit which is in him. An example occurs in the [Epistle] to the Galatians, where he expresses himself as follows: “Wherefore then the law of works? It was added, until the seed should come


Irenaeus on Theosis

Gary, one of the reasons I like Irenaeus is his position on the Creator and the Creature. There is no separation… Irrational, therefore, in every respect, are they who await not the time of increase, but ascribe to God the infirmity of their nature. Such persons know neither God nor themselves, being insatiable and ungrateful, unwilling to be at the outset what they have also been created — men, and before that they become men, they wish to be even now like God their Creator, and they who are more destitute of reason than dumb animals [insist] that there


Irenaeus and the Non-Violent Atonement

Since the apostasy tyrannized over us unjustly, and though we were by nature the property of the omnipotent God, alienated us contrary to nature, rendering us its own disciples, the Word of God, powerful in all things, and not defective with regard to His own justice, did righteously turn against the apostasy, and redeem from it His own property, not by violent means, (as the [apostasy] had obtained dominion over us at the beginning, when it insatiably snatched away what was not its own), but by means of persuasion, as became a God of counsel, who does not use

Irenaeus / Mimesis

Irenaeus would have recognized Homeric tendencies in the Gospels

Irenaeus likened the ‘Gnostic’ use of Scripture to that of someone who takes Homeric verses and rearranges them to create a new poem on a totally different theme. This passage is strong evidence that Irenaeus was classically-educated — Homer was the backbone of ancient Greek education. Furthermore, in all likelihood, Irenaeus composed this little poem about Heracles himself. (Against Heresies, bk. 1 ch. 5–9) via Irenaeus’ Homeric Poem | Read the Fathers. So, Irenaeus was a classically trained author but could not recognize the supposed Homeric influences in Mark (and then Luke-Acts)? Come now… Wonder if, in fact, there

Irenaeus / Peter

Confirmation of Peter’s ἔξοδον, and Mark’s late date, in Irenaeus

I can’t find the Greek text, and I really don’t want to spend any more time on it, but this is what we hear Irenaeus say: “And after their [Peter’s and Paul’s] departure, Mark, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself also handed down to us in writing the things preached by Peter” Several scholars suggest that the word here translated as departure, ἔξοδος, simple means that Peter and Paul left Rome, only to return later and die. By rights, they may be correct to some extent, unless we can supply a better lexicographical meeting. There is a canonical source which does

Baptism / Hippolytus / Irenaeus

Friday with the Fathers – Infant Baptism

I’ll give you two… “He [Jesus] came to save all through himself; all, I say, who through him are reborn in God: infants, and children, and youths, and old men. Therefore he passed through every age, becoming an infant for infants, sanctifying infants; a child for children, sanctifying those who are of that age . . . [so that] he might be the perfect teacher in all things, perfect not only in respect to the setting forth of truth, perfect also in respect to relative age” (Against Heresies 2:22:4 [A.D. 189]). “Baptize first the children, and if they can speak