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Relics destroyed?[edit]

Catholic apologist Steve Ray in "The Footprints of God: St. Paul" documentary, reported that the relics of St. Irenaeus were destroyed by Calvinists, with only a few fragments escaping the destruction today which are on display at his shrine. Is this accurate? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:19, 21 July 2010 (UTC)

Copyright Issue?[edit]

Why is this article being flagged for a copyright issue? Stephen C. Carlson 17:43, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

Good question. Would the person who did this please be so polite and give reasons why this is supposed to be a copyright infringement. --Hs282 21:03, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

I removed the unexplained copyright warning. The person who flagged it also mentioned it at Wikipedia:Copyright problems/2006 February 26, but without much of an explanation there either: he simply links to the marketing page for a book: hxxp:// -- The History of Christian Thought. If there is a problem, we need details so we can verify it and remove the offending material. – B.Bryant 00:02, 1 March 2006 (UTC)

I apologize. I'm new at this. I flagged it because as I was going through a book of mine, The History of Christian Thought by Jonathan Hill (IVP, 2004), the content and even the outline of this article is practically identical to this one. Either its coincidence or a copyright issue. I can't find an online version, so, I understand it could be hard to verify this. Any ideas? Again, sorry for the lack of detail and communication on my part. JordanBarrett 17:11, 1 March 2006 (UTC)
Similarities in content and outline are not usually enough to raise a copyright issue. Is the wording of the content verbatim or nearly so? If so, what wording is nearly identical? Stephen C. Carlson 05:29, 2 March 2006 (UTC)

wooden Latin translation[edit]

What do you mean wooden? Romans wrote on wood and it was conserved?

A wooden translation is so 'literal' that it is no longer a good text (in terms of grammar and style) in the target language into which is has been translated. --Hs282 21:06, 27 February 2006 (UTC)

re:In Book II, ch. 22, par. 5, he gives an intriguing note about Jesus being seen by several witnesses in Asia in his older age after crucifixion:[edit]

Complete context:

5. They, however, that they may establish their false opinion regarding that which is written, "to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord," maintain that He preached for one year only, and then suffered in the twelfth month. [In speaking thus], they are forgetful to their own disadvantage, destroying His whole work, and robbing Him of that age which is both more necessary and more honourable than any other; that more advanced age, I mean, during which also as a teacher He excelled all others. For how could He have had disciples, if He did not teach? And how could He have taught, unless He had reached the age of a Master? For when He came to be baptized, He had not yet completed His thirtieth year, but was beginning to be about thirty years of age (for thus Luke, who has mentioned His years, has expressed it: "Now Jesus was, as it were, beginning to be thirty years old,"(13) when He came to receive baptism); and, [according to these men,] He preached only one year reckoning from His baptism. On completing His thirtieth year He suffered, being in fact still a young man, and who had by no means attained to advanced age. Now, that the first stage of early life embraces thirty years,(1) and that this extends onwards to the fortieth year, every one will admit; but from the fortieth and fiftieth year a man begins to decline towards old age, which our Lord possessed while He still fulfilled the office of a Teacher, even as the Gospel and all the elders testify; those who were conversant in Asia with John, the disciple of the Lord, [affirming] that John conveyed to them that information.(2) And he remained among them up to the times of Trajan. (3) Some of them, moreover, saw not only John, but the other apostles also, and heard the very same account from them, and bear testimony as to the [validity of] the statement. Whom then should we rather believe? Whether such men as these, or Ptolemaeus, who never saw the apostles, and who never even in his dreams attained to the slightest trace of an apostle? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:36, 25 September 2007 (UTC)

Asia being the Near East. Not the Far East, if that's what you were thinking.

The text means that the Apostles and others later testified about Jesus' maturity at the time of His death, not that the Apostles later saw Him old.

The "he" in "he remained with them to the time of Trajan" is St. John, not Jesus.

His theology[edit]

Irenaeus did not teach that Christ is the invisible Father made visible. As seen in the writings of Irenaeus he refers to the Son who was always with the Father.

The central point of Irenaeus' theology is the unity of God, in opposition to the Gnostics' division of God into a number of divine "Aeons", and their distinction between the utterly transcendent "High God" and the inferior "Demiurge" who created the world. Irenaeus uses the Logos theology he inherited from Justin Martyr. Irenaeus was a student of Polycarp, who was tutored by John the Apostle. John used Logos theology in the Gospel of John and book of 1 John. He prefers to speak of the Son and the Spirit as the "hands of God". (edited out) Christ, according to him, is the invisible Father made visible.

"Their Fall was thus not a full-blown rebellion but a childish spat, a desire to grow up before their time and have everything with immediacy."

Are we sure this sums up Irenaeus' idea of maturation? Its my understanding Irenaeus thought the fall more significant than a 'childish spat.' DaXiong 09:54, 20 January 2007 (UTC)

The Age of Jesus[edit]

Irenaeus placed the Baptism of Jesus when he was 30 years of age and his ministry between the ages of 40 and 50.

The argument that this means that Jesus was 50 years old at the time of the crucifixion fails to take into account the idiom of the 2nd Century AD.

Decades, like centuries and millenia still today, are counted in reference to the LAST year of the decade not the FIRST. So, for example, the TWENTIETH century consisted of the years 1901-2000.

In the mindset of the 2nd Century (AD 101-200) a person "50 years of age" was in his FIFTH decade of life, in other words, between his 41st and 50th birthday, what we would today call "the 40's".

Irenaeus placed the Baptism of Jesus in his third decade of life, namely between his 21st and 30th birthdays and his ministry in his fourth decade of life, namely between his 31st and 40th birthday.

Using modern idiom Irenaues is really saying that Jesus was in his 20s when he was baptized and in his 30's during his public ministry.

Uhm... Can you actually support any of that attempt at retconning the text? – B.Bryant 13:23, 14 January 2006 (UTC)

Ireneous was not saying Jesus was at least 40. see I have removed that section. It is an attempt to introduce controversy and undermine his credibility or that of the Gospel.

I believe the consensus opinion is that Irenaeus thought that Jesus was around 50 when he died. That article doesn't make sense, as Jesus would have been in "old age" (31-50) even if his ministry was only 1 year, assuming a baptism at 30. And, do you have any evidence of person who is say, 31-34 being referred to as "about 40" in the 2nd century? --Blkgardner (talk) 15:31, 22 May 2009 (UTC)
I would like to point out that in Demonstration (74) Irenaeus clearly states "For Herod the king of the Jews and Pontius Pilate, the governor of Claudius Caesar, came together and condemned Him to be crucified." Now only two Herods had the formal title "king of the Jews": Herod the Great and Herod Agrippa I (Herod Antipas was tetrarch or "ruler of a quarter"). Herod Agrippa I was given the title "king of the Jews" as a reward for his support of his good friend Claudius to became 42 CE. So by two of these rulers Irenaeus is clearly saying Jesus was a minimum of 45 years old when he was crucified (As there is no year 0 it is only 45 years between 4 BCE and 42 CE) Mark J. Bonocore's article ignores this important fact and being self-published don't amount to a hill of beans anyhow.--BruceGrubb (talk) 02:03, 1 February 2012 (UTC)

Unneeded info[edit]

"The remains of Leonardo da Vinci and Kepler, among others, also were lost in the religious wars of those times (note: how can this be if Kepler died in the 1600's and wasn't French or Catholic?)."

I removed the preceding sentence because it's totally irrelevant, not to mention misleading. If anyone has any legitimate concerns or objections, just say so.Yourmotherisanastronaut 01:23, 9 April 2006 (UTC)

John the Evangelist[edit]

As in my comment on the Polycarp and St John articles, there seems to be a lack of clarity here. It appears to me that polycarp is said to have known st John the Apostle, but that it is merely a matter of church tradition that John the Apostle was also John the Evangelist (ie the author of the Gospel of John).

Also, in the Ireneus' theology section it says :Irenaeus was a student of Polycarp, who was tutored by John the Apostle. John used Logos theology in the Gospel of John and book of 1 John.etc. Again there seems to be an assumption that John the disciple wrote John's Gospel.

Revilo098 22:53, 10 August 2006 (UTC)

There really isn't much dispute in the scholarship over whether or not John the Apostle wrote the Gospel of John.Tanktimus (talk) 15:45, 25 March 2010 (UTC)


if jesus was seen during trajan´s period, he must have had at least 98 years old.

He wasn't, the text refers to John living into the times of Trajan, NOT Jesus. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:57, 29 January 2012 (UTC)

Removed phrases[edit]

"It is still not known to scholarship whether those four gospels were indeed written by their subjects" - Poorly worded, though true enough, but completely irrelevant to the discussion of Irenaeus. --Danny Reese 06:00, 17 October 2006 (UTC)

I removed a phrase, relating to Irenaeus' assertions regarding the primacy of Rome: ", though in an obscure passage." How can any one passage be more obscure than another? Is there any other motive for that assertion other than to downplay the passage, that perhaps I missed? -- D Marsh (talk) 14:02, 28 April 2009 (UTC)

Please merge recapitulation information into Irenaeus[edit]

I agree the recapitulation info should be merged into irenaeus.

Done. Tocharianne 01:06, 31 December 2006 (UTC)


I've changed "Christian orthodoxy" to "what he and the church hierarchy considered to be Christian orthodoxy". Maybe my wording here sounds too disparaging and needs changing, but it is important nonetheless to acknowldedge that what seemed to obvious to Irenaeus would not have been at all so to much earlier Christians. I found Elaine Pagels's The Origin of Satan very informative in this regard. Ireneshusband 18:01, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

It's OK to say "what he (Irenaeus) considered to be Christian orthodoxy"; whether Irenaeus's views were fully endorsed by the church hierarchy (where? which one?) we don't need to get into that can of worms. Stephen C. Carlson 18:14, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Irenaeus the heretic, apparently[edit]

Some groups, such as the Living Church of God, consider that Irenaeus excessively emphasized unity with Rome above certain matters of doctrine (such as the date of Passover), thus they have tended to consider Irenaeus a heretic.

Is the opinion of the "Living Church of God" (a not especially significant Protestant denomination of which I have certainly never heard) really important enough to warrant inclusion in a biography of Irenaeus?

No. – Quadell (talk) (random) 13:00, 24 May 2007 (UTC)

Irenaeus' theology[edit]

There are two paragraphs at the end of this section that treats the faith (if that's the proper term in gnostic terminology) of the Valentinians, without reconnecting to Irenaeus' opposition. In order to fit in an article about Irenaeus, his counterargument should be added, or the sentences should be moved to Valentinianism. Said: Rursus 18:32, 26 May 2007 (UTC)

Roman primacy[edit]

Thanks, whoever's helping with this section. I trimmed it. This section should be about what Irenaeus believed (apostolic etc.), not about what he didn't believe (RC-style papal supremacy). Leadwind (talk) 03:05, 9 March 2008 (UTC)

Currently reads: "He emphasized the unique position of authority of the bishop of Rome." Whether or not the special position of Rome was one of "authority" is highly doubtful and a matter of some controversy. Most historians (RC's like Gonzales and Pelikan included) agree that it was primarily a position of honor and not of jurisdiction as the term "authority" implies. In order to maintain a neutral position the article should read: "He emphasized the unique position of the bishop of Rome." This phrasing encompasses both the majority academic opinion and the Papal perspective without necessarily asserting either. Furthermore as the question of "Authority" or "Jurisdiction" of a high Bishop is not directly addressed in the writings of Ireneaus, this rendering of the sentence does the source material justice.

I will make the change. (talk) 03:31, 16 August 2011 (UTC)

Removed Sentence[edit]

I removed the sentence, "By accepting all four gospels, the second-century church accepted four distinct works with significantly different theological interpretations of the meaning of Jesus' life and death". The phrase "significantly different theological interpretations" is disputable. Many people, including Irenaeus, would say that the gospels were in harmony with one another. Since this page isn't about different opinions on the gospels, it is enough to say that Irenaeus excepted them as scripture and leave it at that. (Wintrlnd (talk) 20:10, 11 March 2008 (UTC))

The reliable source says "significantly different." If you have a reliable source that says otherwise, let's cite them both. Don't delete information from a reliable source just because you don't like it. Nonsectarian scholarly work is NPOV even if it doesn't agree with someone else's POV. Leadwind (talk) 23:12, 11 March 2008 (UTC)
I will work on finding a reliable source that says otherwise. However, the sentence currently reads like a matter of fact. Even with a nonsectarian work you should phrase the sentence in way that makes it clear that this is one school of thought and not undisputed fact. If you look at the next paragraph it has a line that says "Based on the arguments Irenaeus made in support of only four authentic gospels, some interpreters deduce that the fourfold Gospel must have still been a novelty in Irenaeus's time" The way that the sentence is phrased makes it clear that it is what "some interpreters deduced" and not an undisputed fact. In your own words from a few days ago on a different part of the article, "This section should be about what Irenaeus believed...".(Wintrlnd (talk) 02:22, 12 March 2008 (UTC))
Please locate a reliable source that differs from Harris. I added a reference from Ehrman in support of Harris. If Harris and Ehrman represent the findings of mainstream scholarship, then the citation is fine as it is. If there's a real dispute in scholarship as to whether the gospels are significantly different, then they only represent one school of thought. Once there's a reliable source that disagrees with them, then we should couch both sides of the issue in conditional terms. But when a nonsectarian university-level textbook tells me something with a straight face, I put it into WP without qualification. Leadwind (talk) 02:30, 12 March 2008 (UTC)
It may be useful to refine. John significantly differs from (not disagrees with) the other three; they differ less among themselves. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 03:52, 8 October 2008 (UTC)
"Nonsectarian" does not mean nonbiased. There is no reason to suppose that a atheist (or agnostic) would be less biased than a religious person. --Blkgardner (talk) 18:32, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
You have no idea what "Nonsectarian" means do you? --Zhuul —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:35, 9 July 2009 (UTC)

"the first great Catholic theologian"[edit]

this statement is made about him in the introduction. my question is - how can he be claimed as a Catholic theologian when the Catholic church didnt exist until after the great schism in 1054. yet Irenaeus lived from 2nd century AD - c. 202 according to this article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:17, 1 February 2009 (UTC)

I agree. I'm a seminary student and according to my studies in the past the Catholic church, in the terms used now, didn't begin till much latter. We don't see signs of their theology till the 7th Century and their Hierarchy isn't strong till the 12th century. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Austin.McKnight (talkcontribs) 17:34, 9 March 2009 (UTC)

The church referred it itself as "Catholic" (meaning universal) and "Orthodox" (meaning straight teaching). And, the term "catholic" is often used to refer to ancient church in contrast to various schismatic yet relatively orthodox groups, such as the Donatists, Montanists, and Novatianists. However, to most modern readers, the word catholic means "of or relating Roman Communion" and Irenaeus wasn't involved in combating relatively orthodox schismatics. (His Against Heresies was directed at gnostics.) I would suggest replacing the word "catholic" with "Christian". --Blkgardner (talk) 18:23, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
Also, it looks like this article has heavily Roman Catholic bias. --Blkgardner (talk) 18:26, 27 April 2009 (UTC)
True. That's why I removed the word Catholic from the intro section - since Catholic Church in this Wikipedia refers to the Roman Catholic Church, which - as noted above - is disputable, to say at least, existed in the time Irenaeus lived. The removal of the attribute 'Catholic' does not create any confusions, since at that time there was only one Christian Church. Kpant (talk) 09:20, 12 August 2010 (UTC)

The reason that Irenaeus stressed apostolic succession (including the Pope, bishop of Rome) is to claim that the Church is unified (catholic) and that it comes down from the apostles (Peter was the first bishop of Rome). He claimed that gnostics were not in this tradition and thus not orthodox. The Church split in 1054. It didn't start then. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nguirado (talkcontribs) 15:19, 15 July 2010 (UTC)

Would "Catholic-Orthodox" be appropriate? Or is that OR? (talk) 01:36, 16 July 2010 (UTC)

There is need for clearification. The Orthodox Catholic Christian Church has existed since 33AD. This means that a single, unified form of Christianity has existed since that time, although there have been and still are thousands of heretical forms of Christianity. Catholicism is what it says it is, Catholicism or Universalism as in the acceptance of a universal jurisdiction of one man, the Pope of Rome. Orthodox Christianity is what it says it is, Orthodox (as the opposite of Heterodox or Heretical) Christianity. Just because a belief is ancient doesn't make it correct. Nestorianism is ancient, does that make it Orthodox Christianity? [Unsigned comments.... ]

It think it is a vague issue if a 2nd century theologian can be considered Catholic. But the label is generally applied if 21st century Catholics "buy his ideas". E.g. Augustine was pre-schism, mostly, but Eastern Orthodox and Protestants do not generally quote him that much, etc. However, Irenaeus is also quoted by the non-Catholics in any case. History2007 (talk) 23:49, 8 August 2011 (UTC)

Alleged Catholic bias[edit]

@ Rudeness objection. I made a serious remark and dismissing it as non-sensical just like that is simply rude.

Let's take your changes in turn:

You changed "authority—episcopal councils in union with the bishop of Rome." to "authority". Unless you are claiming the original is not an accurate reflection of Irenaeus' position, then it is not an example of Catholic bias in the article. Maybe Irenaeus had a Catholic bias (you bet!), but what we have here is a description of Irenaeus' position, which is perfectly allright for an article on Irenaeus. It's not being described as the truth but as Irenaeus' position. Or if you can find non-Catholic reliable sources who disagree this was Irenaeus' position, then let's hear about it.

You also removed the following:

"His writings, with those of Clement and Ignatius, are taken to hint at papal primacy.Cross, F. L., ed. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (New York: Oxford University Press, 2005)"

Again, this merely reports a point of view as a point of view, not as fact. It doesn't state the ones who interpret Irenaeus' writings this way are right, merely that there are people who do so. Again, perfectly acceptable if you ask me. If you want to point out that others disagree, then by all means do so.

Finally you removed the following statement:

"His feast is celebrated August 23 by the Eastern Orthodox churches."

This is relevant, factual information and has nothing to do with Catholic bias. If you think it is in error, please say so.

Martijn Meijering (talk) 00:53, 30 August 2011 (UTC)