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Irenaeus: Against Heresies and Fragments Irenaeus of Lyons

Irenaeus: Against Heresies and Fragments

Irenaeus of Lyons

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494 pages
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 About the Book 

Saint Irenaeus (Greek: Εἰρηναῖος), (2nd century AD - c. 202) was a Christian Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire (now Lyons, France). He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the earlyMoreSaint Irenaeus (Greek: Εἰρηναῖος), (2nd century AD - c. 202) was a Christian Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire (now Lyons, France). He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. He was a disciple of Polycarp, who was said to be a disciple of John the Evangelist.Irenaeus best-known book, Adversus Haereses or Against Heresies (c. 180) is a detailed attack on Gnosticism, which was then a serious threat to the Church, and especially on the system of the Gnostic Valentinus. As one of the first great Christian theologians, he emphasized the traditional elements in the Church, especially the episcopate, Scripture, and tradition. Irenaeus wrote that the only way for Christians to retain unity was to humbly accept one doctrinal authority—episcopal councils. Against the Gnostics, who said that they possessed a secret oral tradition from Jesus himself, Irenaeus maintained that the bishops in different cities are known as far back as the Apostles — and none of them were Gnostics — and that the bishops provided the only safe guide to the interpretation of Scripture. His writings, with those of Clement and Ignatius, are taken to hint at papal primacy. Irenaeus is the earliest witness to recognition of the canonical character of all four gospels