Spirit-Christology in Irenaeus: A Closer Look

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Anthony Briggman Marquette University, Department of Theology Milwaukee, WI 53201 USA

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Our understanding of Irenaeus’ Spirit-Christology has benefited from several noteworthy studies published over the course of the past century. These investigations, however, failed to reach a consensus on whether Irenaeus’ Spirit-Christology jeopardizes his Trinitarian logic. The purpose of this article is to provide a long-overdue reexamination of Irenaeus’ utilization of Spirit-Christology. I argue Spirit-Christology does have a place in Irenaeus’ theology, but that it poses no threat to his Trinitarian logic. I contend that two passages, previously thought to identify the Holy Spirit with the person of Christ, refer to the reception of the Holy Spirit by the believer for his or her redemption. Moreover, I maintain two other passages do not use Spirit language to refer to the person of Christ, but his divinity.

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