Literary and Rhetorical Theory in Irenaeus, Part 1

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Anthony Briggman Emory University 1531 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, ga 30322 USA

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Scholars have long queried the influence of rhetorical theory upon Irenaeus’ thought. Despite the identification of various aspects of rhetorical theory in his work, a clear sense of the centrality and importance of rhetorical theory to Irenaeus has not emerged. In this article I argue that concepts belonging to literary and rhetorical theory are of central importance to Irenaeus’ anti-Gnostic polemic in ah 1.8.1-10.3 and even feature in his constructive thought. What emerges is a picture of Irenaeus as a polemicist and theologian who ably uses tools acquired in a thorough grammatical and rhetorical education.

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