Scholarly Frameworks for Reading Irenaeus: The Question of Theophanies

In: Vigiliae Christianae
Bogdan G. Bucur Duquesne University

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Irenaeus’ understanding of Old Testament theophanies and their exegesis is one of the loci of marked disagreement in scholarship. After a detailed survey of the various scholarly positions, this article argues against the oft-repeated judgment that Irenaeus’ treatment of theophanies would set forth a theological corrective to, or even an explicit rebuttal of, Justin of Neapolis’ Logos-theology, and shows that Irenaeus’ exesis of theophanies is also consistent with that of authors who have read Adv. haer. (Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria, and Origen). If the bishop of Lyons participated fully in the tradition of interpreting Old Testament theophanies as “Christophanies,” it follows that some strands of scholarship are severe misreadings of Irenaeus.

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