The Intertextual Reception of Genesis 1-3 in Irenaeus of Lyons


In The Intertextual Reception of Genesis 1-3 in Irenaeus of Lyons, Stephen Presley explores the intertextual nature of Irenaeus’ interpretation of Genesis 1-3 by drawing on contemporary discussions on the topic. Irenaeus interprets the creation accounts, Presley argues, in continuity with the rest of the scriptural witness through a series of reading strategies including: a literary sense, prophetic fulfillment, typology, philological associations, organizational strategies, narratival arrangements, prosopological interpretation, illustrative identification, and general-to-particular reasoning. Irenaeus’ perspective competes with his Gnostic interlocutors who utilize similar methods of interpretation, but fashion distinctive textual relationships between Genesis 1-3 and other texts. These reading strategies circumscribe precisely how Irenaeus’ intertextual exegesis is applied to these creation texts within the integrative structure of his theological perspective.

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Stephen O. Presley (Ph.D. University of St. Andrews, 2012) is Associate Professor of Church History and Director of the Center for Early Christian Studies at Southwestern Seminary. His research and teaching focuses on theological formation and biblical interpretation in the early church.
Anyone interested in the development of early Christian theology and exegesis, Irenaeus of Lyons, the history of biblical interpretation of Genesis 1-3, and reception of biblical texts in the period after the apostles.