Wednesday, November 19, 2014

16. In spite of Irenaeus's credibility problem he was still widely influential

After acknowledging Irenaeus used earlier source material in his Against Marcion Stephanie Binder adds that "it is widely recognised that Tertullian was influenced by Irenaeus. [Tertullian, On Idolatry and Mishnah Avodah Zarah p. 72] Anthony Gregory in his study of the origin of the Gospel according to Luke adds that "Tertullian is indebted to and stands within the tradition of Irenaeus" [The Reception of Luke and Acts p. 208]  Some have even speculated that Irenaeus's texts were freely available in the public libraries of the Empire alongside his predecessor Justin Martyr.

Lightfoot was the first to notice "coincidences in language between Irenaeus and the Ignatian Epistles" [p. 424] With other early Patristic witnesses we find the same pattern. It is said "Irenaeus employs similar language and argument to that used by Justin [Hitchcock Irenaeus p. 154]. Minns in his book Irenaeus speaks in terms of "language reminiscent of Justin" [p. 62] The text of Justin's Dialogue has been demonstrated by Craig Evans and others to have been altered while Irenaeus was in his prime (i.e. 195 CE).  How then did Irenaeus become so influential if the potential for him being engaged in wrong-doing was so great?  This is a question we will have to leave to the side for the moment.

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