Irenaeus in Roman Biography

Irenaeus, ir-e-nee'us, [Gr. TZiprivalog ; Fr. Irenee, e'ra'- na'; It. Ireneo, e-ra-na'o,] Saint, a Christian martyr, born about 130 or 140 A.D., was a Greek by birth, and was probably a native of Asia Minor, as he was a pupil of the eminent Bishop Polycarp of Smyrna. About 177 he became Bishop of Lyons, (Lugdunum,) in France, in place of Pothinus, who was the first that occupied that see. He ministered to his churches with wisdom and general acceptance. To counteract the errors of the Gnostics and others, he wrote a treatise against Heresies., which is still extant, (in a Latin translation.) He also wrote several Letters, and other works, which are lost, except some fragments. It is generally supposed that he suffered martyrdom under Septimus Severus ; but the learned are not agreed whether it occurred in 202 or 208. He was well versed in ancient philosophy, as well as in evangelical doctrine. His book on Heresies is highly appreciated as a historical monument and a vindication of the primitive faith. He was a believer in the Millennium, and entertained opinions on that subject which some consider extravagant. See Saint Jerome, " De Viris itlustribns ;" Eusebius, " Historia Ecclesiastica ;" Henry Dodwell, "Dissertationes in Irenauim," 16S9; Gkrvaise, " Vie de S. Irenee, second* fiveque de Lyon," 1723; J. M. Prat, " Histoire de Saint-Ire'n^e," 1843 : James Bbavkn, "Account of the Life and Writings of Saint Irenjeus."

Read More

Irenaeus in Wikipedia

Saint Irenaeus (Greek: Εἰρηναῖος), (2nd century AD – c. 202) was Bishop of Lugdunum in Gaul, then a part of the Roman Empire (now Lyons, France). He was an early church father and apologist, and his writings were formative in the early development of Christian theology. He was a hearer of Polycarp,[1] who in turn was a disciple of John the Evangelist. Irenaeus' best-known book, Adversus Haereses or Against Heresies (c. 180) is a detailed attack on Gnosticism, which was then a serious threat to the Church, and especially on the system of the Gnostic Valentinus.[2] As one of the first great Christian theologians, he emphasized the traditional elements in the Church, especially the episcopate, Scripture, and tradition.[2] Irenaeus wrote that the only way for Christians to retain unity was to humbly accept one doctrinal authority-episcopal councils.[3] Against the Gnostics, who said that they possessed a secret oral tradition from Jesus himself, Irenaeus maintained that the bishops in different cities are known as far back as the Apostles - and none of them were Gnostics - and that the bishops provided the only safe guide to the interpretation of Scripture.[4] His writings, with those of Clement and Ignatius, are taken to hint at papal primacy.[2] Irenaeus is the earliest witness to recognition of the canonical character of all four gospels...

Read More

Irenaeus in Harpers Dictionary

(Εἰρηναῖος). A native of Greece, disciple of Polycarp, and bishop of Lyons, in France. The time of his birth and the precise place of his nativity cannot be satisfactorily ascertained. On the martyrdom of Photinus, his predecessor in the see of Lyons, Irenaeus, who had been a distinguished member of the church in that quarter, was appointed his successor in the diocese, A.D. 177, and presided in that capacity at two councils held at Lyons, in one of which the Gnostic heresy was condemned and in another the Quartodecimani. He also went to Rome, and disputed there publicly with Valentinus, Florinus, and Blastus, against whose opinions he afterwards wrote with much zeal and ability. He wrote on different subjects; but there remains only a barbarous Latin version of a work, Adversus Haereses, in five books, written to confute the Gnostics and Ebionites. Fragments of his works in Greek are, however, preserved, which prove that his style was simple, though clear and often animated. His opinions concerning the soul are curious. He is said to have suffered martyrdom about A.D. 202. His day is the 28th of June. The editio princeps of the Adversus Haereses is that of Erasmus (Basle, 1526). The best editions are those of Stieren (Leipzig, 1851-53) and Harvey (Cambridge, 1857). There is an English translation in Clark's Ante-Nicene Library. On the views of Irenaeus, see Werner, Der Paulinismus des Irenaeus (1890).

Read More