Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Irenaeus of Lyons

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

Irenaeus of Lyons

Article excerpt

Irenaeus of Lyons. By Robert M. Grant. The Early Church Fathers. London and New York: Routledge, 1997. 214 pp. $75.00 (cloth); $24.99 (paper).

This new series of patristic texts from Routledge bodes well for all who teach patristics, or would like to learn more from the Fathers. This paperback edition of Adversus haereses is particularly welcome, since up until now, the only modern translations available were the volume in the Ancient Christian Writers series, in hardcover and expensive, or the small selection of texts edited by Hans Urs von Balthasar, which dismembers the text and rearranges it thematically. This edition is not complete, but chooses texts from throughout the work, unlike the ACW edition, which presents only Book I.

In addition to providing a modern translation by a noted scholar, this edition supplies an introduction, notes, index and a bibliography, all of which promise to be useful to both beginning and more advanced students. Welcome as these aids are, however, they might have been more helpful still. Grant's introduction focuses very much on background issues: Irenaeus's life, aspects of the gnostic thought he engaged in Adversus haereses, and such issues as Christian books, Greek education and rhetoric in theology All of these issues are important and the sections on gnosticism are particularly well done. Nevertheless, beginning students especially would have benefitted from a more thorough introduction to Irenaeus's theology. The style of some of these sections, moreover, sometimes verges on the elliptical. One gets the impression that what had been lecture outlines were cast into complete sentences, but without the extra filling one would normally supply. …

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