Show Summary Details

Bibliography updated to reflect current scholarship; keywords added.

Updated on 05 Apr 2016. The previous version of this content can be found here.
Page of

PRINTED FROM the OXFORD CLASSICAL DICTIONARY ( (c) Oxford University Press USA, 2016. All Rights Reserved. Personal use only; commercial use is strictly prohibited. Please see applicable Privacy Policy and Legal Notice (for details see Privacy Policy).

Subscriber: null; date: 21 March 2018

Irenaeus, c. 130–c. 202 CE

Irenaeus (c. 130–c. 202 ce), sometimes called the first systematic Christian theologian, was born in Asia Minor, had contacts in youth with Polycarp of Smyrna, but spent most of his active life in Gaul, becoming bishop of Lyons (Lugdunum (1)) c.178. He was thus an important link between east and west, and intervened at Rome on behalf of the Montanists (see montanism) at Lyons (177/178) and the Quartodecimans of Asia (190), who observed Easter on 14 Nisan, the day of the Passover, rather than the following Sunday. Only two of his numerous works survive, the vast anti-Gnostic (see gnosticism) Adversus haereses (mainly in a Latin translation) and the short Proof of the Apostolic Preaching (in an Armenian translation). His constructive exposition of Christian theology developed out of his critique of Gnostic systems, and was characterised by stress on traditional elements in Christianity.



Against Heresies

Harvey, W. W., ed. Sancti Irenaei episcopi Lugdunensis libros quinque adversus haereses. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 1857.Find this resource:

    Migne, Jacques Paul, ed. Adversus Haereses: Patrologiae Cursus Completus, Series Graeca 7, 1857.Find this resource:

      Rousseau, Adelin, et al., eds. Contre les hérésies. 10 vols. Sources chrétiennes. Paris: Cerf, 1962–1985.Find this resource:

        Proof of the Apostolic Preaching

        Graffin, R., ed., Proof of the Apostolic Preaching. In Patrologia Orientalis 12, edited by R. Graffin et al. Paris: Librairie de Paris, 1907. With English translation.Find this resource:


          Behr, John. Irenaeus of Lyons: Identifying Christianity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.Find this resource:

            Grant, Robert M. Irenaeus of Lyons. Early Church Fathers. London: Routledge, 1997.Find this resource:

              Le Boulluec, Alain. La notion d’hérésie dans la littérature Grecque, IIe–IIIe siècles. Paris: Études Augustiniennes, 1985.Find this resource:

                Osborn, Eric. Irenaeus of Lyons. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press, 2005.Find this resource:

                  Do you have feedback?