An Essential Bibliography: Irenaeus of Lyons

Over the course of writing my Trinitarian Testimony of the Spirit (TTS), I have had the opportunity (pleasure? trouble?) of reading almost everything under the sun related to Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, and Tertullian. As a service to others embarking on their own research into these ante-Nicene Fathers, I’ve made a list of what I have found to be the most helpful works for each of these figures. Please note that this is NOT by any means meant to be a comprehensive bibliography; I’ve only selected works that I think would be a good place for other researchers to start from (accordingly, I’ve focused almost exclusively on English-language monographs in this and subsequent bibliographies). Happy researching!

IRENAEUS OF LYONSirenauesoflyons

John Behr, Irenaeus of Lyons: Identifying Christianity  (CTC; Oxford: OUP, 2013). Behr has the most recent introduction to the life and theology of Irenaeus, though other recent introductory works by Minns (2010), Osborn (2001), and Grant (1997) should be consulted for different emphases and overall approaches.

Anthony BriggmanIrenaeus of Lyons and the Theology of the Holy Spirit (OECS; Oxford: OUP, 2012). This is the first monograph devoted to Irenaeus’ pneumatology since the German-language work of Jaschke (1976). Briggman, a student of Michel Barnes at Marquette, follows in Barnes’ paradigm of emphasizing the Jewish influence on Irenaeus’ pneumatology. A very well-argued and illuminating volume, though (as I argue in TTS) more attention could be shown to non-Jewish influence, such as Gnosticism or the Greco-Roman reading method of prosopological exegesis.

Jackson Lashier, Irenaeus on the Trinity (VCSup 127; Leiden: Brill, 2014). Also based on a recent Marquette dissertation, I found this volume particularly helpful for its up-to-date overview of critical issues in Irenaean studies.

Paul Foster and Sara Parvis, eds. Irenaeus: Life, Scripture, Legacy  (Minneapolis, Fortress, 2012). The collection of essays in this volume are of varying quality, but the short essay by Presley on Irenaeus’ use of prosopological exegesis was particularly important for my project.

Heidi Marx-Wolf, Spiritual Taxonomies and Ritual Authority: Platonists, Priests, and Gnostics in the Third Century C.E. (Divinations; Philadelphia: UPenn, 2016). Though a broad study on religion in Late Antiquity, the chapter on Irenaeus and the Gnostics was particularly helpful in formulating my argument in TTS. See also the work of Blowers (2012) on contextualizing Irenaeus’ notion of the divine economy.

M. C. Steenberg, Irenaeus on Creation: The Cosmic Christ and the Saga of Redemption (VCSup 91; Leiden: Brill, 2008). See also the new work by Presley (2015) on Irenaeus’s intertextual use of Genesis 1-3. Also drawing extensively on Irenaeus’ reading of Genesis are works by Behr (2000) and Holsinger-Friesen (2009).

**A word on texts and translations: for critical editions, I prefer Rousseau on Against Heresies (SC; 1965-1982) and on the Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching (SC; 1995). For English translations, start with Unger et al for Against Heresies Books 1-3 (1992-2012) and Behr for the Demonstration (PPS; 1997).


About krhughes14

Smyrna, Georgia
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