Irenaeus of Lyons and the Theology of the Holy Spirit

Hardcover | February 27, 2012

byAnthony Briggman

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Irenaeus' theology of the Holy Spirit is often highly regarded amongst theologians today, but that regard is not universal, nor has an adequate volume of literature supported it. This study provides a detailed examination of certain principal, often distinctive, aspects of Irenaeus'pneumatology. In contrast to those who have suggested Irenaeus held a weak conception of the person and work of the Holy Spirit, Anthony Briggman demonstrates that Irenaeus combined Second Temple Jewish traditions of the spirit with New Testament theology to produce the most complex Jewish-Christianpneumatology of the early church. In so doing, Irenaeus moved beyond his contemporaries by being the first author, following the New Testament writings, to construct a theological account in which binitarian logic did not diminish either the identity or activity of the Holy Spirit. That is to say,he was the first to support his Trinitarian convictions by means of Trinitarian logic. Briggman advances the narrative that locates early Christian pneumatologies in the context of Jewish traditions regarding the spirit. In particular, he argues that the appropriation and repudiation of Second Temple Jewish forms of thought explain three moments in the development of Christiantheology. First, the existence of a rudimentary pneumatology correlating to the earliest stage of Trinitarian theology in which a Trinitarian confession is accompanied by binitarian orientation/logic, such as in the thought of Justin Martyr. Second, the development of a sophisticated pneumatologycorrelating to a mature second century Trinitarian theology in which a Trinitarian confession is accompanied by Trinitarian logic. This second moment is visible in Irenaeus' thought, which eschewed Jewish traditions that often hindered theological accounts of his near contemporaries, such as Justin,while adopting and adapting Jewish traditions that enabled him to strengthen and clarify his own understanding of the Holy Spirit. Third, the return to a rudimentary account of the Spirit at the turn of the third century when theologians such as Tertullian, Origen, and Novatian repudiated Jewishtraditions integral to Irenaeus' account of the Holy Spirit.

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Irenaeus' theology of the Holy Spirit is often highly regarded amongst theologians today, but that regard is not universal, nor has an adequate volume of literature supported it. This study provides a detailed examination of certain principal, often distinctive, aspects of Irenaeus'pneumatology. In contrast to those who have suggested ...

Dr. Anthony Briggman is Assistant Professor of the History of Early Christianity at Emory University.
Format:HardcoverDimensions:320 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:February 27, 2012Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199641536

ISBN - 13:9780199641536

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Table of Contents

PrefaceIntroduction1. Justin Martyr and the Pneumatology of the mid-Second Century2. The Beginning of a Pneumatology3. Pneumatological Expansion4. The Emergence and Development of Foundational Themes5. His Hand and Wisdom6. The Salvific Spirit7. Trinitarian Convictions, Trinitarian LogicConclusion and EpilogueAppendix: Language of Revelation in Justin s First and Second Apologies, and Dialogue with TryphoBibliography