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Irenaeus of Lyons


  • Date Published: July 2005
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521675727

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About the Authors
  • Eric Osborn's book presents a major study of Irenaeus (125–200), bishop of Lyons, who attacked Gnostic theosophy with positive ideas as well as negative critiques. Irenaeus's combination of argument and imagery, logic and aesthetic, was directed to the bible. Dominated by a Socratic love of truth and a classical love of beauty, he was a founder of Western humanism. Erasmus, who edited the first printed edition of Irenaeus, praised him for his freshness and vigour. He is today valued for his splendid aphorisms, his optimism, love of the created world, evolutionary view of history, theology of beauty and humour. Why have two millennia of European culture been so creative? Irenaeus points to Greek ways of thinking and the Christian Bible. Irenaeus's thought is complex, yet rewarding to the critical reader, and this full study of it will be of interest to theologians, historians of ideas, classicists, scientists and students.

    • Irenaeus undertook the first great synthesis of Christian thought
    • This study explicates his work and makes new claims for its relevance
    • Osborn finds in Irenaeus new sources for the creativity of two millennia of European culture
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A stimulating work which incorporates much valuable recent scholarship … perhaps most striking of all is the way it manages to capture something of the wit and shimmer of the Irenaean texts themselves.' The Downside Review

    'This wise and balanced book belongs in university libraries, and on the shelves of patristic scholars.' Journal of Ecclesiastical History

    '… detailed analysis … Both graduate students and specialists will profit from Osborn's work.' Religious Studies Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: July 2005
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521675727
    • length: 328 pages
    • dimensions: 217 x 140 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.424kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Irenaeus: argument and imagery
    Part I. Divine Intellect:
    2. One God: intellect and love
    Part II. Economy:
    3. One creator: ut sapiens architectus et maximus rex
    4. Economy: God as architect of our time
    Part III. Recapitulation:
    5. Recapitulation: correction and perfection
    6. Recapitulation: inauguration and consummation
    Part IV. Participation:
    7. Logic and the rule of truth: participation in truth
    8. Scripture as mind and will of God: participation in truth
    9. Aesthetics: participation in beauty
    10. Human growth from creation to resurrection: participation in life
    11. Goodness and truth: ethics of participation
    Part V. Conclusion:
    12. The glory of God and Man.

  • Author

    Eric Osborn, La Trobe University, Victoria
    Eric Osborn is Honorary Professor at the Department of History, La Trobe University and Professorial Fellow at the Department of Fine Arts, Classical Studies and Archaeology, University of Melbourne. His books include Beginning Christian Philosophy (Cambridge, 1981), The Emergence of Christian Theology (Cambridge, 1993), and Tertullian, First Theologian of the West (Cambridge, 1997).

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