Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?

What are the Greek and Latin sources and how old are they?

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Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?

#1  Postby Leucius Charinus » May 29, 2015 6:59 am

I'd like to discuss the possibility that a substantial portion of what we read as the original Greek works of the heresiologist Irenaeus (2nd century) were instead the products of one or more Latin authors during the rule of Pontifex Maximus Damasus (d.382 CE) in Rome. In addition, what passes for the Greek works (of which little survive) - namely quotations from Eusebius, Hippolytus and Epiphanius - were harvested from 4th century heresiologists in their polemic against 4th century heretics and their books (notably those now discovered and published as the Nag Hammadi Library).


There are a number of reasons for suspecting Irenaeus may have been either forged or completely overhauled or heavily interpolated in the later 4th century. Here are a few to start:


1) The earliest manuscripts are Latin and dated c.380 CE

Aside from a few fragments, the earliest manuscripts for the writings of Irenaeus are in Latin and dated to c.380 CE. An Armenian manuscript recently published (1920?) is dated to the 6th century and thought to be provenance from Constantinople.


2) Rome and Apostolic Succession

Damasus was the first to start promoting "PETER WAS HERE" for the Roman tourism industry in the later 4th century. Consequently the primacy of Rome and the legitimacy of the Apostolic Succession (at Rome) was very important to his conception of history.

Consider this quote:

    “Since, however, it would be very tedious, in such a volume as this, to reckon up the successions of all the Churches, we do put to confusion all those who, in whatever manner, whether by an evil self-pleasing, by vainglory, or by blindness and perverse opinion, assemble in unauthorized meetings; [we do this, I say,] by indicating that tradition derived from the apostles, of the very great, the very ancient, and universally known Church founded and organized at Rome by the two most glorious apostles, Peter and Paul; as also [by pointing out] the faith preached to men, which comes down to our time by means of the successions of the bishops. For it is a matter of necessity that every Church should agree with this Church, on account of its pre- eminent authority, that is, the faithful everywhere, inasmuch as the apostolical tradition has been preserved continuously by those [faithful men] who exist everywhere.”

    Irenaeus, Against Heresies, 3:3:2 (A.D. 180).

This fits well with the dogma of Damasus.

Additionally there is absolutely nothing about Peter and Paul getting snuffed out in Rome in the NT Bible. The substance of this claim is advertised in the writings of the heretics, in a number of works. These include

a) the Clementine literature (dated c.330 CE)
b) the Acts of Linus?
c) others?


3) Irenaeus's polemic is against heretical writings very similar to the NHC

In his first book Against Heresies, Book I after introducing himself as a Keltae he gets stuck into his opponents (the heretics) as follows:


    Chapter I.-Absurd Ideas of the Disciples of Valentinus as to the Origin, Name, Order, and Conjugal Productions of Their Fancied Aeons, with the Passages of Scripture Which They Adapt to Their Opinions.

    1. They maintain, then, that in the invisible and ineffable heights above there exists a certain perfect, pre-existent Aeon, whom they call Proarche, Propator, and Bythus, and describe as being invisible and incomprehensible. Eternal and unbegotten, he remained throughout innumerable cycles of ages in profound serenity and quiescence. There existed along with him Ennoea, whom they also call Charis and Sige. At last this Bythus determined to send forth from himself the beginning of all things, and deposited this production (which he had resolved to bring forth) in his contemporary Sige, even as seed is deposited in the womb. She then, having received this seed, and becoming pregnant, gave birth to Nous, who was both similar and equal to him who had produced him, and was alone capable of comprehending his father's greatness. This Nous they call also Monogenes, and Father, and the Beginning of all Things. Along with him was also produced Aletheia; and these four constituted the first and first-begotten Pythagorean Tetrad, which they also denominate the root of all things.

The texts of the Nag Hammadi Codices (dated to the mid 4th century) are full of this sort of stuff. The mainstream thinking is that because the 2nd century source Irenaeus is considered legitimate, then these heretics were operative in the 2nd century. However what if Irenaeus is corrupt, and that the corruption was authored in the later 4th century in Latin as a reaction against the heretics of the 4th century, who are represented in Coptic within the NHC. The Greek originals of the NHC need not necessarily be any earlier than the 4th century.


(4) Patristic Textual Criticism

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=GtdzmykR_XMC&pg=PA106&lpg=PA106&dq=Patristic+Textual+Criticism++%22Miroslav

Reinventing Jesus: How Contemporary Skeptics Miss the Real Jesus and Mislead ...
By J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, Daniel B. Wallace

    "in his "Patristic Textual Criticism", Miroslav Marcovich complains
    that the surviving copies of some of the early patristic writers
    are "lacunose [filled with gaps], corrupt, dislocated and interpolated".

The Latin manuscripts particularly are often recognised to be very corrupt.



So there are four issues to start any discussion. There may be others.


MEANS MOTIVE OPPORTUNIY

The Roman papacy under Damasus was very innovative and one of the main agendas was to bolster the Roman apostolic succession. The propaganda we find in Irenaeus (supposedly writing from Lyons) is very much in line with what Damasus wanted to establish. Damasus was responsible, with the assistance of his "pupil" Jerome, for commissioning the Latin Vulgate and as such would have had a good Latin scriptorium.

The heresiological writings of Irenaeus (supposedly 2nd century) and Epiphanius (4th century) are of much the same type of content. The heretics are bad people, the orthodox are good people. Damasus just lasted to see the Decrees of Theodosius concerning the Nicene orthodoxy and the political denouncement of heretics:

    'We authorise followers of this law to assume the title of orthodox Christians; but as for the others since, in our judgement, they are foolish madmen, we decree that they shall be branded with the ignominious names of heretics.'

    - Emperor Theodosius


NOTE:
(1) I am aware of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papyrus_Oxyrhynchus_405

Image

I am not arguing that an original Greek version of Irenaeus did not exist in some form prior to the late 4th century. The problem is that whatever it contained was only preserved in any extent (AFAIK) by 4th century heresiologists such as Eusebius and Epiphanius.

The Latin versions represent a corrupt transmission of Irenaeus but how is to possible to estimate the extent of the corruption?


2) Other Greek witnesses used to include the Turin manuscript
Stable URL: JSTOR: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3153377
1713 - Published by Christof Mathaus Pfaff -
Suspicion over authenticity
HARNACK: Turin manuscript forged by Pfaff.

3) Carrier has makes some comments about the text of Irenaeus (only) in regard to Bible quotes:
http://richardcarrier.blogspot.com.au/2008/09/ignatian-vexation.html


    ... the manuscripts even of the "authentic" letters of Ignatius don't agree with each other, often containing entirely different sentences or even radically altered paragraphs? And that there may be evidence of retroscription? (That's later scribes correcting "inaccurate" quotations with "correct" quotations, a phenomenon that is definitely found in the manuscripts of Irenaeus, for example, thus calling into question any reliance on Irenaeus for the original readings of biblical passages, hence it might be circular to say Irenaeus confirms a biblical reading...yeah, because medieval sneeks rewrote his text to, but I digress).



4) Above I stated some possible positions as:

a) either forged or
b) completely overhauled or
c) heavily interpolated in the later 4th century.

I am inclined towards b) or c). The papyri fragment makes it extremely unlikely that Irenaeus was a Latin forgery, so this option should be removed from the discussion.

tanya wrote:

I am currently struggling, to understand the two volume collection of Irenaeus, book 3, prepared by two French priests in 1974: Adelin Rousseau, (Moine de l'abbaye d'Orval) and Louis Doutreleau, s.j.

It is extremely difficult to decipher where the "greek fragments" of Irenaeus text, come from. The origin of these fragments is not well elaborated, and the authors don't really seem to mind that condition. One needs to know the provenance of these fragments, but most of them seem to be coming from Eusebius, according to the table they provide on pages 53,54, and 55. They also cite the fifth century theologian Theodoret, whose writings: Florigia, consist of quotes from biblical sources. Apparently he also referenced, in Greek, text by Irenaeus, (or, was he commenting on Irenaeus?). I have not read Theodoret.

Here's a link to some Greek fragments, associated with name Grabe, found in this table.
http://www.monotheism1.org/fragments_of ... ament.html

The Rousseau and Doutreleau two volume set is impressive, trilingual, (French, Latin, and Greek.) But, where did they obtain their Greek version? Here's a quote, to give an idea of the contents. This is from "tome 1", i.e. volume 1 of 2, and chapter II, in that volume, page 89:
I employ parentheses to denote a word, which Rousseau and Doutreleau have printed in Greek, and I have written in Roman letters. I think their French is largely comprehensible to most of the forum members. frag 20 = fragment 20 from Grabe, edition of 1702:
"frag20 (p.214). Le Paris.gr.216 a resume et modifie les 1.2-5 --L. 2, Sagnard a retabli l'article (ten) devant (grafen); Grabe l'avait omis et l'omission s'etait propagee jusgua Harvey. Stieren et Harvey, cependant, auraient pu s'autoriser de Cramer pour le replacer dans leur texte.
--L.4, les anciennes editions ajoutent (Christon) apres (Iesous). Cela ne doit pas etonner, puisqu'elles suivent l"Oxon. 58. Mais il n'est pas besoin d'employer des crochets pour exclure le mot, comme a fait Sagnard. Nous avoins quatre bons mss qui ne connaissent pas cette addition: il suffit de les suivre.....


My French is not "bon". Could you provide a rough English translation?

Thanks.
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?

#2  Postby Leucius Charinus » May 29, 2015 7:05 am

http://triablogue.blogspot.com.au/2012/07/why-irenaeus-may-be-dismissed-as-early.html

Why Irenaeus may be dismissed as an early source for “apostolic succession”
"It is, I think, expedient to set forth to all mankind the reasons by which I was convinced that
the fabrication of the Christians is a fiction of men composed by wickedness. "

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Re: Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?

#3  Postby duvduv » Jun 29, 2015 1:33 pm

Do any mainstream scholars bother to ask any of these questions, or even to ask for evidence that a Christian community even existed in Lyons in the second century?! Not only was "Irenaeus" living there, but he was allegedly a bishop!

How is this accepted without empirical evidence for the existence of Irenaeus or a Christian community in Lyons in the second century??
Why do even mainstream secular scholars accept the official church narrative uncritically?
Isn't it also peculiar that he allegedly wrote 30 years or so after Justin Martyr, and knew everything about the Christian canon that Justin did not? No one even asks WHO or WHAT authority legitimized a canon, not even "Irenaeus."
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Re: Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?

#4  Postby duvduv » Jul 24, 2015 12:50 pm

The Church of Constantinianism fabricated and attributed texts to the first and second centuries to provide authenticity and antiquity to the idea of the rejection by God of the Jews surrounding the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, and the substitution by the new Church plain and simple.
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Re: Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?

#5  Postby Sendraks » Jul 24, 2015 1:14 pm

duvduv wrote:Do any mainstream scholars bother to ask any of these questions, or even to ask for evidence that a Christian community even existed in Lyons in the second century?! Not only was "Irenaeus" living there, but he was allegedly a bishop!

How is this accepted without empirical evidence for the existence of Irenaeus or a Christian community in Lyons in the second century??
Why do even mainstream secular scholars accept the official church narrative uncritically?
Isn't it also peculiar that he allegedly wrote 30 years or so after Justin Martyr, and knew everything about the Christian canon that Justin did not? No one even asks WHO or WHAT authority legitimized a canon, not even "Irenaeus."


Why do you ask loaded questions?
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Re: Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?

#6  Postby duvduv » Jul 24, 2015 1:41 pm

Did I commit a crime or sin? There must be answers to those questions.
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Re: Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?

#7  Postby RealityRules » Jul 25, 2015 2:07 am

The church likely grew around Constantinople and nearby Nicea, etc. from the late 3rd century.
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Re: Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?

#8  Postby dejuror » Jul 25, 2015 1:12 pm

"Against Heresies" attributed to Irenaeus is a most blatant forgery or false attribution.

In addition, "Against Heresies" destroys the chronology of the Pauline Epistles.

Irenaeus was a supposed Presbyter and Bishop of the Church of Lyons

In the Church of Lyons, it was taught that Jesus was CRUCIFIED when an OLD man in the reign of Claudius or about 20 years AFTER the 15th year of Tiberius c 49 CE.

The Pauline Corpus was UNKNOWN to the Church of Lyons since a Pauline writer claimed or implied he PREACHED Christ Crucified since the time of King Aretas c 37-41 CE.

It is virtually impossible to TEACH in the CHURCH of Lyons that Jesus was crucified in the time of Claudius if they had knowledge and the HISTORY of Jesus and Paul.

"Against Heresies" must be the work of MULTIPLE authors.

The Canonised Gospels and Pauline Corpus are all LATE writings fabricated AFTER "Against Heresies" 2.22 or AFTER at least c 175-180 CE.
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Re: Was Irenaeus fabricated in the 4th century?

#9  Postby duvduv » Jul 26, 2015 1:44 am

And of course there is no evidence there was a Christian community in the 2nd century in Lyons anyway...The name Irenaeus probably related to some pagan philosopher.
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