I’m working on my chapter on Irenaeus’ soteriology, and have been reading his Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching the past few days, so I thought I’d catalog a few notes. It also turns out that Scot McKnight is also starting up a series on this writing.
Brief background: It was written some time around 190 C.E. in Greek, but the only extant version is an Armenian translation dating from around 600 C.E. in a 13th century manuscript. It’s a more positive/constructive version of his theology as opposed to Against Heresies which is more defensive and polemical in stance. That is not to say that AH is not constructive but it’s purpose is more to defeat certain ideologies. DAP also serves to refute those heresies, but it is not focused on them per se and is a little bit more user friendly for the average reader. The work consists of 100 ‘chapters’, which really more like paragraphs (as numbered by Harnack and now followed by most). As such, it is a nice, short introduction to Irenaeus’ thought.
Major Modern Translations:
John Behr, 2001
Iain MacKenzie, uses Armitage’s 1920’s translation
Joseph Smith, 1952, Ancient Christian Writers Series 16
(I’ve used the bottom two, but I would expect that the Behr version would be the most readable since these while understandable use archaic language periodically. Also, Behr is a well-known Irenaeus scholar.)
I hope to post about a few interesting ideas of his and possibly summarise some of his key points: