IRELAND, JOHN: Church of England, dean of Westminster; b. at Ashburton (20 m. n.e. of Plymouth), England, Sept. 8, 1761; d. at Westminster Sept. 2, 1842. He studied at the free grammar-school of Ashburton, and at Oriel College, Oxford (B.A., 1783; M.A., 1810; B. D. and D.D., 1810). After serving a small curacy near Ashburton for a short period, he traveled on the continent as private tutor; was vicar of Croydon, and reader and chaplain to the earl of Liverpool, 1793-1816; held a prebend in Westminster Abbey, 1802; became subdean as well as theological lecturer, 1806; and dean, 1816. He was rector at Islip in Oxfordshire, and dean of the Order of the Bath, 1816-35. Acquiring considerable wealth, he used it with great generosity, founding scholarships at Oxford and prizes at Westminster School, and furthering free education. He held the crown at the coronations of George IV, and William IV. He left sums for a new church at Westminster, and for a new professorship at Oxford. He was the author of Five Discourses, containing certain Arguments for and against the Reception of Christianity by the ancient Jews and Greeks (London, 1796); Paganism and Christianity Compared, in a Course of Lectures to the King's Scholars at Westminster, in the Years 1806-07-08 (1809); and The Plague of Marseilles in . . . 1720 (1834).
Life (§ 1).
His Principal Literary work, "Against Heresies" (§ 2).
Other writings (§ 3).
His Theology and Polity (§ 4).
His Position as a Practical Churchman (§ 5).
Irenaeus, bishop of Lyons, is the most important witness to ecclesiastical tradition before Eusebius. He came originally from Asia Minor, which was connected in many ways with the Church of Gaul, and died after 190. Little that is certain is known about him until 177, in which year the imprisoned confessors of Lyons chose him as the bearer of a letter to Eleutherus of Rome concerning the Montanist controversy. If the fact that the confessors call him not only their brother, but their "companion," is partly a reminiscense of Rev. i. 9, it still seems probable that he did not wholly escape the persecution; and it may have been a design to save his valuable life that inspired the choice of him to go to Rome. He had probably then been a presbyter of the church at Lyons for several years, since
It is impossible to assign all of Irenaeus's multifarious literary activity to the different periods of his life as long as so much of his work is lost. His principal work is the "Refutation and Subversion of knowledge Falsely so Called," generally referred to as "Against Heresies." It consists of five books, and is preserved in its entirety only in a Latin version, the date of which requires further in vestigation; there is sufficient evidence that the original was still extant in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There are, however, long extracts in the original Greek in Epiphanius, numerous smaller quotations in other writers, and consider able portions incorporated without acknowledgment in the "Refutation" of Hippolytus. The occasion of the work was given by the official position of Irenaeus at Lyons. Some disciples of Marcus, who himself belonged to the school of Valentinus, had come into the Rhône country, and the Church of that region was troubled by the writings of Florinus, the Roman presbyter who had embraced the Valentinian teachings. The immediate cause of the work was the request of a friend and colleague at a distance for precise information about these same teachings and help in refuting them. The work was not originally intended to be so large; but it grew under his hand. Even in its present extent, it does not fully carry out the plan promised; and Grabe's hypothesis that the complete work is not extant is not without foundation, especially since the present conclusion of v. 32 is wanting in some Latin manuscripts. With great clearness of thought and expression, Irenaeus takes no trouble m the main outline to keep within the narrow bounds of a preconceived plan, but allows himself to be carried swiftly forward by the current of his thought. There is no attempt at literary art; the subject is everything to him. Although he is prepared to find a wide circle of readers he writes in the first instance for his brother in the faith. The latter was chiefly concerned with the teaching of Valentinus, and it is this which accordingly occupies the leading place, both in the exposition and the refutation. Others, however, are touched on and traced back to their sources as far as Simon Magus; and the doctrines of Valentinus can not be controverted without at least incidental discussion of the contemporary one of Marcion. For his facts he depends not only upon his personal intercourse with disciples of Valentinus, but also upon their writings, which he sometimes quotes verbally, but more often summarizes freely. He is acquainted with the older church treatises against heresy, but is dissatisfied with their insufficient knowledge of the Valentinian position; in his treatment of other heresies, he may have borrowed from these treatises to some extent,
Of a considerable number of other works of Irenaeus what is known is gathered from scattered citations in Eusebius and others. They may be briefly enumerated as follows: (1) An admonition to Florinus "On the Divine Sovereignty, or God not the Author of Evil," written when Florinus was still in the communion of the Church, for he is warned that his teachings are irreconcilable with its doctrine, and that "not even heretics outside the Church have ventured to assert such things." (2) A "Treatise on the Ogdoad," occasioned by Florinus, but not addressed to him. The loan of this work is specially regrettable, since Irenaeus seems in it to have dwelt in detail on his relation to the first post-apostolic generation. (3) An epistle to a certain Blastus in Rome "On Schism." According to the pseudo-Tertullian this man was a Quartodeciman, according to Pacian a Greek by birth and a Montanist. (4) Among, or connected with, the letters which Irenaeus wrote to various bishops at the time of the paschal controversy may be placed that which, according to a Syriac fragment, "he wrote to an Alexandrian, showing that it was right to celebrate the feast of the Resurrection on Sunday." (5) The letter to Victor of Rome concerning this same controversy. (6) A letter "On Faith" to Demetrius, a deacon of Vienne. (7) According to Eusebius (v. 26), an apology, addressed to the Greeks, "On Knowledge." (8) A treatise, mentioned in Eusebius, Hist. eccl., V. xxvi., dedicated to a certain Marcianus, possibly the author of the Martyrium Polycarpi, on the apostolic preaching. [This work, which is of the nature of a dogmatic discussion of the apostolic teaching, and is quite an extensive work, has been discovered in Armenian translation in the Church of the Mother of God in Eriwan, and edited with German translation by Ter-Mekert-tschian and Ter-Minassiantz in T U, xxxi. 1 (1907). The manuscript dates from the second half of the thirteenth century, and contains about two-thirds of the entire work. From what language the translation was made is not clear, but Syriac is indicated.] (9) A book of various discourses. (10) Oecumenius gives an extract from a work in which Irenaeus is supposed to relate the martyrdom of Sanctus and Blandina. Allowing for a confusion of Blandina and Biblias, this agrees with the letter of the church of Lyons on the martyrdoms of 177, of which he may well have been the author, though Eusebius (V., xiv.-xix. 25) did not think it necessary to mention the fact. (11) A treatise against the theory that matter is eternal. The exposition of Canticles, of which a Syriac fragment exists, is of doubtful authenticity, while the four fragments published in 1715 by Pfaff, chancellor of Tübingen, have been finally shown by Harnack to be forgeries of Pfaff's. It is not known whether Irenaeus carried out his intention (expressed Ill., xii. 12) of writing a special treatise against Marcion.
The extent and variety of the interests of which a glimpse has been given renders it impossible to attempt here a complete exposition of the theology and church polity of Irenaeus. It is unfortunate that, outside of scanty fragments, only a single polemical work of his is extant, and that for the most part not in the original. Here he appears as a stout defender of church doctrine against Gnosticism. If he is compared with the other members of the school to which he belonged, with Papias or with Polycarp, the manner appears striking in which he combines with firm adhesion to the faith of these simple men a remarkable accessibility to the most varied elements of culture that were within his reach. He makes no parade of secular learning; he declines to be a teacher of "barbaric philosophy " like other apologists from Aristides to Clement; but he surpasses them all in soundness of judgment, acuteness of perception, and clearness of exposition. In fact, he is the first writer of the post-apostolic period who deserves the title of a theologian. In pure theology he stands far above Athanasius and Cyril, and can be compared only with Origen and Augustine. The balanced security of his attitude is remarkable. When the Phrygian peasants disturbed first the scene of his early years, and then the whole Church with their fanatical prophecies and their preaching of a gloomy penance, he did not lose his head. In union with the Church of Lyons and its imprisoned confessors, he warned Eleutherus of Rome not to condemn without examination a religious movement which linked itself to the age of the apostles by valuable inheritances. When the Alogi, in opposition to Montanism, attempted to banish from the Church all prophecy, and the Apocalypse with it, he took a firm stand against them; but he did not become a Montanist. Again, in his judgment of the pagan polity, he did not desert the line marked out by Christ himself and by Paul, and followed (as he points out) by John in the Apocalypse. The Roman Empire is to him no more Antichrist than the world and the flesh necessarily belong to the devil.
As a practical churchman he was no less admirable than as a theologian. His sermons are lost; but that a collection of them should have been in existence 150 years after his death is enough to show that he deserves a prominent place in the history of homiletics. He learned Celtic in order to speak to the heathen about Lyons, and thus has a place also in the history of missionary effort. His devotion to the immediate duties of his restricted and outlying diocese did not prevent him from having much at heart the welfare of the Church at large, from feeling at home in Rome or Ephesus. His evident love for the ancient Church of his native home did not blind him to the special significance and vocation of the Church at Rome, based upon the position and history of the city. In the paschal controversy he deserted the traditional custom of the Church of his boyhood, because he saw that the Western practise was more appropriate to the essential center-point of the Easter celebration; but he stood out firmly against over-emphasizing such differences, and against the combined ignorance
The best modern edition of the Works of
Irenæus is by W. Wigan Harvey, 2 vols., Cambridge, 1877,
and perhaps the next best is by A. Stieren, 2 vols., Leipsic,
1853. The editio princeps is by Erasmus, Basel, 1526
(often reprinted, contains the Lat. version of the Adv.
haer.). Succeeding editions were by N. Gallasius, Paris,
1570 (the first edition with the fragments of the Greek);
F. Feuardent, Cologne, 1596 and later; J. E. Grabe,
Oxford, 1702 (one of the best); the Benedictine edition of
R. Massuet, Paris, 1712 and Venice, 1734 (also exceedingly
good). Vol. iii. of the Oxyrhyncus Papyri by Grenfell
and Hunt issued by the Egypt Exploration Fund for
1902-03 contains fragments, on which cf. E. Nestle in
the Munich Allgemeine Zeitung, no. 249. Note also
Eisspideixin tou apostolou kerugmatos, in armenischer
Version entdeckt, ed. K. Ter-Mekerttschian and E. Ter-Minassiantz, in TU, xxxi (1907; cf. § 3, no. 8 above).
On the life of Irenaeus and various phases of his activities and works consult: the introductions to the various editions of his works; DCB, iii. 253-279 (elaborate and well worth consulting); H. Dodwell, Dissertationes in Irenaeum, Oxford, 1689; J. Alexander, The Primitive Doctrine of Christ's Divinity, London, 1727; E. Burton Testimonies of the Ante-Nicene Fathers to the Divinity of Christ, pp. 68-111, Oxford. 1826; J. Beaven, Life and Writings of St. Irenaeus, London, 1841; L. Duncker, Des heiligen Irenäus Christologie, Göttingen, 1843; K. Graul, Die christliche Kirchs an der Schwelle des irenaischen Zeitalters, Leipsic, 1860; H. Ziegler, Des Irenäus Lehre von der Autorität der Schrift, der Tradition and der Kirche, Berlin, 1868; idem, Irenäus der Bischof von Lyon, ib. 1871; R. A. Lipsius, Die Zeit des Irenäus und die Entstehung der altkatholischen Kirche, Munich, 1872; H. L. Mansel, Gnostic Heresies, London, 1875; J. B. Lightfoot, in Contemporary Review, Aug., 1876; A. Gilloud, S. Irenée et son temps, Lyon, 1876; C. J. H. Ropes, in Bibliotheca Sacra, Apr., 1877 (deals with the nationality of Irenaeus); E. Montet, La Légende d'Irence, Geneva, 1880; C. E. Freppel, S. Irenée et l'éloquence chrétienne dans la Gaule, Paris, 1886; F. W. Farrar, Lives of the Fathers, i. 67-93, New York, 1889; J. Werner, Der Paulinismus des Irenäus, in TU, vi. 2, 1889; J. Kunze, Die Gotteslehre des Irenaus, Leipsic, 1891; idem, De historiae gnosticismi fontibus, ib. 1894; T. Zahn, Forschungen zur Geschichte des Kanons, iv. 247-283, ib. 1891; A. Camerlynck, S. Irenée et Ie canon du N. T., Paris; 1896; A. Harnack, Die Pfaff'schen Irenäus Fragmente, in TU, xx. 3, 1900; idem, Litteratur, consult the Index (very full); idem, Dogma, passim, consult the Index; Ceillier, Auteurs sacrés, i. 495-519, ii. 537, 543-544; Neander, Christian Church, i. 679-682 et passim; Schaff, Christian Church, ii. 746 sqq.; Moeller, Christian Church, i. 106, 158, 199 sqq.; and the Church histories of the period.
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