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Vigiliae Christianae

Vigiliae Christianae 66 (2012) 1-19


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Spirit-Christology in Irenaeus: A Closer Look


Anthony Briggman
Marquette University, Department of Theology Milwaukee, WI 53201 USA anthony.briggman@marquette.edu

Abstract Our understanding of Irenaeus Spirit-Christology has beneted from several noteworthy studies published over the course of the past century. These investigations, however, failed to reach a consensus on whether Irenaeus Spirit-Christology jeopardizes his Trinitarian logic. The purpose of this article is to provide a long-overdue reexamination of Irenaeus utilization of Spirit-Christology. I argue Spirit-Christology does have a place in Irenaeus theology, but that it poses no threat to his Trinitarian logic. I contend that two passages, previously thought to identify the Holy Spirit with the person of Christ, refer to the reception of the Holy Spirit by the believer for his or her redemption. Moreover, I maintain two other passages do not use Spirit language to refer to the person of Christ, but his divinity. Keywords Irenaeus of Lyons, Spirit-Christology, Holy Spirit, Christ, binitarian, trinitarian

Our understanding of Spirit-Christology1 in Irenaeus has beneted from a series of noteworthy and even groundbreaking studies published over the course of the last hundred years.2 Yet, other than notes by Adelin Rousseau
Spirit-Christology refers to the use of spirit language to designate Christwhether in reference to his divinity as opposed to his humanity, or as a personal title (B. Bucur, The Son of God and the Angelomorphic Holy Spirit: A Rereading of the Shepherd s Christology, ZNW 98 [2007] 120-42, here 121 n.7). I am not, here, using Spirit-Christology to refer to the action of the Holy Spirit upon and with Jesus in the incarnation prevalent in contemporary discussions of Trinitarian doctrine. 2) F.R.M. Hitchcock, The Apostolic Preaching of Irenaeus and its Light on his Doctrine of the Trinity, Herm 14 (1907) 307-37, here 318-20; F.R.M. Hitchcock, The Apostolic Preaching of Irenaeus, JTS 9 (1908) 284-89, here 287; J.A. Robinson, trans. & ed., St. Irenaeus, The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching (TCL; London: SPCK, 1920)
Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2012 DOI: 10.1163/157007211X571472
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in the editions of Irenaeus oered by Sources Chrtiennes and brief comments by Antonio Orbe in his monumental Teologa de San Ireneo,3 neither of which were meant to be comprehensive statements, it has been more than thirty years since the presence of Spirit-Christology in Irenaeus has been considered. Even more importantly, past investigations have failed to reach a consensus on whether Irenaeus Spirit-Christology jeopardizes his Trinitarian logic. This state of aairs is due in large part to several signicant shortcomings of the previous studies: they utilize erroneous methodological presuppositions, neglect to consider central texts in Irenaeus, provide supercial accounts of complex texts, and ignore signicant points made by other studies. While no one study is guilty of all of these faults, neither does any study escape from all unscathed. The presence of any one of these faults renders an argument less than persuasive; the presence of more than one in an ongoing line of study renders its conclusions suspect at best. As a result, the need to reevaluate Irenaeus utilization of Spirit-Christology has existed for quite some time. This need, however, has become more urgent in recent days since several studies have shown that a common feature of second-century theological accounts containing binitarian logic4 is the existence of an
64-65, 67; F. Loofs, Theophilus von Antiochien Adversus Marcionem und die Anderen theologischen Quellen bei Irenaeus (TU 46.2; ed. A. von Harnack & C. Schmidt; Leipzig: J.C. Hinrichs Buchhandlung, 1930) esp. 101-13 & 211-57; F.R.M. Hitchcock, Loofs Asiatic Source (1QA) and the Ps-Justin De Resurrectione, ZNW 36 (1937) 35-60, here 35-38; H.J. Carpenter, The Birth from Holy Spirit and the Virgin in the Old Roman Creed, JTS 40 (1939) 31-36, here 33 n.3; J.N.D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (London: Longmans, 1960) 148; A. Rousseau, ed., Irne de Lyon, Contre les Hrsies 5.1 (SC 152; Paris: ditions du Cerf, 1969) 202; M. Simonetti, Note di cristologia pneumatica, Aug 12 (1972) 201-32, esp. 214, 220-21; H.-J. Jaschke, Der Heilige Geist im Bekenntnis der Kirche: Eine Studie zur Pneumatologie des Irenus von Lyon im Ausgang vom altchristlichen Glaubensbekenntnis (MBT 40; Mnster: Verlag Aschendor, 1976) 226-30; A. Orbe, Teologa de San Ireneo, Commentario al Libro V del Adversus Haereses (BZC, sma 25; Madrid: Biblioteca de Autores Cristianos, 1985) 1: 107. 3) See the previous note for these bibliographic references. 4) Bucur also oers a good denition for binitarian: the term . . . points to a bifurcation of the divinity (as opposed to unitarian), while preserving a monotheistic worldview (binitarian monotheism, as opposed to dualism) (Rereading Shepherd s Christology, 121 n.6). A binitarian orientation is not an uncommon feature of this periods theology; C. Stead notes, the origin and function [of the Holy Spirit] are much less clearly worked out [than that of the Logos], and sometimes He almost disappears behind the Logos, so that historians of doctrine can speak of a binitarian tendency in the second century

Spirit-Christology in Irenaeus: A Closer Look

angelomorphic5 pneumatology or Christology in tandem with SpiritChristology.6 The presence of an angelomorphic pneumatology and Christology in Irenaeus has been proclaimed by several scholars over the years,7 while others have found a Spirit-Christology that identies the Holy Spirit as the pre-existent Christ.8 As a result, it would appear that aspects of Irenaeus thought are also disposed toward a binitarian orientation. I do not agree with those who have found angelomorphism in Irenaeus, but this article will not detail that argument.9 The purpose of this present article is to provide a long-overdue reexamination of Irenaeus utilization of Spirit-Christology. I will argue that Spirit-Christology does have a place in Irenaeus theology, but that it poses no threat to his Trinitarian logic. In order for Spirit-Christology to jeopardize the Trinitarian logic of his theology Irenaeus must identify the Holy Spirit as the pre-existent Christ.
(Philosophy in Christian Antiquity [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994] 156). Examples of binitarianism may be found in A. Segals Two Powers in Heaven: Early Rabbinic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism (Leiden: Brill, 1977). 5) For the meaning of angelomorphic, C. Fletcher-Louis provides a convenient denition: the term should be used wherever there are signs that an individual or community possesses specically angelic characteristics or status, though for whom identity cannot be reduced to that of an angel (Luke-Acts: Angels, Christology and Soteriology [WUNT 2.94; Tbingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997] 14-15). 6) This connection has been identied in the Shepherd of Hermas, Justin Martyr, and Clement of Alexandria. See the following articles by B. Bucur, Rereading Shepherds Christology, 120-42; The Angelic Spirit in Early Christianity: Justin, the Martyr and Philosopher, JRel 88 (2008) 190-208; Revisiting Christian Oeyen: The Other Clement on Father, Son, and the Angelomorphic Spirit, VigChr 61 (2007) 381-413; as well as my essay, Measuring Justins Approach to the Spirit: Trinitarian Conviction and Binitarian Orientation, VigChr 63 (2009) 107-37. 7) The argument for the existence of angelomorphism in Irenaeus was formulated by D.E. Lanne who contended that Irenaeus identied the Word and Spirit as Cherubim and Seraphim in Proof 10 (Cherubim et Seraphim: Essai dInterprtation du Chapitre X de la Dmonstration de Saint Irne, RSR 43 [1955] 524-35). Lannes reading has been followed by J. Danilou, The Theology of Jewish Christianity (trans. & ed. J. Baker, London: Darton, Longman & Todd, 1964) 138-40; G.G. Stroumsa, Le Couple de lAnge et de lEsprit: Traditions Juives et Chrtiennes, RevBib 88 (1981) 42-61, here 47; and I.M. MacKenzie, Irenaeuss Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching; A theological commentary and translation (Aldershot [Eng.]: Ashgate, 2002) 98-99. 8) For instance, Robinson, Loofs, and Simonetti contend that Irenaeus identies the Holy Spirit as the pre-existent Christ in certain passages. The reader will nd references to their arguments throughout this study. 9) For this argument see my, Re-Evaluating Angelomorphism in Irenaeus: The Case of Proof 10, JTS 61 (2010) 583-95.

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That is to say, in his Christology Irenaeus must identify the Holy Spirit with the Word/Son, or substitute the Holy Spirit for the Word/Son as that which is incarnated. It is not enough to show that Irenaeus describes the Word as Spirit or identies the divinity of Jesus as Spirit, because the ambiguity of the term Spirit means that it is theologically accurate, though perhaps problematic in this particular context, to refer to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit as Spirit. According to this usage, Spirit refers to what God is, the immaterial divine stu that is common to the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. God is Spirit according to Jn 4,24. A statement that refers to Jesus as composed of esh and Spirit, using this idea of Spirit, is orthodox and poses no hindrance to Trinitarian logic. It is the same as saying Jesus is human and divine. As I mentioned above, however, in the past some have decided that in a few passages Irenaeus does identify the Holy Spirit with the Word as the pre-existent Christ. This determination accords with their classication of his thought as binitarian, or at least as possessing a tension between binitarianism and Trinitarianism.10 I believe such readings of Irenaeus are incorrect. While Irenaeus refers to the divine component of Jesus Christ as Spirit, he does so in order to identify the common divine stu shared by the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is to say, by labeling the divine component of Jesus as Spirit, he is simply stating that Jesus is divine. At no time does he identify the Holy Spirit as the pre-existent Christ, that which is incarnated, or as the Word/Son without reference to the incarnation.11 I will divide my discussion of Irenaeus Spirit-Christology into two parts. The rst will treat passages that have been erroneously labeled as SpiritChristological.12 Here I will contend that two passages, which have been understood as referring to the incarnation of the Holy Spirit, have been misinterpreted, and in fact should not be regarded as Spirit-Christological
Loofs, Theophilus von Antiochien, 346; Simonetti, Note di cristologia pneumatica, 231. In this determination H.-J. Jaschke, who argued against Loofs Spirit-Christological reading, has preceded me (Der Heilige Geist, 226-30). Yet, Jaschke addresses only a few of the germane texts, and does not provide a detailed analysis of those he does address. Long ago, Hitchcock did provide a brief examination of many of the texts to which Loofs appeals (Loofs Asiatic Source, 35-38), but he does not refer to some of the texts that have received more recent attention by Simonetti (Note di cristologia pneumatica, 214, 220-21). Simonetti, in fact, either overlooks or ignores Hitchcock, and is himself overlooked or ignored by Jaschke. 12) I will not take the time to address the passages that Loofs alters, by subtraction or addition, in order to render them Spirit-Christological. For these passages, see Hitchcock, Loofs Asiatic Source, 35-38.
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Spirit-Christology in Irenaeus: A Closer Look

at all. The second part of this treatment will consider passages that utilize Spirit language to refer to the divine element of Jesus. Here I will argue that two passages that are Spirit-Christological, insofar as they use Spirit language to refer to the divine component in Jesus, should not be understood as identifying the Spirit with the pre-existent Christ, as has happened in the past.

1. Non-Spirit-Christological Passages Two passages require our attention in this section: Against Heresies (AH ) 4,31,2 and Proof of the Apostolic Preaching (Prf ) 97.13 Both make nearly identical statements about the reception of the Holy Spirit by believers in Christ, and both have been misunderstood to refer to the incarnation of the Spirit.14 AH 4,31,2 reads,
Moreover, by their (Lots daughters) words it is signied that there is no other person who is able to confer the begetting of children on the older and younger
In addition to these passages, there has been a persistent tendency to view AH 5,1,3 as Spirit-Christological. Both Loofs (Theophilus von Antiochien, 240 n.1) and Simonetti (Note di cristologia pneumatica, 214, 220-21) base their convictions on the sentence, the Word of the Father and the Spirit of God, having been united with the ancient substance of the formation of Adam rendered man living and perfect. Loofs holds that the Word of the Father is an interpolation, while Simonetti argues that the Word of the Father and the Spirit of God stand in parallel. Both opinions have the eect of identifying the Holy Spirit with the pre-existent Christ. Hitchcock has already shown Loofs reading to be inaccurate, and his comments also apply to Simonettis interpretation, though Simonetti appears unaware of them (Loofs Asiatic Source, 36-37). I will add one observation to Hitchcocks well-reasoned analysis. Hitchcock points out that the context of this statement is Irenaeus identication of the Word and Spirit as the Hands of God to whom the Father is speaking in Gen 1,26. I would like to mention that Irenaeus had already interpreted Gen 1,26 as containing the Fathers discourse with his Hands, both the Word and the Spirit, in 4,pref,4 and 4,20,1it is a well-established interpretation by 5,1,3. Cf. Orbe, who says 5,1,3 has two possible interpretations: (1) Verbum Patris refers to the person, Spiritus Dei to the divine nature; (2) Verbum Patris refers to the second person, Spiritus Dei to the third (Teologa de San Ireneo, 1: 107). Orbe recommends the second reading. 14) With regard to AH 4,31,2, see: Loofs, Theophilus von Antiochien, 101-13; and Simonetti, Note di cristologia pneumatica, 213-14. With regard to Prf 97, see Robinson, Demonstration, 64-65, 67; Carpenter, The Birth from Holy Spirit, 33 n.3; and Kelly, Early Christian Creeds, 148, referring to Robinson.
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synagogues than our father. Now the father of the human race is the Word of God, as Moses made clear by saying, Is not this one your father who has acquired you, and made you, and created you? [Dtn 32,6, LXX]. At what time, then, did he pour out upon the human race the life-giving seed, that is, the Spirit of the remission of sins, by whom we are vivied? Was it not at that time when he was eating with human beings, and drinking wine upon the earth? For it is said, The Son of man came eating and drinking [Mt 11,19]; and when having laid down, he fell asleep, and took repose. As he says himself in David, I slept and took repose [Ps 3,6]. And because He used thus to act while He dwelt and lived among us, he said again, And my sleep became sweet to me [Jer 31,26]. Now, all (this) was signied by Lot, because the seed of the father of all, that is, the Spirit of God, by whom all things have been made, was commingled and united with esh, that is, with his own formation, by which commingling and unity the two synagogues, that is, the two congregations, produce from their father living sons for the living God.15

With these words Irenaeus provides an allegorical interpretation of the story in Genesis 19 of the impregnation of Lots daughters. The phrase of particular interest is the Spirit of God . . . was commingled and united with esh, which, as we will see, both Loofs and Simonetti understand to be Spirit-Christological. A proper understanding of this passage, however, depends upon recognizing that the meaning of the nal sentence of 4,31,2 is determined by its contextan approach that neither Loofs nor Simonetti takes. In order to understand the selection above, then, we must begin in 4,31,1 where Irenaeus rst discusses the typological signicance of the gures in the story of Gen 19.

The last sentence reads: Totum autem signicabatur per Lot, quoniam semen Patris omnium, hoc est Spiritus Dei, per quem facta sunt omnia, commixtus et unitus est carni, hoc est plasmati suo, per quam commixtionem et unitatem duae synagogae, id est duae congregationes, fructicant ex patre suo lios vivos vivo Deo. Greek and Latin quotations of AH are taken from Irne de Lyon, Contre les Hrsies in 10 volumes (SC; eds. A. Rousseau, et al.; Paris 1965-82). Armenian quotations of AH 4 & 5 are taken from Irenus, Gegen die Hretiker. , Buch 4 u. 5 in armenischer Version (Arm. by K. Ter-Mekerttschian; ed. E. TerMinassiantz; TU 35.2; eds. A. Harnack and C. Schmidt; Leipzig: Hinrich, 1910). Translations of AH are mine, unless otherwise noted. Armenian quotations of Prf are taken from Irenaeus, ; The Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, with Seven Fragments (PO 12.5; ed. & Eng. trans. K. Ter-Mekerttschian, S.G. Wilson, & Prince Maxe of Saxony; Fr. trans. J. Barthoulot; 1917, repr. Turnhout: Brepols, 1989). Unless otherwise noted, translations of Prf are from St Irenaeus of Lyons, On the Apostolic Preaching (trans. J. Behr; New York: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1997).

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So then, since this man (Lot) did not know [what he did], and was not a slave to pleasure, the economy [of God] was brought about, by which the two daughters, that is, the two synagogues, from one and the same father gave birth to children, it was revealed, without the pleasure of the esh. For there was no other person able to give to them a seed of life and [a means] for the bearing of children.16

It is necessary to pay strict regard to the typological referent of each gure in the story in order to understand Irenaeus allegory. Of utmost importance is the recognition that all of 4,31,2 expands upon the allegorical reading of Gen 19 that Irenaeus begins in 4,31,1. This means that the typological referents he establishes in 4,31,1-2 never change during the course of this discussion.17 In 4,31,1, then, Irenaeus begins his interpretation of the story of Lot and his daughters. He writes that only Lot could impart to his two daughters the seed of life by which they could give birth to children. In so saying, he establishes the paradigm for the production of children that will govern his interpretation in 4,31,2: the father imparted a life-giving seed to his daughters that enabled them to produce children. In this process, the father, the seed, the daughters, and the children are distinct from each other.18 Moreover, Irenaeus provides the rst typological referent for some of the gures in the story: the daughters are the two synagogues.19 Having in place the paradigm for the production of children and the identication of the two daughters as the two synagogues, Irenaeus unfolds the rest of the texts meaning in 4,31,2. The father of the human race who gave the life-giving seed to the older and younger synagogues is the Word of God. The life-giving seed that the Word, as the father of the human race, [poured] out upon the human race is the Spirit of the remission of sins. The Spirit of the remission of sins was poured out on the

/ semen vitale et liorum fructum posset dare eis; the Armenian has ( fructicationem) for fructum. 17) P. Bacq takes this approach, De lancienne la nouvelle Alliance selon S. Irne: unit du livre IV de lAdversus Haereses (Paris / Namur: ditions Lethielleux / Presses Universitaires de Namur, 1978) 214-15. 18) The paradigm is a straightforward reference to the physical insemination of a woman by a man in order to produce a child. 19) The two synagogues refer to the Jewish and Gentile people-groups. Cf. Loofs, Theophilus von Antiochien, 105; Bacq, De lancienne la nouvelle Alliance, 214-15.

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human race at the time of the incarnation of the Word: when he ate, drank, and slept.20 We have now all the typological referents for the gures in the story of Gen 19 which when placed into the paradigm for the production of children, that Irenaeus established in 4,31,1, piece together his complete allegorical reading. At the time of his incarnation, the Word, as the father of the human race, poured out the Spirit of the remission of sins, the lifegiving seed, upon the two synagogues which enabled them to produce children. By the production of children he is referring to the adoption as sons of God, as is indicated by his qualication of the Spirit as the Spirit of the remission of sin. The reception of the Spirit produced a spiritual birth, the modulation of temporal life to eternal life.21 Such is Irenaeus allegorical interpretation of the story of Lot and his daughters in Gen 19. The Spirit-Christological readings of this passage depend upon interpretations of the last sentence of 4,31,2 that do not accord with the allegorical interpretation with which it is connected, in eect separating it from its context.22 Loofs contends that the Spirit of the remission of sins cannot

By saying, when having laid down, he fell asleep, and took repose, Ireneaus probably means the Spirit was given by the Incarnate Word after his death, as he speaks of the sending of the Spirit elsewhere (e.g., AH 3,17,1-2). Both Loofs (Theophilus von Antiochien, 107) and Bacq (De lancienne la nouvelle Alliance, 214-15) interpret these words as referring to Jesus death. 21) Irenaeus conceives of only one type of life, a biological or physical life that can be either temporal or eternal, he does not envision a physical life given to the body by means of the soul and distinguished by kind from a supernatural life given to the animated body by means of the Holy Spirit. The idea that a distinction can be drawn in Irenaeus thought between two types of life, the supernatural and the physical/biological, was a commonplace that still persists in some authors despite the existence of a growing body of scholarship showing the inaccuracy of such a characterization. See: G. Wingren, Man and the Incarnation: A Study in the Biblical Theology of Irenaeus (trans. R. MacKenzie; Eugene (Oregon): Wipf & Stock, 1959) esp. 14.54 n.36.108.120; J. Fantino, La thologie dIrne: lecture des Ecritures en rponse lexgse gnostique. Une approche trinitaire (Paris: Cerf, 1994) 319-21; J. Behr, Asceticism and Anthropology in Irenaeus and Clement (OECS; eds. G. Clark & A. Louth; Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000) 56 n.76 and 92-97. 22) Loofs believes that the last sentence in 4,31,2 reects the Spirit-Christological theology of the presbyter from whom Irenaeus is borrowing, while the earlier discussion of 4,31,1-2 reects the Logos-Christology of Irenaeus himself (Theophilus von Antiochien, 103-13, esp. 109-10). Jaschke has argued against the logic that undergirds this move by Loofs (Der Heilige Geist, 227-28). Simonetti does not take into consideration this discord.

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be the same as the Spirit of God, by whom all things have been made.23 This determination permits him to say the Spirit of God is that which was commingled and united to esh in the Incarnation. Loofs supports his reading with two arguments that must be discarded because of their methodological errors. First, he appeals to a Spirit-Christological reading in Tertullian, de carne Christi 18, a text that is immaterial because of its later date. Second, he contends that this interpretation is self-evident if the sentence is allowed to stand on its own, that is, if we do not take into consideration what Irenaeus said earlier in 4,31,1-2.24 This approach does not demonstrate his reading so much as it permits any reading of the text. Simonetti, on the other hand, claims that the term Spirit of God, in and of itself, has a personal and specic sense, and is here identical to the Word.25 His assertion that the meaning of Spirit of God is inherently personal and specic is, however, baseless. Irenaeus uses Spirit of God to refer to both the divine nature and the Holy Spirit.26 As such, context must always be the factor that determines what he means by Spirit of God. A contextual reading of this passage directs the reader to identify the Spirit

According to Irenaeus, however, the Holy Spirit plays a role in both redemption and creation. The Spirits role in redemption can be seen, for instance, in AH 3,9,3 & 3,10,3 where the Holy Spirit as the Unction of Christ is the uniquely capable agent who mediates the presence of Christ to believers, thereby bringing to believers the requisite knowledge for redemption, the knowledge of the incarnate Word (see my, The Holy Spirit as the Unction of Christ in Irenaeus, JTS 61 [2010] 171-93). The Spirits role in creation can be seen in his identication as one of the Hands of God who formed human beings (e.g., AH 4,pref,4; 4,20,1), and as the Wisdom of God, a title Irenaeus ascribes to the Holy Spirit in order to arm the harmonious eect of the Spirits particular activity in creation (e.g., AH 2,30,9; 4,20,2.4; Prf 5). 24) Loofs, Theophilus von Antiochien, 109-10. 25) Simonetti, Note di cristologia pneumatica, 213-14. Simonetti does not argue this point from Irenaeus, but rather asserts it. 26) Irenaeus uses Spirit of God to refer to the divine nature in AH 2,30,8: And truly he is the Spirit of God, not in fact an animal Demiurge, otherwise he never would have brought about the spiritual (pl.). If, on the other hand, he is animal, let them tell us by whom the spiritual (pl.) are made. This identication of God as a spiritual being in 2,30,8 enables him to arm (against the Gnostics) that one God created all things, both spiritual and material. He uses Spirit of God to refer to the Holy Spirit in several dierent contexts, including: (1) AH 3,9,3 and 3,17,1 where the Spirit is the Unction of Christ who anoints Jesus humanity and is subsequently sent by Jesus to believers; (2) AH 5,1,3 where the Spirit is one of the Hands of God; and (3) numerous places in AH 5 that highlight the role of the Spirit in redemption (e.g., 5,6,1).

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of God, by whom all things are made with the Spirit of the remission of sins sent by the incarnate Word. In fact, the concluding words of 4,31,2, the portion of this passage that is said to be Spirit-Christological, summarize the interpretation of Gen 19 that Irenaeus just provided. So much is clear from the opening phrase of that lengthy sentence: Now, all (this) was signied by Lot. Since they reiterate what has come before, any interpretation of these nal words that does not conform to the foregoing discussion must be excluded from consideration. From the start, then, we cannot read this passage as SpiritChristological since the preceding allegory in 4,31,1-2 militates against this reading. Rather than identifying the Word and the Spirit, it dierentiates the two: the father of the human race gave the seed that causes impregnation, the Word poured out the Spirit that produces life. This a priori determination of the meaning of the last sentence is supported by an examination of the words themselves. The seed of the Father of all refers to the Spirit of the remission of sins sent by the Word, the father of the whole human race. He inserts the interjection, that is, the Spirit of God, by whom all things have been made in order to make sure his readers continue to identify the seed as the Spirit. As earlier in 4,31,1-2, here at the end of 4,31,2 the Spirit is that which was given by the Word to enable the production of children. The seed, the Spirit of God, was commingled and united with esh, that is, with his own formation, by which commingling and unity the two synagogues, that is, the two congregations, produce from their father living sons for the living God. It is not necessary to advance a Spirit-Christological interpretation in order to understand what Irenaeus means by the Spirit being commingled and united with esh because he uses this language to refer to the reception of the Spirit sent by Christ to those who believe in him. So, for example, does he write in 5,6,1: when this Spirit commingled (commixtus) with the soul is united (unitur) to the formation, because of the outpouring of the Spirit the human being is rendered spiritual and perfect, and this is he who was made after the image and likeness of God.27 Therefore, we can say these words do not refer to the incarnation of the Spirit of God, but
27) Also in 5,6,1: the perfect human being is the commingling and union (commixtio et adunitio est) of the soul receiving the Spirit of the Father, and the admixture (admixtae) of that esh which was formed after the image of God; and again in 5,6,1, But the commingling (commixtio) and union (unitio) of all of these (Spirit, soul, and esh) constitutes the perfect human being.

Spirit-Christology in Irenaeus: A Closer Look

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rather to the reception of the Spirit by both Jews and gentiles, a reception which results in their adoption as living sons for the living God. As such, Irenaeus thought remains consistent throughout 4,31,1-2: the Word, as the father of the human race, poured out the Spirit of God, the Spirit of the remission of sins, so that both Jews and gentiles may be rendered living sons for the living God. A striking similarity exists between this passage in 4,31,2 and the selection from Prf 97 that some regard as Spirit-Christological. Irenaeus begins Prf 97 with an armation of thanksgiving to God who, through his abundant, inscrutable and unfathomable wisdom, saved us and preached the salvation from heaven, which is the visible advent of our Lord, that is, His human existence. This introduction, which eulogizes the wisdom of God, leads to an extended quotation of Bar 3,29-4,1. In this passage God gives the gure of Wisdom to Jacob, his servant, and to Israel, his beloved. We pick up Prf 97 from this point, from the giving of Wisdom to Jacob and Israel, the selection begins with Bar 3,37 and includes Irenaeus interpretation of the passage.
After which she appeared on earth and conversed with men. This is the book of the commandments of God, and of the law, which is forever. All who keep her [are] unto life; but they who forsake her, will die. Jacob and Israel he calls the Son of God, who received from the Father dominion over our life, and after receiving [it], he brought [her] down to us, to those who are far from her, when he28 appeared on earth and conversed with men, mixing and blending the Spirit of God the Father with the handiwork of God, that man might be according to the image and likeness of God.

The interpretation of the last lines of this selection from Prf 97 as SpiritChristological dates back to J. Armitage Robinsons comments in the introduction to his translation of the Proof. Robinson interprets mixing and blending the Spirit of God the Father with the handiwork of God as a reference to the Incarnation, and compares it to AH 4,20,4.29 In 4,20,4 Irenaeus speaks of both the Incarnation and the redemption of humanity:
Now this is his Word, our Lord Jesus Christ, who in the last times was made a man among men, . . . the prophets . . . proclaimed his advent according to the esh, by which the commingling and communion (commixtio et communio) of God and man was brought about. . . . Causing us to serve him in holiness and
28) 29)

The Armenian could also be read as she. Robinson, Demonstration, 64-65.

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righteousness all our days, in order that man, having embraced (complexus)30 the Spirit of God, might pass into the glory of the Father.

Robinson rightly observes about this passage, the general thought here is that the restoration of man takes place after the pattern of the Incarnation. . . .31 His full comment is less astute: the general thought here is that the restoration of man takes place after the pattern of the Incarnationthe intermingling of human esh with the Spirit of God. If the Spirit of God in the Incarnation is thought of primarily as Christ himself, yet there is no sharp distinction drawn between Christ as Spirit and the Spirit that works in believers.32 This Spirit-Christological reading of 4,20,4 and Prf 97 rests upon assumptions, not a demonstration. Robinson presumes that the Spirit of God at the end of 4,20,4 is identical to the Word, but Irenaeus gives no indication that it should be read in this way. We are left to conclude that Robinson identies the Spirit and the Word just because Irenaeus envisions the union of God and man to occur in a similar way in both the Incarnation and the redemption of human beings. It is better, however, to conclude that Irenaeus envisions a similar process for both because both the incarnation of the Word and the reception of the Spirit by believers involve the bringing together of the same constituent elements: the union of the divine with the human.33 This interpretation accords with Irenaeus clear statements that the redemption of human beings involves the commixture and union of the soul and body of the believer with the Holy Spirit.34 When Irenaeus writes,
Robinson suggests the original Greek was . Demonstration, 64 n.1. Demonstration, 64. 32) Ibid., 64-65. This reading was armed about a decade later by Carpenter (The Birth from Holy Spirit, 33 n.3), and then again by Kelly, who follows Robinson (Early Christian Creeds, 148). 33) This reading enables Irenaeus discussion in 4,20,4 to agree with that of 4,20,3, which contains his strongest statement about the eternal distinction of the Spirit, as Wisdom, from the Word, the Son. It makes little sense for Irenaeus to blur the identities of the Word and Spirit in 4,20,4, as Robinsons reading entails, right after he established their eternal distinction in 4,20,2-3. 34) Scholars have long debated whether Irenaeus anthropology is trichotomous or dichotomous. All agree that he holds both the body and soul to be parts of the human being, the concern is to determine whether he also includes a human, created spirit, or even if the presence of the Holy Spirit is essential to the human being. I believe that Irenaeus appropriates a dichotomous understanding according to which all human beings consist of a body
31) 30)

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mixing and blending the Spirit of God the Father with the handiwork of God, that man might be according to the image and likeness of God, he is referring to the reception by the believer of the Holy Spirit sent by Christ.35 In fact, a quick comparison of the debated portions of AH 4,31,2 and Prf 97 with AH 5,6,1, which I have already quoted above but will repeat here for the sake of convenience, will demonstrate that they contain the exact same sentiments.36 AH 4,31,2
the seed of the Father of all, that is, the Spirit of God, by whom all things have been made, was commingled and united (commixtus et unitus est) with esh, that is, with his own formation, by which commingling and unity (commixtionem et unitatem) the two synagogues, that is, the two congregations, produce from their Father living sons for the living God.

and soul, while perfect or spiritual human beings have also received the Holy Spirit. A dichotomous reading of Irenaeus dates back at least to E. Klebbas passionate argument in Die Anthropologie des Hl. Irenaeus (KGS 2.3; Mnster, 1894) esp. 164-66. Behr has recently suggested that temporal life is the result of a continual nourishing presence by the Holy Spirit in every human being (Asceticism and Anthropology, esp. 97-100). I, however, read Irenaeus as saying that temporal life comes to human beings by the instrumentality of the Spirit, not its presence. 35) Rousseau writes, man, considered not in an abstract fashion, but in a concrete and existential fashion, in the free opening of himself to God by which he nds his supreme completion, is constituted of body, of soul and of Holy Spirit (SC 406, 350). According to Irenaeus, the individual who possesses a soul and body is animal, while the individual who possesses a soul, body, and Spirit is spiritual and perfect. In this way, the believer possesses the Holy Spirit in a manner that is analogous to, but not the same as, the possession of the body and soul. By dening the spiritual and perfect person as one who has received the addition of the Spirit, Irenaeus is combating the Gnostic suggestion that a spiritual person is one who sheds the esh and soul, becoming only Spirit (see AH 2,29,1). The simple reception of the Holy Spirit, however, does not fully explain what Irenaeus means by the term perfect. His idea of perfection also includes (a) the process by which the believer increasingly conforms to the character of God at this present time by means of the presence of the Spirit and the concomitant reception of grace, and (b) the nal state of being at which the human being approximates the uncreated One by possessing eternal existence inasmuch as it is possible for a created being, and so, as eternal, is like God. 36) Rousseau also points out that the theological anthropology we nd in Prf 97 is rmly elaborated in AH 5 (SC 406, 350).

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Prf 97
after receiving [it], he (the Son of God) brought [her] down to us, to those who are far from her, when he appeared on earth and conversed with men, mixing and blending ( ) the Spirit of God the Father with the handiwork of God, that man might be according to the image and likeness of God.

AH 5,6,1
when this Spirit commingled (commixtus) with the soul is united (unitur) to the formation, because of the outpouring of the Spirit the human being is rendered spiritual and perfect, and this is he who was made after the image and likeness of God.37

Each of these passages discusses the giving of the Spirit to human beings, the reception of which Irenaeus understands to involve a blending and union of the Holy Spirit with the soul and esh of the believer. The similarity of Prf 97 to Irenaeus full discussion in AH 4,31,2 extends even farther. Both refer to the common human activities of Jesus on earth to establish the time at which he gave the Spirit: eating, drinking, and sleeping in 4,31,2, and holding conversations in Prf 97. Therefore, neither Prf 97 nor AH 4,31,2 should be considered to be a statement of SpiritChristology. These passages can be well understood as references to the reception by the believer of the Holy Spirit sent by Christ for his or her redemption.

2. Spirit-Christological Passages The second part of this discussion considers Irenaeus utilization of Spirit language to refer to the divine component of Jesus Christ, in other words, to say that Jesus is divine. This type of Spirit-Christology occurs in two places, AH 5,1,2 and Prf 71. In the past, however, some have identied the references to the Spirit in these texts with the pre-existent Christ.
37) Also in 5,6,1: the perfect human being is the commingling and union (commixtio et adunitio est) of the soul receiving the Spirit of the Father, and the admixture (admixtae) of that esh which was formed after the image of God; and again in 5,6,1, But the commingling (commixtio) and union (unitio) of all of these (Spirit, soul, and esh) constitutes the perfect human being.

Spirit-Christology in Irenaeus: A Closer Look

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So, for instance, Simonetti states these passages do not indicate the divine nature of Christ, but specically his person.38 In 5,1,2 Irenaeus is writing against the disciples of Valentinus who maintained that Jesus only appeared to be a man so that they could disparage the salvation of the esh.39 Against this docetic notion of the advent of the Word, he contends:
But vain are those who say he [just] seemed to appear. For these things did not appear, but happened in reality () and truth. Indeed, if he who was not a man appeared to be a man, then neither did he remain what he was in truth, [that is,] Spirit of God, since the Spirit is invisible, nor was any truth in him, for he was not what he appeared to be.40

Prior to this selection, Irenaeus begins the chapter in 5,1,1 with a strong armation of the incarnation of the Word of God: For in no other way could we have learned the things of God, unless our Master, existing as the Word, became human . . . Again, we could not have learned in any other way except by seeing our teacher, and by perceiving his voice with our ears. A few sentences later he refers to the Word, who is perfect in all things, since [he is] the mighty Word and true man, redeeming us by his blood in accordance with reason, he gave himself as a redemption for those who had been led into captivity. The Words advent, then, resulted in his being able to be seen, to be heard, and to shed blood. That is to say, he was truly human, he did not just appear to be so. Since the above debated words follow in this train of thought, there can be no doubt that Irenaeus considers Jesus to be the incarnation of the Word, not the incarnation of the Holy Spirit. Thus, having established the true incarnation of the Word in 5,1,1, he begins 5,1,2 by arguing that the claims of his opponents are self-contradictory. If the Word only appeared to be a man, then what was seen must be Spirit, for the Word, as God, is Spirit: . Such a statement rests upon an understanding of the Spirit as that which was divine in Jesus: the incarnation of the
38)

Simonetti, Note di cristologia pneumatica, 214. See also, Robinson, Demonstration, 63-65; Loofs, Theophilus von Antiochien, 240-41. 39) AH 5,1,2: For [ Jesus] would not have been one truly possessing esh and blood, by which he redeemed us, unless he had summed up in himself the ancient formation of Adam. Vain therefore are the disciples of Valentinus who put forth this opinion, in order that they may exclude the esh from salvation, and cast aside what God has fashioned (ANF translation). 40) Readers should beware of the discordant ANF translation of this passage.

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Word was the union of Spirit and humanity.41 Yet, his opponents claim that the Word was seen despite not being truly human, which is a problem since the Spirit is invisible.42 If Jesus as Spirit alone can be seen, then Jesus was neither truly human, nor was the Word truly Spirit of Godif they say he was not human, then they are also saying he was not divine.43 It is dicult to understand how one can determine, as does Simonetti, that Irenaeus reference to the Spirit of God in this text refers not to the divine nature of Christ, but specically his person. That is, unless the context of the statement has received no attention, as is the case with Simonetti, or if the surrounding discussion is both disregarded and altered, as in Loofs study.44 The Spirit language contained in Prf 71 has been a focal point of the Spirit-Christology discussion for over a century. At debate is whether Irenaeus use of Lam 4,2045 entails the identication of the Spirit of God with the person of the Word incarnate or with his divinity.46 He writes,
Cf. Orbes similar reading, Teologa de San Ireneo, 1: 83-84. The reader should not construe the presence of the article in , to denote the person of the Holy Spirit for two reasons. First, is inarticulate, and refers to it. Second, Irenaeus has just distinguished the Holy Spirit from the incarnate Word in the nal sentences of 5,1,1, the Lord thus has redeemed us through his own blood, giving his soul for our souls, and his esh for our esh, and has also poured out the Spirit of the Father for the union and communion of God and man, imparting indeed God to men by means of the Spirit, and, on the other hand attaching man to God by his incarnation (ANF translation). It seems most likely that Irenaeus intends for the article to identify this Spirit with the previous Spirit: the invisible Spirit is the Spirit, the Spirit of God he has just mentioned. 43) Or, as Rousseau determines by grammatical analysis: the expression has nothing to do with the third divine person: it is not a question of the Spirit who is a member of God (genitive possessive), but of the spiritual Reality that is God (genitive explicative) (SC 152, 202; authors emphasis). 44) Loofs, Theophilus von Antiochien, 241. Hitchcock has already taken Loofs to task for his poor methodology (Loofs Asiatic Source, 36). 45) Lam 4,20 in Prf 71: The Spirit of our face is [Christ the Lord]; and how was he taken into their nets, of whom we said, under His shadow we shall live among the nations. 46) The interpretation of Spirit of God in this passage as referring to the Word dates back to Hitchcocks statement that this passage contains an apparent identication of the Word and Spirit (The Apostolic Preaching of Irenaeus and its Light on his Doctrine of the Trinity, 318-20). The very next year he said that when Irenaeus wrote, being Spirit of God, Christ was going to become a passible man, he identies the Spirit with the Word, just as Justin did in 1 Apol 33,6 (The Apostolic Preaching of Irenaeus, 287). Robinson bases his argument for the personal identication of Christ as Spirit in Prf 71 on his determination that Irenaeus uses Lam 4,20 to identify Christ as Spirit in AH 3,10,3.
42) 41)

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The Scripture (Lam 4,20) announces that, being Spirit of God, Christ was going to become a passible man, and also, as if astonished and amazed at his passion, that he was going to endure the passion in this way, under whose shadow [it was said] we would live. And it calls his body a shadow, for just as a shadow derives from a body, so the body of Christ derives from his Spirit. . . . Perhaps he also named the body of Christ a shadow as having become a shade for the glory of the Spirit and covering it.

Though it has not been commented upon in the past, the analogy that Irenaeus deploys to explain Lam 4,20 governs our interpretation of the relationship of the Spirit of God to Christ.47 Irenaeus says the Spirit is the source of the body of Christ in the same way that a body is the source of its shadow. Now, a body is the basis for the existence of its shadow because it is the object that is acted upon when light shines on it, not because it is
With the identication of Christ as Spirit in place from 3,10,3 he translates , as, For just as a shadow is made by a body, so also Christs body was made by his Spirit. He then reasons, This is as much to say that the Word of God was the agent of his own Incarnation (Demonstration, 63). Thereby, arriving at the personal identication of the Word of God as the Spirit of God. In my opinion, however, Irenaeus does not use Lam 4,20 to identify the Word as the Spirit in 3,10,3, but rather to arm the role of the Spirit, as the Unction of Christ, in making known the incarnate Word, Salvation, to believers (see my, The Holy Spirit in Irenaeus, 183-85). A few years prior to Robinson, J. Barthoulot oered the rst French translation of this passage, Car, comme lombre vient du corps, ainsi le corps est venu de son Esprit. He then suggested that sans doute Irenaeus had in mind the agency of the Holy Spirit in the impregnation of Mary as conveyed in Mt 1,18.20 and Lk 1,35 (Saint Irne, Dmonstration de la Prdication Apostolique, [PO 12.5; trans. & ann. J. Barthoulot, ed. J. Tixeront; 1917 / repr. Brepols, 1989] 790 n.4). Because of the logic of Prf 71 the identication of the Word and Holy Spirit follows from Barthoulots suggestion, though he himself does not go so far as to advance that opinion. In contrast to earlier identications of the Spirit of God with the person of the preexistent Christ, Rousseau supports his interpretation of Irenaeus use of Spirit language in that passage by comparing it to Prf 71. Both, then, refer to the spiritual Reality that is God, rather than the Spirit who is a member of God (SC 152, 202). In the same way that he betrays no awareness of Hitchcocks work on 5,1,3, Simonetti seems unaware of these comments by Rousseau when he identies the Spirit of God in Prf 71 with the person of the pre-existent Christ (Note di cristologia pneumatica, 214)a curious state of aairs. 47) Robinson deliberately disregards the context of the passage. He writes: Here again we are not concerned with the general argument [of Prf 71], but only with these two statements: Christ was Spirit of god, and Christs body was made by his Spirit (Demonstration, 63). Conclusions based upon such an ill-conceived method stand little chance of being correct.

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the subject of the action that produces the shadow. According to this logic, a body is the basis for the existence of its shadow simply because of its prior existence to the shadow. In the same way, the existence of the body of Christ is contingent upon the prior existence of Christ as the Spirit of God. That is to say, the Incarnation of the Word, the production of his human body, is contingent on the pre-existence of the Word as divine Spirit, just as the Father and Holy Spirit exist as Spirit. Thus, this passage does not result in the personal identication of the Word and Spirit of God, nor does it result in the identication of the Word as the agent of his own Incarnation, because Irenaeus is not at all speaking of the agency behind the Incarnation. Rather, Irenaeus identication of Christ as the Spirit of God refers to the divine pre-existence of Christ that is necessary for his Incarnation. Behrs translation agrees with the logic of the analogy much better than Robinsons: And it calls his body a shadow, for just as a shadow derives from a body, so the body of Christ derives from his Spirit.48 Therefore, in Prf 71, as in AH 5,1,2, Irenaeus is speaking of the two components of Jesus, his divinity and humanity.49

Conclusion In contrast to earlier studies, we have found that Spirit-Christology does not occur in AH 4,31,2 or Prf 97 because both passages refer to the reception of the Holy Spirit by the believer for his or her redemption. In addition, while we have found Spirit-Christology to exist in two passages, AH 5,1,2 and Prf 71, the Spirit language in these passages does not refer to the person of Christ but to his divinity. To be precise, Irenaeus never identies the Holy Spirit with the Word/Son, or substitutes the Holy Spirit for the Word/Son as that which was incarnated. In both of these passages he uses Spirit of God to refer to the divine component of Jesus.

48) 49)

For Robinsons translation see note 45. This reading gains substantial support from the fact that both J. Smith (Proof of the Apostolic Preaching [ACW 16; trans. & ann. J. Smith; New York: Newman Press, 1952] 202 n.303: Identications of Christ with the Holy Spirit are found in early writers . . . but they are eschewed by Irenaeus.) and J. Behr (On the Apostolic Preaching, 115 n.188) join Rousseau in this interpretation.

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Because the Word, as God, is Spirit, then in Jesus, the Word Incarnate, the Spirit was united to humanityhe was divine and human. This, and this alone, is the purport of his Spirit-Christology. Therefore, unlike other Christian writers of the second-century, Irenaeus Spirit-Christology does not render him susceptible to binitarian logic.