Spirit-Christology in Irenaeus: A Closer Look
pneumatology or Christology in tandem with Spirit-Christology.
Te presence of an angelomorphic pneumatology and Chris-tology in Irenaeus has been proclaimed by several scholars over the years,
while others have found a Spirit-Christology that identiﬁes the Holy Spiritas the pre-existent Christ.
As a result, it would appear that aspects of Ire-naeus’ 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.
Te purpose of this presentarticle is to provide a long-overdue reexamination of Irenaeus’ utilizationof Spirit-Christology. I will argue that Spirit-Christology does have a placein Irenaeus’ theology, but that it poses no threat to his rinitarian logic.In order for Spirit-Christology to jeopardize the rinitarian logic of histheology 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. Segal’s
wo Powers in Heaven: Early Rab-binic Reports about Christianity and Gnosticism
(Leiden: Brill, 1977).
For the meaning of ‘angelomorphic’, C. Fletcher-Louis provides a convenient deﬁnition:the term should be used ‘wherever there are signs that an individual or community pos-sesses speciﬁcally angelic characteristics or status, though for whom identity cannot bereduced to that of an angel’ (
Luke-Acts: Angels, Christology and Soteriology
[WUN 2.94;übingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1997] 14-15).
Tis connection has been identiﬁed in the
Shepherd of Hermas
, Justin Martyr, and Clem-ent of Alexandria. See the following articles by B. Bucur, ‘Rereading Shepherd’s Christol-ogy,’ 120-42; ‘Te Angelic Spirit in Early Christianity: Justin, the Martyr and Philosopher,’
88 (2008) 190-208; ‘Revisiting Christian Oeyen: ‘Te Other Clement’ on Father,Son, and the Angelomorphic Spirit,’
61 (2007) 381-413; as well as my essay,‘Measuring Justin’s Approach to the Spirit: rinitarian Conviction and Binitarian Orienta-tion,’
63 (2009) 107-37.
Te argument for the existence of angelomorphism in Irenaeus was formulated by D.E. Lanne who contended that Irenaeus identiﬁed the Word and Spirit as Cherubim andSeraphim in
10 (‘Cherubim et Seraphim: Essai d’Interprétation du Chapitre X dela Démonstration de Saint Irénée,’
43  524-35). Lanne’s reading has beenfollowed by J. Daniélou,
Te Teology of Jewish Christianity
(trans. & ed. J. Baker, London:Darton, Longman & odd, 1964) 138-40; G.G. Stroumsa, ‘Le Couple de l’Ange etde l’Esprit: raditions Juives et Chrétiennes,’
88 (1981) 42-61, here 47; andI.M. MacKenzie,
Irenaeus’s Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching; A theological commen-tary and translation
(Aldershot [Eng.]: Ashgate, 2002) 98-99.
For instance, Robinson, Loofs, and Simonetti contend that Irenaeus identiﬁes the Holy Spirit as the pre-existent Christ in certain passages. Te reader will ﬁnd references to theirarguments throughout this study.
For this argument see my, ‘Re-Evaluating Angelomorphism in Irenaeus: Te Case of
61 (2010) 583-95.