On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called

Gnosis
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On the Detection and Overthrow of the So-Called Gnosis, today also called On the Detection and
Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So Called[1] (Greek: Ἔλεγχος καὶ ἀνατροπὴ τῆς ψευδωνύμου
γνώσεως, lit. "Elenchus and Overturning of the Pseudonymous Knowledge"), commonly called Against
Heresies (Latin: Adversus haereses, Greek: Κατὰ αἱρέσεων), is a five-volume work written by St. Irenaeus
in the 2nd century. The final phrase "of knowledge falsely so-called" (Greek: tes pseudonymou gnoseos
genitive case; or nominative case pseudonymos gnosis[2]) is a quotation of the apostle Paul's warning against
"knowledge falsely so-called" in 1 Timothy 6:20.[3]

Due to its reference to Eleutherus as the current bishop of Rome, the work is usually dated c. 180.[4] In it
Irenaeus identifies and describes several schools of gnosticism and contrasts their beliefs with what he
describes as catholic (universal), orthodox Christianity. Only fragments of the original Greek text exist, but a
complete copy exists in a wooden Latin translation, made shortly after its publication in Greek, and Books
IV and V are also present in a literal Armenian translation.[5]

Contents
1 Purpose
2 Main arguments
3 Contents
4 See also
5 References
6 External links Cambridge University library
manuscript 4113 / Papyrus
Oxyrhynchus 405. Irenaeus. Ca.
Purpose 200 AD.

Against Heresies can be dated to sometime between 174 and 189, as the list of the Bishops of Rome includes
Eleutherius, but not his successor Victor.[6] Its purpose of was to refute the teachings of various Gnostic
groups,[7] specifically what he considers a non-apostolic scriptural exegesis on the part of Gnostics such as
Valentinus and others.[8] In this he seeks to present "what was understood as an authentic form of century-
old Christian tradition against various forms of Gnosticism."[9]

As bishop, Irenaeus felt compelled to keep a close eye on the Valentinians and to safeguard the church from
them. In order to fulfil this duty, Irenaeus educated himself and became well informed of Gnostic doctrines
and traditions.[10] This eventually led to the compilation of his treatise.

It appears however, that the main reason Irenaeus took on this work was because he felt that Christians in
Asia and Phrygia especially needed his protection from Gnostics, for they did not have as many bishops to
oversee and help keep problems like this under control (probably only one bishop was assigned to a number

as well as the noncanonical works 1 Clement and The Shepherd of Hermas.biblica. Justin Martyr was an important source. Irenaeus pointed out that the true doctrines of the Christian faith are the same taught by bishops in different areas. Until the discovery of the Library of Nag Hammadi in 1945. Irenaeus found that writing this treatise would be the best way to offer them guidance. He writes that the reason for this is because Irenaeus "believes that this verse is the textual key to the exegetical battle over Paul being fought by the Valentinian Gnostics and the Catholic (Universal) Christians. Main arguments Irenaeus was a pastor and his primary goal was the purity of church teaching and identifying heretical notions claiming to be a part of it. Against Heresies was the best surviving contemporary description of Gnosticism.[14] Irenaeus cites from most of the New Testament canon. This publication is historically important as the dating of the publication is irrefutable and the document is amongst the earliest non-controversial confirming documentations for many of the sayings of Jesus and the Letters of Paul.[17] Mark Jeffrey Olson says that 1 Corinthians 15:50 (http://www.of communities). interpreted through Christian tradition.[12][14] While the Gnostics offered access to secret knowledge available only to a few. as well as Theophilus of Antioch.com/en-us/bible/online-bible/?osis=ni v:1_Corinthians." Both Irenaeus and the Valentinians use this verse to prove their direct linkage to the Apostle Paul. Olson states that according . The two sides completely disagree in their evaluation of the material world and each seeks to show that its own position truly represents what the Apostle Paul said about the issue.[13] Irenaeus took the position that scripture. who distinguished between the God of the Hebrew Bible and the Father of Christ in the New Testament.[15] While many of the Gnostics viewed the material world as flawed and from which believers sought to escape to an eternal realm of spirit. while in Book III he argues from Scripture.[6] Against Heresies is an exercise in apologetics "with careful attention to how best to refute the arguments of the opponent.[12] In Book I Irenaeus describes the beliefs of the Gnostics.15:50–15:50) is quoted far more than any other verse from the letters of Paul in Against Heresies.[11] Therefore. humans must make an intentional commitment to goodness. he makes no references to Philemon. they then become immortal through the divine power of resurrection. is authoritative and the Gnostic exegesis a misstatement. Irenaeus saw creation as good and ultimately destined for glorification.[12] Irenaeus maintained that human salvation has two components: first.[6] He demonstrated Jesus as summing up in his person and life not only the story of salvation but even the stages of human life. apostolic tradition represented a living contact with Jesus and his teachings.. 2 Peter. however. 3 John or Jude– four of the shortest epistles. and argued that the same God led man through history by way of the Law and the Prophets. For Irenaeus.[16] Irenaeus opposed Marcion of Sinope. In Book II he argues against them from logic. due to the issue of distance between Irenaeus (who was in the western Roman province of Gaul) and the orthodox Christian community of Asia.

defense of the virgin birth. e. XVII. XIX.1. Cerinthus. Irenaeus of Lyons Against the heresies.g. VII. Christ departed from his body. Dillon. IV. Borborians. Book 4: Demonstration that the God of the Old Testament is the God of the New Testament. Misuse of passages from Genesis. VIII. Ophites and Sethians. letters and syllables. apocryphal scriptures. p. Valentinian Gnostics believe that Christ and Jesus were two separate beings temporarily united. the heretics on redemption.3. the Ebionites. XXVI. the Demiurge."[19] Contents Book 1: I. perseus."[18] The Gnostics have a negative view of the material world. Vol. XXIII. II. XXVII. See also Celsus Didache Martyrdom of Polycarp POxy 405 Tertullian References 1. Retrieved 30 March 2016. Book 3: Rebuttal based on apostolic succession and tradition passed down of the faith. They also adhere to the belief that before Jesus’ crucifixion. the Propator. deviations from the truth. Marcus (Marcosian). XXIV.. XXIX.tufts. Saturninus and Basilides. Valentinus. the Valentinians misuse of the Bible.tufts. Unger. XXX. XIV. the misuse of the Bible. Valentinus' disciples and others. and Nicolaitans. against the incarnation. the unity of the church. III. V. Cainites and conclusion of Book I.perseus." (http://www. XVI. Hence they believe that Christ did not actually have a physical body and therefore did not have a physical resurrection but a spiritual one. XXXI. Simon Magus and Menander. Cerdo and Marcion. the Marcosians.edu. Sige on the twenty-four elements. Book 5: A defense of the physical resurrection and eternal judgement. John J. VI. Marcosians. XIII. XVIII. XXI. defense of the incarnation of Jesus. "Greek Word Study Tool | irregular nom f. XXII. the mother Achamoth. Dominic J. The correct interpretation according to Irenaeus would be to use the term "flesh and blood" which are stated in this verse to refer to "the wicked who will not inherit the kingdom because of their evil works of flesh. Book 2: A rebuttal of the Gnostic systems employing philosophical arguments primarily rather than employing Scripture.. The threefold man.edu/hopper/morph?l=yeudw%2Fnumos&la =greek&prior=yeudw/motos). XV." Robert Lee Williams Bishop lists 2005 p123 "Irenaeus recorded the bishops of the Roman church in the third of his five books entitled Detection and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So-Called" 2. Peter Drilling Premodern faith in a postmodern culture 2006 p73 "But eventually The Detection and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So-Called (the actual title of what is commonly known as Against Heresies) expanded from two volumes to five. . Tatian. misuse of Bible XX. refutation by Irenaeus. 3. XII. this important verse which reads "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God" is used by the Gnostics to point out that "the handiwork of God is not saved.to Irenaeus. XXV. Ptolemy (gnostic) and Colorbasus. IX. St. XI. XXVIII. Carpocrates. sg. the Encratites. X. 1992 "the final phrase of the title "knowledge falsely so-called" is found in 1 Timothy 6:20.

16. Gérard (1981). Touchstone. I.worldcat.worldcat. Book V): The Debate about 1 Corinthians 15:50.uk/boo ks?id=7E12H6cjqUoC). 18. Kotsko. pp.co.ix. and Epiphanius. viz. 11.org/Irenaeus. p. 12. 5.. Against Heresies. Freeman. 7. "Donovan. Westminster John Knox Press. Albert (1910). Retrieved 30 March 2016.x. Irenaeus" (http://www.P.4 (1998) 674-675" (http:// muse. ISBN 9780664231354.google. Retrieved 30 March 2016. Volume I.jhu.uk/books?id=18RN2jquh7sC&pg=PA343).ntcanon. Davis. 10. Ante-Nicene Fathers.' (http://www.newadvent.com/books ?id=qq6cacIuT5AC&pg=PA6). Retrieved 30 March 2016. Ante-Nicene Fathers. in Philip Schaff.org/ccel/schaff/anf01. Richardson. 15. New York City: Routledge. Glenn (2008).google. Hippolytus. The Politics of Redemption: The Social Logic of Salvation (https://books. Retrieved 30 March 2016. muse. Journal of Early Christian Studies 6. 19. Anderson. McFarland.ccel. Robert McQueen (1997). 17. 9 (https://books. p.html)". 180] "Showing how that passage of the apostle which the heretics pervert. Retrieved 30 March 2016.jhu. 13. 18. Philip (2001) [c. OCLC 34517356 (https://www. Bloomsbury Publishing. New York City: Robert Appleton Company. / 14.google.co.google. 71. Fortress Press. ISBN 0-415-11838-7.ix. OCLC 8975860 (https://www. Volume I.org/cathen/08130b.shtml). should be understood. W. ISBN 9780800698515. New York: Mellen Biblical Press. 11–14. Steenberg.edu/journals/journal_of_early_christian_studies/summary/v006/6.co. and the Kingdom of God (A. Great Christian Thinkers: From the Early Church Through the Middle Ages (https://books.edu.worldcat. Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press. G. Irenaeus of Lyons. 2015 (https://www. . Retrieved 30 March 2016. Grant.html).co. Olson.html)".co. Chapter IX. 'Flesh and blood shall not possess the kingdom of God. "Irenaeus of Lyons (review)". Mary Ann. Mark Jeffrey (1992). p.C. (1995). Eerdmans Publishing Company. Retrieved 30 March 2016. Retrieved 4 March 2009. Wipf & Stock Publishers.4br_grant.uk/books?id= IRvfBAAAQBAJ&pg=PA71). Lewiston.uk/books?id=G E_sj0-JatAC&pg=PA12). Christian History.org/magazine/article/irenaeus-iagainst-heresiesi-21/) a.google. Catholic Encyclopedia. (2010).i.google. Heide.org/ccel/schaff/anf0 1.htm).uk/books?id=GBW3zq6yqZMC&pg=PA18).christianhistoryinst itute. 15. Against Heresies". 1885] "Introductory Note to Irenæus Against Heresies (http://www. Retrieved 4 March 2009. Irenaeus (2001) [c. Vallée. 6. Early Christian Fathers (https://books. ISBN 9781630877989. p. ISBN 9780684829517.ccel. 21. Schaff.A. 8. C.org/oclc/34517356). ISBN 9781451420326. issue 116.org/oclc/26504711). "St. The Development of the Canon of the New Testament.vii. ISBN 0- 919812-14-7. William B. Against Heresies. Jennifer. Of God and Man: Theology as Anthropology from Irenaeus to Athanasius (https://books.co. Fortress Press. William B. "Irenaeus of Lyons" (http://www. 9. Timeless Truth in the Hands of History: A Short History of System in Theology (https://books. Bloomsbury Publishing. p. A. OCLC 26504711 (https://www.google.com/books?id=P8ee5ABwb-UC&pg=PA9). (2012). Eerdmans Publishing Company. Book V. Irenaeus.goo gle. the Valentinian Gnostics.H. p. 2011. 6 (https://books.googl e. 12. p. p. 4. ISBN 0-7734-2352-4. ISBN 9780567204325. A Journey Through Christian Theology: With Texts from the First to the Twenty-first Century (https:// books. "Irenaeus.uk/books?id=JvcRBwAAQBAJ&pg=PA21). (2009).org/oclc/8975860). Retrieved 30 March 2016. Creation and Humanity: The Sources of Christian Theology (https://books. ISBN 9780567600479.uk/books?id=1Rj1BgAAQBAJ&pg=PA15).co. A study in anti-Gnostic polemics: Irenaeus. 343. Waterloo. Poncelet. (2009). M.

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Wikipedia® is a registered trademark of the Wikimedia Foundation.org/ccel/schaff/anf01. Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.htm Wikisource has original ) – full text at New Advent text related to this article: Against Heresies (http://www.ccel.ix. By using this site.org/fathers/0103. you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.org/w/index.wikipedia.ht Against Heresies ml) – full text at Christian Classics Ethereal Library Adversus Haereses (https://catalog. a non-profit organization. at 19:17.php?title=On_the_Detection_and_Overthrow_of_the_So- Called_Gnosis&oldid=781703902" Categories: Anti-Gnosticism Works by the Church Fathers 2nd-century Christian texts Early Christianity and Gnosticism This page was last edited on 22 May 2017.hathitrust.org/Record/009025834) — full text in Latin (and Greek where it exists) Against Heresies (https://librivox. Inc.i.org/search?title=Against+Heresies&author=IRENAEUS&reader =&keywords=&genre_id=0&status=all&project_type=either&recorded_language=&sort_order=catal og_date&search_page=1&search_form=advanced) public domain audiobook at LibriVox Retrieved from "https://en.. Against Heresies (http://www. additional terms may apply.newadvent. .