Tag Archives: Irenaeus

Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching

The “public domain” translation of St. Irenaeus’ Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching (written c. 190 A.D.) that is given below has been revised to be more “reader/user friendly.” Irenaeus gives us a brief Christian exposition of Old Testament prophecy, and he is much indebted to Justin Martyr (see Justin’s First Apology and Dialogue with Trypho). However, Irenaeus has also developed Justin’s thoughts in some slightly different ways. For example, Irenaeus interprets “Wisdom” (Prov 8) as being the Holy Spirit, thus showing a degree of independence in putting forth some different interpretations. Yet, Irenaeus is clearly borrowing from the same tradition that Justin knew. Irenaeus also gives some slightly different interpretations here in The Demonstration, from the interpretations that he gave of those same passages in his earlier work in Against Heresies. For example, in para. 2 below, Irenaeus says that it was the pre-incarnate Christ who spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:14, whereas in Against Heresies, Book 3, chap 6, para. 2, he seems to say it was God the Father who spoke to Moses in Exodus 3:14. Another writer that Irenaeus might be indebted to is Theophilus of Antioch (Theophilus to Autolycus), who may be the earliest writer on record to use the word “Trinity,” (or “Triad”) and who also, at times, at least implies that “Wisdom” is the Holy Spirit, but then at other times says that “Wisdom” is the Son. Continue reading Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching