Lecture 3 Introduction to Irenaeus

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					Lecture 5: Justin Martyr and
Introduction to Irenaeus

    19 September 2011

           Lecture 5: Justin Martyr and Irenaeus   1

   Early Christian Apologists
   Review of Hellenistic Philosophy
   Early Internal Christian Arguments
   Background on Irenaeus

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Christian Apologists

   Apology from Greek word meaning to defend
   Written to defend Christianity to those outside of
    Christianity; Roman society at large
   Usually written using philosophical terms and ideas
    drawn from Hellenistic Society
   Apologists include:
       Justin Martyr (patron saint of philosophers)
       Athenagoras
       Tertullian
   Catholic Christianity has always used contemporary
    philosophical methods as the language of theology and
    as an aid to interpret the Bible; philosophy as the
    handmaid of theology. Example: Virtue

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Refresher in Hellenistic Philosophy
   Athenian Philosophy Before Alexander
       Socrates and Plato: Platonism (and indirectly skepticism);
       Aristotle: Plato’s student, founder of Lyceum and
   Hellenistic Philosophy (see Acts 17)
       Epicurus, fought in Alexander’s army; opposed to Plato,
        founder of Epicureanism; the Garden
       Zeno: opposed to Epicurus, founder of Stoicism; the Stoa
       Middle Platonism: mix of Platonism and Stoicism
   Neo-Platonism centered in Alexandria 250 CE
   Note that ancient philosophy was considered a way of life; in
    addition to being an academic discipline

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Platonism and Aristotelianism
   Plato (427-347 BC)
       Happiness is found in choosing the good and the beautiful
       Uncertain whether virtue is learned or gift of gods
       The physical world is only a shadow of the real world
       Socrates always searching for knowledge (but does he ever find it?)
       God is not material, dualism
   Aristotle (384-322 BC)
       Happiness is an activity of the soul in accordance with virtue
       Virtue is the mean between two vices as a prudent man would define it
       Knowledge leads to virtue; exceptional people can make themselves
       Keen interest in the physical world; especially systems of classification
       ‘Metaphysics’ is Aristotle’s treatment of ethics; it occurs in his works ‘after
       God as prime mover and as the end (telos)

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    Founded by Epicurus (341-270 BC) in reaction against Plato
    God or gods are uninterested in material, eternal world
    Person not bound by ties of family or duty
    No life after death
    Ethics based on pleasure
    Science and technology very important; based on random motion
     of atoms
    Justice based upon contractual agreements
    Opposed to allegory and prophecy as a way of knowing
    Favored philosophy of intellectual Romans who wanted to
     withdraw from society
    Women encouraged to join as full members of schools
    Roundly condemned by all other philosophies; rabbinic word for
     atheist is derived from Epicurus

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   Founded by Zeno (335-263BC) in reaction against Epicurus
   Happiness is following the will of God (Providence)
   God everywhere, God as logos (rational necessity); God as a type of
    gas that permeates everything
   His providence rules everything (see Acts 17:28)
   Ethics based on following God’s plan for you; no free will; emphasis
    on virtues; judgment by God after death
   Natural law as part of Providence’s eternal law
   Passions are to be subordinated to intellect
   Allegorical interpretation of Greek myths
   Dominant philosophy of Roman Empire
   Seneca, Epictitus, Marcus Aurelius

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Contrast Epicureans and Stoics on
Free Will
   Epicureans
     Man made of atoms which can have random motion

     Random motion means men’s actions are not pre-determined;

     Man exercises free will through this mechanism

     No immortal soul, no judgment; justice based on contract

   Stoics
     Everything pre-determined by providence

     Man fated by natural (eternal) law

     No free will

     Soul judged based upon conformance of interior intent to
   These issues are still with us, in almost exactly these terms

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Early Christian Understanding: Example
Free Will
   Philosophically, a mix of Stoic and Epicurean
   God, Providence, is always at work and all things
    are in His control (see Acts 17:28)
   But God has also endowed man with free will, and
    responsibility for his actions
   St. Justin Martyr: “And if the human race does not
    have the power by free choice to avoid what is
    shameful and to choose what is right, then there is
    no responsibility for actions of any kind.”
   St. Irenaeus: “Man is rational and therefore like God;
    he is created with free will and is master of his acts.”

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Justin Martyr (d. 163)

   We know quite a lot about him through his
    autobiographical Dialogue with Trypho (a Jew)
       Born in Palestine
       Tried many different philosophies before converting to
       Settled in Rome and established a Christian school in
        Rome mid-Second Century
       Lived above the baths
   Addressed his Apology to the Emperor; but really an
    open letter to philosophers in other Roman schools
   Martyred during reign of Marcus Aurelius
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First Apology Key Points
   Structure
     Addressed to Emperor, Antoninus Pius and his adopted son,
       Marcus Aurelius (1)
     Plea and petition to the court (1)

     Structured as a chiasm; common literary device

   Use of philosophical terms
     Jesus compared to Socrates (5)

     Jesus compared to Minos in Plato’s Gorgias

     Plato and Stoics similar to Christianity on the eschaton (20)

     Importance of free will (43)

     Jesus is the Reason (Logos) that all men of Truth live by (32, 46)

   Jesus compared to gods
     Jesus compared to Zeus (21)
     Jesus crucifixion and suffering does not preclude his being Son
       of God; compare to Zeus’ sons (22)

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Apology (cont.)
   Christians in Empire
       Christians as good citizens (17)
       Christians opposed to Jewish rebellion in 133 (31)
   Moses older that Plato (44)
       Importance of Prophecy lead by Spirit (31-53)
       Use of Old Testament
       Importance of antiquity of belief
   Statements of Christian Beliefs
       Summary and reference to Eucharist (13, 66)
       References to Jesus’ teaching (15, 16)
       Trinity(13)
       Cross as Sign of Triumph (55)
       Christian Worship (61-67)
   Erroneous Christian views
       Marcion (26)

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   Knew Justin Martyr’s works, may have known Justin
    Martyr; also knew Polycarp (student of Ignatius)
   Born in Asia Minor; sent by Rome to Lyons in Gaul
    to be bishop after a brutal persecution
   Like Justin Martyr, wrote in Greek
   Some key issues for Irenaeus:
       What works are canonical
       Apostles as guarantors of Truth
       How to think about Jesus Christ

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   Review Justin Martyr First Apology
       Brief discussion, but no paper on Thursday
   Benedict XVI, General Audience, Justin Martyr,
    March 21, 2007
   Read Weinandy “St. Irenaeus and the Imago Dei”
       How Irenaeus supports the goodness of God’s creation,
        and of human beings in particular
       The importance of Jesus; humans created in likeness to
        Son; our bodies manifest Son’s image
       How to grow as imago Dei

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