The intertextual reception of Genesis 1-3 in Irenaeus of Lyons
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This thesis explores the intertextual nature of Irenaeus’ reading of Genesis 1-3. In this study, we assume a different mode of investigation than previous works on Irenaeus’ use of scripture. Drawing from contemporary discussions on intertextuality in Fishbane, Boyrin, Hays, and Young, we challenge a tradition of investigation into Irenaeus’ exegesis that has marginalized the significance of scriptural networking inherent to his hermeneutic. This perspective is evident in the previous works on Irenaeus’ reading of Genesis in Orbe, Jacobsen, Kannengiesser, Steenberg, and Holsinger-Friesen. This thesis, on the other hand, brings together an appreciation for Irenaeus’ hermeneutic with respect to his exegesis of Gen 1-3. We show that in every instance Irenaeus interprets Gen 1-3, not in isolation, but in correlation with other texts by means of a variety of intertextual reading strategies that shape his theological polemic. In chapter one we investigate the nature of Irenaeus’ hermeneutical orientation based upon studies of patristic exegesis and his own descriptions of the exegetical task. We show that Irenaeus purposes to interconnect texts in his refutation and exegesis and we formulate a methodology that appreciates his reading of Gen 1-3 within this theological networking of texts. In chapters 2-6, we provide a literary analysis of the echoes, allusions, and citations of Gen 1-3 in each book of Adversus Haereses. In each case we isolate the allusions to Gen 1-3 and the corresponding interrelated texts that form a hermeneutically symbiotic relationship with Gen 1-3. We show how these textual relationships yield a more comprehensive appreciation for the meaning and function of Gen 1-3 in Irenaeus. In chapter 7 we conclude with a summary and cumulative evaluation of the intertextual relationships fashioned with Gen 1-3 and the reading strategies that guide his intertextual use of Gen 1-3. In doing so, this thesis exposes the intricacies of Irenaeus’ theological and intertextual reading of Gen 1-3 and the various ways that Irenaeus harmonizes scripture.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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