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Document Details :
Title: The Four Living Creatures before Irenaeus
Author(s): STEVENS, Luke J.
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 98 Issue: 4 Date: 2022
Irenaeus’s interpretation of Revelation’s four living creatures links them most prominently with the four canonical gospels. While his is the earliest extant, several variations of this exegesis occur in antiquity. Their relationship is here ascertained through a detailed examination of both the evolving components of the exegesis and the identifiable sources of the respective authors (focusing on Victorinus, Chromatius, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius). This analysis clearly reveals two earlier strata of the tradition, along with how the different versions developed. The exegesis’s origin is traced to a testimonium in the first half of the second century, demonstrating, through interpretation of Ezekiel’s vision of the tetramorphic cherubim, how the Old Testament proclaims both the principal events of Jesus’s life and their fourfold witness by the written gospels.