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Document Details :
Title: Hope in Irenaeus of Lyons
Author(s): BINGHAM, D. Jeffrey
Journal: Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses
Volume: 76 Issue: 4 Date: Dec. 2000
In an essay to be published in Studia Patristica I began a treatment of the three Pauline virtues, faith, hope, and love, in Irenaeus of Lyon. That paper focuses upon his concept of love as it related to his concept of knowledge. The present paper treats his notion of hope and does so by engaging a thesis put forth by Albert Houssiau forty-five years ago in his monumental La christologie de saint Irénée. This work remains the standard reference on the bishop's doctrine of Christ.
Houssiau argued for a marked “de-eschatologization” in the bishop's thinking. He set Irenaeus off from Justin as well as from Paul. When Justin thought of the advent of Christ he divided it into two stages: the glorious and the inglorious, the final, second return in the clouds and the first humble, incarnate coming with passion (Dial. 14,8). For the apologist, Christ is present in power among Christians after the first advent and ascension, but manifestly present only after the second advent (Dial. 54,1). Houssiau sees in this understanding of the prophetic expectation a discontinuity between the two stages with completion and substance of the revelation of Christ's glory and deity present only in the end. In distinguishing the two so completely, and in antithetically relating them, Justin performs eschatologization. Houssiau sees the same distinction in the apostle Paul, informed as he is by Lucien Cerfaux's Christ in the Theology of St. Paul.