Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

William Lane, Ronald Nash, James Spiceland

Degree Program

Department of Philosophy & Religion

Degree Type

Master of Arts


A study of the methodology utilized in Irenaeus' Against Heresies is undertaken as a moment in the orthodoxy-heresy controversy. Ly examining the heresiological method of one author in some detail, his insights into the controversy may be gained. The problem of heresy and heretics is treated by examining the origins and nature of heresy according to Irenaeus from paganism, demonology and psychology, and Simon Ma -us. Heretics proper have their own problems with unity and diversity, and they are identified by their teaching and moral character. The study of their victims shows that they are discernible both within the Church and among the general public. Refutation is classified broadly in relation to the manner in which it is pursued and the instruments of Scripture and reason. Three criteria of refutation are regarded as providing an overview of Irenaeus' method. These are the irreducibility of the Rule of Faith, the inconsistency of heretical exegesis of Scripture, and the insufficiency of their systems with focus on the doctrine of creation. Irenaeus based his refutation on ecclesiastical criteria of unity and universality, apostolic succession) and an empirical conception of truth. Certain ambiguities regarding second century Church life are recognized and allowed to stand, although prominent themes relating to these areas are not entirely obscured as a result of this recognition.


Arts and Humanities | Religion

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Religion Commons