By John Behr
This publication examines the overdue moment century writings of Irenaeus and Clement. Writing earlier than monasticism turned the dominant paradigm of Christian asceticism, Irenaeus and Clement come up with the money for attention-grabbing glimpses of other ways to asceticism in overdue antiquity.
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Additional info for Asceticism and anthropology in Irenaeus and Clement
2 by describing the work of the Spirit at Pentecost and in baptism in such terms: Wherefore also the Lord promised to send the Paraclete who would make us fit for God. For just as a lump of dough or a loaf of bread cannot be made from dry flour without water, so neither could we, being many, be made one in Christ Jesus without the Water from heaven. Just as dry earth, unless it receives water, does not fructify, so we, who formerly were dry wood, would never have borne, as fruit, life without the willing Rain from above [cf.
8) AH 4. 13. 4. (9) Cf. Rousseau’s note, SC 100, 233–4. (10) AH 4. 14. 1. Irenaeus uses these terms almost as synonyms, always referring them to God himself; cf. AH 2. 13. 9. For a synopsis of the function of these terms in Irenaeus, see Y. de Andia, Homo vivens: Incorruptibilité et divinisation de l’homme selon Irénée de Lyon (Paris, 1986), 16–31. (11) AH 4. 14. 1. (12) Rousseau, referring to the last lines of AH 4. 11. 1, argues that adjectionem et augmentum should be translated by ‘une maturité’ (ἀκμήν), as, having received a beginning and a middle, one would ‘a priori’ expect ‘le point culminant ou maturité’ (SC 100, 228).
Here the parallel is made slightly more complicated, as Irenaeus includes in the picture the apostasy of Adam and man’s state of death in him. Irenaeus is writing about the Ebionites, for whom Christ was the human child of Mary and Joseph, and who therefore denied the possibility of the union of God and man, so rejected the possibility of a new generation: they remain in that Adam who had been conquered and was expelled from Paradise: not considering that as, at the beginning of our formation in Adam, the breath of life which proceeded from God, having been united to what had been fashioned, animated man, and manifested him as a being endowed with reason; so also, in the end, the Word of the Father and the Spirit of God having become united with the ancient substance of Adam’s formation, rendered man living and perfect, receptive of the perfect Father, in order that as in the psychical we all die, so in the spiritual we all may be made alive [1 Cor.