Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching: Irenaeus on the Creation of Woman in Gen 2:18

Bishop Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 120/140–200/203) is often regarded as one of the Church’s first systematic theologians. Yet since the 1904 discovery of an Armenian copy of his second-century guide for Christian converts, Irenaeus’ Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching has been little studied, especially the expansion in it of Gen 2:18—“for God said: it is not good for the man to be alone; let us make him a help like unto himself. For among all other living things there was not to be found a helper equal and the peer and the like of Adam” (13, transl. Joseph P. Smith, S. J., 1952). It is clear Irenaeus sees a need to expand theologically upon the beautiful facet of the ontology of women that is present in Gen 2:18. However the question remains on how his amplification of the woman’s creation fits together with other Irenaean topics such as his Eve-Mary parallel, the Temptation and Sin in Genesis 3, the Seed of the Woman, and the disputed Fragment 14. Helen Rhee and Judith Gundry compare Irenaeus with Paul on the topic of women, and though other scholars contemplate the image of God in Irenaeus more generally, they do not explore this together with Irenaeus’ elaboration of Gen 2:18 in Demonstration 13. This paper considers these matters to illuminate this substantial evidence of second-century theological views on humanity as created in the image of God.

4 thoughts on “Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching: Irenaeus on the Creation of Woman in Gen 2:18”

  1. show more of the helper equal
    The proposal is interesting but remains general. What will be said about the contents of the Demonstration to illuminate the topics of Eve-Mary, Temptation, and Seed? What constitutes the “substantial evidence of second-century theological views on humanity”? The research is not doubted, but it is not displayed here.


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