Early Church Writing

St Irenaeus On Heresies, Eusebius and Modern Scholars, and Catholic Catechism

Eusebius explains, “Irenaeus, whose name means ‘peaceable’ and who by temperament was a peacemaker, pleased and negotiated for the peace of the churches.” There was a dispute between Bishop Viktor of Rome and the Asian dioceses over the length of a church fast, he was threatening excommunication over this dispute. Irenaeus interceded, arguing that “the dispute is not only about the day, but also about the actual character of the fast.” He pointed out the variations were differences in practice extending back to their forefathers. Although they had their differences, “they all lived in peace with one another, and so do we: the divergences in the fast emphasizes the unanimity of the faith.” […]

Command 9&10 Do Not Envy

The Decalogue in the Torah, Blog 5, Coveting Tempts You To Harm Your Neighbor

Why does Rambam list these Mitzvoth thus? Is it because Exodus precedes Deuteronomy? This is not a good answer, for when studying Torah we should always favor the interpretation that draws us to Love Adonoy more intensely. Maybe Rambam is suggesting that coveting followed quickly by trying to buy your neighbor’s possessions is bad enough, but laying awake at night desiring and dreaming of your neighbor’s property is far worse. Coveting is perverse idolatry. Coveting counts here for coveting, the looking and the desiring, always precedes adultery. […]

Command 9&10 Do Not Envy

The Decalogue in the Torah, Blog 4, Coveting: The Sin That Leads To Many Other Sins

The Mitzvah against coveting appears in slightly different form in Exodus and Deuteronomy. In Exodus you are forbidden to covet your neighbor’s house, and you are forbidden to covet his wife. In Deuteronomy you are forbidden to covet your neighbor’s wife, and are forbidden to desire his house. In Deuteronomy you cannot covet his field, and in both versions you cannot covet or desire his slaves, his ox, his donkey, or anything else that is his neighbor. If the tablets were written today, your neighbor’s car would probably be on the list. Ramban suggests that coveting your neighbor’s wife is listed first in Deuteronomy because it is the greatest sin of all. Coveting your neighbor’s husband is just as much a sin. […]

Early Church Writing

St Irenaeus Blog 3 Allegorical Interpretations of Scripture

After Adam and Eve had eaten of the apple they were ashamed and hid, weaving coverings of fig leaves, a rather itchy leaf. St Irenaeus tells us, “Adam adopted a dress suited for his disobedience, awed by the fear of God,” which is the beginning of wisdom, “waiting for God’s coming.” By his dress he admits to himself, “I by disobedience lost that robe of sanctity which I had from the Spirit, I do now acknowledge that I am deserving” of such uncomfortable dress, which tortures the body. God, who is merciful, clothes them instead in a more comfortable tunics of skins of fur. They were then driven out of Paradise and the Tree of Life because “God pitied them and did not desire that he should continue a sinner forever, nor that his sins become immortal.” God set a limit to his sin by imposing death, “so that man, ceasing at length to live to sin, and dying to it, might begin to live in God.” There would be life in Christ, as St Paul exhorts, “O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?” […]

Early Church Writing

St Irenaeus Blog 2 On Heresies

St Irenaeus elegantly summarizes his refutation of Gnosticism, “If Christ was not born, neither did He die. If Christ did not die, neither did He rise from the dead. If He did not rise from the dead, He did not conquer death and abolish its reign. If Christ did not conquer death, how are we to ascend to the light, we who from the beginning have been subject to death? Those who rob man of redemption do not believe that God will raise man from the dead.” […]

Early Church Writing

St Irenaeus Blog 1 On Heresies, Introduction

St Irenaeus teaches us, “The redemption depends on the real Incarnation, the real suffering on the Cross, and the real resurrection of the flesh. All three of these are a scandal for Gnosticism. On their view, Mary is not really Mother of God, and Christ did not really suffer, NO, the heavenly Christ escaped before the man Jesus suffered, and there can be no question at all of an actual resurrection of the flesh. Underlying this refusal of the flesh and its saving role in the Incarnation is a confusion between the human spirit (nous) and the divine Holy Spirit.” The Gnostics want to replace the Holy spirit with the human spirit. Irenaeus preaches “the salvific character of the Incarnation of God’s Son and Word.” […]