Thursday, 2 April 2015

Eric Covington: Irenaeus, Ephesians, and Union with the Spirit: Examining the Scriptural Basis of Unity with the Spirit in AH V,20,2

In the influential Irenäus als Paulusinterpret, Rolf Noorman suggests that at AH V.20.2, Irenaeus' description of recapitulation, which explicitly cites Ephesians 1:10, cannot be fully supported by the Ephesian passage due to the close association of unification with the Spirit in this passage. Rudolf Schnackenburg further posits that Irenaeus' departure from a properly Ephesians context of recapitulation exhibits a decidedly Johannine emphasis. These conclusions, if taken on their own, can unfortunately diminish Irenaeus' contribution to understanding the identification of a theology of union with the Spirit within Ephesians. In this paper, we propose to examine specific aspects of Irenaeus' use of Ephesians 1 concerning the idea of recapitulation in an effort to suggest that Irenaeus makes good sense of Ephesians' own theological perspective. An appeal to Irenaeus' understanding of the role of human union with the Spirit in recapitulation in the context of the theology of Ephesians can highlight an important aspect of the New Testament letter that might otherwise not be readily acknowledged. Particularly due to the prevalence of Valentinian appeals to Ephesians as the exemplar of various gnostic doctrines, a conscious study of Irenaeus' use of Ephesians on its own merits deserves specific attention as an example of early Christian interpretation of the letter. Thus, this paper suggests that Irenaeus is a close interpreter of the text of Ephesians and that aspects of his doctrine of recapitulation can help illuminate aspects of the theology of Ephesians.

No comments:

Post a Comment