Tuesday, 21 May 2019
Scott Moringiello: Eucharist, Love, and Sacrifice in Ignatius of Antioch and Irenaeus of Lyon
In Book Five of the Adversus Haereses, Irenaeus of Lyon quotes Ignatius of Antioch without naming him. Irenaeus refers to the coming millennium when the wheat will be separated from the chaff. The coming tribulation, Irenaeus explains, is for the benefit of the wheat because they will be prepared for the banquet of God. “As a certain man of ours said when he was condemned to the wild beasts because of his testimony with respect to God: ‘I am the wheat of Christ, and am ground by the teeth of wild beasts, that I may be found the pure bread of God” (AH 5.18.4, quoting Rom. 4.1). In an apocalyptic and eschatological moment in his own writing, Irenaeus quotes an apocalyptic and eschatological moment in one of Ignatius’s letters. And within what we might call an apocalyptic and eschatological horizon, Irenaeus and Ignatius understand themselves in light of sacrifice. For Ignatius, as for Irenaeus, the heart of Christian discipleship is to sacrifice oneself as Christ did. The Eucharist offers this sacrifice to the Christian, and the Christian, though a life of faith and love lives out that sacrifice.In the following article, I want to use Irenaeus’s quotation of Ignatius as an entryway to examine Ignatius on faith, love, and sacrifice. This, in turn, will help us understand Irenaeus’s quotation of Ignatius in Book Five. We will see that Irenaeus draws on Ignatius for his understanding of the Eucharist.