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IRENAEUS’ CHRISTOLOGY OF MIXTURE ANTHONY BRIGGMAN Candler School of Theology and the Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University [email protected] Abstract Many studies have been written on Irenaeus’ Christology, but almost all focus upon soteriological problems rather than Christology proper. A. Houssiau attempted to rectify this imbalance, providing the best study of Irenaeus’ Christology to date, but even he missed the fundamental logic that Irenaeus utilizes to explain the christological union. In this article I contend that Irenaeus uses Stoic mixture theory to conceptualize the christological union, including the relationship between the human and divine in the experiences and activities of Christ. In so saying, I challenge H. A. Wolfson’s position that Irenaeus’ use of mixture language accords with Aristotelian mixture theory, and I stand against those, including Wolfson and A. Grillmeier, who maintain that Irenaeus’ conception of the person of Christ is devoid of philosophical reasoning. FIFTY years ago Albert Houssiau observed that previous studies of Irenaeus’ Christology focused upon soteriological problems rather than Christology proper. 1 Houssiau’s objective was to provide a counterbalance by focusing his work on Irenaeus’ conception of the person of Christ. He succeeded, providing the best study of Irenaeus’ Christology to date. Even Houssiau, however, missed the fundamental logic that Irenaeus utilizes to explain the unity of the human and divine in Christ— namely, Stoic mixture theory. In Against Heresies 4.20.4 Irenaeus refers to the christological union as a ‘blending’ (commixtio) of the human and divine. It is the only time he does so. 2 He oVers no explanation for what, if In memory of Ralph Del Colle, teacher, whose thoughts about the person of Christ will always influence my own. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine. Et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. 1 A. Houssiau, La Christologie de Saint Ire ´ne ´e (Universitas Catholica Lovaniensis Dissertationes 3.1; Louvain: Publications Universitaires and Gembloux: J. Duculot, 1955), p. x. 2 J. A. Robinson reads ‘mixing and blending the Spirit of God the Father with the handiwork of God’ in Prf 97 as a reference to the incarnation The Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Vol. 64, Pt 2, October 2013 ß The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: [email protected] doi:10.1093/jts/flt169 at The University of Edinburgh on March 9, 2014 http://jts.oxfordjournals.org/ Downloaded from

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Many studies have been written on Irenaeus’ Christology, but almost allfocus upon soteriological problems rather than Christology proper.A. Houssiau attempted to rectify this imbalance, providing the best studyof Irenaeus’ Christology to date, but even he missed the fundamental logicthat Irenaeus utilizes to explain the christological union. In this article Icontend that Irenaeus uses Stoic mixture theory to conceptualize thechristological union, including the relationship between the human anddivine in the experiences and activities of Christ. In so saying, I challengeH. A. Wolfson’s position that Irenaeus’ use of mixture language accordswith Aristotelian mixture theory, and I stand against those, includingWolfson and A. Grillmeier, who maintain that Irenaeus’ conception ofthe person of Christ is devoid of philosophical reasoning.

Text of IRENAEUS’ CHRISTOLOGY OF MIXTURE

  • IRENAEUS CHRISTOLOGY OF MIXTURE

    ANTHONY BRIGGMAN

    Candler School of Theology and the Graduate Division of Religion, EmoryUniversity

    [email protected]

    AbstractMany studies have been written on Irenaeus Christology, but almost allfocus upon soteriological problems rather than Christology proper.A. Houssiau attempted to rectify this imbalance, providing the best studyof Irenaeus Christology to date, but even he missed the fundamental logicthat Irenaeus utilizes to explain the christological union. In this article Icontend that Irenaeus uses Stoic mixture theory to conceptualize thechristological union, including the relationship between the human anddivine in the experiences and activities of Christ. In so saying, I challengeH. A. Wolfsons position that Irenaeus use of mixture language accordswith Aristotelian mixture theory, and I stand against those, includingWolfson and A. Grillmeier, who maintain that Irenaeus conception ofthe person of Christ is devoid of philosophical reasoning.

    FIFTY years ago Albert Houssiau observed that previous studiesof Irenaeus Christology focused upon soteriological problemsrather than Christology proper.1 Houssiaus objective was toprovide a counterbalance by focusing his work on Irenaeusconception of the person of Christ. He succeeded, providingthe best study of Irenaeus Christology to date. EvenHoussiau, however, missed the fundamental logic that Irenaeusutilizes to explain the unity of the human and divine in Christnamely, Stoic mixture theory.

    In Against Heresies 4.20.4 Irenaeus refers to the christologicalunion as a blending (commixtio) of the human and divine. It isthe only time he does so.2 He oVers no explanation for what, if

    In memory of Ralph Del Colle, teacher, whose thoughts about the personof Christ will always influence my own. Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine. Etlux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace.

    1 A. Houssiau, La Christologie de Saint Irenee (Universitas CatholicaLovaniensis Dissertationes 3.1; Louvain: Publications Universitaires andGembloux: J. Duculot, 1955), p. x.

    2 J. A. Robinson reads mixing and blending the Spirit of God the Fatherwith the handiwork of God in Prf 97 as a reference to the incarnation

    The Journal of Theological Studies, NS, Vol. 64, Pt 2, October 2013

    The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.For Permissions, please email: [email protected]

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  • anything, the term reveals about his conception of thechristological union. Neither does he indicate if the concept ofblending occupies a place of significance in his thought morebroadly considered. These observations alone are suYcient toexplain the minimal attention paid to the place of the conceptof blending or mixture in Irenaeus Christology. Instead ofregarding this description as anomalous or at least atypical,and therefore relatively insignificant, it is my belief that his iden-tification of the christological union as a blend in the middle ofAH 4 reflects an incorporation of Stoic mixture theory thatbegins as early as Book 2. Moreover, it is my contention thatIrenaeus uses Stoic mixture theory not only to conceptualize theunion of the human and divine in Christ, but also to explain therelationship between the human and divine in the experiencesand activities of Christ. Inasmuch as this is the case, Stoicmixture theory is the logic fundamental to Irenaeus conceptionof the christological union.

    This article is divided into three sections. The first oVers abrief discussion of the aspects of Stoic mixture theory most rele-vant to this investigation. The second considers pertinent schol-arship on the appropriation of Stoic and Aristotelian mixturetheories in the Christologies of early Christianity. The lastargues that Irenaeus incorporated Stoic mixture theory intovarious aspects of his theological account, including hisChristology.

    I. STOIC MIXTURE THEORY

    In order to recognize the role that the concept of mixture playsin Irenaeus thought a basic understanding of Stoic mixturetheory (and specifically, the theory of blending) is necessary. Ourtwo most important sources for Stoic mixture theory areAlexander of Aphrodisias (Mixt. 3, 216.14217.2 and 4,217.2636) and Arius Didymus (fr. 28, ap. Stobaeum Eclogae1.17.4), but two passages in Nemesius (Nat. 78.779.2 and81.610) helpfully supplement their accounts. Prior to delvinginto the details of the Stoic theory of blending it is important tolocate blending within the larger Stoic concern to arrive at a

    (St Irenaeus, The Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, trans. J. A.Robinson [London: S.P.C.K., 1920], pp. 645). I have disagreed with thisreading elsewhere, arguing that this text refers to the commixture and unionof the soul and body of the believer with the Holy Spirit (Irenaeus of Lyonsand the Theology of the Holy Spirit [OECS; Oxford: Oxford University Press,2012], pp. 18890.

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  • physical theory that explains how the active principle(God/Pneuma/Logos) and passive principle (matter) relate toeach other.3

    The narrative construction of Alexanders consideration of theStoic theory of blending in Mixt. reflects this relationship, forreferences to the larger Stoic concern frame his analysis of thetheory of blending. Alexanders discussion of blending in Mixt. 3begins with Chrysippus interest in explaining how the whole ofsubstance (the passive principle) is unified because pneuma(the active principle) pervades or permeates its entirety, causing itto hold together, be stable, and interact (sympathize/sump0scw)with itself.4 He then returns to this fundamental Stoic interest inthe active and passive principles at the very end of his discussionof Stoic mixture theory. In arguing against the theory of blending,he writes: the bodies that are being blended with another must bereciprocally acted on by one another (2ntip0scein 3p 2ll0lwn2n0gkh) (that is why neither is destroyed, since the one acted on bythe other reacts in the process of being acted on).5

    A distinctive feature of the Stoic attempt to understand therelationship between the active and passive principles was thebelief that the principles must be corporeal: only bodies can act orbe acted on.6 According to Stoic theory bodies pervade each other,bodies mutually coextend throughout one another, and substancesand qualities proper to bodies are preserved in a blend.7 RichardSorabji summarizes Stoic materialism well: they believed thatmatter was something real and something acted on, that acting orbeing acted on was the criterion for being fully real, and that onlybody would satisfy this criterion.8 The particular theory ofmixture proper to the Stoics that they articulated to explain therelationship between corporeal active and passive principles isblending.

    3 R. Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion: Theories in Antiquity and theirSequel (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1988), p. 83; DiogenesLaertius, Lives 7.1346.

    4 Mixt. 3, 21417; unless otherwise noted, the text and translation of Mixt.comes from R. B. Todd, Alexander of Aphrodisias on Stoic Physics (SMAP 28;Leiden: Brill, 1976).

    5 Mixt. 11, 226.303; the parenthetical remark would seem to reflectAlexanders understanding, but if so, his understanding agrees with Stoicthought. Cf. Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, pp. 938.

    6 E.g. Cicero, Acad. 1.39.7 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 3, 216.14217.2; 4, 217.2636; Arius Did., fr. 28,

    ap. Stob. Eclogae 1.17.4.8 Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, p. 37.

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  • Blending might be best understood in the light of other theoriesof ancient chemistry. Alexander records Chrysippus as identifyingmixture as a category containing three diVerent types of union:juxtaposition (par0qesi"), fusion (s0gcusi"), and blending (kra'si").9

    In juxtaposition particles of the ingredients remain unaltered andsimply exist alongside each other, such as in a mixture of beansand wheat. The Stoics followed Aristotle in rejecting juxtapositionas not producing a genuine mixture.10 In fusion both ingredientsare destroyed in the process of forming an entirely new kind ofstuV, a resultant that is a tertium quid. The Stoics did not considerfusion to be a genuine mixture either,11 preferring instead the ideaof blending (kra'si"). In a blend of two or more ingredients, theingredients spread out or mutually coextend (2ntiparekte0nw/2ntipar0kw) through the entirety of one another. This coextensionproduces a union in which the active principle pervades thepassive principle, causing it to hold together, be stable, andinteract with (sump0scw) itself.12 Yet, in the resultant producedfrom blending, the original substances and qualities proper to eachof the constituent ingredients persist,13 and the qualities of eachshow forth (sunekfa0nw).14 Thus, constituent ingredients that havebeen blended together continue to actually exist; they do not justexist in potential as in Aristotelian mixture theory.15 Proof of thepreservation of each of the original substances and their qualitieslies in the ability to separate the constituent ingredients from eachother, such as in Arius Didymus example of dipping an

    9 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 3, 216.14217.2.10 Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, pp. 66, 79.11 Ibid., p. 80.12 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 3, 216.1417.13 In addition to Mixt. 3, see also Mixt. 4, 217.2636 and Arius Did., fr. 28,

    ap. Stob. Eclogae 1.17.4.14 Arius Did., fr. 28, Dox. Gr. 464.12. Arius reference to the showing

    forth of qualities in a blend occurs in the midst of his diVerentiation betweenm8xi" and kra'si", such that the latter specifically speaks of the type of mixturethat occurs between fluid bodies. The more thorough discussion of Alexander,however, reveals that the Stoics did not delimit kra'si" so strictly.

    15 Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, esp. pp. 679; Aristotle, GC 1.10,327b2231. E. Lewis argues that the references to the coextension of bodiesin Alexander of Aphrodisias and Stobaeus are due to an Aristotelian reading ofStoic sources, and that the Stoics did not maintain that the constituent ingre-dients themselves were preserved but only the substances and qualities belong-ing to them (Diogenes Laertius and the Stoic Theory of Mixture, Bulletin ofthe Institute of Classical Studies 34 [1987], pp. 8490, esp. 89). In my judge-ment Sorabjis reading better accounts for the entirety of the extant sources,especially the examples oVered by Stoics to illustrate the theory of blending.

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  • oil-drenched sponge into a blend of water and wine in order todraw out the water.16

    The Stoics provide three examples from everyday cases thatillustrate blending. The blending of a cup of wine that has beenmixed with a lot of water, of a soul that goes throughout the wholeof the body in mixture with it, and fire that pervades iron.17 Theblending of wine with water is pertinent to other aspects ofIrenaeus theology; for now I would like to highlight the blendingof the soul and body.

    As with the constituent ingredients in a blend, the soul pervadesthe entirety of the body such that their mutual coextension iscomplete. As a result of their mutual coextension every part of thebody partakes in the soul and vice versa.18 This thoroughgoingmutual partaking that occurs between the ingredients of a blenddistinguishes blending from juxtaposition, for it demonstrates theunity of a product of blending in distinction to the aggregate natureof a product of juxtaposition in which the ingredients remainunaltered.19 A portion of Cleanthes thought recorded by Nemesiusfurther illustrates the mutual partaking of the soul and body usingthe term sump0scw, which features at the beginning of Alexandersaccount of Chrysippus thought in Mixt. 3. According to Cleanthes,the soul interacts with (sump0scei) the body when it is sick and beingcut, and the body with the soul; thus when the soul feels shame andfear the body turns red and pale respectively.20 The union of twobodies joined to each other, as in a blend, is such that they interactwith (sump0scw) each other as do the body and soul. Though thesoul itself is neither sick nor cut it experiences or participates in thesickness or cutting of the body in some way; likewise the body turnsred and pale when the soul feels shame and fear.

    Yet, while the interaction or mutual partaking of the body andsoul demonstrate their unity, the soul and body preserve thesubstantiality and qualities proper to each of them,21 and, as in a

    16 Fr. 28, ap. Stob. Eclogae 1.17.4.17 Todd contends that these illustrations are merely fictitious aids to the

    Stoic argument, not direct examples of blending (Alexander of Aphrodisias, pp.456), but Sorabji has persuasively argued that Alexanders own view was thatthese illustrations provide clear testimony, to persuade and establish the factof blending (Matter, Space and Motion, p. 84).

    18 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 4, 217.36.19 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 3, 217.1112; cf. Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion,

    p. 66.20 Nemesius, On the Nature of Man (De Natura Hominis) 78.779.2 (text

    and translation in A. A. Long and D. N. Sedley, The Hellenistic Philosophers[Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987], vol. 1, p. 272; vol. 2, p. 269).

    21 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 4, 217.325.

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  • blend, their qualities show forth.22 Thus there is never a questionof the soul and body having formed a tertium quid, for we arealways able to distinguish the actual existence of each of themthrough the manifest existence of their proper qualities. Proof ofthe preservation of each of the original substances and theirqualities, as I already mentioned, lies in the ability to separate theconstituent ingredients from each other.23 The illustrationprovided by Arius Didymus is the dipping of an oil-drenchedsponge into a blend of water and wine in order draw out the water,but the body and soul are also separated from each other at thetime of death. As Nemesius writes:

    Chrysippus says that death is the separation of soul from body.Now nothing incorporeal (2s0maton) is separated from a body(s0mato"). For an incorporeal does not even make contact with abody. But the soul both makes contact with and is separated from abody. Therefore the soul is a body.24

    Though not explicitly mentioned, the ability to separate thebody and soul at the time of death is surely connected to theStoic understanding of the body and soul as being blendedtogether. The logic of this selection, though, provides furtherinsight into Stoic thinking. According to Chrysippus the separ-ation of the soul from the body is only possible because the souland body are both bodies, are both corporeal. His reasoning isstraightforward: separation requires previous contact, but contactcan only occur between two bodies, therefore separation is con-tingent upon the corporeality of the things united to each other.Materialism is fundamental to Stoic thought.

    According to the Stoics, then, the blending of two bodiesexplains how the active principle (God/Pneuma/Logos) andpassive principle (matter) relate to each other. The active principlepervades the passive principle such that both ingredients in ablend mutually coextend throughout each other. The interactionor mutual partaking of the ingredients with each other is the resultof their blending, and demonstrates their union. At the same time,ingredients are not destroyed in a blend, for the substances andqualities proper to them persist, and their qualities show forth inthe resultant. The actual existence of constituent ingredients in ablend is corroborated by the possibility of separating them out

    22 Arius Did., fr. 28, Dox. Gr. 464.12.23 Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, p. 80.24 Nemesius, Nat. 81.610 (text and translation Long and Sedley, Hellenistic

    Philosophers, vol. 1, p. 272; vol. 2, p. 270).

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  • from the resultant. All of which is illustrated by the blending ofthe soul with the body.

    II. THE APPROPRIATION OF MIXTURE THEORY IN EARLYCHRISTIANITY

    The presence of mixture language in Irenaeus has not goneentirely unnoticed, but the suggestion that Irenaeus mixturelanguage is Stoic in origin has not always been received positively,or even with equanimity. In his well-known The Philosophy of theChurch Fathers H. A. Wolfson maintained that Irenaeus mixturelanguage accords not with Stoic mixture theory but Aristotelianconceptions of mixture. In particular, Wolfson identifies twopassages in Irenaeus (AH 3.19.1 and 4.20.4) which he thinks alignwith a category of Aristotelian mixture theory that he identifies asunions of predominance.25

    Wolfson posits that when taken together Aristotelian and Stoicthought recognize five possible kinds of union of physicalthings.26 Moreover, he contends that of these five kinds ofunion four would not have suited early Christian conceptions ofthe unity of the humanity and divinity of Christ. Early accounts ofthe unity of Christ could not have drawn upon unions involvingthe juxtaposition of ingredients (par0qesi"), unions based uponeither Aristotelian or Stoic conceptions of mixture (m8xi" orkra'si"), and still less unions involving the fusion of ingredients(s0gcusi").27 According to Wolfson, unions of juxtaposition andunions of blending (the Stoic conception of mixture; kra'si")produce resultants that are merely aggregates of the constituentingredientsresultants that lack real unity.28 On the other hand,Wolfson maintains that unions of mixture in the Aristotelian senseand unions of fusion result in a tertium quid29their resultants arean entirely new kind of thing. Having dismissed these fourtheories as incompatible with early Christian conceptions ofChrist, Wolfson forwards a fifth kind of unitythe union ofpredominance.30 According to Wolfson unions of predominance

    25 H. A. Wolfson, The Philosophy of the Church Fathers, vol. 1: Faith, Trinity,Incarnation (2nd edn; Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1964), p. 396.

    26 Ibid., p. 385.27 Wolfson prefers some diVerent titles, identifying unions involving juxta-

    position as composition and unions involving fusion as confusion (Philosophyof the Church Fathers, vol. 1, pp. 3856).

    28 Ibid., p. 382.29 Ibid., pp. 3757, 3845. For an extended discussion of Aristotelian mix-

    ture theory, see Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, pp. 36772.30 Wolfson, Philosophy of the Fathers, vol. 1, p. 386.

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  • are a subset of Aristotles unions of mixture in which the resultantis one of the two constituents, the one which happens to be greateror more powerful, and in which also the smaller is not completelydestroyed but is related to the greater as matter to form.31

    Early Christian authors utilized this theory of union, Wolfsonbelieves, in order to describe the christological union.32 Wolfsonargues that because no special term for this union of predom-inance existed in philosophy it was loosely described as amixture or as a composition terms utilized in Aristotlesdiscussions of mixture theory. He then claims, mixture andcomposition are therefore terms used by the Fathers only in thesense of predominance .33 But this is a logical non sequitur. Foreven if Wolfson has correctly identified occasional philosophicaluses of mixture and composition to express a union ofpredominance, and Sorabjis study suggests he has not,34 it isnot necessary to conclude that early Christians understood andused the terms mixture and composition only in the sense ofpredominance .

    It seems to me that Wolfson allows his understanding of thelogic of early Christian Christology to overly influence his analysisof ancient chemical and physical theory, as well as his conclusionswith regard to the usage of those theories by early Christians.Early in his discussion he writes that when it came to thinkingabout the incarnation the problem before [the Fathers] was to findan analogy for the belief that two persons, the Logos and the

    31 Ibid., pp. 377, 386.32 Ibid., p. 386.33 Ibid. In his analysis of Theodoret of Cyrus Eranistes Wolfson recognizes

    the use of the Stoic conception of mixture by the orthodox believer in thedialogue but still concludes that it could have been used to forward the pos-ition of predominance (pp. 4438). The only time Wolfson finds the use ofStoic mixture theory is in reference to the exchange of properties belonging tothe two naturesperichoresis (pp. 41828).

    34 Indeed, Sorabjis more recent work brings into question the very exist-ence of unions of predominance as a subset of Aristotles mixture theory.Wolfson oVers four examples in support of his category of predominance.Each example is meant to illustrate that the resultant is the greater or morepowerful ingredient, but in such a way that the smaller or less powerful in-gredient remains in some fashioneither as a quantitative or qualitative acci-dent (Philosophy of the Fathers, vol. 1, pp. 3779). Sorabjis reading ofAristotle, however, suggests that neither the quantitative accident (an increasein volume or bulk) nor the qualitative accident (the presence of colour) ofthese examples indicate the continuing existence of the smaller ingredient inthe resultant (Matter, Space and Motion, pp. 667, 71 for the quantitativeaccident, p. 70 for the qualitative).

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  • manfor man ordinarily is a personin their union, which tookplace in Jesus, were so joined together that only the Logoscontinued to be a person, whereas the man, though not completelydestroyed, was not a person.35 Having established as his startingplace that early Christians actively sought an analogy for achristological model of predominance, Wolfson finds what they,and he, sought in unions of predominance. His startingplace inordinately aVects his analysis and his conclusion, suchthat he found what he was looking for and only what he waslooking for.

    Two more recent works further expose the inadequacies ofWolfsons account. First, Sorabjis study of ancient chemistry andphysics shows that Wolfson was incorrect to believe that Stoicsunderstood the resultant of blending as merely an aggregate of itsconstituent ingredients, the implication being that blending doesnot produce a real unity. According to Wolfson, while it is truethat the Stoics deny that blending is a mere juxtaposition they donot specify whether that denial includes the juxtaposition ofimperceptible parts. This, he believes, leaves open the possibilityof interpreting the Stoic theory of blending as involving thejuxtaposition of imperceptible parts, an interpretative move whichhe contends was not only made by Nemesius but was prevalentwithin early Christianity.36

    Sorabji, however, points out that the Stoics followed Aristotle inrejecting juxtaposition as not producing a genuine mixture.37 Thispoint is borne out by the fact that the two most importantdiscussions of Stoic theories of union articulate their theory ofblending (kra'si") in contradistinction to the theory ofjuxtaposition (par0qesi").38 More importantly, Sorabji calls atten-tion to Chrysippus explicit denial that division can reach aninfinite limit because there is no infinitely small thing (o2 g0r 2st0ti 4peiron) to which that division could extend.39 Chrysippus

    35 Wolfson, Philosophy of the Church Fathers, vol. 1, p. 374.36 Ibid., p. 382; for Nemesius see esp. pp. 4023.37 Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, p. 66.38 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 3, 216.14217.2 and Arius Did., fr. 28, Dox. Gr.

    463.14464.8.39 Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, p. 102; rather than reaching an infinite

    limit, Chrysippus maintained that division is merely for ever capable of beingcontinued. The passage under discussion is Diogenes Laertius Lives 7.1501,in which Chrysippus explicitly denies that mixture is juxtaposition, for in amixture particles of the substances involved do not merely surround those ofthe other or lie beside them (m1 kat1 perigraf1n ka1 par0qesin) (Loeb 185; tr.R. D. Hicks, ed. J. Henderson).

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  • position goes against Wolfsons belief that the Stoic denial ofjuxtaposition left open the possibility of a juxtaposition ofimperceptible parts,40 for the very notion of imperceptible partsis a corollary of the idea that division can reach an infinite limit(the point at which something infinitely small exists, and could bejuxtaposed with other infinitely small things).41 Therefore, whenChrysippus disallows the latter he disallows the possibility of theformer.

    If, then, it is no longer appropriate for Wolfson to regard Stoicmixture as juxtaposition, then neither is it appropriate for him toconsider the resultant of a Stoic mixture an aggregate. Even moreso given that Alexander of Aphrodisiasa leading advocate ofAristotelianism, and hence a hostile witnessunderstood Stoicmixture theory to assert the production of a resultant in which theconstituent ingredients are united together in their entirety(3noAsqai di 7lwn) so that being preserved along with theirqualities they have a complete mutual coextension through oneanother (2ntiparekte0nesqai 2ll0loi" di 7lwn 7la).42 If Wolfsonscontention that ingredients in a Stoic mixture do not form a realunity is no longer persuasive, then it can no longer be regarded asa viable basis for excluding the possibility that early Christiansappropriated the Stoic theory of blending to explain the unity ofthe human and divine in Jesus.

    This brings us to the second work that exposes the inadequaciesof Wolfsons account: Ronald Heines analysis of the Christologyof Callistus.43 Callistus was Bishop of Rome and a leadingproponent of monarchianism at the beginning of the third century.Heine demonstrates that Stoic mixture theory was of criticalimportance to the Christology of Roman monarchianism, for

    40 An important point, since Wolfson notes this very passage (DL, Lives7.151) concerning Chrysippus to support his own reading (Philosophy of theChurch Fathers, vol. 1, p. 382, n. 76).

    41 Aristotle (GC 1.10, 328a15; 1517) and then Alex. Aphrodisias (Mixt. 8,221.25222.26) attack the notion that mixture could be due to infinite division.In the course of Alexanders argument he states that if the Stoics understandmixture to occur by an infinite division of ingredients, then they would not bespeaking of a mixture but of a mere juxtaposition (221.2534). Sorabji high-lights the conditional nature of Alexanders argument (if the Stoics understandmixture to occur by division), and proceeds to call into question the verynotion that Stoic mixture theory involved division. Thus, Stoic thoughtwould seem to diVer from that of Anaxagoras, who may well have envisagedingredients as infinitely divided (Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, p. 102; seep. 64 for more on Anaxagoras).

    42 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 4, 217.279.43 R. E. Heine, The Christology of Callistus, JTS, NS 49 (1998), pp.

    5691.

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  • Roman monarchian theology found in the theory of blending away to avoid the charges of patripassianism that had plagued itsprecursor and source, the Asian monarchianism of Noetus.44

    Roman monarchians identified that which is divine in Jesus asthe Father or Spirit (pneAma) and that which is human as the Son.45

    The flesh, which is identified as Son, becomes divine when theindwelling Father/Spirit unites it to himself (Ref. 9.12.18b).46

    In this way, Callistus could refer to the Son as one God with theFather.47 This union of the Father/Spirit with the Son as oneGod becomes problematic when it comes to the passion of Jesus,for in order to avoid patripassianism Callistus must be able to saythat the Son suVers while the Father/Spirit does not. This bringsus to an important christological statement of Callistus:

    For I will not, he says, speak of two Gods, Father and Son, but ofone. For the Father who was in him (John 14:10) assumed the fleshand made it God by uniting it with himself, and made it one, so thatFather and Son are designated one God, and this unity, being aperson, cannot be two, and so the Father suVered with (sumpeponqe#nai)the Son.48

    In early Christian texts sump0scw usually meant to die with,often referring to martyrdom, or to suVer with or the same as.49

    This meaning does not fit this usage of Callistus, however, forRoman monarchianism denied that the Father died.50

    44 For a brief discussion of Noetus theology, see ibid., pp. 7889; for theattempt to avoid patripassianism by the Roman monarchians, see pp. 778, 89.

    45 According to Callistus, the spirit which was made flesh in the virgin isnot diVerent from the Father . . . For that which is seen (1 John 1:1), which isman, is the Son, but the Spirit contained in the Son is the Father.Hippolytus, Refutation of All Heresies 9.12.1718 (tr. Heine, Callistus, pp.63, 69). The identification of the author of the Refutation is debated; I shallfollow Heine in using Hippolytus as an eYcient way to refer to the author ofthis treatise. For a recent discussion of Hippolytan authorship of various texts,see R. E. Heine, Hippolytus, Ps.-Hippolytus and the Early Canons, in F.Young, L. Ayres, and A. Louth (eds.), The Cambridge History of EarlyChristian Literature (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), pp.14251.

    46 This union results in a divinehuman distinction within the Son. Heine,Christology of Callistus, p. 71.

    47 Ibid.48 Hippolytus, Ref. 9.12.18; text from Hippolytus, Refutatio Omnium

    Haeresium, ed. M. Marcovich (Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter,1986), p. 354; trans. Heine, Christology of Callistus, p. 63.

    49 W. Michaelis, p0scw, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament 5(Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans,1967), pp. 9256; sump0scw seldom means tosympathize. See also, Heine, Christology of Callistus, p. 75.

    50 Heine, Christology of Callistus, p. 75.

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  • Heine argues that we can see how the Roman monarchiansavoided patripassianism by understanding Callistus use ofsump0scw in terms of its Stoic usage to explain the interaction ofthe soul and body in a human being51an interaction that, thereader will recall, is based on Stoic mixture theory. As I discussed inthe first section, the Stoics maintained that the soul pervades(di0kw) the whole human body just as constituent ingredients in amixture pervade each other, such that every part of the bodypartakes of the soul while both the soul and body maintain theirown substantiality (3p0stasi"/o2s0a).52 This pervading of the soulthrough the entirety of the body is the basis for the mutualinteraction of the soul and the body that we saw in Cleanthes.53 Bymodelling the union of the humanity and divinity of Christ uponthe Stoic understanding of the union of the soul and body in humanbeings, the Roman monarchians would have been able to maintainthat the Father/Spirit participated in the experience of the suVeringand death of the Son/flesh while not itself suVering and dying as didthe Son/flesh. So Heine writes: Just as the soul, though it interacts(sump0scei) with the body when the latter is cut, does not bleed, sothe Roman monarchians could have thought of the Fathersinteraction with the Son in the Sons suVering.54

    The works of Sorabji and Heine demonstrate that not only is itinappropriate to exclude the possibility that early Christians usedStoic mixture theory to explain the unity of Christ, but even thatthe Stoic conception of mixture played a prominent role in theChristology of some early Christians, namely the Romanmonarchians. The rest of this article will demonstrate that theuse of Stoic mixture theory was not limited to the Romanmonarchians, for it featured in Irenaeus theology as well.55

    III. MIXTURE IN IRENAEUS

    Irenaeus never provides a discussion of his understanding ofmixture theory abstracted from its theological appropriation, nor

    51 Ibid., pp. 758.52 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 4, 217.326; Heine, Christology of Callistus, p. 76.53 As found in Nemesius, Nat. 78.779.2: the soul interacts with (sump0scei)

    the body when it is sick and being cut, and the body with the soul; thus whenthe soul feels shame and fear the body turns red and pale respectively (textand translation in Long and Sedley, Hellenistic Philosophers, vol. 1, p. 272; vol.2, p. 269).

    54 Heine, Christology of Callistus, p. 78.55 Certain scholars have considered aspects of Irenaeus theological account

    to be monarchian or similar to the theological accounts of those often regardedas monarchian (see below, n. 138). I disagree with these readings of Irenaeus.

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  • does he discuss how mixture theory functions across theologicalcategories. As a result, it is necessary to read a number of passagestogether in order to recognize his use of Stoic mixture theory andin order to understand the role mixture theory plays in histheology.

    Irenaeus use of mixture language and his incorporation ofconcepts belonging to mixture theory progresses over the courseof Against Heresies. The first indication of his interest in mixturetheory occurs in AH 2.17.3, where he uses mixture language tospeak of the union of two things in contrast to the separation oftwo things. We next find an unmistakable use of Stoic mixturetheory in his explanation of the mixture of and interactionbetween the soul and body in human beings.56 The use ofconcepts belonging to Stoic mixture theory is discernible inIrenaeus discussion of the interaction between the human and thedivine that takes place in AH 3.19.1 and 3, both with regard to thesalvific joining of human beings to the Word of God and withregard to the interaction between the divine and human in Jesushimself. It is at this point in the progression that we find his use ofmixture language in AH 4.20.4 to characterize the union of thedivine and human in Jesus. The following examination willgenerally follow the progression set out here.

    3.1. Mixtures Union

    As I stated a few pages ago, the Stoic theory of blending wasregarded as producing a resultant in which the constituent in-gredients are wholly united. The first step in demonstratingIrenaeus appropriation of mixture theory is to determinewhether he recognized mixture as a means of union. If he didnot, then mixture theory would be insuYcient for the needs ofhis christological account, for one of Irenaeus chief concernswhen it comes to the person of Christ was to establish theunity of the divine and human.57

    The passage that contains the most straightforward statementof Irenaeus thinking is AH 2.17.23. In this portion of his workIrenaeus is criticizing Gnostic thinking about the production of

    56 AH 2.33.1, 4.57 See e.g. A. Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, vol. 1: From the

    Apostolic Age to Chalcedon, trans. J. Bowden (Atlanta, GA: John KnoxPress, 1965; 2nd edn. 1975), pp. 1034, and esp. Houssiau, ChristologiedIrenee, pp. 163235.

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  • the aeons. Gnostic logic fails, he argues, because Gnostics main-tain at one and the same time that a unity of substance existsbetween the aeons and their Author or Father (Propator), andthat the aeons are susceptible to passion while the Author orFather is not. In the course of his argument he contraststhings that are completely separated with those that aremixed or united:

    (2.17.2) It shall be asked, then, how were the rest of the aeonsemitted? Did they remain united (uniti) to the one who emittedthem, as the rays to the sun, or (were they emitted) as distinct andseparated (eYcabiliter et partiliter), so that each of them [exists] sep-arately and has its own form (separatim et suam figurationem), as ahuman being [comes] from another human being and an animalfrom another animal? . . . And [are they] simple and uniform, and inevery way equal and similar among themselves, as spirit and light areemitted, or [are they] composite and diVerent, dissimilar in theirmembers? (2.17.3) But, if each of them was indeed emitted distinctlyand according to its own generation (eYcabiliter et secundum suamgenesim), after the likeness of human beings, then either those gener-ated by the Father will be of the same substance with him and simi-lar to the one who generated them, or if they appear dissimilar, thenit is necessary to confess them to be of some other substance . . .Furthermore, according to this reasoning each of them will be under-stood (to exist) separately, divided from one another (separatim divisusab altero), just as human beings, not mixed with nor united the one tothe other (non admixtus neque unitus alter altero), but in a distinctform and with a defined area, each one of them has been delineatedby a magnitude of size[all of] which are characteristic of a body,and not of a spirit. Let them, therefore, no longer speak of thePleroma as spiritual . . .58

    In this passage Irenaeus builds his argument upon the contrasthe establishes between the kinds of products that result fromcertain courses of production. On the one hand, there arethose products that are united with that which produced

    58 Greek and Latin quotations of Against Heresies are taken from Irenee deLyon: Contre les Heresies, ed. A. Rousseau et al., 10 vols. (SourcesChretiennes; Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 196582). Translations of AH aremine, with reference made to the translations of Robert and Rambaut in ANF1 and Unger and Dillon in ACW 65. Armenian quotations of Proof of theApostolic Preaching are taken from Irenaeus, E2" 2p0deixin toA 2postolikoAkhr0gmato"; The Proof of the Apostolic Preaching, with Seven Fragments, ed.and Eng. trans. K. Ter-Mekerttschian and S. G. Wilson; Fr. trans. J.Barthoulot (PO 12.5; Paris: Firmin-Didot, 1919). Unless otherwise noted,translations of Prf are from St Irenaeus of Lyons: On the ApostolicPreaching, trans. J. Behr (New York: St. Vladimirs Seminary Press, 1997).

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  • them, as rays are united to the sun.59 On the other hand, thereare those produced as distinct and separated so that they existseparately from that which produced them. Building upon thisdistinction, Irenaeus states that if aeons are produced after themanner of men then they must be regarded as existing separ-ately, divided from one another, just as human beings, not mixedwith nor united the one to the other.

    Those things that are united (unio) with that which producedthem in 2.17.2 correspond to those things that are mixed orunited (admisceo/unio) in 2.17.3. The logic of AH 2.17.23reveals Irenaeus understanding of mixture. He sets that whichis mixed in opposition to that which exists separately, dividedfrom one another, while also placing that which is mixed in thesame category as or identifying it with that which is united theone to the other. As a result, it is clear that Irenaeus conceivesof mixture as producing a unified resultant.

    The production of a unified resultant by means of mixture fitsthe Stoic theory of blending, but Irenaeus discussion also fitsAristotelian mixture theory. He never specifies whether the con-stituent ingredients persist in the resultant in actuality or inpotentiality, or whether the resultant diVers from the ingredientsin kind (i.e. whether it is a tertium quid), positions that distin-guish the two systems. This ambiguity does not characterize his

    59 Irenaeus use of the analogy of a ray from the sun to illustrate a course ofproduction in which the product remains united with that which produced itseems to stand against his previous understanding of this analogy. In AH2.13.2 he identifies the analogy as a Gnostic illustration for the productionof aeons, in particular the production of Intelligence by the Father. In 2.13.5the analogy is used as an example of, or at least in the context of discussing, acourse of production that results in the separation of a product from itssourcenamely, the intelligence of God. Rather than challenging the suitabilityof the analogy as an illustration for this type of production, Irenaeus contendsit is not suitable because it implies a medium that exists prior to the intelli-gence of God. As a result, it seems that Irenaeus understands the analogy toillustrate contrary courses of production in 2.13.5 and 2.17.2. The simplestexplanation for this dissonance is that his understanding of the analogy in2.13.5 reflects his polemic against Gnostic thought, while his use of the ana-logy in 2.17.2 reflects his own constructive thought. The emission of a rayfrom the sun as an example of a type of production in which the productremains united to its source does have a history prior to Irenaeus that seemsto be distinct from its Gnostic usage. Several passages in Philo utilize ananalogy of the sun and its rays (On Giants 1.3, On the Special Laws 1.7.40,and On Dreams 1.14.77), but the analogy is not as close to Irenaeus as thatfound in Justins Dial 128.3. Justin is critical of the analogy, though for dif-ferent reasons from Irenaeus in 2.13.5.

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  • discussion of the mixture of the soul with the body in a humanbeing.

    3.2. The Mixture of Body and Soul

    Several passages at the end of Against Heresies 2 reveal thatIrenaeus conception of the union of the body and soul corres-ponds to that of Stoic theory. We first encounter signs ofIrenaeus appropriation of Stoic thought in AH 2.33.1 and 4,where he constructs an argument against the transmigration ofsouls. Some time ago, William Schoedel recognized thatIrenaeus argument against Plato in AH 2.33.24 incorporatesarguments from a peripatetic philosophical tradition that maybe traced back to Strato.60 Eluding Schoedel, however, was therecognition that Irenaeus argument in AH 2.33.1 and 4 alsoappropriates the Stoic notion of the mixture of the body andsoul.61 AH 2.33.1 reads:

    Their claim about the transmigration from body to body we mayoverthrow by the fact that souls have no recollection at all of previousevents . . . For the admixture/embracing [admixtio/prosplok1] of thebody (with the soul) could not altogether extinguish the memoryand contemplation of what they had known beforehand, precisely be-cause they were coming for that purpose. For as at this time whenthe body is asleep and at rest, whatever things the soul sees by itselfand does in a vision, many of these it remembers and communicatesto the body; and as it happens that upon waking one relates, evenafter a long time, what he saw in a dream, in this way one wouldremember also those things he did before coming into the body. Forif that which was seen for just a moment of time or was conceived ina vision by it (the soul) alone while sleeping is remembered after it isblended again (2nakraq8nai/commixta) with the body and is dispersed(diaspar8nai/dispersa) through all the members, it would much moreremember those things with which it lived for so long a time, evenfor the whole period of a past life.

    Irenaeus reference to the mixture of the body and soul occurs inthe midst of his argument against the transmigration of souls.There may, in fact, be two references but the first is uncertain.In the first he challenges the notion that souls do not remember

    60 W. R. Schoedel, Philosophy and Rhetoric in the Adversus Haereses ofIrenaeus, VC 13 (1959), pp. 2232, at 246.

    61 I am not the first to argue that the end of AH 2 reveals Stoic influence.In the middle of the last century, M. Spanneut argued that Irenaeus concep-tion of dreams in AH 2.33.3 is Stoic in origin (Le Stocisme des Pe`res delEglise: De Clement de Rome a` Clement dAlexandre [Paris: Editions duSeuil, 1957], pp. 21617).

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  • events that took place in previous existences by arguing that theadmixture/embracing (admixtio/prosplok1) of the body with thesoul could not remove from the soul the memories and contem-plation about the past. It is unclear whether we should follow theLatin text or the later Greek fragment. If the Latin reflects theprimitive text, then the mixture of the body and soul of which itspeaks fits the Stoic theory of blending. Even so, little else can besaid of this first reference. The second reference, however, ismore informative.

    Irenaeus argues that because a soul remembers the brief hap-penings of a dream once it is blended again with a body, it wouldsurely remember that which happened throughout the wholecourse of a past life when blended with a new body. Of particularinterest are the phrases that describe the reunion of the soul withthe body after the completion of the dream: after it is blendedagain (commixta/2nakraq8nai) with the body and is dispersed (dis-persa/diaspar8nai) through all the members. Two aspects ofthese phrases indicate Irenaeus thought is Stoic in origin.First, a fragment has preserved 2nakerann0w as the term usedto speak of the blending again of the body and the soul. Theverb belongs to the same word family as does kra'si", the tech-nical term for the Stoic theory of blending. Secondly, the notionthat this blending involved the dispersal of the soul through allthe members of the body corresponds to the pervading or mutualcoextension of the active principle through the passive principlethat occurs in blending. Both Alexander of Aphrodisias andArius Didymus use the soul and body as an example of thismutual coextension.62

    These observations establish Irenaeus understanding of theunion of the body and soul in AH 2.33.1 as Stoic in orientation.A few paragraphs later, in AH 2.33.4, he further appropriatesStoic thought:

    For the body is not more powerful than the soul, since indeed fromthat one is (given to the body) breath, and life, and increase, andcohesion, but the soul possesses and rules over the body. It is cer-tainly retarded in its speed, to the degree in which the body

    62 Alexander of Aphrodisias: the soul . . . pervades (di0kein) the whole of thebody while preserving its own substantiality (o2s0an) in the mixture (tI m0xei)with it (for there is nothing in the body possessing the soul that does notpartake (4moiron) of the soul) (Mixt. 4, 217.326); and Arius Didymus: thesouls within us . . . are mutually spread out (2ntiparekte0nousin) along with ourbodies through and through (5di4 7lwn) (fr. 28, Dox. Gr. 463.278; trans.Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, p. 82).

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  • participates in its motion; but it does not lose its own knowledge. Forthe body is like an instrument, whereas the soul stands in the place ofthe reason of the artist. As, therefore, the artist quickly conceives ofthe work in himself, but carries it out slowly by means of an instru-ment because of the immobility of what is being acted on, so too thespeed of the mind having been mixed with the slowness of the in-strument results in a temperate operation. So also the soul by parti-cipating (participans) with its body is hindered to a certain degree, itsspeed being mixed (admixta) with the slowness of the body. Yet itdoes not lose altogether its own powers (suas virtutes): indeed as it issharing (participans) life with the body, it does not itself cease to live.Thus, too, when it is communicating other things to the body, it losesneither the knowledge of them, nor the memory of the things whichhave been considered.

    This pericope does not explicitly refer to the mixture or blendingof the body and soul, but rather speaks of the participation (par-ticipare) of the soul with the body. The language of participation,however, also fits Stoic thought. In the selection from Alexanderof Aphrodisias provided in the note above we see that becausethe soul pervades the entirety of the body, there is nothing inthe body possessing the soul that does not partake (4moiron) ofthe soul.63 The blending of two ingredients results in their par-ticipation with or partaking of each other, just as the soul andbody partake of each other in their union. Moreover, this par-ticipation, as Alexander indicates prior to the sentence justquoted, never jeopardizes the continued existence of the sub-stance and qualities proper to each ingredient. These conceptscome through in Irenaeus description of the mixing of the op-erations of the soul and body. The mixing (admiscere) of therapid operation of the soul with the slower operation of thebody is an aspect of the participation of the soul and body thatresults from their blending. Furthermore, the moderation of thesouls rapidity of operation does not mean that the soul losesaltogether its own powers (suas virtutes), a statement that cor-responds well to the preservation of the qualities proper to con-stituent ingredients in a blend.

    At this point, the fundamental piece of Stoic thought concern-ing the blending of the body and soul that we have not discussedwith regard to Irenaeus is the identification of the soul as a body.The impediment of the souls operation by that of the bodycould, in fact, reflect the conception of the soul as a body. Forthe very idea that the motion or speed of the soul may be subject

    63 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 4, 217.36; see also 3, 217.1013.

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  • to resistance suggests the corporeality of the soul, since resist-ance is typically construed as belonging to the interaction ofmaterial things.64 Other passages, however, more clearly indicatethat Irenaeus thinks of the soul as being corporeal.

    The first two passages I would like to highlight occur in thelatter half of Against Heresies 2. In AH 2.19.6 we read:

    For he (the aeon Saviour) will not have the likeness and appearance(speciem) of angels, but of those souls in whom also he is formed(formatur)just as water when it is poured into a vessel takes theform (formam) of that vessel, and if at some point it should freezein it, it will have the shape (speciem) of the vessel in which it hasfrozensince souls themselves possess the figure (figuram) of the body(in which they dwell), for they themselves have been adapted (adap-tatae sunt) to the vessel, as I have said before.

    Massuet remarked long ago that we may infer from this passagethat Irenaeus believed souls to be corporeal, insofar as they pos-sess a circumscribed figure.65 The same inference may be drawnfrom another passage that occurs towards the end of the book. InAH 2.34.1 Irenaeus argues that the rich man is able to recognizeLazarus and Abraham for several reasons, one of which is thatafter death the soul preserves the figure of the body to which ithad once been adapted.66 This logic follows closely upon thatwhich we saw in AH 2.19.6 and the same inference may bedrawn: the ascription of a circumscribed figure to the soul sug-gests Irenaeus believed the soul to be corporeal.

    Understanding Irenaeus attribution of figure to the soul aspresupposing the corporeality of the soul garners significant

    64 Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, p. 99. Sorabji points out that theresistance that would occur in blending as one body pervades another wouldbe a function of the diVerent densities belonging to the two bodies.

    65 Sancti Irenaei episcopi Lugdunensis et martyris Detectionis et eversionis falsocognominatae agnitionis, ed. R. Massuet (Paris, 1710; repr. PG 7; Paris, 1857),col. 774, n. 34.

    66 AH 2.34.1: souls not only continue to exist . . . but retain the same form(characterem) of the body to which they are adapted (adaptantur), and soulscontinue to exist . . . and have the figure (figuram) of a human being, so thatthey may still be recognized. Grabe directs the reader to Tertullians argu-ment for the corporeality of the soul in On the Soul (de Anima) 7 (SanctiIrenaei episcopi Lugdunensis Contra omnes haereses libri quinque, ed. J. E. Grabe[Oxford: E. Theatro Sheldoniano, 1702], p. 192, n. 2). Interestingly, given hisreading of AH 2.19.6, Massuet argues that Irenaeus does not express an opin-ion like Tertullian, contending that character refers to individual spiritualproperties (PG 7, cols. 8334, n. 93). This interpretation is unconvincing be-cause the passage is speaking of the physical recognition of Lazarus andAbraham by the rich man.

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  • support from a statement he makes earlier in Book 2. In AH2.7.6 Irenaeus defines that which is created in contradistinctionto that which is spiritual:

    those things which are corruptible (corruptibilia), and earthly (terrena),and compound (composita), and transitory (praetereuntia) cannot be theimages of those which according to them are spiritual, unless thesevery things also are admitted to be compound (composita), circum-scribed (circumscriptione), and having a shape (figuratione), and thusno longer spiritual, and diVusive (eVusa),67 and incomprehensible(incomprehensibilia).

    The characteristics ascribed to that which is createdbeing cor-ruptible, earthly, compound, circumscribedindicate that bycreated Irenaeus means material. Included among the charac-teristics that he ascribes to created, material things is figuratio,having a figure or shape. The possession of figure is proper tothat which is material, in contrast to that which is spiritual. Thatbeing the case, Irenaeus ascription of figure (figura) to the soulin AH 2.19.6 and 2.34.1 presupposes the materiality or corpor-eality of the soul.

    The final text that bears on this discussion manifests a strikingsimilarity to Nemesius Nat. 81.61068 insofar as it speaks of thesoul as corporeal while also defining death as the departure orseparation of the soul from the body. In AH 5.7.1 Irenaeuswrites:

    What, then, are mortal bodies? Could they be souls? On the contrary,souls are incorporeal (incorporales) when put in comparison (quantumad comparationem) to mortal bodies (mortalium corporum): for Godbreathed into the face of man the breath of life, and man becamea living soul (Gen 2:7). Now the breath of life is incorporeal (incor-poralis). But neither can they call it mortal, since it is the breath oflife. And for this reason David says, My soul also shall live to Him(Ps 21:30, LXX), as much as its substance is immortal. Neither,though, can they say that the mortal body is spirit. What, then, isthere left to call the mortal body, except that which was formed,that is, the flesh, of which it is also said that God will vivify it? Forthis it is which dies and is decomposed (moritur et solvitur), but notthe soul nor the spirit. For to die is to lose vital capacity, and then tobecome breathless, and inanimate, and devoid of motion, and to dis-solve (deperire) into those [elements] from which one has derived thebeginning of [ones] substance. But this happens neither to the soul,

    67 Following Rousseaus suggestion that eVusa et locupletia appears to be adoublet (SC 293, p. 224).

    68 Quoted in the first section.

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  • for it is the breath of life, nor to the Spirit, for uncompounded(incompositus) and simple (simplex) is the Spirit, which cannot bedecomposed (resolvi) and is itself the life of those who receive it.As it stands, then, death is shown to be a matter of the flesh,which, after the soul has departed, becomes breathless and inanimate,and is decomposed little by little into the earth from which it wastaken. This, then, is what is mortal.

    At first glance one might read this passage as standing againstmy argument for the souls corporeality, for Irenaeus states thatthe breath of lifewhich is the soulis incorporeal (incorpor-alis). Such a reading overlooks, however, the crucial qualificationthat occurs in the previous sentence: souls are incorporeal whenput in comparison to (quantum ad comparationem) mortal bodies.Irenaeus does not think of the incorporeality of the soul abso-lutely but relatively: the soul is incorporeal when compared tothe corporeality of the body.

    The ascription of incorporeality to the soul when considered incomparison to the body suggests that Irenaeus might considerthe soul to be corporeal when compared to something else, suchas the Spirit.69 Just such a comparison may take place a fewsentences later when Irenaeus attributes simplicity to the Spiritbut not the soul, leaving open the possibility that the soul iscomposite. According to Irenaeus, the body is that which diesand is decomposed (moritur et solvitur), not the soul or theSpirit. To die would be to lose vital power, to become breathless,inanimate, devoid of motion, and to dissolve or decompose into athings constituent elements. The soul, as the breath of life,could not be that which dies because it is not subject to theloss of vital power, to becoming breathless, inanimate, anddevoid of motion. Indeed, these are proper to the soul,70

    which bestows them upon the body. The Spirit, as that whichis simple (simplex) and not composite (incompositus), could not bethat which dies because it is not subject to dissolving (deperire)or decomposing (resolvi) into constituent elements. The attribu-tion of simplicity to the Spirit but not the soul is not incidental;

    69 Scholars have disagreed over whether Irenaeus holds a trichotomous ordichotomous anthropology. I have argued elsewhere that Irenaeus holds a di-chotomous anthropology, according to which the human being is composed ofbody and soul. The reference to the Spirit in AH 5.7.1 refers to the receptionof the Holy Spirit by the perfect human being. See Briggman, Irenaeus and theHoly Spirit, pp. 149, 1656, 17381.

    70 Strictly speaking, animation or temporal life is not proper to the soul.The soul possesses life because it has pleased God to bestow life upon thesoul (AH 2.34.4; cf. Briggman, Irenaeus and the Holy Spirit, pp. 16773).

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  • it accords with Irenaeus understanding of the nature of each.Irenaeus regards the nature of the Spirit as being simple and notcomposite, while earlier we read in AH 2.7.6 that created beingsare composite or compound (composita). Irenaeus connects thesetwo statements when, in AH 5.12.2, he says that the Holy Spiritcreates the soul/breath of life.71 Reading these passages togetherallows us to see that the soul, as that which is created, is com-posite, while the Holy Spirit, as the uncreated Creator, is simpleand not composite.72

    It is clear that whether something is simple or composite dif-ferentiates the uncreated from the created, but I would like tosuggest that in Irenaeus mind the degree to which something iscomposite diVerentiates created things from each other.73 Wecould say that the created order is defined by a scale of com-plexity. I believe this understanding explains his ascription ofrelative but not absolute incorporeality to the soul. The soul isincorporeal when compared to the body because it is less com-posite or more simple than the bodythe soul is the breathbreathed by God,74 whereas the body is formed from the dustof the ground.75 DiVerentiating between the complexity of thesoul and body is possible, and only possible, because both thesoul and body are created. Complexity belongs to the createdorder alone. Uncreated divinity, as has just been demonstratedwith regard to the Holy Spirit, is defined by its simplicity. If,then, the soul is incorporeal relative to the body because it is less

    71 AH 5.12.2.72 D. Minns is correct when he writes: In Irenaeus view, only material things are

    made up of bits and pieces. I do not believe, however, that his next sentence rep-resents the thought of Irenaeus: Souls are immaterial and therefore simple: theyhave no parts to come unstuck and therefore they are incorruptiblethey have noinnate capacity for corruption as bodies do (Irenaeus: An Introduction [Washington,DC: Georgetown University Press, 1994; London and New York: T & T Clark,2010 ], p. 95). Not only is it incorrect to think of the soul as immaterial and simple, asI have shown above, but it is also wrong to assert that souls do not have an innatecapacity for corruption, such that they are incorruptible. Incorruptibility, or im-mortality, does not belong to the soul by nature, but comes to human beings whoreceive power or grace from the Holy Spirit (e.g. AH 5.8.12). This is true of Adamand Eve prior to the Fall, who depend upon the power/grace of the Spirit to sustaineternal life, as well as postlapsarian human beings, who depend upon the power/grace of the Spirit to restore eternal life (Briggman, Irenaeus and the Holy Spirit, esp.pp. 16673, 7980).

    73 This reading of Irenaeus also has a basis in Stoic thought, which recog-nized some things to be more material than others. See Sorabji, Matter, Spaceand Motion, p. 116; Sorabji refers to Calcidius, in Tim. ch. 289.

    74 As we have seen, e.g. in AH 5.7.1, which quotes Gen. 2:7.75 E.g. AH 3.21.10.

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  • composite or more simple than the body, then it would makesense for Irenaeus to think of the soul as being corporeal relativeto the Holy Spirit, because the soul is composite whereas theSpirit is simple.

    As I said at the beginning of my discussion of AH 5.7.1, thistext is similar to Nemesius Nat. 81.610 because it speaks of thesoul as corporeal while also defining death as the departure orseparation of the soul from the body.76 Chrysippus explanationthat death is due to the departure of a corporeal soul builds uponthe Platonic understanding that death is the separation of thesoul from the body77 to arrive at the un-Platonic conclusionthat the soul is corporeal. Unlike Chrysippus, Irenaeus doesnot go so far as to say that two objects must be corporeal inorder to conceive of their separation. Nevertheless, Chrysippusexplanation of death as the separation of two corporeal objects,the soul from the body, would seem to fit Irenaeus logic in thispassage.78

    To this point I have shown that Irenaeus recognized mixtureto produce a unified resultant such that what is mixed is unitedthe one to the other (AH 2.17.3). Moreover, Irenaeus concep-tion of the union of the body and soul corresponds to the Stoicunderstanding of the blending of the body and soul, an under-standing that includes the identification of the soul as corporeal.It is clear, then, that Irenaeus incorporates both the languageand the concepts belonging to the Stoic theory of blendinginto his theological account. As we have seen, this appropriationof Stoic theory appears as early as AH 2 and persists at leastthrough the beginning of AH 5. Between these two books, inAH 3 and 4, Irenaeus uses the theory of blending to explain theunion of the divine and human in Christ.

    3.3. Mixture Christology

    For the character of the mixture involved, one would expect orthodoxbelievers in two natures to draw on Stoic, rather than Aristoteliantheory. For the ingredients in a Stoic mixture persist actually, not

    76 AH 5.7.1: As it stands, then, death is shown to be a matter of the flesh,which, after the soul has departed, becomes breathless and inanimate, and isdecomposed little by little into the earth from which it was taken.

    77 Phaedo 64C, 67CD.78 This is not to say that deathand here I am speaking of the loss of

    temporal lifeis simply a mechanistic separation of the soul from the body,for that would neglect the will of God in the bestowal and preservation of thatlife (AH 2.33.4; see also 5.12.2).

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  • potentially, and one can be dominant, as the divine nature was sup-posed to be, without obliterating the other.79

    Several passages in Against Heresies 3 and 4 combine to revealthat Irenaeus utilizes the Stoic theory of blending to explain themanner in which the divine and human are united in Christ andthe manner in which they relate within that union. My approachof proceeding according to the literary chronology of AgainstHeresies will establish the development of Irenaeus thought,and, therefore, the context in which we should read his referencein AH 4.20.4 to the blending (commixtio) of the human anddivine in the christological union.

    The first possible sign in Book 3 of a christological interest inthe Stoic theory of blending occurs in AH 3.16.6:

    they wander from the truth, because their thought departs from him who istruly God, being ignorant that his only-begotten Word, who is alwayspresent with the human race, united to and interspersed in his own forma-tion (unitus et consparsus suo plasmati), according to the pleasure of theFather, and was made flesh, is himself Jesus Christ our Lord . . .

    Previous consideration of this text has been concerned with twoquestions: whether unitus et consparsus suo plasmati refers to theincarnation or the presence of the Word to his creatures, andwhat Greek term lies behind consparsus.

    As to the first, Albert Houssiau questioned whether unitus etconsparsus suo plasmati refers to the incarnation or the creation ofhuman beings. He ultimately decided in favor of the incarnationbut with the reservation that the question is diYcult to settle.80

    Neither J. Armitage Robinson nor Aloys Grillmeier were astroubled over the passage as Houssiau, both reading it as a ref-erence to the incarnation. Robinson compared the text to Prf 40,where Irenaeus writes of the Word: this One came to Judaeaengendered of God by the Holy Spirit, and born of the VirginMary. He observed that the Armenian term ( ) trans-lated as engendered in Prf 40 means sown, and suggested thatAH 3.16.6 also refers to the Word that the Father sows by hisHoly Spirit.81 The fact that Irenaeus argument in 3.16.6 hasnothing to do with the Holy Spirit keeps me from following thataspect of Robinsons argument; on the other hand, his referenceto Prf 40 does reveal that language similar to consparsus has aplace in Irenaeus theology of the incarnation. Grillmeier, for his

    79 Sorabji, Matter, Space and Motion, p. 120.80 Houssiau, Christologie dIrenee, p. 225.81 Robinson, Demonstration, p. 65.

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  • part, classed this phrase among others that reveal the rich lan-guage Irenaeus uses about the union of God and man in theincarnation.82 Though I agree with Houssiau that the placementof the phrase between references to a more general presence ofthe Word to human beings and references to his peculiar pres-ence in the incarnation could bring into question whether thephrase refers to the incarnation, the broader argument of thepassage concerning the unity of Jesus person strongly indicatesthat it has to do with the union of the Word and humanity in theincarnation. The decisiveness of Robinson and Grillmeier areinstructive.

    As for the term that lies behind consparsus, no consensus hasemerged. Suggestions have included pefurme#no",83 sumfuraqe1",84

    and sunesparme#no".85 The first two belong to the same wordfamily and would be translated along the lines of mixed ormingled with and kneaded or blended together. The thirdwould be translated along the lines of interspersed with andits presence would likely entail an allusion to Stoic concept ofl0go" spermatik0". This concept, however, is foreign to Irenaeusthought,86 rendering the originality of sunesparme#no" highlyimprobable.

    Unless we recover the original Greek, no final determinationwill be possible. At the same time it is worth pointing out thatthe meanings of each of these terms are compatible with theStoic theory of blending, with which Irenaeus is familiar atthis point in his writing. When read in the light of the theoryof blending, unitus et consparsus suo plasmati would refer to theunion that results when the Word pervades or extends through-out (conspargere) the created human substance (plasma). Such areading would support Houssiaus insistence that when speaking

    82 Grillmeier, Christ in Christian Tradition, vol. 1, p. 104, n. 230.83 S. Irenaei, ed. Grabe, p. 241, n. 6. Houssiau (Christologie dIrenee, p. 225,

    n. 2) follows Grabe in proposing pefurme#no", contending the Latin, Syriac, andArmenian terms all suggest it.

    84 Rousseau oVers this term in his Greek retroversion (SC 211, p. 313).85 K. Prumm, Gottliche Planung und menschliche Entwicklung nach

    Irenaus Adversus haereses, Scholastik 13 (1938), pp. 20624, 34266, at 343.The possibility of this reading is noted by Grillmeier, Christ in ChristianTradition, vol. 1, p. 104, n. 230, and Houssiau, Christologie dIrenee, p. 225,n. 2.

    86 It seems that Irenaeus modified Justins concept of L0go" spermatik0" inorder to contend that Christ was disseminated in Scripture (J. Behr, Irenaeuson the Word of God, Studia Patristica 36 [2001], pp. 1637, at 164.) See alsoJ. Lashier, The Trinitarian Theology of Irenaeus of Lyons (Ph.D. diss.,Marquette University, 2011), p. 147.

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  • of the union of the Word with his plasma Irenaeus implicitlycompares the unity of Christ to the union of the soul andbody in human beings,87 for he would be thinking of both interms of the Stoic theory of blending.

    If it is correct to read this passage in terms of Stoic mixturetheory, then AH 3.16.6 shows the expansion of Irenaeus use ofthe theory of blending. His initial use of the theory to charac-terize the union of the soul and body at the end of AgainstHeresies 2 has expanded by the middle of Book 3 to include anexplanation of the union of the divine and human in Christ.Whatever the case, AH 3.19.1 does reveal progression inIrenaeus thought, for we find there another development inhis appropriation of mixture languageits use to characterizethe salvific union between God and human beings:

    But, again, those who assert that he is just a mere man who wasbegotten by Joseph remain in the bondage of the old disobedience,and are dying, having not yet been blended (nondum commixti) withthe Word of God the Father, nor receiving liberty through the Son . . .For it was for this reason that the Word of God [was made] man, andhe who is the Son of God was made the Son of man, that man,having been blended (commixtus) with the Word of God, and receiv-ing the adoption, might become the son of God.

    Irenaeus twice uses commiscere with reference to the union be-tween human beings and the Word of God. In the first instancethose who have not yet been blended (nondum commixti) with theWord remain in a state of death, while in the second instancethose who have been blended (commixtus) with the Word becomechildren of God.88

    87 Houssiau, Christologie dIrenee, p. 247; see also p. 205.88 Early commentators upon this text often read or oVered interpretations

    that encouraged reading these words as speaking of the christological union,such as F. Feuardent as quoted in Sancti Irenaei episcopi Lugdunensis Quaesupersunt Omnia, ed. A. Stieren (Leipzig: T. O. Weigel, 1853), vol. 2, p.903; S. Irenaei, ed. Massuet, cols. 93940, n. 55; and Sancti Irenaei episcopiLugdunensis libros quinque adversus haereses, ed. W. W. Harvey (2 vols.;Cambridge, 1857), vol. 2, p. 103, n. 4. The interpretation of these words asreferring to the salvific union began at least as early as Grabes edition (S.Irenaei, p. 249, n. 6), but consensus formed around this interpetation at theturn of the twentieth century with the writings of F. R. M. Hitchcock,Irenaeus of Lugdunum: A Study of his Teaching (Cambridge, 1914; repr.Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2004), p. 136, n. 1; The Treatise of Irenaeusof Lugdunum Against the Heresies (London: S.P.C.K., 1916), vol. 1, p. 133, n.1; and J. A. Robinson, Selected Notes of Dr. Hort on Irenaeus Book III,JTS, OS 33 (1932), pp. 15166, at 162. Years later Houssiau also aYrmed thisreading (Christologie dIrenee, p. 192, n. 3).

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  • The presence of the language of blending or mixture in thistext has been the source of confusion and concern over the years.In fact, Irenaeus mixture language may have been controversialas early as the fifth century. Theodoret of Cyrus quotes the por-tion of this passage containing the second use of commiscere, butthe Greek text he provides, t1n l0gon cwr0sa", does not corres-pond to the Latin commixtus verbo.89 Grabe was the first to oVeran explanation, suggesting that Theodoret altered the Greekword that commixtus is rendering in an eVort to not lend anyencouragement to the proponents of Eutyches Christology.90

    Massuet disagreed, noting that Theodoret recognized thatkra'si" can express a union without confusion (s0gcusi").91 Hethen arrived at a more reserved judgement: Theodoret hadeither worked from memory or used an interpolated text.92

    Whatever the cause of the alterationabout which consensusmay never be possible93Massuets examination led him toidentify the word behind commixtus as either sugkerasqe1" orsugkekrame#no".94 Stieren seems to follow Massuet, listing thesame possibilities.95 Hort believed it was probably sugkeker-asme#noi,96 while Hitchcock maintained it was either sugkraqe0"or sugkekrame#no".97 More recently, Rousseau gives the originalas sugkraqe0".98 Whatever the particular form of the verb, allagree that the original term Irenaeus used belongs to the same

    89 Theodoret of Cyrus, Eranistes, 1, Flor. 1, ed. G. H. Ettlinger (Oxford:Clarendon Press, 1975), p. 98, line 20.

    90 S. Irenaei, ed. Grabe, p. 249, n. 6. Feuardent seems to have been the firstto notice the contrast between Theodorets Greek and the Latin text ofIrenaeus (as quoted by Stieren in S. Irenaei, vol. 2, p. 903). Grabes explan-ation for the contrast builds upon Feuardents earlier note.

    91 Of particular interest to this study is the fact that Massuet never connectshis observations with regard to Theodorets understanding of kra'si" to theStoic theory of blending.

    92 S. Irenaei, ed. Massuet, cols. 93940, n. 55. Grabe, too, admits the pos-sibility that Theodoret was working from memory but quickly turns to hissuggestion of Theodorets polemical alteration of the text behind commixtus(S. Irenaei, p. 249, n. 6).

    93 The debate continued over a century later in Harvey (S. Irenaei, vol. 2, p.102, n. 5), Hitchcock (Irenaeus of Lugdunum, p. 136, n. 1), P. Nautin (LeDossier dHippolyte et de Meliton dans les florile`ges dogmatiques et chez les his-toriens modernes [Patristica, 1; Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 1953], pp. 2931),and Houssiau (Christologie dIrenee, p. 192, n. 3).

    94 S. Irenaei, ed. Massuet, col. 939, n. 55.95 S. Irenaei, ed. Stieren, vol. 1, p. 525, n. 2.96 Robinson, Notes of Hort on Irenaeus, p. 162. Horts suggestion is

    printed beside commixti Verbo.97 Hitchcock, Irenaeus of Lugdunum, p. 136, n. 1.98 Rousseau, SC 210, p. 343.

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  • word family as does kra'si",99 the technical term for the Stoictheory of blending.100

    Irenaeus discussion of the union between God and humanbeings continues at the end of AH 3.19.1, where he bases thebenefits of the salvific union upon the attainments of the chris-tological union. He writes:

    For by no other way could we have received incorruptibility andimmortality, except by having been united (aduniti) to incorruptibilityand immortality. But how could we be united (adunari possemus) toincorruptibility and immortality, unless, first, incorruptibility and im-mortality had become that which we also are, so that the corruptiblemight be absorbed (absorberetur) by incorruptibility, and the mortal byimmortality, that we might receive (perciperemus) the adoption of sons?

    The union (adunare) to which Irenaeus refers here is the blend-ing (commiscere) of the Word and human beings of which hespoke in the first part of AH 3.19.1. We have cause, then, toutilize Stoic mixture theory as an interpretative lens when con-sidering this discussion of the salvific union. Two features ofStoic thought are relevant to the interpretation of this text.First, as I have mentioned, the constituent ingredients in ablend preserve the substances and qualities proper to them.101

    The union, then, between human beings and the divine Worddoes not jeopardize their distinction; they remain diVerent inkind, and, therefore, always distinguishable even whenunited.102 Second, blending is designed to explain how theactive principle (God/Pneuma/Logos) and the passive principlerelate to each other.103 The absorption of the corruptibility andmortality of post-lapsarian human beings by the incorruptibilityand immortality of the divine Word should be recognized as theaction of the divine Word upon the passive human being withwhom it is blended.

    99 Harvey is the sole exception (S. Irenaei, vol. 2, p. 102, n. 5), preferringthe Greek given by Theodoret, but his reasoning seems to be driven by histheological predetermination that commixtus is inadmissable.

    100 This would also hold for the term behind the earlier use of commiscere inthis passage, since the second usage builds on the first.

    101 E.g. Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 3, 21417.102 Irenaeus is ever concerned to maintain a distinction between the uncre-

    ated God and created beings. In AH 4.38.1, 3 believers, as created beings,grow increasingly perfect, ever closer to the nature of God, but never arriving,always limited to an approximation of God, the uncreated One, the perfectOne (Briggman, Irenaeus and the Holy Spirit, pp. 1789).

    103 Alex. Aphrod., Mixt. 3, 216.1417; Diogenes Laertius, Lives 7.1346.

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  • These two points combine to yield the understanding that theabsorption of corruptibility and mortality by incorruptibility andimmortality does not involve the diminution or transformation ofthe substance or qualities of the human being. This corresponds,for instance, to Irenaeus conception of temporal life and eternallife as two modalities of the one physical or biological life ofhuman beings. The union of human beings with the incarnateWord through the Holy Spirit involves the bestowal of additionalgrace or power upon the believer, resulting in the modulation oftemporal life to eternal life. The eternal life of the believer,characterized by incorruptibility and immortality, is not diVerentin kind from temporal life, characterized by corruptibility andmortality, but diVerent in strength or order. There is always oneand the same human life, capable of modulation, but everhuman.104

    The Stoic conception of the relationship between the activeprinciple and passive principle can be recognized not only inaspects of Irenaeus conception of the relationship betweenGod and human beings, but also in the relationship betweenthe divine and human in the person of Christ. Just a paragraphor two later, in AH 3.19.3, Irenaeus writes:

    For just as he was man so that he might be tempted, so also was hethe Word so that he might be glorified: the Word remaining quiescent(requiescente/3suc0zonto"), that he might be capable of being tempted,dishonoured, crucified, and of suVering death, but the human nature(homine) being absorbed (absorto)105 in it, when he was conquering,

    104 Briggman, Irenaeus and the Holy Spirit, esp. pp. 16673.105 Theodoret (Eranistes, 3, Flor. 3, ed. Ettlinger, p. 230, line 13) has suggi-

    nome#nou. Theodorets text is followed by Grabe (S. Irenaei, p. 250, n. a),Massuet (S. Irenaei, col. 941, n. 64), and F. Loofs, who suggests the Latintranslator altered the text (Theophilus von Antiochien Adversus Marcionem unddie anderen theologischen Quellen bei Irenaeus [TU 46.2; Leipzig: J. C. HinrichsBuchhandlung, 1930], p. 91, n. 1). The Latin is held to be correct by Stierenon the basis of internal textual comparison (S. Irenaei, vol. 1, p. 526, n. 6),and Harvey on the basis of sense (S. Irenaei, vol. 2, p. 104, n. 6). Houssiaufollows the Latin, which he sees as translating katapoqe#nto", on the basis ofinternal textual comparison and Theodorets tendency to correct passages thatmay be read as a challenge to diophysite Christology (Christologie dIrenee, pp.1923). According to Rousseau, sugginome#nou makes little sense and is withoutdoubt an accidental corruption of katapinome#nou, which is well supported bycomparison with other passages in Irenaeus (SC 210, p. 344). It is diYcult forme to see how such a corruption could be accidental; it makes more sense forthe alteration to be the result of Theodorets polemic, as Houssiau has sug-gested. As for the particular form of katap0nw, the present tense (katapinome#nou)forms a grammatical parallel with 3suc0zonto" and suits the relational dynamicunder discussion better than the aorist (katapoqe#nto").

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  • and enduring (suVering), and performing acts of kindness, and roseagain, and was taken up (into heaven). This one, therefore, the Son ofGod, our Lord, being the Word of the Father, and the Son of man,because from Marywho was descended from human beings and whowas herself a human beinghe has received a generation proper to ahuman being, and was made the Son of man.

    Irenaeus takes but a moment to aYrm the necessity of both thehuman and divine natures to the existence of the incarnateWord;106 he then moves to his primary concern of explaininghow the human and divine exist as one.107 Previous scholarshave disregarded the straightforward reading of this text as refer-ring to a dynamic involving the divine and human natures ofJesus. According to Loofs the dynamic expressed by the terms3suc0zwn and sugginome#no"108 does not indicate a natural union(5 nwsi" fusik0) but an energetic (energetische) union betweenthe Word and his humanity.109 Sagnard maintains that the titlesSon of God and Son of man indicate that the union takes placeat a personal rather than natural level.110 Houssiau andRousseau, for their part, believed that 3suc0zwn and katapi-nome#no"111 refer to a dynamic interaction of the qualities belong-ing to the human and divine natures.112

    A straightforward reading of this passage, however, under-stands 3suc0zwn and katapinome#no" to describe an interactionthat takes place within the christological union at the level ofthe two natures: it is the divine Word who remains quiescent(3suc0zonto" toA L0gou) and his humanity that is absorbed orswallowed up by the Word (katapinome#nou toA 2nqr0pou). This

    106 Rousseau provides a succinct explanation of the first line of this text inSC 210, p. 344.

    107 This discussion is an aspect of Irenaeus argument for identifying Jesusas the Godman, an argument that occupies all of AH 3.19.

    108 Loofs follows Theodorets text; see n. 105.109 Loofs, Theophilus von Antiochien, p. 91.110 Irenee de Lyon: Contre les Heresies, ed. F. Sagnard (Sources Chretiennes

    34; Paris: Les Editions du Cerf, 1952), p. 337, n. 1. The simple distinctionbetween a personal and natural union does not fit Irenaeus thought.Hitchcock was correct long ago to say: Irenaeus does not represent theWord or Son of God as taking a second Personality, but a second Nature toHimself. His manhood had no personality of its own (Irenaeus of Lugdunum,pp. 1545). This taking of human substance by the Word/Son involves a unionof the divine and human natures or substances.

    111 Houssiau and Rousseau follow the Latin text; see n. 105.112 Rousseau, SC 210, pp. 3445; Houssiau, Christologie dIrenee, pp. 1915.

    Houssiau goes so far as to suggest that Irenaeus is not here concerned withthe union between the Word and his humanity, but just two momentsglori-ous and ingloriousin the life of Christ (p. 195, n. 2).

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  • interaction is dynamic and according to Irenaeus explains howthe two realities of Jesus are able to exist as one. The Wordremains quiescent when it is necessary for Jesus to take part incertain activities or experiences (being tempted, dishonoured,crucified, suVering death), and the Word absorbs or swallowsup his human nature when it is necessary for Jesus to takepart in others (conquering, enduring, performing acts of kind-ness, rising again, being taken up into heaven).

    A cogent interpretation of this passage, then, must explain thisdynamic interaction in terms of Christs human and divine na-tures. It must also account for a particular aspect of Irenaeuslogic that is fundamental to his conception of this dynamic inter-action. According to Irenaeus, the Word alone is the subject ofthe activity that determines the relationship between the humanand divine in the christological union. This restriction of activityto the Word is evident in the grammatical construction of thetext. The active participle 3suc0zonto" indicates the Word is theagent of activity when it comes to remaining quiescent, and thepassive participle katapinome#nou, the term likely behind absorto,113

    indicates that the Word is once again the agent of activity whenit comes to absorbing or swallowing up his humanity.114 TheWord remains quiescent and the Word absorbs or swallows uphis humanityhis humanity does not act upon the Word.115

    In so saying, Irenaeus is not aYrming the one reality of theincarnate Word by identifying the Word as the subject of every

    113 Some texts, including the 1526 editio princeps of Erasmus, have absorpto(see S. Irenaei, ed. Grabe, p. 250, n. a).

    114 Wolfson points out that katap0nw plays an important ro