Showing posts from March 27, 2011

Apostolic Succession & Irenaeus

A friend asked about St. Irenaeus & his position of apostolic success. Below is my reply to his last 3 questions (with some very short changes).

With regard to #3: I don't think Irenaeus had any idea things would last as long as they have. Therefore his notion of apostolic succession (AS) was really more immediate. The Gnostics held a position of AS, that the apostles passed on esoteric teachings by tradition (word of mouth). So he seems to posit the idea of an orthodox AS for polemical purposes, thus a more immediate, short-term approach. So I think your 3rd question is porbably accurate.

On the 4th question, I do believe that 2 Timothy 2.2 speaks to it (apostolic succesion). Apostle Paul to Timothy to qualified men to 4th generation of qualified men. What he wants passed on is the "pattern of sound words" (hypotuposin hygianonton logon) that was taught before many witnesses (1.13). Based on Irenaeus's book "Demonstration of Apostolic Preach…