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Who Is The Demiurge? Irenaeus' Picture Of God In Adversus Haereses 2

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Chapter Summary

If, as the original title of Adversus haereses asserts, the teaching of Irenaeus' Valentinian opponents was a ?knowledge" that was ?falsely called so," it seems to follow that there must be a true knowledge; and this Irenaeus firmly believed. The real God, then, Irenaeus thinks, is the one whose role in the elaborate Ptolemaean myth of fall and redemption is that of the Demiurge- the ?Artisan" of Genesis 1. Irenaeus wants to argue that attribution of the visible world's creation to lower, intermediary beings does not exempt the ultimate God from responsibility for the defects of the perceptible kosmos. Irenaeus, then, would no doubt have agreed with Philo, who characterizes God as ?transcending virtue, transcending knowledge, transcending the good itself and the beautiful itself." Now Irenaeus, like Philo, is perfectly at home with the language of birth and of emanation.

Keywords: Adversus haereses; Demiurge; God; Irenaeus; Philo; Valentinian system



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