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Irenaeus and the Pax Romana

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Chapter Summary

Irenaeus lived in the period of Roman history that could be generally described with the title "la Paix romaine". Irenaeus gives the mention of the "Pax Romana" as if in passing in an odd context where it might not be expected. Cadoux brought together these words that formed starting-point in his still valuable book, The Early Church and the World, under the main idea: "Christians recognized their indebtedness to the Empire for the blessings of peace". That can indeed be read out of this text, but it is only one and certainly not the most important aspect of the matter for Irenaeus. The "Pax Romana" is not a laudable goal in itself but a pleasant side-effect. These are not the words of the church leader who feels at home and happy in the Imperium, but one who is conscious of living in the Interim.

Keywords: Cadoux; Christians; Imperium; Irenaeus; Pax Romana; The Early Church and the World

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