Irenaeus introduces readers to the critical issues in reading the works of Irenaeus of Lyons (c. 130-200), known as 'the first great Catholic theologian'.Fully revised and with significant additions this book is the standard introduction to the theology of Irenaeus. Readers will find it comprehensive, informative, lucid, and elegantly written. It is chiefly aimed at those approaching him for the first time, but it is based on the most recent scholarship and provides much help for those who wish to work with Irenaeus at a more advanced level.
As this book explains, the description of Irenaeus "as teh first great Catholic theologian" is apt, since the Christianity represented by Irenaeus is recognizably that of the later developing Catholic Church, though it remained nascent during Irenaeus' life. The thought of Irenaeus represents an important stage in the development of Christian orthodoxy. Denis Minns explains why Irenaeus, the 2nd-century theologian, deserves his place in history. He explains why, though unfamiliar in its primitiveness, the Christianity represented by Irenaeus is recognizably that of the Catholic Church. Minns takes account of the recent scholarly work on Irenaeus and his period which has been done in recent years, but this book is principally an introduction to the problems of reading him. It is aimed mainly at those approaching Irenaeus for the first time.