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Irenaeus of Lyons and the Theology of the Holy Spirit$
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Anthony Briggman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199641536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199641536.001.0001

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His Hand and Wisdom

His Hand and Wisdom

(p.104) 5 His Hand and Wisdom
Irenaeus of Lyons and the Theology of the Holy Spirit

Anthony Briggman

Oxford University Press

Chapter 5 details two central and distinctive aspects of Irenaeus’ theology of the Holy Spirit emphasized in Against Heresies 4: the identification of the Spirit as one of the Hands of God and as Wisdom. Both of these identifications fall into the larger category of the Spirit as Creator tradition, for in each case the identification indicates a particular role in creation. As a Hand of God, the Spirit is involved in the formation of Adam. As Wisdom, the Spirit is responsible for the harmonious character of creation as a whole. Irenaeus’ attribution of creative activity to the Spirit is the most important aspect of his pneumatology: it secures the divinity of the Holy Spirit because the work of creation belongs to God alone, while also distinguishing the identity of the Holy Spirit from the Father and Son. Finally, the influence of Theophilus of Antioch factors in the discussion of this chapter, for it argues that To Autolycus is the source of the Hands imagery in Irenaeus, but not the source of his identification of the Spirit as Wisdom.

Keywords:   Holy Spirit, Hands of God, Wisdom, Spirit as Creator, harmony of creation, divinity of the Holy Spirit, distinction of the Holy Spirit, Theophilus of Antioch

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