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Title: On the ontological status of the apostolic writings according to Irenaeus : a re-evaluation of the consensus view
Author: Laing, Keneth R.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 7274
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 2018
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This thesis sets out a new interpretation of Irenaeus' understanding of the nature and basis of authority of the apostolic writings, on the basis of his theology of revelation. In Part One, the traditional interpretation of Irenaeus' view of the apostolic writings as scripture equivalent to the Jewish scriptures is refuted through an extended evaluation of its three substantiating arguments. This evaluation finds that Irenaeus reserves the use of grafhv as a scriptural title exclusively for the Jewish scriptures, that his use of the apostolic writings as the testimony of authoritative authors differs significantly from his use of the Jewish scriptures as an inherently authoritative scriptural text, and that the evident equivalence of authority between the apostolic writings and the Jewish scriptures does not entail equivalent scriptural status. These findings lead to the conclusion that the traditional interpretation cannot sustain its argument. In Part Two, an alternative account of the place of the apostolic writings in Irenaeus' thought is advanced. It is contended that rather than being conceived as scripture, the apostolic writings constitute the written record of the apostolic tradition and the primary means of accessing its content, deriving their unique revelatory authority on the basis of apostolic origin. Apostolicity, not inspiration, accounts for the unique revelatory authority of the apostolic writings. An investigation of Irenaeus' understanding of the Word as Revealer of the Father reveals that apostolicity functions as a second category of unique revelatory authority (alongside yet distinct from the scriptures) on the basis of the apostles' unparalleled relationship to Jesus Christ, the consummation of the Word's revelation. In this way the apostolic writings possess the ontological status of authoritative written record of the divinely sanctioned mediation of the Word's consummate revelation to humanity.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Aberdeen
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available