Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Sacred Theology (STM)


Exegetical Theology

First Advisor

Jeffrey Kloha

Scripture References in this Resource

John 1:18; Exodus 33:20-22; John 1:1-18; John 11:48; John 2:21; Luke 13:16; Luke 14:27; Mark 1:2; Mark 13:32; Matthew 10:17; Matthew 11:28; Matthew 23:34; Matthew 3:16; Revelation 22:19


This thesis will explore Irenaeus' citation of New Testament texts containing Christological titles, in order to determine their worth for New Testament textual criticism. The critical apparatus of NA lists Irenaeus as citing John 1:18, as well as other passages, in more than one way. Did Irenaeus carelessly quote Sacred Scripture? Was he motivated by his theological polemics against the Gnostics to intentionally alter the text of Sacred Scripture? The history of textual criticism and its use of church fathers has only listed Irenaeus' citations without giving any explanation for how he could cite the same verse in multiple ways. A fresh examination of the evidence will be made by collating Irenaeus' citations from the Gospel of John which contain Christological titles. Then, by exploring Irenaeus' general use of such titles in his theological polemic, the context in which each citation is found, and his own discussion of textual variants he knew of at the time, we will be able to understand the variants in Irenaeus’ citations. I will argue that Irenaeus intentionally altered the text of John 1:18 in order to guard against a gnosticizing interpretation of the text. With this conclusion, I will argue that Irenaeus’ various citations of John 1:18 have no place in the critical apparatus of a Greek NT. Although Irenaeus made such reverential alterations of the text, he by no means saw the text as a waxen nose to be manipulated at will but used the authoritative text of Scripture within the bounds of the creeds of the Church.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.