>   books  >   en  >   ecf  >   201  >   books  >   en  >   ecf  >   201

Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, Ser. II, Vol I:
The Church History of Eusebius.: Chapter XXVI

Early Church Fathers  Index     

Chapter XXVI.—The Elegant Works of Irenæus which have come down to us.

Besides the works and letters of Irenæus which we have mentioned, 1722 a certain book of his On Knowledge, written against the Greeks, 1723 very concise and remarkably forcible, is extant; and another, which he dedicated to a brother Marcian, In Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching; 1724 and a volume containing various Dissertations, 1725 in which he mentions the Epistle to the Hebrews and the so-called Wisdom of Solomon, making p. 245 quotations from them. These are the works of Irenæus which have come to our knowledge.

Commodus having ended his reign after thirteen years, Severus became emperor in less than six months after his death, Pertinax having reigned during the intervening time. 1726



For a general summary of the works of Irenæus mentioned by Eusebius, see Bk. IV. chap. 21, note 9.


πρὸς ῞Ελληνας λόγοςπερὶ ἐπιστήμης. Jerome (de vir. ill. 35) makes two works out of this: one Against the Gentiles, and another On Knowledge (et contra Gentes volumen breve, et de disciplina aliud). Harvey (I. p. clxvi.) states that one of the Syriac fragments of Irenæus’ works mentions the work of Eusebius On Knowledge, and specifies that it was directed against the Valentinians. In that case it would be necessary to make two separate works, as Jerome does, and so Harvey thinks that the text of Eusebius must be amended by the insertion of an λλος τε. Unfortunately, Harvey did not name the Syriac fragment which contains the statement referred to, and it is not to be found among those collected in his edition (Venables, in Smith and Wace, states that he could find no such fragment, and I have also searched in vain for it). Evidently some blunder has been committed, and it looks as if Harvey’s statement were unverifiable. Meanwhile, Jerome’s testimony alone is certainly not enough to warrant an emendation of the text in opposition to all the mss. and versions. We must therefore conclude, with our present light, that the treatise περὶ ἐπιστήμης was directed against the Greeks, as Eusebius says. The work has entirely perished, with the possible exception of a single brief fragment (the first of the Pfaffian fragments; Gr. Frag. XXXV. in Harvey’s edition), which Harvey refers to it.


εἰς ἐπίδειξιν τοῦ ἀποστολικοῦ κηρύγματος. This work, too, has perished, though possibly a few of the fragments published by Harvey are to be referred to it (see Harvey, I. p. clxvii.). Harvey conjectures that the work discussed the articles of the early Rule of faith, which is quite possible. Of the “brother Marcian” to whom it was addressed, we know nothing.


βίβλιον τι διαλέξεων διαφόρων. This work (no longer extant) was probably, as Harvey remarks, “a collection of sermons and expositions of various texts and passages of Scripture.” To it are undoubtedly to be referred a great many of the fragments in which passages of Scripture are discussed (see Harvey, I. p. clxvii.).


Commodus was strangled on the 31st of December, 192, and Pertinax, who immediately succeeded him, was murdered, on March 28, 193, by the Prætorian guard, which then sold the imperial power to Didius Julianus, who, at the approach of Septimius Severus, who had been proclaimed emperor by the Pannonian legions, was declared a public enemy by the Senate, and beheaded after a reign of only sixty-six days.

Next: Chapter XXVII