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Irenaeus and the Gnostics on 1 Corinthians 15:53-54

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April 2005

“Gnostic Christians can read Paul as a gnostic and his letters as primary sources of gnostic theology,” so writes Elaine Pagels in a response to the general assumption that Paul exhibits an anti-gnostic polemic.1 In this article, Pagels primarily defends the Valentinian gnostic exegetes by considering their interpretations not in opposition to Paul, but simply a legitimate Christian rendering of Pauline texts. Her reaction presents what have become new dilemmas for traditional Christian exegetes. Interpretative issues that were once considered settled are now resurfacing and forcing Christians back to the text. Therefore, Irenaeus’ response to the various gnostic sects of his day offers to the present-day community of faith a thoughtful Christian response to these exegetical predicaments. One such passage, to which numerous gnostic authors appeal in the various texts of the Nag Hammadi collection, is 1 Corinthians 15:53-54, which reads, “For the perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, ‘death is swallowed up in victory.’” This paper, therefore, will juxtapose an interpretation of this passage expounded from its uses within in the Nag Hammadi library, with Irenaeus’ interpretation as presented in Adversus Haereses. Though both Irenaeus and the various gnostic authors are turning to the same Biblical text, they supply diametrically opposed interpretations. On one hand, the various gnostic redemptive figures endeavor to remove all physicality, while Irenaeus confesses that the immortal Christ assumed corporeality. Furthermore, gnostic authors teach that immortality requires the removal of flesh, while Irenaeus affirms that immortality improves the flesh. Finally, the gnostics understand immortality as realized in the present, while Irenaeus believes immortality to be a consummative futuristic event.

The Gnostics and 1 Corinthians 15:53-54

In the month of December 1945, in the region of Upper Egypt, two brothers, Muhammad and Khalifah Ali, stumbled upon several slightly buried clay pots, which they had hoped would contain significant treasures of gold and jewels. Much to their dismay, what they discovered was in fact a collection of ancient gnostic manuscripts now considered the Nag Hammadi library. However, since its discovery, numerous scholars have deemed this finding a considerable fortune and have become increasingly fascinated with the interpretative creativity that the gnostic authors demonstrate, especially when reading the Biblical texts. Consistently, the writers of the various gnostic tractates employ Scripture to expound their complex theologies. There is consensus that 1 Cor. 15:53-54 is specifically is cited in at least six respective instances in four different manuscripts.2 Appealing to this passage, the gnostic authors assert that their individual redemptive figures assumed corruption at incarnation, at least in appearance, only to remove it at their resurrection. Likewise the gnostics hope for their own resurrection, which will ultimately remove the restrictive grip of the corrupt physical realm and allow them to ascend as immortal and imperishable to their heavenly home. Finally, the gnostic exegetes do not believe that the teaching of 1 Cor. 15 is an exclusively futuristic hope, but that resurrection and imperishability are both realized in the here and now.

Imperishability and the Gnostic Redemptive Figures

Informed by 1 Cor. 15:53-54, several Nag Hammadi Codices demonstrate a distinct relationship between imperishability and a redemptive figure. One aspect of this relationship correlates to both the portrayal and motivation behind the redemptive figure’s descent from the Pleroma, which is the gnostic heavenly world, into the cosmos below. For example, The Second Apocalypse of James describes the coming of Jesus as passing “through the [worlds],” that is from the imperishable Pleroma above to the created perishable world below.3 Traversing into the created order necessitated the stripping off the Pleroma and becoming enclosed with in that which is “perishable.”4 Several fragmented lines disturb the overall context, but these expressions seem to clearly indicate that the perishability Jesus received at the incarnation is subsequently removed through death and resurrection, since he would be “brought up into imperishability.”5 Scholars are unable to determine from which school of Gnosticism The Second Apocalypse of James develops, which leads Brown and others to assert that this document simply reflects “‘general’ Gnostic thought.”6 In addition, the author of The Treatise on the Resurrection proclaims to his disciple Rheginos a twofold impetus for the incarnation, which is on one hand to “vanquish death” and on the other “the restoration of the Pleroma.”7 This restoration occurs by returning what is imperishable back to its rightful home in the Pleroma. So, for the gnostic, the incarnation of the redemptive figure transpired by putting on perishability only to subsequently remove it at the resurrection and for the purpose of restoring what is imperishable back to its proper place.

The redemptive figure also models for the rest of the gnostic community the subjugation of death and spurning of the corruptible world. The Gospel of Truth inserts the 1 Cor. passage in the milieu of Christ performing the eschatological act of “stripping” off his corporeality, also called “perishable rags,” and subsequently clothing himself in immortality.8 The clothing imagery, such as “life eternal clothes him,” “stripped,” and “rags,” must be intentional. These metaphors conjure up a dramatic changing-room scene where the redemptive figure, in this case Christ, enters the dressing room, removes his exterior perishable clothing, and outfits himself with immortal garments.9 Similarly, The Treatise on the Resurrection describes the Savior as having simultaneously “swallowed up death” and “put aside the world, which is perishing.”10 This resurrection is “not the resuscitation of the flesh but the ascent out of the flesh to the fullness of God.” 11 Ultimately, as Attridge acknowledges, this language seems to support a docetic Christology.12 Admittingly, the specific details of to the dynamic perishable and imperishable imagery used in the Gospel of Truth and the Treatise on the Resurrection are somewhat dissimilar. The former describes something of a human housing exchange that is the perishable for the imperishable, while the latter delineates more of an escape from a cocoon-like fleshy perishable casing. However, the common theme between both gnostic renderings of this text is the repulsion and rejection of all physicality.

Having successfully cast off corporeality, the gnostic redemptive figures also function in teaching and drawing to himself the pneumatics, or those who have the true spiritual knowledge. Again, The Treatise on the Resurrection describes how the Savior “transformed [himself] into an imperishable Aeon and raised himself up, having swallowed the visible by the invisible, he gave us the way of our immortality.”13 The expression “way of immortality” is found in a variety of gnostic manuscripts, indicating “the means by which the pneumatic self attains salvation.”14 For the gnostic, the dispersion of this teaching is imperative, because as Pagels asserts, “Nothing that comes from the demiurge, can enter into the kingdom of God the Father.”15 The second citation in The Treatise on the Resurrection is amid the author’s visual description of the pneumatics’ resurrection. The imagery conjures up a scene of a “setting” sun, which is allegorized as death, followed by the pneumatics being “drawn to heaven by him, like beams by the sun, not being restrained by anything.”16 The concluding statement, describing the removal of restraint, alludes to the casting aside of the world so that it ceases its restrictive grip on the pneumatics. The author of this treatise concludes this depiction of the resurrection by quoting an interpretative version of 1 Cor. 15:54, “this is the spiritual resurrection which swallows up the psychic in the same way as the fleshy.”17 Noting the diversion from the Biblical text, which has “death” being swallowed up, Peel understands the swallowing of the “psychic” and “fleshy” as “modes of the resurrection which are destroyed” by the spiritual resurrection.18 The obvious implication, in light of the 1 Cor. verses, is that the gnostic redemptive figure draws only the pneumatics toward immortality, while those resurrected as fleshy and psychic face annihilation.

Imperishability and the Physical Realm

Similar to the discussion of the incarnation, 1 Cor. 15:53-54 is employed in the various gnostic writings to controvert the corporeal nature of humanity. Again, The Second Apocalypse of James confirms with The Gospel of Philip that physicality, even upon a redemptive figure, is corrupt and cast aside in order to achieve incorruption.19 This dualistic view of humanity generates a perspective where “the body of flesh is only a temporary housing, left behind when the soul ascends to God at death.”20 Or as Williams acknowledges “the human self is quite completely distinguished from the physical body and ultimately must be rescued from it.”21 To be sure, The Treatise on the Resurrection states just prior to its final quotation of 1 Cor., “indeed, the visible members which are dead shall not be saved, for (only) the living [members] which exist within them would arise.”22 Thus, the corporeal aspect of humanity is intrinsically corrupt and exhibits no capability for incorruption.

Not only is human physicality corrupt, but the entire cosmos as well. The Gospel of Philip, a rather disjointed and “eccentrically arranged” text, makes use of one allusion to 1 Cor. 15.23 The author proclaims, “The world came about through a mistake,” which clearly communicates the creator’s intentions and attitude toward his own creation.24 The writer continues apologetically, “he who created it wanted to create it imperishable and immortal,” but unfortunately “fell short of attaining his desire.”25 The Treatise on the Resurrection corroborates with the rousing proclamation, “The world is an allusion!”26 Therefore, the various gnostic authors reference 1 Cor. passage at hand to explicate the belief that the human body and the cosmos are both perishable with no hope for contrary.

Imperishability in Redemptive History

In a final section on the Nag Hammadi and its relation to 1 Cor.15:53-54, the various gnostic theologians appeal to this verse in order to defend a realized view of the resurrection. In other words, imperishability is available to the gnostic in the here and now. Informed by the 1 Cor. verses, The Treatise on the Resurrection describes the resurrection as “imperishability [descends] upon the perishable; the light flows down upon the darkness, swallowing it up; and the Pleroma fills up the deficiency.”27 Attridge describes this scene as a “heavenly, spiritual, resurrection ‘flesh’ which replaces the corruptible, decaying flesh of this earthly body.”28 This exchange of flesh or transformation, in the context of the 1 Cor.15 passage, seems to be best understood as “migration.”29 To specifically correlate this rendering to redemptive history, the author of The Treatise on the Resurrection does not consider this “migration” or “transformation” to incorruption as exclusively a future postmortem experience, but proclaims to his disciple, “already you have the resurrection.”30 Attridge and Layton agree that this statement must be held in tension with the notion that incorruption is not fully realized until the physical realm is finally discarded and the incorrupt realities are released to ascend back to the Pleroma. In light of this already/not yet tension, Peel also asserts that the author of this treatise “explicitly emphasizes the already of both the believer’s death and resurrection” while he also acknowledges that a final physical death has yet to occur.31 Although for Pagels, “Valentinian exegetes resolve what we have come to call the ‘Pauline sense of paradox.’”32 She nuances the already/not yet tension by identifying Paul’s future resurrection statements with the psychics specifically who fail to realize, like the pneumatics, that incorruption is presently available. These observations are also substantiated by a passage in The Gospel of Philip that employs a metaphorical portrayal of God as a dyer, which also happens to be an allusion to the gnostic baptismal rite.33 When God dips certain individuals into his colored immortal dye, “they become immortal by means of his colors.”34 As Olsen affirms, speaking of Valentinian sects specifically, gnostics should not hope for a future eschatological experience where their bodies are raised, but must realize that “resurrection is available to them here and now through the Valentinian sacramental rites.”35 All in all, what is consistent from both the commentator’s analysis and the primary source material is a reading of 1 Cor. 15:53-54 that affirms a realized view of the resurrection and ultimately imperishability for the gnostic believer in the present.

Irenaeus and 1 Corinthians 15:53-54

A simple cursory reading of Adversus Haereses reveals Irenaeus’ love and reverence for the Scriptures.36 He hardly composes a few lines without quoting or alluding to the text. Irenaeus makes explicit mention of 1 Cor. 15:53-54 at least thirteen times and uses the language of “incorruption” frequently throughout the entirety of Adversus Haereses. 37 The first citation of the 1 Cor. verses occurs toward the conclusion of Book I chapter ten. This chapter is specifically renowned for containing one careful articulation of Irenaeus’ Rule of Faith and the general tenor of this chapter centers on the notion of finding unity in Christian teaching. 38 In the view of Irenaeus, the gnostics sects are imposing diversity into Christian orthodoxy that will ultimately subvert the unity of the church. That Irenaeus takes time in this chapter to specifically quote the 1 Cor. verses testifies, at least in part, to the importance of this verse within the general gnostic-Christian dialogue. Irenaeus’ interpretation of this passage differs sharply from what has been previously shown in the Nag Hammadi library. He affirms that the incarnation entailed that Christ actually assumed physicality, which connects the incorruptibility of God to humanity. Irenaeus also maintains that this mortal flesh is the very same flesh raised and purified to incorruption, which demonstrates God’s power and should enkindle greater love for Him on behalf of His creatures. Finally, incorruptibility should be viewed primarily as a futuristic event, although the present life is to a struggle towards that end that culminates in admittance to the presence of God.

Imperishability and the Work of Christ

For Irenaeus, the physical aspect of Christ’s incarnation is the vital nexus linking man and God and consequently passing incorruption from God to man. Irenaeus asks the incisive question, “How could we be joined to incorruptibility and immortality, unless, first, incorruptibility and immortality has become that which we also are.”39 For Irenaeus this also implies as well that the incarnation of Christ necessities him actually possessing physicality for his death to be effectual. For He could not redeem man “by his own blood, if He did not really become man.”40 Therefore, the incorruption and immortality of believers is actually the impartation of Christ’s incorruption and immortality that vivifies the believer’s mortal bodies. In the words of Irenaeus “the Lord has redeemed us through his own blood, giving His soul for our souls, and his flesh for our flesh.”41 Clearly, incorruption is alien to man and not endemic to his nature. This connection between the incarnation and humanity also demonstrates the believer’s absolute dependence upon his creator for incorruption.42 As Irenaeus affirms, the grace of Christ is sufficient and His strength is made perfect in weakness.43 That is, through the grace of Christ, God transforms weak mortal and corruptible flesh into immortal and incorruptible flesh.

Based on the last portion of 1 Cor. 15:54, the work of Christ is also said to destroy the last enemy, death. Irenaeus recounts the Genesis story of the fall and the consequence of Adam’s subjection to death. The sacrifice of Christ, however, sets everything aright and swallows up death in victory so that “Adam received new life.”44 Death, in Irenaeus’ view, holds down the corruptible flesh till the point of Christ return. At that time, death will be ultimately defeated and the very same flesh “rising up into life, shall put on incorruption and immortality.”45

Imperishability and the Physical Realm

Irenaeus commits several chapters in Book V of Adversus Haereses to refuting the gnostic interpretation of 1 Cor. 15:50, which reads, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.” The gnostics recognize this verse as decisive proof that Paul did not believe the flesh capable of salvation.46 Irenaeus confronts this interpretation of 15:50 with 15:53-54 as evidence that Paul did not intend what the gnostic exegetes claim. For Irenaeus, flesh “in its most oblivious and ordinary sense” cannot inherit the kingdom of God and, therefore, flesh must put on immortality.47 So the corruptible flesh of its own accord cannot inherit the kingdom of God, but necessitates the incorruptibility given by God. Consequently, when 1 Cor. 15:50 is juxtaposed with 53 and 54 it forces the gnostics into an exegetical corner so that either Paul contradicts himself, the passages are improperly interpreted, or what is corruptible indeed puts on incorruption.48

Irenaeus also believes that incorruption improves or purifies the flesh. In the midst of a discussion concerning the creations of the Demiurge, Irenaeus asserts that anything carnal requires that which is spiritual for salvation. Carnality for Irenaeus must be “cleared from all impurity.”49 Following this discussion Irenaeus appeals to 1 Cor. 15:53-54 to describe how this purification transpires. When mortality is swallowed up by immortality, the spiritual actually “improves” the carnal, or as Norris writes, “the flesh is inherited by the Spirit.”50 At another instance Irenaeus describes this process by stating that God “resuscitates our mortal bodies” and will “render them incorruptible.”51 The important underlying connection between these renderings of the 1 Cor. verses is that the very flesh of the creature will be purified or improved to become incorruptible and immortal.

The notion that God will vivify the flesh both demonstrates his supreme power and should invoke greater affection on behalf of man. For those skeptical of God raising the flesh, Irenaeus appeals to the Genesis account of God’s first creation of the physical from the non-existent.52 Irenaeus believes God will demonstrate His power by virtually reenacting the Genesis account and will “bring back the corruptible to incorruption.”53 Subsequently, Irenaeus stresses that the reality of this teaching “breeds humility rather than pride.54 He repudiates the notion that man might suppose “the incorruptibility which belongs to him is his own naturally.”55 Therefore, the realization of mortality should engender greater affection for God and His gracious act of conferring “immortality upon what is mortal.”56

Imperishability in Redemptive History

Irenaeus also sees imperishability as primarily as a consummative futuristic reality subsequent to death. He proclaims that Christ at his coming will bestow upon believers “immortality durably and truly.”57 Moreover, Irenaeus reassures Christians that though the body suffers death and decomposition it will “rise at the appointed time” and the Father will “freely give this mortal immortality.”58 However, in Irenaeus’ thought there is a subtle already/not yet tension that suggests God is imparting life to believers in the present.59 To be sure, on the already side, immortality cannot be fully realized in the present, since the resurrection has not occurred and death is not truly vanquished. So, emphasis is placed on the not yet side, when mortality will at last put on immortality and death is finally and completely swallowed up in victory.60

Irenaeus also maintains that the present life is a struggle towards incorruptibility that culminates in access to presence of God. He mentions Paul’s description of a runner competing for a prize found in 1 Cor. 9:24-27. Irenaeus considers the prize to be the crown of incorruptibility and determines “the harder we strive, so much is it the more valuable.”61 The Holy Spirit, furthermore, is a portion of immortality in this life. In the words of Irenaeus, the Holy Spirit is the “bread of immortality” and functions for “union and communion” of the faithful.62 Mortality, then, necessitates the presence of the Spirit for nourishment as the believer progresses daily toward incorruption.63 In fact, Irenaeus affirms that each Trinitarian member contributes to produce incorruption in believers; the Father plans, the Son accomplishes, and the Spirit nourishes.64 The future hope of believers rests in the glory of the culmination of incorruption. When the mortal is swallowed up by immortality it “renders one nigh unto God.”65 This welcomes the believer finally and everlastingly into the presence of the Creator.


In conclusion, the corpus of gnostics writings and work of Irenaeus differ distinctively in their treatment of 1 Cor. 15:53-54. The various gnostic redemptive figures remove physicality, while Irenaeus professes the immortal Christ assumed corporeality. Gnostic authors assert that immortality necessitates the removal of flesh, while Irenaeus affirms that it improves the flesh. The gnostics understand immortality as realized, while Irenaeus believes it to be principally a consummative futuristic event. Therefore, Pagels’ assertion, “Gnostic Christians can read Paul as a gnostic and his letters as primary sources of gnostic theology,” confuses this distinction between Gnosticism and Christianity. Gnostic exegetes indeed read Paul as gnostic and his works as sources of gnostic theology, but their readings are precisely that, gnostic. Certainly no one denies the creative ability or skill with which gnostics read and interpret the Scriptures, however the more critical question seems to be is a gnostic reading identical to a Christian reading? In other words, despite what Pagels insists, does a “Gnostic Christian” interpretation of the text even exist? Solely based on 1 Cor. 15:53-54, Christians who find themselves in the tradition of Irenaeus discover a reading diametrically opposed to that found in the gnostic texts of the Nag Hammadi library. It seems that both Irenaeus and the gnostics approach these verses with conflicting presuppositions, therefore, when it comes to 1 Cor. 15:53-54 they are distinguishable both exegetically and theologically. This distinction, then, allows for a clear partition between the gnostic interpretations and Christian orthodoxy when reading and interpreting the Biblical text.


Allenbach, J., A. Benoit, D.A. Bertrans, A. Hanriot-Coustet, P. Maraval, A Pautler, P. Prigent. Biblia Patristica. Des origines a Clement d'Alexandrie et Tertullien ed. Paris, 1975.

Attridge, Harold W. Nag Hammadi Codex I (the Jung Codex) Introductions, Texts, Translations, Indices. Vol. XXII. Leiden: Brill, 1985.

________. Nag Hammadi Codex I (the Jung Codex) Notes. Vol. XXIII. Leiden: Brill, 1985.

Bingham, D. Jeffery. "Irenaeus's Reading of Romans 8." In Society of Biblical Literature, One Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Annual Meeting. Denver, Co, 2001.

Brown, S. Kent. "Jewish and Gnostic Elements in the Second Apocalpyse of James (Cg V, 4)." Novum Testamentum XVII, no. July (1975): 225-237.

Evans, Craig A., Robert L. Webb, and Richard A. Wiebe. Nag Hammadi Texts and the Bible : A Synopsis and Index. Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill, 1993.

Irenaeus. "Against Heresies, Books 1-5 and Fragments." In The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Vol. 1, The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus. Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark. Reprint, Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1994.

King, Karen L. What Is Gnosticism? Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003.

Layton, Bentley, ed. Nag Hammadi Codex Ii, 2-7. Edited by Martin Krause, James M. Robinson, Frederik Wisse. Vol. I, Nag Hammadi Studies. New York: E.J. Brill, 1989.

Norris, Richard A. "Irenaeus' Use of Paul in His Polemic against the Gnostics." In Paul and the Legacies of Paul, 79-98: Dallas : Southern Methodist Univ Pr, 1990.

Olsen, Mark Jeffery. Irenaeus, the Valentinian Gnostics and the Kingdom of God (A.H. Book V): The Debate About 1 Corinthians 1550. New York: Mellen Biblical Press, 1992.

Pagels, Elaine H. "The Mystery of the Resurrection: A Gnostic Reading of 1 Corinthians 15." Journal of Biblical Literature 93, no. June (1974): 276-288.

________. The Gnostic Paul. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975.

Parrott, Douglas M., ed. Nag Hammadi Codices V, 2-5 and Vi. Edited by Martin Krause, James M. Robinson, Frederik Wisse, Nag Hammadi Studies. New York: E.J. Brill, 1979.

Peel, Michael L. The Epistle to Rheginos: A Valentinian Letter on the Resurrection. Philadelphia: The Westminister Press, 1969.

Williams, Michael Allen. Rethinking "Gnosticism". Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

1 Elaine H. Pagels, "The Mystery of the Resurrection: A Gnostic Reading of 1 Corinthians 15," Journal of Biblical Literature 93, no. June (1974): 287. A revised version of this article is found in the chapter on 1 Corinthians in her work The Gnostic Paul.

2 Craig A. Evans, Robert L. Webb, and Richard A. Wiebe, Nag Hammadi Texts and the Bible : A Synopsis and Index (Leiden ; New York: E.J. Brill, 1993), 522. I,3 20.30-32, II,3 75.4-5, VII,4 91.4-5, I,4 45.14-23, I,4 45.39-46.2

3 Douglas M. Parrott, ed., Nag Hammadi Codices V, 2-5 and Vi, ed. Martin Krause, James M. Robinson, Frederik Wisse, Nag Hammadi Studies (New York: E.J. Brill, 1979), 115. Hereafter referred to as NHS XI.

4 NHS XI (Second) Apoc. Jas. 46.14-18

5 NHS XI (Second) Apoc. Jas. 46.18-19

6 S. Kent Brown, "Jewish and Gnostic Elements in the Second Apocalypse of James (Cg V, 4)," Novum Testamentum XVII, no. July (1975): 225-237.

7 Harold W. Attridge, Nag Hammadi Codex I (the Jung Codex) Introductions, Texts, Translations, Indices, vol. XXII (Leiden: Brill, 1985), 149. Treat. Res. 44.24-35. Hereafter referred to as NHS XXII. While this is not cited as a direct allusion to 1 Cor. 15:53-54 the language of confronting “death” is certainly analogous.

8 NHS XXII Gos. Truth 20.30-33

9 NHS XXII Gos. Truth 20.29-33. In addition, this language is reminiscent of the gnostic baptismal rite. For an example of the baptismal rite see Tri. Trac. 128.21. Attridge notes that the garment imagery is “common in sacramental contexts” though it is not confined to them. See NHS XXIII 60.

10 NHS XXII Treat. Res. 44.24-35

11 Karen L. King, What Is Gnosticism? (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2003), 213.

12 Harold W. Attridge, Nag Hammadi Codex I (the Jung Codex) Notes, vol. XXIII (Leiden: Brill, 1985), 60. Hereafter referred to as NHS XXIII.

13 NHS XXII Treat. Res. 45.14-23

14 NHS XXIII 161-162

15 Elaine H. Pagels, The Gnostic Paul (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1975), 86.

16 NHS XXII Treat. Res. 45.30-33, 45.36-39

17 NHS XXII Treat. Res. 45.34-46.3

18 Michael L. Peel, The Epistle to Rheginos: A Valentinian Letter on the Resurrection (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1969), 75.

19 NHS XI (Second) Apoc. Jas. 46.6-19.

20 King, 213.

21 Michael Allen Williams, Rethinking "Gnosticism" (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996), 117.

22 NHS XXII Treat. Res. 47.38-48.3

23 Bentley Layton, ed., Nag Hammadi Codex Ii, 2-7, ed. Martin Krause, James M. Robinson, Frederik Wisse, II vols., Nag Hammadi Studies, vol. I (New York: E.J. Brill, 1989), 135. Hereafter referred to as NHS XX.

24 NHS XX Gos. Phil 75.4-5

25 NHS XX Gos. Phil 75.5-7

26 NHS XXII Treat. Res. 48.27. This quote is mentioned above and occurs in the context of the third allusion to 1 Cor. 15:53-54 within the treatise.

27 NHS XXII Treat. Res. 48.38-49.5

28 NHS XXIII 200

29 NHS XXIII 199

30 NHS XXII Treat. Res. 49.15. Most likely 2 Tim 2:18 is refers to this general teaching.

31 Peel, 152. Emphasis is original.

32 Pagels, "The Mystery of the Resurrection: A Gnostic Reading of 1 Corinthians 15," 287.

33 NHS XX 136-137.

34 NHS XX Gos. Phil. 61.13-20.

35 Mark Jeffery Olsen, Irenaeus, the Valentinian Gnostics and the Kingdom of God (A.H. Book V): The Debate About 1 Corinthians 1550 (New York: Mellen Biblical Press, 1992), 32-33.

36 Irenaeus, "Against Heresies, Books 1-5 and Fragments," in The Ante-Nicene Fathers. Vol. 1, The Apostolic Fathers with Justin Martyr and Irenaeus (Edinburgh: T. and T. Clark; reprint, Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1994). Hereafter referred to as Adv. Haer.

37 J. Allenbach, A. Benoit, D.A. Bertrans, A. Hanriot-Coustet, P. Maraval, A Pautler, P. Prigent, Biblia Patristica, Des origines a Clement d'Alexandrie et Tertullien ed. (Paris: 1975), 472-473.

38 Adv. Haer. 1.10.1

39 Adv. Haer. 3.19.1

40 Adv. Haer. 5.2.2

41 Adv. Haer. 5.1.1

42 D. Jeffery Bingham, "Irenaeus's Reading of Romans 8," in Society of Biblical Literature (Denver, Co: 2001), 136.

43 Adv. Haer. 5.2.3, 5.3.1, 1 Cor. 12:7-9

44 Adv. Haer. 3.23.7

45 Adv. Haer. 5.13.3

46 For extensive discussion of 1 Cor 15:50 in relation to Irenaeus and Gnosticism see Olson’s work. Irenaeus comments that the gnostics are consistently turning to 1 Cor. 15:50 to defend their theological claims with in their debates. Adv. Haer. 5.9.1

47 Richard A. Norris, "Irenaeus' Use of Paul in His Polemic against the Gnostics.," in Paul and the Legacies of Paul (Dallas : Southern Methodist Univ Pr, 1990), 83.

48 Ibid.

49 Adv. Haer. 2.19.6

50 Norris, 83. Emphasis is original.

51 Adv. Haer. 2.29.2. See footnote 11 for opposing quotation by King.

52 Adv. Haer. 5.3.2

53 Adv. Haer. 5.3.2

54 Bingham, 136.

55 Adv. Haer. 3.20.1

56 Adv. Haer. 3.20.2. Amid this section is also the mention of Luke 7:42-43 and the notion that those who have been forgiven much love much. This further exhibits that realization of mortality necessitates a response of gratitude and love for God.

57 Adv. Haer. 5.1.1

58 Adv. Haer. 5.2.3

59 Bingham, 137.

60 Adv. Haer. 5.13.3, 3.23.7

61 Adv. Haer. 4.37.7

62 Adv. Haer. 4.38.1, 5.1.1

63 Adv. Haer. 4.38.3

64 Adv. Haer. 4.38.3

65 Adv. Haer. 4.38.4

Related Topics: History