Irenaeus reference?

August 25, 2013

Kurt and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament, transl. E. Rhodes [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987], 48 (yes, the first ed.; my 2d ed. is at the seminary) says that there are explicit references to a four-Gospel collection (τετραευαγγέλιον) in Irenaeus by AD 180. But Aland does not give the reference in Irenaeus and it does not appear in a TLG search. Does anyone happen know where Irenaeus makes such a reference?

3 responses to Irenaeus reference?

  1. Interesting. I’m not sure why the Alands put such a Greek word in parentheses because it leaves the impression that it’s a technical term used by Irenaeus. It’s also on p. 48 of the 2nd ed. But it’s got to be a reference to the famous statement by Irenaeus in which he allegorizes the reasons there are four and only four (no more, no less) gospels in Adv.Haer. 3.11.8… even though that Greek word is not used there. With the way it’s worded by the Alands, they are citing both Irenaeus and the Muratorian Canon list as evidence of a four-gospel canon at the end of the second century, and the term doesn’t occur in the Muratorian Canon list either. Anyway, that’s my take on it.

    • That would certainly explain why it didn’t show up in a TLG search. (Earliest ref. there to τετραευαγγέλιον are to several uses in the TYPICA MONASTICA which is 5th C. or later. I’ll check the text of Irenaeus when I’m on campus tomorrow (as well as the ref. in the comment below). Thanks to both of you.

  2. Perhaps this is a reference to Irenaeus’s listing at the end of Against Heresies 3.1. I wasn’t able to look at the Greek at the moment, but from looking at the English it would seem perhaps Aland is just using this as a technical term for that listing, as there he lists the four Gospels with brief descriptions.