Monday, October 29, 2007

Irenaeus on the Valentinian Heresy Regarding Mary

From Pelikan's book - Mary Through the Centuries -

Irenaeus, to whom we owe the first large-scale exposition of the parallel between Eve and Mary, is likewise one of the sources from whom we learn that such a hesitancy among the followers of the Gnostic teacher Valentinus had led them to assert that Jesus had not been "born" of the Virgin Mary in the usual sense at all, but had "passed through Mary as water runs through a tube," not only without birth pangs but without the involvement of the mother except in a purely passive sense.
His source is Irenaeus Against Heresies 1.7.2:
There are also some who maintain that he also produced Christ as his own proper son, but of an animal nature, and that mention was made of him by the prophets. This Christ passed through Mary just as water flows through a tube; and there descended upon him in the form of a dove at the time of his baptism, that Saviour who belonged to the Pleroma, and was formed by the combined efforts of all its inhabitants.
It would be necessary to remind ourselves again that Mariology arose to refute heresies such as these - not as some arbitrary invention of the Church. One cannot truly understand Christ without understanding His relation to Mary - that is - the Incarnation.

1 comment:

Kenny said...

Amen! I will support any Mariological claim that can be shown to be necessary for the avoidance of these heresies.