Jun 10, 1996 01:30 PM
HPB says in Unveiled Isis Vol III chapterVII note 91, that Irenaeus distorted
gnostic doctrines. In this posting I reproduce some comments that we
can find in Encyclopaedia Britannica Vol 6 Micropaedia 15th edition
(search for Irenaeus).
"Irenaeus adopted a totally negative and unresponsive attitude, however, toward
Marcion, a schismatic leader in Rome, and towrad gnosticism, a fashionable
intellectual movement in the rapidly expanding church that espoused dualism.
Because gnosticism was overcome though the efforts of the early church fathers,
among them Clement of Alexandria and Irenaeus, gnostic writings were largely
obliterated. In reconstructing gnostic doctrines therefore, modern scholars
relied to a great extent on the writings of Irenaeus who summarized the gnostic
views before attacking them. After the discovery of the gnostic library near
Naj'Hammadi (in Egypt in the 1940s) respect for Irenaeus INCREASED, he was proved
to have been extremely precise in his report of doctrines he rejected".
So HPB commits a unfairness against Irenaeus.
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