Justin Martyr and the Pneumatology of the Mid‐Second Century

Anthony Briggman

in Irenaeus of Lyons and the Theology of the Holy Spirit

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199641536
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738302 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Early Christian Studies

Justin Martyr and the Pneumatology of the Mid‐Second Century

Show Summary Details


This study begins in chapter 1 with an examination of Justin Martyr's understanding of the Spirit. The objective of this analysis is twofold. The first objective is to provide the reader with an example of the pneumatological milieu that existed at the commencement of Irenaeus’ writing. The second is to provide a basis from which to compare and contrast Irenaeus’ pneumatology and Trinitarian logic.Over the last hundred years scholars have debated the degree to which Justin Martyr distinguished the activity and identity of the Word and the Spirit. This chapter shows Justin's regular failure to distinguish the activity of the Spirit from that of the Word, which reveals the presence of a binitarian orientation or logic. On two occasions Justin subordinates his Trinitarian convictions to his binitarian logic producing a binitarian account of the Godhead, a Spirit-Christology predicated upon an angelomorphic understanding of the Word and Spirit, in which he does not distinguish the identities of the Word and Spirit. These occurrences ought to be understood as reflecting the transition of earliest Christian theologies from binitarian to Trinitarian theological accounts, for while Justin's commitment to Trinitarian belief is firm, his logic is not well enough developed to support his convictions.

Keywords: Justin Martyr; Holy Spirit; Prophetic Spirit; Binitarianism; Trinitarianism; Spirit-Christology; Angelomorphism; Pneumatology

Chapter.  12458 words. 

Subjects: Early Christianity

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.