The Polemics of Depravity in the Wonder Books of Christoph Irenaeus

Philip M. Soergel

in Miracles and the Protestant Imagination

Published in print February 2012 | ISBN: 9780199844661
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199932856 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Studies in Historical Theology

The Polemics of Depravity in the Wonder Books of Christoph Irenaeus

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Chapter 5 explores the works of the Wittenberg-trained theologian Christoph Irenaeus, who was among the most prolific to take up Caspar Goltwurm’s charge to examine wonders as an alternative divine language. In three wonder books he published from the 1560s to the 1580s, Irenaeus decoded the messages contained in floods, celestial visions, and monstrous births. To these, Irenaeus gave the distinctive viewpoint of his extreme Gnesio-Lutheranism. A follower of the uncompromising but charismatic evangelical theologian, Matthias Flacius, Irenaeus saw proof in natural wonders for Flacius’s position that the Fall of Adam had permanently deformed human nature, making human beings akin to the devil. Irenaeus’s works were thus charged with a bleak vision that signs, portents, and disasters were all increasing in his own time because of the rising tide of human sinfulness.

Keywords: Christoph Irenaeus; Capar Goltwurm; matthias flacius; natural signs and wonders; original sin; gnesio-lutheranism

Chapter.  12175 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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