Irenaeus and Athanasius on the Significance of Embodiment




Engelhardt, Emily

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What is the significance of the human body, and how does our understanding of the body influence the way we live? In a culture that proclaims freedom and autonomy above all other virtues, the Christian understanding of a person’s body not belonging to oneself but to God is radical. Irenaeus in Against Heresies and Athanasius in On the Incarnation defend the Christian faith and understanding of the body against heretics of their day, upholding the intrinsic goodness of creation and of human bodies. These saints point to the Incarnation as the necessary way in which God has thoroughly redeemed human flesh and the whole of man. Irenaeus’ and Athanasius’ understanding of the body as handiwork of God, integral to being human, and fully redeemed by God influence the way humans consider their bodies and treat them in the medical field.



Embodiment., The Body., Eucharist., Irenaeus., Athanasius., Gnosticism., Gnostics., Arius., Transgender.