Department/School of the Primary Author
Biblical and Theological Studies
This paper explores the concept of impassibility in the early Greek apologists and Irenaeus. The paper focuses on impassibility as related to emotion in the divine nature, and individually examines Justin Martyr, Athenagoras and Irenaeus. This paper attempts to present a nuanced and faithful interpretation of impassibility in these fathers contra the assumption that impassibility equates to static emotionlessness. The author argues that the early Greek fathers used impassibility as an apophatic qualifier tied to God's immutability, virtuousness, and status as creator and further used impassibility to indicate that God was not overwhelmed by passions like the pagan and gnostic deities. This thesis is substantiated by briefly noting the lexical and philosophical backgrounds of the terms for impassibility used by the early Greek fathers and by an individual examination of each of the fathers mentioned above.
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Little, J. Caleb
"Emotions and the Divine Nature: Impassibility in the Greek Apologists and Irenaeus,"
Channels: Where Disciplines Meet: Vol. 1
, Article 4.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.cedarville.edu/channels/vol1/iss1/4