The Rhetoric of Faith argues that the structure of Irenaeus’s opus magnum, the Adversus Haereses, is the argument of the Adversus Haereses. Through a close reading of the Irenaeus’s text, as well as through a comparison with Greco-Roman rhetorical texts, Scott Moringiello argues that Irenaeus structured his argument around the articles of the faith of the Church and that this structure builds on tropes found in the Greco-Roman rhetorical tradition.
The argument focuses on the Adversus Haereses, although it does begin with some discussion to put Irenaeus in the context of second century Christian literature. Moringiello concludes with a discussion of Irenaeus’s Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching.
Other scholars have provided introductions to Irenaeus’s work, and other scholars have argued for the structural unity of the Adversus Haereses. No other scholar, though, has argued that the faith of the Church is the basis of Irenaeus’s argument. This argument, then, presents an important contribution to the field of Irenaeus studies.
Beyond the study of Irenaeus, though, The Rhetoric of Faith offers a contribution to the field of early Christian studies. I argue that the field should focus more on how early Christian authors make their arguments by attending to the theologically-informed rhetorical strategies they use.
"A very fine and much needed analysis of the Adversus Haereses...Moringiello cleverly steps back and offers a coherent argument for why Irenaeus structured the Adversus Haereses the way he does. The scholarship is sound, accurate, and convincing!"~David Vincent Meconi, SJ, author of The One Christ: St. Augustine's Theology of Deification (CUA Press)
" The Rhetoric of Faith offers a fresh interpretation of the structural coherence of Against the Heresies and a compelling account of Irenaeus’s primary reasons for writing it. Moringiello’s work is highly recommended to anyone seeking a deeper understanding of this foundational early Christian thinker and his most influential book"~John J. O'Keefe, Creighton University