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Classifying Christians"Ethnography, Heresiology, and the Limits of Knowledge in Late Antiquity"$
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Todd S. Berzon

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780520284265

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520284265.001.0001

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Heresiology as Ethnography

Heresiology as Ethnography

The Ethnographic Disposition

(p.27) 1 Heresiology as Ethnography
Classifying Christians

Todd S. Berzon

University of California Press

This chapter analyzes the forms and functions of ancient ethnography to provide the analytical foundation for the discussion of Christian heresiology as a mode of ethnographic writing. Through analysis of the works of Herodotus, Pliny, Josephus, Tacitus, Diodorus Siculus, and others, the chapter identifies the methodological, theoretical, and descriptive contours of classical ethnography. It proposes the idea of an ethnographic disposition, which captures the process and effects of writing people and defining cultural systems. The chapter also shows the bipartite scope of ethnographic writing about the ancient world: microscopic ethnography, which consists of descriptions of the customs and habits of peoples; and macroscopic ethnography, which uses grand paradigms such as genealogy, typology, and astrology to explain habits, customs, phenotypes, and behaviors.

Keywords:   ancient ethnography, Christian heresiology, ethnographic disposition, microscopic ethnography, macroscopic ethnography, ancient world

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