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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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Contesting Ethnography

Contesting Ethnography

Heretical Models of Human and Cosmic Plurality

(p.98) 3 Contesting Ethnography
Classifying Christians

Todd S. Berzon

University of California Press

This chapter explores how the herosiologists contested heretical models of human and Christian diversification. While disputes between the heresiologists and the heretics revolved around matters of ecclesiology, prophecy, scripture, and dogma, they also included disagreement over attempts to explain human behavior in the context of sacred history. With particular attention to Hippolytus of Rome and his Refutation of All the Heresies, the chapter describes the attempt to delegitimize the heretics' astrological theories and cosmological–mythological narratives of human diversification. Hippolytus attacked these alternative models precisely because he aspired to lay down his own truly Christian explanation of human and heretical difference. It is the emergence of such disputes that indicates the implications for understanding the Christianization of ethnographic writing.

Keywords:   herosiologists, human diversification, heretics, Hippolytus of Rome, heresies, ethnographic writing

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