Paradigms of Heresiological Knowledge
This chapter considers the rhetorical and ethnographic strategies utilized by Epiphanius of Salamis and Theodoret of Cyrrhus to organize the diverse world of Christian heresy. Though contextually and stylistically distinct, Epiphanius' Panarion and Theodoret's Compendium of Heretical Fables manifest their authors' parallel efforts to describe their roles as ethnographers of the Christian tradition. Epiphanius uses a universal genealogy of knowledge to organize his ethnographic data, whereas Theodoret proposes a schematic typology—built around the actions of demonic forces—to display his knowledge of the heretics. The chapter states that Christian ethnography functions not only to explain human origins and diversity but also to elaborate an underlying human unity. Epiphanius and Theodeoret are both deliberate in expressing the Christian longing for a reunited human race; while heresiology articulated the nature and possibility of a fundamental human unity.
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