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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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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 25 May 2022

Christianized Ethnography

Christianized Ethnography

Paradigms of Heresiological Knowledge

(p.127) 4 Christianized Ethnography
Classifying Christians

Todd S. Berzon

University of California Press

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.

Keywords:   Epiphanius of Salamis, Panarion, Theodoret of Cyrrhus, Compendium of Heretical Fables, Christian heresy, Christian ethnography, human unity

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