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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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The Legacy of Heresiology

(p.247) Epilogue
Classifying Christians

Todd S. Berzon

University of California Press

This concluding chapter explains that heresiology was an endeavor created not simply through competition—as much between heretics and heresiologists as among the heresiologists themselves—but through contradiction and limitation. Since the foundation on which heresiology rested was never secure, it unwittingly contained and created the seeds of its own obsolescence and destruction. The history of heresy, as understood by the heresiologists, was perpetuated by heresiological inquiry: heresy was an inescapable aspect of a now-theologically defined world. To study heresy was, at best, to destroy orthodoxy and, at worst, to reveal heresy and orthodoxy to be one and the same. The chapter reiterates that to describe heresiology is to identify a form of theological ethnography marked by competing rhetoric. Reading heresiology as ethnography emphasizes the epistemological fractures and self-reflection within the genre, and among those who viewed themselves as its practitioners.

Keywords:   heresiology, heresy, heretics, heresiologists, orthodoxy, theological ethnography

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