Jewish Studies

Heresy and Identity in Late Antiquity

Ed. by Eduard Iricinschi and Holger Michael Zellentin

[Häresie und Identität in der Spätantike.]

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Published in English.
How did late antique groups define their own socio-political borders and create secure in-group identities by means of discourses about »heresy« and »heretics«? The authors of the essays collected here consider the different functions of »heresy«-making discourse as a simultaneous process of describing and disqualifying groups of perceived dissenters.
The authors of the essays collected here explore the ways in which late antique groups defined their own socio-political borders and created secure in-group identities by means of discourses on »heresy« and »heretics.« A wider definition of »heresy« and »heretics« as real or constructed »internal opposition« and »internal enemies« leads to a new understanding of ancient sources as well as to new comparative possibilities. Some of the contributing authors look at the social setting of heresiology, and examine how it served to regulate interaction between communities. Others consider the different functions of »heresy«-making discourse as a simultaneous process of describing and disqualifying groups of perceived dissenters. Combining presentations from various fields, the authors reconsider the phenomenon of 'heresy' in late antiquity in the broadest possible scope. They focus on examples of the ways in which late antique groups defined themselves as righteous, in the process of describing imagined communities as vicious. They analyze cases in which authors or groups sought to present dangerous encounters by describing the »other« in highly conventionalized terms established through heresiological traditions and the creation of clichés and stock characters. The authors also examine cases in which heresy-making discourses effectively »push with the left and bring in with the right,« as the Babylonian Talmud has it, inasmuch as the proclamation of a radical divorce from 'heretics' allowed for the domestication of their ideas and practices.
Survey of contents
Eduard Iricinschi and Holger Zellentin:
Introduction. From Heresy to Heresiology: Recent Trends in Scholarship and the Contribution of This Volume – Karen L. King: Social and Theological Effects of Heresiological Discourse – William E. Arnal: Doxa, Heresy, and Self-Construction. The Pauline Ekklesiai and the Boundaries of Urban Identities – Averil Cameron: The Violence of Orthodoxy – Yannis Papadoyannakis: Defining Orthodoxy in Pseudo-Justin's »Quaestiones et responsiones ad orthodoxos« – Caroline Humfress: Citizens and Heretics: Late Roman Lawyers on Christian Heresy – Richard Lim: The Nomen Manichaeorum and Its Uses in Late Antiquity – Annette Yoshiko Reed: Heresiology and the (Jewish-)Christian Novel: Narrativized Polemics in the Pseudo-Clementine Homilies – Kevin Lee Osterloh: Judea, Rome and the Hellenistic Oikoumenê: Emulation and the Reinvention of Communal Identity – Philippa Townsend: Who Were the First Christians? – John G. Gager: Where Does Luke's Anti-Judaism Come from? – Holger Zellentin: Margin of Error: Bavli Shabbat 116a-b as Polemics, Apology, and Heresiology – Burton L. Visotzky: Goys 'Я'n't Us: Rabbinic Anti-Gentile Polemic in Yerushalmi Berachot 9:1 – Eduard Iricinschi: If You Got It, Flaunt It: Religious Advertising in the Gospel of Philip – Gregg Gardner: Astrology in the Talmud: An Analysis of Bavli Shabbat 156 – Israel Jacob Yuval: The Other in Us: Liturgica, Poetica, Polemica

Eduard Iricinschi Born 1968; MA in Religious Studies from New York University; PhD in the Religions of Late Antiquity from Princeton University; currently visiting research fellow at the Käte Hamburger Kolleg, Ruhr University Bochum.

Holger Michael Zellentin Born 1976; 2007 PhD Princeton University; has taught at Rutgers University, the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, and at the University of California, Berkeley; teaches Jewish Studies at the University of Nottingham; 2012 Early Career Fellowship of the Arts and Humanities Research Council (UK).


The following reviews are known:

In: Theologische Literaturzeitung — 134 (2009), S. 539–541 (Judith Lieu)
In: Henoch — 31 (2009), S. 174–178 (Sacha Stern)
In: Salesianum — 71 (2009), S. 803–804 (Rafael Vicent)
In: New Testament Abstracts — 52 (2008), S. 571
In: Journal of Early Christian Studies — 17 (2009), S. 672–674 (Young Richard Kim)
In: Archives de Sciences Soc.des Relig. — (06/2010) (Anna van den Kerchove)
In: Klió — 18 (2009), S. 62–68 (Jakab Attila)
In: Estudio Agustiniano — 44 (2009), S. 519–520 (R. Sala)
In: Revue des Sciences Religieuses — 84 (2010), S. 417–418 (Francois Vinel)
In: Journal of Ancient Judaism — 1 (2010), S. 116
In: — 2009 (Ephraim Nissan)
In: Rivista di Studi Indo_Mediterranei (RSIM) — 11 (2021) (Ephraim Nissan)