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The seduction of weak men: Tertullian's rhetorical construction of gender and ancient christian "Heresy"

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Chapter Summary

Although the markers that describe the Christian community are numerous and include many ethical and visual descriptions, the early Christian writers paid vigilant attention to the assent to knowledge. This chapter argues that, when Tertullian (c. 160–220 c.e.) separates the “self ” from “others” in order to establish Christian identity, he thereby articulates and sanctions forms of thinking and believing. It first outlines the meaning of heretic and heresy as it applies to the construction of legitimate Christian identity as framed by Tertullian. The chapter then positions the prophetess Philumene and her associate Apelles within the framework of this meaning. Finally, it draws out the argument that the meaning of heresy figures as a paradigm of introduction/reception, of volition and resistance, that maps the discursive object “woman” in a comparable way to the object “heresy.”.

Keywords: Christian identity; heresy; Philumene; Tertullian; woman



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