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The Limits Of The Heresiological Ethos In Late Antiquity

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Chapter Summary

A catechumen would be inculcated with a true heresiological ethos intended to arm him or her against the seductions of doctrinal adversaries of the Christian community into which they were now to enter. This was not just about an intellectual 'flight from heresy', but also about renouncing all physical contact with heretics. This chapter considers the difficulties surrounding the creation of this ethos in the course of the doctrinal controversies of the third to fifth century. Heresiological anxiety also shows itself in correspondence addressed to religious figures who are considered to have genuine authority in the matter of orthodoxy, such as Augustine or Jerome, and in which either requests are found for clarification or reports about some suspicious speech or document. Implementing an heresiological ethos involved compromising with the necessities of life.

Keywords: Christian community; heresiological ethos



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