This presentation of Eusebius's lot gathers support from the renowned heresiologist
of Salamis, Epiphanius.
Examining every surviving text written by heresiologists
, accounts often ignored in favor of the famous Nag Hammadi Library, Tobias Churton reveals the most secret inner teaching passed down by initiated societies: the tradition of sexual gnosis--higher union with God through the sacrament of sex.
The excursus sets up the discussion of the ancient church and the theological debates between the Apostolic Fathers, the Apologists, the Heresiologists
such as Irenaeus of Lyon, and the doctrinal controversies in the Arian Crisis, the Council of Nicaea, Alexandria versus the Syrian Church, and the Eastern versus the Western Church.
Although noted in the work of heresiologists
such as Irenaeus of Lyons, the actual thoughts and practices of these circles have been difficult to discern so long as we have viewed them through the lenses of their opponents.
Although they recognized the Bible, these Spiritual Christians--later labeled "spirit-wrestlers" (dukhobortsy or Dukhobors) by heresiologists
after the (completely unrelated) fourth-century heresy of the pneumatomakhoi--believed that their own oral tradition and contemporary divine inspiration took precedence over the scriptures.
Prior to this revolutionary discovery, information about Manichaeism was limited almost exclusively to the suspect reports of hostile heresiologists
, both Christian and Muslim, and there was little means of gauging the accuracy of their testimonies, since hardly any trace of actual Manichaean literature survived.
Boyarin defines the heresiologists
as "religious customs' inspectors" (18) who sought to definitively define and circumscribe behavior acceptable by members of their respective groups.
Boyarin has shown in his book Border Lines that the Jewish roots of this perspective are as strong as any Greek origins, although the insistence that Jesus is the Logos becomes a mark of a distinction that is eventually drawn between Jews and Christians, largely due to the work of heresiologists
on both sides.
Although such associations failed to draw much critique in the third century, by the end of the fourth century chief heresiologists
charged radicals and moderates alike with "Manichaeism" whenever they perceived these groups to be denigrating the created world, marriage, and sexuality (though the charge was remarkably durable and, as Hunter shows, it was regularly directed against any ascetic group perceived to be troublesome or deviant).
Scholars engaged in the study of gnostic texts from the Nag Hammadi collection have been debating the appropriateness of understanding and classifying those materials according to the schemata of the heresiologists
10) By conflating their contemporary opponents with Jews, already by the fourth century so clearly unChristian in the rhetoric of pro-Nicene Christian heresiologists
, these authors concurrently portrayed them unfavorably and as nonChristians.
The Pelagius and Pelagians revealed in these texts are a far cry from the caricatures of heresiologists