John of Damascus and Islam: Christian Heresiology
and the Intellectual Background to Earliest Christian-Muslim Relations
Orthodoxy is clearly the issue with which the author has been most deeply involved recently, passing to it through a concern for heresy and heresiology
. This is the essay in which the author has the greatest number of most insightful, often novel, observations to offer.
(26.) In Christian heresiology
, "disbelief in Two Powers in Heaven (so-called Sabellianism, Modalism, or Monarchianism, that is, One Power in Heaven) is named--accurately--'Judaism,' producing a binary opposition between the inside and outside of Christianity and disavowing a threatening difference within." In rabbinic texts, conversely, "the belief in Two Powers in Heaven is excommunicated from within Judaism and named (albeit slightly, but only slightly, obliquely) as 'Christianity'"; "Jewish/Christian Modalism is being constructed as Jewish, Jewish/Christian binitarianism as minut" (Boyarin, Border Lines 137, 138; but see the entire chapter [128-47]).
Averil Cameron, in her discussion of Eusebius's heresiology
, observed that "what may seem now to be distinct and separate sets of issues--Christianity versus Judaism, Christianity in relation to polytheism, and true as opposed to 'false' belief within Christianity--were close together in the minds of early Christians and approached in very similar ways.
The authors of the essays collected here explore the ways in which late antique groups defined their own sociopolitical borders and created in-group identities by means of discourses on "heresy" and "heretics." Some of the contributing authors look at the social setting of heresiology
and examine how it served to regulate interaction between communities.
Their names are vaguely familiar from early church councils anal heresiology
: Chalcedonian and anti-Chalcedonian churches, including the Monophysites and Jacobites, the Nestorian churches of Eastern Syria and Persia, and various other splinter groups.
Kolbaba (Assistant Professor, Department of Religion, Rutgers University) which has as its focus the introduction of 'heresiology
', defining terms, summarizing an extensive secondary scholarship, and descriptively analyzing the history of Byzantine anti-heretical texts down to the ninth century.
Alain Le Boulluec, in La notion d'herdsie dans la litterature grecque (IIe-IIIe siecle), Paris 1985, p.21, argues that Justin is the begetter of heresiology
. Justin's own treatise Against the Heretics is lost, but remarks in his other writings plus the debt acknowledged by Irenaeus' ("the first great Catholic theologian") own contemporary tract on the subject supports this view.
The source of my interest in the study of heresiology
originates in many years of research on the work and life of Meister Eckhart.
She sees the views of other scholars as often, like the progressive abuse of ancient heresiology
, shackled by uniform commitment to particular interpretations.