By Geoffrey S. Smith
Few literary techniques have exercised as a lot effect upon Christian attitudes towards inner range as has the perform of organizing the names and alleged misdeeds of rival academics into heresy catalogues. for 2 millennia, fans of Jesus have hired the heresy catalogue as a robust weapon in inner struggles for legitimacy, authority, and supremacy. regardless of its enduring attractiveness and impression in the Christian culture, the heresy catalogue continues to be an underappreciated polemical style between historians of early Christianity.
Guilt by means of Association explores the production, ebook, and movement of heresy catalogues via moment- and early third-century Christians. Polemicists made use of those spiritual blacklists, which come with the names of heretical academics in addition to summaries in their unsavory doctrines and nefarious misdeeds, so as to discredit competitors and recommend their expulsion from the "authentic" Christianity group. The heresy catalogue proved to be specially powerful since it not just recast rival lecturers as menacing adversaries, but additionally strengthened such characterizations by means of organizing differently unaffiliated academics into coherent highbrow, social, and scholastic groups which are proven and sustained via demonic powers.
Geoffrey Smith focuses specifically at the earliest Christian heresy catalogues, together with these stumbled on in the works of Justin, Irenaeus, and Hegesippus, to shed new mild upon the complicated technique wherein early Christianity took form.