Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Heretics and Heresies in the Ancient Church and in Eastern Christianity. Studies in Honour of Adelbert Davids

Academic journal article The Catholic Historical Review

Heretics and Heresies in the Ancient Church and in Eastern Christianity. Studies in Honour of Adelbert Davids

Article excerpt

Ancient Heretics and Heresies in the Ancient Church and in Eastern Christianity. Studies in Honour of Adelbert Davids. Edited by Joseph Verheyden and Herman Teule. [Eastern Christian Studies, Vol. 10.] (Leuven: Peeters. 2011. Pp. x, 395. euro59,00 paperback. ISBN 978-9-042-92486-4.)

Recent scholarship has been fertile both in the study of heretics and in studies of heresy. Commonly the former show more evidence of reading than of reflection, whereas in the latter there is more reflection than evidence of reading. The first type, better though not the best conceivable, predominates in this collection in honor of the Dutch scholar Adelbert Davids. Boudewijn Dehandschutter justly observes, in "Heresy and the Early Christian Notion of Tradition," that Irenaeus, Clement, and Tertullian entertained different notions of the rule of faith, but the bias that he professes to be correcting on page 8 is already obsolete in the English-speaking world. When Anthony Hilhorst ("Christian Martyrs outside the Catholic Church") concludes that "the prestige of the martyr's status may have been fatal to the survival of Gnosticism" (p. 36), he casts some old stones and leaves the rest unturned. In "Heracleon and the Hermeneutics of Prepositions" Annewies Van den Hoek hints at a more skeptical appraisal of conventional taxonomies when she finds that Origen and his interlocutor used "similar linguistic tools" (p. 49) in the service of a shared conception of hermeneutic activity. Fred Ledegang's "The Ophites and the Ophite' Diagram in Celsus and Origen" is genuinely critical in its parsing of the impenetrable documents that remain to us. Jan vanAmersfoot supplies enough evidence to justify the title of his offering, "The Ebionites as Depicted in the Pseudo-Clementine Novel"; on the other hand, he cites no ancient witness in support of his claim that Valentinus "taught freely in the Church of Alexandria" (p. 86). Kristoffel Demoen, in "Incomprehensibility, Ineffability and Untranslatability," adds little of his own to a catena of excerpts from St. Gregory of Nyssa; in a subtle essay on "Preaching and the Arian Controversy" Johan Leemans shows that Gregory is winnowing orthodoxy from heresy even when dispensing praise and consolation to his own partisans. …

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