Saturday, 11 April 2015

Eduard Iricinschi: Forged Books and Phantasms in Panarion 25-26: The Heresiological Simulacra of Epiphanius of Salamis

Epiphanius’s Panarion 25 and 26 presents two groups, the Nicolaitans and the Gnostics. Epiphanius sees them as related to each other; he describes them as being intensely preoccupied with knowledge provided through revelations, with elaborate mythologies, with biblical interpretation, and with writing most of these in what he regards as forged books. In Panarion 25-26, Epiphanius will attempt to falsify the above claims to special knowledge, the access to private revelations, and ownership of religious books by employing the strong rhetorical devices of heresiology. I advance in this short communication that Epiphanius’s main purpose was to create heresiological simulacra of the rituals, hermeneutics, and sacred books of these groups he labels as “heretical,”  with the clear purpose of delegitimizing their religious claims. Epiphanius accuses the the Nicolaitans and the Gnostics of producing forged religious books and of lending them authority through revelations from heavenly figures with the purpose of inventing mythologies and religious illusions.

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