Thursday, 7 February 2019

Scott Manor: Did Epiphanius Know The Meaning Of "Heresiology"?

The Panarion is notoriously difficult to understand, especially when measured against the backdrop of heresiologies like that of Irenaeus and others. Clear traces of heresiological predecessors are woven throughout the Panarion, providing some ballast of reliability for a work whose course seems set for uncharted waters. Nevertheless, numerous scholars have characterized the Panarionas sort of imaginative or even hallucinatory treatment of theology and history. Recent works have rightly noted that Epiphanius’ loose grip on such particulars may warrant sustained critique, but that the Panarion's idiosyncrasies may also serve as lenses that, when aligned properly, help bring clarity to some of the eccentricities that lie at the core of who he is and what he wrote.This paper will assess key points at which Epiphanius’ heresiological account deviates from that of Irenaeus in both structure and content. This naturally limits the scope of the inquiry to Book I and the early portion of Book II of the Panarion. The aim is to ascertain, as much as possible, the rationale behind these divergences so as to make a modest contribution to the portrait of the complex and enigmatic figure Epiphanius and his work that is emerging in recent scholarship.

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