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Religion Gnosticism

A Study in Anti-Gnostic Polemics

Irenaeus, Hippolytus and Epiphanius

edited by Gérard Vallée

Wilfrid Laurier University Press, CCSR
Initial publish date
Jan 2006
Gnosticism, Literature & the Arts, History
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Jan 2006
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  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Jan 1982
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Gnostic beliefs presented themselves as a major challenge to Irenaeus of Lyons (Against Heresies, ca. A.D. 180), Hippolytus of Rome (the presumed author of the Elenchos Against All Heresies, post-A.D. 222), and Epiphanius of Salamis (Panarion, A.D. 374-77). What was at stake for them were life-and-death issues; the nature of Christianity and the question of truth. While recent manuscript finds shed new light on gnostic thought, the writings of the heresiologists are still indispensable—for knowledge of gnostic teaching but also of "what certain influential authors in the emergence of catholic Christianity considered ... the pivotal point on which Christianity would stand or fall." The writings of these three heresiologists, observes Vallée, offer "excellent illustrations of what heresiology was in three successive centuries" and how it developed. Their influence on the style of Christian polemics was decisive and lasting. Valllée analyzes the arguments of each of the three heresiologists in order to discern the central concerns of each.

About the author

Gérard Vallée is professor emeritus of religious studies at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario (Canada). He studied in Québec and Germany, and worked in the fields of history of Christianity and philosophy of religion. He has also taught in Vietnam, India, and Nigeria. His publications include A Study in Anti-Gnostic Polemics (WLU Press, 1981), The Spinoza Conversations between Lessing and Jacobi (1988), The Shaping of Christianity 100–800 (1999), and Soundings in G.E. Lessing’s Philosophy of Religion (2000). He has been involved in the editing of Nightingale’s Collected Works since 1998.

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