A Companion to Second-Century Christian 'Heretics'

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The book illuminates “the other side” of early Christianity by examining thinkers and movements that were embraced by many second-century religious seekers as legitimate forms of Christianity, but which are now largely forgotten, or are known only from the characteristics attributed to them in the writings of their main adversaries.
The collection deals with the following teachers and movements: Basilides, Sethianism, Valentinus’ school, Marcion, Tatian, Bardaisan, Montanists, Cerinthus, Ebionites, Nazarenes, Jewish-Christianity of the Pseudo-Clementines, and Elchasites.
Where appropriate, the authors have included an overview of the life and significant publications of the “heretics,” along with a description of their theologies and movements. Therefore, this volume can serve as a handbook of the second-century “heretics” and their “heresies.” Since all the chapters have been written by specialists who wrestle daily with their research themes, the contributions also offer new perspectives and insights stimulating further discussion on this fascinating—but often neglected—side of early Christianity.
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Biographical Note

Antti Marjanen, Th.D. (University of Helsinki 1996), Docent of New Testament Studies, is presently working as a Research Fellow of the Academy of Finland. He is the author of The Woman Jesus Loved (Brill, 1996) and a translator and co-editor of a collection of Finnish translations of the Coptic Nag Hammadi Library (2001). His current research projects deal with influential women in Early Christianity and social-historical issues among second- and third-century Christians, traditionally called gnostics.
Petri Luomanen, Th.D. (University of Helsinki 1996), Docent of New Testament Studies, is presently working as a Research Fellow of the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. He is the author of Entering the Kingdom of Heaven: A Study on the Structure of Matthew’s View of Salvation (Mohr Siebeck, 1998). His current research focuses on the textual sources of early Jewish Christianity, Jewish-Christian gospels and the socio-cognitive basis of hatred towards early Jewish Christians.

Review Quotes

"The Companion is a landmark. A handbook of the so-called heresies or heterodox Christianities of the first and second centuries, it performs two functions at once, both equally important. It provides us with the most authoritative and lucid presentations of the consensus of scholarship on the given documents or tendencies or groups as well as giving us the considered, cutting-edge thinking of just the right scholar for each one." – Daniel Boyarin, University of California, Berkeley
"So-called "heretics" in the early church have become an important focus of interest for many in recent years. New texts and new insights have increased our knowledge of some of these individuals and groups which the "orthodox" rejected. These essays will provide a valuable resource for those wanting to find out more about these figures in the light of the most recent scholarship. All the essays are thoroughly researched, clearly written and well documented. This volume will be essential reading, and an important reference work, for all those studying the variegated history of Christianity in the second century. It is certainly an excellent and timely production and will be very much appreciated as a resource by readers." – Christopher Tuckett, Pembroke College
"This lively collection of essays, authored by an impressive cast of international scholars, portrays some of the most creative and provocative Christian thinkers of the second century - Basilides, Valentinus, Marcion, Tatian, Montanus, and others - all of whom were destined to be called "heretics" and were to be silenced by their opponents. This fascinating book gives voice to these teachers once again, and it allows their alternative interpretations of Christianity to be heard with clarity." – Marvin Meyer, Chapman University
"This volume offers the most up-to-date and sophisticated introduction available to diverse types of second century Christianity that were criticized by the patristic opponents of heresy. In a series of brilliant and nuanced articles, scholarly specialists assess recently discovered evidence alongside the better known heresiological testimony. The result is a sound and insightful portrait of the social dynamics and astonishing inventiveness of these alternative Christianities." – Karen L. King, Harvard University, The Divinity School

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