Research Programs: Fellowships for College Teachers and Independent Scholars

Period of Performance

8/1/2005 - 7/31/2006

Funding Totals

$40,000.00 (approved)
$40,000.00 (awarded)

The History of Heresy and the Origins of Christianity

FAIN: FB-51523-05

Robert Malcolm Royalty, Jr
Wabash College (Crawfordsville, IN 47933-2484)

This is a study of early Christian heresiology, or the rhetoric of heresy,from Jesus to Justin. Reading for social location and ideology in early Christian texts, I will examine how the communities formed socially and rhetorically around the construction of error and falsehood. This monograph will be comparative, juxtaposing early Christian writings in a historical-critical approach without regard to later canonical formations. In tracing the development of these rhetorical constructions, I am also considering the origins of Christianity itself as a social formation within the Greco-Roman world. A guiding question of the research will be, at what point can we call these communities "Christian" rather than Jewish?

Associated Products

The Origins of Heresy: A History of Discourse in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity (Book)
Title: The Origins of Heresy: A History of Discourse in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity
Author: Robert M. Royalty, Jr.
Abstract: Heresy is a central concept in the formation of Orthodox Christianity. Where does this notion come from? This book traces the construction of the idea of ‘heresy’ in the rhetoric of ideological disagreements in Second Temple Jewish and early Christian texts and in the development of the polemical rhetoric against ‘heretics,’ called heresiology. Here, author Robert Royalty argues, one finds the origin of what comes to be labelled ‘heresy’ in the second century. In other words, there was such as thing as ‘heresy’ in ancient Jewish and Christian discourse before it was called ‘heresy.’ And by the end of the first century, the notion of heresy was integral to the political positioning of the early orthodox Christian party within the Roman Empire and the range of other Christian communities. This book is an original contribution to the field of Early Christian studies. Recent treatments of the origins of heresy and Christian identity have focused on the second century rather than on the earlier texts including the New Testament. The book further makes a methodological contribution by blurring the line between New Testament Studies and Early Christian studies, employing ideological and post-colonial critical methods.
Year: 2011
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: Publisher website
Publisher: Routledge
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780415536943