“Mocked by the Archon of Lust”: Panarion 1.26 and Epiphanius’ Hyperboles on Sex and Ascetics Read in Light of Fourth Century Ecclesiastical Debates

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This article argues that the depictions of Gnostic sects performing horrendous rites in Epiphanius of Cyprus’ work Panarion worked as rhetorical devices to shift focus away from his own position vis-à-vis marriage, sex, and consumptions of good food and wine, a position that was considered liberal in the context of fourth century eccle- siastical debates. It here is shown how Epiphanius’ description of Gnostic sects follows clear patterns of the archetypical “other”, going back to Roman slander of Christians. By drawing attention to this fact and by contextualizing Epiphanius’ theological positions and the ecclesiastical struggles he was engaged in during the fourth century, this ar- ticle cast new light on the work Panarion and the techniques Epiphanius employed in order to impact his theological climate. By retorting to conventional polemical meth- ods of preceding centuries, where the enemy is attached to norm-breaking behavior, Epiphanius managed to make his own positions seem more reasonable and moderate.


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Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Religionshistoria


Sidor (från-till)316-334
TidskriftVigiliae Christianae
Utgåva nummer3
StatusPublished - 2020 jun
Peer review utfördJa