Matthijs den Dulk

Rhetoric of Heresy: Anti-Sophistic Polemic from Paul to Irenaeus

During my time at the Marty Center, I hope to write two chapters of my dissertation, which focuses on the genesis of the notion of heresy. I’m particularly interested in how the classic opposition between philosophy and sophistry (going back at least as far as Plato) informed constructions of difference in the oldest Christian texts and how this contributed to the development of the anti-heretical discourses of the second and later centuries. I’m deeply grateful for the opportunity to explore this set of questions as a Junior Fellow in the Martin Marty Center. One of the things I’m most excited about is that the fellowship affords me the opportunity to test my ideas in the context of a broad interdisciplinary conversation. Heresy is an idea ‘born’ in early Christian literature, but the exclusion of people and ideas from communities is a perennial issue, and I therefore expect that it will be very enriching to discuss this topic with fellow grad students from different fields of study as well as with professionals from outside of the academy.