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“The Origin of Heresy”

Professor of Religion Robert Royalty’s book The Origin of Heresy: A History of Discourse in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity was published in paperback in June.

Originally published in hardcover in 2012, the book focuses on heresy as a central concept in the formation of Orthodox Christianity. It 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.

Royalty argues that 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.