Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa
  • Get access
    Check if you have access via personal or institutional login
  • Cited by 2
  • Cited by
    This article has been cited by the following publications. This list is generated based on data provided by CrossRef.

    Berzon, Todd S. 2016. Known Knowns and Known Unknowns: Epiphanius of Salamis and the Limits of Heresiology. Harvard Theological Review, Vol. 109, Issue. 01, p. 75.

    Jacobs, Andrew S. 2012. Matters (Un-)Becoming: Conversions in Epiphanius of Salamis. Church History, Vol. 81, Issue. 01, p. 27.


Becoming Heretical: Affection and Ideology in Recruitment to Early Christianities

  • Kendra Eshleman (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2011

A growing consensus recognizes that the differences among Christians in the late second and early third centuries were neither as obvious nor as great as representatives of later orthodoxy would have us believe, and that what divided Christians in this period were not so much different beliefs and ideas as different hermeneutical and ritual practices. This article approaches the same conclusion from a different angle: from the perspective of potential recruits to Christianity, drawing on social-scientific models of conversion. For them, the peculiarities of doctrine and even of practice that obsess ancient polemicists and modern scholars were often largely invisible. While those features could take center stage for mature converts—and hence in retrospective accounts of conversion—they seem to have played little role in bringing people to specific versions of the faith in the first place. Rather, for many Christian recruits, the road to “orthodoxy” or “heresy” began not in ideological attraction, but in attachments to family, friends, and patrons already inside the group.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

John Behr , Christine Trevett, and Susan Ashbrook Harvey in Origins to Constantine (vol. 1 of Cambridge History of Christianity; ed. Margaret M. Mitchell and Frances M. Young ; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006

J. Zandee , “Gnostic Ideas on the Fall and Salvation,” Numen 11 (1964) 1374

Hans G. Kippenberg , “Versuch einer soziologischen Verortung des antiken Gnostizismus,” Numen 17 (1970) 211–31

Arthur L. Greil and David R. Rudy , “What Have We Learned from Process Models of Conversion?” Sociological Focus 17 (1984) 306–23

Carl A. Sheingold , “Social Networks and Voting: The Resurrection of a Research Agenda,” American Sociological Review 38 (1973) 712–20

Nicholas A. Christakis and James H. Fowler , “The Collective Dynamics of Smoking in a Large Social Network,” New England Journal of Medicine 358 (1998) 2249–58

Rena R. Wing and Robert W. Jeffery , “Benefits of Recruiting Participants with Friends and Increasing Social Support for Weight Loss and Maintenance,” Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 67 (1999) 132–8

Rodney Stark and William S. Bainbridge , “Networks of Faith: Interpersonal Bonds and Recruitment to Cults and Sects,” American Journal of Sociology 85 (1980) 1376–95

David A. Snow , Louis A. Zurcher, Jr., and Sheldon Ekland-Olson, “Social Networks and Social Movements: A Microstructural Approach to Differential Recruitment,” American Sociological Review 45 (1980) 787801

Judith M. Lieu , Christian Identity in the Jewish and Graeco-Roman World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Harvard Theological Review
  • ISSN: 0017-8160
  • EISSN: 1475-4517
  • URL: /core/journals/harvard-theological-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *