The Construction of Orthodoxy and Heresy

The Construction of Orthodoxy and Heresy : Neo-Confucian, Islamic, Jewish, and Early Christian Patterns

4 (6 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

List price: US$31.95

Currently unavailable

We can notify you when this item is back in stock

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


This book presents the first systematic and cross-cultural exploration of ideas of heresy, as well as orthodoxy, in a group of major religious traditions, including Neo-Confucianism, Sunni Islam, rabbinic Judaism, and early Christianity. It shows how authorities in all four of these traditions used common strategies to distinguish orthodox truth from heretical error. These same strategies often appear in modern ideological polemics and studies of deviance as well as in traditional religious controversies. The party that most effectively uses these strategies often gains a decisive advantage in the struggle among competing claimants to orthodoxy. The author also shows how orthodoxy depends on heresy. Without heresy, or at least ideas of heresy, orthodoxy could not establish or perpetuate itself. In fact, in all four traditions orthodoxy constructed itself by creating an inversion of the heretical other. By highlighting the common patterns in constructions of orthodoxy and heresy in four major religious traditions, this book also sets in relief subtler variations that give each tradition a special character. In this way this study strikes a balance between the universal and the particular: it illuminates a general pattern in world intellectual history, but also shows how the traditions that illustrate this pattern are distinctive.
show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 265 pages
  • 150.1 x 227.1 x 16mm | 362.88g
  • Albany, NY, United States
  • English
  • Total Illustrations: 0
  • 0791437604
  • 9780791437605
  • 1,307,179

Review quote

"I like the work's theoretical framework. It shows sensitivity to different cultural definitions of heresy rather than giving a definition and making all traditions conform to it. Henderson provides a good conceptual basis for comparison because no one tradition sets the rules of comparison--a common problem in cross-cultural work." -- Matthew Levey, Birmingham Southern College
show more

About John B. Henderson

John B. Henderson is Professor, Department of History, Louisiana State University. He has previously published The Development and Decline of Chinese Cosmology and Scripture, Canon, and Commentary: A Comparison of Confucian and Western Exegesis.
show more

Rating details

6 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 17% (1)
4 67% (4)
3 17% (1)
2 0% (0)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X