Reflections on the “Heresy and Borders” ConferenceMorten Beckmann » ISHS: International Society for Heresy Studies



Reflections on the “Heresy and Borders” Conference

Morten Beckmann

I attended the Heresy and Borders conference and presented a paper on how orthodoxy is created in Bible translations.

What I found particularly fruitful about this conference was the approach that was common to many of the papers, i.e. dealing with heresy and orthodoxy without a normative basis. My  field of study (Biblical Studies) often has an (implicit) normative basis, something which delimits the study of heresy and orthodoxy to a question of right or wrong.

I believe it is essential to study the work of those who are labelled “heretics” in its own right, as our perception of the “heretics” often are colored by the misrepresentation(s) made by their opponents, who, in their attempt to uphold and maintain the boundaries between orthodoxy and heresy, often draw a black-and-white picture. The insights from the conference deepened my understanding of the fact that sometimes it is not about what actually happened or what this or that person actually said. Rather, the retellings and representations often have a heresiological function which is interconnected to creating and maintaining orthodoxy.

The perspective of the conference made me want to delve deeper into this theme, and I’m already looking forward to the next conference.

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