Heresiological Labeling in Ecumenical Networking from the Ninth to Thirteenth Centuries : The Byzantine Oikoumene Reconsidered

  • Published : 2016.08.23


Apart from its Greco-Roman and Christian connotations, considering its continuous influence in the Byzantine world, the oikoumene should be seen as a geo-political as well as socio-religious concept of networking and unity in popular thought and local narratives. This paper argues that "ecumenical" thought survived after Late Antiquity and through the Byzantine era in the Orthodox transportation infrastructure of people and information. It also provides a review of the circulation of heresiological "labels" in the middle to late Byzantine eras. In the Mediterranean, routes, transportation vehicles, and any media supported intelligent networking in the oikoumene. People in the oikoumene could access foreign teachings or stories from outsiders or "barbarians" of different faiths. Constantinopolitan intellectuals coined and issued labels for heretics, such as the Bogomils, Paulicians, and Massalians, and constructed a narrative of the heretical contamination from the center of the oikoumene. Heresiologists collected the information used in creating these heresy titles from far-flung places in all directions from Constantinople, and then exported the labels, which were spread using the transportation network of the Byzantine oikoumene.


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