"MERISTAE" BY DANIEL GERSHENSON and G. QUISPEL In one passage of the Dialogue with Tryphon 1, Justin Martyr introduces a list of seven Jewish heresies. The discussion is in fact about Christian sects; the obvious analogy is Judaism, however, and so, it would appear almost unintentionally, we were left with the earliest of a number of patristic catalogues of 'Jewish heresies'. One of the seven names on Justin's list has long presented great dif?culty. The Meristae are mentioned third in a list that includes Sadducee,s, Genistae, Galilaeans, Helleniani, Pharisees and Baptistae. Although a noun such as ueeta 'g would cause no great surprise to the casual reader of a Greek text 2, there has been little agreement on its meaning here. The question we face is not restricted to etymology. We cannot avoid asking what sort of belief a sect called "the dividers" might have held; we cannot escape the religious- historical implications of the question. Justin himself gives no hint of the possible meaning or derivation of the names on his list. Sadducees, Pharisees and Galilaeans are all untranslated Hebrew names, known to us from other sources. The Helleniani remain unknown, although several conjectures at the meaning
Vigiliae Christianae – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1958
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