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Heresy

205. Heresy

See also 80. CHRISTIANITY ; 349. RELIGION ; 392. THEOLOGY .

Agnoetism
1. the tenet of a 4th-century Arian sect that Gods omniscience was restricted to contemporary time.
2. the tenet of a 6th-century Monophysite sect that Christ possessed no omniscience. Agnoete, Agnoite , n.
Albigensianism
the beliefs and principles of an 11th-century Catharist sect of southern France, exterminated in the 13th century by order of Pope Innocent III. See Catharism . Albigenses , n. pl. Albigensian , n., adj.
Apollinarianism
a late 4th-century heretical doctrine asserting that Christ had a perfect divine nature, an imperfect human nature, and a mind replaced by the Logos. Apollinarian , n., adj.
Arianism
the heretical doctrine of Arius (d. 336) that Christ the Son was not the substance or nature as God the Father. Arian , n.
Berengarianism
the beliefs of Berengar de Tours, 11th-century French churchman, especially his denial of transubstantiation. Berengarian , n., adj.
Cainism, Cainitism
the beliefs of a 4th-century Gnostic sect, especially that the Old Testament concerns a demiurge and not God and that Cain, whom they revered, had been maligned. Cf. Gnosticism . Cainite , n.
Catharism
the beliefs of several sects in medieval Europe, especially the denial of infant baptism, purgatory, the communion of saints, images, and the doctrine of the Trinity; the abrogation of the institution of marriage; and the practice of rigorous asceticism. Cathar, Cathari, Catharist , n. Catharistic , adj.
Cyrillianism
the Monophysitic tenet of Cyril, 5th-century archbishop of Alex-andria, that Christ had only one nature, a composite of the human and the divine. Cyrillian , n., adj.
Docetism
a very early heretical belief that held that Christs body was not material or real, but only the appearance of a body. Docetae, n. pl.
Donatism
a heretical cult in N. Africa during the 4th through 7th centuries that emphasized high morality and rebaptism as necessary for church mem-bership and considered invalid a sacrament celebrated by an immoral priest. Donatist , n. Donatistic , adj.
Ebionism, Ebionitism
the beliefs of a Judaistic Christian Gnostic sect of the 2nd century, especially partial observation of Jewish law, rejection of St. Paul and gentile Christianity, acceptance of only one gospel (Matthew), and an early adoptionist Christology. Ebionite , n. Ebionitic , adj.
Encratism
beliefs and practices of the Encratites, a 2nd-century Gnostic sect that renounced marriage and abstained from flesh and wine. Encratist, n.
Eudoxian
a member of a heretical sect, followers of Bishop Eudoxius, of Constantinople, who held extreme Arian views.
Gnosticism
the beliefs and practices of pre-Christian and early Christian sects, condemned by the church, especially the conviction that matter is evil and that knowledge is more important than faith, and the practice of esoteric mysticism. Cf. Cainism, Manichaeism, Valentinianism . Gnostic , n., adj.
heresiarch
1. the originator of a heresy.
2. the leader of a group of heretics.
heresimach
a fighter of heresy and heretics.
heresiography
a systematic exposition on heresy.
heresiology
1. Theology. the study of heresies.
2. a reference work on heresies. heresiologist , n.
heresy
1. a religious opinion or doctrine at variance with accepted doctrine.
2. a willful and persistent rejection of any article of the faith by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church.
3. any belief or theory strongly at variance with established opinion. heretic , n. heretical , adj.
heretocide
Rare. 1. the killing of a heretic.
2. the killer of a heretic. heretocidal , adj.
idolomania
a mania for idols.
Jansenism
a heretical doctrine of the 17th and 18th centuries denying free-dom of the will, accepting absolute predestination for part of mankind and condemnation to hell for the others, and emphasizing puritanical moral attitudes. Jansenist , n., adj.
Jovinianist
an adherent of Jovinian, a 4th-century monk who opposed asceti-cism and denied the virginity of Mary.
Macedonianism
the doctrines of Macedonius, 4th-century bishop of Constan-tinople, who denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost. Macedonian , n.
Manichaeism, Manicheism, Manicheanism
1. the doctrines and practices of the dualistic religious system of Manes, a blending of Gnostic Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and other elements, especially doctrines of a cosmic conflict between forces of light and darkness, the darkness and evilness of matter, and the necessity for a sexual, vegetarian asceticism.
2. any similar dualistic system, considered heretical by orthodox Christian standards. Cf. Gnosticism . Manichean , n., adj. Manicheistic , adj.
modalism
the theological doctrine that the members of the Trinity are not three separate persons but modes or forms of Gods self-expression. modalist , n. modalistic , adj.
Modalistic Monarchianism
Sabellianism.
monergism
the doctrine advanced by some Lutheran theologians that spiritual renewal is exclusively the activity of the Holy Spirit. Cf. synergism . monergist , n. monergistic , adj.
Montanism
the 2nd-century doctrines of Montanus of Phrygia, who believed that the Holy Spirit, or Paraclete, dwelt within him and made him its instrument for guiding men in the Christian way. Cf. Tertullianism. Montanist , n.
Patarinism
1. the beliefs and practices of llth-century Bulgarian Manicheans who migrated to the Pataria section of Milan. Also called Pataria .
2. the beliefs and practices of various Cathari sects in France and Bulgaria. Patarine, Patarene , n.
Patripassianism
a heretical doctrine denying the distinct personhood of the Trinity and asserting that God the Father became incarnate and suffered for mans redemption. Patripassian , n.
Pelagianism
the heretical doctrines of Pelagius, 4th-century British monk, especially a denial of original sin and mans fallen spiritual nature, and an assertion that mans goodness was sufficiënt for him to work out his salva-tion without the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Cf. Semi-Pelagianism . Pelagian , n., adj.
Phantasiast
a member of an early Christian sect that denied the reality of Christs body.
Photinianism
the heresy of Photinus, 4th-century bishop of Sirmium, deposed because he denied the divinity of Christ.
Priscillianism
the concepts of Priscillian, 4th-century bishop of Avila, exe-cuted for heresies influenced by Manichaeism, Docetism, and modalism. Priscillianist , n., adj.
quietism
a 17th-century Christian mystical theory, originated in Spain by Molinos and promulgated in France by Fénelon, involving passive contem-plation and surrender of the will to God and indifference to the demands of the self or the outside world, declared heretical through efforts of the Inquisition. quietist , n., adj.
Racovianism
Socinianism, so called because the sect was headquartered in Racow, Poland. Cf. Socinianism .
Sabellianism
the modalistic doctrines of Sabellius, 3rd-century prelate, espe-cially that the Trinity has but one divine essence and that the persons are only varying manifestations of God. Also called Modalistic Monarchianism . Sabellian , n., adj.
Semi-Pelagianism
a heretical doctrine, of the 5th century that accepted the doctrine of original sin but asserted that mans turning to God of his own free will, not after the provocation of the Holy Ghost, begins the process of spiritual rebirth. Cf. Pelagianism .
Socinianism
the heretical tenets of Faustus Socinius, a 16th-century Italian theologian, denying the divinity of Christ, the existence of Satan, original sin, the atonement, and eternal punishment, and explaining sin and salva-tion in rationalistic terms. Cf. Racovianism . Socinian , n., adj.
synergism
an ancient heretical doctrine, extant since the 3rd century, which holds that spiritual renewal is a cooperative endeavor between a person and the Holy Ghost. Cf. Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism . synergist , n. synergistic , adj.
tergiversation
1. the act or process of subterfuge or evasion.
2. the abandoning of a cause or belief; apostasy. tergiversator , n.
Tertullianism
a form of Montanism, as modified by Tertullian in about 203, which opposed second marriages and absolution for penitents. Cf. Montanism . Tertullianist , n.
Theopaschitism
a 6th-century heretical doctrine maintaining that Christ had only one nature, the divine, and that this nature suffered at the Crucifixion. Theopaschite , n.
Valentinianism
a 2nd-century blending of Egyptian Gnosticism and Christi-anity into a system of heretical doctrines, especially the denial that Christ took his human nature from the Virgin Mary. Cf. Gnosticism . Valentinian , n., adj.

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Heresy

Heresy (Gk., hairesis, ‘choice’). The adoption of false views and practices. Basically, the Gk. word may mean simply the adoption of a particular opinion or school of thought (e.g. Acts 5.17), but in religious terms it is usually a choice of belief which is held to be aberrant (i.e. heretical) by the main continuing body of believers. A heresiarch is the originator of a heresy or heretical movement. In Christianity, where the term is essentially located, Roman Catholic theologians distinguish ‘formal heresy’ (the grave sin of wilful persistence in error) and ‘material heresy’ (the holding of heretical doctrines through no fault of one's own).

In other religions, the term is not formally appropriate, but similar considerations, derived from the necessity for systems to have boundaries, can be found. Thus in Judaism, neither Bible nor Talmud present creeds or dogmas to which Jews must conform. However, Deuteronomy 17. 8–13 isolates the zaqen mamre, the obstinate teacher (rebellious elder). Already in the Mishnah serious aberrancy is recognized. Heresy now is belief in ideas condemned by the Orthodox religious authorities. In Judaism, a heretic is still considered to be a Jew, and is described by a number of terms such as min, apikoros, and kofer (cf. kāfir).

The nearest equivalent in Islam is ilḥād, ‘deviation’. Heretics are called malāḥidah. Right practice (sunna) is as important as right belief, but in any case the heretic is, quintessentially, one who denies the reality of God. Thus the major offences in Islam are shirk and bidʿa. One who forsakes Islam is an apostate (murtadd), and if he turns against Islam in public attack, he should be executed.

In E. religions, it might seem, superficially, that there is little room for a concept equivalent to heresy. ‘Hinduism’ and ‘Buddhism’ contain diversities of an even more spectacular kind than Christianity. Hinduism as sanātana dharma is able to include conceptually even those breakaway religious movements, such as the Jains and Buddhists, which are usually described as separate religions. They are interpretations (darśana) of the revelation in the Vedas, but unorthodox ones—nāstika as opposed to āstika. In a sense which is now eroded, the orthodox is defined geographically: it is the area in which dharma can be observed. Thus Manusmṛti:

The land between the two sacred rivers Sarasvati and Drsadvati, this land created by divine powers, is the Brahmavarta. The customs prevailing in this land, passed on from one generation to another, constitute right behaviour (sadācāra). From a brahman born and bred in this land all people should learn how to live.… Beyond is the land of the mlecchas: a twice-born should remain in this land; a śūdra may, to gain his livelihood, live anywhere.

Buddhism was not even confined to territory, since it was, at least in terms of teaching, opposed to caste, sacrifice, and dharma determined by Vedas and brahmans. However, it was not on trivial issues that the early schools divided (see COUNCILS (BUDDHIST)); and the subsequent elaboration into sūtra-based Buddhism (i.e. Mahāyāna) led to an immense proliferation of schools and traditions. But although there has been considerable hostility between Mahāyāna and Hīnayāna (witness the latter name itself), the different forms of Buddhism have in general flourished in different geographical areas. The definition of the heretic has therefore been extremely local, leading to expulsion from communities, especially of monks (see EXCOMMUNICATION). The nearest equivalent to heresy is ‘false views’: see DIṬṬHI.

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heresy

heresy is the holding of religious views regarded or defined as unacceptable by the church and, if persisted in, carried the punishment of burning. The first notable British heretics were Pelagius and Celestius, who taught in Rome in the early 5th cent., and argued, against Augustine, that man's own efforts could steer him towards salvation. Condemned by Pope Innocent I, pelagianism continued to find support in Britain and St Germanus was sent over in 429 specifically to deal with it. Accusations of heresy were rarely made against lay people, who neither preached nor published, and whose grasp of Christian doctrine was often, as their pastors complained, distressingly approximate. The assumption was that they were ignorant of the truth and seldom persisted in error when it was pointed out to them. Heresy was hardly a problem in the Anglo-Saxon church or in the immediate post-Conquest period, and only a handful of cases can be identified. Nevertheless the church remained on its guard. A group of weavers, possibly Cathars, arrived in 1165 from Flanders or Germany and settled in Worcester: they were branded and not allowed to remain. Concern over heresy dates from Wyclif's challenge to the doctrine of transubstantiation and his attacks upon the wealth of the church, which, coming in the 1370s at a time of economic unrest, gained him considerable support. Though Henry IV's act De heretico comburendo passed in 1401 it was only after Oldcastle's lollard rebellion in 1414 that systematic persecution of heresy began. In Scotland, James Resby, a follower of Wyclif, was burned at Perth in 1407, and a Hussite at St Andrews in 1432. There was a marked revival of lollardy in the late 15th and early 16th cents., which merged with the Lutheran heresy. Henry VIII repealed De heretico comburendo in 1533 but retained the right to burn heretics. Edward VI then repealed all statutes against heresy, though it remained an offence at common law. Mary at once revived the previous statutes and Elizabeth abolished them again in 1558. anabaptists continued to suffer since they were regarded as totally subversive of the social order, James ordering a burning in 1612. In Scotland the laws against heresy were repealed by the Reformation Parliament of 1560. In Charles II's reign, an Act of 1677 abolished the writ De heretico comburendo, but reiterated the right of ecclesiastical courts to punish heresy, short of death.

Though persecution of laymen for heresy ceased, the careers of clerics and academics (in holy orders) could still be jeopardized by charges of heresy, and the offence of blasphemy remained dangerous. James Nayler, a quaker, was whipped, branded, and had his tongue bored for blasphemy in 1656/7, and Thomas Aikenhead, a mere youth, was executed in Edinburgh in 1697. William Whiston, Newton's successor at Cambridge, was deprived of his chair in 1710 for arianism; John Simon, professor of divinity at Glasgow, was suspended in 1729 on the same charge; Thomas Woolston, a fellow of Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, lost his fellowship in 1721, was prosecuted for blasphemy in 1729, and died in prison. Later prosecutions included the publishers of Paine's The Age of Reason (1797, 1812, 1819), the publisher of Shelley's Queen Mab (1821), and George Holyoake for a lecture (1842). In 1977 Mary Whitehouse brought a successful private action against Gay News for printing a poem portraying Christ as a homosexual. Existing legislation against blasphemy protects Christianity only and there has been pressure to extend it to cover Islam and other religions.

J. A. Cannon

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heresy

heresy, in religion, especially in Christianity, beliefs or views held by a member of a church that contradict its orthodoxy, or core doctrines. It is distinguished from apostasy, which is a complete abandonment of faith that makes the apostate a deserter, or former member. Heresy is also distinguished from schism, which is a splitting of or from the church brought about by disputes over hierarchy or discipline, rather than over matters of doctrine. The heretic considers himself or herself not only a church member but, in a doctrinal controversy, the true believer; indeed, some persons originally labeled heretical were rehabilitated after once abhorred views become accepted.

The battle for doctrinal control of Christianity began with the declarations of St. Paul in the New Testament. In the religion's first three centuries, numerous sects, many arising from Gnosticism, were in conflict. The first Council of Nicaea (AD 325), which addressed the challenge of Arianism, was among convocations at which a Christian orthodoxy was established.

Excommunication was the usual method of dealing with heretical individuals or small groups. The medieval church undertook military action (as against the Albigenses, in 1208) and extensive legal and punitive campaigns (such as the Inquisition) in striving to suppress large-scale heresy. The Protestant Reformation created new churches that at first campaigned against heresy from their own doctrinal bases; over time, however, the Roman Catholic church has remained the only Christian body that has continued with any frequency, on the basis of canon law, to prosecute heretics.

See also blasphemy.

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heresy

her·e·sy / ˈherəsē/ • n. (pl. -sies) belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (esp. Christian) doctrine: Huss was burned for heresy the doctrine was denounced as a heresy by the pope. ∎  opinion profoundly at odds with what is generally accepted: cutting capital gains taxes is heresy | the politician's heresies became the conventional wisdom of the day. ORIGIN: Middle English: from Old French heresie, based on Latin haeresis, from Greek hairesis ‘choice’ (in ecclesiastical Greek ‘heretical sect’), from haireisthai ‘choose.’

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heresy

heresy Denial of, or deviation from, orthodox religious belief. The concept exists in most organized religions with a rigid, dogmatic system. The early Christian Church fought against heresies such as Arianism and Nestorianism. In the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church set up the Inquisition to fight heresy. After the Reformation, the Catholic Church described Protestants as heretics because of their denial of many papally defined dogmas, while Protestants applied the term to those who denied their interpretation of the major scriptural doctrines. Persecutions for heresy were common in most parts of Christendom until relatively recently.

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heresy

heresy belief or opinion contrary to orthodox religious (especially Christian) doctrine. Recorded from Middle English, the word comes via Old French and Latin from Greek hairesis ‘choice’ (in ecclesiastial Greek ‘heretical sect’), from haireomai ‘choose’.

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heresy

heresy XIII. ME. (h)eresie — OF. (h)eresie (mod. hérésie) — L. hæresis — Gr. haíresis choice, (hence) school of thought, etc., f. haireîsthai choose.
So heretic XIV. heretical XVI. — medL.

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heresy

heresyChrissie, Cissy, kissy, missy, prissy, sissy •dixie, pixie, tricksy, Trixie •chintzy, De Quincey, wincey •efficiency, proficiency, sufficiency •Gypsy, tipsy •ditzy, glitzy, itsy-bitsy, Mitzi, ritzy, Uffizi •Eurydice •odyssey, theodicy •sub judice • prophecy • anglice •chaplaincy • policy • baronetcy •governessy • Pharisee • actressy •clerisy, heresy •secrecy • statice • captaincy •courtesy •dicey, icy, pricey, spicy, vice •stridency • sightsee •bossy, Flossie, flossy, glossy, mossy, posse •boxy, doxy, epoxy, foxy, moxie, poxy, proxy •bonxie •poncey, sonsy •dropsy, popsy •biopsy • heterodoxy • orthodoxy •autopsy

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