Christian Mystery Schools, Cults, Heresies

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Christian Mystery Schools, Cults, Heresies

The Christian Mystery Schools were largely condemned by the early Church Fathers because of the fear that their practitioners were consciously or unconsciously continuing the old pagan ways. As it was, nearly all of the Christian holy days coincided with pagan holidays, from Christmas and the Roman feast of Saturnalia to Easter and the fertility rites of the goddess Eastre. The Church patriarchs were not at all willing to encourage any additional blendings of Christianity with the Old Religions.

Christianity was a young religion when compared to the worship of the Greek, Roman, Egyptian, and other Middle Eastern and Eastern deities. The mystery schools kept alive the practice of magic and the belief that secret rituals and sacred relics could command the presence of divinity. The ancient mystery rites dedicated to such gods as Osiris, Isis, and Dionysus, together with the magical formulas discovered by Hermes Trimegistus and other masters of the art of theurgy, compelled the gods to manifest and share their powers. The myths of the old gods and the holy scriptures of the Christians, the secret experiences of the ancients and the revelations of the apostles, the personal sense of God developed by the pagan cults, and the promise of the Church Fathers that one could know God through his sonall seemed to some individuals to be harmonious. The rich inheritance of the pagan world seemed too valuable to abandon when such mysteries could be so easily adapted and kept alive in the new rituals.

The Church Fathers disagreed sharply with the devotees of the Christian mystery schools who sought their approval. In their unanimous opinion, those who sought to blend the old pagan rituals with the new revelation of Christ were members of secret cults who were to be condemned as heretics. In response to the rejection of the church establishment, the heretical members of the Christian mystery schools simply became less open and more secretive in the expression of their religious practices.

Originally, the word "heresy" was an unemotional term that meant to engage in the act of choosing a course of action or a set of principles. In contemporary culture, to be called a heretic may be considered something of a compliment, suggesting that one is an independent or adventurous thinker. However, in the epistles of St. Paul, heretics were condemned as being those dangerous teachers who sought to distort or corrupt the teachings of Jesus (c. 6 b.c.e.c. 30 c.e.). Ironically, it was in Antioch, the city where those who followed Jesus of Nazareth were first called Christians, that Bishop Ignatius (c. 40107) became the first of the Church Fathers to use the term "heretic" to condemn those he believed were altering the true understanding of Christ.

It was rather easy to be labeled a heretic by the early Church Fathers. Originally composed of a small group of Jews who had followed the teachings of their rabbi until his death on the cross, the first members of that sector cultwere sharply divided in what it was that they believed. Was Jesus of Nazareth a great prophet or was he truly the long-awaited Messiah of the Jews? The early Christians had no established doctrines regarding the resurrection of their teacher from the dead or his alleged divinity. They were even uncertain if they should continue to follow the Jewish religious laws. When Gentiles were allowed to join the small Jewish sect, the arguments concerning the true revelation of Jesus the Christ only escalated. Eventually, as the Christians solidified their beliefs, established their doctrines, became recognized as a church, and held councils to establish more rigid creeds and ecclesiasticisms, it became much easier to identify those men and women who were heretics and who truly departed from the established beliefs of the church.

There is often confusion between the terms "cult" and "sect." Generally speaking, if a cult becomes accepted by the mainstream culture, some of its original enthusiasm will eventually cool and it will steadily become more organized and structured until it matures into a "religious organization." Later, as some of the orgnization's members become dissatisfied with the religious routine and yearn for a more passionate expression of faith, they break off into a splinter group of the church and become a "sect." As the sect becomes more organized and is regarded more seriously by the mainstream culture, it becomes known as a "denomination."

The various Christian mystery schools, cults, and heresies that have influenced millions of individuals for two millennia. From the earliest days of Christianity, there were basically two opposing interpretations of Jesus:

  1. Jesus, a rabbi of Nazareth, was a powerful teacher and prophet, a devout man divinely inspired by God.
  2. Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, the Messiah, the true Son of God made flesh to serve as a sacrificial lamb for the sins of humankind.

From these two metaphysical expressions with their vast essential differences, there arose centuries of theological arguments and interpretations of the gospels. What was heresy to some was sacred belief to others. And so it continues to this day.

Delving Deeper

Brandon, S. G. F. Religion in Ancient History. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1969.

Clifton, Charles S. Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1992.

Ferm, Vergilious, ed. Ancient Religions. New York: Philosophical Library, 1950.

Black Madonna

Of the more than 400 images of the Black Madonna or Black Virgin known worldwide, the image of Our Lady in Czestochowa, Poland, has received the most recent recognition because of the personal devotion displayed toward this religious icon by Pope John Paul II (1920 ). The pope, a native of Poland, prayed before the Madonna of Czestochowa in 1979, several months after his election to the Chair of Peter, and he is known to have made subsequent visits in 1983 and in 1991. The reports of miracles and healings attributed to Our Lady of Czestochowa (also known as Our Lady of Jasna Gora) through the centuries are

numerous. They include Our Lady greatly enhancing the ability of a small group of Polish defenders to protect her sanctuary from an army of Swedish invaders in 1655 and her holy apparition appearing to disperse an invading army of Russians in 1920. Records of such spectacular acts of intervention and dramatic cures are kept in the archives of the Pauline Fathers at Jasna Gora, the monastery site in which the portrait was housed for six centuries.

The Black Madonna of Czestochowa is of such antiquity that its origins are unknown. Tradition has it that St. Luke, the "beloved physician," painted the portrait of Jesus's mother on the cedar wood table at which she took her meals. Two centuries later, during her visit to the Holy Land, St. Helena (c. 248c. 328), the Queen-Mother of Emperor Constantine (d. 337), is said to have discovered the portrait and brought it to Constantinople in the fourth century. Five centuries later, determined to save the image of the Madonna from the repeated invasions of the Tartars, St. Ladislaus (10401095) took the portrait to Opala, Poland, the city of his birth, for safekeeping. Regretfully, not long after its move, a disrespectful Tartar arrow managed to find its way to the Madonna's throat, inflicting a scar that still remains visible. In 1430, Hussite thieves stole the portrait and broke it into three pieces.

Contemporary scholar Leonard Moss has argued against a vast antiquity for the Black Madonna of Czestochowa, claiming that the figure of the woman in the portrait was painted in a distinctly thirteenth- or fourteenth-century Byzantine style. Janusz Pasierb, another scholar who examined the portrait, counters such an assertion, stating that the image was "painted virtually new" in 1434 because of the extensive damage that the portrait had suffered at the hands of vandals.

Another aspect of the mystery of Our Lady of Czestochowa and all the other Black Madonnas that has puzzled many individuals is why they are portrayed with such dark skin tones. Some scholars answer this by stating that it wasn't until the onset of the Renaissance in the fourteenth century that Jesus, Mary, and Joseph began being portrayed with pale skin, blue eyes, and blond or reddish-blond hair. Prior to that period, the Holy Family and the apostles were most often depicted as semitic people whose dark skin tones reflected the hot arid climate in which they lived. If the Black Madonna of Czestochowa was truly a portrait of Mary that had been painted from life by the apostle Luke, he would surely have captured a woman with olive or dark brown skin and black or brown hair.

Other researchers into the mystique of the Black Madonna state that the reasons that the Roman Catholic Church in general has not warmly embraced such depictions of the Holy Mother or Virgin Mary are because they fear that such representations are actually paying tribute to the ancient goddesses and Earth mothers and that these images perpetuate strains of pagan worship of the female principle. For example, church scholars point out that St. Germain de Pres, the oldest church in Paris (Par-isis, the Grove of Isis), was built in 542 on the site of a former temple dedicated to Isis. Isis had been the patron goddess of Paris until Christianity replaced her with St. Genevieve. Within the church of St. Germain de Pres, however, parishioners worshipped a black statue of Isis until it was destroyed in 1514.

Christianity warred against goddess worship from the days of the apostles when St. Paul (d. 6268 c.e.) found to his great frustration that his message was being shouted down by the crowds at Ephesus who pledged their obeisance to Diana. Until they had been romanized and westernized, Diana/Artemis, together with the other two preeminent goddesses of the East, Isis and Cybele, were first represented as black madonnas. And before the people of the East bent their knees to Diana, Isis, and Cybele, they had worshipped the Great Mother as Inanna in Sumeria, as Ishtar in Babylonia, and as Astarte among the Hebrews. Most scholars agree that among the first images of the Black Madonna and her son were representations of Isis and Horus.

The Black Madonna may also refer to Mary Magdalene, who, in the traditions of many Christian sects, such as the Gnostics, was the wife of Jesus (c. 6 b.c.e.c. 30 c.e.) In this interpretation of the events that occurred after Jesus' death at the hands of the Romans, Mary brought the cup used at the Last Supperthe Holy Grailfrom Palestine to southern France, where it would eventually be guarded by the Knights Templar.

There is also a belief that Mary arrived in France carrying within her womb a child fathered by Jesus of Nazareth, who then became the progenitor for the royal family of France. For those who hold such beliefs, the Holy Grail is but a metaphor for Mary Magdalene's womb, which carried the true blood of Jesus in the person of his unborn son. Therefore, many of the depictions of the Black Madonna and child throughout the regions of southern France and Spain may be regarded as images of Mary Magdalene carrying the infant son of Jesus rather than the Virgin Mary carrying the infant Jesus.

Delving Deeper

Baigent, Michael, Richard Leigh, and Henry Lincoln. Holy Blood, Holy Grail. New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1983.

Clifton, Charles S. Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1992.

Dorese, Jean. The Secret Books of the Egyptian Gnostics. New York: MJF Books, 1986.

Duricy, Michael P. "Black Madonnas: Our Lady of Czestochowa," maintained by the Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute. [Online] 23 January 2002.

Imel, Martha Ann, and Dorothy Myers. Goddesses in World Mythology. New York: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Matthews, Caitlin. Sophia Goddess of Wisdom: The Divine Feminine from Black Goddess to World-Soul. London: Aquarian Press, 1992.

Sjoo, Monica, and Barbara Mor. The Great Cosmic Mother. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987.


In 1208, Pope Innocent III (c. 11611216) declared the Cathars, a sect of Christianity (also known as the Albigenses), to be heretical and condemned the citizens of Beziers, Perpignan, Narbonne, Toulouse, and Carcassone to death as "enemies of the Church." Simon de Montfort (c. 11651218), an accomplished military leader, was appointed to conduct a crusade against fellow Christians, cultured men and women of what is today southern France, who the pope had deemed a greater threat to Christianity than the Islamic warriors who had pummeled the Crusaders. Although it took him nearly 20 years of warfare against the beleaguered Albigenses, de Montfort managed to exterminate 100,000 men, women, and children, before he himself was killed during the siege of Toulouse in June 1218.

According to many contemporary scholars, the Cathars' or Albigenses' real offense, their "heresy," was their opposition to the sacramental materialism of the medieval church. The group had no fixed, religious doctrine, and was known by various names. They called themselves the True Church of God, and most of the few manuscripts that survived the flames of siege were all written in Provencal, the old language of southern France, with even fewer written in Latin. Albi was the town in the province of Languedoc in which an ecclesiastical church council condemned them as heretics, hence the Albigenses designation. The cultural life of the Albigenses far out-shone that of any other locality in the Europe of their day. In manners, morals, and learning, objective historians state the Albigenses deserved respect to a greater extent than the orthodox bishops and clergy. It is now generally conceded among researchers that the court of Toulouse before the ravages of Simon de Montfort's siege was the center of a higher type of civilization than existed anywhere else in Europe at that time.

Most experts on this historical period agree that the nearly 40 years of warfare against the Cathars ruined the most civilized nation in thirteenth-century Europe. The pitiless cruelty and brutal licentiousness, which was habitual among the Crusaders, achieved new depths of inhumanity against the Albigenses. No man was spared in their wrath. No woman was spared their violence. It has been observed that no Roman, Hunnish, Muslim, or Mongol conqueror ever annihilated a Christian community with greater savagery.

Since most of the Albigensian communities were first sacked, then burned, their records and their libraries were destroyed. Because the testimony of exactly what the Cathars really believed was wrung out under extreme pain from those who survived the massacres and endless sieges long enough to be tortured and burned at the stake, it has been difficult to gain access to their true belief structure until recent times. Research now indicates that far from the devil-worshipping heretics that Pope Innocent III decreed warranted extermination, the Albigenses were devout, chaste, tolerant Christian humanists, who loathed the material excesses of the medieval church. They were metaphysicians, spiritual alchemists, herbalists, healers, and social activists with a pragmatic turn of mind. Similiar expressions of their belief concepts may be found in the Gnostic Gospels, in the Essenic teachings discovered at Qumran, and in the Egyptian mystery schools.

It would appear that the greatest heresy to the Christian Church lay in the Cathars' denial that Christ ever lived as a man, but was a being of spirit, much like an angel. They also believed that it was Satan who created the material world after his expulsion from heaven when God the Father, taking pity on his once bright star Lucifer, allowed him seven days to see what he might create. The bodies of Adam and Eve were animated by fallen angels and directed by Satan to beget children who would follow the ways of the serpent. To counter the lust of the flesh inspired by the devil, the Cathars preached abstinence before marriage, chastity, vegetarianism, and nonviolence. They believed in a progressive doctrine of reincarnation with the spirits of animals evolving into humans. In their view, it was a dualistic universe, with good and evil having equal strength, and they considered their time in the world as a struggle to resist Satan's power.

In 1244 Montsegur, the last center of Albigensian resistance, fell, and hundreds of Cathars were burned at the stake. The headquarters of the Inquisition was now established in the once highly cultured Albigensian city of Toulouse, and the few Cathars who had managed to escape death during the bloody decades of the crusade that had been launched against them were now at the mercy of the relentless witch and heretic hunters.

Delving Deeper

Baigent, Michael, Leigh, Richard, and Lincoln, Henry. Holy Blood, Holy Grail. New York: Dell Publishing Co., 1983.

Clifton, Charles S. Encyclopedia of Heresies and Heretics. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1992.

Delaforge, Gaetan. The Templar Tradition. Putney, Vt.: Threshold Books, 1987.

Lea, Henry Charles. The Inquisition of the Middle Ages. New York: Citadel Press, 1963.

Trevor-Roper, H. R. The European Witch-Craze. New York: Harper & Row, 1967.


Several cults with widely differing beliefs all bearing the label of "Gnostic" arose in the first century, strongly competing with the advent of Christianity. The term Gnostic is derived from the Greek "gnosis," meaning "to know," and the adherents of Gnosticism unabashedly declared that members of their form of religious expression "knew" from firsthand experience the truths that other beliefs had to accept on faith.

Many of the Gnostic sects blended elements of Christianity with the Eleusianian mysteries, combining them with Indian, Egyptian, and Babylonian magic, and also bringing in aspects of the Jewish Kabbalah as well. Whatever the expression of the various Gnostic belief structures, they all emphasized a detachment from the material world and an elaborate series of spiritual hierarchies through which those initiates who had achieved personal knowledge of divinity could arise. The Christian Church Fathers branded the Gnostics as heretics just as soon as they had developed enough power within the Roman Empire to do so, and the cult continued to be anathema to the Church down through its variations in the Cathars, the Albigensis, and the Knights Templar.

The first Gnostic of importance would seem to be Simon Magus (fl. c. 67 c.e.), a Samarian sorcerer, a contemporary of the apostles, who was converted to Christianity, then strongly rebuked by Peter when he sought to purchase the wonder-working power of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:924). Those Gnostic Christians influenced by such charismatic individuals as Simon Magus believed that there was a secret oral tradition that had been passed down from Jesus that had much greater power and authority than the scriptures and epistles offered by the orthodox teachers of Christianity. The Gnostics, like the initiates of the Greek and Egyptian mysteries, sought direct experience with the divine and they believed that this communion could be achieved by uttering secret words of wisdom that God had granted to specially enlightened teachers. The Gnostics considered themselves much more spiritually advanced than the larger community of Christians, whom they regarded as ignorant plodders and easily led sheep.

Nearly everything that was known about the Christian Gnostics prior to the discovery of the Nag Hammadi library in 1945 was taken from the highly prejudiced writings of such Church Fathers as Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Epiphanius, who condemned the Gnostics as heretics and devil-worshippers. The library that was found in Upper Egypt consists of 12 books, plus eight leaves removed from a thirteenth book and tucked inside the front cover of the sixth. These eight leaves make up the complete text of a work that has been taken out of a volume of collected works. Each of the books, except the tenth, consists of a collection of brief works, such as "The Prayer of the Apostle Paul," "The Gospel of Thomas," "The Sophia of Jesus Christ," "The Gospel of the Egyptians," and so on. Although the Nag Hammadi library is written in Coptic, the texts were originally composed in Greek and contain many references to Egyptian sites and beliefs. And although the work is ascribed to Christian Gnostics, there are many essays within the library that do not seem to reflect much of the Christian tradition. While there are references to a Gnostic Savior, his presentation does not seem to be based on the Jesus found in the New Testament. On those occasions when Jesus does appear in the texts, he often appears to be criticizing those orthodox Christians who have confused his words and his teachings. By following the true way and thus achieving transcendence, Jesus says in "The Apocalypse of Peter," every believer's "resurrection" becomes a spiritual reality.

Throughout the Nag Hammadi library there are admonitions to resist the lures and traps of trying to be content in a world that has been corrupted by evil. The world created by God is good. The evil that has permeated the world, although alien to its original design, has risen to the status where it has become the ruler of Earth. Rather than perceiving existence as a battle between God and the devil, the Gnostics envisioned a struggle between the true, most high, unknowable God and the lesser god of this Earth, the "Demiurge," that they associated with the angry, jealous, rule-giving deity of the ancient Hebrews. They believe that all humans have the ability to awaken to the realization that they have within themselves a spark of the divine. By attuning to the mystical awareness within them, they may transcend all earthly entrapments and regain their true spiritual home. Jesus had been sent by God as a guide to teach humans how to free themselves from the control of the Demiurge and to understand that the kingdom of God was within, a transcendental state of consciousness, rather than a future reward.

As if the theology of the Gnostics was not enough to have them branded as heretics by the orthodox Christian establishment, their doctrines and their scriptural texts often utilized feminine imagery and symbology. Even more offensive to the patriarchal Church Fathers was the Gnostic assertion that Jesus had close women disciples as well as men. In The Gospel of Phillip it is written that the Lord loved Mary Magdalene above all the other apostles, and he sharply reprimanded those of his followers who objected to his open displays of affection toward her.

Gnosticism ceased to be a threat to the organized Christian Church by the fourteenth century, but many of its tenets of belief have never faded completely from the thoughts and writings of many scholars and intellectuals down through the centuries. Elements of the Gnostic creeds surfaced again in the New Age movement of the late twentieth century. An impetus to study the writings of the Gnostic texts was provided by psychologist Carl Gustav Jung (18751961), who perceived value in the writings of Valentinus, a prominent Gnostic teacher. In Jung's opinion, Gnosticism's depiction of the struggle between God and the false god represented the turmoil that existed among various aspects of the human psyche. God, in the psychologist's interpretation, was the personal unconscious; the Demiurge was the ego, the organizing principle of consciousness; and Christ was the unified self, the complete human.

Delving Deeper

clifton, charles s. encyclopedia of heresies and heretics. new york: barnes & noble, 1992.

crim, keith, ed. the perennial dictionary of world religions. san francisco: harper collins, 1989.

o'grady, joan. early christian heresies. new york: barnes & noble, 1985.

robinson, james, ed. the nag hammadi library. san francisco: harper & row, 1981.


Mani (c. 216277), a self-proclaimed "apostle of Christ" who spoke in Syrian, a version of the Aramaic language in which Jesus (c. 6 b.c.e.c. 30 c.e.) taught, proclaimed that his church would preach a universal religion that would be for all people, regardless of nationality or tongue. The well-educated child, born to a Persian family that lived near Babylon and who worshipped with the Elkesaites, fell under the influence of Gnostic teaching and began to devise a philosophy that saw life on Earth as a constant struggle between good and evil. When he was only 12, Mani experienced his first religious vision and perceived an angelic being who declared itself his heavenly twin and who promised always to be Mani's helper and protector. When he was 24, the twin appeared again, and he instructed the young visionary that it was now time to leave the Elkesaite community and to begin his public ministry.

Mani believed that his visions qualified him to preach a new gospel that combined the words and works of Jesus with other great messianic teachers. He sought to pattern his life after that of St. Paul (d. 6268 c.e.), and he called himself an apostle through the will of Christ before he set out on his extensive missionary travels. However, unlike Paul, Mani believed, as did so many Christian heretics, that as the Son of God Jesus could not have been born of a woman and he would never have subjected himself to a death upon a cross. In true apostle fashion, however, Mani did heal the sick and the lame, and he did perform miracles. In addition, he wrote seven holy texts, ranging from a collection of his letters to his "Living Gospel" and his own version of the "Acts of the Apostles."

According to Mani's theology, in the beginning of the universe the powers of good and evil, light and dark, were placed in two different spheres. The Father of Greatness personified the principle of goodness and light, the divine and the spiritual. The Prince of Darkness represented the principle of evil and the material. Over time, the world became a place of constant struggle and turmoil between an evil kingdom of darkness and the particles of light and goodness that had eventually become ensnared in matter. To assist him in the great battle, the Father of Greatness created the Mother of Life, who produced Primordial Man as an instrument of light to combat the powers of darkness. With the assistance of the Living Spirit, a second divine personage fashioned by the Father of Greatness, Primordial Man fought the forces of the Prince of Darkness. In the process of the great struggle, the physical Earth was created as a kind of by-product of the raging cosmic energies. Although Primordial Man was defeated by the Prince of Darkness and his children devoured by the monster, enough of their light leaked out to enable the Third Messenger, another creation of the Father of Greatness, to rescue them. Humans were later produced by the mating of demons who had inadvertently swallowed particles of light, and it would be Jesus who would at last awaken human beings to the spiritual realization that they each contained a spark of the divine light within them.

Mani taught that continued spiritual warfare was an unpleasant fact of life on Earth, and it was being conducted daily in the hearts and minds of all human beings. By responding to Mani's Gospel of Light, a person could awaken to the persistent earthly dualism of good and evil and activate the particles of goodness trapped within his or her own fleshly bodies. Once these elements of light had been released, the newly awakened individuals could hope to progress to a higher existence in the afterlife. While they remained in their bodies on Earth, however, they must accept their state of sin and acknowledge that they would never be able to conquer the state of wickedness that encompassed the physical world. Those whom Mani deemed "the Elect" would rise directly to the kingdom of light when they died; those "hearers," individuals who had merely heard the Gospel of Light being preached, would have the opportunity of experiencing additional incarnations before achieving such elevation. All disbelievers, those who rejected Mani's gospel, were destined to hell when Jesus returned to bring about the end of the world.

Manichaeans were taught that the particles of light and goodness remained trapped in evil matter and that all living things, including plant life, were sentient beings to be respected. Hunting and meat-eating were forbidden, and Manichaeans were strict vegetarians. Later, when Mani had a vision of vegetables screaming as they were about to be pulled from the ground, gardening and farming were also discouraged. To solve the dilemma of what food his followers might partake for nourishment, he advised the eating of melons, fleshless vegetables of concentrated goodness and light, that separated themselves from the parent vine when they were mature.

Mani first traveled to India with his new Gospel of Light, then turned back to Persia at the summons of Emperor Shapur I (d. 272), who became a strong adherent of the young man's universal religion, gave Mani permission to preach throughout his kingdom. In spite of the support of Shapur I, the Magi, the official Zoroastrian clergy who had unrivaled supremacy in Persia for many centuries, detested Mani and believed his "new" religion to be nothing more than an amalgamation of Zoroastrianism, Christianity, Buddhism, and a wide assortment of other doctrines. At the instigation of the Magi, Persia's next ruler, Bahram I, who ruled from 273276, ordered Mani arrested, interrogated, then executed, his head impaled on the city gates and his body thrown to the dogs.

Mani's death did little to thwart the zeal of the ever-growing number of new Manichaean missionaries, and his religion came to be preached in eleven languages and spread from North Africa to China; there it continued to thrive as a living faith from the T'ang dynasty (618907) to the 1930s. In Europe, Manichaeism remained quite strong in Sicily, Spain, and southern France until the sixth century. Although the sect posed little threat to the Christian Church in the Middle Ages, the term "Manichaean" was used interchangeably with "heretic." Elements of Manichaeism have survived in minor ways in various secret societies, most frequently in its symbolism.

Delving Deeper

brandon, s. g. f. religion in ancient history. new york: charles scribner's sons, 1969.

clifton, charles s. encyclopedia of heresies and heretics. new york: barnes & noble, 1992.

ferm, vergilious, ed. ancient religions. new york: philosophical library, 1950.

fox, robin lane. pagans and christians. new york: alfred a. knopf, 1989.

o'grady, joan. early christian heresies. new york: barnes & noble, 1985.

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Christian Mystery Schools, Cults, Heresies

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Christian Mystery Schools, Cults, Heresies