Heresy (/ˈhɛrəsi/) is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. A heretic is a proponent of such claims or beliefs. Heresy is distinct from both apostasy, which is the explicit renunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is an impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.
The term is usually used to refer to violations of important religious teachings, but is used also of views strongly opposed to any generally accepted ideas. It is used in particular in reference to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.
In certain historical Christian, Muslim and Jewish cultures, among others, espousing ideas deemed heretical has been and in some cases still is met with censure ranging from excommunication to the death penalty.
The term heresy, from Greek αἵρεσις, originally meant "choice" or "thing chosen", but it came to mean the "party or school of a man's choice" and also referred to that process whereby a young person would examine various philosophies to determine how to live. The word "heresy" is usually used within a Christian, Jewish, or Islamic context, and implies slightly different meanings in each. The founder or leader of a heretical movement is called a heresiarch, while individuals who espouse heresy or commit heresy are known as heretics. Heresiology is the study of heresy.
According to Titus 3:10 a divisive person should be warned twice before separating from him. The Greek for the phrase "divisive person" became a technical term in the early Church for a type of "heretic" who promoted dissension. In contrast correct teaching is called sound not only because it builds up the faith, but because it protects it against the corrupting influence of false teachers.
The Church Fathers identified Jews and Judaism with heresy. They saw deviations from orthodox Christianity as heresies that were essentially Jewish in spirit. Tertullian implied that it was the Jews who most inspired heresy in Christianity: "From the Jew the heretic has accepted guidance in this discussion [that Jesus was not the Christ.]"
The use of the word "heresy" was given wide currency by Irenaeus in his 2nd century tract Contra Haereses (Against Heresies) to describe and discredit his opponents during the early centuries of the Christian community. He described the community's beliefs and doctrines as orthodox (from ὀρθός, orthos "straight" + δόξα, doxa "belief") and the Gnostics' teachings as heretical. He also pointed out the concept of apostolic succession to support his arguments.
Constantine the Great, who along with Licinius had decreed toleration of Christianity in the Roman Empire by what is commonly called the "Edict of Milan", and was the first Roman Emperor baptized, set precedents for later policy. By Roman law the Emperor was Pontifex Maximus, the high priest of the College of Pontiffs (Collegium Pontificum) of all recognized religions in ancient Rome. To put an end to the doctrinal debate initiated by Arius, Constantine called the first of what would afterwards be called the ecumenical councils and then enforced orthodoxy by Imperial authority.
The first known usage of the term in a legal context was in AD 380 by the Edict of Thessalonica of Theodosius I, which made Christianity the state church of the Roman Empire. Prior to the issuance of this edict, the Church had no state-sponsored support for any particular legal mechanism to counter what it perceived as "heresy". By this edict the state's authority and that of the Church became somewhat overlapping. One of the outcomes of this blurring of Church and state was the sharing of state powers of legal enforcement with church authorities. This reinforcement of the Church's authority gave church leaders the power to, in effect, pronounce the death sentence upon those whom the church considered heretical.
Within six years of the official criminalization of heresy by the Emperor, the first Christian heretic to be executed, Priscillian, was condemned in 386 by Roman secular officials for sorcery, and put to death with four or five followers. However, his accusers were excommunicated both by Ambrose of Milan and Pope Siricius, who opposed Priscillian's heresy, but "believed capital punishment to be inappropriate at best and usually unequivocally evil". The edict of Theodosius II (435) provided severe punishments for those who had or spread writings of Nestorius. Those who possessed writings of Arius were sentenced to death.
For some years after the Reformation, Protestant churches were also known to execute those they considered heretics, including Catholics. The last known heretic executed by sentence of the Catholic Church was Spanish schoolmaster Cayetano Ripoll in 1826. The number of people executed as heretics under the authority of the various "ecclesiastical authorities"[note 1] is not known.[note 2]
In the Catholic Church, obstinate and willful manifest heresy is considered to spiritually cut one off from the Church, even before excommunication is incurred. The Codex Justinianus (1:5:12) defines "everyone who is not devoted to the Catholic Church and to our Orthodox holy Faith" a heretic. The Church had always dealt harshly with strands of Christianity that it considered heretical, but before the 11th century these tended to centre on individual preachers or small localised sects, like Arianism, Pelagianism, Donatism, Marcionism and Montanism. The diffusion of the almost Manichaean sect of Paulicians westwards gave birth to the famous 11th and 12th century heresies of Western Europe. The first one was that of Bogomils in modern-day Bosnia, a sort of sanctuary between Eastern and Western Christianity. By the 11th century, more organised groups such as the Patarini, the Dulcinians, the Waldensians and the Cathars were beginning to appear in the towns and cities of northern Italy, southern France and Flanders.
In France the Cathars grew to represent a popular mass movement and the belief was spreading to other areas. The Cathar Crusade was initiated by the Catholic Church to eliminate the Cathar heresy in Languedoc. Heresy was a major justification for the Inquisition (Inquisitio Haereticae Pravitatis, Inquiry on Heretical Perversity) and for the European wars of religion associated with the Protestant Reformation.
Galileo Galilei was brought before the Inquisition for heresy, but abjured his views and was sentenced to house arrest, under which he spent the rest of his life. Galileo was found "vehemently suspect of heresy", namely of having held the opinions that the Sun lies motionless at the centre of the universe, that the Earth is not at its centre and moves, and that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. He was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions.
Pope Gregory I stigmatized Judaism and the Jewish people in many of his writings. He described Jews as enemies of Christ: "The more the Holy Spirit fills the world, the more perverse hatred dominates the souls of the Jews." He labeled all heresy as "Jewish", claiming that Judaism would "pollute [Catholics and] deceive them with sacrilegious seduction." The identification of Jews and heretics in particular occurred several times in Roman-Christian law.
In Eastern Orthodox Christianity heresy most commonly refers to those beliefs declared heretical by the first seven Ecumenical Councils. Since the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation, various Christian churches have also used the concept in proceedings against individuals and groups those churches deemed heretical. The Orthodox Church also rejects the early Christian heresies such as Arianism, Gnosticism, Origenism, Montanism, Judaizers, Marcionism, Docetism, Adoptionism, Nestorianism, Monophysitism, Monothelitism and Iconoclasm.
In his work "On the Jews and Their Lies" (1543), German Reformation leader Martin Luther claims that Jewish history was "assailed by much heresy", and that Christ the logos swept away the Jewish heresy and goes on to do so, "as it still does daily before our eyes." He stigmatizes Jewish prayer as being "blasphemous" and a lie, and vilifies Jews in general as being spiritually "blind" and "surely possessed by all devils."
In England, the 16th-century European Reformation resulted in a number of executions on charges of heresy. During the thirty-eight years of Henry VIII's reign, about sixty heretics, mainly Protestants, were executed and a rather greater number of Catholics lost their lives on grounds of political offences such as treason, notably Sir Thomas More and Cardinal John Fisher, for refusing to accept the king's supremacy over the Church in England. Under Edward VI, the heresy laws were repealed in 1547 only to be reintroduced in 1554 by Mary I; even so two radicals were executed in Edward's reign (one for denying the reality of the incarnation, the other for denying Christ's divinity). Under Mary, around two hundred and ninety people were burned at the stake between 1555 and 1558 after the restoration of papal jurisdiction. When Elizabeth I came to the throne, the concept of heresy was retained in theory but severely restricted by the 1559 Act of Supremacy and the one hundred and eighty or so Catholics who were executed in the forty-five years of her reign were put to death because they were considered members of "...a subversive fifth column." The last execution of a "heretic" in England occurred under James VI and I in 1612. Although the charge was technically one of "blasphemy" there was one later execution in Scotland (still at that date an entirely independent kingdom) when in 1697 Thomas Aikenhead was accused, among other things, of denying the doctrine of the Trinity.
Another example of the persecution of heretics under Protestant rule was the execution of the Boston martyrs in 1659, 1660, and 1661. These executions resulted from the actions of the Anglican Puritans, who at that time wielded political as well as ecclesiastic control in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. At the time, the colony leaders were apparently hoping to achieve their vision of a "purer absolute theocracy" within their colony . As such, they perceived the teachings and practices of the rival Quaker sect as heretical, even to the point where laws were passed and executions were performed with the aim of ridding their colony of such perceived "heresies". It should be noticed that the Eastern Orthodox and Oriental Orthodox communions generally regard the Puritans themselves as having been heterodox or heretical.
Although less common than in earlier periods, in modern times, formal charges of heresy within Christian churches still occur. Issues in the Protestant churches have included modern biblical criticism and the nature of God. In the Catholic Church, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith criticizes writings for "ambiguities and errors" without using the word "heresy".
Perhaps due to the many modern negative connotations associated with the term heretic, such as the Spanish inquisition, the term is used less often today. The subject of Christian heresy opens up broader questions as to who has a monopoly on spiritual truth, as explored by Jorge Luis Borges in the short story "The Theologians" within the compilation Labyrinths.
On 11 July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI stated that all non-Catholic churches are "ecclesial communities." The members of these churches accuse the Vatican of effectively calling them heretics.
Ottoman Sultan Selim the Grim, regarded the Shia Qizilbash as heretics, reportedly proclaimed that "the killing of one Shiite had as much otherworldly reward as killing 70 Christians." Shia, in general, have often been accused by Sunnis of being heretics.
In some modern day nations and regions, heresy remains an offense punishable by death. One example is the 1989 fatwa issued by the government of Iran, offering a substantial bounty for anyone who succeeds in the assassination of author Salman Rushdie, whose writings were declared as heretical.
Orthodox Judaism considers views on the part of Jews who depart from traditional Jewish principles of faith heretical. In addition, the more right-wing groups within Orthodox Judaism hold that all Jews who reject the simple meaning of Maimonides's 13 principles of Jewish faith are heretics. As such, most of Orthodox Judaism considers Reform and Reconstructionist Judaism heretical movements, and regards most of Conservative Judaism as heretical. The liberal wing of Modern Orthodoxy is more tolerant of Conservative Judaism, particularly its right wing, as there is some theological and practical overlap between these groups.
The act of using Church of Scientology techniques in a form different than originally described by L. Ron Hubbard is referred to within Scientology as "squirreling" and is said by Scientologists to be high treason. The Religious Technology Center has prosecuted breakaway groups that have practiced Scientology outside the official Church without authorization.
Although Zoroastrianism has had an historical tolerance for other religions, it also held sects like Zurvanism and Mazdakism heretical to its main dogma and has violently persecuted them, such as burying Mazdakians with their feet upright as "human gardens". In later periods Zoroastrians cooperated with Muslims to kill other Zoroastrians deemed as heretical.
In other contexts the term does not necessarily have pejorative overtones and may even be complimentary when used, in areas where innovation is welcome, of ideas that are in fundamental disagreement with the status quo in any practice and branch of knowledge. Scientist/author Isaac Asimov considered heresy as an abstraction, mentioning religious, political, socioeconomic and scientific heresies. He divided scientific heretics into endoheretics (those from within the scientific community) and exoheretics (those from without). Characteristics were ascribed to both and examples of both kinds were offered. Asimov concluded that science orthodoxy defends itself well against endoheretics (by control of science education, grants and publication as examples), but is nearly powerless against exoheretics. He acknowledged by examples that heresy has repeatedly become orthodoxy.
The revisionist paleontologist Robert T. Bakker, who published his findings as The Dinosaur Heresies, treated the mainstream view of dinosaurs as dogma. "I have enormous respect for dinosaur paleontologists past and present. But on average, for the last fifty years, the field hasn't tested dinosaur orthodoxy severely enough." page 27 "Most taxonomists, however, have viewed such new terminology as dangerously destabilizing to the traditional and well-known scheme..." page 462. The illustrations by the author show dinosaurs in very active poses, in contrast to the traditional perception of lethargy. He is an example of a recent scientific endoheretic.
Immanuel Velikovsky is an example of a recent scientific exoheretic; he did not have appropriate scientific credentials or did not publish in scientific journals. While the details of his work are in scientific disrepute, the concept of catastrophic change (extinction event and punctuated equilibrium) has gained acceptance in recent decades.
The term "heresy" is used not only with regard to religion but also in the context of political theory. The term heresy is also used as an ideological pigeonhole for contemporary writers because, by definition, heresy depends on contrasts with an established orthodoxy. For example, the tongue-in-cheek contemporary usage of heresy, such as to categorize a "Wall Street heresy" a "Democratic heresy" or a "Republican heresy," are metaphors that invariably retain a subtext that links orthodoxies in geology or biology or any other field to religion. These expanded metaphoric senses allude to both the difference between the person's views and the mainstream and the boldness of such a person in propounding these views.
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Americanism was a group of related views among American Catholics denounced as heresies by the Holy See. This was because these views tended to endorse the separation of church and state and encourage individualistic thinking. European "continental conservative" clerics thought they detected signs of modernism or classical liberalism of the sort the Pope had condemned in the Syllabus of Errors in 1864. They feared that these doctrines were held by and taught in the 1890s by many members of the American Catholic hierarchy, who denied that they held these views.Pope Leo XIII wrote against these ideas in a letter to Cardinal James Gibbons, published as Testem benevolentiae nostrae. The Pope lamented an America where church and state are "dissevered and divorced" and wrote of his preference for a closer relationship between the Catholic Church and the State along European lines.The long-term result was that the Irish Catholics who largely controlled the Catholic Church in the United States increasingly demonstrated their total loyalty to the Pope, and traces of liberal thought in the Catholic colleges were suppressed. At bottom it was a cultural conflict, as the continental conservative Europeans, angered at the heavy attacks on the Catholic Church in Germany, France and other countries, did not appreciate the active individualism in America.Atenism
Atenism, or the "Amarna heresy", refers to the religious changes associated with the eighteenth dynasty Pharaoh Amenhotep IV, better known under his adopted name, Akhenaten. In the 14th century BC, Atenism was Egypt's state religion for around 20 years, before subsequent rulers returned to the traditional gods and the Pharaohs associated with Atenism were erased from Egyptian records.Brethren of the Free Spirit
The Brethren of the Free Spirit were adherents of a loose set of beliefs deemed heretical by the Catholic Church but held (or at least believed to be held) by some Christians, especially in the Low Countries, Germany, France, Bohemia and northern Italy between the thirteenth and fifteenth centuries. The movement was first identified in the late thirteenth century. It was not a single movement or school of thought, and it caused great unease among Church leaders at the time. Adherents were also called Free Spirits.
The set of errors condemned in the bull Ad nostrum at the Council of Vienne (1311–12) has often been used by historians to typify the core beliefs, though there was great variation during the period over how the heresy was defined, and there is great debate over how far the individuals and groups accused of holding the beliefs (including Marguerite Porete, beguines, beghards, and Meister Eckhart) actually held the views attributed to them.The meaning of the term has in more recent times been extended to apply to the beliefs of other Christian individuals and groups, active both before and after the core period of the late Middle Ages.Catharism
Catharism (; from the Greek: καθαροί, katharoi, "the pure [ones]") was a Christian dualist or Gnostic revival movement that thrived in some areas of Southern Europe, particularly what is now northern Italy and southern France, between the 12th and 14th centuries. The followers were known as Cathars and are now mainly remembered for a prolonged period of persecution by the Catholic Church, which did not recognise their belief as being Christian. Catharism appeared in Europe in the Languedoc region of France in the 11th century and this is when the name first appears. The adherents were sometimes known as Albigensians, after the city Albi in southern France where the movement first took hold. The belief system may have originated in Persia or the Byzantine Empire. Catharism was initially taught by ascetic leaders who set few guidelines, and, thus, some Catharist practices and beliefs varied by region and over time. The Catholic Church denounced its practices including the Consolamentum ritual, by which Cathar individuals were baptized and raised to the status of "perfect".Catharism may have had its roots in the Paulician movement in Armenia and eastern Byzantine Anatolia and certainly in the Bogomils of the First Bulgarian Empire, who were influenced by the Paulicians resettled in Thrace (Philipopolis) by the Byzantines. Though the term Cathar () has been used for centuries to identify the movement, whether the movement identified itself with this name is debated. In Cathar texts, the terms Good Men (Bons Hommes), Good Women (Bonnes Femmes), or Good Christians (Bons Chrétiens) are the common terms of self-identification.The idea of two gods or principles, one good and the other evil, was central to Cathar beliefs. This was antithetical to the monotheistic Catholic Church, whose fundamental principle was that there was only one God, who created all things visible and invisible. Cathars believed that the good God was the God of the New Testament and the creator of the spiritual realm. They believed the evil God was the God of the Old Testament, creator of the physical world whom many Cathars, and particularly their persecutors, identified as Satan. Cathars thought human spirits were the genderless spirits of angels trapped in the material realm of the evil god, destined to be reincarnated until they achieved salvation through the consolamentum, when they could return to the benign God.From the beginning of his reign, Pope Innocent III attempted to end Catharism by sending missionaries and by persuading the local authorities to act against them. In 1208, Innocent's papal legate Pierre de Castelnau was murdered while returning to Rome after excommunicating Count Raymond VI of Toulouse, who, in his view, was too lenient with the Cathars. Pope Innocent III then abandoned the option of sending Catholic missionaries and jurists, declared Pierre de Castelnau a martyr and launched the Albigensian Crusade which all but ended Catharism.Donatism
Donatism (Latin: Donatismus, Greek: Δονατισμός Donatismós) was a schism in the Church of Carthage from the fourth to the sixth centuries AD. Donatists argued that Christian clergy must be faultless for their ministry to be effective and their prayers and sacraments to be valid. Donatism had its roots in the long-established Christian community of the Roman Africa province (now Algeria and Tunisia) in the persecutions of Christians under Diocletian. Named after the Berber Christian bishop Donatus Magnus, Donatism flourished during the fourth and fifth centuries.Gnosticism
Gnosticism (from Ancient Greek: γνωστικός gnostikos, "having knowledge", from γνῶσις gnōsis, knowledge) is a modern name for a variety of ancient religious ideas and systems, originating in Jewish-Christian milieux in the first and second century AD. These systems believed that the material world is created by an emanation or 'works' of a lower god (demiurge), trapping the divine spark within the human body. This divine spark could be liberated by gnosis, spiritual knowledge acquired through direct experience. Some of the core teachings include the following:
All matter is evil, and the non-material, spirit-realm is good.
There is an unknowable God, who gave rise to many lesser spirit beings called Aeons.
The creator of the (material) universe is not the supreme god, but an inferior spirit (the Demiurge).
Gnosticism does not deal with "sin," only ignorance.
To achieve salvation, one needs gnosis (knowledge).The Gnostic ideas and systems flourished in the Mediterranean world in the second century AD, in conjunction with and influenced by the early Christian movements and Middle Platonism. After the second century, a decline set in. In the Persian Empire, Gnosticism in the form of Manicheism spread as far as China, while Mandaeism is still alive in Iraq.
A major question in scholarly research is the qualification of Gnosticism, based on the study of its texts, as either an interreligious phenomenon or as an independent religion.Heresy in Christianity
When heresy is used today with reference to Christianity, it denotes the formal denial or doubt of a core doctrine of the Christian faith as defined by one or more of the Christian churches. It should be distinguished from both apostasy and schism, apostasy being nearly always total abandonment of the Christian faith after it has been freely accepted, and schism being a formal and deliberate breach of Christian unity and an offence against charity without being based essentially on doctrine.In Western Christianity, heresy most commonly refers to those beliefs which were declared to be anathema by any of the ecumenical councils recognized by the Catholic Church. In the East, the term "heresy" is eclectic and can refer to anything at variance with Church tradition. Since the Great Schism and the Protestant Reformation, various Christian churches have also used the concept in proceedings against individuals and groups deemed to be heretical by those churches.
The Catholic Church distinguishes between "formal heresy" and "material heresy". The former involves willful and persistent adherence to an error in matters of faith and is a grave sin for which the church applies the penalty of excommunication. "Material heresy" is the holding of erroneous opinions through no fault of one's own and is not sinful. Protestants can fall into either the first or the second group, depending on whether they are in invincible ignorance while the Eastern Orthodox are considered to be schismatic but are recognised as local churches, but "defective" (according to Dominus Iesus) and severed from the Catholic Church, which in Catholic teaching is the "only true Church".
Historical examination of heresies focuses on a mixture of theological, spiritual, and socio-political underpinnings to explain and describe their development. For example, accusations of heresy have been levelled against a group of believers when their beliefs challenged, or were seen to challenge, Church authority. Some heresies have also been doctrinally based, in which a teaching was deemed to be inconsistent with the fundamental tenets of orthodox dogma.
The study of heresy requires an understanding of the development of orthodoxy and the role of creeds in the definition of orthodox beliefs. Orthodoxy has been in the process of self-definition for centuries, defining itself in terms of its faith and changing or clarifying beliefs in opposition to people or doctrines that are perceived as incorrect. The reaction of the orthodox to heresy has also varied over the course of time; many factors, particularly the institutional, judicial, and doctrinal development of the Church, have shaped this reaction. Heresy remained an officially punishable offence in Roman Catholic nations until the late 18th century. In Spain, heretics were prosecuted and punished during the Counter-Enlightenment movement of the restoration of the monarchy there after the Napoleonic Era.Inquisition
The Inquisition was a group of institutions within the government system of the Catholic Church whose aim was to combat heresy. It started in 12th-century France to combat religious dissent, in particular the Cathars and the Waldensians. Other groups investigated later included the Spiritual Franciscans, the Hussites (followers of Jan Hus) and the Beguines. Beginning in the 1250s, inquisitors were generally chosen from members of the Dominican Order, replacing the earlier practice of using local clergy as judges. The term Medieval Inquisition covers these courts up to mid-15th century.
During the Late Middle Ages and the early Renaissance, the concept and scope of the Inquisition significantly expanded in response to the Protestant Reformation and the Catholic Counter-Reformation. It expanded to other European countries, resulting in the Spanish Inquisition and Portuguese Inquisition. The Spanish and Portuguese operated inquisitorial courts throughout their empires in Africa, Asia, and the Americas (resulting in the Peruvian Inquisition and Mexican Inquisition). The Spanish and Portuguese inquisitions focused particularly on the issue of Jewish anusim and Muslim converts to Catholicism, partly because these minority groups were more numerous in Spain and Portugal than in many other parts of Europe, and partly because they were often considered suspect due to the assumption that they had secretly reverted to their previous religions.
With the exception of the Papal States, the institution of the Inquisition was abolished in the early 19th century, after the Napoleonic Wars in Europe and the Spanish American wars of independence in the Americas. The institution survived as part of the Roman Curia, but in 1908 it was renamed the "Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office". In 1965 it became the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.Jansenism
Jansenism was a theological movement, primarily in France, that emphasized original sin, human depravity, the necessity of divine grace and predestination. The movement originated from the posthumously published work of the Dutch theologian Cornelius Jansen, who died in 1638. It was first popularized by Jansen's friend Abbot Jean du Vergier de Hauranne, of Saint-Cyran-en-Brenne Abbey, and, after du Vergier's death in 1643, was led by Antoine Arnauld. Through the 17th and into the 18th centuries, Jansenism was a distinct movement away from the Catholic Church. The theological centre of the movement was the convent of Port-Royal-des-Champs Abbey, which was a haven for writers including du Vergier, Arnauld, Pierre Nicole, Blaise Pascal and Jean Racine.
Jansenism was opposed by many in the Catholic hierarchy, especially the Jesuits. Although the Jansenists identified themselves only as rigorous followers of Augustine of Hippo's teachings, Jesuits coined the term Jansenism to identify them as having Calvinist affinities. The apostolic constitution, Cum occasione promulgated by Pope Innocent X in 1653, condemned five cardinal doctrines of Jansenism as heresy—especially the relationship between human free will and efficacious grace, wherein the teachings of Augustine, as presented by the Jansenists, contradicted the teachings of the Jesuit School. Jansenist leaders endeavored to accommodate the pope's pronouncements while retaining their uniqueness, and enjoyed a measure of peace in the late 17th century under Pope Clement IX. However, further controversy led to the apostolic constitution Unigenitus Dei Filius, promulgated by Pope Clement XI in 1713.Monophysitism
Monophysitism ( or ; Greek: μονοφυσιτισμός; Late Koine Greek [monofysitizˈmos] from μόνος monos, "only, single" and φύσις physis, "nature") is the Christological position that, after the union of the divine and the human in the historical incarnation, Jesus Christ, as the incarnation of the eternal Son or Word (Logos) of God, had only a single "nature" which was either divine or a synthesis of divine and human. Monophysitism is contrasted to dyophysitism (or dia-, dio-, or duophysitism) which maintains that Christ maintained two natures, one divine and one human, after the incarnation.
Historically, the term "Monophysites" (capitalized in this sense) referred to those Christians in the Eastern Roman Empire who rejected the fourth ecumenical council, the Council of Chalcedon in 451. The moderate members of this group, however, maintained a "miaphysite" theology that became that of the Oriental Orthodox churches. The Oriental Orthodox reject the label "monophysite" as a catch-all term, but the label was extensively used in historical literature of Chalcedonian Christian authors.
After the Council of Chalcedon, the monophysite controversy (together with institutional, political, and growing nationalistic factors) led to a lasting schism between the Oriental Orthodox churches, on the one hand, and the Eastern Orthodox and Western churches on the other. The Christological conflict among monophysitism, dyophysitism, and their subtle combinations and derivatives lasted from the third through the eighth centuries and left its mark on all but the first two Ecumenical councils. The vast majority of Christians presently belong to the Chalcedonian churches, namely the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholic, and traditional Protestant churches (those that accept at least the first four Ecumenical Councils); these churches have always considered monophysitism to be heretical.
Monophysitism is occasionally referred to as "monophysiticism".Monothelitism
Monothelitism or monotheletism (from Greek μονοθελητισμός "doctrine of one will") is a particular teaching about how the divine and human relate in the person of Jesus. The Christological doctrine formally emerged in Armenia and Syria in 629. Specifically, monothelitism is the view that Jesus Christ has two natures but only one will. That is contrary to the Christology that Jesus Christ has two wills (human and divine) that correspond to his two natures (dyothelitism). Monothelitism is a development of the Neo-Chalcedonian position in the Christological debates. Formulated in 638, it enjoyed considerable popularity, even garnering patriarchal support, before being rejected and denounced as heretical in 681, at the Third Council of Constantinople.Nazarene (sect)
The Nazarenes originated as a Christian sect of first-century Judaism. The first use of the term "sect of the Nazarenes" is in the Book of Acts in the New Testament, where Paul is accused of being a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes ("πρωτοστάτην τε τῆς τῶν Ναζωραίων αἱρέσεως"). Then, the term simply designated followers of "Yeshua Natzri" (Jesus the Nazarene), as the Hebrew term נוֹצְרִי (nôṣrî) still does, but in the first to fourth centuries, the term was used for a sect of followers of Jesus who were closer to Judaism than most Christians. They are described by Epiphanius of Salamis and are mentioned later by Jerome and Augustine of Hippo. The writers made a distinction between the Nazarenes of their time and the "Nazarenes" mentioned in Acts 24:5, where Paul the Apostle is accused before Felix at Caesarea (the capital of Roman Judaea) by Tertullus.Nestorianism
Nestorianism is a Christian theological doctrine that upholds several distinctive teachings in the fields of Christology and Mariology. It opposes the concept of hypostatic union and emphasizes a radical distinction between two natures (human and divine) of Jesus Christ. This Christological position is defined as radical dyophisitism. Nestorianism was named after Christian theologian Nestorius (386–450), Patriarch of Constantinople from 428 to 431, who was influenced by Christological teachings of Theodore of Mopsuestia at the School of Antioch.
Nestorius' teachings brought him into conflict with other prominent church leaders, most notably Cyril of Alexandria, who criticized especially his rejection of the title Theotokos ("Mother of God") for Mary, the mother of Jesus. Nestorius and his teachings were eventually condemned as heretical at the Council of Ephesus in 431, and again at the Council of Chalcedon in 451, which led to the Nestorian Schism; churches supporting Nestorian teachings broke with the rest of the Christian Church.
Following that, many of Nestorius's supporters relocated to the Sasanian Empire, where they affiliated with the local Christian community, known as the Church of the East. Over the next decades the Church of the East became increasingly Nestorian in doctrine, leading to it becoming known alternatively as the Nestorian Church.Pelagianism
Pelagianism is a belief in Christianity that original sin did not taint human nature and that mortal will is still capable of choosing good or evil without special divine aid / assistance. This theological theory is named after the British monk Pelagius (354–420 or 440), although he denied, at least at some point in his life, many of the doctrines associated with his name. Pelagius was identified as an Irishman by Saint Jerome. Pelagius taught that the human will, as created with its abilities by God, was sufficient to live a sinless life, although he believed that God's grace assisted every good work. Pelagianism has come to be identified with the view (whether taught by Pelagius or not) that human beings can earn salvation by their own efforts.Sabbateans
The Sabbateans (or Sabbatians) were a variety of followers of disciples and believers in Sabbatai Zevi (1626–1676), a Jewish rabbi who was proclaimed to be the Jewish Messiah in 1666 by Nathan of Gaza. Vast numbers of Jews in the Jewish diaspora accepted his claims, even after he became a Jewish apostate with his conversion to Islam in the same year. Sabbatai Zevi's followers, both during his "Messiahship" and after his conversion to Islam, are known as Sabbateans. They can be grouped into three: "Maaminim" (believers), "Haberim" (associates), and "Ba'ale Milhamah" (warriors).Part of the Sabbateans lived on until well into the 20th century as Dönmeh.Schism
A schism (pronounced SIZ-əm, SKIZ-əm or, less commonly, SHIZ-əm) is a division between people, usually belonging to an organization, movement, or religious denomination. The word is most frequently applied to a split in what had previously been a single religious body, such as the East–West Schism or the Great Western Schism. It is also used of a split within a non-religious organization or movement or, more broadly, of a separation between two or more people, be it brothers, friends, lovers, etc.
A schismatic is a person who creates or incites schism in an organization or who is a member of a splinter group. Schismatic as an adjective means pertaining to a schism or schisms, or to those ideas, policies, etc. that are thought to lead towards or promote schism.
In religion, the charge of schism is distinguished from that of heresy, since the offence of schism concerns not differences of belief or doctrine but promotion of, or the state of, division. However, schisms frequently involve mutual accusations of heresy. In Roman Catholic teaching, every heresy is a schism, while there may be some schisms free of the added guilt of heresy. Liberal Protestantism, however, has often preferred heresy over schism. Presbyterian scholar James I. McCord (quoted with approval by the Episcopalian Bishop of Virginia Peter Lee) drew a distinction between them, teaching: "If you must make a choice between heresy and schism, always choose heresy. As a schismatic, you have torn and divided the body of Christ. Choose heresy every time."The Horus Heresy (novels)
The Horus Heresy is an ongoing series of science fantasy set in the fictional Warhammer 40,000 setting of tabletop miniatures wargame company Games Workshop. Penned by several authors, the series takes place during the Horus Heresy, a fictional galaxy-spanning civil war occurring 10,000 years prior to the far future of Warhammer 40,000. The war is described as a major contributing factor to the game's dystopian environment.
The books are published in several media by the Black Library, a Games Workshop division, with the first title released in April 2006; as of February 2019 the series consists of 54 published volumes, with more in the pipeline.
The series has developed into a distinct and successful product line for the Black Library; titles have often appeared in bestseller lists, and overall the work has received critical approval despite reservations. It is an established, definitive component of Game Workshop's Horus Heresy sub-brand, and authoritative source material for the entire Warhammer 40,000 shared universe and its continuing development.The New Jedi Order
Star Wars: The New Jedi Order (or New Jedi Order or NJO) is a series of nineteen science fiction novels, published from 1999 to 2003, set in the Star Wars expanded universe. The series revolves around the Yuuzhan Vong invasion of the galaxy 21–26 years after the events depicted in Return of the Jedi. The New Jedi Order was the restored and reformed Jedi organization, in the wake of the Great Jedi Purge and subsequent fall of the Galactic Empire. The Jedi Knights, reduced in number to only a handful, were slowly restored, primarily under the leadership of Luke Skywalker. Additional stories, generally published as e-book novellas (some published as recently as 2006) and comic books (as recent as 2010/2011), take the total number of published NJO-related stories to twenty-six.
With the reboot of the franchise after Disney's acquisition of Lucasfilm, the whole New Jedi Order was reclassified as non-canon.Word of Faith
Word of Faith (also known as Word-Faith or simply Faith) is a worldwide Protestant Christian movement which teaches that Christians can access the power of faith or fear through speech. Its teachings are found on radio, the internet, television, and in many Charismatic denominations and communities. The doctrine renounces poverty, suffering, and defeat as necessary to a godly life and glorifying Jesus Christ. It teaches that the salvation won by Jesus on the cross included health and prosperity for believers; this is derived from its definition of the word sozo (salvation).