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{{Redirect2|Heretic|Heretical|the website|Heretical (website)|other uses|Heretic (disambiguation)}}{{Distinguish|hearsay}}{{other uses}}{{pp-move-indef}}File:GustafVasakyrkan RightAltargroup1.jpg|thumb|The Gospel (allegory) triumphs over Heresia and the Serpent. Gustaf Vasa Church, Stockholm, Sweden, sculpture by Burchard PrechtBurchard PrechtFile:Supplice des Amauriciens.jpg|thumb|The burning of the pantheistic Amalrician heretics in 1210, in the presence of King Philip II Augustus. In the background is the Gibbet of Montfaucon and, anachronistically, the Grosse Tour of the Temple. Illumination from the Grandes Chroniques de FranceGrandes Chroniques de FranceHeresy 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.WEB,weblink Heresy | Define Heresy at,, 2013-04-15, Heresy is distinct from both apostasy, which is the explicit renunciation of one's religion, principles or cause,WEB,weblink Apostasy | Learn everything there is to know about Apostasy at,, 2013-04-15, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2013-07-17, and blasphemy, which is an impious utterance or action concerning God or sacred things.WEB,weblink Definitions of "blasphemy" at,, 2015-11-27, 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.WEB,weblink heresy - definition of heresy in English from the Oxford dictionary,, It is used in particular in reference to Christianity, Judaism, and Islam.Daryl Glaser, David M. Walker (editors), Twentieth-Century Marxism (Routledge 2007 {{ISBN|978-1-13597974-4}}), p. 62In 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.


Heresy, from Greek , originally meant "choice" or "thing chosen",Cross, F.L.; Livingstone, E.A., eds. (1974). "Heresy". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. but it came to mean the "party or school of a man's choice"Bruce, F.F. The Spreading Flame, Exeter: Paternoster 1964, p. 249 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.


File:Portrait of Martin Luther as an Augustinian Monk.jpg|thumb|Former German Catholic friar Martin Luther was famously excommunicated as a heretic by Pope Leo X by his Papal bull Decet Romanum PontificemDecet Romanum PontificemAccording 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.The NIV Study Bible, Zondervan Corporation, Hodder & Stoughton, London 1987—footnote to Titus 3:10 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 NIV Study Bible, Zondervan Corporation, Hodder & Stoughton, London 1987—footnote to Titus 1:9The Church Fathers identified Jews and Judaism with heresy. They saw deviations from orthodox Christianity as heresies that were essentially Jewish in spirit.BOOK, Michael, Robert, A History of Catholic Antisemitism : The Dark Side of the Church, 2011, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 978-0230111318, 28–30, 1st Palgrave Macmillan pbk.,weblink 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 , orthos 'straight' + , doxa 'belief') and the Gnostics' teachings as heretical.{{citation needed|date=November 2012}} He also pointed out the concept of apostolic succession to support his arguments.BOOK, 978-0-8006-1931-2, The Rise of Christianity
location=Chapter 7, The Emergence of Orthodoxy 135-93, 1984, Appendices provide a timeline of Councils, Schisms, Heresies and Persecutions in the years 193-604. They are described in the text.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",Cross, F.L.; Livingstone, E.A., eds. (1974). "Milan, Edict of". The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (2 ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. 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 councilsChadwick, Henry. The Early Christian Church, Pelican 1967, pp 129-30 and then enforced orthodoxy by Imperial authority.BOOK, 978-1-59020-324-8, Constantine: Roman Emperor, Christian Victor, Paul Stephensonyear=2009, The Emperor established and enforced orthodoxy for domestic tranquility and the efficacy of prayers in support of the empire.The first known usage of the term in a legal context was in AD 380 by the Edict of Thessalonica of Theodosius I,BOOK, 978-1-59020-171-8, A.D. 381 - Heretics, Pagans, and the Dawn of the Monotheistic Stateyear=2008, As Christianity placed its stamp upon the Empire, the Emperor shaped the church for political purposes. 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.Everett Ferguson (editor), Encyclopedia of Early Christianity (Routledge 2013 {{ISBN|978-1-13661158-2}}), p. 950John Anthony McGuckin, The Westminister Handbook to Patristic Theology (Westminster John Knox Press 2004 {{ISBN|978-0-66422396-0}}), p. 284WEB,weblink Priscillian, Encyclopædia Britannica, However, his accusers were excommunicated both by Ambrose of Milan and Pope Siricius,Chadwick, Henry. The Early Church, Pelican, London, 1967. p.171 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.BOOK, Jay E. Thompson, A Tale of Five Cities: A History of the Five Patriarchal Cities of the Early Church,weblink 1 September 2009, Wipf and Stock Publishers, 978-1-4982-7447-0, 138, Those who possessed writings of Arius were sentenced to death.BOOK, María Victoria Escribano Paño, Richard Lindsay Gordon, Francisco Marco Simón, Magical Practice in the Latin West: Papers from the International Conference Held at the University of Zaragoza, 30 Sept. – 1st Oct. 2005,weblink 2010, BRILL, 90-04-17904-6, 135–136, Chapter Three. Heretical texts and maleficium in the Codex Theodosianum (CTh. 16.5.34), 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"{{refn|An "ecclesiastical authority" was initially an assembly of bishops, later the Pope, then an inquisitor (a delegate of the Pope) and later yet the leadership of a Protestant church (which would itself be regarded as heretical by the Pope). The definitions of "state", "cooperation", "suppress" and "heresy" were all subject to change during the past 16 centuries.|group=note}} is not known.{{refn|Only very fragmentary records have been found of the executions carried out under Christian "heresy laws" during the first millennium. Somewhat more complete records of such executions can be found for the second millennium. To estimate the total number of executions carried out under various Christian "heresy laws" from 385 AD until the last official Catholic "heresy execution" in 1826 AD would require far more complete historical documentation than is currently available. The Catholic Church by no means had a monopoly on the execution of heretics. The charge of heresy was a weapon that could fit many hands. A century and a half after heresy was made a state crime, the Vandals (a heretical Christian Germanic tribe), used the law to prosecute thousands of (orthodox) Catholics with penalties of torture, mutilation, slavery and banishment.BOOK, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, Chapter 37, Part III, The Vandals were overthrown; orthodoxy was restored; "No toleration whatsoever was to be granted to heretics or schismatics."BOOK, 978-0-8006-1931-2, The Rise of Christianity
location=page 833, 1984, Heretics were not the only casualties. 4000 Roman soldiers were killed by heretical peasants in one campaign.BOOK, History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Edward Gibbon, Chapter 21, Part VII, Some lists of heretics and heresies are available. About seven thousand people were burned at the stake by the Catholic Inquisition, which lasted for nearly seven centuries.BOOK, 0-618-21908-0author=James Carroll, page 357, 2001, From time to time, heretics were burned at the stake by an enraged local populace, in a certain type of "vigilante justice", without the official participation of the Church or State.BOOK, The Age of Faithyear=1950, page 778, Religious Wars slaughtered millions. During these wars, the charge of "heresy" was often leveled by one side against another as a sort of propaganda or rationalization for the undertaking of such wars.|group=note}}


File:Massacre of the Vaudois of Merindol.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Massacre of the Waldensians of Mérindol in 1545.]]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."Massacre of the Pure." Time. April 28, 1961. The Cathar Crusade was initiated by the Catholic Church to eliminate the Cathar heresy in Languedoc.Joseph Reese Strayer (1992). The Albigensian Crusades. University of Michigan Press. p. 143. {{ISBN|0-472-06476-2}}BOOK, The Age of Faith
year=1950, Chapter XXVIII, The Early Inquisition: 1000-1300, 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.File:Galileo facing the Roman Inquisition.jpg|thumb|right|upright=1.15|Cristiano Banti's 1857 painting Galileo facing the Roman InquisitionRoman InquisitionGalileo 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, and 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.Fantoli (2005, p. 139), Finocchiaro (1989, pp. 288–293).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."BOOK, Michael, Robert, A History of Catholic Antisemitism : The Dark Side of the Church, 2011, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 978-0230111318, 76, 1st Palgrave Macmillan pbk.,weblink 9 February 2015, The identification of Jews and heretics in particular occurred several times in Roman-Christian law.BOOK, Michael, Robert, A History of Catholic Antisemitism : The Dark Side of the Church, 2011, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 978-0230111318, 219, 1st Palgrave Macmillan pbk.,weblink 9 February 2015, Constitutio Sirmondiana, 6 + 14; Theodosius II - Novella 3; Codex Theodosianus 16:5:44, 16:8:27, 16:8:27; Codex Justinianus 1:3:54, 1:5:12+21, 1:10:2; Justinian, Novellae 37 + 45File:Jensky kodex Zizka.jpg|thumb|190px|Between 1420 and 1431 the Hussite heretics defeated five anti-Hussite Crusades ordered by the Pope.]]

Eastern Orthodox Church

{{unreferenced section|date=November 2018}}In Eastern Orthodox Christianity heresy most commonly refers to those beliefs declared heretical by the first seven Ecumenical Councils.{{citation needed|date=October 2012}} 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.WEB,weblink Encyclopedia of Tudor England,, Ron Christenson, Political Trials in History (Transaction Publishers 1991 {{ISBN|978-0-88738406-6}}), p. 302Oliver O'Donovan, Joan Lockwood O'Donovan, From Irenaeus to Grotius (Eerdmans 1999 {{ISBN|978-0-80284209-1}}), p. 558 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).Dickens, A.G. The English Reformation Fontana/Collins 1967, p.327/p.364 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."Neill, Stephen. Anglicanism Pelican, pp.96,7 The last execution of a "heretic" in England occurred under James VI and I in 1612.MacCulloch, Diarmaid. Thomas Cranmer Yale 1996, p.477 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.MacCulloch, Diarmaid. The Reformation Penguin 2003, p. 679Another 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 .{{citation needed|date=August 2013}} 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". {{citation needed|date=August 2013}}

Modern era

{{See also|Christian heresy in the modern era}}The trial and subsequent execution of heretics under the banner of Christianity came to an end in 1826 with the last execution of a "heretic", Cayetano Ripoll, by the Spanish Inquisition.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".An example is the Notification regarding certain writings of Fr. Marciano Vidal, C.Ss.R.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.BOOK, Labyrinths, Jorge Luis, Borges, 1962, 119–126, 978-0-8112-0012-7, New Directions Publishing Corporation, New York,weblink On 11 July 2007, Pope Benedict XVI statedCf. the documents "Responses to Some Questions" and "Commentary" from the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith. that some Protestant groups are "ecclesial communities" rather than Churches. Representatives of some of these Christian denominations accused the Vatican of effectively calling them heretics.Dismay and anger as Pope declares Protestants cannot have churches, The Guardian, 11 July 2007Will the Pope's Pronouncement Set Ecumenism Back a Hundred Years?,, 11 July 2007 However, Pope Benedict XVI clarified that the phrase "ecclesial community" did not necessitate explicit heresy, but only that the communities lacked certain "essential elements" of an apostolic church, as he had written in the document Dominus Iesus.


File:Mehdiana 1.jpg|thumb|upright=1.15|Mehdiana Sahib: the Killing of Bhai Dayala, a SikhSikhThe Baha'i Faith is considered an Islamic heresy in Iran.BOOK, Eliz, Sanasarian, Religious Minorities in Iran, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2000, 52–53, 0-521-77073-4,weblink To Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, Sikhs were 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."BOOK, Jalāl Āl Aḥmad, Plagued by the West, 1982, Center for Iranian Studies, Columbia University, 978-0-88206-047-7, Translated by Paul Sprachman, {{Citation needed|date=September 2013}} Shia, in general, have often been accused by Sunnis of being heretics.BOOK, John Limbert, John Limbert, Negotiating with Iran: Wrestling the Ghosts of History, 2009, US Institute of Peace Press, 9781601270436, 29,weblink BOOK, Masooda Bano, The Rational Believer: Choices and Decisions in the Madrasas of Pakistan, 2012, Cornell University Press, 9780801464331, 73, BOOK, Johnson, Thomas A., Power, National Security, and Transformational Global Events: Challenges Confronting America, China, and Iran, 2012, CRC Press, 9781439884225, 162, illustrated, Starting in medieval times, Muslims began to refer to heretics and those who antagonized Islam as zindiqs, the charge being punishable by death.John Bowker. "Zindiq." The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. 1997In 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.


{{See also|Heresy in Orthodox Judaism}}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.The Limits of Orthodox Theology: Maimonides' Thirteen Principles Reappraised, by Marc B. Shapiro, {{ISBN|1-874774-90-0}}, A book written as a contentious rebuttal to an article written in the Torah u'Maddah Journal. 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.

Other religions

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.NEWS, Robert W., Welkos, Sappell, Joel, When the Doctrine Leaves the Church,weblink Los Angeles Times, 29 June 1990, 2008-08-24, 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.Houtsma, Martijn Theodoor (1936), First Encyclopaedia of Islam 1913-1936: E.J.Brill's, BRILL, {{ISBN|90-04-09796-1}}, 9789004097964Neo-Confucian heresy has been described.BOOK, The construction of orthodoxy and heresy: Neo-Confucian, Islamic, Jewish, and early Christian patterns, John B. Henderson, 1998, 978-0-7914-3760-5,

Non-religious usage

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,BOOK, Scientists Confront Velikovsky
year=1977, 0-8014-0961-6, Asimov's viewsare in "Forward: The Role of the Heretic". 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.BOOK, The Dinosaur Heresiesyear=1986, 978-0-8065-2260-9, "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.WEB,weblink Religion: Anti-Religion, 6 May 1940,, WEB,weblink Exploring the high moments and small mountain roads of Marxism,, 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.

Selected quotations

{{Copy to Wikiquote|section=yes}}
  • Thomas Aquinas: "Wherefore if forgers of money and other evil-doers are forthwith condemned to death by the secular authority, much more reason is there for heretics, as soon as they are convicted of heresy, to be not only excommunicated but even put to death." (Summa Theologica, c. 1270)
  • Isaac Asimov: "Science is in a far greater danger from the absence of challenge than from the coming of any number of even absurd challenges."
  • Gerald Brenan: "Religions are kept alive by heresies, which are really sudden explosions of faith. Dead religions do not produce them." (Thoughts in a Dry Season, 1978)
  • Geoffrey Chaucer: "Thu hast translated the Romance of the Rose, That is a heresy against my law, And maketh wise folk from me withdraw." (The Prologue to The Legend of Good Women, c. 1386)
  • G. K. Chesterton: "Truths turn into dogmas the instant that they are disputed. Thus every man who utters a doubt defines a religion." (Heretics, 12th Edition, 1919)
  • G. K. Chesterton: "But to have avoided [all heresies] has been one whirling adventure; and in my vision the heavenly chariot flies thundering through the ages, the dull heresies sprawling and prostrate, the wild truth reeling but erect." (Orthodoxy, 1908)
  • Benjamin Franklin: "Many a long dispute among divines may be thus abridged: It is so. It is not. It is so. It is not." (Poor Richard's Almanack, 1879)
  • Helen Keller: "The heresy of one age becomes the orthodoxy of the next." (Optimism, 1903)
  • Lao Tzu: "Those who are intelligent are not ideologues. Those who are ideologues are not intelligent." (Tao Te Ching, Verse 81, 6th century BCE)
  • James G. March on the relations among madness, heresy, and genius: "... we sometimes find that such heresies have been the foundation for bold and necessary change, but heresy is usually just new ideas that are foolish or dangerous and appropriately rejected or ignored. So while it may be true that great geniuses are usually heretics, heretics are rarely great geniuses."Coutou, Diane. Ideas as Art. Harvard Business Review 84 (2006): 83–89.
  • Montesquieu: "No kingdom has ever had as many civil wars as the kingdom of Christ." (Persian Letters, 1721)
  • Friedrich Nietzsche: "Whoever has overthrown an existing law of custom has hitherto always first been accounted a bad man: but when, as did happen, the law could not afterwards be reinstated and this fact was accepted, the predicate gradually changed; - history treats almost exclusively of these bad men who subsequently became good men!" (Daybreak, § 20)Daybreak, R.J. Hollingdale trans., Cambridge University Press, 1997, p. 18. Available atweblink

See also






  • BOOK, harv, Henderson, John B., The Construction of Orthodoxy and Heresy: Neo-Confucian, Islamic, Jewish, and Early Christian Patterns, 1998, Albany, NY, State University of New York Press,weblink

External links

{{Wiktionary}}{{commons category}}
  • Some quotes and information in this article came from the Catholic Encyclopedia.
  • {{fr icon}} weblink" title="">Cathars of the middle age, Philosophy and History.
  • What Is Heresy? by Wilbert R. Gawrisch (Lutheran)
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