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He dedicated On Faith to the count of Montpellier. He dedicated his Distinctiones to the abbot of a great Benedictine monastery in lower Languedoc, Saint-Gilles. Two posthumous exempla depict him lecturing in the schools at Montpellier.

The Early Assessment of Heresy

Most telling is the fact that in his Distinctiones he glosses a Latin word with its equivalent in vernacular Occitan. Again there is silence about all the evidence apart from the first dedication, while the denial becomes more declamatory. Let us move forward to the use of the inquisition depositions Languedoc, dipping in at p.

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What is at issue, then, in our assessment of Moore, is the character of a work that has influenced him so much and given him the green light to carry his brand of deconstructionism into the heart of inquisition records. The erosion techniques were simple. The first and fundamental technique was silence about evidence. The silence was of two sorts.

First, analysis was confined to one source, the —6 enquiries contained in MS Toulouse One useful image in E. With one simple stroke Pegg has excluded from the Club a whole heap of evidence. The other silence is about Toulouse itself. It is a manuscript, in some areas difficult. So very few readers are going to be able both to access and read it. This is an opportunity for the scholar exploiting its contents to keep quiet about parts that contradict what they are saying. As earlier with Chiu, let us look at an example of the strata, first the evidence, then Pegg, then Moore.

First, the evidence in Toulouse Here in translation an example of a confession. After describing an adoration, Pegg retails variations on it. He is entirely silent about all the statements that the ritual was taught to people. And then, from p. Finally, Moore. They were looking for evidence of a ritual of which they had read in their scholastic texts, called the melioramentum.

Two outstanding examples are Malcolm Barber and Claire Taylor. From the many things that feature in their work that do not feature properly in The War on Heresy I pick out two examples — first of all debates. If he followed Taylor into the penances of the inquisitor Peter Sellan, he would enter an extraordinary world of smaller occasions.

Theology was the football and disputations the TV of countless ordinary folk in Languedoc. Had Pegg or Moore followed Barber they would have found a fine and very solidly based account of something they sideline and ignore. It is an easy trick to play. The heart of Formation of a Persecuting Society was a sociological model. But the version provided here — extended chronologically and thematically into the theology of the Paris schools and the inquisition records of Languedoc — has ceased to be in a mutually modifying dialogue with the evidence.

That, of course, is not his view of the field. A Manichean split has come about now, between those who uphold traditional views, because they are uncritical of documents, and the sophisticated document-critics, whose searching analyses lead to necessarily to deconstruction.

The critical force is with Moore. It is a jaw-dropping claim. To begin with, it leaves out Germany. The section sub-titles - i.

Historiography of early Christianity

That is, that these sources have their own generic characteristics and concerns, and that therefore they shape things accordingly. Secondly, there is no equation between being acutely critical of documents and writing them off. It was these professionals who pronounced the document authentic. On the one hand he is concerned with the political context of a document and the possibilities that an author is exaggerating or fabricating or that a text is forged, and on the other hand he tends not to be interested in relating the specific genre of a text to its language and shape.

So, for example, he is unlikely to analyse a letter in terms of contemporary treatises on letter-writing. It is designed to minimise the existence of a text or its apparent meaning. How do you get round conciliar decrees pointing to heresy in Toulouse? Gervase of Canterbury mentioning a letter written by the count of Toulouse in , saying that heretics in Toulouse speak of two principles?

Ask why another source does not mention it. I confess to having paid too little attention to the differences. The leader in the case of the Waldensians, Grado Merlo, is very interested in textual genres, sees texts as positioned, and tries to take as much into account as possible: there are no obvious silences. And that is what led him to call for examination of what lay behind the singular construct Valdismo , as also the historiographical positions of all relevant historians.

And though he raised deconstruction of singular Valdismo into plural Valdismi , he did not rig the enquiry to predetermine the answers. In fact, at a conference in he announced a change of mind. Both share in the wide, complex and varied revolution in the study of the lived Christianity of medieval people that has taken place over the last half century.

Scholars have been trying out exciting new approaches and ideas, and an important part of the work is unpacking traditional approaches. Now, when an inspired and intellectually revolutionary scholar tries out this or that mind-game in the study of a parishioner, however destructive they are, there is always a safety-net.

No-one is really going to doubt that the stone-built parish church is there, that baptisms are carried out, that lawyers are examining marriage cases and that the pope is raising money. There is no such net for those the Church called heretics. E-mail address: deborahshulevitz gmail. Email: deborahshulevitz gmail. Use the link below to share a full-text version of this article with your friends and colleagues. Learn more. Whether or not a dualist Cathar heresy existed in medieval Europe has been widely debated among medieval historians over the past twenty years. This church, many have argued, was influenced by dualism emanating from the Balkans and possibly reaching back to Late Antiquity.

A recent generation of skeptics challenges this story, claiming that what was perceived as a dualist heresy was actually a manifestation of dissidence arising out of local conditions and, in any case, tied to anticlericalism and the enthusiasms of the Gregorian reform. The alleged dualism, they argue, derives from contemporary critics' readings of the patristic sources they consulted in attempting to understand dissidence.

These two historiographical camps do not agree on the facts, the terminology, or the proper interpretation of sources, making it very difficult to discuss medieval heresy. This paper seeks to familiarize historians with the state of the debate over heresy in medieval Languedoc by describing and critiquing the positions of the two sides and suggests that the controversy provides an important lesson to students of history. In Cathars in Question , Antonio Sennis gathers together thirteen essays by scholars of heresy in medieval Latin Europe. The debate extends beyond the issue of Catharism's existence to the question of how far Eastern ideas penetrated into Western Europe.

Historians of medieval Europe who argue for the existence of an organized, widespread Cathar church tend to believe that it originated in the East, whether stemming from ancient Manichaean dualism or medieval dualist ideas originating in the Balkans, known as Bogomilism. Because of this, some historians argue, the Church itself was responsible for creating heretics as a result of accusing, interrogating, and punishing those who appeared to behave differently or to support alternative beliefs, even when they did so for reasons other than deliberate rejection of Catholic doctrine.

The Gnostic Gospels: Are They Authentic?

By virtue of this process, these historians argue, those persecuted as heretics came to adopt some of the very beliefs and practices they were accused of. Although Northern Italy was also associated with Catharism in this period, the sources are different there are no inquisition registers comparable to those we have for Languedoc , and much of the history of heresy in the Italian communes is tied to political events accusations of heresy were frequently made against opponents of the pope, for example.

One key difficulty in studying medieval heresy is the nature of our sources. In the thirteenth century, these sources multiply, especially the polemical treatises, while a new genre comes to the fore: the inquisition registers, containing the depositions of those accused of heresy as well as the sentences issued to those found guilty. There is a substantial literature on how these texts were produced and the question of their reliability, an issue which informs the debate over the nature of the alleged heresy Arnold, , ; Bruschi, , The inquisition registers are imperfect records of the deponents' speech, not only because the latter responded to formulaic questions posed by the inquisitors which influenced the responses but also because, while testimony was given in the vernacular, it was subsequently translated into Latin by the scribes recording the interviews.

Accordingly, the registers do not provide direct transcriptions of the deponents' speech. Another genre of source material consists of the inquisition manuals created by inquisitors as guides for their colleagues, both in Languedoc and in Italy. These manuals are problematic because, first, they reflect the clerical biases of the inquisitors with respect to the heresy they expect to find, and second, they are overly categorical about the alleged beliefs and behavior of the heretics see, e.

According to traditional historiography, Catharism was one of a number of heretical religious movements that arose in Latin Christian Europe in the High Middle Ages. Despite the attention paid to them by contemporaries as well as modern scholars, the population supporting this heresy—whatever its nature—was at most a small minority Biget, , p.

Historians do not dispute that a growing concern with the threat of heresy in the twelfth century resulted in increasingly strident measures by the papacy and the clerical hierarchy. Several Cistercian missions were sent to Languedoc in the twelfth century to combat it by preaching and persuasion; when those failed, limited military action was attempted. In , when for political reasons the count of Toulouse was deemed an active supporter of heretics, Pope Innocent III called for a holy war against the heretics and the nobility believed to be protecting them. This war, known as the Albigensian crusade, lasted twenty years.

The first inquisitors in Languedoc were appointed in the s. It is through the crucible of war and inquisition that, according to those who doubt the earlier origins of Cathar heresy, networks of heretics and their supporters arose, as the persecuted began to adopt beliefs they were persistently charged with. As Sennis notes, historians studying these events are divided into two camps: traditionalists and skeptics , p. In addition to dualist theology, these included rejection of the Old Testament, refusal to swear oaths, rejection of marriage and the utility of sacraments, and refusal to eat meat and other foods thought to be the product of coition.

Augustine who had belonged to the Manichaean sect before his conversion to Christianity. Much of the evidence for this, however, derives from later, or disputed, evidence. Over the past twenty years, the skeptics have gradually come to deny virtually every aspect of the traditional story. Skeptics in the Anglophone community include, most prominently, R. Moore and Mark Gregory Pegg.

Pegg argues that this culture evolved in order to smooth the troubled social waters that resulted from the fragmented land ownership that characterized medieval Languedoc society , pp. Rather than presenting this argument as a hypothesis, however, he simply asserts that the culture of cortezia operated as he postulates.

Ignatius of Antioch implies that Peter and Paul had special authority over the Roman church, [] telling the Roman Christians: "I do not command you, as Peter and Paul did" ch.

Early Christian Schisms - Before Imperium - Extra History - #1

However, the authenticity of this document and its traditional dating to c. Later in the 2nd century , Irenaeus of Lyons believed that Peter and Paul had been the founders of the Church in Rome and had appointed Linus as succeeding bishop. Tertullian also writes: "But if you are near Italy, you have Rome, where authority is at hand for us too. What a happy church that is, on which the apostles poured out their whole doctrine with their blood; where Peter had a passion like that of the Lord, where Paul was crowned with the death of John the Baptist, by being beheaded.

Later tradition, first found in Saint Jerome, attributes to Peter a year episcopate or apostolate in Rome. Paul's Epistle to the Romans 16 c. Elaine Pagels , professor of religion at Princeton and an authority on Gnosticism , argues that Paul was a Gnostic [] and that the anti-Gnostic Pastoral Epistles were "pseudo-Pauline" forgeries written to rebut this. British Jewish scholar Hyam Maccoby contends that the Paul as described in the Book of Acts and the view of Paul gleaned from his own writings are very different people.

Some difficulties have been noted in the account of his life. Paul as described in the Book of Acts is much more interested in factual history, less in theology; ideas such as justification by faith are absent as are references to the Spirit, according to Maccoby. He also points out that there are no references to John the Baptist in the Pauline Epistles , although Paul mentions him several times in the Book of Acts. Others have objected that the language of the speeches is too Lukan in style to reflect anyone else's words.

Moreover, some have argued that the speeches of Peter and Paul are too much alike, and that especially Paul's are too distinct from his letters to reflect a true Pauline source. Examination of several of the major speeches in Acts reveals that while the author smoothed out the Greek in some cases, he clearly relied on preexisting material to reconstruct his speeches. He did not believe himself at liberty to invent material, but attempted to accurately record the reality of the speeches in Acts. Baur considers the Acts of the Apostles were late and unreliable.

This debate has continued ever since, with Adolf Deissmann — and Richard Reitzenstein — emphasising Paul's Greek inheritance and Albert Schweitzer stressing his dependence on Judaism. Maccoby theorizes that Paul synthesized Judaism, Gnosticism, and mysticism to create Christianity as a cosmic savior religion. According to Maccoby, Paul's Pharisaism was his own invention, though actually he was probably associated with the Sadducees. Maccoby attributes the origins of Christian anti-Semitism to Paul and claims that Paul's view of women , though inconsistent, reflects his Gnosticism in its misogynist aspects.

However, rather than a sudden split, there was a slowly growing chasm between Christians and Jews in the 1st centuries. Even though it is commonly thought that Paul established a Gentile church , it took centuries for a complete break to manifest. However, certain events are perceived as pivotal in the growing rift between Christianity and Judaism. Christianity throughout the 2nd and 3rd centuries have generally been less studied than the periods that came before and after it.

This is reflected in that it is usually referred to in terms of the adjacent periods with names as such "post-apostolic" after the period of 1st century formative Christianity and "ante-Nicene" before the First Council of Nicaea. However, the 2nd and 3rd centuries are quite important in the development of Christianity.

There is a relative lack of material for this period, compared with the later Church Father period. For example, a widely used collection Ante-Nicene Fathers includes most 2nd- and 3rd-century writings in nine volumes. According to Siker the developments of this time are "multidirectional and not easily mapped". While the preceding and following periods were diverse, they possessed unifying characteristics lacking in this period. The 2nd and 3rd centuries saw a sharp divorce from its early roots. There was an explicit rejection of then-modern Judaism and Jewish culture by the end of the 2nd century, with a growing body of adversus Judaeos literature.

Christianity in the 4th and 5th centuries experienced imperial pressure and developed strong episcopal and unifying structure. The ante-Nicene period was without such authority and immensely diverse. Many variations in this time defy neat categorizations, with as various forms of Christianity interacted in a complex fashion to form the dynamic character of Christianity in this era.

By the early 2nd century, Christians had agreed on a basic list of writings that would serve as their canon, [] see Development of the New Testament canon , but interpretations of these works differed, often wildly. Bishops still had a freedom of interpretation.

The competing versions of Christianity led many bishops who subscribed to what is now the mainstream version of Christianity to rally more closely together. Some bishops began to take on a more authoritative role for a region; in many cases, the bishop of the church located in the capital city of a province became the central authority for all churches in that province. These more centralized authorities were known as metropolitan churches headed by a Metropolitan bishop. The churches in Antioch, Alexandria, and Rome exerted authority over groups of these metropolitan churches.

The church fathers are generally divided into the Ante-Nicene Fathers , those who lived and wrote before the Council of Nicaea and the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers , those who lived and wrote after In addition, the division of the fathers into Greek and Latin writers is also common. The early Church relied on apostolic authority in separating orthodox from unorthodox works, teachings, and practices. The four Gospels were each assigned, directly or indirectly to an apostle, [Note 5] as were certain other New Testament books.

Earlier church fathers were also associated with apostles: Clement with Peter associated closely with Rome and with Paul as the Clement Paul wrote about in Philippians , Papias and Polycarp with John associated with Asia Minor. The earliest Church Fathers, within two generations of the Apostles of Christ are usually called the Apostolic Fathers.

In addition, the Didache and Shepherd of Hermas are usually placed among the writings of the Apostolic Fathers although their authors are unknown.

The writings of the Apostolic Fathers are in a number of genres, some, e. The "Apostolic Fathers" are distinguished from other Christian authors of this same period in that their practices and theology largely fell within those developing traditions of Pauline Christianity or Proto-orthodox Christianity that became the mainstream. They represent a tradition of early Christianity shared by many different churches across cultural, ethnic, and linguistic differences. The tradition they represent holds the Jewish Scriptures to be inspired by God against Marcionism and holds that the Jewish prophets point to the actual flesh and blood of Jesus through which both Jew and Gentile are saved.

Furthermore, they present the picture of an organized Church made up of many different cross-cultural, sister churches sharing one apostolic tradition. Their ecclesiology, adoption of some Judaic values, and emphasis upon the historical nature of Jesus Christ stand in stark contrast to the various ideologies of more paganized Christianities, on the one hand, and more Jewish Christianities on the other. Other texts written much later are not considered apostolic writings. They were actively denounced from the very beginning by men such as Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, and the writer of the canonical First Epistle of John as being "anti-christ" and contrary to the tradition received from the apostles and eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ.

The texts presenting alternative Christianities were then actively suppressed in the following centuries and many are now "lost" works, the contents of which can only be speculated. The Church History Latin: Historia Ecclesiastica or Historia Ecclesiae of Eusebius of Caesarea was a 4th-century pioneer work giving a chronological account of the development of Early Christianity from the 1st century. Eusebius' Chronicle , that attempted to lay out a comparative timeline of pagan and Old Testament history, set the model for the other historiographical genre, the medieval chronicle or universal history.

Eusebius made use of many ecclesiastical monuments and documents, acts of the martyrs, letters, extracts from earlier Christian writings, lists of bishops, and similar sources, often quoting the originals at great length so that his work contains materials not elsewhere preserved. For example, he wrote that Matthew composed the Gospel according to the Hebrews and his Church Catalogue suggests that it was the only Jewish gospel.

It is therefore of historical value, though it pretends neither to completeness nor to the observance of due proportion in the treatment of the subject-matter. Nor does it present in a connected and systematic way the history of the early Christian Church. It is to no small extent a vindication of the Christian religion, though the author did not primarily intend it as such.

Eusebius has been often accused of intentional falsification of the truth; in judging persons or facts he is not entirely unbiased. Some of the new words and phrases introduced by William Tyndale in his translation of the Bible did not sit well with the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church, using words like 'Overseer' rather than 'Bishop' and 'Elder' rather than 'Priest', and very controversially , 'congregation' rather than 'Church' and 'love' rather than 'charity'. Tyndale contended citing Erasmus that the Greek New Testament did not support the traditional Roman Catholic readings.

Contention from Roman Catholics came not only from real or perceived errors in translation but a fear of the erosion of their social power if Christians could read the bible in their own language "the Pope's dogma is bloody" Tyndale wrote in his The Obedience of a Christian Man. To change these words was to strip the Church hierarchy of its pretensions to be Christ's terrestrial representative, and to award this honour to individual worshipers who made up each congregation.

The historical reliability of the Acts of the Apostles , the primary source for the Apostolic Age , is a major issue for biblical scholars and historians of early Christianity. While some biblical scholars and historians view the book of Acts as being extremely accurate and corroborated by archaeology [ citation needed ] , others view the work as being inaccurate and in conflict with the Pauline epistles.

Acts portrays Paul as more inline with Jewish Christianity , while the Pauline epistles record more conflict, such as the Incident at Antioch. Traditionally, orthodoxy and heresy have been viewed in relation to the "orthodoxy" as an authentic lineage of tradition. Other forms of Christianity were viewed as deviant streams of thought and therefore " heterodox ", or heretical. Bauer endeavored to rethink early Christianity historically, independent from the views of the church. He stated that the 2nd-century church was very diverse and included many "heretical" groups that had an equal claim to apostolic tradition.

Bauer interpreted the struggle between the orthodox and heterodox to be the "mainstream" Roman church struggling to attain dominance. He presented Edessa and Egypt as places where the "orthodoxy" of Rome had little influence during the 2nd century. As he saw it, the theological thought of the Orient at the time would later be labeled "heresy". The response by modern scholars has been mixed. Some scholars clearly support Bauer's conclusions and others express concerns about his "attacking [of] orthodox sources with inquisitional zeal and exploiting to a nearly absurd extent the argument from silence.

Perhaps one of the most important discussions among scholars of early Christianity in the past century is to what extent it is appropriate to speak of "orthodoxy" and "heresy". Higher criticism drastically altered the previous perception that heresy was a very rare exception to the orthodoxy. Bauer was particularly influential in the reconsideration of the historical model. During the s, increasing focus on the effect of social, political and economic circumstances on the formation of early Christianity occurred as Bauer's work found a wider audience.

Some scholars argue against the increasing focus on heresies. A movement away from presuming the correctness or dominance of the orthodoxy is seen as understandable, in light of modern approaches. However, they feel that instead of an even and neutral approach to historical analysis that the heterodox sects are given an assumption of superiority over the orthodox movement. The current debate is vigorous and broad. While it is difficult to summarize all current views, general statements may be made, remembering that such broad strokes will have exceptions in specific cases.

Bauer reassessed as a historian the overwhelmingly dominant view [] that for the period of Christian origins, ecclesiastical doctrine already represented what is primary, while heresies, on the other hand somehow are a deviation from the genuine Bauer, "Introduction". Through studies of historical records Bauer concluded that what came to be known as orthodoxy was just one of numerous forms of Christianity in the early centuries. It was the form of Christianity practiced in Rome that exercised the uniquely dominant influence over the development of orthodoxy [] and acquired the majority of converts over time.

Heresy: Christian Concepts

This was largely due to the greater resources available to the Christians in Rome and due to the conversion to Christianity of the Roman Emperor Constantine I. Practitioners of what became orthodoxy then rewrote the history of the conflict making it appear that this view had always been the majority one. Writings in support of other views were systematically destroyed. Bart Ehrman has written widely on issues of New Testament and early Christianity at both an academic and popular level, with over twenty books including three New York Times bestsellers Misquoting Jesus , God's Problem , and Jesus, Interrupted.

Much of his work is on textual criticism and the New Testament. His most recent book Jesus, Interrupted was published in March and discusses contradictions in the Bible. Ehrman argues that the historical Jesus was an apocalyptic preacher, and that his apocalyptic beliefs are recorded in the earliest Christian documents: the Gospel of Mark and the authentic Pauline epistles.

The earliest Christians believed Jesus would soon return, and their beliefs are echoed in the earliest Christian writings. Much of Ehrman's writing has concentrated on various aspects of Walter Bauer 's thesis that Christianity was always diversified or at odds with itself. Ehrman is often considered a pioneer in connecting the history of the early church to textual variants within biblical manuscripts and in coining such terms as " Proto-orthodox Christianity.

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The Story Of The Storytellers - The Gnostic Gospels

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Further information: Christ myth theory and Jesus Christ and comparative mythology. Main article: Apostolic Age. Main article: Saint Peter. See also: First phase of papal supremacy. Main article: Paul of Tarsus. See also: Paul of Tarsus and Judaism.