Heresies. Recurrent ideas which break through the continually sealed crust of orthodoxy because they contain an important truth or an irrepressible human aspiration. And they don’t seem limited to one religion. In fact, monotheism seems to reinforce their appearances…
The Albigensian heresy, the heresy of the Cathars, was perhaps the most hated of all heresies until the Reformation; it was the heresy par excellence, the first to be legally punished by death. By crusade and Inquisition, it was exterminated. The history of Neo-Platonism is much less sanguinary, partly because the ideas of Neo-Platonism were much more abstract: they were embraced by conservative philosophers, not radical prophets. Consequently, once Christianized it was never officially declared a heresy. Still, some incautious Neo-Platonists, especially after the Reformation, found themselves heretics, and some, like the philosophers Giordano Bruno and Giulio Cesare Vanini, were even burned as such. As a Christian movement, Neo-Platonism had a great influence on the romantic movement in literature. Goethe wrote that Neo-Platonism lay at the basis of his own private religion; it was the religion also of William Blake.
If we recognize that the heresy of twenty plus centuries, is not random, but keeps to certain well-defined channels, it possible to discern a few constant forms. And doing so will allow one to go further into the heartland of heresy and discover that these swarming individualists were not merely, as the orthodox have maintained, the miscellaneous maggots which it has been necessary from time to time to stamp or steam out of the majestic fabric of the Church, but also, as Gottfried Arnold in his “Impartial History of the Church and its Heretics,” supposed, people with continuous traditions of their own to which we may owe a debt.
Almost all the recurrent heresies of the Christian Church and Judaism for that matter, seem to fall into four broad categories: puritan and evangelical or millenarian and messianic. Or mystical and quietist. Or rational and critical. Great periods of religious ferment have always seen a merging of the types and thus the pullulation of intermediate heresies. But they seem to be the basis of which all particular heresies are derived, and all of them look back, in different ways to that Jesus as a jew time, his teachings, and the primitive nascent church. All of them oppose or at least ignore, the far more elaborate church structures, the vast and prosperous apparatus that triumphed in the Roman Empire to become a great department of state.
All of them were considered “heretical” because they presumed to choose between the real, solid, bureaucratic church of their own time, and the simple, sometimes romanticized imaginary church of the “unforgettable age of the apostles.” When it came to a showdown, the real church, armed with fire and faggot, and zealous defenders of the faith, the established order was very real. The imaginary church was just that: imaginary.
(see link at end)…By the end of the second century it appeared that the Montanists would become the dominant sect of Christianity. The Catholic Church reacted as it had done so many times before, labeling the Montanists as heretics, excommunicating the lot, and condemning their prophets to either banishment or death. This dogma of branding anything that opposed them as heretics was exactly the institutionalized corruption that the Montanists were opposed to. There considerable threat forced those leaders in the Catholic Church to move closer to the reigning powers in Rome. By emphasizing that the Catholic Church supported the Roman authorities and advised its followers to contribute as part of everyday society, they were able to demonstrate the danger represented by a Montanist Church that encouraged its members to withdraw from society and become separate. It didn’t take much encouragement for the Roman authorities to join in the condemnation of the Montanists and use them for their entertainment in the coliseums. Although Christian history will talk about the martyrs fed to the lions and slaughtered in gladiatorial exhibits, it fails to comment that it was Montanists providing this entertainment while a Catholic elite grew closer to the Emperor and 100 years later actually was proclaimed as the one and only Christianity of the Empire….Read More:http://kahana.hubpages.com/hub/Karaite-Comments-To-My-Brother-Yeshua-Jesus-Chapter-12