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 Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics

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Meles meles
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PostSubject: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Sat 24 Oct 2015, 19:02

Temp has raised the question of dualism and the relation of the gnostics to current christianity several times ... and PaulR has also referred to the Cathars just a day or so ago. As I live in "Cathar Country", I'm slightly embarrassed to admit that I don't actually know much about the Cathars, nor any of the other of the medieval "heretical" movements, other than the bare facts of the bloody sieges, sackings, atrocities, and the enduring local memory of towns hereabouts which still collectively remember being put to the fire and sword many centuries ago.

But to kick-start the conversation .... were the Cathar (and other) early movements motivated by a desire to try and gain more rights and freedoms from the universal burdens of serfdom, perhaps akin to the (fairly modest) demands of the later English Peasant's Revolt? Or were they perhaps early glimmers of what would eventually become mainstream Protestantism ... trying to get Christ's Church back into the hands of the faithful? Or were they just anarchists with an eye for the chance?

And by their brutal suppression in the Albegensian Crusade of any "deviant thinkers", was the Papacy just reasserting its authority and stamping down, very hard, on any dissenters .... and so simply trying to steer Christendom back to the ordered, and ordained, way? Or was there another reason? The fundamental underlying question at the time was: if Christ was poor then should not his church also be poor ... and so should the papacy not give up all it's wealth and power? The monastic orders, principally the Carthusians and Cistercians, certainly tended to think that it should. But the pope(s) ... and don't forget that at the time there were two contenders for the apostolic crown ... both tended to think otherwise.

And what about the rôle of the French Crown? The King of France was a major instigator and force behind getting papal support for suppressing the Cathars in the Languedoc (that's basically all southern France, then almost entirely independent of the French kingdom). Surely the French King must have been influenced by the hugely desirable dangling carrot of getting these independent counties and territories in southern France - all incredibly rich in population, culture, agricultural produce, mineral resources and long-establshed trade links - absorbed into a unified French kingdom, and duly paying tax to Paris?

Any thoughts, whether theological, ecclesiastical, finanicial, rhetorical, or just medieval historical?
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Sun 25 Oct 2015, 10:57

French Catharism and its Dualist fellow religionists represent a very long historical line of deviation from canon and doctrine that some historians trace back, culturally if not theologically, to pre-Roman Europe. The issue might have been brought to a cataclysmic head in the Middle Ages but unfortunately an effect of that cataclysm was to eradicate much of the history of the culture that had produced it and to replace it with a re-written conformist version (as much for political as religious reasons at the time).

As a heresy its chief departure was in demonising the Old Testamant God, a rather logical step based even on the canon scriptures, and by no means a recent aberration either at the time. A distrust of the adoption of the Jewish god had existed right back to Christianity's early formation as a theological code, a much more problematic process than most modern churches are prepared to admit, or at least contemplate very fully.

However what is more important historically than the events which conspired to eventually stamp out this heresy with such destructive genocidal force is the now "lost" history of the perseverance of this mode of Christianity over 1200 years, not even at the periphery of Christian territories but often within some of its most central heartlands. This history is one of religious tolerance as much as anything else, one might even say in the long tradition of Roman religious tolerance, and in that sense the cruel extinction of this deviancy from the catechisms sponsored by the two churches (a similar expunging of Dualist theology occurred in the Orthodox church just a little later) did such huge damage which would impact on so many future generations, right up to our own. It attempted, and very much succeeded in, simultaneously wiping swathes of history from the record for ever and establishing intolerance as a political norm with divine remit for almost all of Europe's citizens, something that itself was to have such a huge impact on history in its own way.  

We have mentioned it before here, but this is why the book "Montaillou" is SO important an historical document. That it exists at all is as close to a miracle as can occur given its content, its point of origin and what it demonstrates. These isolated villagers, stubbornly persistent in their Cathar faith in 13th century France many years after the massacre designed to liquidate them and their faith, reveal through their equally stubborn persistence in their interviews to discuss the banalities of ordinary life, just how little heresy actually matters, except of course to those who will exercise control over others. They are not consciously espousing any theological departure from anyone else's faith. They do not place inordinate emphasis on salvation in this world or the next without placing as much if not more emphasis on dealing with the day-to-day challenges and small injustices common to everyone everywhere. Ordinary people living ordinary lives in which religion is simply one ordinary part of their surroundings - a status one enjoys today still only if one is lucky enough to be allowed to by the authorities controlling one's circumstances but one which, ironically, the Roman Empire recognised and supported through its laws and customs. It was within this ancient heritage - much older than Christianity - that the Montaillou villagers were still living, but they now represented its flickering demise in the face of a new and brutally systematic imposition of theological and social hegemony. Not forerunners of later Protestantism so much as they were vestiges of a more ancient and far-reaching freedom of intellect, one of which Protestantism would be a rather skewed and limited copy when it came about a few hundred years later.

History often shows evidence of regression and this is often highlighted by specific acts whose detrimental effects ripple down through time and wash up even in our own day. The "Albigensian Crusade", being a crusade not only against heresy but a people's right to live according to long-established values of intellectual freedom which even now we are struggling to retain, was one of those self-inflicted atrocities from which the human race rarely recovers and which speak so eloquently against our claim to being intelligent. There have been many, and there have been worse, but from the point of view of valuing history there has rarely been one so apposite to the fellow interest of the members of this site.
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Sun 25 Oct 2015, 19:47

Meles meles and Nordmann,

wanted to go further with my Tintin in Congo thread and prepared a reply to the Slovakian Arras in the thread "Democracy and oligarchy" on Historum, but see today that it will end in an interminable discussion and will for the moment keep out...

But nevertheless did some research for this subject as I remembered the discussion on the BBC messageboard.
Up to now you could still do research via Google Advanced on that BBC messageboard as Lisa host had promised to me, but now it don't seems to work anymore. I tried with "Amalric" as the discussion I remember was with him among others, but no reaction. But when I put "Hitler" in the search it didn't react either...

Old memories came back as I clicked on my name on the messageboards and yes that reacts, but in the hundreds of messages it is impossible to seek for what you want.

But then I tried on Google with "PaulRyckier Amalric" and see:
http://www.empereurperdu.com/tribunehistoire/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=230
And in that thread was mentioned my:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/F2233809?thread=3920289
And the thread from Meles meles (the former Clive...old memories about the Brabançonne...)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/F2233809?thread=4493592
And also:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/F2233809?thread=3920289

 
And in the meantime read also this Wink
http://www.theguardian.com/media/pda/2009/feb/03/bbc-web20

Thanks Nordmann for the background, but as I have still to read also my own utterings here I will wait to react...I have already seen that I refer to the Zoroasterism but I have a vague rememberance that one historian said that there was in the Cathar religion no explicit link to the Persian dualism...

Kind regards to both of you, Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Sun 25 Oct 2015, 19:55

And by the way Nordmann...you, you with your difficult words... Wink

Couldn't you say instead of "apposite" that I didn't understand the "normal" Wink : "appropriate"...? Or is there a difference...?

Your Paul.
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Sun 25 Oct 2015, 20:24

Paul wrote:
there was in the Cathar religion no explicit link to the Persian dualism...

Quite correct. Dualism long pre-dates any Christian version and some religions in fact have it as a very basic and absolutely necessary ingredient. It was an essential part, for example, of both Greek and Roman religions too - the malevolent/good split exemplified by many instances of explanation regarding how both came to arise from distinct sources but doomed to eternal conflict with each other, one in which we as mortals are embroiled whether we like it or not. With the Cathar version, which when you think about it is very close to ancient Greek and Roman, the material world is the creation of evil, the spiritual world of which God is lord and master a creation of good, which in turn is a creation of God. Since nothing evil could be created by such an epitome of good then something else must have created evil. Satan (the official scapegoat for origins of evil) rules himself out in this theology completely since he is very much a creation of God and therefore cannot be totally evil. The Jewish God of the Old Testament however was a safer bet, having all the powers of his Christian counterpart but little to redeem himself in terms of being good by Christian standards.

It was for its day quite a logical series of deductions based on the raw material to hand in the form of scripture, but what we are missing now is its provenance as a heresy - some theories regarding its origin tracing it back way further than Christianity itself and reflecting some societies' attempts to take the Christian theology on board having already enjoyed a long established belief in dualism at the core of their previous faith systems. It makes sense that they would - Europe is littered with rather specific and unique solutions to similar local dilemmas which the church has traditionally tolerated (Ireland included in the case of maternal deities, for example). The Cathar solution to their problem with the traditional Holy Trinity however (as well as several others quite similar in their components) fell foul of a change from such tolerance of this particular departure from canon at a time when both the church and several European powers were attempting to consolidate control over potential "breakaway" societies and using particular aberrations as a pretext for quite ruthless tactics to bring them to heel. But they had enjoyed a good run prior to that - and that unfortunately is the long and extremely interesting part of European cultural history now distorted or even completely eliminated thanks to the actions of the church, especially around the time in question.

Apposite is like appropriate but with "especially" added in for extra emphasis.
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 10:08

Hi MM - thanks for starting this thread.

Apart from the opening sentence, this post really was a load of utter nonsense, if not tosh, so I have deleted it.


Last edited by Temperance on Tue 27 Oct 2015, 08:06; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 10:48

Temp, something that I find myself thinking about (and hurting my brain since I know little beyond 'popular' stuff) is the relationship between cosmology, quantum mechanics and the interpretation of the past. The Copenhagen Interpretation, the Observer Effect, the way that when we see a star we recieve photons that were emitted long, long ago but we see them in the present - how does that relate to how we 'see' the remains of the past and so the nature of time. And reality, how far does that exist outwith our perception of it?

Too, too much, I must go a-recycling!

Has anyone read Akroyd's First Light? I read it years ago and was dreadfully disappointed, I must dig it out of the cupboard and read it again.
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 11:12

@ferval wrote:


Has anyone read Akroyd's First Light? I read it years ago and was dreadfully disappointed, I must dig it out of the cupboard and read it again.



"...even our bodies are built with the fossilised debris of dead stars..."

or, as Shakespeare put it in what has now become, sadly, a bit of a cliché, "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

These days, I always want to put nordmann instead of Horatio.

Back let us return swiftly to medieval France...
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 12:05

Our bodies are not built from the fossilised anything. What utter tosh.

I'm not sure what Horatio had done wrong to offend the woo-woo merchants but I know what offends them when I speak and therefore have often heard that bit of Williedom hurled at me on occasion. The problem is basically that woo-woos find it very difficult to accommodate disconsonant philosophies, or in fact disconsonant anything, trained as they are to believe all points of view can receive consideration if needs be, but only one can represent the truth. They make bad ontological dualists, in other words, at least in the sense that matters (I'll except Confucians who if anything are multiists, if such can be coined as a term). They mistake the prosecution of one philosophical hypothesis by one individual as being therefore "what that person believes", assuming their interlocutor is as mentally challenged as they are when liberating oneself from the misinterpretation of the word "believe" that dogs the dogmatics. When they infer that there is a lot which is not yet understood, they are quite correct and normally we Horatios would tend to agree with them. When they then infer that the unknown stuff will inevitably conform to the vague plan they have adopted in lieu of any type of philosophy is more or less the time Horatio rings me and pleads with me to go for a pint with him before his head is done in.

But before this thread goes down the rocky road to how many dualists it takes to change a lightbulb (the answer is way more than two) it is important to point out that the term has way more than two meanings too. Catharist dualism plied its own lonely little theological furrow, as did Manichaeist, and as did almost every other religious instance of its application, which all in turn differed from its meaning when applied philosophically, which was different again when it was applied ontologically, and so on. Unless we agree an area of discussion the use of the term will sow even more discord and WobbleWeaponry than usual.

In the context of Meles meles' original query however it only matters here what the Cathars thought they meant. And I am sure that whatever they thought they meant they couldn't have given two hoots if there was an ontological overlap with Mani, Zoroastra or even Confucius for that matter. Of course their bigger mistake was not giving dual(ist) hoots about what the people living nearer to sea-level thought. The king (and the pope) were thataway.
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 13:22

@nordmann wrote:
 

Our bodies are not built from the fossilised anything. What utter tosh.


Peter Ackroyd's tosh, chuck, not mine -  a quote from First Light.

Was Hamlet a "woo-woo merchant" then? Well, he was a bit of a nutter, I suppose; but then Horatio hadn't got a clue what was going on either. Who has, when you think about it?

What's a "disconsonant philosophy"? Is that the same as a disconsolate philosophy?

Not only am I a bad ontological dualist, I am also a bad ontological duelist, so I'm giving up. We are all too stupid around here to converse with nordmann.

Drat - I'm all cross again now: I bet my allergy rash comes back.

Sorry, MM - I really did want to discuss things, but it's hopeless. All the best anyway - and keep cooking!
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 13:31

Catharist dualism

I need new specs. I read that as cathartic duelists and got even more confused.

edit: another post.
Yes Temp, that's just one example of why the book disappointed me so. That and about everything else in it except perhaps the disconsolate astronomer, I could empathise a bit with him.
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 14:24

Temp, quoting Nordmann, quoting Temp wrote:


Our bodies are not built from the fossilised anything. What utter tosh.

Peter Ackroyd's tosh, chuck, not mine - a quote from First Light.



Oh dear Nordmann. I’ll freely admit to being snippy-snappy-snipey on occasion but sometimes you can be so sharp that you risk being your own worst enemy. I think everyone likely to read this thread basically understands the scientific meaning of "fossil", although actually I think you’ll find its agreed definition, like that of the term "species", is not so cut-and–dried. And as a polymath I’m sure you'll know that "fossil", deriving from "fossillis", originally just meant something "dug up". So until about 150 years ago it could generally mean anything from ‘snakestones’ (ie fossil ammonites), devil's toenails (ie gryphea molluscs), frozen mammoth bones, old Egyptian mummies ... gems, minerals and metallic ores ... to just all the flints, potsherds, coins, and other detritus that we would now call archeological remains.

Woolly though that quote was, could it not just be taken as a metaphor or allegory, a bit like Shakespeare’s: “There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

And besides I think most of the heavy metal elements: gold, platinum, uranium, lead etc ... that do undeniably exist on earth, were all only ever formed in the hearts of ancient stars ... until humans built nuclear reactors there was no other way to make these elements.

But we digress ...


Last edited by Meles meles on Mon 26 Oct 2015, 16:15; edited 7 times in total (Reason for editing : typos an' spellin' mostly)
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 14:27

Don't give up Temp! Slings and arrows etc ...

And I was well aware it was my mate Ackroyd I was slinging arrows at, Temp and MM. He's actually one of my heroes, fossils and all.

However the dualism dilemma remains. Even if we limit it to theological discussion there will be a hundred strands to our thread in no time and our metaphysical trousers will surely fall down. Why the Cathars got the brunt of the anti-dualist backlash when they did however is indeed a fascinating historical point.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 14:48

I'm going to have a bit of a sulk, but no doubt will be back later. I'm going shopping now, actually.


This is useful perhaps - it's a "Who's Who in the Cathar War": I've never heard of most of these characters:



http://www.cathar.info/cathar_whoswho.htm
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 19:43

@Temperance wrote:
I'm going to have a bit of a sulk, but no doubt will be back later. I'm going shopping now, actually.


This is useful perhaps - it's a "Who's Who in the Cathar War": I've never heard of most of these characters:



http://www.cathar.info/cathar_whoswho.htm


Temperance,

read once our former discussions from the old BBC messageboard that I mentioned yesterday.

"And in that thread was mentioned my:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/F2233809?thread=3920289
And the thread from Meles meles (the former Clive...old memories about the Brabançonne...)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/F2233809?thread=4493592
And also:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/mbhistory/F2233809?thread=3920289"

There is besides Meles meles, the papal legate Arnald Amalric, also Nielsen and the now deceased Eric Lindsay from the Jiglu and of course your friend Paul...
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Mon 26 Oct 2015, 19:58

Nordmann,

"But before this thread goes down the rocky road to how many dualists it takes to change a lightbulb (the answer is way more than two) it is important to point out that the term has way more than two meanings too. Catharist dualism plied its own lonely little theological furrow, as did Manichaeist, and as did almost every other religious instance of its application, which all in turn differed from its meaning when applied philosophically, which was different again when it was applied ontologically, and so on. Unless we agree an area of discussion the use of the term will sow even more discord and WobbleWeaponry than usual.

In the context of Meles meles' original query however it only matters here what the Cathars thought they meant. And I am sure that whatever they thought they meant they couldn't have given two hoots if there was an ontological overlap with Mani, Zoroastra or even Confucius for that matter. Of course their bigger mistake was not giving dual(ist) hoots about what the people living nearer to sea-level thought. The king (and the pope) were thataway."

" Catharist dualism plied its own lonely little theological furrow, as did Manichaeist, and as did almost every other religious instance of its application, which all in turn differed from its meaning when applied philosophically, which was different again when it was applied ontologically, and so on. Unless we agree an area of discussion the use of the term will sow even more discord and WobbleWeaponry than usual."

Nordmann, I wanted to start my old hobby horse, you just warned in time. Wink
About the links of Roman Catholic faith with Judaism, what is perhaps obvious, but also with the Persian Zoroastrianism.
As I have done now the research I will start a new thread in all serenity Wink  and I promise to be as open minded as possible and without prejudices...after all the subject is about the comparative history of certain religions with the emphasis on HISTORY

Kind regards, Paul.
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Temperance
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Tue 27 Oct 2015, 08:03

Thank you for the links, Paul. I had better read a bit before I venture into these waters again.

Temp.
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Sun 09 Apr 2017, 01:35

@Meles meles wrote:
were the Cathar (and other) early movements motivated by a desire to try and gain more rights and freedoms from the universal burdens of serfdom, perhaps akin to the (fairly modest) demands of the later English Peasant's Revolt? Or were they perhaps early glimmers of what would eventually become mainstream Protestantism

I was going to post this about John Wycliffe, the Lollards, John Ball and Sir John Oldcastle etc. on the Forgotten Heroes? thread but think that they're probably better placed here. It's not clear how much influence Wycliffe received from the Cathars (if any) but he himself was certainly an influence on the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century.

What is remarkable about Wycliffe is that, despite being declared heretic during his lifetime, this didn't really affect his daily life. He was subject to no real persecution (compared to what would happen to others later) and ended his days a comfortable parish priest in Leicestershire. The is perhaps testament to the relatively open-minded society which existed in England in the decades following the Black Death and also even to the relatively relaxed attitudes of the Church in England during the mid-14th Century. For this reason he probably doesn't qualify for the title hero was such as there was little personal risk to him as a result of his teachings. Things would begin to change, however, after the Peasants' Revolt with the stances of both the ecclesiastical and the secular authorities hardening towards dissenters and free-thinkers.

John Ball and Sir John Oldcastle would pay the ultimate price for their Lollardy as would Jan Hus on the continent. Even Wycliffe's remains were not spared the violence of the backlash being dug up and posthumously burned by retroactive inquisitors. One of the ironies of this being that Wycliffe was an opponent of the Peasants' Revolt and was socially conservative while being ecclesiastically radical. Once the secular and ecclesiastical authorities closed ranks, however, then these sorts of distinctions became irrelevant.

In this, therefore, there does not seem to be any real parallel with the Cathars. The Albigensian Crusade was called precisely because the Church authorities could not get the local secular authorities to act against the Cathars. Indeed the crusade was as much directed against the local nobility as against the Cathar populace as such. They were essentially of and for one another which is why the crusade became such a protracted and bloody affair.
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Sun 09 Apr 2017, 09:39

Didn't Sir John Oldcastle formulate a plan to capture the King though Vizzer? The authorities at the time may have come down on him for treason as much as Lollardy? I read somewhere that he was the basis for the Shakespearean character Falstaff, but my sixty-something year old memory needs to bone up on the details. Interesting observation about the Cathars being "stomped" on by authorities outside their area (sorry for inelegant turn of phrase) because of a unity among the local population irrespective of social rank.
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PostSubject: Re: Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics   Sun 09 Apr 2017, 11:59

I agree with LiR that you raise a very interesting point regarding the violent suppression of the Cathars, Vizzer, and it is an aspect to heresy that I wish was investigated more by historians, especially those writing histories focused on religion, period. There is a tendency, when discussing the notion of heresy, to place inordinate weight on the theological justifications for the label having been applied - which in itself is all well and good as it is often precisely how the notable heretics themselves might have understood and expressed it at the time. But, in neglecting to place these historical developments within a broader context enveloping the specific political and social circumstances of their time and place, one is left feeling one has been forced to settle for the least adequate "explanation", and one moreover that is couched often in the jargon and self-serving political philosophy of the suppressor, a philosophy often represented as theology - par for the course in early Middle Ages Europe and still prevalent today in Islamic societies in which the political ascendancy relates all their political reasoning to a theological source which unsurprisingly invariably accords with their policies, especially those related to the control of assets and of people in the form of limitations on freedom of expression and behaviour.

Your point about the development of what we would now call a generally pluralist political philosophy when it came to religious belief in the years after the Black Death is very apt, and very astute if one looks at European social and political development primarily in terms of economics and power, a standpoint in which religion can be judged to be simply one of several indicators of how people are fundamentally thinking and behaving rather than as a primary force behind either. Even a student of basic economic theory can surely see that the traumatic depopulation of society fundamentally changed the perception of a person's value, not least in the value of their labour but also, as an unavoidable consequence, in the value of an individual's contribution in general to that society's control, structure and direction. That this then translated also into an almost automatically parallel revolution in attitude as employed by individuals in the form of religious expression and belief is almost a no-brainer as a conclusion, as is also the fact that those whose place at the top of the pile in terms of control would eventually and inevitably mean that they would interpret this undeniable threat to their status any way that suited them and react quite ruthlessly, once the time was right, in re-establishing the status quo as they perceived it. Your parallel therefore between the Cathars and the English Peasant Revolt is absolutely spot-on, I think. They might seem to have existed in isolation and with separate backgrounds, aims and conducts, but were in fact two expressions of the same phenomenon. And likewise the reactions of the principal authorities to each might appear to be unrelated in terms of ruthlessness and justification, one overtly political and judicial in how it was justified and prosecuted, and one theological and military in the same respects, but both in effect instigated by members of remarkably similar elites for remarkably similar reasons.

My own opinion is that all socially popular frames of thinking subsequently dismissed as "religious heresies" in standard historical texts should be examined in that same context of power, social control, and - let's face it - ownership of wealth, the ultimate answer to almost every historical "cui bono?". They may lend themselves to analysis completely within a theological context but unless the analysis extends to the political and social environment in which they initially developed it will always fall short of the mark in terms of historical understanding.
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Paulicians, Bogomils, Waldensians, Cathars ... heretics

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