Thursday, September 20, 2018

Beware of the accursed Gugliemites, my children

A review of "Encylopedia of Heresies and Heretics" by Charles S Clifton

Despite its name, this isn't really an “encyclopedia”, by which I mean a reference work of a scholarly nature. Rather, it's a popularized, non-scholarly work, similar in many ways to skeptical books on religion and superstition. It's not even particularly complete. Thus, there is no entry on Aphthartodocetism, for instance!

But sure, I admit that I didn't recognize all the “heresies” the author did include. How many have heard of Amalricians, Men of Intelligence or Gugliemites? More well known deviations from The Only True Faith include Arianism, Bogomilism, the Gnostic school of ribald reveler Carpocrates, the Hussites and the inevitable Messalians.

There are entries on some Catholic movements and persons who were at one time or another consider problematic: Joan of Arc, Beguins, Beghards, Flagellants, the Knights Templar and even the Franciscans. The author has also included information on well-known pagans, such as Hypatia, Julian the Apostate, Iamblichus and Celsus. And Apollonius of Tyana, whose main heresy I suppose was acting just like Jesus! The volume ends with a lengthy exposition on Witchcraft.

Not sure how to rate this material, but in the end I give it three stars. Not worthless, but perhaps not the best material around either.

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