A Brief History of Heresy

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Wiley, Dec 3, 2002 - Religion - 212 pages
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This short and accessible book introduces readers to the problemsof heresy, schism and dissidence over the last two millennia. Theheresies under discussion range from Gnosticism, influential in theearly Christian period, right through to modern sects.

The idea of a heretic conjures up many images, from the martyrsprepared to die for their beliefs, through to sects with bizarrepractices. This book provides a remarkable insight into the fraughthistory of heresy, showing how the Church came to insist onorthodoxy when threatened by alternative ideals, exploring thesocial and political conditions under which heretics were created,and how those involved were 'tested' and punished, often byimprisonment and burning. Engaging written, A Brief History ofHeresy is enlivened throughout with fascinating examples ofindividuals and movements.


  • A short, accessible history of heresy.
  • Spans the last two millennia, from the Gnostics through tomodern sects.
  • Considers heresy in relation to ecclesial separatism, doctrinaldisagreement, church order, and basic metaphysics.
  • Enlivened with intriguing examples of individuals andmovements.
  • Written by a leading academic in the field of ReligiousHistory.

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About the author (2002)

G. R. Evans is Lecturer in History at the University of Cambridge. Her previous publications include Law and Theology in the Middle Ages (2002), The Church and the Churches (1994), Philosophy and Theology in the Middle Ages (1993), and Problems of Authority in the Reformation Debates (1992). She is also the editor of The Medieval Theologians (Blackwell Publishing, 2000). She was for ten years a prominent member of the Church and Order Advisory Group of the Church of England, and is a former diarist for The Church Times.

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