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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature
in theology, is any doctrine containing Christian elements, but along with them others subversive of Christian truth.
I. Origin and early Use of the Word. — The word α 7 πεατΟ (heresis) originally meant simply choice (e.g. of a set of opinions); later, it was applied to the opinions themselves; last of all, to the sect maintaining them. "Philosophy was in Greece the great object which divided the opinions and judgments of men; and hence the term heresy, being most frequently applied to the adoption of this or that particular dogma, came by an easy transition to signify the sect or school in which that dogma was maintained;" e.g. the heresy of the Stoics, of the Peripatetics, and Epicureans. Josephus also speaks of the three heresies (αἰρέσεις, sects, Ant. 12 5, 9 =φιλοσοφίαι, 18, 1, 2) of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. In the historical part of the New Testament, the word denotes a sect or party, whether good or bad (Acts 5:17; Acts 15:5; Acts 24:5; Acts 26:5; Acts 28:22). In Acts 26:4-5, St. Paul, in defending himself before king Agrippa, uses the same term, when it was manifestly his design to exalt the party to which he had belonged, and to give their system the preference over every other system of Judaism, both with regard to soundness of doctrine and purity of morals. In the Epistles the word occurs in a somewhat different sense. Paul, in Galatians 5:20, puts αἱρέσεις , heresies, in the list of crimes with uncleanness, seditions (διχοστασίαι), etc. In 1 Corinthians 11:19 (there must also be heresies among you), he uses it apparently to denote schisms or divisions in the Church.
In Titus 3:10 he comes near to the later sense; the "heretical person" appears to be one given over to a self-chosen and divergent form of belief and practice. John Wesley says: "Heresy is not in all the Bible taken for ‘ an error in fundamentals' or in any thing else, nor schism for any separation made from the outward communion of others. Both heresy and schism, in the modern sense of the words, are sins that the Scripture knows nothing of" (Works, N. Y. edit. 7, 286). In the early post-apostolic Church, if "a man admitted a part, or even the whole of Christianity, and added to it something of his own, or if he rejected the whole of it, he was equally designated as a heretic. Thus, by degrees, it came to be restricted to those who professed Christianity, but professed it erroneously; and in later times, the doctrine of the Trinity, as defined by the Council of Nice, was almost the only test which decided the orthodoxy or the heresy of a Christian. Differences upon minor points were then described by the milder term of schism; and the distinction seems to have been made, that unity of faith might be maintained, though schism existed; but if the unity of faith was violated, the violator of it was a heretic." In general, in the early Church, all who did not hold what was called the Catholic faith (the orthodox) were called heretics. At a very early period the notion of willful and immoral perversity began to be attached to heresy, and thus we may account for the severe and violent language used against heretics. "Charges, indeed, or insinuations of the grossest impurities are sometimes thrown out by the orthodox writers against the early heretics; but we are bound to receive them with great caution, because the answers which may have been given to them are lost, and because they are not generally justified by any authentic records which we possess respecting the lives of those heretics. The truth appears to be this, that some flagrant immoralities were notoriously perpetrated by some of the wildest among their sects, and that these have given coloring to the charges which have been thrown upon them too indiscriminately. But, whatsoever uncertainty may rest on this inquiry, it cannot be disputed, first, that the apostolical fathers, following the footsteps of the apostles themselves, regarded with great jealousy the birth and growth of erroneous opinions; and next, that they did not authorize, either by instruction or example, any severity on the persons of those in error. They opposed it by their reasoning and their eloquence, and they avoided its contagion by removing from their communion those who persisted in it; but they were also mindful that within these limits was confined the power which the Church received from the apostles who founded it over the spiritual disobedience of its members" (Waddington, History of the Church, ch. 5, p. 59).
II. Relations of Heresy to the Church and to Doctrine. — "Heresies, like sin, all spring from the natural man; but they first make their appearance in opposition to the revealed truth, and thus presuppose its existence, as the fall of Adam implies a previous state of innocence. There are religious errors, indeed, to any extent out of Christianity, but no heresies in the theological sense. These errors become heresies only when they come into contact, at least outwardly, with revealed truth and with the life of the Church. They consist essentially in the conscious or unconscious reaction of unsubdued Judaism or heathenism against the new creation of the Gospel. Heresy is the distortion or caricature of the original Christian truth. But as God in his wonderful wisdom can bring good out of all evil, and has more than compensated for the loss of the first Adam by the resurrection of the second, so must all heresies in the end only condemn themselves, and serve the more fully to establish the truth. The New Testament Scriptures themselves are in a great measure the result of a firm resistance to the distortions and corruptions to which the Christian religion was exposed from the first. Nay, we may say that every dogma of the Church, every doctrine fixed by her symbols, is a victory over a corresponding error, and in a certain sense owes to the error, not, indeed, its substance, which comes from God, but assuredly its logical completeness and scientific form. Heresies, therefore, belong to the process by which the Christian truth, received in simple faith, becomes clearly defined as an object of knowledge. They are the negative occasions, the challenges, for the Church to defend her views of truth, and to set them forth in complete scientific form" (Schaff, Apostolic Church, § 165).
Heresy and Schism. — Near akin to heresy is the idea of schism or Church division, which, however, primarily means a separation from the government and discipline of the Church, and does not necessarily include departure from her orthodoxy… Thus the Ebionites, Gnostics, and Arians were heretics; the Montanists, Novatians, and Donatists, schismatics. By the standard of the Roman Church, the Greek Church is only schismatic, the Protestant both heretical and schismatic. Of course, in different branches of-the Church… there are different views of heresy and truth, heterodoxy and orthodoxy, and likewise of schism and sect" (Schaff. Apost. Church, § 165). "Heresy, as distinguished from schism, consists in the adoption of opinions and practices contrary to the articles and practices of any particular church, whereas schism is secession from that church, the renouncing allegiance to its government, or forming parties within it; for surely Paul (in 1 Corinthians and elsewhere) censures men as causing divisions who did not openly renounce allegianice. Neither schism nor heresy, then, is properly an offence against the Church universal, but against some particular Church, and by its own members. On the same principle, no Church can be properly called either heretic or schismatic; for churches being independent establishments, may indeed consult each other, but if they cannot agree, the guilt of that Church which is in error is neither schism nor heresy, but corrupt faith or bigoted narrowness. Accordingly, our Reformers, whilst they characterize the Romish Church as one that has erred, have very properly avoided the misapplication of the terms ‘ schismatic' and ‘ heretic' to it. Nevertheless, if a Church has been formed by the secession of members from another Church on disagreement of principles, each seceder is both a schismatic and a heretic because of his former connection; but the crime does not attach to the Church so formed, and accordingly is not entailed on succeeding members who naturally spring up in it. If the schism was founded in error, the guilt of error would always attach to it and its members, but not that of schism or heresy. He who is convinced that his Church is essentially in error is bound to secede; but, like the circumstances which may be supposed to justify the subject of any realm in renouncing his country and withdrawing his allegiance, the plea should be long, and seriously, and conscientiously weighed; but with respect to distinct churches, as they can form alliances, so they can secede from this alliance without being guilty of any crime. So far from the separation between the Romish and Protestant churches having anything of the character of schism or heresy in it, the Church of England (supposing the Church of Rome not to have needed any reform) would have been justified in renouncing its association with it simply on the ground of expediency" (Hinds, Early Christian Church).
III. List of the principal Early Heresies. — Following list includes the chief heresies of the first six centuries; each will be found in its alphabetical place in this Cyclopaedia: Century I. Nazarenes, who advocated the observance of the Jewish law by the worshippers of Christ. Simonians, followers of Simon Magus, who prided themselves in a superior degree of knowledge, and maintained that the world was created by angels, denied the resurrection, etc. Nicolaitanes, followers of Nicolaus of Antioch. Cerinthians and Ebionites, followers of Cerinthus and Ebion, who denied the divinity of Christ, and adopted the principles of Gnosticism. Many of them were Millenarians. Century I. Elcesaites, the followers of Elxai or Elcesai, who only partially admitted the Christian religion, and whose tenets were mostly of philosophic origin. Gnostics, so called from their pretences to γνῶσις, superior knowledge: this seems to have been the general name of all heretics.
(1.) Among Syrian Gnostics were the followers of Saturninus, who adopted the notion of two principles reigning over the world, assumed the evil nature of matter, denied the reality of Christ's human body, etc. Bardesanians: their principles resembled those of Saturninus. Tatianists and Encratitae, who boasted of an extraordinary continence, condemned marriage, etc. Apotactici, who, in addition to the opinions of the Tatianists, renounced property, etc., and asserted that any who lived in the marriage state were incapable of salvation.
(2.) Gnostics of Asia Minor. — Cerdonians, who held two contrary principles, denied the resurrection, despised the authority of the Old Testament, and rejected the Gospels. Marcionites, who resembled the Cerdonians, and in addition admitted two Gods, asserted that the Savior's body was a phantasm, etc. The followers of Lucian and Apelles may be classed among the Marcionites.
(3.) Among Egyptian Gnostics were the Basilidians, followers of Basilides, who espoused the heresies of Simon Magus, and admitted the fundamental point on which the whole of the hypotheses then prevalent may be said to hinge, namely, that the world had been created, not by the immediate operation of the divine being, but by the agency of sons. Carpocratians, Antitactae, Adamites, Prodicians, the followers of Secundus, Ptolemy, Marcus, Colobarsus, and Heracleon.
(4.) Inferior sects of Gnostics-Sethians, Cainites, Ophites.
Heresies not of Oriental origin: Patripassians, whose principal leader was Praxeas; Melchizedechians, under Theodotus and Artemon; Hermogenians, Montanists, Chiliasts or Millenarians. Century II. The Manichaeans, the Hieracites, the Patripassians, under Noetus and Sabellius; heresy of Baryllus; Paulianists, under Paul of Samosata, Novatians, under Novatus and Novatian;. the Monarchici, the Arabici, the Aquarians, the Origenists. Century IV. Tha Arians, Colluthians, Macedonians, Agnolete, Apollinarians, Collyridians, Seleucians, Anthropomorphites, Jovinianists, Messalians, Timothe ans, Priscillianists, Photinians, Donatists, Messalians, Bonlosians. Century V. The Pelagians Nestorians, Eutychians, Theopaschites. Century VI. The Aphthartodocetse, Severiani, C:)rrupticohe, Monothelites.
IV. Punishment of Heresy. — Soon after the triumph of Christianity over paganism, and its establishment by the State, the laws became very severe against heretics. Those of the State, made by the Christian emperors from the time of Constantine, are comprised under one title, De Haereticis, in the Theodosian code. (See below.) The principal are the note of infamy affixed to all heretics in common; commerce forbidden to be held with them; privation of all offices of dignity and profit; disqualification to dispose of their property by will, or to receive property; pecuniary mulcts; proscription and banishment; corporal punishment, such as scourging. Heretics were forbidden to hold public disputations; to propagate their opinions; their children could not inherit patrimony, unless they returned to the Church, etc. The laws of the Church consisted in pronouncing formal anathema, or excommunication, against them; forbidding them to enter the church, so much as to hear sermons or the reading of the Scriptures (this was but partially observed); the prohibition of all persons, under pain of excommunication, to join with them in any religious exercises; the enjoining that none should eat or converse familiarly with them, or contract affinity with them; their names were to be struck out of the diptychs; and their testimony was not to be received in any ecclesiastical cause (Bingham, Orig. Eccles. vol. 2). Augustine's view of heresy is deserving of special notice, as it forms the basis of the doctrine and practice of the Middle Ages. In De Civit. Dei, 18, 51, he says; "Qui ergo in ecclesia morbidum aliquid pravumque sapiunt, si correpti, ut sanum rectumque sapiant, resistunt contumaciter, suaque pestifera et mortifera dogmata emendare nolunt, sed defensa repersistunt, heretici funt, et foras exeuntes habentur in exercentibus inimicis."
The earlier fathers of the Church had steadily refused using force in opposing heresy (Hilarius, Pictav. ad Constant. 1, 2 and 7; contr. Auxent. lib. init.; Athanasius, Hist. Arian. § 33), and at most permitted the secular powers to interfere to prevent the organization of heretical communities (Chrysost. Homil. 29, 46, in Matthew), and even this was often censured (see Socrates, Hist. Ecclesiastes 5:19, where it is said that the misfortunes which befell Chrysostom were by many considered as a punishment for his having caused churches belonging to the Quartodecimani and Novatians of Asia to be taken away from them and closed). Augustine, on the contrary (Retractat. 2, c. 5; ep. 93, ad Vincentiuum, § 17; ep. 185, ad Bonifitc. § 21; Opus. inper: 2, 2), basing himself on the passage Luke 14:23 (cogite intrare, etc.), completely reversed his former opinion that heretics and schismatics were not to be brought back by the aid of secular power, and stated explicitly, as a fundamental principle, that "damnata haeresis ab episcopis non adhuc examimanda, sed coercenda est potestatibus Christianis.' He only rejects the infliction of capital punishment, yet more on account of the general opposition of the ancient Church to this mode of punishment than from leniency towards heresy. It is, consequently, not strange if even this protest against the execution of heretics came subsequently to be disregarded, and the punishment even approved (see Leo M. ep. 15, ad Turribium; Hieronymus, ep. 37, ad Bipar.). In the Middle Ages we find the Roman Church, on the: one hand, condemning capital punishment by its canon law, and at the same time demanding the application of this punishment to heretics from the secular law. Julian the Apostate had long before reproached the Christians of his time for persecuting heretics by force (ep. 52, and alp. Cyrill. c. Julianumm VI). As to the principles which guided the conduct of the secular powers towards heretics, we find that it wavered long between an entire liberty in establishing sects, submitting them to mere police regulations, restricting them in the carrying out of their system of worship, depriving them of some political rights and privileges, formally prohibiting them; and finally punishing them as criminals. Through all these variations the fundamental principle was adhered to that the secular power possesses in general the right to punish, repress, or extirpate heresy.
Hesitation is shown only in the mode of applying this principle, not in the principle itself. Moreover, the exercise of this right was in no way subject to the decision of the Church, and the secular power could by itself decide whether and how far a certain heresy should be tolerated-a right which the states retained without opposition until the Middle Ages. The numerous laws contained in the Codex Theodosianus, 16, tit. 5, De Haereticis, to which we may add 16, Titus 1, 2, 3, are the principal sources for the history of the laws concerning sects in antiquity. History shows us that in the use of compulsion and punishments against heretics the secular power anticipated the wishes of the Church, doing more than the latter was at first disposed to approve. Julian the Apostate granted full freedom to heretics with a view to injure the Church. Augustine first succeeded, in the 5th century, in establishing an agreement between Church and State on this question, yet without contesting the right of the State to use its independent authority. This is proved by Justinian's Institutes (compare cod. 1, tit. 5), which interfere directly with the private rights of heretics; and in case of mixed marriages, they order, regardless of the patrial potestas, that the children shall be brought up in the orthodox faith (cod. 1, tit. 5; 1, 18). In the Middle Ages the notion of heresy and of its relations to the Church and the State acquired a further development. At one time, in view of the authority of the pope in matters of faith and of the doctrine offides implicita et explicita, the notion of heresy was so modified that the act of disobedience to the pope in refusing to accept or reject some distinction according to his command; was considered almost as its worst and most important feature. The Scholastics treated the doctrine concerning heresy- scientifically.
Finally the Church came to deny to the State the right to tolerate any heresy it had condemned. It even compelled the secular powers to repress and extirpate heresy according to its dictates by threats of ecclesiastical censure, by inviting invasion and revolution in case of resistance, and by commanding the application of secular punishments, such as the sequestration of property, and the deprivation of all civil and political rights, as was especially done by Innocent III. Nevertheless, the Church continued in the practice, whenever it handed over condemned heretics to the secular powers for punishment, of requesting that no penalty should be inflicted on them which might endanger their lives; but this was a mere formality, and so far from being made in earnest that the Church itself made the allowableness of such punishment one of its dogmas. Thus Leo X, in his bull against Luther, in 1520, condemns, among other propositions, that which says that Haereticos comburere est contra voluntatem Spiritus (art. 33), and recommended the use of such punishment himself. About the same time, a special form of proceedings was adopted against heretics, and their persecution was rendered regular and systematic by the establishment of the Inquisition (q.v.). Thus, in course of time, a number of secular penalties came to be considered as inevitably connected with ecclesiastical condemnation, and were even pronounced against heretics by the Church itself without further formalities. The Church, whenever any individual suspected of heresy recanted, or made his peace with the Church, declared him (in full court, after a public abjuration) released either partially or fully from the ecclesiastical and secular punishment he had ipso facto incurred. This implied the right of still inflicting these punishments after the reconciliation (which was especially done in the cases of sequestration of property, deprivation of civil or ecclesiastical offices, and degradation, while a return to heresy after recantation was to be punished by death). See the provisions of the Canon Law as found in X. de haeretic. 5, tit. 7; c. 49; X. de sentent. excommun. 5 39; tit. de Haer. in 6, 5, 2; De haeret. in Clement. 5, 3; De haeret. in Extravag. comm. 5, 3; and comp. the Liber septimus, 5, 3, 4. and the laws against heretics of the emperor Frederick II, which are connected with the ecclesiastical laws (in Pertz, Monurin. 2, 244, 287, 288, 327, 328); and the regulations concerning mixed marriages and the marriage of heretics. All these are yet considered by the Roman Catholic Church as having the force of law, though, under present circumstances, they are not enforced (comp. Benedict XIV, De synod. Dioc. 6, 5; 9, 14, 3; 13, 24, 21).
Even in the 18th century Muratori defended the assertion that the secular power is bound to enforce the most severe secular penalties against heretics (De ingeniorum meoderatione in religiones negotio, 2, 7 sq.). In the beginning of the 19th century, pending the negotiations for the crowning of Napoleon I, pope Pius VII declared that he could not set foot in a country in which the law recognized the freedom of worship of the different religions. The same pope wrote in 1805 to his nuncio at Vienna, "The Church has not only sought to prevent heretics from using the properties of the Church, but has also established, as the punishment for the sin of heresy, the sequestration of private property, in c. 10, X. d. haeret. (5, 7), of principalities, and of feudal tenures, in c. 16, eod.; the latter law contains the canonical rule that the subjects of a heretical prince are free from all oaths of fealty as well as from all fidelity and obedience to him; and there is none at all acquainted with history but knows the decrees of deposition issued by popes and councils against obstinately heretical princes. Yet we find ourselves now in times of such misfortune and humiliation for the bride of Christ that the Church is not only able to enforce these, ifs holiest maxims, against the rebellious enemies of the faith, with the firmness with which they should be, but it even cannot proclaim them openly without danger. Yet, if it cannot exert its right in depriving heretics of their estates, it may," etc. With this may be compared the permission granted in anticipation, in 1724 (Bullar. Propagande, 2, 54, 56), to the Ruthenes, in case of conversion, to take possession of the properties they had lost by their apostasy; the satisfaction manifested by the Church on the expulsion of the Protestants from Salzburg (Bull. Propag. 2, 246); and many things happening every day in strictly Roman Catholic countries, under the eyes of the Roman See. Quite recently, Philippi, in his Canon Law, honestly acknowledged the validity of the old laws against heretics, and asserted their correctness. Even now, in all countries where the secular power has not put an end to this, the bishops promise, in taking the oath of obedience to the pope, haereticos, schismaticos, et rebelles eidemn Domnino nostro vel successoribus praedictispro posse persequar et impugnabo. Yet the Roman See has renounced, since Sept. 17, 1824, the use of the expression of "Protestant heretics" in its official acts; and it has even admitted that, under the pressure of existing circumstances, the civil powers may be forgiven for tolerating heretics in their states! Still, as soon as circumstances will permit, the Roman See is prepared to apply again the old laws, which are merely temporarily suspended in some countries, but in nowise repealed.
Governments, however, naturally take a different view of these laws. The secular power, even while it freed itself from its absolute subjection to the Church, still continued to persecute in various ways the Protestants whom the Church denounced as heretics. We even see them deprived under Louis XIV of the right of emigration; while, in refusing to recognize the validity of their marriage, the civil authorities showed themselves even more severe than the Church. But, becoming wiser by experience, and taught by the general reaction which its measures provoked in the 18th century, the State has confined itself to interfering with heresy so far only as is necessary to promote public order and the material good of the State; thus claiming only the right to repress or expel those whose principles are opposed to the existence of government, or might create disorder. This right, of course, has been differently understood in different countries according to local circumstances, and has even become a pretence for persecutions against denominations which a milder construction of it would not have deprived of the toleration of the State, as in the persecution of dissidents in Sweden, etc.
Let us now compare this practice of the Romish Church and of Roman Catholic states with the dogmatic theory of the Middle Ages. Thomas Aquinas treats heresy as the opposite of faith, connecting it with imfidelitas in communi and apostasia a fide. He treats schism, again, as opposed to charitas. He defines heresy as infidelitatis species pertinens ad eos, quifidem Christi profitentur, sed ejus dogmata corrunpunt (1. c., qu. 2, art. 1), yet (art. 2) he remarks at the same time that some holy fathers themselves erred in the early times of the Church on many points of faith. In art. 3 he comes to the question whether heretics are to be tolerated. He asserts that they also have their use in the Church, as serving to prove its faith, and inducing it diligently to search the Scriptures, yet their usefulness in these respects is involuntary. Considered for themselves only, heretics "are not only deserving of being cut off from communion with the Church, but also with the world by being put to death. But the Church must, in her mercy, first use all means of converting heretics, and only when it despairs of bringing them back must cut them off by excommunication, and then deliver them up to secular justice, which frees the world of them by condemnation to death." He only admits of toleration towards heretics when persecution against them would be likely to injure the faithful. In this case he advises sparing the tares for the sake of the wheat. He further maintains that such heretics as repent may, on their first offense, be entirely pardoned, and all ecclesiastical and secular punishment remitted, but asserts that those who relapse, though they may be reconciled with the Church, must not be released from the sentence of death incurred, lest the bad example of their inconstancy might prove injurious to others.
The Reformation protested against these doctrines. Luther, from the first, denounced all attempts to overcome heresy by sword and fire instead of the Word of God, and held that the civil power should leave heretics to be dealt with by the Church. On this ground he opposed Carlstadt. Yet it was a fundamental principle with all the Reformers, that governments are bound to prevent blasphemy, to see that the people receive from the Church built on the Word of God the pure teaching of that word, and to prevent all attempts at creating sects. This led to the adoption of preventive measures in the place of the former penalties of confiscation, bodily punishment, and death. These preventive measures confined the heresy to the individual, and extended as far as banishment, when no other means would avail. Luther admitted the use of secular punishment against heretics only in exceptional cases, and then not on account of the heresy, but of the resulting disorders. Even then he considered banishment sufficient, except when incitations to revolution, etc., required more severe punishment, as was the case with the Anabaptists; Vet he often declared against the application of capital punishment to such heretics. Zwingle took nearly the same stand as Luther on this point, yet was somewhat more inclined to the use of forcible means. The Anabaptists were treated in a summary manner in Switzerland. Calvin went further, and with his theocratic ideas considered the state as bound to treat heresy as blasphemy, and to punish it in the severest manner. His approbation and even instigation of the execution of Servetus gave rise to a controversy on the question whether heresy might be punished with the sword (compare Calvini Defensis orthodoxae fidei, etc.). Calvin's views were attacked not only by Bolsec, but also by Castellio, who, under the pseudonym of Martin Bellius, wrote on this occasion his De hereticis (Magdeb. 1554), quoting against Calvin the opinions of Luther and of Brentius. Lalius Socinus, in his Dialogus inter Calvinum et Vaticanum (1554), also advocated toleration. Among all the German theologians, Melancthon alone sided with Calvin, consistently with the views (Corp. Ref: 2, 18, an. 1530; and 3:195, an. 1536) which he had long previously defended against the more moderate views of Brentius (see Hartmann and Jager, Johanns Brem, 1, 299 sq.).
In England, in the first year of queen Elizabeth, an act of Parliament was passed to enable persons to try heretics, and the following directions were given for their guidance: "And such persons to whom the queen shall by letters patent under the great seal give authority to execute any jurisdiction spiritual, shall not in any wise have power to adjudge any matter or cause to be heresy, but only such as heretofore have been adjudged to be heresy, by the authority of the canonical Scriptures, or by some of the first four general councils, or by any other general council wherein the same was declared heresy by the express and plain words of the said canonical Scriptures, or such as hereafter shall be judged or determined to be heresy by, the high court of Parliament, with the assent of the clergy in their convocation." "This statute continued practically in force, with certain modifications, till the 29 Charles II, c. 9, since which time heresy has been left entirely to the cognizance of the ecclesiastical courts; but, as there is no statute defining in what heresy consists, and as, moreover, much of the jurisdiction of the ecclesiastical courts has been withdrawn by the various toleration acts; and, above all, as the effect of various recent decisions has been to widen almost indefinitely the construction of the doctrinal formularies of the English Church, it may now be said that the jurisdiction of these courts in matters of heresy is practically limited to preventing ministers of the Established Church from preaching in opposition to the doctrine and the articles of the establishment from which they derive their emoluments, and that, even in determining what is to be considered contrary to the articles, a large toleration has been judicially established. See the recent trial of Dr. Rowland Williams, and the judgment given by Dr. Lushington in the Court of Arches" (Chambers, Cyclopaedia, s.v.). The Protestant churches generally, in the 19th century, deny the power of the State to punish heresy. The Roman Church retains its old theories upon the subject, but its power is limited by the progress of civilization. (See TOLERATION).
The history of the various heresies is given, with more or less fullness, in the Church histories. Walch's Entweiner vollstdnd. Historie d. Ketzereien, etc. (17621785, 11 vols.), gives a history of doctrines and heresies (so- called) up to the 9th century. "As a history of heresies, divisions, and religious controversies, it is still indispensable. Walch is free from polemic zeal, and bent upon the critical and pragmatic representation of his subject, without sympathy or antipathy" (Schaff, Apost. History; §31). See also Lardner, History of the Heretics of the first two Centuries, with additions by Hogg (Lond. 1780, 4to; and in Lardner, Works, 11 vols. 8vo); Fü ssli, Kirchen-u. — Ketzerhistorien-d. mittlern Zeit (Freft. 1770-1774, 3 vols.); Baumgarten. Geschichte d. Religionsportheien — (Halle, 1766, 4to). Professor Oehler commenced in 1856 the publication of a Corpus Haeresiologicum, designed to contain, in 8 vols., all the principal works on heresies, with notes and prolegomena. See also Burton, Enquiry into the Heresies of the Apostolic Age (Bampton Lecture for 1829, 8vo); Campbell, Preliminary Diss. to Comm. on Four Gospels; Herzog, Real Encyklopadie, 5, 468; Elliott, Delineation of Romanism, bk. 3:ch. 3:et al.; Cramp, Text-book of Popery, p. 252, 480; Dorner, Person of Christ (Edinb. transl.), 1, 344; Neander, History of Dogmas (Ryland's transl.), 1, 16. (See HAERETICO COIBURENDO); (See PERSECUTION); (See TOLERATION).
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McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Heresy'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/h/heresy.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.