Heresy

Article

August 11, 2022

Heresy (ancient Greek αἵρεσις - “choice, direction, school, teaching, sect”) is a conscious deviation from religious teaching considered by someone to be true, offering a different approach to religious teaching. Thus, representatives of two different currents of religious doctrine can mutually accuse each other of heresy. It should be borne in mind that in the biblical texts in the Greek language the term αἵρεσις is used in a different meaning, such as, for example, in the first message to the Corinthians of the Apostle Paul: δεῖ γὰ καὶ αἱρέσεις ἐν ὑμῖν εἶναι δροὶ γένται ἐὑι ἐὑι ἐὑι ἐὑι ἐμῖι ἐμῖι In the Russian synodal translation in this place, the word is translated as “diversity”: “For there must be differences of opinion among you, so that skillful ones will be revealed among you” (1 Corinthians 11:19). However, in the book of Acts in the text “<…> πρωτοστάτην τε τῆς τῶν Ναζωραίων αἱρέσεως” the word is translated as “heresy”: “<…> and the representative of the Nazirite heresy” (Acts 24:5). In the Roman Catholic Church, the fight against heresy was carried out by the Inquisition.

Etymology

According to the interpretation given in the treatise "Etymology" by the medieval scholar Isidore of Seville, the word "heresy" comes from haeresis, the Latin transliteration of the Greek word of other Greek. αἵρεσις, meaning choice, or in a broad sense a school of thought. In this sense, the word is occasionally mentioned in the New Testament (Acts 5:17, Acts 15:5, Acts 24:5, Acts 24:14, Gal. 5:20) and in the early Church Fathers. Approximately in this sense, the word was used earlier, in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, where "heresy" meant a respectable choice of one or another philosophical school for study. According to the assumption of the French historian of religions Marcel Simon, the word heterodoxy, other Greek, will be closer in meaning here. ἑτεροδοξία, first encountered in Plato to denote a false belief. In the texts of the New Testament, the word "heresy" is used mainly in a negative context, as a designation given by the Church to a sect or group that threatens the unity of Christians - that is, not as a doctrinal deviation. In the Epistle to the Galatians, this is one of the many "works of the flesh", along with drunkenness and idolatry (Gal. 5:20), the Epistle to Titus prescribes to turn away from an unreasoning heretic (Titus 3:10). Second