The Brill Dictionary of Religion

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(795 words)

The concept of heresy (Gk., haíresis, ‘choice’) originally denotes the opportunity of a selection to be made among various ancient philosophical schools. With the appearance of the Christian → Church and its orthodoxy, the word receives the polemical meaning of ‘false teaching,’ along with that of ‘particular direction’ or ‘tack.’ The struggle with the heresies (Arianism, Donatism, → Gnosticism) helped a Christianity in the process of formation, itself a particular direction of Judaism, to produce an…

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Grübel, Nils, “Heresy”, in: The Brill Dictionary of Religion, Edited by Kocku von Stuckrad. Consulted online on 27 January 2021 <>
First published online: 2006
First print edition: ISBN: 9789004124332, 20051223

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