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By Richard J. Woods

He 3rd, revised and increased version of this single-volume historical past of Christian spirituality features a new bankruptcy at the 21st-century. Writen from a unique and distinctive viewpoint, Richard Woods analyzes the starting place and improvement of spirituality within the context of old occasions of the period.

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The emerging Roman Church recoiled in horror, and branded Marcion a heretic. Aside from the idea of the two gods and the asceticism, another Gnostic idea would later reappear in Catharism, that of Christ as an apparition, not a flesh and blood human being. Many Gnostics saw Jesus’s Passion and Resurrection as essentially ghostly, without any human suffering involved. This idea became known as Docetism, and was pronounced heretical. However, Catharism was to differ from many Gnostic schools of thought in its stress upon the way to salvation being only through the ministrations of the Perfect – rather than by direct gnosis on the part of the Believer.

Basil duly outlined the main tenets of Bogomilism, before Alexius drew aside a curtain to reveal a stenographer who had transcribed Basil’s testimony verbatim. The heresiarch was placed under house arrest in order that Alexius could try to win him back to the Church, but Basil refused to recant. During their talks, the house was afflicted with Fortean phenomena: it was subject to a rain of stones and an earthquake. Alexius’s daughter, the historian Anna, took this as a sign that the devil was angry that his secrets were being revealed and that his children – the Bogomils – were being persecuted.

Its rise concerned no less a churchman than St Bernard himself, who, after receiving Eberwin’s letter about the events in the Rhineland, composed two sermons denouncing the heretics. He interpreted the ‘little foxes’ from Song of Songs 2:15 – ‘catch the foxes, the little foxes, before they ruin our vineyard in bloom’39 – as heretics. Bernard’s tracts are full of the standard nay-saying: he warns of the heretics’ cunning and secrecy, and accuses them of sexual misconduct and aberration. ’40 In other words, he doesn’t mind people being quietly heretical at home, but once they start to proselytise, then they are asking for trouble.

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