The definition of heresy is a belief or action at odds with what is accepted, especially when the behavior is contrary to religious doctrine or belief.(noun)
An example of heresy is a Catholic who says God does not exist.
See heresy in Webster's New World College Dictionary
noun pl. heresies
Origin: ME heresie < OFr < L haeresis, school of thought, sect, in LL(Ec), heresy < Gr hairesis, a taking, selection, school, sect, in LGr(Ec), heresy < hairein, to take
See heresy in American Heritage Dictionary 4
noun pl. her·e·sies
Origin: Middle English heresie
Origin: , from Old French
Origin: , from Late Latin haeresis
Origin: , from Late Greek hairesis
Origin: , from Greek, a choosing, faction
Origin: , from haireisthai, to choose
Origin: , middle voice of hairein, to take.
See heresy in Ologies
1. the tenet of a 4th-century Arian sect that God’s omniscience was restricted to contemporary time.
2. the tenet of a 6th-century Monophysite sect that Christ possessed no omniscience. —Agnoete, Agnoite, n.
the beliefs and principles of an 11th-century Catharist sect of southern France, exterminated in the 13th century by order of Pope Innocent III. See Catharism. —Albigenses, n. pl. —Albigensian, n., adj.
a late 4th-century heretical doctrine asserting that Christ had a perfect divine nature, an imperfect human nature, and a mind replaced by the Logos. —Apollinarian, n., adj.
the heretical doctrine of Arius (d. 336) that Christ the Son was not the substance or nature as God the Father. —Arian, n.
the beliefs of Berengar de Tours, 11th-century French churchman, especially his denial of transubstantiation. —Berengarian, n., adj.
the beliefs of a 4th-century Gnostic sect, especially that the Old Testament concerns a demiurge and not God and that Cain, whom they revered, had been maligned. Cf. Gnosticism. —Cainite, n.
the beliefs of several sects in medieval Europe, especially the denial of infant baptism, purgatory, the communion of saints, images, and the doctrine of the Trinity; the abrogation of the institution of marriage; and the practice of rigorous asceticism. —Cathar, Cathari, Catharist, n. —Catharistic, adj.
the Monophysitic tenet of Cyril, 5th-century archbishop of Alex-andria, that Christ had only one nature, a composite of the human and the divine. —Cyrillian, n., adj.
a very early heretical belief that held that Christ’s body was not material or real, but only the appearance of a body. —Docetae, n. pl.
a heretical cult in N. Africa during the 4th through 7th centuries that emphasized high morality and rebaptism as necessary for church mem-bership and considered invalid a sacrament celebrated by an immoral priest. —Donatist, n. —Donatistic, adj.
the beliefs of a Judaistic Christian Gnostic sect of the 2nd century, especially partial observation of Jewish law, rejection of St. Paul and gentile Christianity, acceptance of only one gospel (Matthew), and an early adoptionist Christology. — Ebionite, n. —Ebionitic, adj.
beliefs and practices of the Encratites, a 2nd-century Gnostic sect that renounced marriage and abstained from flesh and wine. —Encratist, n.
a member of a heretical sect, followers of Bishop Eudoxius, of Constantinople, who held extreme Arian views.
the beliefs and practices of pre-Christian and early Christian sects, condemned by the church, especially the conviction that matter is evil and that knowledge is more important than faith, and the practice of esoteric mysticism. Cf. Cainism, Manichaeism, Valentinianism. —Gnostic, n., adj.
1. the originator of a heresy.
2. the leader of a group of heretics.
a fighter of heresy and heretics.
a systematic exposition on heresy.
1. Theology. the study of heresies.
2. a reference work on heresies. —heresiologist, n.
1. a religious opinion or doctrine at variance with accepted doctrine.
2. a willful and persistent rejection of any article of the faith by a baptized member of the Roman Catholic Church.
3. any belief or theory strongly at variance with established opinion. —heretic, n. —heretical, adj.
Rare. 1. the killing of a heretic.
2. the killer of a heretic. —heretocidal, adj.
a mania for idols.
a heretical doctrine of the 17th and 18th centuries denying free-dom of the will, accepting absolute predestination for part of mankind and condemnation to hell for the others, and emphasizing puritanical moral attitudes. —Jansenist, n., adj.
an adherent of Jovinian, a 4th-century monk who opposed asceti-cism and denied the virginity of Mary.
the doctrines of Macedonius, 4th-century bishop of Constan-tinople, who denied the divinity of the Holy Ghost. —Macedonian, n.
1. the doctrines and practices of the dualistic religious system of Manes, a blending of Gnostic Christianity, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, and other elements, especially doctrines of a cosmic conflict between forces of light and darkness, the darkness and evilness of matter, and the necessity for a sexual, vegetarian asceticism.
2. any similar dualistic system, considered heretical by orthodox Christian standards. Cf. Gnosticism. —Manichean, n., adj. —Manicheistic, adj.
the theological doctrine that the members of the Trinity are not three separate persons but modes or forms of God’s self-expression. —modalist, n. —modalistic, adj.
the doctrine advanced by some Lutheran theologians that spiritual renewal is exclusively the activity of the Holy Spirit. Cf. synergism. —monergist, n. —monergistic, adj.
the 2nd-century doctrines of Montanus of Phrygia, who believed that the Holy Spirit, or Paraclete, dwelt within him and made him its instrument for guiding men in the Christian way. Cf. Tertullianism. —Montanist, n.
1. the beliefs and practices of llth-century Bulgarian Manicheans who migrated to the Pataria section of Milan. Also called Pataria.
2. the beliefs and practices of various Cathari sects in France and Bulgaria. —Patarine, Patarene, n.
a heretical doctrine denying the distinct personhood of the Trinity and asserting that God the Father became incarnate and suffered for mans redemption. —Patripassian, n.
the heretical doctrines of Pelagius, 4th-century British monk, especially a denial of original sin and man’s fallen spiritual nature, and an assertion that man’s goodness was sufficiënt for him to work out his salva-tion without the assistance of the Holy Spirit. Cf. Semi-Pelagianism. —Pelagian, n., adj.
a member of an early Christian sect that denied the reality of Christ’s body.
the heresy of Photinus, 4th-century bishop of Sirmium, deposed because he denied the divinity of Christ.
the concepts of Priscillian, 4th-century bishop of Avila, exe-cuted for heresies influenced by Manichaeism, Docetism, and modalism. —Priscillianist, n., adj.
a 17th-century Christian mystical theory, originated in Spain by Molinos and promulgated in France by Fénelon, involving passive contem-plation and surrender of the will to God and indifference to the demands of the self or the outside world, declared heretical through efforts of the Inquisition. —quietist, n., adj.
Socinianism, so called because the sect was headquartered in Racow, Poland. Cf. Socinianism.
the modalistic doctrines of Sabellius, 3rd-century prelate, espe-cially that the Trinity has but one divine essence and that the persons are only varying manifestations of God. Also called Modalistic Monarchianism. —Sabellian, n., adj.
a heretical doctrine, of the 5th century that accepted the doctrine of original sin but asserted that man’s turning to God of his own free will, not after the provocation of the Holy Ghost, begins the process of spiritual rebirth. Cf. Pelagianism.
the heretical tenets of Faustus Socinius, a 16th-century Italian theologian, denying the divinity of Christ, the existence of Satan, original sin, the atonement, and eternal punishment, and explaining sin and salva-tion in rationalistic terms. Cf. Racovianism. —Socinian, n., adj.
an ancient heretical doctrine, extant since the 3rd century, which holds that spiritual renewal is a cooperative endeavor between a person and the Holy Ghost. Cf. Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism. —synergist, n. —synergistic, adj.
1. the act or process of subterfuge or evasion.
2. the abandoning of a cause or belief; apostasy. —tergiversator, n.
a form of Montanism, as modified by Tertullian in about 203, which opposed second marriages and absolution for penitents. Cf. Montanism. —Tertullianist, n.
a 6th-century heretical doctrine maintaining that Christ had only one nature, the divine, and that this nature suffered at the Crucifixion. —Theopaschite, n.
a 2nd-century blending of Egyptian Gnosticism and Christi-anity into a system of heretical doctrines, especially the denial that Christ took his human nature from the Virgin Mary. Cf. Gnosticism. —Valentinian, n., adj.
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