Games with Names: Advances in, and Shortcomings of the Debate on the Invention of Heresy

David Zbíral

Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic,

International Medieval Congress 2014 (Leeds, UK, 9 July 2014, updated 13 July 2014 and 5 January 2017)


The work on this paper was supported by research grants from the City of Paris (project “Scholastic Rationality and Its ‘Other’: Searching for the Place of Cathar Dualism in Theological Discourses on Good and Evil, Society, and the World, 1160-1300”) and from the Czech Science Foundation (project No. P401/12/0657 “Sources for the Study of Dissenting Religious Movements in Medieval Western Christianity with a Special Focus on Catharism”). I thank the Department for the Study of Religions, Masaryk University, for a six-month sabbatical leave which enabled me to work on these projects.


  • An ongoing debate between “traditionalists” and “inventionists”. Autonomous religious groups or churches × vague heretical unrest (Zanella 1978) whose coherence (cf. Biller 2010: 91), autonomy (Zanella [1978] 1995: 57; Zanella [1986] 1995: 116), importance (Zanella [1986] 1995: 117), and identity (Brunn 2006; etc.) were largely invented by Catholic enemies. Especially vivid in the case of the (“)Cathars(”).
    The overall dimension of the movement – if it is possible to use this term at all – is meagre; its political and cultural importance zero. (Zanella [1986] 1995: 117)
  • History: Protestant doubts about medieval Catholic sources (cf. Limborch 1692: †3r, 276; Bedouelle 1979: 56, 61-62; Cameron 1993: 200-201; Biller 2004: 258). Current debate: source criticism (Grundmann 1965; Lerner 1972; Merlo 1984). > Programme: the invention of heresy, Zerner and others (Zerner ed. 1998; Zerner ed. 2001; Merlo 2011) often referred to even if Moore ([1987] 2007) and several Italian scholars (Morghen 1944, [1951] 1991; Zanella 1978, 1986; see also Swanson 1994: 281) practiced a similar reading before. > Particular studies (e.g., Pegg 2001b; Trivellone 2010), and new general histories (Moore 2012).
  • A debate not specific to medieval religious nonconformism: it is a child of (1) the linguistic turn (explicitly: Biget 2003: 167), (2) advances in the Quellenkritik of texts on religious movements, and (3) the decline of religious history as a special field (for the better or worse; the autonomy of religious history, legitimized by the purported irreducibility of spiritual phenomena, explicitly denounced in Biget 2002: 49).
  • Struggles with this debate. Significant advances: (1) Clearly more awareness about biases in the sources (most scholars cited as “inventionists” here; for the idea of the construction of heresy in scholarship on religious nonconformism in Byzantium, unjustly neglected, see Rigo 1990; Kusabu 2008). (2) “Traditionalists” forced to make their arguments more explicit and more rigorous (cf. Biller 2010: 92). (3) The question of the contribution of invention and oppression to changes in dissent (e.g. Biget 2002: 47; Biget 2003: 171, 177; Théry 2002: 101-102, 110; Zbíral 2006b: 38-39; Pegg 2011: 594; Moore 2012: 322, but also Bruschi 2009: 194-196 – and Dondaine 1950: 275-276!). (4) The interest in names given to dissidents (Biget 1998; Zerner 1999: 471; Brunn 2002; Alvira Cabrer 2009; etc.) and in the relationship between language and repression (Zanella [1986] 1995: 77; Moore [1987] 2007, mainly the chapter on classification; Zerner 1999: 471; Théry 2002: 108, 117; Merlo 2011; Pegg 2011: 580-584; Moore 2012: 208). Important advances that I acknowledge and use (Zbíral 2007, 2010).
  • But also unnecessary shortcomings. Aim: point out some shortcomings, mostly in work with sources. “Traditionalists” and “inventionists”: internal differences clear (for “inventionists”, cf. Appendix 5). Labels not so important for the argument which is about the quality of work with the sources by particular scholars, and about their (sometimes problematic) choices.
  • Bibliographical and additional notes (I tried really to read what the authors say).

Shortcoming I: Ignoring dissident sources

  • Strong point: focus on inquisitional records – biased but still closest to reality (Pegg 2001b; Pegg 2011: 589; Théry 2002: 79; Théry 2003: 491; this focus also in Zanella [1978] 1995, [1986] 1995; but see also Duvernoy 1976: 72 [!] for a sceptical attitude towards treatises if not confirmed by a dissident source or a deposition). The depositions disagree with treatises > revision (Zanella [1986] 1995: 110, 111, 115, 117; Pegg 2001b; Biget 2003: 159, 164). A great advance – inductive study, focus on the everyday dissent.
  • But a major short-circuit: dissident sources absent from the picture. Pegg (2011: 588): extracts by Dominican inquisitors and “a handful of dubious texts from the late thirteenth century”. (“Unfortunately, no theological books ostensibly written by ‘Cathars’ have survived, apart from supposed extracts in the summae of Dominican inquisitors or a handful of dubious texts from the late thirteenth century.” Cited here: the Lyons Ritual; the Florence Ritual; the (two texts known as the) Dublin Ritual; Liber de duobus principiis; the Anonymous treatise preserved in the Liber contra manicheos; excerpts from a dissident teacher Tetricus by Moneta of Cremona; and – by ignorance of Bruschi 2002: XX – also the purported dissident work Stella.)
  • The reader might ask: (1) “Handful” on which scale? Compare the thirteenth-century Waldensians, Humiliati, or followers of Guglielma of Milan. (2) Why are these sources so dubious? Why does being from the late thirteenth century mean being dubious anyway? No answer. (For the record: it is strange that Pegg attributes a late thirteenth-century date to all the sources he mentions here: e.g., the codex where Liber and the Florence Ritual is written is usually dated 1254/1276, which is not so “late” in the century. Moreover, Pegg writes as if the date of a manuscript was automatically the date of the work, not the ante quem of the work.)
  • The content of dissident sources is largely absent from the picture drawn by most works participating in the “invention of heresy” programme (see Zanella [1978] 1995; Zanella [1986] 1995; Pegg 2001b; Biget 2002; Théry 2002; Moore 2012; exception: Zerner 1999). Lamenting a half empty bottle instead of tasting what is inside.
  • Results: (1) Picture much less convincing than it could be if these sources were used. (2) Few people know these sources well today. (3) A missed opportunity also for the “invention of heresy” programme: reading these sources as theology and ecclesiology in the making, as the construction of identities rather than the expression of unchanging ones, without ready-made Catharism.

Shortcoming II: Hasty reading of Catholic texts on heresy

  • Catholic texts often maltreated and misunderstood in various ways, mostly due to hasty reading.
  • Zerner: According to post-1235 Italian treatises for the inquisitors, Cathar schisms were produced by doctrinal divisions, no argument, no reference (Zerner 1999: 478). It is simply not the case. Not in Raniero, not in the Tractatus de hereticis, not in the De heresi (that Zerner would probably place after 1235).
  • For Zerner, Raniero Sacconi writes about a certain John the Jew of Concorezzo (Zerner 2001: 236). We search for this in Raniero in vain. In fact, this is a conflation of Raniero with the Tractatus and/or the De heresi. More careful reading is needed. Such a conflation is even more deplorable if done by somebody who claims that sources copy one another. What of the allegedly monolithic “clerical discourse on heresy” is medieval stereotypization, and what is contemporary conflation based on hasty, sweeping, or incompetent reading of the sources?
  • In relation to the stereotype of the Eastern origin of Catharism, Biget lists nine Catholic sources purportedly copying one another (Biget 2003: 155-156; ten, if he is serious about the implicit placing of the Liber de duobus principiis on the list). Deplorably, he somehow forgets to mention that any claim to the Eastern origin of dissent is lacking in more than a half of these nine, namely five, i.e. ca. 56 % (Suprastella, see Bruschi ed. 2002; Summa contra hereticos, see Kaeppelli 1947; Disputatio inter Catholicum et Paterinum, see Hoécker ed. 2001; Pseudo-Capelli, see Romagnoli ed. 1992; Moneta, see Ricchinius ed. [1743] 1964). (At the end of the day, an Eastern origin is not so universal in the anti-heretical discourse.)
  • Zanella ([1986] 1995: 84, n. 74) on fast: one Cathar branch, the Bagnolenses, rejects fasts as Catholic inventions (ref. to Dondaine 1950: 313, 318), and if they fast, they only abstain from wine, oil, fish, and crayfish (ref. to Dondaine 1950: 315). In contradiction to that, Zanella claims, Raniero Sacconi’s Summa says Cathars fast often and abstain from meat, eggs and cheese all the time.[2] (1) Dondaine 1950: 318 does speak about the rejection of fasts; however, not in relation to the Cathars at all, but to Waldensians (clearly and explicitly). (2) Dondaine 1950: 313 says “no Cathar fasts at the vigils of any saint” (Dondaine 1950: 313, English translation by Wakefield & Evans [1969] 1991: 365); it does speak about the Cathars this time, but not about the Bagnolenses specifically (Zanella misled by the rubric). (3) Dondaine 1950: 313 says that vigils of saints, and not fasts as Zanella misreads the passage, were invented by the Roman Church because of its greed (“nullus catharus ieiunat vigiliam alicuius sancti, neque apostolorum, neque beate Virginis, sed dicit quod meretrix ecclesia romana constituit vigilias, et hoc propter lucrum”). (4) According to Dondaine 318: 315, the Cathars say to people that they live on bread and water on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, but in fact they only abstain from wine, oil, fish, and crayfish, otherwise they eat the things they use to eat normally. Zanella: on fast days, they abstain from these things only. The Tractatus: on fast days, they do abstain from these, but they consume more than bread and water alone, namely oil, wine etc. (5) The contradiction with Raniero is produced by Zanella’s obvious misunderstanding under No. 4. => Zanella’s reading produces several errors and one inexistent incoherence between the sources.
  • Hasty reading produces errors. (Sometimes, errors could have been avoided by looking for precise references. E.g., Zerner 1999 refers only generally to treatises, which leads her to a few bold or erroneous statements, e.g. that these treatises for the inquisitors are concerned almost exclusively with dualism; Biget 2003: 137 refers, for the list of sixteen Cathar churches, to the old edition of Raniero Sacconi by Dondaine instead of the new one.)

Shortcoming III, or Have the social sciences finally taught us to respect the subjects our research?

  • Claims of protecting dissidents from maltreatment by historians (Biget 2003: 159, Pegg 2011: 599). OK, very nice endeavor; how does it look like in the practice?
  • Zerner about the Book of the Two Principles: “first babbling of a clumsy but Christian theological searching” (Zerner 1999: 480, my translation).
  • Pegg on the believers of the good men: “their believers now functioned within a sacred and social illusion” (Pegg 2011: 594). On the apparelhamentum: “As courteous village rhythms dissolved, as this honourable (if tense) aesthetic degenerated into decorous clichés, some good men instituted a ‘coming together’ (aparelhamen (...))” (Pegg 2011: 592); “wistful (and often overwrought) versions of cortezia” (Pegg 2011: 592). Conveys an image of inauthenticity with respect to the late “dissidence of the good men”.
  • Lesson from ethnographers: respect towards research participants, including dead ones: dissidents, inquisitors (Zbíral 2013). This is inspiring in Arnold (1998, 2001) and in the emerging scholarship striving to understand the oppressor and represent him fairly (Caldwell Ames 2005, 2009; Sullivan 2011; Kieckhefer 2013).
  • Suggestion: Let us temper our ironic habits, and refrain from saying what the subjects of our research would not take as sufficiently relevant and fair to discuss. Be nice to people you are dealing with (paraphrase of the closing words by Zdeněk Konopásek of the conference “Towards a Symmetrical Approach: The Study of Religions After Postmodern and Postcolonial Criticism” held in Brno, Czech Republic, 29 Nov to 1 Dec 2012; cf. also Fujda 2014). No need to be very postmodern or postcolonial to grasp such a simple lesson.
  • Shortcoming I-II (ignoring dissident sources and hasty reading) is related to this category of shortcomings, too. Listening carefully what people say is probably somewhat important in order to understand them, isn’t it?

Final remarks

  • Hasty reading and/or lack of precise references causes errors. Dissident sources and Catholic sources on heresy deserve slower reading.
  • Yes, sources on heresy are biased; but, as others said before, this is not so hugely abnormal (Taylor 2013: 255)... A consistent polemical programme? In fact the texts on heresy are often not polemical at all (conflation under this or similar category obvious in Biget 2002: 7; Merlo 2011: 106; Pegg 2011: 596;[1] a much more accurate typology in Sackville 2011). Very diverse literature. Not mono-vocal narratives. Compilation, different sources of information, questions, attempt at understanding what is going on.


[1] The category of “academic texts written by theologians” (Chiu 2011: 493) is more telling and more useful. I would have liked Chiu to give some arguments for the claim that texts like the summae by Moneta of Cremona and Alain of Lille or the one attributed to Prevostin of Cremona “have (...) been central to the modern reconstruction of the ‘Cathar heresy’ or even ‘Cathar religion’” (Chiu 2009: 493). Their impact seems, on the contrary, quite marginal if compared to that of Raniero Sacconi’s treatise or the Anonymous of Passau.

[2] “Per quanto concerne il digiuno, i bagnolesi lo negavano, perché era una trovata della chiesa romana, propter lucrum (ibid. 313, 318), e quando lo praticavano era solo astinenza da vino, olio, pesci e granchi (ibid. 315), non so con quale significato rituale. Secondo Raniero Sacconi, invece, ‘frequenter orant et ieiuniant [recte: ieiunant, see Šanjek’s edition referred to by Zanella], et abstinent se omni tempore a carnibus, ovis, et caseo, que omnia videntur esse opera satisfactoria pro peccatis eorum et de quibus ipsi sepe inaniter gloriantur’ (Šanjek 46).” (Zanella [1986] 1995: 84, n. 74)

[3] “J. Duvernoy et B. Hamilton ont bâti l’hypothèse d’une église cathare grecque en contact direct avec les églises cathares méridionales par le sud de la péninsule italienne, en se fondant sur le traité d’Anselme d’Alexandrie qui cite la Calabre (où se serait rendu Marc après avoir découvert la faute de Nicheta) et Naples (où se trouverait le premier évêque italien et d’où Marc aurait rapporté en Lombardie le secret des hérétiques venu de Bulgarie) et sur une allusion aux cathares de Joachim de Flore.”

Appendix 1: A few statements to discuss (should there be nothing more interesting)

  • Anne Brenon and Jean Duvernoy are almost completely ignored by “invention of heresy” scholarship besides polemical passages (a relative exception to this is a note in Biget 2003: 133, carefully dosed in order still to sound quite negative). However, Biget’s, Pegg’s and Théry’s accounts are in fact quite close (if not indebted) to this school, particularly to Brenon’s position, in several important respects. To be more precise, what Biget, Pegg and Théry say is more similar to what Brenon does than to the ideas of Hamilton (representing the “conventional image” for Pegg 2011) and more similar to Brenon than Brenon to Hamilton.
    1. preference of inquisitional records over treatises (Duvernoy 1976: 72; Pegg 2001b; Pegg 2011: 589; Théry 2002: 79; Théry 2003: 491);
    2. refusal of a Cathar doctrinal system (Théry 2002: 110-111, 116-117), doctrine minimal and not so important (Zanella [1986] 1995: 117);
    3. dualism not so important and only secondary, later, derived from evangelism (Biget 2002: 46-47; Biget 2003: 188);
    4. a certain dualism is proper to Romanesque Christianity in general (Biget 2002: 49, 2003: 172, originally from Georges Duby’s “spontaneous manicheism” oft-cited by Brenon);
    5. dissidence as such derived from Romanesque Christianity (Biget 2003: 169);
    6. limits to dualism in practice, e.g. most of the good women were married before becoming good women (Pegg 2011: 592), Bompietro married (Zanella [1978] 1995: 53; on Bompietro, see also Zbíral 2012).
    7. focus on everyday life (Théry 2002: 83, 144; Pegg 2011: 587), dissent itself as a day-to-day phenomenon (Théry 2002: 98);
    8. the contingent, unsystematic, unstable nature of dissent (Théry 2002: 117; Pegg 2011: 599);
    9. good men instead of Cathars; the term “Cathars” seen as imposed from outside, by their enemies (Pegg 2011: 580-584; Théry 2002: 80-83, 116-117; Moore 2012: 10, 277);
    10. the dissidence was unspecific (Théry 2002: 83, 86, 108, cf. Kusabu [2008]: 14);
    11. the dissidence was not seen as heresy or something weird by the population before intervention from outside (Biget 2002: 39);
    12. the normality of small rituals of courtesy (topic prominent in Pegg 2001b; Pegg 2011);
  • The rejection of the history of religions in favour of local contextual history (cf. Biget 2002: 49; Théry 2002: 90) also has costs involved. Reappearance of naive concepts and theories, long time abandoned in the history of religions as a field (religions of revelation: Théry 2002: 87); concepts out of place (the term “liturgy” as used in Biget 2002: 45 and Zerner 1999: 479 without good specifications reifies and abusively inflates Cathar rituals); awkward terms meaning nothing or very little (“their believers now functioned within a sacred and social illusion”: Pegg 2011: 594 – this thing is called identity and social formation, not sacred and social illusion); lack of criticism regarding beliefs (the thesis that dissidents [i.e. in general, because all specification is lacking] believed in reincarnation: Biget 2002: 55; on the other hand, Pegg cannot be blamed for this; what he does not realize enough is that Catholic lay people were not significantly more religious in their beliefs regarding Catholicism in everyday life, and still it is not a reason to deny the structures or myths of medieval Catholicism; for a similar argument, see Biller 2006: 22).
  • Nominalism, or realism? Roquebert (2005: 107, 125) identifies the “inventionists” to be “deconstructionist nominalists”. I disagree totally. Nominalism is based on the idea that concepts are constructs, and these constructs might be more or less useful. In contrast to this, the “inventionists” I have read are realists, just as those traditionalists who presume the essence of dualism or Catharism, but with quite different results: in the absence of an essence of Catharism in the sources, they say the concept (the name) is illegitimate. This is, of course, not nominalism at all. It is realism, sometimes even of a very hard type (Biget 2003: 169: “il faut dépasser les représentations pour approcher les réalités”; Biget 2003, 157: “Est-il juste (...) d’accepter ces documents pour l’expression d’une réalité objective?”) and it could be countered, for example, from the Weberian nominalistic perspective on concept construction (which is done little; for one instance, see the remark on Pegg in Kaelber 2003: 43; more explicitly, Zbíral 2013: 245-246; for a similar problem in the case of Waldensians, see the comments on thousands of mono-Waldensianisms and still the possibility of, and indeed the need for, legitimate generalization in Biller 2000: 93, 99). We are discussing concept construction in history and the social sciences; the “existence of heresy” (alluded to as the core problem in, e.g., Roach & Simpson 2013: 8) is in fact a one-sided (realism-based) view of the debate.

Appendix 2: Some flaws that “inventionists” use as a reproach to other scholars

  • Some “inventionists” criticize previous scholarship or their opponents for various flaws and biases:
    1. intellectualism and idealism, leading to the construction of doctrinal genealogies (Pegg 2001a: 182-184, 192; Pegg 2011: 585-587, 596; Pegg seems to forget about the line in scholarship stressing not the unity of doctrine but of ritual and of the self-understanding as a dissident church with the apostolic succession of ordination, as in Duvernoy 1993; Hagman 1993; Šanjek 1993; however, this is not forgotten by everyone – see a fair summary in Biget 2003: 144-145);
    2. disregard for the social and political context (Biget 2002: 32-33; Biget 2003: 181; Pegg 2011: 585, 589);
    3. unreflected preconceptions precluding the critical analysis of sources (Pegg 2001a: 187, 191, 192; Théry 2002: 82; Biget 2002: 29) and taking the view of clerics/enemies (Biget 2002: 30, 32, 42; 2003: 133; on Catholic historians: Biget 2003: 168; Théry 2002: 76-77);
    4. not surpassing received ideas (blind traditionalism) (Biget 2003: 169);
    5. romanticism (Pegg 2001a: 189), Occitanism, touristic biases (Biget 1998: 219), martyrology (Biget 2003: 168);
    6. neo-Catharism (Pegg 2001a: 194);
    7. not taking the world and the day-to-day behaviour of the good men seriously (Pegg 2011: 587, 594), misunderstanding them (Pegg 2011: 585).
  • Appendix 3: Some additional questionable statements and conceptions related to sources (miscellaneous)

    • Biget (2003: 157-158): Raniero is unreliable; he had been a dissident but, as a convert, he adopted and indeed reinforced the official discourse. (No attempt to link individual pieces of information to this purported programme.)
    • “There is little to say” argument (used in Théry 2002: 110). The “opacity” argument (Zerner 1999: 464; L’Hermite-Leclercq 1998: 84-85; pointed to, in relation to deconstructionists, in Biller 2010: 109).
    • Zerner (2006: 266) thinks that according to the Tractatus, Mark brought a “secret book” of heretics, brought from Bulgaria, from Naples to Lombardy.[3] How the text looks:
      Secretum de Concorezo [rubric]. “Ego Iohannes frater vester (...).” Habeo aliud [exemplar] huius secreti, et ideo hic sufficit etc. “Hoc est secretum hereticorum de Concorezo portatum de Bulgaria plenum erroribus” et etiam falsis latinis. Isti portaverunt heresim in Lonbardiam a Neapoli: Marchus, Iohannes Iudeus, Ioseph et Aldricus (...). (Dondaine ed. 1950: 319) I.e., Zerner messes this up completely. Two disconected pieces of information to which a rubricist gives his title. Incompetent reading.

    Appendix 4: Fair use of a source: The Tractatus de hereticis

    • An informative (not polemical) compilation for the use of inquisitors. Brother A. (Anselm of Alessandria), Lombardy, 1250/1280 (the compilation as a whole: post-1266).
    • Some images of the Tractatus: Zanella ([1986] 1995: 86-89, 110, 114-116): unreliable, its portrait of heresy not confirmed by inquisitional records. Biget: fable, belongs to the register of fiction (Biget 2003: 155, 157, 169); copying, intertextuality, repetition of topoi (Biget 2003: 157, 169; reply in Zbíral 2013: 237-240). × Moore (2012: 319-322): I consider this a fair use of the narrative about the origins; valuable passages on dissident foundation legends (cf. a similar analysis in Zbíral 2006a, 2006b).
    • What a fair use should look like?
    • Reading the whole text. Cathar hierarchies are not the only topic. Successions, uncertainty, construction of identity (Zbíral 2006b; Moore 2012: 319-322), rituals (e.g. an important account of the consolamentum), eating habits, fasting.
    • Understanding the text’s function, the process of its editing, its use. Biased as any other source (in general, cf. Taylor 2013: 255), but not a mono-vocal narrative. Compilation, different sources of information, questions (converted Waldensians).
    • Differentiating and making the argument transparent – cui bono of individual pieces of information. Does the allegation of the Manichean origins of Catharism invalidate the description of baptism or information about dissidents (those known to Anselm) having three fasting periods every year and on when these periods began and ended (which is data on dissent, not on its construction)? Unrelated to the supposed ideological aim => corrections in the representation of this text are necessary.
    • Yes, we were taught this at school, but sometimes it seems useful to remind things.

    Appendix 5: Positions of different scholars

    Sorry about the gaps. The table is unfinished, I hope to come back to it soon.

    Work Nature of dissent Inventor Nature of construction / repression Treatises, Catholic sources Inquisitional sources and views Dissident sources Criticism of scholarship
    Grundmann 1965 view of heresy as an organized sect with heretics as its members who share this sect’s doctrine (522) sometimes whole sentences taken over from the formulary; the whole idea of the invention of heresy is here; only different vocabulary is used (DZ) not in the focus
    Duvernoy 1976; 1979 network of alternative churches generally not very reliable, caution needed, recommends only the use of information confirmed by dissident sources or depositions (1976: 72); legendary elements (1979: 51, 167) preferred to Catholic treatises widely used, preferred to Catholic treatises
    Zanella [1978] 1995 vague unrest, malessere ereticale, unstable (55); unclear boundaries – Jews or inquisitors also charged with heresy (22); this unrest has a religious solution (18-19; but see 56-57); the dissidents are not always consistent, not even in their refusal (62); in complete disarray (21); solution for rootlessness (36); mostly isolated, at the margins of society and trying to integrate (63-64); caution towards “hierarchies” (61); dissidents are homogeneous in their marginality, they search for identity (59-60); more consistent in hilly regions (47); neither urban nor rural – itinerant (49-50); few examples of a really alternative culture (62-62); often individual roots of heterodoxy (22); political alliances of old noble families with Catharism (54-55); at some point, a certain light hierarchy exists (61); gradual desintegration by inquisitional activity (32) not individuated, implicitly inquisitors systematization of the unsystematic (21); desintegration of heretical churches by inquisitional activity (32) not in the focus systematization of heresy in inquisitorial manuals (21); as reasons for antiheretical action gradually disappear, inquisitors refine their tools (31-32), growing vagueness of the inquisitional charges (32, n. 60) silence criticizes Manselli’s and Merlo’s claim that with time, inquisitional records are more vivid (16, n. 3); points out that Manselli’s focus on the political and social context, in the end, denies dissent as a religious phenomenon: better is the view of Capitani (19)
    Zanella [1986] 1995 itinerancy, mobility, rootlessness, unsystematic nature (75); cautious towards “Cathar hierarchies” and towards Dondaine (86-89, 110, 114-116) but does not abandon the concept of Cathar altogether (105, 108-109); political background of some charges (see 111); impossible to know what was real heresy and what is said to be heresy because of the questioning of authority (70); churchmen needing to see heresy in institutional terms (116); the whole of society is not involved, only a part of it (101, against Russell) manipulation with names (77), identification (102), imagining doctrinal boundaries separating different sects (110); making the heretic a vitandus (101); answer to a perceived threat to the Church’s power (100-101) unreliable (111, 114) the inquisitor does not search for (real) doctrines, he assimilates to those preexistent in his manuals (102) × doctrine found by inquisitors corresponds little to treatises (115) silence too much philosophical systematization (75), labeling different dissidents as Cathars (74-75, 78); Borst’s and Dondaine’s belief in Cathar hierarchies (116); polemics against Manselli’s reminder that in Raniero, the term cathari only denotes perfects (111, n. 265; Manselli is right, however, as can be proven by several explicit citations)
    Moore 1987 real but hugely amplified (72); dissidents very different one from another (89); scattered, disconnected (90, 151) construction (89), stereotypes (89), imagining a universal and clear heresy (90); identification (71); artificial construction of coherent and threatening heresy (71-72, 151)
    Zerner 1998 (intro) ecclesiastical institution (9) ecclesiastical discourse (9) 11th to 13th c. sources are few and suspicious (12) echoes the ecclesiastical discourse (9)
    Biget 1998 diffuse evangelism (235) the Church (221, 245); clerics (227); Premonstratensians and Cistercians (235) heresy created by the discourse of the clerics (227); the Church gives its opponents an identity and consistency (221); reducing beliefs and customs to clear heretical articles (235); fusion of different heresies into one (235); amplicifation and deformation (245); pretext for political goals (245, 250: independence of Toulouse and the local church crushed under the pretext of heresy)
    Iogna-Prat [1998] 2000 close to Moore; the identity of Latin Christendom defined by its margins, building collective identity (262); society of intolerance (262) pure fictions (about eleventh- and twelfth-century heretics; 262)
    Zerner 1999 very opaque (464, 480), only sometimes clearer (473); all sorts of lay movements (477); links to reform (480); the downfall of the new dualism > the rise of evangelism paying little attention to the institution (481) the Church (471, 478, 480, 481), the ecclesiastical institution (473), the papacy (474, implied); later on also the young states (481) repressive programme (473); invention and control by naming (471); Church politics in the background (471); very wide definition of heresy by lawyers (477); the construction of heresy is in the centre of the construction of the West and the state (464) discourse on heresy (473), ecclesiastical construction of enemies (473), establishment of doctrinal filiations (479) imagery of persecutors, heretics as worshippers of Lucifer capable of any lechery, definitive diabolization (477); “extreme brutality” (477); “the numerous depositions [from the Midi] (...) turn around one and only [un seul] topic, the rite of imposition of hands” (477; certainly important, but the only one?); treatises for the inquisitors “concerned almost exclusively with dualism” portrayed as a major threat (478); any view of heresy is falsified by the fact that it comes, with very few exceptions, from the Church (480) strange: a first statement is that heretical words can only be heard from the mid-thirteenth century and remain very rare, and that genuine dissident sources appear from the late fourteenth-century onwards (465); then, without coming back to this statement, Zerner speaks about three manuscripts: the New Testament with the Lyons Ritual, the New Testament with the Interrogatio Iohannis (understood as catechism), and a heretical collection “annotated by the Inquisition”, i.e the manuscript with the Liber de duobus principiis and the Florence Ritual (479); the texts of the Liber, which Zerner rightly decomposes, are “based solely on biblical citations” and they witness the “first babbling of a clumsy but Christian theological searching” (480) not in the focus
    Biget 2002 evangelical radicalism (47); progressive elaboration (47); invisible to the locals (39) Cistercians (39); clerics (32) construction of an anti-church, disconnected from facts (32); subjugation of the Midi to Rome (39) silence lack of distance (32); taking over the view of the clerics (30, 32)
    Théry 2002 everyday phenomenon (98); among the questions Théry invites us to investigate, dissent itself has only a minimal importance: the only question related to it is that of the impact of construction, i.e. also on the dissidents (see 107; formulated by DZ) the clerics (77), the papacy (101) theological and legalistic knowledge on heresy precedes repression (101); ecclesiastical construction (107); typization and demonization (98); organizing beliefs in tables, differentiating sects (99); stereotypes disconnected from reality, even if not always used (106-107; Biller’s demonstration on Bernard Gui acknowledged); centralization of the Church and of the papacy is in the background (100, 101) Grundmann and Borst: abstract doctrines disconnected from the doctrines of other sects, which is in line with the view of medieval clerics (77)
    Biget 2003 clandestine, informal groups (164); family ties (164); organization minimal (164); simple ritual (164); by no means an alternative church (164) pretext for the intrusion of global powers into traditional local communities (181) the Charter of Niquinta is probably forged, totally unreliable; the Liber de duobus principiis implicitly included on the list reproducing the fables of the Eastern origin of Catharism (155-156) older not to blame, they wrote before Foucault, Bourdieu, Certeau, Veyne and the linguistic turn, but newer yes: insufficient consideration of their practice and method (167); disregard for the social and political context (181)
    Brunn 2006 focus on Rhineland, almost without generalizations; real dissidence (195, 275-276), groups at the margins of canon reform (35 sqq. et passim, 187, 544) particular churchmen, mainly in rich cathedral chapters (34, 400); particular circles linked by personal ties (such as in the case of Ekbert, Elisabeth of Schönau and Hildegard: 239; 543); Cistercians (495-496); no coherent Church strategy existed (543) construction (230), deformation (401), antiheretical propaganda (13), invention (315); assimilation with older heresies, including the term cathari (275, 315-342 etc.); deconstruction of filters necessary (22); Moore is right – an offensive, not defensive project (19); mobilization of Christendom against a purportedly general threat (460, 463), ongoing demonization (495) antiheretical propaganda not in the focus, besides the mention of antiheretical propaganda as the basis for the inquisition (29) silence (justified for the area and period) mythological historiography (14), Slavic historiography biased (18)
    Merlo 2011 no objective existence derived from a heterodox subjectivity (5) churchmen perceiving a threat to their cultural hegemony (5-6), clerics (107), ruling clerical class (107) invention; but for clerics, it had an objective reality (107) silence
    Moore 2012 accounts by enemies (9) silence, besides the Charter of Niquinta, portrayed as very dubious but possibly produced by a heretic (289-290)
    Brunn 2015

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