View Full Version : Bogomilism and the English

Saturday, June 4th, 2005, 11:41 AM
Here are some notes from "Bogomil and Apocryphal ideas in Medieval English culture : The Bulgarian image of Christ Plowman as Piers Plowman in William Langland's The Vision of Piers Plowman" by Georgi Vasilev.

"The other view, upholding the idea of the serious penetration of the Bogomil-Cathar heresy in England, was expounded by Alexander Veselovsky, Moses Caster and Ivan Franko. The facts analysed by them are from after the 14th century. They study mainly how themes from the heretical apocrypha were taken over and interpreted in English culture. The central one of these themes is the "Harrowing of Hell" which reproduces chapter eighteen of Nicodemus Gospel, the favourite reading of the dualists. Gaster and Franko discuss the influence of Nicodemus Gospel on the miracle plays and Lahgland's Piers Plowman. The proofs are numerous. It is really surprising that these finds have been overlooked by serious authors like M. R. James, E. Chambers and E. Partridge, thus completely isolating medieval English literature from contacts with the heresy. Even Dmitri Obolensky's abundant commentary, which proves that the numerous apocrypha which spread all over Europe were, if nothing else, used by the dualists, have been neglected.

Some change of attitude is marked by A. Baugh and K. Malone who point out that the apocrypha were brought over to England via France in the 13th c. They also note the important presence of Nicodemus Gospel. In our opinion the presence of the "Harro-wing of Hell" theme in the Exeter Book (10th c.) can be seen as a heretical influence. In this scene Jesus delivers from Hell not only Adam and Eve, "but a countless multi-tude of folk" which is typical of the Bogomil-Cathar vision. The "Fall of Lucifer" and his angels found in the Caedmon Ms is another typical dualistic theme.

The odyssey of the dualistic apocrypha in England has not found a satisfactory explanation and raises an important question: was the heretical presence durable enough so that it could propagate a type of non-orthodox culture, standing apart and often op-posed to the official Church; could it create a milieu which could produce its own con-ceptions of life and patterns of behaviour in the general cultural development? Put in the terms of sociology, we shall have to find whether the heresy could create its own social and cultural infrastructure in England.

As a historical reality the heretical communities of the Lollards of the 14th and 15th centuries have been well documented. They took part in John Ball's rebellion and were connected with the reformist efforts of JohnWycliffe6. However, the Lollards have been regarded as a local phenomenon, though their very name suggests a continental origin.

Before they appeared in England to become the source of new ideas which provoked their consistent persecution by the church authorities, the Lollards were well known in Germany and Flanders. One of the explanations of the origin of their name is that it is connected with the German verb "lollen" which means "mumble", "mutter" becau-se of their habit to hum permanently their prayers.

A number of documents about the Lollards in Germany have been collected by I.von Doellinger and Charles Lea and they need not be quoted in detail. The Encyclopaedia Britannica (1970) also points to their European roots: "The term comes from Middle Dutch 'lollard', a 'mumbler' or 'mutterer'; it had been applied to the Flemish Beg-hard and other continental groups suspecting of combining pious pretentions with he-retical belief."

To enlarge upon this information we have consulted older dictionaries which sug-gest a typology of the ideas connected with the Lollards. The respectable Du Cange, who used 14th c. chronicles, describes the Lollards as heretics from Germany and Bel-gium and adds that "in pluribus partibus regni Angliae latitabant" ("they hide in many parts of the English kingdom"). John Oldcastle is referred to as "Lollardus". Du Cange provides us with the important reference to a chronicle from 1318 according to which "Lollardus quoque dicitur haereticus Valdensis"8 ("they called the Lollard also a Val-densian"). Thus, the outlined spiritual kinship between the Lollards and Waldensians directs our attention to the roots of the Waldensian doctrine which lie in Catharism. In fact Valdo adopts from the Cathars their social vision and organisational model but abandons their complicated dualist mythology.

In his Dictionnaire historique the erudite Louis Moreri (17th c.) also points to the German-Flemish-English triangle by referring to older sources, which he carefully names, and which reveal the beliefs of the Lollards; "These sectarians said that Lucifer and the angels that followed him were condemned wrongly, that rather Archangel Michael and the good angels deserved this punishment. They (the Lollards) added inadmissible blasphemies against St Mary,they said that God does not punish us for the faults we commit here. The authors (of the sources) say that a girl, member of this unhappy sect condemned to perish on the stake, when asked whether she was a virgin, answered that she was one on earth but would not be under it. They (the Lollards) taught also that the Mass, baptism and the extreme unction are useless; they also denied penance and refused to obey the Church and the secular authorities." In his Encyclopedie des sciences religieuses F. Lichtenberger mentions also the Lollard prediction that "Lucifer and the demons unfairly chased away from Heaven will some day be restored there."

From this we can conclude that the Lollards professed a dualistic creed marked in some cases by Luciferianism. It is hard to say though whether these allegations were the result of accidental contacts with continental Luciferians or came from the official Church which sought to discredit the Lollards by presenting them as having a greater affinity for Lucifer than for God. The Luciferian turn is not typical of the English Lollards."

Saturday, June 4th, 2005, 12:01 PM
"I. Beliefs and Rituals of Bogomils and Lollards

1. Common Myths — The fall of Lucifer; Satan as creator and ruler of the visible world

2. Ritual practices ~- baptism in the Holy Spirit; preference for the prayer Pater Noster; direct confession to God; negation of Hell and Purgatory

II. Social Ideas

1. Disobedience to the feudal system

2. Negation of legal authority and oath taking; condemnation of bloodshed

III. Anti-clericalism

1. The official Church is seen as a community of Herod or of the Anti-Christ

2. Church buildings are thought of as synagogues, cross-roads or wastelands

IV. Rejection of the official Church ritual:

1. Negation of Transubstantiation

2. Negation of the Crucifix

3. Negation of icons (images) and relics of saints

4. Refusal to worship the Virgin and the saints."

"First, we should mark the achievement of the brilliant trio A. Vesselovsky, M. Gaster and I. Franko, dating back to the previous century. In this field it is really they who first formulated the problem of cross-cultural influence. Their achievement deserves to be brought to light again. It is only in 1960 that M. A. Aston takes a step in their direction by trying to discover resemblances between Lollards and Cathars in her study of their social conditions and dissemination: "Lollards, like Catharists and earlier continental heretics, and like friars themselves, flourished along the main roads, and found supporters among the trades people of large towns." The proximity with certain basic Lollard ideas with those of the Bogomils is stressed by M. D. Lambert: "In East England the crucifix was attacked in terms oddly reminiscent of the Bogomils; 'no more credence should be done to the crucifix' it was said, 'than to the gallows which thieves be hanged on'." This author succeeds in establishing a long line of indirect but real links between the Bulgarian and the English heresies. According to him the heretics described by Eckbert of Schonau are "blended with Bogomil influenced group". Let us here remind the fact that the German speaking sectarians who landed on the English coast in 1162 have been supposed to be an affiliation of the community mentioned by Eckbert.

Certainly, the movement across countries and ages produced visible distinctions between the views of Lollards and Bogomils. La couleur locale is a deviation a? regards the origin. Here we shall outline some of those differences.

First, the Bogomil assertion that the world of the Old Testament is the world of Satanael does not appear in Lollard thought. There is a predominant appeal for mercy and denial of bloodshed as motivated in the Conclusiones Lollardorum as "expresse contraria Novo Testamento".

While the Bogomil and Cathar perfecti deny marriage as a carnal continuation of the human race in the material world created by Satanael, the Lollards are not inclined to dogmatic abstinance."

"Hitherto the textual comparison has been the center of interest. At this point we would like to direct our attention to the most attractive side in the heresies — their ability to develop imaginative thinking. Both Bogomilism and Lollardy involved their followers in cultural activity which was surprising for the Middle Ages. Catharism on its part was a major creative stream in the Provencal culture of the 12th century. As-different authors have pointed out the Bogomils "contributed particularly to the advance-ment and propagation of literacy" (D. Mishev); there were schools in practically al of their communities and they loved lecturing (S. Georgiev). According to D. Angelov, these medieval dissenters were one of the principal intellectual forces which brought about major democratisation "of letters and education in Bulgarian society during the 9th-10th centuries".

During the past century W. Jagic concluded that by its intensive effort of copying texts, literary and educational activities and by imbibing the broader views of the apocrypha, and views wider than the dualistic tenets Bogomilism transformed into a popular enlightenment the cultural effort of Simeon's and Climent's age.

Books had a prominent position with Lollards as well. In the records of the Norwich trials there is ample information that the heretics practiced reading in secret societies or at home, and that many of the texts were translated in English. The Pater Noster, Ave Maria and the Credo were translated in English ('in lingua anglicana script, libros in anglicano idiomate scriptos'). Robert Cavel (capellanus notatus de heresi) tells that he had seen the heretics in their private schools (in scolis privates eorundem);

Margery Baxter (notata de lollardia et heresi) mentions a Carmelite friar expounding the gospel in English. According to Norman Tanner "clearly schools existed in which heresies were taught systematically" (Colchester, London and other places). Malcolm Lambert Lambert also treats the Lollards first of all as a reading community, stimulating self-teaching'', and mentions a small group of "academically trained" Lollards such as Nickolas Hereford, Philip Repton, John Aston and John Purvey, who was Wycliffe's secretary over the last years. More detailed research is necessary to illuminate the relations between this highly educated group and the Lollards of the lower strata. Its presence, however, suggests the existence of a well-developed Lollard culture which had real summits. Given these facts, it is possible to assert that the Bogomii Cathar and Lollard heresies generated important literacy. We can also say that in Bulgaria, France. England, as well as other countries, the heretics brought about cultural innovation and, to our opinion, they can be recognized as one of the driving forces of the Renaissance of the 12th century.

Anne Hudson mentions a Lollard library, containing three types of books: 'schedule', 'quaterni' and 'libri', though she does not specify their nature because it "can only roughly be asserted from episcopal and chancery records".

John Thomson has been less hesitant and has produced according to Margaret Deansly -- another excellent scholar of Lollardy, "an excellent and up-to-date bibliography of all printed and unprinted sources". This is how Thomson describes the collection of James Willis from Chilterns in tlie mid-fifteenth century: "St Paul's Epistles, the Apocalypse, and St Luke's Gospel". Another Lollard possessed "a book of St John the Evangelist"; there is a reference to a copy of the Epistle of St James (Reg. Chedworth. Line.).

Margaret Deansley provides information about a Lincoln Lollard who used Nicodemus Gospel in English (Reg. Chedworth. Line.). This gnostic book also suggests a Bogomil-Cathar circulation.

Concerning The Book of Si John the Evangelist we would like to note that this might be the other title of The Secret Book of the Bogomils since The Secret Book contains the revelation received by John personally from Jesus Christ. In favour of such supposition is the notice of M. Gaster from a century ago: "The Apostle John, the author of the Apocalypse, which answered so well to their system, was the beloved apostle of the Bogomils, and many a book and revelation is ascribed to him."

Saturday, June 4th, 2005, 12:31 PM
"Open any modern official edition of the Bible in English (for example The Holy Bible. New Revised Standard Version. Oxford, 1989) and read the Lord’s Prayer and you shall see that there God is asked to give [us] “this day our daily bread”. In Wycliffe’s English versions of the Scriptures however, begun about the year 1380, one finds a rather different text, i.e. “oure breed ouer othir substaunce” Math. 6:9-13 [give us this day our daily bread over another substance]. Why the difference? Why such an unusual sounding in which, besides the translation, there is obviously a small comment of the translator himself? The answer on principle was provided by Yordan Ivanov, a noted Bulgarian philologist and historian. In his well-known book, Bogomil Books and Legends, he wrote that the Bosnian Bogomils read the Lord’s Prayer in just such a way, pronouncing “give us our daily bread of another substance”. A similar version can be found in the lyonnaise rendition of the Albigensian Scriptures: “E dona a noi lo nostre pa qui es sabre tota cause” [“the bread that is above all else”]. Similarly there is one Old Italian version: “Il pane nostre sopra tucte le substantie da a nnoi oggi” [“our bread over any substance”].

Since the Bogomils gave the Cathars the quoted version of the Cyrillo-Methodian translation of the New Testament (subsequently translated into the Latin by the Cathars), we shall turn to the idea that John Wycliffe did not translate the Scriptures from the Vulgate, as the printed editions of his version later stated, but from a Cyrillo-Methodian version. By the way, even today the Bulgarian version of the Lord’s Prayer reads “our daily [substantial] bread” which is much closer to the Greek original “τον̣ αρτον ημον τον επιουσιον”, where the word “επιουσιον” means literally “suprasubstantial”. In other words, the Cyrillo-Methodian version is closer to the Greek original than the Vulgate “our daily [quotitianum] bread”. In fact, the term “supersubstantialem” is used in the various Vulgate versions, in Matthew and in Luke (11:2-4), but it is practically excluded from the liturgical and sacramental practice of the Catholic Church. What is more, to pronounce “suprasubstantial” [supersubstantialem] instead of “our daily bread” [panem nostrum quotidianum] in the Lord’s Prayer was considered a sure sign of heresy in the Middle Ages. According to Collectio Occitanica, Inquisition records from Carcassonne, in Lombardy Bernard Oliva, the heretical bishop from Toulouse, pronounced 'panem nostrum supersubstantialem' (dicendo in oratione Pater noster: panem nostrum supersubstantialem) when he said the Lord’s Prayer.

Even in the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century, many authors paid attention to the fact that the Bogomils lay the stress on “our bread of another substance”."

"It was a fundamental Bogomil tenet that the Devil was creator and master of this world. This explains Wycliffe’s well-known Seventh of all the 24 Conclusions refuted by the Synod in London in 1382, one that continues to amaze British medievalists."

"The other part of the dualistic myth about the pride and fall of Lucifer and his angels also features repeatedly in the works of Wycliffe. True, he called upon Isaiah, obviously to defend himself from his numerous opponents from the Catholic Church. Both Bogomils and Cathars themselves also frequently quoted this theme according to Isaiah."

"Detailed restoration of the vocabulary and the environment of the Wycliffite translation of the New Testament, the clarification of dualistic elements in Wycliffe’s theology allow one to draw the following general picture from the separate facts:

1. John Wycliffe was an adherent of Bogomil-Cathar dualism. He and his disciples introduced specific dualistic tones into the New Testament translation;

2. The Wycliffite translation reveals similarities with the Cyrillo-Methodian approach to the translation of the Scriptures, including coining new words and extracting lexical material from the mother tongue, dynamic phrase and a variety of participles;

3. Wycliffe had a visible penchant for Greek lexis and for Greek culture. Although it is not specified still, this Greek source is a reality that is liable to further investigation. At this point, the most acceptable assumption is that this could have been Bogomil “Perfecti” who came from Constantinople or Bulgaria;

4. These data allow one to endorse the hypothesis that the Wycliffite translation could have been made not from the Vulgate, but from a Cyrillo-Methodian version that was Latinised and transported by dualist Bogomils and Cathars. The least that can be said is that the Wycliffite translation was made with a knowledge of and a respect for the Greek version of the New Testament.

Thus, haeresia Bulgarorum, with its already proven Pan-European diffusion and footing in the cultural life of many countries like Italy, France – particularly Provence, Germany, Spain and Flanders, became the exemplum Bulgariacum of popular translations of the New Testament, bearing the freedom of direct communication with the Scriptures."

Saturday, June 4th, 2005, 12:45 PM
"Many authors have pointed out that the church frequently resorted to calumny in dealing with the heresies, including one of the most famous scholars of Catharism, Charles Schmidt. It is strange that in the past it was even taken up by creative personalities who were familiar with the depths of heretic philosophy like, for example, Joachim of Fiore. Nevertheless, objective scholars like Lev Karsavin, who had no personal sympathies for the Cathars and considered them a force destructive to medieval Christian civilisation, wrote quite frankly: "It is not by chance that, beginning with Bernard of Clairvaux, many writers, saints, prelates and monks tried to discredit the morality of the heretics and spread rumours of how they sinned during their nightly gatherings. And if these allegations are few, this only proves one thing - their complete groundlessness."

Therefore, the conclusion that comes to mind is that the word "bugger" entered the English language in the first third of the 14th century as an echo of the negative campaign the Catholic Church had launched in Southern France against "les bougres" - the Cathar heretics. That is why neither the Englishmen of the Middle Ages nor those that live today perceive it as the national name "Bulgarian" but as a negative epithet, frozen in signifying a perversion. It has undergone the greatest deformation in comparison to other words whose initial meaning was shifted when they entered the context of heretical culture. In 1931 J. L. Seifert gave two examples which confirm the pattern of such a shift. He pointed out that the national name "Fleming" (flamendr) entered the Czech language during the international heretical communications and remained there with the distorted meaning of "singer", while in the 16th c. the word "Waldenses" (Vaudois) began to acquire the meaning of "sorcerer" under the influence of the mixing of late trends in the Waldensian heresy with sub-cultural phenomena like alchemy and astrology. An additional, secondary designation of "bugger" as a result, as an echo of those events can also be seen in the fact that in those times the usurers in Provence and Lombardy were called "bougres"."

"The view that the Cathars were called "poblicans" in Northern France and England was voiced as early as 1849 by the outstanding scholar Charles Schmidt, who also quoted a list of old chroniclers who mentioned that name17. Some of them are given in Du Cange's Glossarium. The latter truly mentions the "popelicani" as early as 1017, while the Chronicle of Rodulphus Coggeshalensis from the time of Louis VII (1137-1180) says that it was thus that the "popular tongue" called the heretics who had spread to many parts of France18. At the Third Lateran Council of 1179 quoted by Du Cange, the names of the heretics Cathars, Patrenes (Patarenes) and Publicani were placed next to one another, with the explanation that they had spread in Albi, Toulouse and elsewhere19. From Magna Chronica Belgica of 1208, again after Du Cange, we leam that the Popelicani professed both principles, i.e. they were dualists.

Among modern scholars, Stephen Runciman's opinion is shared by Femand Niel20 and particularly by Borislav Primov why pays special attention to this matter. Although he uses Du Cange's Glossarium most frequently, he has sufficient reason to conclude that all the forms of "Publicani", "Populicani", "Poblicani" and "Popelicani" originate from the Latin name of the Paulicians - "Pauliciani"21. The Dragovitsa Paulician church around Plovdiv22, known for its extreme dualism, was a sort of rival in the infiltration of the Bulgarian Bogomil Church to the West. With time, regardless of the theoretical discussions between the adherents to the moderate (Bulgarian Bogomil Church) and the extreme (Dragovitsa Church) dualism, in Western Europe the two religious communities began to be perceived as variants of one phenomenon - Catharism, both indicating that Bulgaria was the original source of that heresy (author's italics - G. V.).

Back on British territory, one sees that while the word "bugger" was pushed back because of its derogatory deformation of meaning, the heretics who found firmer foothold in England under the name of "publicans" and later on maybe bearing in mind the tragic continental fate of the "bougres" (the annihilation of the Cathar civilisation in Southern France) succeeded in adopting an aspect more acceptable to the Church in England. Although one could object that, at the end of the 12th century, it was "publicans" who were tried, branded and chased out of Oxford, it seems that after several decades of persecution they contrived various means of adaptation and mimicry which to a certain extent led the heretic communities out of the sphere of direct conflict with the ecclesiastic power. A case in point is the fact that the heretics managed to "change" to a definitely positive aspect the etymology of their name by a skilfully translated parable from the New Testament.

To this end the Cathars and the "Publicans" used Christ's parable of the Pharisee and the publican (tax collector) (Luke 18:9-14). While the publican with direct Cathar-Paulician link (Antiquit. ital. med. oevi, V, 83). He also quoted the particularly authoritative opinion of Mosheim that the Cathars were Paulicians who, coming from Bulgaria and Thrace, spread their doctrine in Italy and the rest of the West (Institut. hist. eccl.,379)-p.261.

his unpopular profession honestly admitted to his sins in the temple, the Pharisee placed himself closer to God and above the others. Christ condemned such hypocrisy and pointed out that the humble publican had greater chances for God's mercy. Identifying themselves with the publican (publicanus in the Latin translation of the New Testament) the "Popelicani" or "Publicans" succeeded in symbolically placing their much-suffering heads under the protective force of Christ's preference. At the same time, by the logic of this interpretation, their persecutors (inquisitors, Dominicans and bishops) proved in the place of the Pharisees. This comparison was used even in Southern France, but there it was rather a means of polemising than of mimicry. There is just such a quotation by the famous 14th century inquisitor, Bernard Gui, who has recorded how the Cathars from Southern France called their persecutors from the Catholic Church Pharisees and saw themselves in the position of the persecuted Christ and the apostles: "sicut docuit Christus et apostoli ejus... cum tamen ipsi sint boni homines et boni christiani, sicut pharisei persequebantur Christum et apostolos ejus."

There are also facts indicating one of the ways in which this approach was transferred to England. It was frequently used by Guillaume de Saint-Amour (1202-1272), rector of Paris University, in his epic struggle against the tidewater of Catholic orders in the emancipated University of Paris. One finds that a sermon of his, reprinted four centuries later by an English Reformation publication, had the objective of using "old authors" to expose the "mistakes and malpractices of the Roman Church".

The dauntless Guillaume de Saint-Amour, to whose courageous struggle nearly a whole chapter of the Roman de la Rose is dedicated, called his opponents from the religious orders "falsely pious" who love the loftiness, fame, vanity, showiness and bows addressed to them. At the same time the "publicans" are presented as "men of the world who, even if they are sinners" do not pretend they are saints and admit to their sins. That Guillaume de Saint-Amour was familiar with Cathar mythology is also indicated by the following passage in the same sermon. He points out that the clerical Pharisees have become pseudo-apostles, just as the angel Satan was transfigured into an angel of light", i.e. Lucifer: "ipse per enim angelus Satanael transfigurat se in angelum lucis"25. This could be the shortest version of the Bogomil legend about the fall of Satan and at the same time a purely Bogomil-Cathar hint that the earthly order (including that of the church) was established by Satan."

"Right to the end of the 14th century the populace in Southern France retained the strong memory of the high morals of the Cathars, particularly of their leaders - the "perfect" (perfecti). Duvernoy, Jean. L'acception: "haereticus" (iretge). -In: The Concept of Heresy in the Middle Ages. Paris-La Haye. I. 1976-77, quotes a number of opinions of ordinary people, recorded in the Registre de Jean Fournier published by him. A farmer who was led out of the secret Cathar meeting (around 1303) because he seemed slightly suspicious exclaimed:"But, sir, I too want to receive a part of the Good!" (Registre, I, p. 437). Another 14th century exclamation has been recorded: "Since the heretics were chased from Sabartes there is no longer good weather in the area" (Registre, II, p. 335, 353-354). This is followed by the emotional statement that after the heretics were driven away "the land does not produce anything good" (Registre, III, p. 307). Jean Duvernoy also quotes another document, dating from around the year 1300 - the Registre de Geoffroy d'Ablis (Paris, Bibl. Nat., ms. Lat. 4269, f 16v) in which a similar belief has been recorded that the Cathars brought happiness and plenty and that one could not do evil in the day one had seen one of the perfect. Sometimes the goodness of the Cathars was given natural dimensions. A notary from Soual (Tames) says: "When the heretics lived in these lands we did not have so many storms or lightning. Now that we are with Franciscans and Dominicans the lightning strikes more frequently." (Paris, Bibl. Nat., fonds Doat, XXV, f216v).

A similar collection of examples of the good deeds of the Cathars is provided by Richard Abels and Ellen Harrison in their study The Participation of Women in Languedocian Catharism. -Medieval Studies, Toronto, 41, p. 245. One of them, however, is particularly interesting in our case. The following has been recorded in the famous MS 609 (f 157v) about one of the witnesses with Catholic orientation: "he never believed that the heretics were "good men"; he believed, however, that their works were good, even their faith was bad" (credebat quod heretici numquam fuerunt boni homines; opera tamen eorum credebat esse bona et fidem malam).

There are truely cases when the intellectual subtlety of denying marriage by comparing it to incest was sometimes wrongly interpreted by later deformed imitators. They were not familiar with the rich philosophy of Catharism and gave a more primitive expression of their anti-conformism. Johannes Hartmann (1367) claimed that incest with mothers and sisters was allowed "because just as the calves were given for food to the people, women are given for the use of free spirits." (Seifert, J. L. Die Weltrevolutionare..., S. 45). These, however, were no longer Cathars but the sect of free spirits. Finally, to conclude the documentary supplement on this subject, it is only fair to quote the case of Belibaste (14th century) who really was known for his penchant for the flesh, although those were times when the Cathar church had already been destroyed by persecution and the self-control which the perfect strictly kept between themselves was no longer possible.

The spiritual purity of the Bogomils and the Cathars remains a high moral example for that age against the background of which the dissipated clergy was extremely embarrasing to medieval society. Presbyter Cosmas used strong words against the "laziness and ignorance of the shepherds" and upbraided the Orthodox priests that they sheared their flock without caring about it ("Беседа против богомилите", c. 74). Pope Innocent III sent special scorching letters and punished the steeped in corruption Catholic clergy in Southern France. The rigorism of the "perfect" (Bogomil and Cathar leaders) was so consistent that they themselves were aware it could not be achieved by their ordinary audience. That was why the Cathar community allowed those ordinary people to have a family and live in the world within the limits of the rules in the Scripture. It was in fact the Bogomil-Cathar purity which attracted enthusiastic followers of the heresy, for they saw in it the opportunity to begin a spiritually dedicated, undivided and morally ennobled life."

Saturday, June 4th, 2005, 02:16 PM
"The Bogomil myth contains some remote echo about a bigger sin of the woman during the fall: women have incarnated the souls of the angels of second heaven /angelo secundi coeli/ , while men have incorporated the souls of the angels of the first heaven /angelo primi coeli/ But in sum, the basic aspiration of the Bogomils to abandon every thing of the material world /omnia corporalia and visibilia/ created by the Satan /Lucifer/ and to get back in the real; of spiritual things /omnia spiritualia et invisibilia/ puts men and women in the same radical denial of earthly existence.

This theologically motivated equality in the material life was supported by an equality in ritual - women had the right to be ordained and shrive. In a word, women had the right to become spiritual leaders which has always set on edge the Orthodox and Catholic clergy. Here is Prezviter Kozma's testimony: The heretics absolve themselves, though they are tied up with devilish fetters. This is done not only by the men but by the women also, which is worthy of castigation”. The asexual equality of men and women finds another expression: besides that women are admitted to the leaders role /traditionnally occupied by men/ men can obtain the birth capacity, that means the capacity to give birth of the Word. Women and men could become Mothers of God /J eotokoi/ - that is to say they all can give birth of the God’Word, the Logos."

"The place of women in Cathar communities in the South of France has been well studied. A few monographs deserve a special mention. Among them are the two volumes by Jean Guiraud which pay considerable attention to Cathar women. G.Koch's monograph (1962) has also been of great use to the present study. R.Nelli's book "La vie quotidienne des Cathars au Languedoc au XIIIe siecle, published in 1969, devotes an entire chapter to women . Le Roy Ladurie a (1975) has also collected interesting empirical data about the social life of women under Cathar influence. In 1979 came out R. Abel's and Ellen Harrison's excellent article ''The Participation of Women in Languedocian Heresy” which is undoubtedly the best work in the field. One of the latest studies is Anne Brenon's "Les Femmes cathares" (1992).As evident, the problem has been studied in depth, yet the empirical material lends itself to new interpretations.

Starting with Ms 609 and having considered other sources as well, R. Abel and E. Harrison give the following figures concerning the number of perfectae women: "the ratio between sightings perfecti and perfectae would still have been three to one" , and further, that "of 719 heretical ministers named in Ms 609, 318, or slightly less than 45% were women" . The authors apply the term perfectae-class, which sugggests the existence of a stably existing body of people . There is proof that the perfectae functioned among the women of the community and that, when there were no perfecti at hand the women had the right to give the consolamentum, the last unction, to male Cathars (See Dollinger, t.II, s.165). Cathar women were the first to create charitable institutions which we find in medieval towns much later. Jean Guiraud describes their schools, boarding - houses, hospitals, workshops for poor women. Anne Brenon has correctly pointed out that these charitable and caring activities , typical of the Cathar communities in Languedoc at the beginning of the 13th century, began to grow in French towns only during the late Middle Ages.

Female Catharism had an institutional impact on the aristocracy. Guiraud speaks of the tradition among the lower and impoverished aristocracy to send their daughters, who were excluded from the inheritance of land, to Cathar pensions and boarding-houses so that they would be provided with a decent living. Abel and Harrison mention the same practice. There is the curious example of Raimon IV (1194-1222), who in order to get rid of his second wife Beatrice, made her convert to Cathar asceticism. The same way Raimon-Roger de Foix "agrees" to let his wife part with him in order to follow the secluded life of Cathar nuns. This is an example of the permeation of Cathar precedent into law , which helped solve the problems raised by female inheritance which shows that Catharism was acceptable when it came to solving social problems. Cathar hostels, of the type of nunneries, were established at various places - in 1209 there were six of those in Montesquieu, in Saint-Martin-de-la Lande they were ten. Such institutions were familiar in Le-Mas-Saintes-Puelles, Laurac, Vitrac, Villeneuve-la-Comptal and Cabaret."

"First, that that Bogomils and Cathars, as well as the heresies close to them, were a powerful, even a main stream in the twelfth century Renaissance in the way they placed women in an equal position. On their part, the cultural activities of women brought about more mildness, mercy, elegance, psychological depth, a deeper interest in literature. Mores and behaviour become milder, to be elegant in manners was a fact of prestige. We can trust to the observation of Alfred Jeanroy that while in Southern France the troubadours created an unheard of spectrum of literary genres, in the North which was less affected by the heresy, the amour courtois was unknown, and the poetry of the trouveres was rather schematic, bearing testimony of the pride of the aristocracy in the recounting of the glories of battles. One fact more: the ladies attention towards the troubadours and the jongleurs created the situation of “open society” - the poets and the singers were accepted in the feudal milieu as equals. The emancipation of the art was obtained through the woman emancipation is a highe degre of early democratization.

The epic poem in the North was the only flowering genre about 1160. Tke lieterary rchness of the forms, this blossoming forth in the South of France according to Alfred Jeanroy had been a cultivated taste . The leading role of Provencal literature was admitted by Dante and Petrarch who saw themselves as its followers. In England after the suppression of John Bull's rebellion the dualist heresy lost the ground for free development but created social groups which brought about a peak in the literature of the period. As the proceedings of the Norwich trials clearly show, the women were natural leaders in this literary revival."

Saturday, June 4th, 2005, 02:20 PM
"The third stage covered the end of the 13th and the entire 14th century, including William Langland’s poem, The Vision of Piers Plowman (14th c.) and John Wycliff’s philosophy and social activity, Ivan Franko also adding a considerable number of medieval dramas teeming with dualistic plots. This poem is the subject of the second chapter in our book, The Image of Christ Plowman in Medieval English Culture. The Vision of Piers Plowman is full of Bogomil-Cathar imagery and theology. Suffice it to mention the Fall of Lucifer, the Descent of Christ into Hell or the liberation of all sinful souls ('and al that man hath mysdo, I, man wole amende' - says Christ). In Chapter XIX, Christ teaches Piers Plowman how to plough the spiritual field of the world, actually an English version of the scene in De arbore crucis in which Christ teaches the ploughman to plough. Then again, we have the covenant whereby the land is given to Adam - in Langland’s poem it is given to Piers Plowman, or the use of Bogomil vocabulary like “good people”, “the Perfect” and Spiritus Paraclitus, among others. According to the famous art historians T. Borenius and E. W. Tristram (1927), the protagonist Pierce Plowman gave birth to a specific Lollard iconography, including the appearance of Christ of the Trades in poor Lollard churches in the period from the 14th to the 15th century, particularly the St. Mary Church in Ampney, Gloucestershire; the churches in Stedham and West Chiltington in Sussex; Breage Church in Cornwall; the churches in Poundstok, Penwith and Lanivet, and St. Just in Penwith.

According to T. Borenius and E. W. Tristram, the image of Piers Plowman from The Vision of Piers Plowman is the main source of iconography in the cases quoted so far. In other words, this is an indirect transfer of the figure of Christ as Ploughman teaching the ploughman to plough correctly in De arbore crucis (The Legend of the Tree, or The Legend of the Cross - 11th c.).

Yet, we find also a direct transfer. This is scene 27 of the famous series of 14th century ceramic tiles from no longer existing church in Tring, Herdfordshire, with scenes from the apocryphal Evangelium Thomae Infantiae (Infancy Gospel)."

"One should add here, that the ploughman really does hold a goad. The very same goad, which made Father Jeremiah exclaim: “Oh, blessed tree, that the Lord took in His hands! Oh, blessed plough and blessed goad!”. (Old Bulgarian literature1. Apocrypha, Sofia, 1982, p. 282 -in Bulgarian). Of course, this literature and iconography enjoyed a number of mass consumers, the stable heretical centres of the Lollards (Chapter Four: Social Structures of the Heresy). British historiography abounds in books on the Lollards and their literary activity. Suffice it to mention the names of M. Deanesly, Anne Hudson, Norman Tanner, Margaret Aston, or J. Thomson. The new element in this work is that it proves that the beliefs of the Lollards were identical to those of the Bogomil-Cathar tradition on the basis of data taken from the British scholars and on this author’s own observations. A series of detailed comparisons are made, which prove a coincidence in common myths (the fall of Lucifer and his angels, Satan as creator and ruler of the visible world), ritual practices (direct confession to God, preference for the prayer Pater Noster, denial of hell and purgatory), anti-clericalism (the official Church is seen as a community of Herod or of Antichrist, church buildings are considered synagogues, cross-roads or wastelands), rejection of official Church ritual (negation of the Holy Cross and the icons, refusal to worship the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints) and social ideas (negation of legal authority and oath-taking, condemnation of bloodshed and war).

One cannot but notice the same likeness between the Bogomil theology and John Wycliffe’s reformational and literary activity (Chapter Three: John Wycliffe’s Mellowed Bulgarian Dualism). Once again, the author undertakes a detailed comparative analysis, which indicates that: with the phrase Deus debet obedite diabolo Wycliffe repeats the well-known Bogomil assertion that “the Devil is master of the world” (Synodicon of Tsar Boril of 1211); Wycliffe repeatedly quotes the dualistic myth of the pride and fall of Lucifer and his angels; he also attacked the doctrine of transubstantiation, adopting the Bogomil-Cathar thesis that God's word is “our supersubstantial bread” (supersubstantialem); like the Cathars, he insisted on sermons in the native language etc.

The book also deals with a barely studied aspect of the Bogomil-Cathar heresy, i.e. the fact that in many respects it is a synthesis of influences of old civilisations and cultures (Chapter Five: The Pre-Renaissance Potential of the Dualists). The author develops already voiced assumptions of a connection between the Bogomil movement and Orphysm, and proves that the scene of Christ descending in hell, so beloved of the Dualists, is a Christian version of Orpheus’ descent in the kingdom of Hades. Readers will also find research of the influence of Zoroastrism on the Bogomil movement, more particularly the borrowing of the well-known triad “good thoughts - good words - good deeds”. In a similar way, Father Jeremiah borrowed plot elements like “the magian material of Tobit” (J. Moulton, 1913) from the Zoroastrian tradition. One can also find an outline of usage of Bogomil apocryphal material by Dante, as well as other cases of pre-Renaissance influence of dualistic culture."

Saturday, June 4th, 2005, 03:09 PM
"Then again Bogomilism with its West European branches of Patarenes, Cathars, Beguins and Lollards is probably the most outstanding example of transcontinental, Pan-European proiliferation and interaction between cultures. It was for such an approach that Dimitry Obolensky appealed even in the first edition of his excellent book on the Bogomils: “the study of the Bogomil movement has its own, and by no means negligible, part to play in the investigation of the cultural and religious links between eastern and western Europe, the importance of which is increasingly perceived at the present time.”

So what is our starting point? A thesis that William Tyndale stepped on Bogomil-Cathar philosophy in his motivation for the translation of the Scriptures, as well as in many of his interpretations of mainly New Testament material. Now lets move on to the facts. It is well known that Tyndale communicated with Luther, but in the thinking of the Englishman there is definitely something more specific than the influence of the head of the German Reformation. For example, one discerns Tyndale’s own renditions in relation to the parable of the dishonest manager in St. Luke, which also impressed his authoritative biographer, David Daniell. Daniell compares Luther’s famous Ein Sermon dem unrechten Mammon Lu.XVI with the manner in which Tyndale treats this parable in The Wicked Mammon. To quote David Daniell “Luther’s printed sermon occupies only six leaves in quarto; Tyndale has six times as much…Moreover, Tyndale alone sets out the whole parable – Luther’s text is only the final verse…”

This preference turns one’s attention to the fact that the same parable from St. Luke is an important part of The Secret Book of the Bogomils. It explains the beginning of Satan’s treachery and the corruption of the angels who followed him. It explains how Satan became the impious lord of this world. In other words, for Tyndale this story acquired nearly the same importance it had in The Secret Book of the Bogomils."

"The dualistic views of the reformer find an even more comprehensive expression when he voices another important idea of Bogomils and Cathars, i.e. that this world is the kingdom of the devil. Acknowledging the power and the great hold of the devil on people’s souls, Catholics and Orthodox Christians adamantly define the world and the creatures as God’s creation while the dualists regard it as the creation and kingdom of Satan. This, too, is why Presbyter Kosmas reproaches them: “They should also be condemned because they call the creator of the sky and the earth father, but regard his creation as one of the devil.” Now here we find the same thinking expressed through the words of Tyndale: “Seeing we are conceived and born under the power of the devil, and we are hiss possession and kingdom (italics G.V.), his captives and bondmen…” We shall recall here yet another element of harmony with the dualists in the above phrase: Tyndale obviously shared their opinion that conception as essential to the flesh is subordinate to the devil."

"Of course, these dualistic definitions in the works of the reformer are not placed one next to the other, nor do they comprise a comprehensive and consistent exposé. It seems that, as he was aware the dualist philosophy should be concealed, Tyndale made a fragmentary intertextual presentation, making it accessible to insiders, to those who had previous knowledge about it or who spread it secretly amongst sympathisers. This, by the way, is an old Bogomil method to which Euthymius of the Periblepton (11th century) devoted plenty of space but before that was described by Presbyter Kosmas (10th century): “ostensibly they do everything to avoid being distinguished from orthodox Christians”, which attracted people “to approach them” and to think that they are “orthodox and capable of guidance to salvation”. The explanation is simple – on the one hand, as K. Radchenko has explained, it was an established Bogomil habit to mix canonical with non-canonical literature to enable the heretics to push their philosophy through without trouble. On the other, Bogomils and Cathars were communities of non-violence, they had no means to defend themselves and consequently used such mimicry. Tyndale himself said that “to lie also, and to dissemble is not always sin”. Tyndale’s method was so successful that not only his opponents but his researchers as well failed to discern the dualistic presence. Consequently, we shall hereafter bring these fragments to the fore and connect them in that comprehensive dualistic exposé they form. This will be accompanied by comparisons with well-known Bogomil and Cathar formulas in order reveal to what extent they overlap with Tyndale’s theses. For example, Tyndale repeatedly used the definition “good man” , which what Bogomils and Cathars called their dualist leaders: “good men”, “boni homines”, “boni christiani”, “perfecti”. Now let us make the direct comparison we need. The Cathars said “and thus they call themselves good Christians, good men and holy”. Tyndale, in turn, used “good and learned man”, “a Christian man is a spiritual thing and hath God’s word in his heart”, “and God make thee a good man”. On a single page of his Doctrinal Treatises he mentioned the root “perfect” four times exactly in the sense of achieving the dualist status of spiritual elevation: “For perfecter (italics G.V.) we be, the greater is our repentance, and the stronger is our faith. And thus, as the Spirit and doctrine on God’s part, and repentance and faith on our part, beget anew in Christ, even so they make us grow, and wax perfect, and save us unto end, and never leave us until sin be put off, and we clean purified, and full formed, and fashioned after the similitude and likeness of the perfectness of our Saviour Jesus…” One finds a constant usage of the same definition with the Lollards (good man, good woman, true man, homo fidelis, perfit man). According to studies of this author which carry abundant evidence the Lollard communities definitely professed the dualist philosophy. The scope of this paper does not permit us to go into more detail so we shall give an unequivocal answer: yes, the Lollards were the last, most western branch of the Bogomil-Cathar heresy.

Just as Bogomils, Cathars and Lollards say that the state “good man” and “perfect” is acquired through the act of consolamentum, by the descent of the Holy Spirit on the ordained Tyndale describes the same sacrament as more powerful than papal ordination: “but prayer as when we say God make you good man, Christ put his spirit in thee…” "

"To the Bogomils and the other dualists God is the sole recipient of personal confession. In this case, too, we have many observations to make. According to the 15th century Summa contra haereticos, Cod. Monac. Lat. 544, the dualists thought believers confessed their sins directly to God and received forgiveness from Him. This, too, was the opinion of the Lollards, featured in the 15th century Norwich heresy trial records: “the same Margaret claims confession is made only before God and no other priests.” William Tyndale also literally rejected the opportunity for a priest to be “a mediator between God and us”.

One also finds the respective coincidence in the other, the public variant of dualist confession. We know that Bogomils and Cathars also practiced the so-called collective confession, a 14th century description of which we can again in F. Döllinger’s collection of documents: “This confession is preferred in public where the prelate holds the Scriptures above his head while the rest lay their right hands with prayer”. Tyndale’s definition of the two models of confession repeats the dualistic in both spirit and letter: “Confession, not in the priest’s ear (for that is but man’s invention), but to God in the heart and before all the congregation of God”.

The practice according to which the actual function of the priest is above all either in the sermon or in leading collective confession, or in spiritual guidance makes these activities also achievable by the ordinary but spiritually elevated man. This is the common stance of the Bulgarian and the European dualists, of the Lollards, Wycliffe and Tyndale, and it offered outlets for religious activity of women.

Our British colleague Margaret Aston has pointed out quite correctly that ‘in the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, as earlier,” Cathars, Waldenses and generally “unorthodoxy offered women outlets for religious activity that were not to be found in the established church.” Thus this tradition was introduced and spread by the Bogomils even in the 10th century, as Presbyter Kosmas wrote. The letter of Euthymius of the Periblepton mentions the heretic leader Churila who split with his wife because of the Bogomil requirement for abstinence from marriage and made her a “mock abbess”. When discussing the place of women in the Lollard community, Margaret Ashton pointed out that there women used to study, read and preach the Scriptures and were some sort of evangelists, although she couldn’t take it upon herself to say definitely whether women were given the role of priests.

It seems to this author, however, that we can rely on the records of the heresy trials in Norwich, where several heretics categorically stated that “every trewe man and woman being in charite is a priest”. Margaret Ashton herself quoted the same thesis voiced by Wycliffe. Such categorical positions give grounds to assume that, although we do not know a name of a Lollard priestess to this day, such a document could be discovered one day, particularly as there are numerous recordings of the phenomenon of “perfect” Cathar women in Provence. In addition, Döllinger’s collection features a 14th century document of the Inquisition in Provence, according to which “Perfect” Cathar women officiated at the supreme sacrament of the dualists, consolamentum, i.e. baptism in the name of the Holy Spirit.

Since precedents abound so much they could possibly have found their concrete expression somewhere in England too. In addition, one should not forget that preaching God’s Word, public reading of the Scriptures in the native tongue and their explanation are the real priestly functions according to the dualists. In other words, the role of evangelist, which Margaret Ashton agrees was granted to Lollard women, means acting like a priest according to the dualists. The question is whether English women heretics had the right to give consolamentum, the supreme unction. The fact that this has not been recorded does not mean a negation in itself since the abundant archives on the Lollards to the best of this author’s knowledge do not feature a description of consolamentum. The reason seems understandable – the Lollards hid their dualistic essence (and consolamentum was their supreme sacrament) and rather presented the structure and creed of their church , defending them as direct conformity to the Scriptures in order to generate respect in the official church. Nor did the Inquisition surmise that the English heretics were a continuation of the continental dualistic heresy."

"By returning to the cross Tyndale surpassed the tradition of clandestine heretical communities and offered an open, general national church reformed in the best of dualist spirit and practice. Although the example we have quoted are unequivocal evidence of Tyndale’s predilection for dualist theology he wanted the edifice of his church to be one for all society, for the entire nation. The return to the cross, in fact, is a trend of internal evolution of Bogomilism and the Cathars, which was discerned by authors like A. Solovjev, Dmitri Obolensky, Rene Nelli and Stefan Lazarov, among others.

Tyndale’s determination to elevate the significance of the cross corresponded to that trend, but it also emerges as his personal initiative in England when one recalls that the bulk of the Lollard defendants at Norwich (1428-1431), who were obvious staunch supporters of absolute dualism, rejected the cross. One can also discern Tyndale’s new attitude to the cross in the fact that he used imagery and rhetoric whereby the Bogomils denied the cross but without the very act of rejection. Therefore Tyndale was also a reformer in the hard wing of dualist tradition, suggesting that it come out of its self-isolation and converge with the institutionally and historically established Christianity but yet to shed corruption and other deformities by reform. Considering that most of the texts used by Tyndale stem from the books and formulas of absolute dualists, his officially declared reverence for the cross overcomes some internal dualist dogmas, which sound like extreme speculation to the general public."

Saturday, June 4th, 2005, 03:12 PM
"Now that we have seen that the philosophy of William Tyndale shared fundamental Bogomil-Cathars doctrinal positions it is pertinent to ask how, by what ways the dualist philosophy actually reached him. On the one hand things are complicated because he lived in the 16th century, his connections with the familiar writings of dualist culture were indirect and he was, so to say, a third generation dualist. What we have in mind as the first generation of dualists on the Albion the German-speaking heretics described by W. Novoburgensis who were branded in Oxford in 1166. To this author the second generation consisted of Wycliffe and the 14th century Lollards with their abundant literary work. Naturally such periodisation is conditional and can only be finalised with the addition of new data. For example, Henry Knighton quoted Higden in his Chronicle and wrote: “Mony of the heretikes Albigense, commyn into Ynglonde, were brent in lyfe”. It was difficult for this author to decipher the exact date of this report exactly because it retold Higden and I based myself on the context to date it in 1209."

"One should suppose that a more detailed study of the sources Tyndale used to create his dualist philosophy will also reveal other connections, some of which might prove continental. Here we have to answer the next question: if Wycliffe’s influence on Tyndale is visible how do we prove this was a dualist influence. Because of the limited scope of this paper we cannot present the existing detailed evidence, we shall only say that there is a study clarifying the Bogomil-Cathar views of John Wycliffe Here we shall only mention as an indicative illustration Wycliffe’s well-known thesis of Deus debet obedire diabolo, which is a rather precise translation of the Bogomil view that the devil the “impious curator” of this world.

Naturally, as a thinker with an impressive individual presence already far beyond the initial substratum of ideas Tyndale had his own peculiar features. Thus, although he repeatedly expressed a dualistic preference for the New Testament and although the examples in his works predominantly came from the New Testament, unlike the dualists he accepted the use of the Old Testament. Like the Bogomil-Cathar assertion that the God of the Old Testament was cruel and unjust, that that was Satan, Tyndale judged the Old Testament quite critically: “The old, cruel and fearful testament, which drew people away…” Respectively, he expressed a strong preference for the New Testament: “but this new and gentle testament, which calleth again, and promised mercy to all that will amend…” In his own interpretation Tyndale did not bring the contradictions between the two testaments to a break, but rather defined the Old Testament as a sort of antechamber to the New Testament. The Old Testament is a “covenant…made between God and the carnal children of Abraham, and Jacob, and otherwise called Israel”, while the New Testament is “a new covenant…that Christ’s blood is shed for our sins”, i.e. this was a way for spiritual elevation of man. Thus we can also see that Tyndale adopted the official doctrine of redemption, while the Bogomils and Cathars did not.

The dualist theology is softened in yet another important case. Cathars, Bogomils and Lollards rejected the baptism with water, asserting that true baptism was with the Holy Ghost, with the Word, with Christ’s passion and blood. While placing baptism with the word higher Tyndale avoided rejection of baptism at the font and preserved its significance as preparatory to baptism with the Word: “The washing without the word helpeth not: but through the word it purifieth and cleanseth us”. Of course, he did not forget to define baptism in Christ’s blood as the true baptism: “The washing preacheth unto us, that we are cleansed with Christ’s bloodshedding”. Thus he did not engage in conflict with important items in the official church tradition but introduced his own additional interpretation instead."

"I would like to say that further work on clarifying Tyndale’s hidden theology will probably enriched the information presented here. It will also definitely introduce more nuances and precision in detail. For example, one can say that although the Wycliffe-Tyndale influence is clearly visible, in certain nuances it seems they are representatives of two different trends in dualist philosophy. According to hitherto studied material, Wycliffe rather leaned towards the ideas of the Bulgarian Bogomils who had “their own church of Bulgaria, believe in and preach a good omnipotent God without beginning (or end), who created the angels and the four elements. And they say that Lucifer and his accomplices sinned in the heavens”. I would support this statement with Wycliffe’s repeated quotation of the myth of Christ descending in hell and vanquishing it, a myth to which the Bogomils had a special predilection and which they borrowed from the Nicodemus Evangelion included in the list of Bogomil literature. Tyndale’s formulation in his Expositions and Notes on Sundry Portions of the Holy Scriptures Together with the Practice of Prelates: “God and devil are two contrary fathers, two contrary fountains, and two contrary causes: the one of all goodness, the other of all evil.” overlaps with another tendency of dualism – that of absolute dualism preached by the Drugutia church, which reads “they believe and teach two gods, two lords without beginning or end, one good and one evil”. At the same time it can be seen that Tyndale obviously read the Homily of Epiphanius, which also describes the scene of Christ’s descent into hell, although Tyndale showed a preference for another equally impressive passage there and wrote: “Christ is in thee, and thou in him, knit together inseparably”. This is an almost exact translation of the well-known phrase from the Homily of Epiphanius: “Thou art in me, as I am in thee – we are a primeval indelible face”."

Sunday, July 9th, 2006, 08:16 PM
Speculation and Miltonian self-identification

A lot of studies have been dedicated to Milton’s rather specific religious views. Here we can quote Arthur Lovejoy’s idea of felix culpa (The Fortunate Fall – 1937), reiterated by Hugh White (1994) and the studies of Maurice Kelley and Barbara Lewalski.

One of the most recent publications belongs to A. Nuttall who discovered Gnostic heresy in Milton and entitled his book The Alternative Trinity: Gnostic Heresy in Marlowe, Milton and Blake. There one finds the assertion that “Milton’s thought is quasi-Gnostic”1 and we know thatin the Middle Ages Gnosticism spread through Bogomilism and its derivative trends. The same year saw the publishing of a collection with a similar compelling title, Milton and Heresy, by Stephen P. Dobranski and John P. Rumrich2. There, according to Stephen Fallan, instead of gnosticism Milton bore a combination of “unmistakable Armianism… complicated by Calvinist vestiges”3. In his review W. Walker has summed up the discussion as a question whether Milton was a heretical theologian or it would be more correct to interpret him as an orthodox Christian.

Read further:

Sunday, July 9th, 2006, 11:48 PM
For what it's worth, I've read accounts of the influence of Gnostic and Dualistic thought on the old English folksong "The Bold Fisherman", which you might care to look up if you're interested in that sort of thing.

Such things go deeper in our history than many might think. I am minded of the monk Gottschalk / Godescalc of Malmesbury, back in the pre Conquest times. He is supposed to have took his cue in his discussions of the Divine Darkness from the Jewish mystics and linguists in Iberia, who transmitted Manchaean and even Ismailite and Karmat ideas to the West.

Monday, July 10th, 2006, 05:49 AM
It is hard to say though whether these allegations were the result of accidental contacts with continental Luciferians or came from the official Church which sought to discredit the Lollards by presenting them as having a greater affinity for Lucifer than for God.
I'd say so. The Lollards were Wycliffe's followers and certainly he believed nothing of the sort. The Roman Church has a history of defaming those who questioned its dogmas.

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019, 06:24 AM
I'd say so. The Lollards were Wycliffe's followers and certainly he believed nothing of the sort. The Roman Church has a history of defaming those who questioned its dogmas.

I think the Lollards were very puritanical in their outlook, and they opposed the Catholic practices of pilgrimages, the veneration of of images, and the Holy Mass. Church bells were described by one Lollardist as the 'antichrist's horns.' Anticlericalism was also very strong amongst the Lollards, and the sacraments of baptism and marriage were rejected. The Lollards attacked Catholic parishioners for such (innocuous) activities such as singing, dancing and drinking ale. Eventually the heresy of sola scriptura (if any Protestants read this, please don't see this as a personal attack) became the norm with the Lollards.

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019, 01:14 PM
Am I right in saying that you've been looking into Catharism a bit just lately, Alice? ;)

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019, 01:20 PM
Am I right in saying that you've been looking into Catharism a bit just lately, Alice? ;)

I enjoy reading about medieval heresies and heretics, yes!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019, 04:01 PM
You'll have no shortage of material then :)

The list of heresies was almost unlimited in those intolerant times!

Tuesday, January 29th, 2019, 05:00 PM
To come back to the OP though and I'm not convinced that Catharism/Bogomilism (these two terms are virtually interchangeable) made any serious inroads into England.

Lollardism certainly did and this bore some resemblance to C/B-ism, which had spread from Occitania to places like Flanders and Germany before being finally extinguished. I'm pretty sure that Lollardism drew some heavy influence from this and the timing of Lollardism's appearance is close enough to suggest that it was a continuation of C/B-ism that had slowly seeped across the English Channel in a slightly altered form.

Tuesday, March 19th, 2019, 09:52 PM
Here is a beautiful song about the Cathares (aka Bogomiles).

If you watch it on YouTube you'll notice that I've just translated it into English :) but I wouldn't try singing the English version because it no longer rhymes and the syllables don't fit ...