This short and accessible book introduces readers to the problems of heresy, schism and dissidence over the last two millennia. The heresies under discussion range from Gsticism, influential in the early Christian period, right through to modern sects. The idea of a heretic conjures up many images, from the martyr prepared to die for religious beliefs, through to sects with bizarre practices. This book provides a remarkable insight into the fraught history of heresy, showing how the Church came to insist on orthodoxy when threatened by alternative ideals, exploring the social and political conditions under which heretics were created, and how those involved were 'tested' and punished, often by imprisonment and burning. Engagingly written, A Brief History of Heresy is enlivened throughout with fascinating examples of individuals and movements.
G.R. Evans is Lecturer in History at the University of Cambridge. Her previous publications include Law and Theology in the Middle Ages (2002), The Church and the Churches (1994), Philosophy and Theology in the Middle Ages (1993), and Problems of Authority in the Reformation Debates (1992). She is also the editor of The Medieval Theologians (Blackwell Publishing, 2000). She was for ten years a prominent member of the Church and Order Advisory Group of the Church of England, and is a former diarist for The Church Times.