The Other God

The Other God: Dualist Religions from Antiquity to the Cathar Heresy

Copyright Date: 2000
Published by: Yale University Press
DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2
Pages: 490
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  • Book Info
    The Other God
    Book Description:

    This fascinating book explores the evolution of religious dualism, the doctrine that man and cosmos are constant battlegrounds between forces of good and evil. It traces this evolution from late Egyptian religion and the revelations of Zoroaster and the Orphics in antiquity through the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mithraic Mysteries, and the great Gnostic teachers to its revival in medieval Europe with the suppression of the Bogomils and the Cathars, heirs to the age-long teachings of dualism. Integrating political, cultural, and religious history, Yuri Stoyanov illuminates the dualist religious systems, recreating in vivid detail the diverse worlds of their striking ideas and beliefs, their convoluted mythologies and symbolism.Reviews of an earlier edition:"A book of prime importance for anyone interested in the history of religious dualism. The author's knowledge of relevant original sources is remarkable; and he has distilled them into a convincing and very readable whole."-Sir Steven Runciman"The most fascinating historical detective story since Steven Runciman'sSicilian Vespers."-Colin Wilson"A splendid account of the decline of the dualist tradition in the East . . . both strong and accessible. . . . The most readable account of Balkan heresy ever."-Jeffrey B. Russell,Journal of Religion"Well-written, fact-filled, and fascinating . . . has in it the making of a classic."-Harry T. Norris,Bulletin of SOAS

    eISBN: 978-0-300-19014-4
    Subjects: Religion

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.1
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.2
  3. Maps
    (pp. viii-x)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.3
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.4
  5. CHAPTER ONE The Bridge of the Separator
    (pp. 1-64)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.5

    With the establishment, expansion and consolidation of the monotheistic orthodoxies of Christianity, rabbinic Judaism and Islam, other religious traditions, displaying with varying intensity a dualism routinely attacked by its monistic critics as the teaching of the two principles, began to decline and even disappear from their traditional spheres of influence in Mediterranean Europe and the Near East. This process seemed to have accelerated in the early medieval period but during the High Middle Ages dualist religiosity in Europe was resurrected, mainly through the missionary efforts of the Bogomil and Cathar heresies. Centuries after orthodox Christianity had formally triumphed over its...

  6. CHAPTER TWO The Time of Mixture
    (pp. 65-123)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.6

    In 331 BC Alexander the Great defeated the armies of the last Achaemenid King of Kings, Darius III, for the third time in what the Macedonian king saw as a ‘legitimate war for the sovereignty of Asia’ (Arrian 2: 12.5). The following year Alexander sacked and burned the ceremonial imperial capital of Persepolis, seen by the Macedonian conqueror as the most hateful of all cities of Asia (Diodorus 17: 70.1); its devastation was to be proclaimed as retribution for Xerxes’ destruction of the Athenian Acropolis. The burning of Persepolis ‘violated and ended the long cycle of sacred Achaemenid kingship’¹ and...

  7. CHAPTER THREE The Thread of the Great Heresy
    (pp. 124-183)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.7

    Following the explosion of religious and spiritual creativity during late antiquity, traces and actual transmitters of Gnostic and dualist teachings in the early Middle Ages become increasingly difficult to discern and identify. In the Near East such teachings enjoyed an uninterrupted historical prevalence within the still existing small religious group of the Mandaeans in southern Iraq and Khuzistan in Iran, rightly considered the last survivors of the great Gnostic movements of late antiquity. Mandaean doctrines certainly display links with Jewish baptismal sects, with Christianity, Manichaeism and Iranian religious traditions which almost certainly reflect stages in their history—facing persecution, by...

  8. CHAPTER FOUR The Dualist Communion
    (pp. 184-201)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.8

    Along with Gothic art and architecture, the renewed ideals of monasticism, asceticism and apostolic life, the advent of the dualist heresy in the west was symptomatic of the religious enthusiasm and permutations of the twelfth century. The diffusion of the dualist tradition in western Europe reached its climax in the growth of an organized and widespread Cathar movement in northern Italy and southern France. Contemporary Catholic accounts often refer to the crucial impact of Balkan dualism on its formation. Modern theories may differ in their estimation of the chronology and the scale of Bogomil influence on original Catharism but invariably...

  9. CHAPTER FIVE The Crusade Against Dualism
    (pp. 202-259)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.9

    The last two decades of the twelfth century brought about a drastic reversal of fortune in the crusader domains and the Byzantine empire. In 1187 Saladin, the great adversary of the crusaders, crushed their forces near Hattin and recaptured Jerusalem, while one year earlier the militant and influential Bulgarian house of the Assenids had overthrown Byzantine rule in a campaign characterized by its religious and messianic overtones. The Assenids established the second Bulgarian empire (1186–1394) and Byzantine hegemony in the eastern Balkans was finally destroyed. The Fourth Crusade, launched in 1202 by Pope Innocent III (1198–1216), inflicted still...

  10. CHAPTER SIX Legends, Parables and ‘Secret Myths’
    (pp. 260-286)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.10

    Medieval and modern authorities on medieval dualism agree that initiation into Bogomil and Cathar teachings proceeded gradually and that prior to theconsolamentumthe ordinary believers were not introduced to what were considered the inner doctrines, preserved for theperfecti, who claimed knowledge of the ‘mystery of the Kingdom of God’. To their followers and sympathizers the Bogomil and Catharperfectidid indeed seem like ‘living icons’¹ of genuine, apostolic Christianity, guardians and repositories of the authentic teaching of Christ secretly revealed to his true apostles and transmitted in secrecy thereafter, untainted by the corrupting interference and doctoring of the...

  11. EPILOGUE: The War of Labels
    (pp. 287-294)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.11

    In concluding this book, one needs to reiterate that despite using a chronological framework, this book was not intended to reconstruct the development of religious dualist currents in antiquity and the Middle Ages as a historically uninterrupted chain, running from Zoroastrianism or Orphism through Gnostic teachings in late antiquity to the medieval dualist heresies. On the contrary, it has frequently tried to demonstrate the impossibility of such continuity and the paucity of evidence of actual historical contacts between such currents. On the other hand, the book has been guided by the assumption that the phenomenon of the emergence of a...

  12. Abbreviations
    (pp. 295-299)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.12
  13. Notes
    (pp. 300-425)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.13
  14. Select Bibliography
    (pp. 426-457)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.14
  15. Index
    (pp. 458-476)
    DOI: 10.2307/j.ctt5vm3q2.15