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DOI 10.12887/31-2018-4-124-04

Piotr CZARNECKI – Towards the Origins of Evil: The Conception of the Fall in Cathar Doctrines

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In contemporary historiography of Catharism doctrinal matters are analyzed extremely rarely. However, an increasingly popular ‘deconstructivist’ interpretation of this heresy questions the connections between Catharism and earlier dualist heresies, in particular its relation to Bogomilism. The article, basing on source materials, analyzes the issue of the fall (crucial for the dualist teachings) in various versions of the Cathar doctrine: in moderate dualism, as well as in the two options that developed within the radical one (which assumed the existence of two co-eternal and independent principles), namely, the ‘angelic’ version and the ‘doctrine of the two worlds.’ The analysis shows that, in the early period, the doctrine of the fall professed by moderate Cathars as well as by radical ones was an accurate reflection of the models included in the myths and sacred scriptures of the Bogomils, especially those included in the Interrogatio Iohannis. Yet Cathar attempts at preservation of the mythological and exegetical themes borrowed from the East rendered the myths of the fall incoherent and incapable of giving a clear answer to the fundamental question: Unde malum? In the 13th century, however, mostly due to the Catholic criticism, some Cathar communities dared modify the Eastern, Bogomil models, which resulted in the creation of their own conceptions providing better explanations of the issue of the origins of evil (an issue crucial in the case of dualism). Nevertheless the conceptions in question failed to be widely accepted among Cathars.

Keywords: Catharism, Bogomilism, medieval dualism

Contact: Pracownia Dokumentacji Wyznań Religijnych w Polsce Współczesnej,
Instytut Religioznawstwa, Uniwersytet Jagielloński, Collegium Broscianum,
ul. Grodzka 5, p. 5, 31-048 Cracow, Poland
E-mail: piotr.czarnecki@uj.edu.pl
Phone: +48 12 6631716

Pliki do pobrania:

» 124_Czarnecki.pdf

  1. ISSN 0860-8024
  2. The Republic of Poland Ministry of Science and Higher Education Value: 20.00
  3. Quarterly “Ethos” is indexed by the following databases: EBSCO, CEEOL, Index Copernicus (ICV 2017: 55.26), Philosopher’s Index, ERIH Plus.
  4. DOI Prefix 10.12887