Gnosticism - Cathars and Catharism: Historical Fact or a Delusion of the Inquisition?


The Cathars represent a Gnostic survival into the Christian Middle Ages. They were dualists who argued for an egalitarian church founded on angelic purity, apostolic poverty, and through a single sacrament sought to release the soul from it's physical prison. The Catholic Church saw them a utterly heretical and sought to systematically destroy their popular strongholds in southern France through 20 years of Crusader Violence and Inquisition. There's only one problem with this story: recent, maverick scholarship has forcefully argued that the Cathars and Catharism, quite simply, never existed at all. Join me, in collaboration with @LetsTalkReligion , as we discuss the Cathars, Catharism and the arguments for and against their historical existence.

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Recommended Readings:

Primary Sources:
Wakefield - Heresies of the High Middle Ages - 978-0231096324
Léglu, Catherine, Rebecca Rist and Claire Taylor (eds.) The Cathars and the Albigensian Crusade: a Sourcebook (London: Routledge, 2014)

Barber, Malcolm, The Cathars: Dualist heretics in Languedoc in the High Middle Ages, Second edition (Harlow, United Kingdom: Pearson, 2013)
Lambert, Malcolm, The Cathars (Oxford; Malden, Mass.: Blackwell Publishers, 1998)
Lansing, Carol, Power and purity: Cathar heresy in Medieval Italy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1998)
Taylor, Claire, Heresy in medieval France: Dualism in Aquitaine and the Agenais, 1000-1249 (Woodbridge, UK; Rochester, NY: Royal Historical Society/Boydell Press, 2005)

Moore, R. I., The War on Heresy (Cambridge, Mass.: Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2012)
Pegg, Mark Gregory, A Most Holy War: the Albigensian Crusade and the battle for Christendom (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2008)
Sennis, Antonio (ed.), Cathars in Question (York: York Medieval Press, 2016)

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