The Medieval Gnostic Theology of the Cathars - The Book of the Two Principles


The medieval Gnostic Cathars have become the stuff of legend - but what exactly was their philosophy and theology? Surviving in a single manuscript, the Book of the Two Principles (Liber de Duobus Principiis) is the most sustained work of Cathar theology to have survived all attempts to exterminate this dualist form of Christianity. This volume argues in support of radical metaphysical dualism and against the freedom of the will for the truly righteous, even polemizing against other Cathar factions. Surviving the fires of the Inquisition, the text is a fascinating glimpse into Catharism!

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Recommended Readings:

Cathar Texts online -
Summa Catharis -
David Zbíral - Heretical Hands at Work: Reconsidering the Genesis of a Cathar Manuscript (Ms. Firenze, Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale, Conv. soppr. J.II.44) -

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)
Charlesworth - The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha Volume 2 - 978-1598564907

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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