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by Hilaire Belloc

Download The Great Heresies eBook
Hilaire Belloc
Ayer Co Pub (June 1, 1938)
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Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (/hɪˈlɛər ˈbɛlək/; French: ; 27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953) was a British-French writer and historian and one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century

Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (/hɪˈlɛər ˈbɛlək/; French: ; 27 July 1870 – 16 July 1953) was a British-French writer and historian and one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. Belloc was also an orator, poet, sailor, satirist, writer of letters, soldier, and political activist. His Catholic faith had a strong impact on his works. He was President of the Oxford Union and later MP for Salford from 1906 to 1910.

Hence, I thought this book (from 1938, by the famous Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc) would survey various heresies and would explain, as its title says, the Great Heresies

Hence, I thought this book (from 1938, by the famous Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc) would survey various heresies and would explain, as its title says, the Great Heresies. But that is not what this book is. Instead, it is a survey of five exemplars of heresies, from earliest Christian times to the modern age, and a two-pronged argument.

The Great Heresies book. Here the great Catholic historian Hilaire Belloc analyzes 5 of the greatest heresies of all time: Arianism, Mohammedanism (Islam), Albigensianism, Protestantism, and "the Modern Attack," showing that the world would be vastly different today if Arianism or Albigensianism had survived-and how it is different because Protestantism survived.

by. Belloc, Hilaire, 1870-1953.

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Hilaire P. R. Belloc (1870–1953) was an Anglo-French writer and historian who became a naturalised British subject. He was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century, known as an orator, poet, satirist, man of letters and political activist. In this important book THE GREAT HERESIES written in 1936, Belloc predicts the re-emergence of Islam with mind-blowing accuracy, which we see in today's world, and expertly tackles all the other major heresies throughout history as well, which threatened to subdue true Faith.

Hilaire Belloc was born at St. Cloud, France, in 1870

Hilaire Belloc was born at St. Cloud, France, in 1870. He and his family moved to England upon his father s death, where he took first-class honors in history at Balliol College in Oxford, graduating in 1895. It has been stated that his desire was to rewrite the Catholic history of both France and England. He wrote hundreds of books on the subjects of history, economics, and military science, as well as novels and poetry. His works include The Great Heresies, Europe and the Faith, Survivals and New Arrivals, The Path to Rome, Characters of the Reformation, and How the Reformation Happened. Библиографические данные.

Hence, I thought this book (from 1938, by the famous Catholic writer Hilaire Belloc) would survey various heresies and would explain, as its title says, the Great Heresies. The five heresies are the Arian, Islam, the Albigensian, Protestantism, and the Modern. The two arguments are, first, that that these five encompass all possible basic material variations from true Christian belief.

Belloc, Hilaire, 1870-1953: The Bad Child's Book of Beasts (London; Duckworth, . Belloc, Hilaire, 1870-1953: The Great Inquiry ("only authorised version"; London: Duckworth and C. 1903), also by G. K. Chesterton (multiple formats at archive. by B. T. B. (Basil Temple Blackwood). Belloc, Hilaire, 1870-1953: The Green Overcoat (New York: McBride, Nast, and Company, 1913), illust. by G.

Belloc shows that the heresies of olden times are still with us, sometimes under different names and guises, and .

Belloc shows that the heresies of olden times are still with us, sometimes under different names and guises, and that they still shape our world. Belloc describes how these movements began, how they spread, and how they have continued to influence the world. He accurately predicts the re-emergence of militant Islam and its violent aggression against Western civilization.

  • Blueshaper
“Human society cannot carry on without some creed, because a code and a character are the product of a creed. In point of fact though individuals, especially those who have led sheltered lives, can often carry on with a minimum of certitude or habit upon transcendental things, an organic human mass cannot so carry on.’’

‘Transcendental things’! What things?

“Thus a whole religion sustains modern England, the religion of patriotism. Destroy that in men by some heretical development, by “excepting” the doctrine that a man’s prime duty is towards the political society to which he belongs, and England, as we know it, would gradually cease and become something other.’’

This is from 1938. Has Belloc foreseen the loss of this patriotic ‘faith’? Was he correct?

“Unfortunately, in the modern world the habit of such a definition has been lost; the word “heresy” having come to connote something odd and old-fashioned, is no longer applied to cases which are clearly cases of heresy and ought to be treated as such.’’

This religio/theological foundation is foreign, even unrecognizable to the modern ear. However, modernity has belief, opinion, passions, that are just as controlling as the old religious ones. That enables Belloc’s insights to resonate.

“For instance, there is abroad today a denial of what theologians call “dominion”—that is the right to own property. It is widely affirmed that laws permitting the private ownership of land and capital are immoral; that the soil of all goods which are productive should be communal and that any system leaving their control to individuals or families is wrong and therefore to be attacked and destroyed. That doctrine, already very strong among us and increasing in strength and the number of its adherents, we do not call a heresy. We think of it only as a political or economic system, and when we speak of Communism our vocabulary does not suggest anything theological. But this is only because we have forgotten what the word theological means. Communism is as much a heresy as Manichaeism.’’

History is real. Ideas are not the creation of the present. Very little thought is new. ‘Nothing new under the sun’.

“It is the taking away from the moral scheme by which we have lived of a particular part, the denial of that part and the attempt to replace it by an innovation. The Communist retains much of the Christian scheme—human equality, the right to live, and so forth—he denies a part of it only.’’

Many scholars, of various kinds, conclude that communism is a secular version of Christianity.

“The same is true of the attack on the indissolubility of marriage. No one calls the mass of modern practice and affirmation upon divorce a heresy, but a heresy it clearly is because its determining characteristic is the denial of the Christian doctrine of marriage and the substitution therefore of another doctrine, to wit, that marriage is but a contract and a terminable contract.’’

Marriage is a sacred institution. Changing it to a business contract is ‘heresy’.

“Equally, is it a heresy, a “change by exception,” to affirm that nothing can be known upon divine things, that all is mere opinion and that therefore things made certain by the evidence of the senses and by experiment should be our only guides in arranging human affairs. Those who think thus may and commonly do retain much of Christian morals, but because they deny certitude from Authority, which doctrine is a part of Christian epistemology, they are heretical. It is not heresy to say that reality can be reached by experiment, by sensual perception and by deduction. It is heresy to say that reality can be attained from no other source.’’

This loss of authority has thrown modernity into the stormy sea of uncertainty. There is no ‘rock’ to stand on.

“We are living today under a regime of heresy with only this to distinguish it from the older periods of heresy, that the heretical spirit has become generalized and appears in various forms. It will be seen that I have, in the following pages, talked of “the modern attack” because some name must be given to a thing before one can discuss it at all, but the tide which threatens to overwhelm us is so diffuse that each must give it his own name; it has no common name as yet. Perhaps that will come, but not until the conflict between that modern anti-Christian spirit and the permanent tradition of the Faith becomes acute through persecution and the triumph or defeat thereof. It will then perhaps be called anti-Christ.’’ (Introduction)

The Arian Heresy
The Great and Enduring Heresy of Mohammed
The Albigensian Attack
What was the Reformation?
The Modern Phase

Belloc is defending the Catholic Church in this work. He sees the church as the only real representation of Christianity. I see his major weakness as confusing an institution with the worship. Christian worship is spiritual, individual, even though, as Belloc explains, it was from the beginning an organization. As acts chapter fifteen demonstrates, Christianity includes a governing body.

Belloc defends the communal, institutional, group, organization as the essence.

Well. . . Jesus. . . was a Jew. He conformed to the Judaism of his day. He also condemned, rejected and prophesied the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, where he worshiped!

Isaiah, Jeremiah and the prophets all expressed God’s anger against the elders, priests and kings. Jerusalem was destroyed twice!

Jesus. . .

“gave an illustration to them: “Nobody cuts a patch from a new outer garment and sews it on an old garment. If he does, then the new patch tears away and the patch from the new garment does not match the old. Also, no one puts new wine into old wineskins. If he does, the new wine will burst the wineskins and it will be spilled out and the wineskins will be ruined. But new wine must be put into new wineskins. No one after drinking old wine wants new, for he says, ‘The old is nice.’

Institutional worship can be changed when the time comes. ‘New wine’ (teachings) can replace old. ‘New wineskins’ (institution) are needed. We need to be ready.

Belloc is saying ‘the old is nice’. He does not want to change his ‘garment’ of identification. In fact, his ‘wine’ is the Greek, philosophical Catholicism of Constantine and Augustine. This very different from the Hebraic, Biblical Christianity of Christ. (See - “Priest of Nature - The Religious Worlds of Issac Newton’’ by Rob Illife)

Nevertheless, he finds many keen insights that a secular thinker would/does overlook, as shown above.

Another from the conclusion. . .

“I say again, the Modern Attack on the Faith will have in the moral field a thousand evil fruits, and of these many are apparent today, but the characteristic one, the one presumably the most permanent, is the institution everywhere of cruelty accompanied by a contempt for justice.’’

Who can deny it?

“The last category of fruits by which we may judge the character of the Modern Attack consists in the fruit it bears in the field of the intelligence—what it does to human reason. When the Modern Attack was gathering, a couple of lifetimes ago, while it was still confined to a small number of academic men, the first assault upon reason began.’’

What is the result?

“Today reason is everywhere decried. The ancient process of conviction by argument and proof is replaced by reiterated affirmation; and almost all the terms which were the glory of reason carry with them now an atmosphere of contempt. See what has happened for instance to the word “logic,” to the word “controversy”; note such popular phrases as “No one yet was ever convinced by argument,” or again, “Anything may be proved,” or “That may be all right in logic, but in practice it is very different.” The speech of men is becoming saturated with expressions which everywhere connote contempt for the use of the intelligence.’’

Descartes understood this. The ultimate rationalist knew god is the foundation of reason!

“But the Faith and the use of the intelligence are inextricably bound up. The use of reason is a main part—or rather the foundation—of all inquiry into the highest things.’’

Faith requires reason!

“It was precisely because reason was given this divine authority that the Church proclaimed mystery—that is, admitted reason to have its limits. It had to be so, lest the absolute powers ascribed to reason should lead to the exclusion of truths which the reason might accept but could not demonstrate. Reason was limited by mystery only more to enhance the sovereignty of reason in its own sphere. When reason is dethroned, not only is Faith dethroned (the two subversions go together) but every moral and legitimate activity of the human soul is dethroned at the same time.’’

‘Every moral activity dethroned’!

“There is no God. So the words “God is Truth” which the mind of Christian Europe used as a postulate in all it did, cease to have meaning. None can analyze the rightful authority of government nor set bounds to it. In the absence of reason, political authority reposing on mere force is boundless. And reason is thus made a victim because Humanity itself is what the Modern Attack is destroying in its false religion of humanity. Reason being the crown of man and at the same time his distinguishing mark, the Anarchs march against reason as their principle enemy.’’
  • Malanim
Belloc covers five main heresies against the Catholic faith: Arianism, Albigensianism, Protestantism, Mohammedism, and Modernism. While he considers the core beliefs of the first three virtually extinct, he believes their effects have lingered. He is prophetic in declaring that Islam will probably rise again. About the last heresy, Modernism, he describes its initial features as already historically present, and warns how apocalyptic it may become. Actually, I believe we are seeing its effects clearly and globally today. Modernism is a religion of anti-God, an environment where man is controlled by government, and all existence is merely mortal. For such an academic subject the text is easy to read, and we get European history in a nutshell.
  • Yanki
A rather awesome little book, written by an Anglo-French Roman Catholic, first published in 1938. The heresies he discusses are (1) Arianism, (2) Islam, (3) Albigensianism, (4) Protestantism, and (5) the "Modern" (for lack of a better phrase). He sees heresies as having a flourishing phase and then disappearing as an organized cult, although they often have long-term effects in a culture. A major exception is Islam, which he presciently saw back in the 1930's as capable of having major revivals. This has been borne out in our own times with the Iranian revolution in 1979 and the emergence of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State (ISIS), and widespread Islamic Terrorism in a number of Western countries including America.

In discussing Protestantism, he concentrates on Calvinism and sees it dying off. In general I have to disagree with him on Protestantism being moribund, although that is true in much of Europe, where the rate of church going is quite low. Worldwide, Protestantism, especially in its Pentecostal forms, is flourishing quite nicely it seems.

His discussion of the Modern, in many respects, sounds like a lot of what is going on today.
  • Zavevidi
Belloc is concise in his analysis, in chronological order, of 5 key heresies of the Catholic faith: Arianism, Islam, Albigensian, Reformation and the Modern Phase. Generally, Arianism is summed up by most authors in a short 5-sentence or less explanation. Belloc's discussion of Arianism cleared up many questions in my mind and helped make sense of the tremendous debates in the early church. His thesis that Islam is a heresy of Christianity was unexpected, yet he did persuade me. I want to delve more into the beginnings of Islam, and will keep Belloc's views in mind to compare with other historians. Most interesting was Belloc's prediction that, of all the heresies, Islam could potentially rise again and be a major threat to Catholicism. It is as if he saw the future we now live in, with the serious Islamic threats of 2016. His discussion of the Reformation covered familiar ground on the splintering of Catholicism and the Christian world. In 1938, Belloc did not believe Christianity would coalesce into a "denomination" of enduring significance. Depending on how one views the theological differences in Protestant circles, Belloc's argument for me broke down on this single aspect. Finally, in his discussion on the "Modern Phase" in which we find ourselves today, he makes many insightful observations. I appreciated, but did not agree with, his analysis of economic systems - feudal, communism and capitalism. Neither did I agree with his predictions of where modern atheistic heresies will take us. Yet, his ideas do provoke serious consideration of the modern world and our serious challenges related to the expunging of people of faith (esp. Christians) from full participation in academics, politics and business. Throughout his discussions he had many clear insights into historical events and human failings. No matter what ones politics are today, this book will stimulate great thinking and provoke many questions.