And now for the Cathars....

Discussion in 'Baptist History' started by Matt Black, Sep 5, 2003.

  1. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    I've long found the arguments of the like of Mosheim and J M Carroll, that the Cathars or Albigenses were proto-Baptist, to be weak on evidence. In part, I guess, this is because written evidence from the 12th and 13th centuries on this topic is thin on the ground and because history is written by the victors, in this case the RCs. However, what written evidence there is strongly suggests that the Cathars were indeed heretical or at the kindest heterodox by modern Christian/ Baptist standards. For example:-

    1. The Cathars were gnostic dualists, after the pattern of the Manichees. They believed in two gods, one who was evil who created the world and everything in it, all matter etc, and the other good and spiritual. They rejected matter as evil; this led either to debauchery in the case of the 'non-perfect' or extreme asceticism in the case of the'perfect'

    2. They had two tiers of believers, one non-perfect and the other 'perfect'. One gained initiation into the ranks of the 'parfait' or'perfecti' by a ritual called the 'consolation' which, despite attempts by some to compare this to baptism, was actually more complex than that. Once 'perfected' in this way, the believer was exepected to abstain from sex and indeed food. Unsurprisingly, the 'perfect' died a short time after;for this reason the consolation was usually put off until the believer was on his or her deathbed.

    Just two points; but I fail to see as a result of this why this group could ever be called Christian, still less Baptist.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  2. rlvaughn

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    1. It is interesting that Predestinarian Baptist Daniel Parker held or is accused of holding a Manichean philosophy. I think he may have been partly misunderstood, but his view of the "two seeds" certainly put him in a position to be easily misunderstood.

    2. This one sounds more whacko than heretical! Wonder how some Baptist ideas of today would be viewed in a thousand years?
     
  3. mioque

    mioque
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    "Once 'perfected' in this way, the believer was exepected to abstain from sex and indeed food."
    Matt it wasn't quite that bad, perfecti were basically vegetarians. There existed a tradition of endura (suicide by hungerstrike basically), but perfecti were simply expected to eat normally with a couple of restrictions.
     
  4. Mark Osgatharp

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    Matt,

    I don't have enough information about the Cathars to prove that they were Baptists. Therefore it would be irresponsible on my part to assert that they were.

    However, the charge of "Manichaean" was a standard slander that Roman Catholics used against anyone they deemed heretical. It was levelled even at Martin Luther when he first began his departure from Catholicism. Had he not been successful in his endeavors he would doubtless have gone down in history as such.

    My point is, though we certainly can't make someone a Baptist merely for opposing Catholicism or infant baptism, neither should we put too much stock in the charges of the Catholic Church against a people who left so little record of their own beliefs.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  5. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    Mioque and Mark,

    In part, I am basing what I wrote above on Emmanuel LaRoy Ladurie's Montaillou , which in turn is based on accounts and documents from that particular Pyrennean village from the 14th century when, despite it being a century after the Albigensian crusade, Montaillou still contained a significant number of Cathars; the Manichean dualism and exploits of the Perfecti come largely from the Cathars' own records in that village. OK, this is one village some 100 years after the main flourishing of Catharismand it is likely that the Perfecti had become more extreme in their practices as a result of the terrible persecutions of the Crusade; nevertheless, even if this were partly true, it casts serious doubt on the Cathars being proto-Baptists or even Christians in their doctrines and practices.

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  6. baptistteacher

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    My wife recently gbrought a book home from a used book store on this subject.

    The Perfect Heresy , by Stephen O'Shea, (C) 2000, publ. Walker & Co., New York.

    I have read only 20 pages, and it will probably be a while before I can get back to it - too many things going on right now. It seems to be very interesting and balanced in it's approach. Has some maps,paintings and woodcuttings from the time (black & white reproductions), and some modern photos of the areas in France, including the Cathedral de Ste. Cecile in Albi. (The Albigenses derived their name from this town).

    It also has a short bio. sketch of the principle characters involved, placed at the beginning of the book. Very handy.

    If someone has a particular question, I might be able to find some info in the book for you.

    "Finally brethren, pray for us"
     
  7. Matt Black

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    Sorry, didn't have time to write more last post but can expand a bit more now.

    LeRoy Ladurie's Montaillou covers the period 1298-1324 in the history of Montaillou and the adjacent village of Sabarthes. It would not have been possible for the book to have been written were it not for the extensive records of the Inquisition in Montaillou from 1318-24 in particular, presided over by Jacques Fournier, Bishop of Pamiers (who later went on to be Pope). In that sense, however, it is history written by the victors in its description of Cathar beliefs, yet Fournier's Inquisition was largely public and the statements made by the Cathar suspects were witnessed as well as recorded, so we can be pretty confident of their accuracy.

    With that in mind a few more points on this late flowering of Catharism, as thus recorded :-

    1. Mioque is right in saying that the perfecti/ parfait did not usually fast to the death but abstained from meat and sex; however that was true of the earlier Cathar period; by the late 13th century in Montaillou and Sabarthes, after the consolamentum , the perfecti underwent the endura ,the fast to the death. Unsurprisingly, this meant that the consolamentum , which is not to be confused with baptism, was not usually administered until the credente ('ordinary' believer) was near death.

    2. There seems to have been quite a bit of crossover between Catharism and Catholicism in practice at grass-roots level; Montaillou Cathars frequently attended Mass as well as adhering more privately perhaps to their Cathar beliefs, and it would appear that Inquisitor Fournier had quite a task identifying 'friend' from 'heretic'

    Just some more info

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  8. mioque

    mioque
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    The book Montaillou is heavily based on texts written by the inquisition, so it's sourcematerial is a little biased. :(
    Doesn't stop it from being very interesting. [​IMG]
     
  9. baptistteacher

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    Speaking of Albigenses, reminds me of a song from my youth (c. 1962, 3) by The Singing Nun. The song is "Dominique" and was sung in French. It begins with the chorus:

    Dominique, nique, nique
    S'en allait tout simplement,
    Routier pauvre et chantant
    En tous chemins en tous lieux,
    Il ne parle que du Bon Dieu
    Il ne parle que du Bon Dieu.


    Dominic, oh Dominic,
    O'er the land he plods along
    And sings a little song
    Never asking for reward,
    He just talks about the Lord,
    He just talks about the Lord.

    GET TO THE POINT!!
    OK, OK. I will. :rolleyes:

    The first verse was translated into English (anglais) as:

    At a time when John Lackland,
    Over England was the King,
    Dominic was in the backland,
    Fighting sin like anything .

    The French words for the last 2 lines are:


    Dominique, notre pere,
    Combattit les Albigeois


    literally,
    Dominic, our father,
    fought the Albigenses.

    SO WHAT'S THE POINT? :rolleyes:
    I'm not sure, except this song was my first encounter with the term "Albigenses", and everytime I come across it I always start singing the song in my head.
    :rolleyes: :D
     
  10. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946
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    First of all you have the name wrong it is not Cathars but Cathari... This is taken from Church History by Sylvester Hassell that I guess every Primitive Baptist owns and I know Brother Robert does too!... Actually it is relating to all those deemed Ana-Baptist or Rebaptizers which Primitives are numbered among.

    Among the persecuted people of God have been the Novatians, Donatists, Cathari, Paterines, Paulicians, Petrobrusians, Henericans, Arnoldists, Albigenses, Waldenses, Lollards, Mennonites and baptists, nearly all of whom were occasionally designated Anabaptist or re-baptizers by their enemies, because they disregarded infant or unregenerate baptism, and baptize all adults, whether previously baptized or not, who, upon a credible profession of faith, applied to them for the membership in their churches-thus insisting upon a spiritual or regenerated church membership, the First and most important mark of the apostolic church.

    This whole work can be found at this web site online and can also be purchased for your library at pb.org... Brother Glen The Primitive Baptist [​IMG]

    http://www.pbministries.org/History/S.%20Hassell/church_of_god.htm
     
  11. baptistteacher

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    Speaking of French --
    Does anyone know how to make the BB reproduce the accent marks used in francais?

    Such as, the firste "e" in "pere" should have an accent over it, and the "c" in francais should have the cedilla under it.
    I can make them on my Mac, it is built into the system, but I don't know how it comes out on your Windows based machines.
    Examples - - français, père.
     
  12. rsr

    rsr
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    Extended ASCII.

    There's a little program in Accessories/System Tools called Character Map; it will provide the keystrokes for those characters. Hold down the ALT key and type them in on the numbers pad, then release the ALT key.

    úûü
     
  13. baptistteacher

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    Thanks rsr.

    On my Mac, I just use the options key to make them. Do they display properly on the Windows machines when I do them this way??

    ç é è ü ô
     
  14. rsr

    rsr
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    Looks good to me.
     
  15. tyndale1946

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    Boy did this thread take a hair pin turn... You know you could have settled this with PM's but then again I'm not the moderator anymore but let's keep it on topic and not go wandering all over France!... Maybe I should have sent a PM? :rolleyes: ... Nah!!!!!!!... That is to easy!... Stephen you're slippin' ;) ... Brother Glen :D
     
  16. Matt Black

    Matt Black
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    If we can return to the matter in hand... :D

    Mioque, I accept your point ref the records being those of Fournier's Inquisition; nevertheless, I believe my point still stands ref these were accounts of the statements of alleged heretics who were publicly holding forth on what they believed; if they were inaccurate, there would have been plenty of witnesses to attest to this.

    So, back to the main point - Cathari were not Christians, they were dualists.Just because they did not baptise infants and were attacked by Catholics doesn't make them baptists anymore than those two things make muslims baptists. They should not therefore be included in any 'list' of proto-baptist groups to which Bro Glen refers and are no more the 'people of God' than any other heretical sect

    IMHO of course ;)

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  17. baptistteacher

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    The Cathars were dualists with some apparent ties to the Bogimils. &gt;&gt;----&gt;(Arose in eastern Europe in tenth century. A Macedonian monk known as "Beloved of God" - Bogomil in Salvonic - began spreading the good-and-evil news.)

    Dualism had a number of adherents in the Byzantine areas. The Bogimils may have been mentors to the Cathari as they began. There are instances recorded of contact between these groups, as in this instance:

    In May of 1167, a great meeting of the Cathar leaders (later called Perfect, or Perfecti ) was held in the small town of St. Félix en Lauragais, France.They came from many areas, for the first and only international conference. Somehow, the Catholic bishop in Toulouse, a days ride to the west, did not receive an invitation. ;)

    One of those who came to this meeting was Nicetas, who gave the ritual recitations in Greek, as he was from Constantinople. It is believed he was the Bishop of the Bogimil faith in Constantinople.

    Nicetas' presence was important for this reason - through his fingers "passed the power of the consolamentum , the sole dualist sacrement. It transformed the ordinary believer into one of the Perfect, who then, in turn, could 'console' others ready to live their final, holy life." The Perfect had to live a flawlessly chaste and ascetic life, abstain from all forms of sexual intimacy, pray constantly, fast often, avoid all meat, etc. Any small slip - even a nibble of veal or a quick kiss - and the status of Perfect dissappeared. This backslider would have to receive the consolamentum again, and so would any whom he or she had "consoled" in the past. The consolamentum had to be immaculate to be valid.

    The handing down of the consolamentum from one generation to the next, from the time (as they claimed) of the apostles, was extremely important to them. Thus was the importance of Nicetas, and his contacts to the ancient past. Many of the Perfecti gathered in St. Félix had him "reconsole" them, just to make sure of their credentials for the other world. Being a true Perfect meant not having to be reincarnated, but to be freed to join the eternal, invisible goodness.

    [ Taken from The Perfect Heresy , by Stephen O'Shea, Walker Publishing Co., New York, 2000. pp.21 - 26. Quoted section from p.23.]
     
  18. Matt Black

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    Thanks for that, BB ;)

    Is there anyone here who doesn't think the Cathari were heretics? If so, what evidential sources do you have that they were Christians? (Hint:"They weren't Catholics" is not a valid answer - neither were the Muslims of that time!)

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     
  19. R. Charles Blair

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    "Cathari" (Latin plural, English "Cathars") is a "grouping" name (like "Anabaptist"). It was used by outsiders to "libel by label" any group or individual challenging the impurity of the
    "establishment party." It simply means "puritan"
    (can you imagine how many different ideas have been presented by the "Puritans" over centuries?)

    Again, as on other links, a simple reminder: if we believe the words of Jesus that "the gates of hell shall not prevail," and if we believe that
    "ecclesia" demands ability to assemble, and if we agree that NT churches do not need Caesar's sword to defend them but are the poor and persecuted in days of state-established religion (Catholic or Communist, makes no difference on this point) - then our heritage is AMONG these folks. Not all of them were "baptists" in any sense; some were not even biblical in their thinking; but look at Baptists today! NT churches, however few, how-ever scattered, however differing among them-selves on some details, have existed from the days of Jesus till the present, and will continue until He comes to receive all of His own, some as His "ultimate" (still local and visible!) church, some as guests at the wedding, all to be with Him forever. Whatever error some small piece of documentation shows on any specific group, just remember the errors held by some in your own group today and ask: "Does that keep us from having any churches at all?"

    Best to all - R. Charles Blair - Eph. 3:21
     
  20. Matt Black

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    Yes, but why does that specifically make the Cathars Christian, as opposd to being merely 'not Catholics'? The Muslims are 'not Catholics' but I see no-one here arguing that that makes them Christian

    Yours in Christ

    Matt
     

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