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Related to Catharism: Hussites, Waldensians


n. pl. Cath·a·ri (-ə-rī′) or Cath·ars
A member of a Christian sect flourishing in western Europe in the 1100s and 1200s, whose dualistic belief, embracing asceticism and identifying the world as the creation of a satanic Demiurge, was condemned by the Church as heretical.

[French Cathare, from sing. of Medieval Latin Catharī, from Late Greek Katharoi, from pl. of Greek katharos, pure.]

Cath′ar adj.
Cath′a·rism n.
Cath′a·rist adj. & n.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


the beliefs of several sects in medieval Europe, especially the denial of infant baptism, purgatory, the communion of saints, images, and the doctrine of the Trinity; the abrogation of the institution of marriage; and the practice of rigorous asceticism. — Cathar, Cathari, Catharist, n. — Catharistic, adj.
See also: Heresy
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Catharism - a Christian movement considered to be a medieval descendant of Manichaeism in southern France in the 12th and 13th centuries; characterized by dualism (asserted the coexistence of two mutually opposed principles, one good and one evil); was exterminated for heresy during the Inquisition
heresy, unorthodoxy - a belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion
Christian religion, Christianity - a monotheistic system of beliefs and practices based on the Old Testament and the teachings of Jesus as embodied in the New Testament and emphasizing the role of Jesus as savior
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
Like many edited volumes, Cathars in Question began as a collection of conference papers, in this case from an April 2013 conference entitled "Catharism: Balkan Heresy or Construct of a Persecuting Society?" at the Warburg Institute.
Like much of this area of southern France it is steeped in history and owes its name to the violent repression meted out in the 13th century by members of the Roman Catholic Church to Albigensians - the followers of Catharism, a religious sect, and hence the phrase the Albigensian Crusade.
As they begin to become physically intimate, Xavier explains that the Cathars reject the "cliche form of sexual intercourse" for one that proceeds "from the other side." Catharism, the "very idealistic" movement that the always-bad Catholic Church had cruelly repressed, was a dualism that viewed the physical world as a sinful product of an evil demiurge and that rejected marriage and procreation for its role in bringing new souls into a sinful and evil world.
The local religion then was Catharism, and its followers were called Cathars; they didn't believe in ornate churches, or paying taxes to religious leaders.
(8) "The progress of Catharism and other heterodox religious movements forced the clergy and the papacy to react promptly, before the entire edifice was undermined" (Vauchez 99).
Alain Boureau identifies four thirteenth-century factors that stimulated the intense scholastic interest in the devil: (1) the proliferation of dualist heresies, notably Catharism; (2) new occult knowledge from Arab and ancient pagan sources; (3) apocalyptic prophecies of the antichrist and reenergized demons, specifically in chapter 12 of Revelation; and (4) the development of what he calls a "Scholastic anthropology," which "brought together ordinary humans, favored humans [essentially the Virgin Mary], the Christ-man, and the angels" (98).
In 590, Pope Gregory the Great decreed that married couples who mixed pleasure with procreation in sexual intercourse "transgressed the law." The first church legislation forbidding contraception appeared in the 600s in a canon that specified a penance of ten years for any woman who took "steps so that she may not conceive." The church's reaction to the distinctly non-procreative ethic of courtly love in medieval Europe and Catharism, a Christian sect that rejected the Catholic sacraments, including marriage, further hardened its insistence on the procreative purpose of sex.
The metaphysics of pain in the West is fore-grounded upon the doctrine of dualism as expounded in Platonism, Gnosticism, Manichaism, Catharism and Kantian thought.
This, in a nutshell, is the argument of Kelly's monograph, which dedicates a chapter to each of five heresies and their contexts: Montanism in the early church, Monophysitism in the age of the christological councils, Catharism in the Middle Ages, Modernism in late-19th- and early-20th-century Roman Catholicism, and analogous forms of Modernism in Protestantism.
They believed in the equality of menand women; women who converted to Catharism outnumbered men.
That is why the framework of analysis provided by DeRougemont's Love in the Western World (1939) is quite appropriate, even though the author diagnosed the erotic pathology of the West starting with the twelfth century, when European literature, and French literature in particular were heavily influenced by the dualistic heresies of Early Christianity: gnosis, manicheism, catharism, etc.