Definitions for: Heresy


[n] a belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion
[n] any opinions or doctrines at variance with the official or orthodox position



Webster (1913) Definition: Her"e*sy, n.; pl. Heresies. [OE. heresie, eresie, OF.
heresie, iresie, F. h['e]r['e]sie, L. haeresis, Gr. ? a
taking, a taking for one's self, choosing, a choice, a sect,
a heresy, fr. ? to take, choose.]


1. An opinion held in opposition to the established or
commonly received doctrine, and tending to promote a
division or party, as in politics, literature, philosophy,
etc.; -- usually, but not necessarily, said in reproach.

New opinions Divers and dangerous, which are
heresies, And, not reformed, may prove pernicious.
--Shak.

After the study of philosophy began in Greece, and
the philosophers, disagreeing amongst themselves,
had started many questions . . . because every man
took what opinion he pleased, each several opinion
was called a heresy; which signified no more than a
private opinion, without reference to truth or
falsehood. --Hobbes.

2. (Theol.) Religious opinion opposed to the authorized
doctrinal standards of any particular church, especially
when tending to promote schism or separation; lack of
orthodox or sound belief; rejection of, or erroneous
belief in regard to, some fundamental religious doctrine
or truth; heterodoxy.

Doubts 'mongst divines, and difference of texts,
From whence arise diversity of sects, And hateful
heresies by God abhor'd. --Spenser.

Deluded people! that do not consider that the
greatest heresy in the world is a wicked life.
--Tillotson.

3. (Law) An offense against Christianity, consisting in a
denial of some essential doctrine, which denial is
publicly avowed, and obstinately maintained.

A second offense is that of heresy, which consists
not in a total denial of Christianity, but of some
its essential doctrines, publicly and obstinately
avowed. --Blackstone.

Note: ``When I call dueling, and similar aberrations of
honor, a moral heresy, I refer to the force of the
Greek ?, as signifying a principle or opinion taken up
by the will for the will's sake, as a proof or pledge
to itself of its own power of self-determination,
independent of all other motives.'' --Coleridge.

Synonyms: heterodoxy, unorthodoxy

Antonyms: orthodoxy

See Also: disbelief, iconoclasm, nonconformance, nonconformity, orientation, unbelief

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