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In Christianity, the orthodox theology of the church is thought to be based on divine revelation, and heretics are viewed as perversely rejecting the guidance of the church. Numerous Christian heresies appeared from the 2nd century onwards.

Early Heresies

Disputes of doctrine began early on. The newly organized church organized councils to sort matters out. Councils representing the entire church were called ecumenical councils. Some groups were rejected as heretics.

  • Simonianism
  • Nicolaitanism
  • Judaizers
  • Gnosticism (based on "secret wisdom" from Paul in Romans 16:25)
  • Marcionism (called the most dangerous threat ever faced)
  • Montanism (claiming new revelations to new prophets and an imminent Millenial kingdom)
  • Alogi
  • Mandaeanism
  • Monarchianism
  • Nestorianism (advanced by Nestorius, a patriarch of Constantinople)
  • Apollinarianism
  • Arianism (4th century, advanced by Arius, a priest)

Heresies in the Middle Age

At the beginning of the Middle Ages, starting from the Migration up to the first millennium, different, non Greco-Roman cultures started to exert influence on the development of Christian religion. There was no decrease in belief, in contrast to our modern world, rather the other way around. However, the contents of Christian belief started to diversify apart from clerical authorities.
An explosion of monasticism gave rise to a new type of believers, who were sometimes so ardently faithful that they started to interpret the scriptures in their own way. Thus, quality and quantity took a rise in "different Christian belief systems" at that time.

A table of the major groups can be found at Medieval Dissenters and Heretical Groups. An overview of clerical and heretical religious practices can be found at Medieval Church Life.

To counteract all this activity the Roman Catholic Church brought up the Medieval Inquisition.

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