Heterodoxy

Heterodoxy

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This article is about the term heterodoxy. See also, Heterodoxy (magazine).


Heterodoxy is generally defined as "any opinions or doctrines at variance with an official or orthodox
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

 position". As an adjective, heterodox is commonly used to describe a subject as "characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standards" (status quo
Status quo
Statu quo, a commonly used form of the original Latin "statu quo" – literally "the state in which" – is a Latin term meaning the current or existing state of affairs. To maintain the status quo is to keep the things the way they presently are...

). Under this definition the noun heterodoxy is synonymous with unorthodoxy, while the adjective heterodox is synonymous with dissident
Dissident
A dissident, broadly defined, is a person who actively challenges an established doctrine, policy, or institution. When dissidents unite for a common cause they often effect a dissident movement....

.

However heterodoxy is also an ecclesiastical term of art
Technical terminology
Technical terminology is the specialized vocabulary of any field, not just technical fields. The same is true of the synonyms technical terms, terms of art, shop talk and words of art, which do not necessarily refer to technology or art...

, defined in various ways by different religions and churches. For example, in the Roman Catholic
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 and Eastern Orthodox churches heterodoxy may describe beliefs that differ from strictly orthodox views but that fall short of heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

.

Eastern Orthodoxy


In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the term is used to refer to Christian
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 churches not belonging to the Eastern Orthodox communion
Eastern Orthodox Church
The Orthodox Church, officially called the Orthodox Catholic Church and commonly referred to as the Eastern Orthodox Church, is the second largest Christian denomination in the world, with an estimated 300 million adherents mainly in the countries of Belarus, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece,...

 and holding doctrines different from those of Orthodox Christianity. Also, it is used for any idea, thought, dogma, principle or lifestyle that is in conflict with the Orthodox Faith. In general, this term is used in two distinct cases: 1. Whenever Eastern Orthodoxy wants to classify something different, but not as different or thought to be as erroneous as heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

; 2. Whenever Eastern Orthodoxy wants, for any reason, to abstain from the use of the word heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

.

Roman Catholicism


Heterodoxy in the Roman Catholic Church
Roman Catholic Church
The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the world's largest Christian church, with over a billion members. Led by the Pope, it defines its mission as spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ, administering the sacraments and exercising charity...

 refers to views that differ from strictly orthodox views, but retain sufficient faithfulness to the original doctrine to avoid heresy
Heresy
Heresy is a controversial or novel change to a system of beliefs, especially a religion, that conflicts with established dogma. It is distinct from apostasy, which is the formal denunciation of one's religion, principles or cause, and blasphemy, which is irreverence toward religion...

. Many Roman Catholics profess some heterodox views, either on doctrinal or social issues. For example, the orthodox Catholic position on unbaptized infants is that their fate is uncertain, and "the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1261). A heterodox Catholic might profess the belief that unbaptized infants are offered the option to accept or deny salvation by God at their judgment. The belief is not orthodox, as the Church does not profess a belief as to what happens to unbaptized infants; however, it is also not heresy, as the Church accepts that such a scenario might be possible. By contrast, a denial of the doctrine of "Original Sin
Original sin
Original sin is, according to a Christian theological doctrine, humanity's state of sin resulting from the Fall of Man. This condition has been characterized in many ways, ranging from something as insignificant as a slight deficiency, or a tendency toward sin yet without collective guilt, referred...

" (thereby negating the necessity of baptism for children) or Papal Infallibility
Papal infallibility
Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church which states that, by action of the Holy Spirit, the Pope is preserved from even the possibility of error when in his official capacity he solemnly declares or promulgates to the universal Church a dogmatic teaching on faith or morals...

 — would be labeled heretical.

Protestantism


As with Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic usage, many Protestants such as Lutherans use the term heterodox (Gr. hetero - other, and doxa - teaching) to describe Christian teachings which are not in agreement with their understanding of scripture. No true Christian denomination knowingly embraces a fallacy, but instead truly believes that its interpretation of scriptures is orthodox (Gr. ortho - correct, and doxa - teaching). Thus, other Christian (Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant) denominations with different teachings which are not heretical are considered heterodox.

Islam


The Arabic
Arabic language
Arabic is a name applied to the descendants of the Classical Arabic language of the 6th century AD, used most prominently in the Quran, the Islamic Holy Book...

 word Ghulat
Ghulat
Ghulāt , is a term used in the theology of Shia Islam to describe some minority Muslim groups who either ascribe divine characteristics to a member of Muhammad's family , or hold beliefs deemed deviant by mainstream Shi'i theology...

 is used for beliefs perceived as being extremely heterodox. In particular, the term is used by mainstream Muslims to describe the beliefs of minority Muslim groups who ascribe divine characteristics to a member of Prophet Muhammad's family (especially Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

) or the early companions of the Prophet such as Salman al-Farisi. The assumption is that the groups thus described have gone too far and have come to associate them with God (shirk).

Sunni Muslim and Shia Muslims see each other as heterodox, differing in practice mainly on matters of jurisprudence or Fiqh
Fiqh
Fiqh is Islamic jurisprudence. Fiqh is an expansion of the code of conduct expounded in the Quran, often supplemented by tradition and implemented by the rulings and interpretations of Islamic jurists....

, splitting historically on the matter of the succession of Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 to the caliphate by Muawiyah. A third and much smaller movement is Ibadi
Ibadi
The Ibāḍī movement, Ibadism or Ibāḍiyya is a form of Islam distinct from the Sunni and Shia denominations. It is the dominant form of Islam in Oman and Zanzibar...

, which differ from both of these groups on a few key points. Several ultra-orthodox groups such as the Wahhabis, in turn, see themselves as the only truly orthodox groups within Islam.

The Shia Ismailis, who in turn split from the Shia mainstream of Twelvers over another succession dispute, have subsumed several groups which the majority of Muslims view as heterodox, such as the Seveners, and Gnostic-influenced Alawites, and many other sects and subsects. The Gnostic-influenced Druze
Druze
The Druze are an esoteric, monotheistic religious community, found primarily in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, and Jordan, which emerged during the 11th century from Ismailism. The Druze have an eclectic set of beliefs that incorporate several elements from Abrahamic religions, Gnosticism, Neoplatonism...

 sect has also been affiliated with the Ismailis, but some of its followers go so far as to see it as a distinct religion altogether. The Sufis, divided into many sects and orders, incorporate many mystical doctrines and rituals into Islam, but many also consider themselves Shiites or Sunnis. Another Shiite group, influenced heavily by the Sufis, Turkic religion and other mystical movements, is that of the Alevi
Alevi
The Alevi are a religious and cultural community, primarily in Turkey, constituting probably more than 15 million people....

. Historical groups viewed as highly heterodox by most Muslims include the Kharijites
Kharijites
Kharijites is a general term embracing various Muslims who, while initially supporting the authority of the final Rashidun Caliph Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son-in-law and cousin of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, then later rejected his leadership...

, who took a third view on Ali's succession, the Mu'tazili
Mu'tazili
' is an Islamic school of speculative theology that flourished in the cities of Basra and Baghdad, both in present-day Iraq, during the 8th–10th centuries. The adherents of the Mu'tazili school are best known for their having asserted that, because of the perfect unity and eternal nature of God,...

tes, who most famously asserted that the Qur'an
Qur'an
The Quran , also transliterated Qur'an, Koran, Alcoran, Qur’ān, Coran, Kuran, and al-Qur’ān, is the central religious text of Islam, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God . It is regarded widely as the finest piece of literature in the Arabic language...

 was created, a view which enjoyed caliphal approval before the time of Mutawakkil, the Qarmatians
Qarmatians
The Qarmatians were a Shi'a Ismaili group centered in eastern Arabia, where they attempted to established a utopian republic in 899 CE. They are most famed for their revolt against the Abbasid Caliphate...

, a branch of the Seveners within Ismaili Islam who took control of much of the Arabian peninsula in the 9th and 10th century, practiced vegetarianism, defiled the Well of Zamzam and stole the Ka'bah, and the Hashashin or Assassins, another Ismaili group, famous for their reclusive lifestyle, manners of indoctrination and assassinations in the years after the first crusade.

According to Philip Hitti, there was during the Umayyad and Abbasid caliphates a marked tendency among several quite unrelated heterodox groups to affiliate themselves with the Shiites, and particularly the Ismailis, in a general feeling of heterodox solidarity in a Sunni-controlled empire. The cause of the Alids thus became a rallying point for a diverse range of heterodox Islamic movements. The view that Ali
Ali
' |Ramaḍān]], 40 AH; approximately October 23, 598 or 600 or March 17, 599 – January 27, 661).His father's name was Abu Talib. Ali was also the cousin and son-in-law of the Islamic prophet Muhammad, and ruled over the Islamic Caliphate from 656 to 661, and was the first male convert to Islam...

 was divine, though never mainstream within Shiism, is attested in the early centuries of Islam.

Two more recent movements seen as particularly at odds with the majority Muslim view are the Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya
Ahmadiyya is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad , who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as...

 and Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

 movements. Many followers of the former consider its 19th-century founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Mīrzā Ghulām Aḥmad was a religious figure from India and the founder of the Ahmadiyya Community. He claimed to be the Mujaddid of the 14th Islamic century, the promised Messiah , and the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims in the end days...

, to have been a prophet, as well as such other religious figures as Krishna
Krishna
Krishna is a central figure of Hinduism and is traditionally attributed the authorship of the Bhagavad Gita. He is the supreme Being and considered in some monotheistic traditions as an Avatar of Vishnu...

 and Buddha
Buddha
In Buddhism, buddhahood is the state of perfect enlightenment attained by a buddha .In Buddhism, the term buddha usually refers to one who has become enlightened...

, despite the mainstream Muslim view that Muhammad was the last. Both Ahmadi sects consider Ahmad to have been the Mahdi
Mahdi
In Islamic eschatology, the Mahdi is the prophesied redeemer of Islam who will stay on Earth for seven, nine or nineteen years- before the Day of Judgment and, alongside Jesus, will rid the world of wrongdoing, injustice and tyranny.In Shia Islam, the belief in the Mahdi is a "central religious...

 and second coming of Jesus. The Nation of Islam is a Black supremacist movement which acknowledges its 20th century founder, Wallace Fard Muhammad
Wallace Fard Muhammad
Wallace Fard Muhammad was a minister and founder of the Nation of Islam. He established the Nation of Islam's first mosque in Detroit, Michigan in 1930, and ministered his distinctive religion there for three years, before mysteriously disappearing in June 1934. He was succeeded by his follower...

, as an incarnation of Allah
Allah
Allah is a word for God used in the context of Islam. In Arabic, the word means simply "God". It is used primarily by Muslims and Bahá'ís, and often, albeit not exclusively, used by Arabic-speaking Eastern Catholic Christians, Maltese Roman Catholics, Eastern Orthodox Christians, Mizrahi Jews and...

, a view most Muslims consider shirk
Shirk
Shirk may refer to:* "Shirk", to avoid work or other responsibilities* Shirk , in Islam, the sin of idolatry or associating beings or things with Allah* "Shirk break", a synonym for coffee break*Susan Shirk, US academic...

. Babism
Bábism
The Babi Faith is a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire as well as underground. Its founder was Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi, who took the title Báb—meaning "Gate"—from a Shi'a theological term...

 is viewed by many non-followers as originally having been a highly divergent movement within the Twelver Ismailism practiced in 19th century Persia. Beyond heterodoxy, many elements of Islam have been incorporated into distinct belief systems several times, most specifically into Sikhism
Sikhism
Sikhism is a monotheistic religion founded during the 15th century in the Punjab region, by Guru Nanak Dev and continued to progress with ten successive Sikh Gurus . It is the fifth-largest organized religion in the world and one of the fastest-growing...

 and the Baha'i Faith
Bahá'í Faith
The Bahá'í Faith is a monotheistic religion founded by Bahá'u'lláh in 19th-century Persia, emphasizing the spiritual unity of all humankind. There are an estimated five to six million Bahá'ís around the world in more than 200 countries and territories....

, whose predecessor movement was Babism
Bábism
The Babi Faith is a religious movement that flourished in Persia from 1844 to 1852, then lingered on in exile in the Ottoman Empire as well as underground. Its founder was Siyyid `Alí Muhammad Shirazi, who took the title Báb—meaning "Gate"—from a Shi'a theological term...

. As a more unusual example, several Thuggee
Thuggee
Thuggee is the term for a particular kind of murder and robbery of travellers in South Asia and particularly in India.They are sometimes called Phansigar i.e...

 were self-reportedly Muslims, and according to William Sleeman equated the Hindu goddess Kali
Kali
' , also known as ' , is the Hindu goddess associated with power, shakti. The name Kali comes from kāla, which means black, time, death, lord of death, Shiva. Kali means "the black one". Since Shiva is called Kāla - the eternal time, Kālī, his consort, also means "Time" or "Death" . Hence, Kāli is...

 with Fatima
Fatima
-People:* Fatima , a female given name of Arabic origin* Fatima bint Muhammad, daughter of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad* Fatima Jinnah, the younger sister of Muhammad Ali Jinnah...

, a daughter of Muhammad
Muhammad
Muhammad |ligature]] at U+FDF4 ;Arabic pronunciation varies regionally; the first vowel ranges from ~~; the second and the last vowel: ~~~. There are dialects which have no stress. In Egypt, it is pronounced not in religious contexts...

.

Other usage


The term heterodox is occasionally used by some Christians
Christianity
Christianity is a monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus as presented in canonical gospels and other New Testament writings...

 to refer to themselves when they are in disagreement with orthodox
Orthodoxy
The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

 understandings, but voice this disagreement while still maintaining the overall value of the tradition. The heterodox Christian therefore remains in the tradition and attempts to stimulate constructive dialog around issues with which they disagree.

In 1912, a group of women, called the Heterodoxy, begin to meet as a feminist luncheon group. This group for "unorthodox women" included many prominent lesbians and would meet regularly until the 1940s in Greenwich Village.

China


In late 1999 legislation was created in China to outlaw "heterodox religions". This was applied retroactively to Falun Gong
Falun Gong
Falun Gong is a spiritual discipline first introduced in China in 1992 by its founder, Li Hongzhi, through public lectures. It combines the practice of meditation and slow-moving qigong exercises with the moral philosophy...

, a spiritual practice introduced to the public in China by Li Hongzhi (李洪志) in 1992.

Non-Ecclesiastic usage


Heterodox economics refers to schools of economic thought that are considered outside of mainstream orthodox economics. Heterodox economics refers to a variety of separate unorthodox approaches or schools such as institutional
Institutional economics
Institutional economics focuses on understanding the role of the evolutionary process and the role of institutions in shaping economic behaviour. Its original focus lay in Thorstein Veblen's instinct-oriented dichotomy between technology on the one side and the "ceremonial" sphere of society on the...

, post-Keynesian
Post-Keynesian economics
Post Keynesian economics is a school of economic thought with its origins in The General Theory of John Maynard Keynes, although its subsequent development was influenced to a large degree by Michał Kalecki, Joan Robinson, Nicholas Kaldor and Paul Davidson...

, socialist
Socialist economics
Socialist economics are the economic theories and practices of hypothetical and existing socialist economic systems.A socialist economy is based on public ownership or independent cooperative ownership of the means of production, wherein production is carried out to directly produce use-value,...

, Marxian
Marxian economics
Marxian economics refers to economic theories on the functioning of capitalism based on the works of Karl Marx. Adherents of Marxian economics, particularly in academia, distinguish it from Marxism as a political ideology and sociological theory, arguing that Marx's approach to understanding the...

, feminist
Feminist economics
Feminist economics broadly refers to a developing branch of economics that applies feminist lenses to economics. Research under this heading is often interdisciplinary or heterodox...

, Austrian
Austrian School
The Austrian School of economics is a heterodox school of economic thought. It advocates methodological individualism in interpreting economic developments , the theory that money is non-neutral, the theory that the capital structure of economies consists of heterogeneous goods that have...

, ecological
Ecological economics
Image:Sustainable development.svg|right|The three pillars of sustainability. Clickable.|275px|thumbpoly 138 194 148 219 164 240 182 257 219 277 263 291 261 311 264 331 272 351 283 366 300 383 316 394 287 408 261 417 224 424 182 426 154 423 119 415 87 403 58 385 40 368 24 347 17 328 13 309 16 286 26...

, and social economics among others.

See also

  • Āstika and nāstika
  • Orthodoxy
    Orthodoxy
    The word orthodox, from Greek orthos + doxa , is generally used to mean the adherence to accepted norms, more specifically to creeds, especially in religion...

  • Orthodox (disambiguation)
  • Radical Christianity

External links