Pigalev A.I. The Concept of Heresy and the Theoretical Models of Difference

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.3.1

Alexander I. Pigalev
Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor, Leading Researcher, Volgograd State University
Prosp. Universitetsky, 100, 400062 Volgograd, Russian Federation
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https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4858-8862


Abstract. The paper deals with the philosophical aspects of the concept of heresy in religion and beyond. It is emphasized that initially "heresy" meant "free choice", "received opinion", "doctrine", and "philosophic school", but very soon after the rise of Christian literature, its meaning had been radically changed. Since then, "heresy" was understood as "false belief" and "erroneous doctrine" that opposed "orthodoxy", so that the opposition of "heresy" and "orthodoxy" became, in the long run, the opposition of "false" and "true". Such significant parallelism indicates the metaphysical prerequisites for the modern usage of the term "heresy". It is also noted that the changes in the very concept of heresy are closely connected with the modernization of traditional societies. Whereas the latter were characterized by a high degree of predetermination of events, which was expressed by the mythologeme of fate, the passage to modernity meant the transformation of inflexible fate into a set of free choices that were made by man. In the issue, the former orthodoxy and heresies turn into a plurality of different but equivalent opinions. Hence, the scrutiny takes into account the history of the notion of difference that is considered in connection with the notions of identity and opposition. They make it possible to construe the transformation of negligible dissimilarity to the "blurred" and "fuzzy" difference and eventually to the polarity of absolute opposition. This implies that the term "heresy" as something "false" should rely on the concept of absolute opposition as the product of metaphysics. On this evidence, the analysis focuses on the reputed statement that the decisive point of monotheism is not the oneness of God but the exclusion of all other gods as the false ones (the so-called "Mosaic Distinction"). Just the exclusivity distinguishes the mode of difference that one faces in monotheism from the negligible dissimilarity that is inherent in polytheism. Accordingly, in connection with the "Mosaic Distinction", one should interpret the ban on idolatry as the inadmissibility of self-sufficiency and thus the divinity of the representations of God.
Key words: heresy, monotheism, metaphysics, truth, falsehood, difference, opposition.

Citation. Pigalev A.I. The Concept of Heresy and the Theoretical Models of Difference. Logos et Praxis, 2023, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 5-15. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.3.1

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