The Byzantine View of the Bogomils: A Heresiological Approach

The Byzantine View of the Bogomils: A Heresiological Approach

By Hisatsugu Kusabu

Paper given at the 21st International Congress of Byzantine Studies, London, 2006

Introduction: The condemnation of Basil the Bogomil and his followers (ca. 1099) is a remarkable event not only for the history of Byzantine heresies, but also for Byzantine heresiology. Because of this event, the teachings of Byzantine Bogomils were exposed in detail, and the Byzantine church gained an extensive heresiological work, Dogmatike Panoplia compiled by Euthymios Zigabenos (ca. 1115). In this paper, I examine the source genres called heresiology related to the trial of Basil the Bogomil in Constantinople through the contemporary conceptions of the Bogomils, in order to reconsider the impact of Bogomilism on Byzantine intellectual history. The arguments of this paper are that 1) the heresy-title of the Bogomils (oi Bogomiloi) was a temporary label for an indefinite category of non-conformism in terms of monastic praxis employed by Komnenian intellectuals, 2) Bogomilism was not only a socio-doctrinal problem caused by a cult group, but a mirror of Byzantine views of themselves, and 3) the views of the Bogomils are an important clue for understanding the Byzantine Orthodoxy from the heresiological approach.

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