Synopses & Reviews
The Catholic and Orthodox Churches regarded dualism as a heresy that had been transmitted in secrecy from late Antiquity; dualist heretics believed that it was Christianity as it was intended before the Church corrupted it. In this complete reworking of the author's previous work ( The Hidden Tradition in Europe 1994), Stoyanov widens the scope to trace the transmission of the movement through Egypt and the Near East and to examine the growing development between magic and heresy. Dualists believed that behind the known public God there was another with power over the world to come; Stoyanov searches for the identity of this god through the ancient beliefs of the Near East, through Byzantium and the Crusades to Catharism in Languedoc, culminating in the fall of Montsegur.
This fascinating book explores the evolution of religious dualism, the doctrine that man and cosmos are constant battlegrounds between forces of good and evil. It traces this evolution from late Egyptian religion and the revelations of Zoroaster and the Orphics in antiquity through the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Mithraic Mysteries, and the great Gnostic teachers to its revival in medieval Europe with the suppression of the Bogomils and the Cathars, heirs to the age-long teachings of dualism. Integrating political, cultural, and religious history, Yuri Stoyanov illuminates the dualist religious systems, recreating in vivid detail the diverse worlds of their striking ideas and beliefs, their convoluted mythologies and symbolism.
Reviews of an earlier edition:
"A book of prime importance for anyone interested in the history of religious dualism. The author's knowledge of relevant original sources is remarkable; and he has distilled them into a convincing and very readable whole."--Sir Steven Runciman
"The most fascinating historical detective story since Steven Runciman's Sicilian Vespers."--Colin Wilson
"A splendid account of the decline of the dualist tradition in the East . . . both strong and accessible. . . . The most readable account of Balkan heresy ever."--Jeffrey B. Russell, Journal of Religion
"Well-written, fact-filled, and fascinating . . . has in it the making of a classic."
--Harry T. Norris, Bulletin of SOAS