Saturday, June 4, 2011

Heresy Schmeresy. How Choice of Sect (neutral) became Perdition (Not neutral)

Biblical heresy defined, explored.

Heresy word before - private choice; and after the doctrinal morph into damnation.

Related, a Study of Perdition.

What hath Western Culture Wrought? All on its own.

What is Heresy;
Then, what is destructive heresy; and then, what is damned heresy.
Translation progressions through the Institutions.

 I.  Context of Topic: The Role of "Heresy" in Western Culture

II.  Heresy: From Greek Hairisin, Haireseis, "preference" in choice of sect,  to English Heresy - Damnation

III.  Heresy:  From Destructive Preference, or Hairesis opOleias, to Jerome's sectas perditionis. Damnation.

Heresy as private choice.  It began that way, and is rooted in the Greek. Eastern and Western culture frameworks and their religions see the right of individual choice versus the obligation to the group differently. Treatment of heresy, beliefs that veer from the mainstream where the mainstream is "required" by the mainstream, reflect that. Overview:  see an Orthodox Christian commentary (Orthodox Jonathan asks, for example, a) can religion really be a salad bar; and b)  is the essence of heresy the willingness of the dissenter to split the institution over it rather than deny his conscience) at

The issue looms largest where an institution takes for itself the right to force conversions: believe this way or die; or at least lose your funding from the Party and get primaried out. Politics becomes the new religion. See issues of forcing conversion in our day at,8599,1535671,00.html

The Western church took that flawed path early on, and killing religious refuseniks became easy, see Charlemagne's campaign against the Saxons, Sachsenhain especially;, and the pope's Crusade against the Cathars, see, destroying a branch of Christian life that fostered ways to live together without murder and demonizing, see,8599,1535671,00.html.
Heresy evolved as a Western weapon for efficiency, in the forced institutionalization of the otherwise non-institutionable. The Founder led by example and invitation, not by force. That did not last long.

  • Here we look at Acts, as Paul defined his mission first, his acts were in line with the hereditary faith. He followed a mere sect, like others accepted at the time: Pharisees, Sadducees, and Nazarenes. There was no "heresy" involved as we know it, with the concept of perdition included. The word "heresy" could be a sect, a position within the faith, as Paul described himself. In the Greek,"haireseis" was a matter of taking a position. Only after, when Paul and others decided that a "new religion" was needed (and somehow intended), did damnation and damned sects enter. Perdition as heresy: Dogma's weapon of mass destruction. Heresy as the Way" to religious ethnic cleansing From Hairesis, G139, chosen preference, to Jerome:  a doctrinal force, translating as a church advocate centuries later. Any sect disagreeing with the dogma of the Church became sectas perditionis.


I.  Overview

II    Heresy as the Greek Hairisin, Hairisim, Hairisis:  Acts 21:14, G139
A.  In Transliteration:  Means preference, choice, taking of position, sect.
B.  In Strong's Lexicon:  Also means sect, preference, with the additional uses identified;
C. In Strong's Lexicon, check II Peter.  Note change from "sect" to "secta perditionis" in II Peter

III     Secta Perditionis - II Peter 2:1. G684.
A.  Transliteration check - an additional word is used, for sects of destruction
B.  Translation check - "Destruction" becomes perdition, and thus damned and damnable sects lead to perdition.  As developed, perdition comes through erroneous opinions, not just acts; and the destruction of the bad position is not just the loss itself, but Hell.  Perdition. For thoughts.
C. Translations misused

IV.  Translators narrow meanings for doctrinal purposes.
A.  The Church  translation from Greek to Latin, once set on an institution course (not just taking Paul as he was in early Acts) emphasizes that A.  if  points of view are erroneous, that is enough to get you to perdition, not just your acts.  And, B. as the institution developed, the church decided it had the authority to act for the deity -- to enforce by death those it decided were sectas perditionis.
B.  Review,

V. Sources for ordinary people



A. "Heresy" does not appear in the Old Testament.

The word "heresy" appears in the KJV New Testament nine times, beginning with the meaning as preference, or  "sect" -- a sect like the Sadducees, Pharisees, Nazarenes (Christians), Accepted differences.

The meaning then moved, as the Christian Institution developed according to Roman influence, excluding gnostics and other viewpoints, into a different, and virulent form.  Heresy appeared not just as another sect, but  "sectas perditionis" -- heresy as violation of "true" dogma, sect of perdition; ultimately, synonymous with damnation.  The word heresy is listed as the Greek "hairesis" or, in Strong's Lexicon, as Strong's G139.  See.*+G139&t=KJV.

And in the purgings of dissenters later, the church took on itself the authority to name heretics, the new sectas perditionis people, and kill in the name of God. 

B.  The Greek hairesis appears mildly at first, in Acts 24:14 as part of the testimony of Paul who is describing himself as "hairiesin",; as he is questioned after his arrest on charge of acting against the religious laws - stirring people up.

C.  Paul (writer using the name of Paul? search issue of attributed authorship, forgery or an era of accepted writing in the name of another, ex. Bart Ehrman's books) says, no, he is acting as hairesin, and that means according to a sect, a chosen preference, but still in the line of inheritance, in line with the inherited ways of the past, following the laws. Fast forward to writers under the names of Peter and others:  Perdition, they hiss; and extermination, followed also in the Roman tradition of killing off threats to the Empire, first civil, then military, then religious. Roman Christianity and the perfection of "cleansing."  See the process of cleansing cultures of religiously "bad" people, whether in the context of jihad or inquisition, the misinterpretations of text that targeting requires, and the hope at

D.  Reference here:  the traditional King James version for its cadence and simplicity, and other parallel translations more recent and also more ancient. King James? Yes. See

Other main sites: open all the windows at once.

II.  Hairesin.  Heresim. Haireseis.
Acts 24:14

A.  In Transliteration:  Hairesias as Preference. 

Choice. Sect.
In itself, neutral.

Look up "hairesin" in transliteration.  Transliteration is a mechanical, literal, word-by-word approach from the originating language given, rather than a translator's narrative gestalt interpretation into the target language. See it at  Acts 24:14.  The "hairesin" number G139 given there, is transliterated as "preference" -- not "heresy."

Preference is neutral, not a value judgment. You prefer this, I prefer that.

Transliteration again:

Paul's statement in transliteration Acts 24:14 as fair use quote retyped --  see the "preference"
"I-AM-avowING YET this to-YOU that according-to THE WAY WHICH  they-are-sayING preference (they are terming sect) thus I-AM-DIVINE-SERVICE according to-THE hereditary God BELIEVING to-ALL THE according to THE LAW AND THE BEFORE-AVERers (prophets) HAVING been WRITTEN"  

Look now at the inheritance aspect of Paul's faith: 
  • "The Hereditary God".  Legitimization of faith through inheritance. 
  • Note that the inheritance concept in Paul's statement is word G3971, and that stresses the "inherit" not the gender -- inheritance was indeed from father to son, or ancestors to posterity, but the emphasis is on the legitimacy by inheritance, not the gender of the one inherited from, see  
  • Legitimacy through inheritance, not through gender.  Look askance at the emphasis not on an inherited, continuous faith, and find sex: "God of our Fathers" -- or God of my fathers, or I serve my fathers' God, I serve the Father and my God, God of our forefathers, God of the fathers, etc.  
  • The original transliteration is merely "hereditary" and that happened to be through the male line.  G3971 for "patrOO" - if the inheritance custom had been through the mother, maybe we would have matrOO. Same inheritance idea as legitimizing, not so much the gender.

B.  Confirmation: Haireseis or Hairesis In Strong's Lexicon,
Strong's Concordance:   
Sect, Additional Uses

Read about Strong's for Everyman at  Strong is Victorian and so can be doctrinally tilted; people claim errors here and there, and resources available change. Use as part of other look-ups. We like the Blue Letter Bible presentation of  Strong's because it includes Thayer, another Victorian, but who is far less doctrinal. Thayer is not as apt to shape the definition to meet current dogma requirements.

 Haireseis in Strong's shows that G139 haireseis means "act of choosing" or sect.

Haireseis or hairesis appears as "sect" that way five times. See*+G139&t=KJV  Sect of the Sadducees, Sect of the Pharisees, Sect of the Nazarenes, Sect of our religion, this Sect.   Click on the number 139 there, to get to the full definition section, at   See also

There are many definitions of  haireseis G139, see the uses specified at :

Meanings range widely:
  • the active even violent "capture" (the act of taking or storming)(what is the origin of that since there is no perdition involved yet?), and
  • the quiet "choosing".  
  • a body of men following their own beliefs as in a sect, and examples of sects are Sadducees, Pharisees, Christians. 
  • the neutral dissensions resulting from differing views and goals, or 
  • the doctrinal value judgment, "an opinion varying from the true exposition of the Christian faith (see the Thayer exposition there)".

III.  Enter, Perdition
 New Idea Later. Not just destructive sect, but damnable


Haireseias narrowed to "Sects", but sects of apOleias, "Destruction."
In translation, that apOleias becomes Perdition.

And Damned and Damnable By Bad Thoughts, Opinion: 
Not Just Actions

A. How did we get there?

1.  Jerome translating to Latin, so far so good: 
acknowledge "haireseis" - G139 - as merely "sect"
Translate it into Latin that way.

2.. But, to the "sect" idea, add Peter's idea that that following some sects is destructive, a ruin, loss - "apOleias" - G684 

But be sure that the particular meaning chosen for G684 is not just "destruction" in Latin, but hell.

3. The root of G684 remains G622, however, simply destroy, render useless, abolish. Only metaphorical, as coming later, as to give over to eternal misery,"hell"
Thayer: by one's conduct, action, the sheep straying, no longer able to subserve

4.  And enter the most dangerous element:  perdition for wrong thoughts, opinions 

 Sectas Perditionis

Suddenly the Roman sect is setting itself apart as the sole authority, the sole inheritor, and monitor of thoughts, not just acts. Here is where Thayer is useful.  Thayer gives comparative sites that appear to disagree with the "true faith" idea, so we know there is disagreement, so go to Peter first.

A.  II Peter 2:1 on perditionis: Transliteration check
Hairesis apOleias  - no "perdition"
Words for Preferences of destruction

Look up II Peter 2:1. at Find a phrase now, two words -- "haireseis (sic) apOleias" and the phrase reads, "preferences (sects) OF-destruction"
The apOleias is G684.

B. II Peter 2:1 on perditionis:  Parallel translation check
Hairesi apOleias - Now find  "perdition" 
Words now for Sects of Perdition


II Peter 2:1  Enter the world of perdition.  To Thayer, an interpretation including destructive opinion
 was erroneous, and he corrected it in his section.

The Greek given there is "aireseiV  apwleiaV"  or heresy (meaning sect or choice)  followed by apwleiaV or "destruction".  Sect of destruction.  Heresy in the old sense of choice, followed by destruction.

Greek Stephens 1550 ------------------------ aireseiV  apwleiaV
Greek Scrivener 1894 ------------------------aireseiV  apwleiaV
Greek  Byzantine Majority ----------------- aireseiV  apwleiaV
Greek Alexandrian --------------------------- aireseiV  apwleiaV
Greek Hort and Wescott --------------------- aireseiV  apwleiaV

Transliteration ----------------------------------aireseiV--------------------------preferences (haireseis)
Transliteration ----------------------------------apleiaV --------------------------of destruction (apOleias)


Watch the change.  See Jerome's Latin not translating the words as they are, but translating doctrinally, to be dogma-correct.  Jerome does not leave a choice of belief as choice of belief;  and destructive as destructive.  It introduces sect with doctrinal damnation.

Latin (Jerome) Vulgate ----------------------- aireseiV  apwleiaV -----------sectas perditionis
  • Not even the "aireseiV" and not even the "apleiaV" are translated as they are.

Instead, Jerome sua sponte introduces a new idea:  SECTAS PERDITIONIS

Doctrinal hell.  Not a mere wreck of a choice.

The Greek is still the "airesei" or hairesei we are used to.  Why does Jerome change it?  For doctrine:  to establish a new church regardless of what the Greek said.

Why do we trust our scriptural translations to those who are arguing doctrine every step of the way? Is it because the purpose of this supposedly authorized new church is not to present fact, but to ensure everybody agrees with its view, or dies.

This is a far cry from Acts, where Paul sees himself as in the line of inherited faith as any other Jew. Just another sect. Now, go to hell.

When did Paul and his followers decide there had to be a new religion?  It was not in Acts at first.
Those who believe these "heresies" so characterized (no longer the mere sect designation "heresim") will be destroyed and deserve it.  So, the quiet idea of "sect" in line with the past, but in its own way, as Paul used it in trying to show his innocence, has become dogmatic damnation - sectas perditionis - of anybody who disagrees.
  • Peter, Peter. Commentary. A fourth betrayal? The lure of power, and the institution of Paul, who was already on the way to usurping Peter as the rock, is too much for poor reactive Peter to think through. Cockadoodle.
Peter, the rockhead. At Paul, we are appalled. Paul's legacy is the original heresy, taking ways of peace, moving away from preaching to those who will hear, and sadness but not blame for those who will not or cannot, and away from example and healing and welcome, and tolerance; to warfare and perdition. So western culture's path was set in the usurped rock.

C.  Translations misused - perditionis

Watch the progression:  from heresias, or sect; not to heresias perditionis, or damned sect; but to sectas perditionis so that the word heresy itself becomes synonymous with perdition. There is no pretense at grammatical correctness, but the idea remains.

Heresias becomes perdition, and that is not what heresias means. Who brought the perdition to the party so that all who disagree are damned, and worse yet, that anybody on the street is authorized to enforce that damnation, not leave consequences to the deity; but impose it yourself,  as indeed occurred.

IV.  Translators themselves add to the text - 
Perdition becomes synonymous with heresy

Jerome in the Latin Vulgate in Acts translates Paul's word as "heresim".  See Look up "heresim" in a Latin to English dictionary, and find nothing.  See

Look further.

"Heresim" can be seen as a root word, heres, with an ending, im: not a total word in itself in a dictionary. "Heres" in Latin means heir, heiress, successor, owner, see

That also fits with Paul's idea of his being an inheritor, a successor in the line.  Even Jerome is not calling heresim the "heresy" of deviation from an inherited set. The "im" in heresim can be something to do with seeing, I see, you and I see, we are seeing, etc. Same site. So, Paul is saying he is a successor, an heir. Paul uses the word to mean connected to the past, not breaking from it.

But Jerome's translation of the same word, heresias, in Peter II is not a word not the expected heresim perditionis, which would suggest some group within the hereditary faith going astray; but it is "sectas" -- not suggesting an inherited faith line at all.  A damned sect; he says "sectas perditionis".  That is jarring, and sounds criminalizing.  Not even within the bounds of the faith.  Whose faith?  The Roman sect's faith?

Heresim perditionis or whatever it would be, would be expected.  Why the sudden sectas. And the people coming after just used "heresy" as a shortcut for damned sects.  But heresy retains the meaning of mere choice, and was used by Paul in that way.

A.  Back to roots -- course adjustment
Check Strong's again.  Go to G138 this time.

Jerome goes so strongly into the perdition bit, that we go back to Strong's.  Find an identified root there for G139 at .  Click there and see reference to Strong's G138.

Often words surrounding a Strong's word, are useful.  This one, G138, (it looks like aipew, somewhat different from the aipicin but maybe not much.  It means "to choose". The root at  Strong's 138 means to take for oneself, to choose, to prefer (no violence seen in any of those), see
Back again to simple choice.  A sect as a choice.

What happened to that bland, informative idea of coexistence of choices?

B.  Review and watch the parroting

Keep your windows open at the bottom of the screen and hop back and forth. Look again at the evolution of meaning of hairesin away from the original.

We found the "hairesin" as the numbered word G139.  See  Strong's system, either G for Greek or H for Hebrew, is from the Victorian scholar who with his minions took each word in Hebrew and Greek and catalogued it from the Old and New Testaments.

We saw that "heresy" number G139 becomes either sect, or - suddenly a new concept same word to define itself - heresy.  Heresy? Use of the word to define the word?  Sect is not a value judgment.  Heresy is.  Heresy came to mean perdition, damned sect. Go back to the parallel Greek New Testament.  Take Jerome's "heresim" -- many the lackeys after simply make that into a new concept -- "heresy" --

5.  Brave Translators Translate Heresim as Sect.
Four brave souls.
Only 4.

There are four brave souls who translate "heresim" as "sect" --
  • The American Standard, 
  • Darby's English,  
  • the World English, and 
  • Young's Literal. 
Skip the Bible in Basic English as ridiculously doctrinal -- "that Way which to them is not the true religion," using up 10 dogma-teaching words instead of the one given, and reflects the later dogma wars, not the period in question. Suddenly, BBE puts us in the black-white true-religion angle that is not part of the verse at all.

And by the time the writer comes along going under the nom de church Peter,all the concepts are mixed up with perdition, see

IV.  What is Perdition?
Other sources, ordinary people

Suddenly, mere heresim, or choice of sect; becomes sectas perditionis.  Damned sect. Then the perdition part becomes synonymous with the choice of sect. How doctrine grows. This is not a new idea, but there are authors who seek to lay out more choices in analysis.  For example, who really wrote the gospels, the letters. Was it customary at that time for others to write in the name of authority, and not be that authority at all, or writing at the authority's direction.  Search for  "forged" for example, a term that may not have been used then, but is useful now.  Vet the process of selecting the canon. Assess the role of Roman military and organizational prowess, and ruthlessness, in moving from a civil and military empire to a religious and military one. 

Do your own research on perdition.  Perdition is used eight times in the King James New Testament, see -- beginning with John 17, and going on down some of the letters. How is it used, once it is in the vocabularu?  People go to perdition, there is the perdition of the ungodly, destruction and perdition go hand in hand, there is a son of perdition, there is a token of perdition,

All doctrine.  And looking very gnostic -- gnostic elements in perdition, a dualism between good and evil. Check it out. Yet the gnostics were seen later as heretic in the sense of burnable. This process makes no sense, except as power plays. On through the Inquisitions, the Cathars, the forced conversions and on to today's self-designated right.

Day of judgment language, who will burn, etc., all very institutional. Not part of original teaching where the deity may well choose a consequence, but the individual is to mind his own business --motes.

Is that why Jerome suddenly uses "sectas perditionis" instead of mere heresim perditionis?  Have to make it worse? That's the point, is that so. Did the Founder walk around threatening people, beating on their doors, casting them out if they disagreed?  No, but as soon as he was gone, out the dogmers go. Heresy later equated with perdition. Perdition and sending other people to it became more important than living one's own life. Who is the heretic. Paul the heretic. He said that. It meant what it meant.

Who let the dogma out?


1.  Translation context.

Translation efforts carry choices. Which wording achieves the desired meaning, whether or not original. So with the Bible. No surprise.  Translations also acquire weight of time. This one must be  "divinely inspired" because of its pedigree.  That one is a colloquial self-serving agenda.

2.  Focus.

Here, we look to intent of the Greek in the New Testament as to "heresy."  With no assumptions of divine inspiration for either the Latin or English, and without reaching back yet to Aramaic (not so much online), what meaning for "heresy" emerges.  How did words change so that merely "destructive preferences", for example, became the sinister and damning "sectas perditionis." Perdition?  Hell? That kind of destruction threatened in a "Christ" church?

Did the Founder ever model that? Threat and killing for failure to believe a certain way?  If not, then is it the Institution that has been highjacked and is out of the real "inherited" line, and is the real "heresy."  Interesting.

3. Why bother?

Bother because, In western history, heresy led to burning of heretics and other acts of extermination over centuries: for those disagreeing with orthodox dogma.

The idea of heresy seeped  into politics.  For example, political party is a new orthodoxy.  There is a penalty for not following the party line, for not mouthing certain words.  You must be a Believer This Way.  Your funding will be cut off and you will be cast into Sheol if you challenge the political gospel du jour.  Is that so?

4.  Where next?

Ask: What ideas are so toxic to our "destiny" (what is that destiny? what is exceptionalism?  do we delude?) that we will, nay, must guide the toxic believers that we ourselves identify, to damnation.

Then ask about this assumption of enforcement. How did others get authorized to kill in the name of a deity, as though the deity had not moxie to impose consequences. How did justification for killing people for ideas even get into the language.

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