Her·e·sy n.; pl. Heresies
1. An opinion held in opposition to the established or commonly received doctrine, and tending to promote a division or party, as in politics, literature, philosophy, etc.; -- usually, but not necessarily, said in reproach.
Divers and dangerous, which are heresies,
And, not reformed, may prove pernicious. --Shak.
After the study of philosophy began in Greece, and the philosophers, disagreeing amongst themselves, had started many questions . . . because every man took what opinion he pleased, each several opinion was called a heresy; which signified no more than a private opinion, without reference to truth or falsehood. --Hobbes.
2. Theol. Religious opinion opposed to the authorized doctrinal standards of any particular church, especially when tending to promote schism or separation; lack of orthodox or sound belief; rejection of, or erroneous belief in regard to, some fundamental religious doctrine or truth; heterodoxy.
Doubts 'mongst divines, and difference of texts,
From whence arise diversity of sects,
And hateful heresies by God abhor'd. --Spenser.
Deluded people! that do not consider that the greatest heresy in the world is a wicked life. --Tillotson.
3. Law An offense against Christianity, consisting in a denial of some essential doctrine, which denial is publicly avowed, and obstinately maintained.
A second offense is that of heresy, which consists not in a total denial of Christianity, but of some its essential doctrines, publicly and obstinately avowed. --Blackstone.
Note: ☞ “When I call dueling, and similar aberrations of honor, a moral heresy, I refer to the force of the Greek ░, as signifying a principle or opinion taken up by the will for the will's sake, as a proof or pledge to itself of its own power of self-determination, independent of all other motives.”
n 1: any opinions or doctrines at variance with the official or
orthodox position [syn: unorthodoxy, heterodoxy]
2: a belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion
from a Greek word signifying (1) a choice, (2) the opinion
chosen, and (3) the sect holding the opinion. In the Acts of the
Apostles (5:17; 15:5; 24:5, 14; 26:5) it denotes a sect, without
reference to its character. Elsewhere, however, in the New
Testament it has a different meaning attached to it. Paul ranks
"heresies" with crimes and seditions (Gal. 5:20). This word also
denotes divisions or schisms in the church (1 Cor. 11:19). In
Titus 3:10 a "heretical person" is one who follows his own
self-willed "questions," and who is to be avoided. Heresies thus
came to signify self-chosen doctrines not emanating from God (2