The Cathars (‘the Pure’) emerged in the eleventh century as a dualist alternative to Christianity. They drove to extremes the distinction between the flesh and the spirit, teaching that the physical world was entirely evil, and that the height of sanctity was to starve oneself. A favourite argument was that a good creator would not have made wolves. Outside southern France it was a minority cult. In the Low Countries their numbers were never large, but the appearance of Cathar groups was persistent. In 1155 the bishop of Cambrai declared a clerk named Jonas no longer to be in good standing with the Church because of his Cattorum heresi. In 1162 Louis VII of France, trying to put pressure on Flanders, wrote to the pope that heresy was rife there. In 1163, 11 Flemings were arrested near Cologne and after much questioning and disputation were burned as heretics, the penalty under criminal law.
Swipe to navigate through the chapters of this book
Please log in to get access to this content
To get access to this content you need the following product:
- Princes and Parliaments, 1231–1384
- Macmillan Education UK
- Sequence number
- Chapter number