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Liturgical Press

History and Heresy

How Historical Forces Can Create Doctrinal Conflicts

Joseph F. Kelly

History and Heresy
History and Heresy

ISBN: 9780814656952, 5695

Details: 232 pgs, 6 x 9
Publication Date: 10/01/2012

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God is beyond time, but every person is firmly planted in it. History impacts us endlessly, including the ways we understand the church and its teachings. This has been the case since the time of the earliest believers.

In History and Heresy, Joseph F. Kelly considers heresies and the historical forces that shaped them. In his customarily engaging style, he demonstrates that historical forces and human beings of particular historical eras play a major role in how both orthodoxy and heresy come into being and how they are understood. Far from reducing orthodoxy and heresy to historical forces, he shows rather that a grasp of the historical context of both is essential in understanding them and especially in determining what might be orthodox or heretical.

Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, is professor of religious studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. His books include The Feast of Christmas, The Origins of Christmas, The Ecumenical Councils of the Catholic Church, and others, all published by Liturgical Press.


With his usual historical reliability and accessible style, Kelly puts the history back into church history. He demonstrates how heresy and doctrine have worked in tandem over time, and offers lessons for that dance-that often turned into a duel-for today's church. An engaging storyteller, Kelly teaches well what happens when context gets lost and people start using church history as a proof text instead of a dynamic interplay of events, places, and circumstances. Kelly invites the reader to encounter questions just as these historical players did: without knowing precisely the best way to explain mysteries or how things would turn out. Kelly shows well how ideas are shaped and doctrines are set by the times in which they appeared.
Christopher M. Bellitto, Ph.D., Kean University, Author of The Living Church and 101 Questions and Answers on Popes and the Papacy