The Perfect Heresy: The Life and Death of the Cathars

I bought this book at Waterstones on Kalverstraat in Amsterdam – I had almost finished the book I brought along with me (A War Like No Other : How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War ), so I needed another (even with my personal laptop going for 3 hours, that leaves about 3 that needs occupying). I got back to the hotel (almost wrote home) from work, changed and went downstairs to arrange a cab to the airport and find out how late the bookstore was open on Friday night. They said 18:00 and it was already 17:30 – I rushed from the Marriott to Waterstones and made it with 15 minutes to spare. I went straight to the history section on the top floor and saw this book. I’ve always been fascinated with heresies and how religions put them down, so I grabbed it.

Its a good read. The author did a lot of research and has a lot of interest in the topic. In addition, the period and heresy is very interesting – Earth was created by evil and is hell, and we are reincarnated to it until we lead a good life (they call those that do Perfect, hence the title), at which point you die and join God. Obviously, the Catholic church saw this as an evil thing, as the Cathars believed in equality of all people, ascetic life, both of which didn’t fit in well with the church.

So they were put down. Bloodily. With fire.

Now I need a good survey of heresies….


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