Heterodoxy includes "any opinions or doctrines at variance with an official or orthodox position". [Definition of orthodoxy from [http://www.cogsci.princeton.edu/cgi-bin/webwn2.0?stage=1&word=heterodoxy WordNet] ] As an adjective, "heterodox" is used to describe a subject as "characterized by departure from accepted beliefs or standards" ("status quo"). The noun "heterodoxy" is synonymous with "unorthodoxy", while the adjective "heterodox" is synonymous with "dissident".

Ecclesiastic usage

Eastern Orthodoxy

In the Eastern Orthodox Church, the term is used to refer to Christian churches not belonging to the Eastern Orthodox communion and holding doctrines different from those of Orthodox Christianity. [Orthodox Dogmatic Theology, by Fr. Michael Pomazansky, trans. by Fr. Seraphim Rose (Platina, CA: St. Herman of Alaska Brotherhood, 1994), pp. 243-246] Also, it is used for any idea, thought, dogma, principle or lifestyle that is in conflict with the Orthodox Faith. In general, this term is used in two distinct cases: 1. Whenever Eastern Orthodoxy wants to classify something different, but not as different or thought to be as erroneous as heresy; 2. Whenever Eastern Orthodoxy wants, for any reason, to abstain from the use of the word heresy.

Roman Catholicism

Heterodoxy in the Roman Catholic Church refers to views that differ from strictly orthodox views, but retain sufficient faithfulness to the original doctrine to avoid heresy. Many Roman Catholics profess some heterodox views, either on doctrinal or social issues.Fact|date=January 2008 For example, the orthodox Catholic position on unbaptized infants is that their fate is uncertain, and "the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God" (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1261). A heterodox Catholic might profess the belief that unbaptized infants are offered the option to accept or deny salvation by God at their judgment. The belief is not orthodox, as the Church does not profess a belief as to what happens to unbaptized infants; however, it is also not heresy, as the Church accepts that such a scenario "might" be possible. By contrast, a denial of the doctrine of "Original Sin" (thereby negating the necessity of baptism for children) or Papal Infallibility -- would be labeled heretical.


As with Eastern Orthodox and Roman Catholic usage, many Protestants such as Lutherans use the term "heterodox" Fact|date=January 2008 (Gr. hetero - other, and doxa - teaching) to describe Christian teachings which are not in agreement with their understanding of scripture. No true Christian denomination knowingly embraces a fallacy, but instead truly believes that their interpretation of scriptures is "orthodox" (Gr. ortho - correct, and doxa - teaching). Thus, other Christian (Catholic, Orthodox or Protestant) denominations with different teachings which are not heretical are considered heterodox.

Other usage

The term "heterodox" is occasionally used by some Christians to refer to themselves when they are in disagreement with orthodox understandings, but voice this disagreement while still maintaining the overall value of the tradition. The heterodox Christian therefore remains in the tradition and attempts to stimulate constructive dialog around issues with which they disagree.

Political usage against religion


In late 1999 legislation was created in China to outlaw "heterodox religions". [Leung, Beatrice (2002) 'China and Falun Gong: Party and society relations in the modern era', Journal of Contemporary China, 11:33, 761 – 784] This was applied retroactively to Falun Gong, a spiritual practice introduced to the public in China by Li Hongzhi (李洪志) in 1992. [ [http://www.cecc.gov/pages/roundtables/052305/Ownby.php Statement of Professor David Ownby] , Unofficial Religions in China: Beyond the Party's Rules, 2005]


See also


External links

* [http://dictionary.reference.com/wordoftheday/archive/2004/04/28.html Heterodox - the word of the day]
* [http://www.orgs.bucknell.edu/afee/hetecon.htm Heterodox Economics]
* [http://www.open.ac.uk/socialsciences/hetecon/ Open University Heterodox Economics]
* [http://www.reclaimingwalther.org/articles/pieperohcintro.htm Orthodox vs Heterodox Churches]

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Heterodoxy — Het er*o*dox y, n. [Gr. ?: cf. F. h[ e]t[ e]rodoxie.] An opinion or doctrine, or a system of doctrines, contrary to some established standard of faith, as the Scriptures, the creed or standards of a church, etc.; heresy. Bp. Bull. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • heterodoxy — index disaccord, nonconformity Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • heterodoxy — 1650s, from Gk. heterodoxia “error of opinion,” from heterodoxos (see HETERODOX (Cf. heterodox)) …   Etymology dictionary

  • heterodoxy — [het′ər ōdäk΄sē] n. pl. heterodoxies [Gr heterodoxia] 1. the quality or fact of being heterodox 2. a heterodox belief or doctrine …   English World dictionary

  • Heterodoxy — (Roget s Thesaurus) >Sectarianism. < N PARAG:Heterodoxy >N GRP: N 1 Sgm: N 1 heterodoxy heterodoxy Sgm: N 1 error error &c. 495 Sgm: N 1 false doctrine false doctrine heresy schism Sgm: N 1 schismaticism schismaticism …   English dictionary for students

  • heterodoxy — (New American Roget s College Thesaurus) Departure from orthodoxy Nouns 1. heterodoxy, syncretism; sectarianism, nonconformity, unconformity, secularism, denominationalism, cultism; heresy, schism, error, false doctrine; schismaticism, recusancy; …   English dictionary for students

  • heterodoxy — noun /ˈhɛtɛɹədɒksi/ a) The quality of being heterodox. A genuine first hand religious experience like this is bound to be a heterodoxy to its witnesses, the prophet appearing as a mere lonely madman. b) A heterodox belief, creed, or teaching. Ant …   Wiktionary

  • heterodoxy — heterodox ► ADJECTIVE ▪ not conforming with orthodox standards or beliefs. DERIVATIVES heterodoxy noun. ORIGIN from Greek doxa opinion …   English terms dictionary

  • heterodoxy — noun (plural doxies) Date: 1659 1. the quality or state of being heterodox 2. a heterodox opinion or doctrine …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • heterodoxy — /het euhr euh dok see/, n., pl. heterodoxies. 1. heterodox state or quality. 2. a heterodox opinion, view, etc. [1645 55; < Gk heterodoxía. See HETERODOX, Y3] * * * …   Universalium

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