An unworthy Deacon, named for the brother of God: James, striving to "work out his salvation with fear and trembling" within the Tradition (paradosis) of the Eastern Orthodox Faith. It is a strange and marvelous journey, and I am accompanied by the fourfold fruit of my fecundity. My wife, the Matushka or Diaconissa Sophia, is my beloved partner in the pursuit of Theosis, and she ranks me in every way.
The following is a quote from "A History of Christianity" by Donald Treadgold. The underline portion is a section that I believe has an error - it doesn't seem correct to me. The text I have is a 1979 edition and it comes from the chapter entitled "The Christian contest with Rome" (P. 45). I'd be interested to know if anyone has a different edition and might check if a correction was made. But, mainly I would be interested in commentary and discussion on this passage. In particular, what do you think Treadgold meant in the last sentence?
Heresy may be defined as separation from the Church in belief, as contrasted with schism, which is separation in organization (without separation of belief). Mere challenge, dispute, or even error does not establish heresy or schism, but rather persistence in a deviant path after it has been clearly explained to be such. “Heresy” nowadays is a term apt to be used to imply that the ideas in question are original or innovative. In fact, however, heresy usually originated not in a new idea or practice, but in exaggerated and excessive attachment to an old one – to a valid element of the faith; the overemphasis often tended to lead to a distortion of the part which might eventually distort the meaning of the whole. It was thus characteristically the orthodox (those who followed “the true teaching” of the church) Christians who were concerned about the whole spectrum of thought and action of the faithful and for whom any single issue needed above all to be kept in proper perspective, whereas the potential or actual heretics were much more apt to be passionately interested in a small number of issues or in one alone. There followed from this circumstance that have led to the use of the aphorism, “the more orthodox, the more tolerant.” The history of Christianity is a long and complex one, and situations can be found in which that aphorism seems inapplicable, even radically so. The twentieth-century reader, however, probably needs to realize that the widely received doctrine of our time may gravely mislead him in considering the issue.
Interesting. The closest equivalent I can think of off the top of my head is St. Augustine's "In essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, love." But I don't think that Augustine would have said it in the sense that this author quotes this "aphorism."
He's on the money about heresies being an over-emphasis of certain things which are already there, and not necessary innovations in themselves. C.S. Lewis once said something to the affect that the devil is surprisingly unoriginal in his tricks.
As to the last sentence -- I have not a clue. I'd probably have to know a little about the author himself to see where he's coming from.