Making a Heresiarch: Guido Terreni’s Attack on Joachim of Fiore

  • Thomas Turley
Part of the The New Middle Ages book series (TNMA)


Reviewing the early critics of Joachim of Fiore in her magisterial work The Influence of Prophecy in the Later Middle Ages, Marjorie Reeves called the fourteenth-century Carmelite theologian Guido Terreni “the first person to put Joachim in a catalogue of heretics.” She was struck by the directness and vehemence of Guido’s attack, as well as his conviction that Joachim’s views were the source of the errors of numerous contemporary heretics—Peter Olivi, the Beghards, the Beguins, and the Fraticelli.1 The catalogue to which Reeves referred was Terreni’s Summa de haeresibus, completed in 1342.2 A substantial and influential work, the Summa went well beyond most previous criticisms of Joachim’s thought, depicting him not only as a heretic, but also as a heresiarch responsible for a cluster of heresies identified long after his death. The work exploited ambiguities in conventional ecclesial articulation of the notion of heresy in order to link Joachim to later errors that could be found nowhere in his writings. The effect on Joachim’s reputation was significant. This chapter explores the motivation and trajectory of Guido Terreni’s attack, the techniques he used in the Summa de haeresibus to define Joachim as a heresiarch, and the impact his work had on later authors.


Theological Discourse False Prophet Patristic Source Lateran Council Salvation History 
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© Karen Bollermann, Thomas M. Izbicki, and Cary J. Nederman 2014

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