Bishop Bartholomew of Exeter (d. 1184) and the heresy of astrology

17 Jul 2018

In the late twelfth century, Bartholomew, bishop of Exeter (1161-84), identified astrology as the most serious heresy facing the English Church. The evidence of Bartholomew’s writing suggests that astrology became more widely accepted among the English clergy during his episcopal tenure. It also supports the view that popular heretical movements enjoyed little success in England during this period, in contrast to some regions in mainland Europe. Instead, it was scholars deemed guilty of intellectual error, and above all the astrologers, who became the focus of Bartholomew’s anxieties about heresy and the intellectual culture of his day.