Journal for the Study of Religion, Nature and Culture, Vol 13, No 1 (2019)

Astrology as Heresy in Contemporary Belief

Garry Phillipson
Issued Date: 8 May 2019


Astrology has been characterised as a heresy by many Christian thinkers, from the time of the early Church Fathers to the present day. In contemporary discourse, astrology is often treated as if it were a heresy against science. I provide examples of astrologers being treated as heretics in the name of science, and an alternative conception of astrology as a form of divination, not dependent on scientific substantiation. I argue that the ‘astrology’ often criticised in the name of science may be defined as much by scientism’s need for a construction to define itself against, as by the actual views of horoscopic astrologers. The emerging picture is that criticisms of astrology are typically based on a mixture of legitimate objections and scientistic belief. I conclude that scientism’s unspoken aspiration to orthodoxy emerges through the parallels between its approach to astrology and that of the Church.

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DOI: 10.1558/jsrnc.38056


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