Members-only oddcast episode

Bojana Radovanović on the Bogomils, Gnostics, Cathars, and Others

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In this extended interview we poke and prod the evidence to see what falls out. Topics discussed include:

  • Bogomil self-identification, not as ‘Bogomils’, but simply as true Christians,
  • Some of the ways in which the Bogomils have been recast by scholarship (e.g. Bogomils as proto-Reformation movement, Bogomils as social radicals, a manifestation of class-struggle against the feudal order),
  • The question of possible connections between Bogomilism and the intriguingly-parallel dualist ‘heresy’ known as Catharism,
  • The ways on which Bogomils interacted and blended in with ‘regular’ Christians, and in particular with monastic communities,
  • The Interrogatio Iohannis, a.k.a. The Book of John the Evangelist or The Secret Supper (Cena Secreta), a dualist text surviving in Latin most likely translated from a Slavonic or perhaps Greek original,
  • The proposed difference between village-Bogomilism and the urban variety, which may have been where the more metaphysically-inclined and, indeed, esoteric strains of Bogomilism developed, and
  • Some intriguing speculations about the interrelations between Bogomilism and addressative magical, medical, and divinatory ideas and practices in the late East Roman world.

Interview Bio:

Bojana Radovanović is a Serbian classicist and medieval historian working on heresy and heretical movements within Christianity. She is currently finishing a phase of an Erwin Schroedinger Postdoctoral project funded by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) at Radboud University in Nijmegen, and returning to the Institut für Mittelalterforschung in Vienna for the next phase; the project is entitled “Sicut oves in medio luporum: religious landscapes, dualist dissent, and the ‘language of heresy’ (11th –13th centuries)”. She is a co-organizer of the monthly online Bogomil Seminar. She is currently developing a monograph to be entitled Along the Less-traveled Road: Tracing the Less-explored, Heterodox, Extra-canonical and Mystical Filaments in Bogomil Doctrine and Practice. Her other research interests include the late antiquity and polytheist heritage of medieval philosophical and theological concepts, dualist heresies in the Middle Ages, dualist legends, Slavonic apocrypha, and inter-cultural transmission between East Rome and the Latin West.

Works Cited in this Episode:


Interrogatio Iohannis: Jordan Ivanov, Livres et légendes Bogomiles (aux sources du Catharisme). Traduit du Bulgare par Monette Ribeyrol. Préface par René Nelli (Paris: Maisonneuve et Larose, 1976), pp. 83-102. English translation in: Walter Wakefield and Austin Evans, eds., Heresies of the High Middle Ages (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), pp. 458-465.


  • Greek Monks in Southern Italy: Bernard Hamilton, Monastic Reform, Catharism, and the Crusades (900-1300) (London: Variorum Reprints, 1979), p. 207.
  • Urban and Rural Bogomils: Dimitri Obolensky, The Bogomils: A Study in Balkan Neo-Manichaeism (Cambridge: University Press, 1972 reprint), pp. 168-230.