When talking about the first people who were known to believe or do something considered heretical, which verb do we use with the word heresy? I want the verb for the 'invention' of the heresy - not a person who just follows it.

For example: 'They (past verb) this heresy in the second century.'

  • Prosaically enough, 'introduce heresy' is used (if not exactly common). – Edwin Ashworth Aug 17 '16 at 23:36
  • There is no special word for the introduction of a heretical idea, even in the narrow sense of condemned Christian doctrine. Any word for the development and spread of an idea is suitable. It is introduced, developed and advanced; it is conceived, proposed, and promoted; it is incubated, cultivated, and forwarded; etc. – choster Aug 18 '16 at 0:02
  • Google collocate search to the rescue - or not. As @choster already wrote, there is no special word. Conceived does however appear in the collocate list ;) – Helmar Aug 18 '16 at 10:40

"espouse" might be the verb you're looking for. - A person espouses a heresy.

"espouse" - to make one's own; adopt or embrace, as a cause.

  • "Those who espouse the “heresy of Luther,” are legitimate only if they are graced by God"

  • ".....they espouse the heresy that it is the president who knows best"

  • "The founder or leader of a heretical movement is called a heresiarch, while individuals who espouse heresy or commit heresy, are known as heretics." Societies, Network and Transitions


You could say that "According to the Holy See, Martin Luther conceived, established and disseminated that heresy (the protestant reformation) in the sixteenth century.

  • Thanks, but I want the verb for the 'invention' of the heresy - not a person who just follows it. So, in your example it's Luther who 'invented' the heresy. – nicholas ainsworth Aug 17 '16 at 23:29

They promulgated this heresy in the second century.

From Merriam-Webster:

Synonym Discussion of Promulgate

Declare, announce, proclaim, promulgate mean to make known publicly. Declare implies explicitness and usually formality in making known . Announce implies the declaration of something for the first time . Proclaim implies declaring clearly, forcefully, and authoritatively . Promulgate implies the proclaiming of a dogma, doctrine, or law .

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