The Chicken Test of Heresy

The first people ever executed as heretics in Germany, back in 1051, were apparently identified as such because of their refusal to kill a chicken. More info from Graeme MacQueen of McMaster University:

In 1051 at Goslar, a town in what is today Germany, a group accused of heresy was examined by ecclesiastical authorities. The heretics:

"were finally condemned when one of the bishops, more zealous in his presentation of the case than mindful of the dignity of his rank, presented them with a live chicken and ordered them to wring its neck. They refused to kill the bird, and were deemed beyond hope of redemption. Ignoring the arguments and threats of the assembly, they refused to recant and were hanged upon a gibbet."

The execution of these heretics, as near as can be determined by modern scholars, was ordered because it was felt that "their attitude implied a dualist-type belief in the transmigration of souls through the animal kingdom" and suggested that they were Manichaeans. The events at Goslar — and this group was not alone among persecuted Christian groups in the eleventh century C.E. in its refusal to kill animals — are often treated by scholars as an important step toward the twelfth century full-blown assault on heresy by the Church linked to the newly proclaimed death penalty for heresy.

     Posted By: Alex - Sat Dec 08, 2018
     Category: Animals | Religion

At first read, I thought it said, "...they were hanged upon a giblet."
Posted by Virtual on 12/08/18 at 08:28 AM
Given the rest of the text, I should take this story and particularly the conclusions drawn from it with a whole bucket of chicken stock's worth of salt.
Posted by Richard Bos on 12/15/18 at 05:54 AM
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