Docetism

Docetism

[doh-see-tiz-uhm, doh-si-tiz-]
noun
1.
an early Christian doctrine that the sufferings of Christ were apparent and not real and that after the crucifixion he appeared in a spiritual body.
2.
Roman Catholic Church. an ancient heresy asserting that Jesus lacked full humanity.

Origin:
1840–50; Docet(ae) + -ism

Docetic, adjective
Docetist, noun, adjective
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World English Dictionary
Docetism (ˈdəʊsɪˌtɪzəm)
 
n
(in the early Christian Church) a heresy that the humanity of Christ, his sufferings, and his death were apparent rather than real
 
[C19: from Medieval Latin Docētae, from Greek Dokētai, from dokein to seem]

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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Docetism
1846, heresy holding that the body of Jesus was a phantom, from Gk. Doketai, name of the sect, lit. "believers," from dokein "to seem, have the appearance of, think," related to doxa (see decent).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Encyclopedia Britannica
Encyclopedia

docetism

(from Greek dokein, "to seem"), Christian heresy and one of the earliest Christian sectarian doctrines, affirming that Christ did not have a real or natural body during his life on earth but only an apparent or phantom one. Though its incipient forms are alluded to in the New Testament, such as in the Letters of John (e.g., 1 John 4:1-3; 2 John 7), Docetism became more fully developed as an important doctrinal position of Gnosticism, a religious dualist system of belief arising in the 2nd century AD which held that matter was evil and the spirit good and claimed that salvation was attained only through esoteric knowledge, or gnosis. The heresy developed from speculations about the imperfection or essential impurity of matter. More thoroughgoing Docetists asserted that Christ was born without any participation of matter and that all the acts and sufferings of his life, including the Crucifixion, were mere appearances. They consequently denied Christ's Resurrection and Ascension into heaven. Milder Docetists attributed to Christ an ethereal and heavenly body but disagreed on the degree to which it shared the real actions and sufferings of Christ. Docetism was attacked by all opponents of Gnosticism, especially by Bishop Ignatius of Antioch in the 2nd century.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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