Definitions for docetismdoʊˈsi tɪz əm, ˈdoʊ sɪˌtɪz-
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Random House Webster's College Dictionary
Do•ce•tismdoʊˈsi tɪz əm, ˈdoʊ sɪˌtɪz-(n.)
an early Christian heresy asserting that the sufferings of Christ were apparent and not real.
Origin of Docetism:
1840–50; < LGk dokē(taí) (pl. of dokētḗs one who professes the heresy of appearance) < Gk dokē-, var. s. of dokeîn to seem, appear (cf. dogma )
the heretical doctrine (associated with the Gnostics) that Jesus had no human body and his sufferings and death on the cross were apparent rather than real
The doctrine of the Docetes, that Jesus only appeared to have a physical body and was ultimately of celestial substance.
the doctrine of the Docetae
In Christian terminology, docetism, according to Norbert Brox, is defined narrowly as "the doctrine according to which the phenomenon of Christ, his historical and bodily existence, and thus above all the human form of Jesus, was altogether mere semblance without any true reality." Broadly it is taken as the belief that Jesus only seemed to be human, and that his physical body was a phantasm. The word docetai (illusionists) referring to early groups who denied Jesus' humanity, first occurred in a letter by Bishop Serapion of Antioch (197-203), who discovered the doctrine in the Gospel of Peter, during a pastoral visit to a Christian community using it in Rhosus, and later condemned it as a forgery. It appears to have arisen over theological contentions concerning the meaning, figurative or literal, of a sentence from the Gospel of John: "the Word was made Flesh". Docetism was unequivocally rejected at the First Council of Nicaea in 325 and is regarded as heretical by the Catholic Church, Orthodox Church, and many others.
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