Dec 1, 2014

Docetism: the other 1st century Christianity

Why it was the other 1st-century Christianity.

 Docetism is the belief that Jesus Christ didn't have a physical body.
Rather, his body was an illusion as was his crucifixion.

Docetae, a heretical sect dating back to the first century, taught that Jesus Christ only appeared as or seemed to be a man; he seemed to have been born, lived, and suffered.

The word Docetae itself, rendered by "illusionists" or "to seem" first occurs in a letter of Serapion, Bishop of Antioch (AD 190-203), to the church at Rhossos.
Troubles had arisen about the public reading of the apocryphal Gospel of Peter. Three passages of that gospel savor strongly of illusionism.

Docetism dates to before AD 100.
The first known advocate of docetism was Cerinthus, circa AD 85.
He held that Jesus differed from other men only in that he was better and wiser than they, and that the divine Christ descended upon him at the baptism, but left him at the cross.
The effect of this reasoning was to make the incarnation an illusion.

Either 1) there was no human Jesus Christ at all, but only an apparition 2) or else the real son of God was simply using the human Jesus as a vehicle of expression, but not in union with him.

Cerinthus flourished c. AD 85-AD 100.
The earliest surviving account of this Cerinthus is that in the Christian intellectual Irenæus--Against Heresies 1.26.1--a refutation of Gnosticism written about 170 CE.
According to Irenæus, Cerinthus, educated in the wisdom of the Egyptians, claimed angelic inspiration.
Cerinthus distinguished between the man Jesus and the Christ, denying the supernatural birth of Jesus and making him the natural born son of Joseph and Mary.
As mentioned earlier, the Christ descended upon him at baptism, but left him again at his crucifixion.

Cerinthus was a Jewish convert to Christianity, espousing first Jewish-Greek philosophy and then becoming acquainted with Christianity, although embracing the faith in a manner obviously altogether different from that of the Christians who believed the kingdom of God.

To repeat, Cerinthus thought that until his baptism Jesus was simply a man, the most wise of men. At his baptism, the spirit of God came to dwell in him.
Before the Passion, the Christ separated himself from the man Jesus, who alone was crucified, died, and rose again.

At times Cerinthus denied even the Resurrection, contending that Jesus would rise again, with all the world, at the Day of Judgment.
Watch the Video:
Docetism: Jesus' Phantom Body

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