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 (dō-sē′tĭz′əm, dō′sə-tĭz′əm)
The belief, especially associated with the Gnostics, that Jesus had no human body and only appeared to have died on the cross.

[Probably from Late Greek Dokētai, espousers of Docetism, from Greek dokein, to seem; see dek- in Indo-European roots.]

Do·ce′tist n.


(Ecclesiastical Terms) (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]


(doʊˈsi tɪz əm, ˈdoʊ sɪˌtɪz-)

an early Christian heresy asserting that the sufferings of Christ were apparent and not real.
[1840–50; < Late Greek dokē(taí) (pl. of dokētḗs one who professes the heresy of appearance) < Greek dokē-, variant s. of dokeîn to seem, appear (compare dogma)]
Do•ce′tic, adj.
Do•ce′tist, n., adj.


a very early heretical belief that held that Christ’s body was not material or real, but only the appearance of a body. — Docetae, n. pl.
See also: Heresy
the teaching of an early heretical sect asserting that Christ’s body was not human or material, but celestial in substance. — Docetic, adj.
See also: Christ
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.Docetism - 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
heresy, unorthodoxy - a belief that rejects the orthodox tenets of a religion
theological doctrine - the doctrine of a religious group
References in periodicals archive ?
If modern-day Docetists, Arians, and Nestorians are in our pews, they probably won't do much harm to themselves or others, and they might still lead fruitful lives.
The desire to sanitize a Jesus who gets dirty with humanity is a phenomenon that well-meaning believers have always fallen into, beginning with the Gnostic Docetists in the 1st C.
51) Christ really suffered (contra the docetists, who claimed he only appeared to do so).