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Related to Docetism: Monophysitism, Arianism, Gnosticism


 (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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


(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]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(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.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


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
-Ologies & -Isms. Copyright 2008 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
One school of thought, called Docetism, interpreted it to imply that Jesus Christ was simply God in the guise of a human being.
Only this iconic approach will save Orthodoxy from becoming a secular organization, conforming to the image of the world and the "docetism" of virtual communication.
She covers the word and its flesh, Docetism past and present, embodying the flesh: soma and sarx, pleromatic time, Jesus and his corpse, the mediators, and the Book of John and the reinscription of reality.
Origen spent his life refuting what he deemed gnostic tenets such as predestinationism, different natures among rational creatures, the separation between a superior God and an inferior--if not evil-demiurge, the severing of divine justice from divine goodness, Docetism, the notion of aeons as divine and the whole "gnostic" mythology, the refusal to interpret the OT spiritually and the NT historically, and more.
We know that by the year 110, Ignatius of Antioch was aware that some Christians rejected the reality of Jesus' human nature (the heresy of Docetism, for those keeping tabs).
Docetism, for example, a heresy that emerged around the end of the second century, held that Christ's humanity was a kind of optical illusion perpetrated on humanity by God the master magician.
The term "world" in the original language is exactly "cosmos." Therefore, the incarnated Word does not merely save us "away from" the world in a Docetism, but concerns the well-being of bodies of all sorts.
"In our enthusiasm about Jesus, we Christians have sometimes forgotten that he is the means to a divine end and have tended to separate him from the rest of the humanity he represents." (27) Schleiermacher long ago pointed out this separation as the natural/structural heresy of Docetism, insisting that the difference between redeemer and redeemed cannot be so great that the former cannot be understood in terms of the latter.
Lecture 3, "Islam and Christianity," continues this resolutely comparative approach with a focus on the two Christian heresies of Gnosticism and Docetism. If orthodox Trinitarian Christianity takes God's incarnation as a "literal historical fact" to be the decisive historical event, effectively accounting for history save for one's personal salvation, the Gnostic/Docetic alternative insists that prophecy (rather than incarnation) is the mode in which the divine and the human miraculously meet (33).
There can be no civilization on the basis of unreality, of what we have called Docetism. Reality offers us redemption from unreality, and the poor offer us redemption from social and ecclesial Docetism.
Thus he does not consider the appearance of the divinity in human form to be a Christian influence, but rather a reworking of the Qur'anic concept of docetism (tashb[]h) when Jesus appeared to be crucified.