christ body docette
DOCEIVE (frotn Ar■ to appear), a name applied to those heretics in the early Christian church who held that Christ, during his life, had not a real or natural, but only an apparent or phantom body. Other explanations of the 84Kno-ts, or appearance, have, however, been suggested, and in the absence of any statement by those who first used the word of the grounds on which they did so, it is impossible to determine between them with certainty. The mine Docette is used by Clement of Alexandria as the designation of a distinct sect, of which he says that Julius Cassianus was the founder. Docetism, however, undoubtedly existed before the time of Cassianus. The origin of the heresy is to be sought in the Greek, Alexandrine, and Oriental philo-sophizing about the imperfection or rather the essential impurity of matter. Traces of a Jewish Docetisin are to be found in Philo ; and ia the Christian form it is generally supposed to be combated in the writings of John, and more formally in the epistles of Ignatius. It differed much in its complexion according to the points of view adopted by the different authors. Ainong the Gnostics and Manichmans it existed in its most developed type, and in a milder form it is to be found even in the writings of the orthodox teachers. The more thoroughgoing Docette assumed the position that Christ was born without any participation of matter ; and that all the acts and sufferings of his human life, including the crucifixion, were only apparent. They denied, accordingly, the resurrection and the ascent into heaven. To this class belonged Dositheus, Saturninus, Cerdo, Marcion, and their followers, tLe Ophites, Maniehmans, and others. The other, or milder school of Docet, attributed to Christ an ethereal and heavenly instead of a truly human body. Amongst these were Valentinus, Bardesanes, Basilides Tatianus, and their followers. They varied considerably in their estimation of the share which this body had in the real actions and sufferings of Christ. Clement and. Origeu, at the head of the Alexandrian school, took a somewhat subtle view of the incarnation, and Docetism pervades their controversies with the Monophysites. Docetic tendencies have also been developed in later periods of the church's history, as for example by the Priscillianists and the Bogomiles, and also since the Reformation by Jacob Boehme, Menno Simonis, and a small fraction of the Anabaptists. Docetism springs from the same roots as Gnosticism, and the Gnostics genemlly held Docetic views. Accordingly, for a fuller account of the principles out of which Docetistn arose, and of the various modifications it assumed, the reader is referred to the article GNOSTICISM. See also the articles on the leading Docette mentioned above.