Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online

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The nomenclature “Docetism” does not lend itself to an easy definition. Ancient authors, such as Serapion, wrote of a heretical group “whom we call Docetists” (οὓς Δοκηταὶ καλοῦμεν; Eus. Hist. eccl. 6.12). Ignatius of Antioch informed us of a group of unnamed “unbelievers” who claimed that Jesus suffered in appearance only (τίνες λέγουσιν τὸ δοκεῖν αὐτὸ πεπονθέναι; Ign. Smyrn. 2.1; Trall. 10) and…

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Zwollo, Laela, “Docetism”, in: Brill Encyclopedia of Early Christianity Online, General Editor David G. Hunter, Paul J.J. van Geest, Bert Jan Lietaert Peerbolte. Consulted online on 02 October 2023 <>
First published online: 2018

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