Definition of Docetism in English:



mass noun
  • The doctrine, important in Gnosticism, that Christ's body was not human but either a phantasm or of real but celestial substance, and that therefore his sufferings were only apparent.

    • ‘Indeed, this latter focus is an indispensable safeguard against the oldest and most enduring Christological heresy, Docetism: a Jesus removed from the travails of the flesh and the tragedies of history.’
    • ‘Try explaining the soteriological danger of Docetism to your pewmate this Sunday and you'll see what I mean.’
    • ‘Rome is more likely to inquire into the orthodoxy of theologians who work with a Christology from below than into the possible Docetism of theologians who follow a Christology from above.’
    • ‘Cox rightly counters the anti-Semitism that separates Jesus from his Jewish roots and the Docetism that denies his humanity.’
    • ‘A high Christology can implicitly convey a Docetism, the view that the Son of God only appeared to be human during his earthly life.’


Mid 19th century from medieval Latin Docetae (the name, based on Greek dokein ‘seem’, given to a group of 2nd-century Christian heretics) + -ism.



/dəˈsiːtɪz(ə)m/ /ˈdəʊsɪˌtɪz(ə)m/