AskDefine | Define socinianism

Extensive Definition

portal Christianity Socinianism is a form of Antitrinitarianism, named for Laelius Socinus (died 1562 in Zürich) and of his nephew Faustus Socinus (died 1604 in Poland). The former was one of the founders of a religious society that had to operate secretly in order to avoid persecution. The Socinian sect became far more widespread after Faustus Socinus, Laelius Socinus's nephew, became a valued member. In 1574 the Socinians, who referred to themselves as Unitarians, issued a "Catechism of the Unitarians," in which they laid out their views of the nature and perfection of the Godhead, as well as other principles of their group.
The group became more widely known in Poland and began to prosper, opening colleges and publishing literature, until 1638, when the Socinians were banished from Poland by the Catholics. Until that time it was widely believed that Socinianism would become a dominant belief in Europe.
Socinians held views rooted in rationality only and rejected orthodox teachings on the Trinity and on the divinity of Jesus, as summarised in the Racovian Catechism. They also believed that God's omniscience was limited to what was a necessary truth in the future (what would definitely happen), and did not apply to what was a contingent truth (what might happen). They believed that, if God knew every possible future, human free will was impossible; and as such rejected the "hard" view of omniscience. They are to be differentiated from Arians, who believed in a preexistent Christ. The Socinians held that the Son of God did not exist until he was born a man.
The Socinians congregated especially in Transylvania, in Poland (see Polish brethren) and in the Netherlands. They were driven from their seat at Raków in 1643.
Socinianism is considered to be an antecedent or early form of Unitarianism and the term 'socinian' is still used today to refer to the belief that Jesus did not preexist his life as a human.
Note: In Christianity, Socinianism is also called Psilanthropism, the presumed etymology of "psilanthropism" stems from the Greek psilo (merely, only) and anthropos (man, human being).
Psilanthropism was rejected by the ecumenical councils, especially in the First Council of Nicaea, which was convened to deal directly with this. Beliefs similar to those of Socinianism continue today in Christian groups such as the Christadelphians and the Church of the Blessed Hope.

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socinianism in Danish: Socinianisme
socinianism in German: Sozinianismus
socinianism in Spanish: Socinianismo
socinianism in French: Socinianisme
socinianism in Italian: Socinianesimo
socinianism in Dutch: Socinianisme
socinianism in Portuguese: Socianismo
socinianism in Russian: Социнианство
socinianism in Finnish: Socinolaisuus
socinianism in Swedish: Socinianism
socinianism in Ukrainian: Социніани
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