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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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a deserting or abandoning of the true religion. The word is borrowed from the Latin apostatare, or apostare, to despise or violate any thing. Hence apostatare leges anciently signified to transgress the laws. The Latin apostatare, again, comes from απο ,

from, and ιστημι , I stand. Among the Romanists, apostasy only signifies the forsaking of a religious order, whereof a man had made profession, without a lawful dispensation. The ancients distinguished three kinds of apostasy: the first, a supererogatione, is committed by a priest, or religious, who abandons his profession, and returns to his lay state; the second, a mandatis Dei, by a person of any condition, who abandons the commands of God, though he retains his faith; the third, a fide, by him who not only abandons his works, but also the faith. There is this difference between an apostate and a heretic; that the latter only abandons a part of the faith, whereas the former renounces the whole. The primitive Christian church distinguished several kinds of apostasy. The first was that of those who relapsed from Christianity into Judaism; the second, that of those who blended Judaism and Christianity together; and the third was that of those who, after having been Christians, voluntarily relapsed into Paganism.

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Apostasy'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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Monday, October 19th, 2020
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29
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