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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Encratites

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Encratites

(Εγκρατεῖς Ε᾿γκρατίαι , Contanentes), a name given by several Church fathers (Irenaeus, Eusebius, Epiphanius, Jerome, Augustine, Theodoret) to a particular Gnostic sect, but which, in the opinion of most of the modern Church historians (Neander, Hase), either designates collectively several Gnostic sects, or, in general, the tendency of Gnostic asceticism in the ancient Church. The Encratites condemned marriage, forbade the eating of flesh or drinking of wine, and used even at the celebration of the Lord's Supper water instead of wine, on which account they were called ὑδροπαραστάται, aquarii. They were, in general, representatives of the Gnostic asceticism lased upon the principle of Dualism, in opposition to the asceticism of the Ebionites, Montanists, and others which kept within the limits of the Church. The Church fathers who regarded the Encratites as one sect of Gnostics, called Tatian (q.v.) its founder; but it is certain that there were Encratites before Tatian, and that subsequently there were Encratites who in some points differed from Tatian. Prominent men among the Encratites were, besides Tatian, Saturninus, Marcion, Julianus, Cassianus, and Severus, who is called the founder of a particular sect, the Severians, and made himself known as a violent opponent of the apostle Paul and of the Pauline epistles. In the 12th century the name of the Encratites was used. together with the names of several other ancient heresies, to designate and condemn the Bogomiles. See Eusebius, Hist. Eccl. 4:29; Mosheim, Ch. Hist. (N.Y. 3 volumes) 1:149, 282; Mosheim, Comment. 1:482; Hase, Chz. Hist. pages 64, 83; Lea, Sacerdotal Celibacy, page 42; Lardner, Works (10 volumes, 8vo), 2:148 sq.; Schaff. Ch. Hist. 1:245; Herzog, Real-Encykl. 4:67; Wetzer u. Welte, Kirch.-Lex. 3:575. SEE SACCOPHORI; SEE TATIAN.

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Encratites'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/e/encratites.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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