• synonyms


[ doh-see-tiz-uh m, doh-si-tiz- ]
/ doʊˈsi tɪz əm, ˈdoʊ sɪˌtɪz- /


an early Christian doctrine that the sufferings of Christ were apparent and not real and that after the crucifixion he appeared in a spiritual body.
Roman Catholic Church. an ancient heresy asserting that Jesus lacked full humanity.

Origin of Docetism

First recorded in 1840–50; Docet(ae) + -ism
Related formsDo·ce·tic, adjectiveDo·ce·tist, noun, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for docetism

  • A curious and far-off echo of early Docetism which also in its own way reduced Christ's suffering to a simple seeming to suffer.

    Modern Religious Cults and Movements|Gaius Glenn Atkins
  • Nevertheless, the author carefully avoids the extremes of Docetism or ditheism.

  • As compared with this, Docetism in Origen's case appears throughout in a weakened form; see Bigg, p. 191.

British Dictionary definitions for docetism


/ (ˈdəʊsɪˌtɪzəm) /


(in the early Christian Church) a heresy that the humanity of Christ, his sufferings, and his death were apparent rather than real

Word Origin for Docetism

C19: from Medieval Latin Docētae, from Greek Dokētai, from dokein to seem
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for docetism



1846, heresy of the Docetae, who held that the body of Jesus was a phantom, from Greek Doketai, name of the sect, literally "believers," from dokein "to seem, have the appearance of, think," related to doxa (see decent).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper