Socinianism is a form of
Antitrinitarianism, named for Laelius Socinus(died 1562in Zürich) and of his nephew Faustus Socinus(died 1604in Poland).
Socinianism was developed around the time of the
Protestant Reformation. Lelio Sozzini 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.Fact|date=February 2008
The Socinians congregated especially in
Transylvania, in Poland(see Polish brethren) and in the Netherlands( Mennonite). They were driven from their seat at Rakówin 1643.
Socinians held views rooted in skepticism [cite web |url=http://www.tecmalta.org/tft365.htm |title=Socinianism refuted |accessdate=2008-10-06 |work=Truth for Today |first=Paul |last=MizziVerify credibility|date=October 2008] and
rationalityonly and rejected orthodox teachings on the Trinityand 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 truthin 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 willwas 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.
Offshoots of Socinians
Socinianism is considered to be an antecedent or early form of
Unitarianismand 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 Christadelphiansand the Church of the Blessed Hope.
*cite encyclopedia |last=Hugh |first=Pope |encyclopedia=
Catholic Encyclopedia|title=Socinianism |url=http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/14113a.htm |accessdate=2008-10-06 |year=1912 |publisher=Robert Appleton Company |volume=14 |location= New York City
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