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Arabici

Small sect of the third century

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Arabici, a small sect of the third century, whose founder is unknown, and which is commonly named from Arabia, where it flourished, but sometimes also Thanatopsychitae, from the nature of the error. The soul was believed to perish with the body, though both soul and body would be revived again at the day of judgment. The Arabici were misled not, apparently, by any philosophical speculation about the nature of the soul, but by their biblical exegesis of I Tim., vi, 16, “Who only hath immortality.” This passage, they held, ascribes undying life to God alone, and therefore precludes its unbroken possession by man. They failed to distinguish immortality as it is an essential attribute of God from the imparted immortality which man has from Him. The error was shortlived, and the Arabici, after about forty years of estrangement, were reconciled to the Church, through the persuasive mediation of Origen, at a council held in 250.

F. P. HAVEY


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