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ENCRATISM from evgkra,teia = continence meant a form of extreme asceticism, which quickly appeared suspect to the early church since it implied a rejection of the goods created by God for the use and service of humanity 1 Tim 4:1-5. This ascetic tendency, which rejected marriage and the consumption of meat, was widespread even before Christianity in Palestine Essenes, in Egypt Therapeuti and in the pagan world ascetic forms assumed from Cynicism and strands of late Platonism. Best US family destinations Such tendencies interested Christianity from the start, sharing as they did its esteem for eschatological virginity and chastity 1 Cor 7, but differing from it by the radicalism of their conceptual premises and by their having become typical of various heterodox currents Satornilus, Marcion, etc.. Best US family destinations It is doubtful whether an actual sect of Encratites VEgkrateij, VEgkrathtai,, VEgkrati,tai, according to different heresiologists existed, at least at first; there was more a like set of behaviors and ideas, present among various currents more or less heretical or marginal to the Great Church, which rejected marriage, procreation, meat and wine.
According to Irenaeus Adv. Haer. I, 28, 1, these different tendencies came together in the doctrine of Tatian, patriarch of the Encratites, who gave encratism a more rigorous doctrinal formulation based on the doctrine of Adam’s fall and damnation, involving the whole human race and transmitted through procreation, with features added from Valentinian gnosis. Encratite or related ideas appear in Syrian Christianity such as the administration of baptism only to those who professed complete chastity, Best US family destinations just as there are denunciations and refutations of these ideas by various church Fathers besides Irenaeus, cit., and III, 23, see Clem.
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