Socinianism


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Socinianism

(sōsĭ`nēənĭzəm), anti-Trinitarian religious movement organized in Poland in the 16th cent. by Faustus SocinusSocinus, Faustus
or Fausto Sozzini
, 1539–1604, Italian religious reformer, founder of Socinianism. Socinus left the Roman Catholic Church when, influenced by the writings of his uncle, Laelius Socinus, he came to deny the Trinity and other traditional doctrines.
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. Antecedents of the movement were such Italian humanist reformers as Bernardino Ochino, Georgio Blandrata, and Laelius SocinusSocinus, Laelius
or Lelio Sozzini
, 1525–62, Italian religious reformer. After becoming interested in Protestantism, Socinus left Italy in 1544 for the Swiss cantons to escape the newly established Inquisition.
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, who fled to Poland from persecution first in Italy and then in Calvinist Switzerland. Michael ServetusServetus, Michael
, 1511–53, Spanish theologian and physician. His name in Spanish was Miguel Serveto. In his early years he came in contact with some of the leading reformers in Germany and Switzerland—Johannes Oecolampadius, Martin Bucer, Wolfgang Fabricius Capito,
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 appears to have influenced their anti-Trinitarian views. Socinianist reformers organized (1556) the Minor Reformed Church of Poland and established Rakow as an intellectual center. Faustus went to Poland in 1579 and became the movement's leader and principal theologian. Socinianism represented an extreme attempt to reconcile Christianity with humanism. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity was rejected, the Scriptures were considered authoritative but were interpreted in the light of the new rationalism, and the sacraments were viewed as spiritual symbols. The Nicene and Athanasian creeds were rejected and Jesus was held to be only the human instrument of divine mercy and the Holy Spirit merely the activity of God. Under Faustus the movement became known as the Polish Brethren, and communities were formed in imitation of the early Christian church. Its members refused to hold serfs or to participate in war. Never strong, the movement dissolved (c.1638) in the face of severe Roman Catholic persecution. Some of its members settled in Holland and there played a part in liberalizing Reformed doctrine. Faustus's teachings were compiled by disciples as the Racovian Catechism (1605). Socinianism is sometimes called Old Unitarianism and, erroneously, Polish Arianism.
References in periodicals archive ?
Between about 1610 and into the 1620s writers who wished to criticize Calvinist doctrine within the English Church did not turn to Socinianism. It was only during the 1630s that the situation changed.
From the July 2002 Socinianism and Cultural Exchange symposium, held in Munich, 11 papers highlight the relationship of anti- Trinitarianism to liberal currents in reformed Protestantism, namely Dutch Remonstrants, some of the French Huguenots, and English Latitudinarians.
What of the substantive categories from which the collecting is said to have been done - latitudinarism and Socinianism? Neither provides a new approach to Locke, though Marshall deploys them with a new pertinacity, so that the question is less about originality than success in explaining Locke's intentions.
Bangs, "Arminius and Socinianism," in Socinianism and Its' Role in the Culture of the Sixteenth to Eighteenth Centuries, ed.
Chapter Five, "Socinianism and Deism," locates Milton's Anti-trinitarianism as being more correctly aligned with Arianism than Socinianism, but expresses some surprise that Miltonists like Maurice Kelley, Michael Bauman, and the authors of Bright Essence "give very little consideration to the more radical Antitrinitarian school of Socinianism" (189).
John Rogers finds in books 3 and 11 of Paradise Lost that, by avoiding orthodox beliefs about the centrality of Christ's crucifixion, Milton evidences his "Arianized Socinianism" (213) and goes as far as possible in his Calvinistic milieu "to reassert the role of works ...
The third and final section of Lieb's book, "The Heresies of Godhead" contains separate chapters on Socinianism and Arianism, two heretical movements which many scholars have connected to Milton.
In the 1690s some High Church divines accused a number of leading Latitudinarian churchmen, including John Tillotson, Archbishop of Canterbury, and Gilbert Burnet, Bishop of Salisbury, of the anti-Trinitarian heresy of Socinianism. In the eyes of their High Church adversaries, attempts by Tillotson, Bumet, and others to explain the doctrine of the Trinity were both unclear in their language and unorthodox in their rejection of traditional patristic learning, and this amply illustrated the dangers of latitudinarianism.
Also, two and a half years before his death, in December 1831, Carey continued to believe that Islam would be one of the world's evils to be removed at the eschaton: "I expect the fulfillment of all the prophecies and promises respecting the universal establishment of the Redeemer's kingdom in the world, including the total abolition of idolatry, Mahomedanism, infidelity, Socinianism, and all the political establishments in the world; the abolition also of war, slavery, and oppression, in all their ramifications." (30)
Where, during the 1690s, the arguments of enlightenment and latitudinarian theologies were drifting in the direction of deism (especially with the rise of Socinianism) and tending toward pluralism, Leslie would reinstate, through an invocation of Paradise Lost, a simpler moral compass of good angels championing orthodoxy and rebel angels advocating heresy.
This young man tossed about between Deism, Arianism, and atheism until he at last settled for Socinianism. At that point, he met Marshman, who stoutly defended scriptural teaching on Christ's atonement.
England, he affirms, is still Christian: its most illustrious thinkers, men such as Clarke, Tillotson, Addison, Boyle, and Warburton, write not only against atheism but also against deism and even socinianism. Indeed, many works appear which, rather than attacking Catholic dogmas, stress those that unite Protestants and Catholics.

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