1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Adamites

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

ADAMITES, or ADAMIANS, a sect of heretics that flourished in North Africa in the 2nd and 3rd centuries. Basing itself probably on a union of certain gnostic and ascetic doctrines, this sect pretended that its members were re-established in Adam's state of original innocency. They accordingly rejected the form of marriage, which, they said, would never have existed but for sin, and lived in absolute lawlessness, holding that, whatever they did, their actions could be neither good nor bad. During the middle ages the doctrines of this obscure sect, which did not itself exist long, were revived in Europe by the Brethren and Sisters of the Free Spirit.