The Encyclopedia Americana (1920)/Adamites

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ADAMITES. (1) A Christian sect said to have existed in the 2d century: so called because both men and women appeared naked in their assemblies, either to imitate Adam in the state of innocence or to prove the control which they possessed over their passions. The tradition is probably baseless, originating in a name of derision given to the Carpocratians. (See Gnostics). (2) Also called Picards, from the founder of their sect, Picard (perhaps also Beghards). He called himself Adam the Son of God, and advocated community of women. They appeared about the year 1421 on an island in the River Lusinicz, where Zisca surprised them, but was not able to destroy the whole sect. In the following year they were widely spread over Bohemia and Moravia, and especially hated by the Hussites (whom they resembled in hatred toward the hierarchy) because they rejected transubstantiation, the priesthood and the Supper. They subsequently formed one sect with the remaining Taborites, who have accordingly been confounded with them. In 1849 a similar sect sprang up in Austria.