A trinitarian heresy, named after one of its proponents, the heretic Sabellius (fl. c. 220), and theologically defined by the terms monarchianism or modalism, the latter term devised by A. von Harnack. It consists in so emphasizing the unity of the Divine Being as to deny that the Son has a subsistence (or personality) distinct from that of the Father. Sabellianism gave rise to two series of discussions: one in the West, at the close of the 2d century; the other in the East, during the second half of the 3d century.
According to Tertullian (Adv. Prax. 1), the first teacher of this doctrine was an Asiatic called Praxeas, who came to Rome under the pontificate of Victor (189–198) (see patripassianism). hippolytus, however, traces its origin to "a person named Noetus, of Smyrna" (Philos. 4.7), whose disciple Epigonos settled in Rome. Epigonos's pupil, Cleomenos, enjoyed the favor of Pope Zephyrinus. Possibly a native of Cyrenaica, Sabellius became a follower of Cleomenos; and if reports from 4th-century authors, notably athanasius and epi phanius of salamis, are accurate, he provided the doctrine with a metaphysical basis. Hippolytus relates further that Sabellius was at first favorably received by Callistus I, then excommunicated when Callistus became pope (217). Thereafter Sabellius may have gone back to his native country to propagate his doctrine, for a trinitarian controversy arose in Cyrenaica in 257 when some bishops hesitated to speak about Christ as the Son of God. Their metropolitan, dionysius of alexandria, a disciple of Origen, challenged their teaching, but some of the expressions he used in correcting them seemed in turn to be tainted with subordinationism. In answer to an appeal, Pope Dionysius (259–268) wrote against both the Sabellians and their subordinationist opponents and sent a personal letter to Dionysius of Alexandria, who answered with a Refutation and Apology, cited by Eusebius (Praep. evang. 7.9) and Athanasius (Ep. de sent. Dion. ). His doctrinal explanations seem to have satisfied the pope.
Bibliography: a. von harnack, History of Dogma, tr. n. buchanan et al., ed. a. b. bruce, 7 v. (London 1896–99) 3:11–18. tertullian, Treatise against Praxeas, tr. and ed. e. evans (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, London; 1949) 6–15. j. daniÉlou and h. marrou, The First Six Hundred Years, tr. v. cronin, v. 1 of The Christian Centuries (New York 1964–).
"Sabellianism." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 23, 2018). https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sabellianism
"Sabellianism." New Catholic Encyclopedia. . Retrieved October 23, 2018 from Encyclopedia.com: https://www.encyclopedia.com/religion/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/sabellianism
Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).
Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.
Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:
Modern Language Association
The Chicago Manual of Style
American Psychological Association
- Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
- In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.