Cerinthus

, an ancient heretic, was contemporary with St. John towards the end of the first, or the commencement of the second century. He is said to have been a Jew, educated at Alexandria, but resident at Antioch. Authors differ as to his moral character, but Dr. Lardner has found nothing of a vicious kind imputed to him. With respect to his opinions, he ascribed the creation of the world, and the legislature of the Jews, to a created being, who derived from the Supreme. God extraordinary virtues and powers, but afterwards became apostate and degraded. He supposed that Jesus was a mere man, born of Joseph and Mary; but that, in his baptism, the Holy Ghost, or the Christ, who was one of the ^ons, descended upon him in the form of a dove; and that he was commissioned to oppose the degenerate god of the Jews, and to destroy his empire. In consequence of which, by his instigation, the man Jesus was seized and crucified; but Christ ascended up on high, without suffering at all. He recommended to his followers the worship of the Supreme God in conjunction with his Son; he required them to abandon the lawgiver of the Jews; and though they were permitted to retain circumcision and the rites of the Mosaic law, and, according to Jerom, this was the principal error of Cerinthus, that he was for joining the law with the gospel; yet they were to make the precepts of Christ the rule of their conduct. For their encouragement, he promised them the resurrection of the body; after which the millennium was to commence under the government of Christ united to the man Jesus: and this he represented as consisting in eating and drinking, nuptial entertainments, and other festivities. Cerinthus’ opinions, however, | as a millenarian, have been doubted by some, and the question is accurately examined by Lardner, although with some degree of leaning towards Cerinthus’s opinion of Jesus Christ. 1

1

Lardner. Mosheim. Gen. Dict.