Almericians or Amauricians

Almericians or Amauricians a short-lived sect of the thirteenth century, which derived its name from Amalric (Almeric or Amauric, of Bena), a theologian whose doctrines (approaching to Pantheism) were prohibited and condemned at Paris by a public decree in the year 1204. The followers of Almeric, after his death, led by David of Dinanto (q.v.), carried his doctrines out to their full consequences. Respecting the Trinity, they held and taught that the power of the Father had continued only during the Mosaic dispensation, that of the Son twelve hundred years after his incarnation; and that in the thirteenth century the age of the Holy Ghost commenced, in which all sacraments and external worship were to be abolished, and the salvation of Christians was to be accomplished entirely by the internal operation of the Holy Spirit, without any external acts of religion. "Although an abstract speculative system was not calculated in that age to spread among the laity, yet, through the element of mysticism, these doctrines were diffused quite widely among the people. Books unfolding the system and its practical aims were written in French, and widely circulated. Pantheism, with all its practical consequences, was more plainly expressed than Amalric had probably ever intended or expected. The members of the sect were claimed to be subjects in which the incarnation of the Holy Ghost was begun. Ceasarius of Heisterbach charges the sect with teaching that God had spoken in Ovid as well as in Augustin; that the only heaven and the only hell are in the present life; that those who profess the true knowledge no longer need faith or hope; they have attained already to the true resurrection, the true Paradise, the real heaven; that he who lives in mortal sin has hell in his mouth, but that it is much the same thing as having a rotten tooth in the mouth. The sect opposed the worship of saints as idolatry, called the ruling church Babylon, and the pope Anti-Christ" (Neander, Ch. History, 4, 448). See Hahn, Gesch. der Pasagier, etc. (Stuttgart, 1850, 8vo). A goldsmith by the name of William of Aria was the prophet of the sect. He claimed to be one of seven personages in which the Holy Ghost was to incarnate himself, and, besides many other prophecies, predicted to the king of France that the French empire would embrace the entire globe. As many of the followers of Amalric concealed their doctrines, commissioners were sent out into several French dioceses to discover them by professing adhesion to the views of Amalric. In 1209 fourteen of the foremost followers of Amalric were summoned before a Council of Paris, sentenced, and delivered over to the secular arm. They were kept imprisoned until the return of King Philip Augustus, when, on Dec. 20,1210, ten of them were burned and two exiled. The council again condemned the works of Amalric, together with those of David of Dinanto, with all books of theology written in the vulgar language, and the metaphysical works of Aristotle. The physical works of Aristotle were prohibited for three years. In 1215 the fourth general council of the Laterans again condemned Amalric and his followers. In many instances it is difficult to determine which doctrines belong to Amalric himself and which to his followers. Some of the latter, it is certain, had very loose notions of morality. The sect of the Free Spirit owes its origin chiefly to the impulse given by Amalric. — Neander, Ch. Hist. 4, 446 sq.; Mosheim, Ch. Hist. cent. 13, pt. 2, ch. 5, § 12; Hahn, in Stud. u. Krit. 1846, p. 184; Hagenbach, Hist. of Doctrines, 2, 127. SEE AMALRIC.

 
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