Abelites, Abelians, or Abelonians

Abelites, Abelians, or Abelonians a sect of heretics who appeared in the diocese of Hippo, in Africa, about the year 370. They insisted upon marriage, but permitted no carnal conversation between man and wife, following, as they said, the example of Abel, and the prohibition in Ge 2:17. When a man and woman entered their sect they were obliged to adopt a boy and girl, who succeeded to all their property, and were united together in marriage in a similar manner. Augustine says (De Hoer. cap. 87) that in his time they had become extinct. The whole sect was at last reduced to a single village, which returned to the Church. This strange sect is, to some extent, reproduced in the modern Shakers. — Mosheim, Ch. Hist. c. 2, pt. 2; ch. 5 § 18.

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