I. A name given to those several classes of anti-Trinitarians who believe that Christ was nothing more than a mere man, born according to the usual course of nature, and one who lived and died according to the ordinary circumstances of mankind. As such are generally regarded the early Judaizing sects of Ebion, Cerinthus, and Carpocrates; but this classification is by no means justified, especially as regards the Ebionites (q.v.), who taught that at the baptism in the Jordan the Messianic calling first arose in Jesus, and that at this time a higher spirit joined itself to him, investing him with miraculous powers, that left him only at the hour of his departure from this world. The earliest recorded author of the purely humanitarian theory is generally regarded as Theodotus (q.v.) of Byzantium (A.D. 196), surnamed the Tanner, who, having denied Christ in time of persecution, defended himself afterwards by declaring that, in so doing, "he had denied not God, but man." A contemporary of Theodotus, Artemon (q.v.), in like manner believed in God the creator, but held that Christ was a mere man, born of a virgin, however, and superior to the prophets, and asserted that such had been the universal belief of Christians till the time of Zephyrinus. 202 (comp. Liddon, Our Lord's Divinity [Bampton Lect. 1866], p. 425). These opinions must of course be distinguished from the doctrines of the Arian sects, even the lowest schools of which admit the pre-existence of Christ, and his pre-eminence among the creatures of God. SEE ALOGI: SEE ARIANS; SEE ARTEMONITES; SEE SOCINIANS; SEE UNITARIANS.
II. The name Humanitarian is also sometimes applied to the disciples of St. Simon (the successor of Baboeuf, who flourished under Napoleon I), and in general to those who look to the perfectibility of human nature as their great moral and social dogma, and ignore altogether the dependence of man upon supernatural aid, believing in the all-sufficiency of his own innate powers. A party of Communists who arose in France about 1839 also took the name from the newspaper L'humanitaire, their organ — Buck, Theol. Dict.; Pierer, Univers. Lex.; Chambers, Cyclop.; Shedd, History of Doctrines, 1, 259. SEE COMMUNIST.