Severians, a sect of Encratite Gnostics, successors of the Tatianists, whose complicated system of Aeons they abandoned, but whose Encratite notions of creation they developed or heightened. The Severians held that the well known Gnostic power Ialdabaoth was a great ruler of the powers; that from him sprang the Devil; that the Devil, being cast down to in the form of a serpent, produced the vine, whose snake-like tendrils indicate its origin; that the Devil also created woman and the lower half of man. Eusebius states that the Severians made use of the law and prophets and Gospels, giving them a peculiar interpretatiion, but abused the apostle Paul and rejected his epistles, as also the Acts of the Apostles (Euseb. Hist. Eccl. 4, 29). Augustine, on the other hand, states that they rejected the Old Test. (Aug.Hoer. 24). The tenet of the creation of the world by an inferior Demiurge presupposes the inherent evil of matter, and it is a natural deduction from this to deny the resurrection of the body. The Severians followed out their principle to this conclusion, according to Augustine (Hoer. 24), while Natalis Alexander denies the probability of Augustine's report. The Severians were Docetae, as were the Tatianists. See Blunt, Dict. of Sects, s.v.; Gardner, Faiths of the World, s.v. "Monophysites;" Hagenbach, Hist. of Doct. 1, 280; Neander, Ch. Hist. 3, 170. SEE ENCRATITES; SEE MONOPHYSITES.

Definition of sever

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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