Stercoranists (from stercoro, to void as excrement). The grossly sensual conception of the presence of the Lord's body in the sacrament, according to which that body is eaten, digested, and evacuated like ordinary food, is of ancient standing, though not found in Origen, as some writers have assumed (e.g. Tournely, Cursus Theologicus, 3, 345), nor, perhaps, in Rhabanus Maurus, who, like the former, was charged with holding such views because of an ambiguous explanation of Mt 15:17 (e.g. by Gerbert, De Corp. et Sang. Domini, in Pez, Thesaur. Anecdot. Noviss. 1, 1, 144). It certainly originated with a class of false teachers contemporary with or earlier than Rhabanus Maurus, whom Paschasius Radbert condemns, De Corp. et Sang. Domini, c. 20, where he remarks, with reference to certain apocryphal writings, "Frivolum est ergo in hoc mysterio cogitare de stercore, ne commisceatur in digestione alterius cibi." He does not, however, apply the term Stercoranists to his opponents. Cardinal Humbert is the first to so employ the word in his work directed against the monk Nicetas Pectoratus (1054), to advocate azymitism, SEE AZYMITES, and the other characteristic doctrines of the Latin Church (see Canis Lectt. Antt. 3, 1, 319, ed. Basnage); and from that time the word was frequently employed to designate the supporters of the grossly realistic theory of the Lord's supper. It occurs now and then in the writings of the opponents of the Lutheran doctrine, particularly the realistic doctrine of Brentius and other Wurtembergers in the time of the Reformation. On the subject, see Pfaff, De Stercoranistis Medii AEvi, etc. (Tüb. 1750, 4to), and Schröckh, Kirchengesch. 23, 429-499.

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