From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Abelians (Latin: Abelonii; also Abelites,[1] Abeloites or Abelonians) were a Christian sect that sprang up in the 4th century in the country side near Hippo Regius in north Africa during the reign of Arcadius.[2][1] They lived in continence as they affirmed Abel did. They were required to be married but were forbidden to consummate the marriage. Each couple was required to adopt two children, a boy and a girl.[2] When their adoptive parents died, these adoptees would then form a couple and adopt further two children.[1] Because no children of Abel are mentioned in Scripture, the Abelians assumed that he had none.[2] This view was influenced by Jewish, and Manichean-inspired Gnostic perspectives on Abel that recognized that, while he was married, he remained a virgin.[1] The only record of the sect is in Augustine of Hippo's De Haereticis ch. 87,[2] where he writes that the name of the sect is probably of Punic origin.[1] According to Augustine, the sect became extinct in 428 when its last members converted to Catholicism.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Cocchini, F. (2014). "Abelites". In Di Berardino, Angelo. Encyclopedia of Ancient Christianity. Downers Grove: IVP Academic. p. 1:8. ISBN 978-0-8308-9717-9 – via EBSCOhost. 
  2. ^ a b c d Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, 1957; p. 4

 This article incorporates text from the 1771 Encyclopædia Britannica, which is in the public domain.