One of the first sects of Christianity, which encouraged members to get naked and do whatever they want

2nd - 5th century

"Naked they gather together, men and women alike; naked they listen to readings; naked they pray; naked they celebrate the sacraments" -St. Augustine

The story of early Christianity is a kaleidoscope of belief systems, traditions, and practices. For centuries, various sects and leaders developed alternative expressions of the faith, often launching sharp criticisms of opposing views. Among the myriad of sects in the first centuries of the Christian Church emerged the Adamites, who remain largely overlooked in modern discussions about the early Christian landscape, but offer a fascinating window into the diversity of belief and practice that characterized early Christianity. 

The Adamites are believed to have originated in the 2nd century AD during a period of immense theological exploration and debate. They took their name from Adam, the first man in the Hebrew Bible, and sought to emulate the purity of the Garden of Eden. They believed that the Fall of Man, as narrated in the Genesis account, had led to corruption and a degradation of spiritual purity. Therefore, they thought they could regain lost innocence and come closer to God by returning to the practices and ways of Adam and Eve before the Fall.

Perhaps the most striking practice of the Adamites was ritual nudity. In sharp contrast to what one might expect from the some of first Christians, members often gathered together unclothed to embody the innocence and purity of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, a contentious practice that drew significant criticism from early Christian leaders. Also contentious among their Christian contemporizes, was the Adamites rejection of marriage. According to them, Adam and Eve never got married, as we understand the sacrament, before the Fall, so they believed refraining from such acts would align them with the pure state of human existence.

The controversies surrounding the Adamites, combined with the strengthening orthodoxy of mainstream Christianity, contributed to the sect’s eventual decline. By the 4th century, the Adamites had mostly faded into obscurity, although small pockets might have survived longer in isolated communities. Today, the Adamites are often cited in academic discussions about the diversity of early Christian beliefs and the struggle for orthodoxy, serving as a compelling example of the diversity of the early Christian landscape.

Religion: Christianity

Denomination: Early Church

Founded: 2nd century

Ended: 5th century

Other Names: Adamians; Adamiani

Location: North Africa

See also: Bohemian Adamites

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