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Helvidius [1]

a so-called heresiarch of the 4th century, a layman who opposed the growing superstitions of the Church, and especially the nascent worship of the Virgin Mary. He was a pupil of Auxentius, bishop of Milan, and the precursor of Jovinian (q.v.). Jerome was at the time preaching the "gospel of celibacy," and Helvidius opposed this tendency also. He maintained that Mary had other children besides Jesus, and supported his opinion by the N. Test., and by the authority of Tertullian and Victorinus. "He affirmed also that by this opinion he in nowise infringed on the honor of Mary. He attacked also the exaggerated under valuation of married life. He quoted the examples of the patriarchs, who had maintained a pious life in wedlock; while, on the other hand, he referred to the examples of such virgins as had by no means lived up to their calling. These opinions of Helvidius might lead s to conclude that the combating of a one-sided ascetic spirit was a matter of still more weight with him than the defense of his views with regard to Mary. Perhaps, also, he may have been led into these views simply by exegetical inquiries and observations, and so had been drawn into this opposition to the oven aluation of celibacy merely for the purpose of defending his opinion against an objection on the score of propriety" (Neander, Ch. Hist., Torrey's, 2, 340). Augustine (De Haeres. c. 84) calls his followers Helvidiani. Jerome wrote a treatise against him (adv. Helvidiusm), in which we find some passages of Helvidis's writings. See Epiphanius, Haeres. c. 70, 78; Augustine, Haeres. c. 56, 84; Neander, I. c.