Bardesanists

Followers of Bardesanes, of Edessa, founder of a Gnostic sect in the second century. They believed that the human body was ethereal till it became imbruted with sin. Milton, in his Comus, refers to this:

When Lust
By unchaste looks, loose gestures, and foul talk,
But most by lewd and lavish acts of sin,
Lets in defilement to the inward parts,
The soul grows clotted
by contagion,
Imbodies and imbrutes.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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