The Ebionites

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archibald
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The Ebionites

Post by archibald » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:06 pm

I have become interested in this group. I have read about them here and there and know a few of the basics (such as that there are no extant texts and that we know of them only/mainly via others).

I was wondering if, in the first instance, anyone here could point me in the direction of what they consider good/useful reading material, preferably freely available online (if possible) and/or, tell me if there have been any previous threads here that I might search for and peruse.

Or, if anyone wants to volunteer an opinion, feel free.

My interest has been stimulated recently in two ways. First, I have read that some (including Robert Eisenmann?) think they may have been the post-1st Jewish War remnants of the Jerusalem Jewish 'Christians'. Secondly, because I have also read elsewhere that at least some NT references to 'the poor' may refer to them, given the original (I mean Hebrew) meaning of the word 'Ebion'.

I am also just interested in them generally.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Ebionites

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:40 pm

archibald wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:06 pm
I have become interested in this group. I have read about them here and there and know a few of the basics (such as that there are no extant texts and that we know of them only/mainly via others).

I was wondering if, in the first instance, anyone here could point me in the direction of what they consider good/useful reading material, preferably freely available online (if possible) and/or, tell me if there have been any previous threads here that I might search for and peruse.

Or, if anyone wants to volunteer an opinion, feel free.

My interest has been stimulated recently in two ways. First, I have read that some (including Robert Eisenmann?) think they may have been the post-1st Jewish War remnants of the Jerusalem Jewish 'Christians'. Secondly, because I have also read elsewhere that at least some NT references to 'the poor' may refer to them, given the original (I mean Hebrew) meaning of the word 'Ebion'.

I am also just interested in them generally.
I have the extant patristic quotations from the gospel of the Ebionites here: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1853.

Also, please refer to my upcoming PM to you.
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Jax
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Re: The Ebionites

Post by Jax » Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:41 pm

I hope that you get some responses as I would love to know more about them as well.

Joseph D. L.
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Re: The Ebionites

Post by Joseph D. L. » Sun Jan 07, 2018 4:56 pm

I think Lucian presents the earliest witnesses to the Ebionites in his Life of Peregrinus. But I don't think they were called as such until much later.

Originally, there was only the Community in Palestine. Whether this was closer to Jerusalem or Antioch I can't say for certain. And they were led by James (either Jacob of Kephar, Pappus, or R. Akiva). But Peregrinus, after leaving his home in northern Phrygia, fell in with the Community and, after many years, rose to prominence as, not just a teacher, but a Law giver, which puts him on par with Moses.

But after his first return home, something changed for him and became increasingly antagonistic to their Laws and customs and was eventually excommunicated by them. However, it's here that led to a rupture within the Community.

Now, I don't want to give too much away as this will be the focus of two books I'm working on. But suffice it to say this rupture created the Ebionites and the Nazarenes. There is one major theological difference between the two, and what sparked the outrage. One side denied it, while the other side accepted it. And what's odd is that Paul is said to be the leader of the Nazarenes in Acts: the side that accepted it. Yet read through his genuine epistles and it is never brought up. But there is an allusion to it if you look in the right place.

The legend of Ebion is probably a misremembering of Peregrinus relinquishing his property and wealth to his city, and effectively becoming Ebion/Poor. (Just as the Borborites may have been a tradition started from Peregrinus dousing himself with mud).

I'm sorry I have to be so cryptic and vague about this, but I kind of need a hook, and plus a lot of this material is original. If you want more insight, pm me.

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DCHindley
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Re: The Ebionites

Post by DCHindley » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:15 pm

The problem I have long had with modern scholarship on the Ebionites is its willingness to accept the early-Christian version of events as something to be assumed, and not as if it were in need of proof itself.

I will accept that the term means "poor" in Hebrew or Aramaic. In the early stages of proto-christian (small "c" to designate "messianists" up to 70 CE, where a capital "C" would designate "Christ" worshippers = Christians) period of development, perhaps they saw themselves as folks who willingly assumed a poor man's lifestyle in pursuit of right conduct, rather than "sell out" and make compromises that violated the sect's strict code of ethics.

If so, then "The Poor" was a nickname for the assembly the group represented. That is, the followers of Jesus who preached a message regarding an impending regime change. For this group, to be "anointed" ("christos") was something that humans did to symbolically dedicate someone to a lofty task, in this case be a king. So this term related to a time when an earthly kingdom was the subject in question.

But when we start to talk about the view that these are "Ebionites" (capital "E," which sounds like capital "C") who would be the "Jewish-Christians" who were Judeans who had followed the teachings of Jesus immediately following his death, as opposed to Gentile followers of Jesus, that is another kind of animal. Apparently, Jesus' message about this earthly kingdom that would soon be established in the holy-land resonated with some gentiles.

Hard to say if they would have been required to do anything, and live as "strangers within the gates," or be expected at least to become proselytes as far as Law observance goes, or even fully convert to Judaism by receiving circumcision, in order to realize anything for themselves from this anticipated kingdom. In Josephus' works, he writes about a (small?) group of gentiles who sought protection from Galilean rebels. The rebel commanders wanted to compel the gentiles to accept circumcision to live in their captured territory, otherwise "adios!"

For whatever reason, the gentile group did not want to leave. Possibly they were proselytes to the practice of Judean ways, who were now being threatened by their fellow gentiles who held areas that remained loyal to Rome's lawfully appointed tetrarch-kings and the city-councils of gentile-Greek free cities. However, this proselyte lifestyle did not require circumcision. That was going farther than anyone had told them about. Josephus says he heard of this issue when he assumed his command in Galilee and ordered the rebel captains to allow them to live among them without circumcision.

I kind of think that the gentile wing of the followers of Jesus' teachings were of this kind. The Judean rebellion of 66+ CE became a great chopping block. While the Judean followers of Jesus' teachings were virtually wiped out by the war, and gentile followers of Jesus' teachings were not, this may just be a function of the fact that Romans would be much harsher on Judeans than gentiles residing in areas recaptured by Roman forces.

But the folks who seem to have popped up around 200 CE, who profess a belief in a divine savior Christ but assuming observance of Judean ways and the rite of circumcision, and supposedly represented by the group that penned the Pseudo-Clementine romance and teachings, I think were Gentiles who assumed Judean ways for whatever personal reasons they might have had. I dunno ...

DCH :scratch:

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Ebionites

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:35 pm

DCHindley wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 6:15 pm
I will accept that the term means "poor" in Hebrew or Aramaic. In the early stages of proto-christian (small "c" to designate "messianists" up to 70 CE, where a capital "C" would designate "Christ" worshippers = Christians) period of development, perhaps they saw themselves as folks who willingly assumed a poor man's lifestyle in pursuit of right conduct, rather than "sell out" and make compromises that violated the sect's strict code of ethics.

If so, then "The Poor" was a nickname for the assembly the group represented.
archibald wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:06 pm
I have also read elsewhere that at least some NT references to 'the poor' may refer to them, given the original (I mean Hebrew) meaning of the word 'Ebion'.
There is most certainly a word sounding like that which means "poor" or "needy" in Hebrew:

Deuteronomy 15.11: 11 "For the poor [אֶבְי֖וֹן, ebyon] will never cease to be in the land; therefore I command you, saying, 'You shall freely open your hand to your brother, to your needy and poor in your land.'"

There are actually several, and they are synonyms:

1 Samuel 2.8: 8 "He raises the poor [דָּ֗ל, dal] from the dust; He lifts the needy [אֶבְי֔וֹן] from the ash heap to make them sit with nobles and inherit a seat of honor; for the pillars of the earth are Yahweh's, and He set the world on them.

(These are not at all the only two.)

The most important verses in the NT related to this issue are, I think, the following (and compare the Marcan and Johannine saying with Deuteronomy 15.11 above):

Matthew 5.3: 3 "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Mark 14.7: 7 "For the poor [τοὺς πτωχούς] you always have with you, and whenever you wish, you can do them good; but you do not always have Me."

Luke 6.20: 20 And turning His gaze on His disciples, He began to say, "Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God."

John 12.8: 8 "For the poor [τοὺς πτωχούς] you always have with you, but you do not always have Me."

Romans 15.26: 26 For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.

Galatians 2.10: 10 They only asked us to remember the poor [τῶν πτωχῶν], the very thing I also was eager to do.

James 2.5: 5 Listen, my beloved brethren: did not God choose the poor of this world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom which He promised to those who love Him?

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MrMacSon
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Re: The Ebionites

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:31 pm

FWIW, a historian by the name of John Bartram has this potted commentary on "The Poor" -

https://sites.google.com/site/originsof ... y/the-poor

(if one rolls one's cursor over the tabs at the top other tab-options drop down eg. via 'The Poor' tab - 'The Way'; others on Qumran, etc)
Last edited by MrMacSon on Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: The Ebionites

Post by Ben C. Smith » Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:47 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:31 pm
FWIW, a historian by the name of John Bartram has this potted commentary on "The Poor" -

https://sites.google.com/site/originsof ... y/the-poor

(if one rolls one's cursor over the tabs at the top other tab-options drop down eg. via, 'The Poor' - 'The Way'; others on Qumran)
That page mentions one of the Dead Sea Scrolls:

1QpHab, column 12, lines 2-10a: 2 The interpretation of the word concerns the Wicked Priest, to pay him the 3 reward for what he did to the poor [אביונים], because Lebanon is 4 the Council of the Community and the animals are the simple folk of Judah, those who observe 5 the Law. God will sentence him to destruction, ~ 6 exactly as he intended to destroy the poor [אביונים]. And as for what he says: «Owing to the blood 7 of the city and the violence (done to) the country» [Habakkuk 2.17]. Its interpretation: the city is Jerusalem 8 in which the /Wicked/ Priest performed repulsive acts and defiled 9 the Sanctuary of God. The violence (done to) the country are the cities of Judah which 10a he plundered of the possessions of the poor [אביונים].

Last edited by Ben C. Smith on Thu Feb 22, 2018 11:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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MrMacSon
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Re: The Ebionites

Post by MrMacSon » Sun Jan 07, 2018 8:37 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:47 pm
MrMacSon wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 7:31 pm
FWIW, a historian by the name of John Bartram has this potted commentary on "The Poor" -

https://sites.google.com/site/originsof ... y/the-poor

(if one rolls one's cursor over the tabs at the top other tab-options drop down eg. via 'The Poor' - 'The Way'; others on Qumran)
That page mentions one of the Dead Sea Scrolls: ..
Yes, I noticed that. In this section (which seems to be a cut n paste from wikipedia or similar (my favourite 'trick')) -
The Poor is neither a Chrestian, nor Christian group; it is Jewish through-and-through - Observant, pious, and desperate to free both itself and Judea from outside influences (whether Greek or Roman):
  • The term Ebionites derives from the common adjective for "poor" in Hebrew (singular: אֶבְיוֹן ev·yōn, plural: אביונים ev·yōn·im),[10][11][12] which occurs fifteen times in the Psalms and was the self-given term of some pious Jewish circles (e.g. Psalm 69:33 ("For the LORD heareth the poor") and 1 QpHab XII, 3.6.10).[13]
https://sites.google.com/site/originsof ... y/the-poor
The next passage is
The term "Ebionim" was also a self description given by the people who were living in Qumran, as shown in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Later -
The enemy of The Poor takes the title for itself; this is the stuff of parody and black propaganda. An early start to this fraudulent process is:

Eusebius Pamphilius: Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine
Chapter XXVII.—The Heresy of the Ebionites ...

The purported author is one Eusebius of Caesarea, a fiction; the earliest texts claiming - with no support - to be copied from his works, belong to the 6th century, two centuries late. They become the basis for much of the false history taught today. This fiction becomes the glittering web of false assumptions which sets the agenda for 'scholarly debate' and mires most scholars, even skeptics.
.
and
Even the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906) accepts most of this self-contradicting nonsense ...



And he gets stuck into Nazarene & Nazareth
The Jews of Qumran were known by many titles other than The Poor and Essenes; one was Nazirite ...

This term was parodied with "The Nazarenes" -
  • .. a sect of 4th-century Christianity first mentioned by Epiphanius of Salamis, who considered them heretics.[1] The group was later mentioned by Jerome and Augustine of Hippo.[2][3]
    .
  • Epiphanius, and other writers such as Jerome, distinguished the 4th Century Nazarenes from the earlier use of "Sect of the Nazarenes" (ἡ τῶν Ναζωραίων αἵρεσις) applied to the New Testament Church in Acts 24:5, where Paul the Apostle is accused before Felix at Caesarea (the capital of Roman Judaea) by Tertullus of being "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes."[4]
This provides further, useful additions to false sources. A more famous parody of the term is, of course, Nazareth, for which archaeology has demonstrated no village or town of that name in the 1st century.
eta -
The Greek New Testament uses "Nazarene" six times (Mark, Luke), while "Nazorean" is used 13 times (Matthew, Mark in some manuscripts, Luke, John, Acts). In the Book of Acts, "Nazorean" is used to refer to a follower of Jesus, i.e. a Christian, rather than an inhabitant of a town.[8] "Notzrim" is the modern Hebrew word for Christians (No·tsri, נוֹצְרִי) and one of two words commonly used to mean "Christian" in Syriac (Nasrani) and Arabic (Naṣrānī, نصراني). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nazarene_(title)

iskander
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Re: The Ebionites

Post by iskander » Mon Jan 08, 2018 6:31 am

archibald wrote:
Sun Jan 07, 2018 2:06 pm
I have become interested in this group. I have read about them here and there and know a few of the basics (such as that there are no extant texts and that we know of them only/mainly via others).

I was wondering if, in the first instance, anyone here could point me in the direction of what they consider good/useful reading material, preferably freely available online (if possible) and/or, tell me if there have been any previous threads here that I might search for and peruse.

Or, if anyone wants to volunteer an opinion, feel free.

My interest has been stimulated recently in two ways. First, I have read that some (including Robert Eisenmann?) think they may have been the post-1st Jewish War remnants of the Jerusalem Jewish 'Christians'. Secondly, because I have also read elsewhere that at least some NT references to 'the poor' may refer to them, given the original (I mean Hebrew) meaning of the word 'Ebion'.

I am also just interested in them generally.


Ebionites
Christ Jesus was a psilon anthropon ( psilos anthropos )... , and these are dangerous Ebionites, but it is wholly unlikely that the sect of the Ebionites still existed in the writer's day, we may take this as an abusive epithet applied to the pro-Nicenes.


Hilary can produce cogent an effective exegesis. Combating the Ebionite doctrine that the pre-existence of the Word was only as a word (sonus) not as a distinct existing Logos, he explained that John wrote that the Word was with (apud) God not simply in God, and the Word was God.


The Search for the Christian Doctrine of God: The Arian Controversy, 318-381
RCP Hanson, 1998, pp 115 and 843
T&T Clark, Edinburgh
Last edited by iskander on Mon Jan 08, 2018 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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