Consolidated Origins Hypothesis: Simonian Boethusians

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Consolidated Origins Hypothesis: Simonian Boethusians

Post by yakovzutolmai »

After having worked through different topics and having benefitted from participation here, I've settled on a final (for now) word on the historical basis for Christian origins.


Simon Boethus originated in Alexandria among the same schools of thought which would later produce conventional Gnostic ideas. He had to purchase his way into the office. I have speculated about a family connection to the Adiabene royals, but there's no direct evidence for that. Josephus's own explanation for the rise to power experienced by Simon is inadequate. We do know that Herod had previously engaged in a massive spending and construction spree. A plausible conclusion is that Simon was from the High Priests descended from Onias (Beit Honi = Boethus?). The Leontopolis temple being a source of wealth to refill Herod's coffers.

Coincident to the rise of Simon is the 23 BC peace deal between Rome and Parthia, which Armenian history records as involving a system by which the lord of Assyria will pay taxes to Rome through Herod, and in which Herod is employing the same lord to complete civic infrastructure projects in Syria. Thus, we see a basis for Herod's restored wealth by 4 BC which would not have been available to him ca. 27 BC.

The Boethusians, therefore, have semi-legitimacy as the keepers of the Onian temple. We see the Talmudic commentary which is keen to point out gaps in their knowledge without outright calling them heretics. This reinforces my conclusion that the Boethusians are the Onian priest line.

The rise of Simon to prominence in Jerusalem becomes the basis for the legend of Simon Magus, and is also preserved in legends surrounding Marcion. Simon had to purchase his authority, and the sense of his illegitimacy was preserved.


The colony of Babylonian Jews founded by Zamaris in Bashan can be seen as the absolute epicenter for the genesis of the Christian cult. This reality stares us in the face as the esoteric name for Bathyra was "Nasara" the branch, and the cult which originated there was that of the Nazarenes.

Jewish esoteric cults included, roughly, Essene-like asceticism which is the remnant of the Carmel school and also a "Dosithean" branch of Samaritan worship which ought to be identified as the locus of "Enochian" literature in spite of possible overlaps.

When the Boethusians arrive in Bathyra, they bring Judeo-Egyptian (proto-Gnostic/Hermetic) ideas. This is what defines the Nazarene sect.

I am comfortable continuing to identify Mariamne Boethus as the Mariamne who was wife of Archelaus. I am comfortable with identifying Zamaris as Bazeus of Adiabene, and propose that he rescued Mariamne from Archelaus thereby granting her the moniker Helena.

I do not know if Zamaris is the "Judas of Gamala" active during the revolt of Quirinius, but I would propose that Zamaris departed Bashan at this time. The lack of Zamaris's presence would just as easily have led to the revolt and removal of Archelaus.

Whether the Boethusians had a relationship with Adiabene before this point is unknown. However, between Herod's death and certainly by Archelaus's removal, the Boethusians would now locate in Bashan and Nisibis, being intimately connected with the so-called "Babylonian Jews".

In other words, Beit Honi is now located at Nisibis and Bashan. Both in cultic role, but also lending members to more conventional rabbinic roles by the second century.


From 6AD, Hanan controlled the High Priest office. Even the Talmud paints his house as greedy, opportunistic aristocrats. We know little of Hanan. However, if we accept Armenian history as accurate (which is always a risk), Ananus was a royal vizier of Adiabene who was scorned by his master. We might also conclude that the "merchant" Ananias of Josephus, who converted Izates and opposed circumcision, could be the same Hanan under discussion.

The most that can be said, therefore, is that Hanan is a prominent Babylonian Jew, with priestly pedigree, and a grudge against the house of Adiabene.


Around 20 AD, Bazeus supposedly removes from Nisibis and relocates to Edessa. Artabanus is forced to fight in Parthia's East. In this political vacuum, the Jewish Anileus builds a robber state along the Euphrates.

The language of Josephus heavily implies that Bazeus goes to fight Anileus, is killed, and Helena is captured and married to him.

I believe this is the setting for her conversion to Judaism (although she was probably raised Jewish). It would be at Nisibis that Eleazar Boethus and Ananias argue over Izates's need to be circumcised or not. If one includes Eleazar's brother Simon Cantheras, then you have a prototype for the Simon Cephas vs. Paul "Incident in Antioch" (Nisibis is Antioch Mygdonia, and is almost certainly the Antioch to which the "Jerusalem" Church first fled).

In the aftermath of this set of events, Izates (and his brother Munbaz) and Helena are thoroughly Judaized. It would also seem they align with the Boethusians.


Agrippa becomes king thanks in large part to the intervention of the family of Philo of Alexandria (Alexander the Alabarch). It would seem these are aligned with the Costabaran Herods, who had been opposed to the other sons of Herod (Archelaus, Antipas, etc.).

During a meeting of eastern kings, Agrippa is offended by Rome. We see this timing correspond to the removal of an Ananian High Priest, to be replaced by Simon Cantheras ben Boethus.

Shortly afterward, the grandees of Assyria convince "Abia" who must be Sampsiceramus II of Emesa to depose Izates on account of his Jewishness. Izates defeats Sampsiceramus (previously part of the controversy involving Agrippa), and would therefore be present in Lebanon with an army after 42 AD.

This time period sees the intermittent replacement of Boethusians with Ananians and vice versa in the High Priesthood.

Two distinct events occur which provoke a major response:
1) Lazarus of Bethany, who is certainly Elionaeus Boethus (brother of Martha) of Bathaniyeh (Bashan), is attacked by Annas the "rich man".
2) Herod Agrippa is killed.

If Izates is present in Lebanon, which is also where Herod Agrippa frequents, then he is supporting Herod's potential threat to Rome as well as bolstering Boethusian claims to the High Priesthood. The attack on Lazarus and Agrippa would trigger a response from Izates


Agrippa dies in 44, the Ananians reclaim the temple, and Theudas's ministry begins. I would identify Izates as Theudas.

Izates can be correlated to the "Ma'nu" of the Abgarid kings who reigned for 14 years starting around 31 AD. His death, therefore, aligns with Theudas's.

We also see that "Munbaz" is sending food aid during the 48 AD famine in Jerusalem, according to the Talmud. This also contradicts Josephus - who is the only source that implies Izates lived past 46.

The essence of Theudas's "Galilean" (mostly in Bashan) ministry is simple: in the system of the House of Onias, there is Logos and Sophia. Intersecting with Jewish messianic prophecy and perhaps Dosithean elements, there is an expectation of the incarnation of Logos and Sophia on Earth which will trigger cataclysmic peril but ultimately lead to a Tikkun Olam whereby Heaven and Earth are brought into harmony.

The "Dosithean" elements we should think of as Enochian. Thus, when ancient writers say "Samaritan" they mean Enochian, and the theological meaning of this relates to curing an illness of the world which corresponds to a pollution of the temple practice.

What makes this teaching of Theudas unique is the intersection of proto-Gnostic ideas with an incarnation doctrine.

Theudas has identified his mother and father: Helena and Bazeus, as Sophia and Christ. He is encouraging the "good Jews" to leave the polluted Holy Land, which will surely be destroyed in cataclysm, and come East to his father's holy kingdom.

The relevance of this is seen during the Kitos War. In this second-century uprising, the Jews of Babylon rise up against Trajan's armies in defense of Osroes - who appears to be the son of Izates (per Armenian history: "Sanatruk") or otherwise a relation. It also appears that this family, having given Edessa away to a cousin's branch, continues as the rulers of Hatra. These almost certainly are responsible for the religious evolution which led to Islam. Therefore, there is a consequential, historically sound chain of political and religious events in the East which connects Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Theudas is defeated and beheaded.


Tiberius Alexander persecutes James and Simon, "sons of Judas of Galilee". The Christian identification of the family of the Lord as including this James and Simon tells me that perhaps Zamaris was Judas.

In the family of the Lord, Theudas is Jesus, and is never named except as Jesus of Nazareth. Meanwhile James is Jacimus of Bathyra. Simon is the zealot. Finally, Thomas Didymus is the brother of Theudas. That is, Monobazus. Monobazus takes Adiabene's throne after Izates' death, and James therefore inherits Zamaris's rights in Bashan as the next in line. Monobazus's activities could explain the legends of Thomas in India and "Addai" in Armenia.

As the family of the Lord, these people are sons of Mariamne Boethus/Helena. Helena, with money from Munbaz (and presumably the "brethren of Antioch" or let us say Christians at Nisibis), relieves the famine in Jerusalem, in 48 AD. This corresponds to the removal of Tiberius Alexander, so one possible explanation is that Theudas caused his faction to become unpopular with Jerusalem Jews, but Helena and Monobazus restored their family to good graces.

After Tiberius Alexander is removed, there is a more conciliatory policy from the Roman Prefect. It is at this time - 50 AD - when the "Christian" sect is introduced to Rome and other places.

The Nazarene sect may have anticipated an incarnation of Christ, but after Theudas there is a distinctly new "Christian" cult which he may be responsible for generating. The difference is that Christians are Nazarenes who have identified the incarnated Christ and anticipate the immanent eschaton.

It is possibly that the "Egyptian False Prophet" is Simon, who is our Simon Cephas. If James is Jacimus, then he has governing responsibilities in Bashan. Simon would have more liberty to rabble rouse. If Simon as the Egyptian is chased off, then James his brother could be brought in as a scapegoat.

We see that Phillippus, James's son, fights alongside Herod Agrippa II and Rome. He doesn't join the zealots. There are many explanations for this, but one thing to highlight is that Simon bar Giora is active as a rebel and is not factionally aligned with other zealots (who can be identified numismatically as preferring a nationalistic rather than religious purpose). I think it's reasonable to assign to Simon bar Giora an independent zealot faction. One with a religious purpose of an eschatological nature, and the successor to James as the pillar of the Christian cult's expectations. His possible death from the Tarpaeian Rock strongly identifies him as "Simon Peter". There is a small possibility that he was the crucified man Josephus found and took down from the cross. Combined with the purple cloak he wore, his story contains many elements of the synoptic narrative.

It is also clear that Ananus ben Ananus alone see James's guilt, as Roman authorities were displeased by his execution. After the death of James, Martha Boethus is married to Jesus of Gamala. James's death, therefore, could be the final victory of the Ananian feud with the Boethusians. It could also be that the Boethusians are unhappy with the Adiabenian-Christian sect, and have chosen to align with a more conservative faction.

Josephus says James and Simon were crucified by Tiberius Alexander, but the identification of James with James the Just discredits Josephus.


There is a sense that the Christian sect may have had expectations for James that he himself possibly didn't share. With his death, there is rioting in Rome. These may actually be the followers of Chrestus famously mentioned.

With Titus's arrival in Rome, we see the development of the Flavian Christian sect. Flavia Domitilla and Titus Flavius Clemens seem to be running it. There seems to be a memory of this sect persecuting the former Chrestus sect.

The Marcionites apparently correlate their struggle with the orthodox fathers to this time period in Rome. It also lines up with the legends of Pilate as an apostle, and the Veronica legend (the arrival of Veronica being the arrival of Berenice with Titus to Rome, coincident with the Christianity of the Flavians).

It's purely speculative, but one can imagine Tiberius Alexander in Rome - having possession of the sackcloth in which Theudas's head was carried - showing off the true face to convince Roman Chrestus worshippers of the Flavian authority.

The Flavian cult was persecuted by Domitian and exiled to Pontus.


One interpretation of Mark is that it merges the story of the entire Christian sect - from Theudas through James to Simon's crucifixion - and mocks it. The eschatological expectations starting in 46 and being defeated by 71.

Jesus Barabbas is the incarnated Christ of the Christian sect, Jesus of Nazareth is the Philonic, philosophical Christ. The former is the rabble rousing pretender messiah. The latter serves a more personal, philosophical role. The story is a commentary on the folly and failure of the Christian sect's doctrines, and the triumph of Philo's philosophical, culturally universalist, peace loving Christ.


Jesus in Bethlehem and the massacre of the innocents is a repetition of the basic elements of the Adonis cult of Canaan, which had a prominent center in Bethlehem (and was connected to the legend of David, probably why Luke invokes it for Jesus).

Joshua is a basic concept of Jewish mysticism, and Christ is just one version of it.

There are Greek literary tropes in the narrative. Old Testament allegories appear throughout the New Testament.

The advent narrative, the story of Anna and Elizabeth both, the legends surrounding Mary all derive from basic tropes of Near Eastern pagan religion. Christianity like so many other first century religious cults, is simply expressing yet another take on the same motifs. The historical value of sacred Christian literature is minimal.


Simonianism appears to be post-eschatological disappointment Christianity overlapping with a reasserted Jewish influence. The role of Theudas is discarded. Simonianism originates with Simon Magus - i.e.: Simon Boethus. It's the Nazarene cult of Bashan, minus the eschatology of Christianity, but conceding to Christianity some of its incarnation doctrines. The incarnation of Christ and Sophia as a doctrine is retained, and is transposed from Bazeus and Helena onto Simon himself, thereby discarding the eschatology of Theudas.

Elchasai appears to be the incarnation of Christ as a prophet. This appears to be a less Jewish, more Babylonian version of Simonianism. Elchasai is Theudas's Christ (Bazeus), but in a prophetic rather than kingly role. Bazeus was most likely never involved in any of this, so he certainly would not have been the source of the revelation. This is why Bazeus is forgotten. The later Christians identify Theudas as the Logos incarnation and revealer. Simonians give the role back to Simon. Elchasai is an abstraction. Because Theudas himself did not claim to be Christ.

It may even be the case that Theudas had a minimal religious role. His ministry may have been more political. It would be his cultists, in the 50s, who euhemerize Bazeus, Helena and Izates as the divine triad, setting up James as the expected messiah.

This is the confusion that leads to difficulties in historical identification.

Regardless, the evolution of these belief systems is clear. Egyptian proto-Gnosticism (heavily Hellenic) is combined with Enochian and messianic cults in Bashan. The mythical conceits of the divine triad lead to an eschatological expectation which is applied to real persons in reaction to political events. Historical consequence gives weight to the identified incarnated gods, and new branches of belief are born.

If I had to explain Gnosticism's origins, it is simply Syrian esoteric philosophy - which we see Iamblichus apply with Neo-Platonism. It is the Jewish memory of this philosophy circumscribed by Hellenic norms. This wouldn't even be incredibly novel, since we had Pythagoras at Carmel, and the ongoing Egyptian collection of esoteric ideas for centuries. The Jewish prophetic emphasis on Sophia as a revelatory spirit is what would be unique to Gnosticism's syncretism of ancient ideas. This is also why it was easy to integrate with Enochian and messianic beliefs. Even remnant norms of the Adonis cult in Bethlehem, in the synoptic gospels, harmonize with Christian theology. The common milieu of these tropes going back many centuries.


While this explains the historical basis for the emergence of Christianity, it doesn't explain how what we call Christianity today emerged. For example, who wrote Paul's letters? Who wrote the synoptics?

A few things in this regards can be said:
1) Christianity appears to have formed very late, the first generation emerging into daylight only by the beginning of the third century.
2) Christianity is defined by its struggle against Marcionism. The origin story for Marcionite beliefs proposes the implausible existence of stable Christian churches in the mid-second century. Point #1 above shows the difficulty of that. As a result, one must conclude that Christianity had to have emerged out of an evolving dynamic of reaction to Marcionism or proto-Marcionism.
3) Christianity is also a reaction to Gnosticism. Gnosticism probably has an independent origin from the Christian cult of Bashan, but many Gnostics happily appropriate Christian tropes. Gnosticism is tied to Simon Magus and Theudas. Therefore, while we cannot say that Marcionism, the followers of Chrestus, and the Gnostics are all the same, we can say that whatever the proto-Christians were, there was some common thread to all these other sects which provoked reaction. Something fundamental to proto-Christianity was a rejection of something common and fundamental in the other sects.
4) The basis for opposition to Gnostic/Marcionite/Simonian/Jewish cults would be theological, political or factional. There is evidence that Christianity emerged out of the confluence of all three. Philo's theology was more conservative than the Gnostics. The Costabarans competed for power in the Jewish world against the Herodians and Adiabenians. The Ananians opposed the Boethusians.
5) Post-Judaism is something that doesn't seem to have been well explored. The persecution of Jews in the East was significant. Many left. Many probably concealed their Jewish identity. It is likely that these former Jews of Asia inherited the legacy of Philo as well as the anti-Chrestus legacy of Paul.
6) The orthodox faith probably emerged out of a quiet proto-orthodoxy whose legacy did extend back into the first century. It would have been comprised of lapsed Jews quietly worshipping their God according to the template laid out by Philo. Their reaction to Marcionite and Gnostic sects led to the development of a Christian literature, a falsified apostolic tradition, which is responsible for the emergence of orthodoxy in the third century.


Identifying Paul is the most difficult task of all. It's even difficult to say whether Paul is more of an orthodox or Marcionite figure. Paul seems certainly irrelevant to the Simonian and Ebionite elements which appear to be much closer to the historical context for the narrative around which Paul's discourse apparently centers. Paul is preaching to Chrestus worshippers, posing as an apostle of Chrestus.

There seem to be two explanations:
1) Acts is mostly accurate. Paul is Saulos the Costabaran, and he was actively trying to subvert the Chrestus cult in the 50s, attempting to bring its far flung adherents back closer to a more conventional Hellenized Jewish mysticism. The main argument against this is that it seems unlikely that Chrestus worshippers would have any tolerance for foreign converts, while simultaneously being ignorant about Saul's purpose or identity. The Acts narrative also supposes many active churches throughout Asia with many active bishops and teachers, proposing an apostolic church - a unique Christianity of Jesus of Nazareth - in the 50s which almost certainly did not exist.
2) Paul is able to pose as an apostle contrasting with James and Peter because the audience of his epistles are first reading them a generation later. That is, the author is writing in the 90s and posing as an apostle from the 50s. The interpretation of authorial intent is clear. The writer is trying to steer the displaced Jewish diaspora of Asia away from Ebionite/Simonian beliefs back towards the Philonic template (rabbinical Judaism hadn't coalesced, and the temple was destroyed, so the standard Jewish reaction would be to require some contextualization of eschatological expectations, and look to sects which offered one answer or another).

The latter seems more appropriate as an explanation.

Pauline teachings were designed to give Jews permission to move on, after the temple's destruction. They could abandon the law, because the immanent messiah wasn't coming. Twenty years on, the state of panic, commitment to ritual clinging to hope that the temple's doom would reveal the eschaton. It never came. Now, here's a teacher saying that it was always okay to become part of the wider world, to embrace modern life.

It's not that Paul was opening up the church for the gentiles. The truth is subtler. Paul was giving permission to Jews to join the gentile world by proposing a religious system that allowed for gentile lifestyles.

The second century anti-Marcionites invented the idea that Paul was anyone specific (the Marcionites started it). They tried to correlated Saulos and his possible connection to either Ananus or the Flavian cult, and propose that he was this Paul of the letters.

I would propose that Paul as a fabricated person, and never meant to be anyone in particular. Who knows who actually wrote the letters.

The later Christians saw Paul as an opponent of James, due to literary Paul's attempt to stand as an alternative to James, and so they probably identified him as Ananus ben Ananus who killed James. Ananus's father, then, is the one opposite Simon Cantheras in Nisibis, becoming Paul against Peter.

Banus is probably Jesus ben Ananus, so the early Christians probably loosely affiliated Paul with the Ananians, and then took Saulos and made him into Saul, and inexplicably merged the characters so that Ananus's Paul could have a ministry in Asia, which the High Priest most probably could never have had. It's the desperate, competitive reaction and counter reaction with the Marcionites, the attempt to establish an apostolic legacy where none exists, that leads to these ridiculous and confusing conflations.

Finally, as mentioned, the idea of an apostolic church in the 50s which is the result of a unique and novel belief system that originated with a historical man Jesus is the absolute pillar of biblical scholarship and it's total hogwash. Later writers were desperate for such a church to have existed, so everything they wrote tried to force such an organization into history. It would therefore be easy to be fooled by early writings into thinking that there was such a church, but correlated evidence doesn't support it.

Egyptian Beit Honi, the legacy of the schism of Onias, is the Bnei Boethus. They brought proto-Gnosticism to Bashan, where it merged with other sects to form the Nazorean cult. Theudas, directly or indirectly, inspired an identification of the Nazarene's expected incarnation of Christ and Sophia, which led to a very short lived eschatological cult. This cult's legacy was Simonianism, Elchasaite Christianity, and the various evolutions among Ebionites, Babylonian Jews and later Hatrenes. The basis for these evolutions is a clear geopolitical and factional struggle with historical cause and effect.

After the temple's destruction, Christian expectations were used by desperate Jews to explain the cataclysm. Pauline literature was developed to give these adherents permission to embrace the gentile world. About a century later, the descendants of these worldly Jews reacted to spreading Marcionite tropes (which may have possessed literature from the Flavian Christian cult). In their reaction, they generated the literature and the doctrine which created the apostolic succession and legacy of a "Jesus of Nazareth", and from this point Tertullian, Iranaeus, Origin etc. were able to encounter the emerging cult and the rest is history.
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Re: Consolidated Origins Hypothesis: Simonian Boethusians

Post by yakovzutolmai »

The name Batanea doesn't seem to be attested in literature until after Josephus. I would propose it derives from "Bethaniyeh". This distinguishes it from a "Beit Hanina", which is remembered as Ananias. Perhaps the region was named "Beit Honiyyo" for the Oniades.

If this were to be true, then it strongly correlates the Christian cult of the lands around Damascus with the viewpoint of the Leotonpolis priesthood. This is as good an explanation for Christian origins as any, and explains why early Gnostic ideas permeated proto-Christian theology. It also explains why other Jewish sects were less Gnostic or less Christian. Finally, it explains the Talmudic identification of Christian-like troublemakers as "Egyptian magicians".

We might also have an explanation for the emergence of Gnosticism due to the destruction of Leontopolis and the consequent removal of Jewish elements from the school. About 100 years with both independent Greek schools brushing against Simonian/Marcionite schools, until the late second century when Christian elements begin to dominate.
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Re: Consolidated Origins Hypothesis: Simonian Boethusians

Post by yakovzutolmai »

Per evidence in another thread, "Boethus" is probably just the Greek Boethus and not derivative. Although, as a pejorative, its creators could have been conscious of "Beit Honi". On the other hand, Boethus was a prominent bureaucrat with relations to Onias, so a marriage or adoption, or honorific cognomen style of name adoption is possible.

Either way, Sadducee and Boethusian and juxtaposed in a way that almost directly identifies Boethusian with Onias.

The Boethusians are sometimes identified with Essene since they (in a similar vein to Christians and Essenes) are never mentioned together in the same text. Either one term is used or the other.

This is consistent with my explanation that the schism involving Onias and the Hasmoneans affected two separate geographies.

1) A group which left for Bashan/Perea (the poor?)
2) A group which left for Egypt (the priests and warriors)

Both share the same grievance, and Onias could be identified as the DSS "Teacher of Righteousness".

In this vien, Batanea could very well mean "Beit Honiyyo". Whereas Boethus just means Boethus. The Essenes developing in Batanea/Transjordan, while Onias in Egypt prospers and develops proto-Gnostic/Sethian teachings.

The exile of the Boethusians from Jerusalem would see them reunite with the Essenes, and this is my proposed first catalyst for Nazarene or proto-Christian enthusiasm.
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