Of Nazareth or the Nazarene?
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01-02-2014, 08:15 AM (This post was last modified: 01-02-2014 08:49 AM by anonymous66.)
RE: Of Nazareth or the Nazarene?
(01-02-2014 12:17 AM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(31-01-2014 09:17 PM)anonymous66 Wrote:  I'd love to read more about this. What sources would you recommend? Do you think Salm is on the right track with his theories?

You might find this interesting...

The Nazarenes

Yeshua was a Nazarene, as stated in the bible: Acts referred to
“Jesus Christ the Nazarene” (Acts 2:22, 3:6, 4:10, 6:14, 22:8, 26:9, NJB.) Most Christians assume the term “Nazarene” referred to the fact that Jesus came from the village of Nazareth. This was, after all, what Matthew claimed, (Matt. 2:23) but Nazareth the place was probably not the real origin of the term. On (almost) every occasion that Jesus was referred to as being “of Nazareth,” the real meaning is “the Nazarene” (http://www.essene.com/What is a Nazarene.htm.) As mentioned, Nazareth the village probably didn’t exist in Yeshua’s time. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZxEJHO8KIXY). Calling him Jesus “of Nazareth” was a ploy to distract from his sectarian affiliations. The bible made it clear the term “Nazarene” referred to a sect, when in the book of Acts, Paul is accused of being a Nazarene.

“The plain truth is that we find this man a perfect pest; he stirs up trouble among Jews the world over, and is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect.” (Acts 24:5, NJB.) An important religious sect would not have been named after an obscure Galilean village.

Hugh Schonfield, who devoted his life to studying Judaism and Yeshua, claims Nazarenism was an ancient version of Judaism. (http://archive.org/search.php?query=creator%3A"Hugh J.Schonfield" AND subject%3A"Nazarenes"). He thought the original founder of the Nazarene sect may have been a Jewish-Arabian prophet named Essa in approximately 400 BCE. So, if he was right, they were already well established in Jesus’ time.

Many eminent scholars have linked the Nazarenes with the Essenian sect at Qumran. One might consider the Nazarene sect a strongly developed messianic form of “Essenism.” (http://www.essene.com/History&Essenes/TrimmNazars.htm).

John the Baptist, Yeshua’s family, disciples and followers were all Nazarenes. The “pillars” Paul refers to (James, Peter, and John) in his second letter to the Galatians, were the leaders and key figures of this group after Yeshua’s death. They too were Jews, not Christians. They practiced circumcision, believed in baptism, and were strict about the Sabbath. They were vegetarians who didn't approve of the slaughter of animals, either for food or sacrifice. They developed their own “Halacha,” which was their interpretation of the Torah. They were true believers in the power and glory of Israel, saw themselves as God's chosen people, and were vehemently opposed to the Romans. I think they were zealots, willing to take the Romans on, which was why the Roman world considered a Nazarene “a pest” who “stirs up trouble among Jews the world over.”

They considered the temple was the house of God, but were opposed to the Sadducees who they regarded as Roman collaborators. They had a broad base of support among Jews throughout Judea and much of the Roman Empire. Many ordinary Jews and Pharisees would have considered the Nazarenes brothers in the struggle against Rome.

Yeshua became their chief after John the Baptist’s death, and he remained in charge for (probably) a few years. Leadership was inherited from blood relations, which explains it passing from John the Baptist to Yeshua, and after Yeshua’s death, on to James, his brother.

James and the other Nazarenes didn’t think Yeshua was the son of God, or that he needed to die to save anyone from their sins (http://www.petahtikvah.com/Articles/nazarenes.htm). They believed he was a (human) prophet who they hoped could be Israel’s messiah.

We read very little about this group in the pages of history because mainly Gentiles wrote that history, and the early Christians ignored the Nazarenes, or wrote them off as heretics, or tried to claim that some of them believed in the divinity of Christ. I think the modern reader interested in Jesus should be interested in their story.

Thanks for those links. There were some issues with your links, but with a little sleuthing I was able to get to all of them. Unfortunately, with the exception of the book by Schonfield, they appear to be opinion pieces with no references. They could be completely correct, but still they're not something that could be used to convince someone who needs scholarly references.

Is there proof that John the Baptist was of the Nazarene sect? I've heard this claim repeated several times over the years, but what is the source of this belief?
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01-02-2014, 09:26 AM
RE: Of Nazareth or the Nazarene?
I did find this at the wiki page on Nazarenes
Nazarenes, and Ephanius' Nasaraioi (4th century CE)
Quote:Main article: Nazarene (sect)

The testimonies of Epiphanius, Philastrius, and Pseudo-Tertullian may all draw in part from the same lost anti-heretical works of Hippolytus of Rome, mentioned as the Syntagma (Hippolytus) by Photius, and Against all Heresies by Origen and Jerome.[88]

Epiphanius uses the spelling nasaraioi (Νασαραίοι), which he attempts to distinguish from the spelling nazoraios in parts of the New Testament, as a Jewish-Christian sect.[89] According to the testimony of Epiphanius against the 4th century Nazarenes, he reports them as having pre-Christian origins. He writes: "(6,1) They did not call themselves Nasaraeans either; the Nasaraean sect was before Christ, and did not know Christ. 6,2 But besides, as I indicated, everyone called the Christians Nazoraeans," (Adversus Haereses, 29.6).[90] The sect was apparently centered in the areas of Coele-Syria, Galilee and Samaria, essentially corresponding to the long-defunct Kingdom of Israel.[91] According to Epiphanius they rejected temple sacrifice and the Law of Moses, but adhered to other Jewish practices. They are described as being vegetarian.[92] According to him they were Jews only by nationality who lived in Gilead, Basham, and the Transjordan. They revered Moses but, unlike the pro-Torah Nazoraeans, believed he had received different laws from those accredited to him.

Epiphanius' testimony was accepted as accurate by some 19th-century scholars, including Wilhelm Bousset, Richard Reitzenstein and Bultmann.[citation needed] However Epiphanius testimony in this regard, which is second-hand, is in modern scholarship read with more awareness of his polemical objectives to show that the 4th century Nazarenes and Ebionites were not Christian.[93]

Quote:88The Cambridge history of early Christian literature 2004 p146 Frances Margaret Young, Lewis Ayres, Andrew Louth "18 A large section is ... of the Syntagma when he argued that Epiphanius, Philastrius, and Ps.-Tertullian had all drawn on the Syntagma "
89^ Charles Hugh Hope Scobie John the Baptist 1964 "Epiphanius mentions a sect of Nasarenes (Nasaraioi), whom he carefully distinguishes from a Christian sect of Nazorenes (Nazoraioi) whom he also describes.2 The Nasarenes, we are told, existed prior to the time of Christ"
90 ^ The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, translated Frank Williams p116
91 ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Nazarene article, Wm. Benton Publ., London, vol. 16, 1961 edition.
92^ Bashan and Galaatides (Panarion 18; 20, 3; 29, 6, 1; 19, 5)
93 ^ Antti Marjanen, Petri Luomanen A companion to second-century Christian "heretics" 2008 p281 "Because the ancient writers that explicitly deal with the Nazarenes, Epiphanius and Jerome, are from the fourth century and are known for often allowing their polemical interests and personal ambitions to dictate the contents of their presentations, it is no wonder that the role of the Nazarenes in second-century Christianity has been open to various interpretations."
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01-02-2014, 05:27 PM
RE: Of Nazareth or the Nazarene?
(01-02-2014 09:26 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  I did find this at the wiki page on Nazarenes
Nazarenes, and Ephanius' Nasaraioi (4th century CE)
Quote:Main article: Nazarene (sect)

The testimonies of Epiphanius, Philastrius, and Pseudo-Tertullian may all draw in part from the same lost anti-heretical works of Hippolytus of Rome, mentioned as the Syntagma (Hippolytus) by Photius, and Against all Heresies by Origen and Jerome.[88]

Epiphanius uses the spelling nasaraioi (Νασαραίοι), which he attempts to distinguish from the spelling nazoraios in parts of the New Testament, as a Jewish-Christian sect.[89] According to the testimony of Epiphanius against the 4th century Nazarenes, he reports them as having pre-Christian origins. He writes: "(6,1) They did not call themselves Nasaraeans either; the Nasaraean sect was before Christ, and did not know Christ. 6,2 But besides, as I indicated, everyone called the Christians Nazoraeans," (Adversus Haereses, 29.6).[90] The sect was apparently centered in the areas of Coele-Syria, Galilee and Samaria, essentially corresponding to the long-defunct Kingdom of Israel.[91] According to Epiphanius they rejected temple sacrifice and the Law of Moses, but adhered to other Jewish practices. They are described as being vegetarian.[92] According to him they were Jews only by nationality who lived in Gilead, Basham, and the Transjordan. They revered Moses but, unlike the pro-Torah Nazoraeans, believed he had received different laws from those accredited to him.

Epiphanius' testimony was accepted as accurate by some 19th-century scholars, including Wilhelm Bousset, Richard Reitzenstein and Bultmann.[citation needed] However Epiphanius testimony in this regard, which is second-hand, is in modern scholarship read with more awareness of his polemical objectives to show that the 4th century Nazarenes and Ebionites were not Christian.[93]

Quote:88The Cambridge history of early Christian literature 2004 p146 Frances Margaret Young, Lewis Ayres, Andrew Louth "18 A large section is ... of the Syntagma when he argued that Epiphanius, Philastrius, and Ps.-Tertullian had all drawn on the Syntagma "
89^ Charles Hugh Hope Scobie John the Baptist 1964 "Epiphanius mentions a sect of Nasarenes (Nasaraioi), whom he carefully distinguishes from a Christian sect of Nazorenes (Nazoraioi) whom he also describes.2 The Nasarenes, we are told, existed prior to the time of Christ"
90 ^ The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, translated Frank Williams p116
91 ^ Encyclopædia Britannica, Nazarene article, Wm. Benton Publ., London, vol. 16, 1961 edition.
92^ Bashan and Galaatides (Panarion 18; 20, 3; 29, 6, 1; 19, 5)
93 ^ Antti Marjanen, Petri Luomanen A companion to second-century Christian "heretics" 2008 p281 "Because the ancient writers that explicitly deal with the Nazarenes, Epiphanius and Jerome, are from the fourth century and are known for often allowing their polemical interests and personal ambitions to dictate the contents of their presentations, it is no wonder that the role of the Nazarenes in second-century Christianity has been open to various interpretations."

Hi. Sorry that the references are mainly opinions. I must admit it's been six or seven years since I started learning about the Nazarenes and I haven't checked the sources for a long time now and I'm a bit rusty. The Internet is full of references about them but as you say that could all be just opinion. I'm going to be lazy and post my chapter on the Nazarenes, complete with references. You may not have read this before and apologies to anyone else who has already read it. Its morning here and a nice day I'm going to go for a ride on my motorcycle, when I come back home tonight or tomorrow I'll try and dig up some primary sources on the Nazarenes. In the meantime I hope this stimulates your interest. Its took me a few months to put this information together.

What Happened to the Nazarenes?

“It is to the Nazarene records that we ought chiefly to look for our knowledge of Jesus, and we must regard Nazarenism as the true Christianity. As the Nazarenes throughout the period of personal recollection and down to the third generation, that is to say at least seventy five years after the death of Jesus, denied his deity and his virgin birth, we must recognize that these are alien doctrines subsequently introduced by a partly paganized Church, as Justin Martyr in the middle of the second century more or less admits. The Church which received them had no other course open than to belittle the Nazarenes and denounce them as heretics. The historian here has no difficulty in detecting the real heretics.” (Hugh Schonfield)

The Nazarenes were Yeshua’s bona fide disciples. Much of their history is missing, probably because early Christians destroyed it. Yet their tale can be pieced together.
I think Paul masqueraded as a Nazarene in the 50’s and early 60’s. He sent what is now a famous letter to “the Romans,” urging them to obey their Roman rulers. He was trying to outgun Nazarene doctrine with his own pro government perspective. To all true Nazarenes, Paul was a heretic and a traitor to Judaism. The cordial relationship described in Acts is a fiction. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, (d. 236 CE) Tertullian, Origen, Epiphanius, (c. 310 – 403 CE, bishop of Salamis) and Jerome all confirmed that the Ebionites (as the Nazarenes were later called, see below) opposed Paul as a false Apostle. So Christian theology is not based on the historical Yeshua.

The Roman Emperor Nero may have blamed the Nazarenes in Rome for the great fire of 64 CE, and persecuted them. Christians today often incorrectly call Nero’s casualties Christians. There’s a Christian “tradition” that this was when Peter was crucified, but there’s no contemporary evidence to confirm the claim.

Hegesippus, (c. 110 - 180 CE) a Christian chronicler of the early Church who may have been a Jewish convert, writes that after the death of James in 62 CE, the Nazarenes selected Symeon, (aka Simeon) son of Cleophas, to be their new leader. He was one of Yeshua’s relatives, possibly a cousin.

During the first Jewish war of 66-70 CE, some of the Nazarenes may have fled across the River Jordan to Pella. Yet many of them probably tried to defend Jerusalem and therefore perished. The survivors must have been bitterly disappointed by the defeat. The remaining rebels reorganized and moved back into Jerusalem in 72 CE, although they never recovered their status and influence after the war.

Prior to 80 – 90 CE, the Nazarenes were still worshipping in synagogues alongside Pharisees. Yet they soon began to be viewed by their fellow Jews as trouble causers, probably because of their nationalistic ambitions. The Pharisaic Jews referred to them as “minim” (Hebrew for heretic.) A heretic is someone who still remains within the faith, but believes in elements not acceptable to the orthodoxy, so mainstream Jews never considered them Christians. A deep schism formed, and by 90 CE, Nazarenes were excluded from some synagogues. I suspect some Jews opted out of Nazarenism, or were intimidated by it, because opposing Rome was dangerous.

In his “Ecclesiastical History,” Eusebius of Caesaria wrote of the grandchildren of Jesus’ brother Jude, who were living in Galilee during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, (81–96 CE) Vespasian’s son and Titus’ younger brother. (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm, book 3, chapter 20.) He says they became dynastic leaders of various “Christian” (a misnomer) churches, and continued to be so up until the time of the Emperor Trajan (98–117 CE.)

Kamal Salibi, a former Emeritus Professor at the American University of Beirut, Department of History and Archaeology, wrote that after Symeon's death, twelve others followed in turn whose names are preserved down to 135 CE (the time of the Second Jewish Revolt.) So there were fifteen leaders of the Nazarene sect after Jesus, all of who were circumcised Jews and relations of Jesus. The word “Desposyni” was reserved uniquely for Jesus' blood relatives and literally meant “belonging to the Lord.” They governed the Nazarenes. Each carried one of the names traditional in Jesus' family: Zachary, Joseph, John, James, Joses, Symeon, Matthias, and others, although no later Desposynos was ever called Yeshua.

Sextus Julius Africanus' (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articl...africanus) reference to "Desposyni" is preserved by Eusebius:
“For the relatives of our Lord according to the flesh, whether with the desire of boasting or simply wishing to state the fact, in either case truly, have handed down the following account... But as there had been kept in the archives up to that time the genealogies of the Hebrews as well as of those who traced their lineage back to proselytes, such as Achior the Ammonite and Ruth the Moabitess, and to those who were mingled with the Israelites and came out of Egypt with them, Herod, inasmuch as the lineage of the Israelites contributed nothing to his advantage, and since he was goaded with the consciousness of his own ignoble extraction, burned all the genealogical records, thinking that he might appear of noble origin if no one else were able, from the public registers, to trace back his lineage to the patriarchs or proselytes and to those mingled with them, who were called Georae. A few of the careful, however, having obtained private records of their own, either by remembering the names or by getting them in some other way from the registers, pride themselves on preserving the memory of their noble extraction. Among these are those already mentioned, called Desposyni, on account of their connection with the family of the Saviour. Coming from Nazara and Cochaba, villages of Judea, into other parts of the world, they drew the aforesaid genealogy from memory and from the book of daily records as faithfully as possible. Whether then the case stand thus or not no one could find a clearer explanation, according to my own opinion and that of every candid person. And let this suffice us, for, although we can urge no testimony in its support, we have nothing better or truer to offer. In any case the Gospel states the truth." (Eusebius, Historica Ecclesiae, 1:7:11.)

Eusebius also preserved an extract from a work by Hegesippus, (c.110–c.180) who wrote five books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church. The extract refers to the period from the reign of Domitian (81–96) to that of Trajan, (98–117) and includes the statement that two Desposyni brought before Domitian later became leaders of the churches:

“There still survived of the kindred of the Lord the grandsons of Judas, who according to the flesh was called his brother. These were informed against, as belonging to the family of David, and Evocatus brought them before Domitian Caesar: for that emperor dreaded the advent of Christ, as Herod had done.

So he asked them whether they were of the family of David; and they confessed they were. Next he asked them what property they had, or how much money they possessed. They both replied that they had only 9000 denaria between them, each of them owning half that sum; but even this they said they did not possess in cash, but as the estimated value of some land, consisting of thirty-nine plethra only, out of which they had to pay the dues, and that they supported themselves by their own labor. And then they began to hold out their hands, exhibiting, as proof of their manual labor, the roughness of their skin, and the corns raised on their hands by constant work.
Being then asked concerning Christ and His kingdom, what was its nature, and when and where it was to appear, they returned answer that it was not of this world, nor of the earth, but belonging to the sphere of heaven and angels, and would make its appearance at the end of time, when He shall come in glory, and judge living and dead, and render to every one according to the course of his life.

Thereupon Domitian passed no condemnation upon them, but treated them with contempt, as too mean for notice, and let them go free. At the same time he issued a command, and put a stop to the persecution against the Church.

When they were released they became leaders of the churches, as was natural in the case of those who were at once martyrs and of the kindred of the Lord. And, after the establishment of peace to the Church, their lives were prolonged to the reign of Trojan.” (Eusebius, Historica Ecclesiae, 3:20.)

Eusebius wrote that they didn’t fight in the second war (132-6 CE) against the Romans, as they considered Simon bar Kochba, the Jewish commander, to be a false messiah. After this war, the fifteenth Nazarene leader was exiled with the remaining Jewish population when the Emperor Hadrian banned all Jews from Jerusalem.

Over the next few centuries, the Nazarenes headed by Yeshua’s relatives continued as a movement that some Jews joined. They were well respected in their own locales. They moved northeastward, eventually making their way to the Tigris-Euphrates basin, spreading throughout Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia.

The early Christians considered them a heretical sect, so ignored and later suppressed them. Justin Martyr denigrated their beliefs. The developing orthodox Catholic Church deliberately called them the “Ebionites,” “the poor ones” (although Jews did not consider this term derogatory; in fact they used the term to refer to the righteous.) Christians prior to Irenaeus didn’t use this term. He wrote
“Those who are called Ebionites agree that the world was made by God; but their opinions with respect to the Lord are similar to those of Cerinthus and Carpocrates.” (These men were Gnostics who believed Jesus was a very human teacher.) “They use the Gospel according to Matthew only, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the law. As to the prophetical writings, they endeavor to expound them in a somewhat singular manner: they practice circumcision, persevere in the observance of those customs which are enjoined by the law, and are so Judaic in their style of life, that they even adore Jerusalem as if it were the house of God” (Against Heresies 1:26.)

The Gospel according to Matthew that Irenaeus refers to was probably the same Gospel that Jerome (342–420 CE) and Epiphanius (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13393b.htm) called the “Gospel of the Nazarenes/Hebrews,” which was written in Aramaic. Jerome mentions that he made translations of it into Greek and Latin. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, no significant part of this Gospel survives today. Some scholars believe that it was loosely linked to canonical Matthew, which fits with Matthew being the most pro-Jewish Gospel of the four. It’s possible that this was how some facts about Yeshua the Nazarene insurrectionist made it into the Gospels.

Much later, Eusebius considered the Nazarenes heretics because
“they regarded [Jesus] as plain and ordinary, a man esteemed as righteous through growth of character and nothing more, the child of a normal union between a man and Mary; and they held that they must observe every detail of the Law—that by faith in Christ alone they would never win Salvation” (Ecclesiastical History 3.7.) I think Irenaeus and Eusebius depicted the Nazarenes correctly in these quotes.
Gentile Christians came to refer to them indiscriminately as “Jewish Christians” because of their link with Jesus, yet this was another misnomer, because they never were Christians.

By the beginning of the fourth century, the Roman Catholic Church was becoming dominant and there were confrontations with Jews, including the Nazarenes. With the Synod of Elvira, held in 306 CE, prohibitions against eating, marriage, and sex with Jews were enacted in the Roman Empire. Nazarenes were included in this ban, which in effect excluded them from all social and religious association with those in the growing Gentile Christian church.

The Emperor Constantine appointed Sylvester as the head bishop of the Catholic church in 313 CE. According to the Irish Jesuit historian Malachi Martin, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malachi_Martin) a meeting took place in 318 CE in Rome between Pope Sylvester I and the Desposyni. Sylvester provided sea travel for the Nazarene leaders as far as the Roman port of Ostia, thirty kilometers west of Rome. The fact that Sylvester thought it necessary to meet with them suggests that he was curious, yet he initiated the meeting with the intention of exerting his pontifical authority over them.

The Nazarene leaders who appeared before Pope Sylvester quite rightly thought they represented Yeshua’s true legacy. They were, after all, his blood relations, part of at least three well-known lines of legitimate blood descent from Yeshua's family. They were eight in number, and Joses, the oldest of them, spoke on their behalf. They bluntly refused to recognize the Roman church as having any authority, and made the following demands:
(1) that the confirmation of the Christian bishops of Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus and Alexandria be revoked;
(2) that these bishoprics be conferred on members of the Desposyni;
(3) that the Law be reintroduced, which included the Sabbath and the Holy Day system of Feasts, and
(4) that Christian Churches resume sending money to the Desposyni Church in Jerusalem, which was to be regarded as the “Mother Church.”
Such bold claims must have come as a surprise to Sylvester, who refused their demands. They were told that the leadership of Jesus’ church had moved to Rome, and that they had no jurisdiction. Sylvester must have known his church was the impostor, but that didn’t concern him. The politics of power were more important than the truth. This was the last known formal dialogue between Christian and Nazarene leaders.

A few years later Nazarenes began to surface in southern Upper Egypt. In this remote locale, far from the center of Gentile Christianity, they continued to practice their beliefs.

In 364 CE, the Catholic Council of Laodicea decreed anathema on any “Jewish Christians” who continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. Historical references to Nazarenes became scarce thereafter. The few remaining believers petered out.

To summarize, the Nazarenes were a Jewish sect that, at least in the first century, had strong anti Gentile political ambitions. Christianity, something quite separate, became a religion for Gentiles. It stole Yeshua the Nazarene’s identity to create Jesus, and reinvented him, not only as its founder, but also as God incarnate and the savior of the world. Christians then suppressed the Nazarenes, who struggled on for about four centuries before they disappeared.

If Yeshua, his family, and his original admirers could speak today, they’d be dumbfounded at the distortion of their legacy.

References:
Eisenman, Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
Klinghoffer, D. 1965 “Why The Jews Rejected Jesus”. Doubleday. United States Of America.
Lockhart, D. 1997 “Jesus The Heretic”. Element Books. Dorset.
Lockhart, D. 1999 “The Dark Side Of God”. Element Books. Dorset
Schonfield, H. 1969 “Those Incredible Christians”. Bantam. New York.
Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4kTNS18ses
http://ia600401.us.archive.org/34/items/...onites.mp3
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebionites
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ebionites
http://douglaslockhart.com/pdf/THE NAZORAEAN SECT.pdf
http://www.yashanet.com/library/nazarene_judaism.html
http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/ebionites.html
http://www.yashanet.com/library/temple/nazarenes.htm for the above information.
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=b7bn...2C&f=false
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=jVyz...on&f=false
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_the_Hebrews
http://www.conorpdowling.com/library/council-of-elvira
http://www.askwhy.co.uk/christianity/0370Ebionites.php
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/te...ippus.html
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01-02-2014, 06:54 PM
RE: Of Nazareth or the Nazarene?
(01-02-2014 05:27 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  
(01-02-2014 09:26 AM)anonymous66 Wrote:  I did find this at the wiki page on Nazarenes
Nazarenes, and Ephanius' Nasaraioi (4th century CE)

Hi. Sorry that the references are mainly opinions. I must admit it's been six or seven years since I started learning about the Nazarenes and I haven't checked the sources for a long time now and I'm a bit rusty. The Internet is full of references about them but as you say that could all be just opinion. I'm going to be lazy and post my chapter on the Nazarenes, complete with references. You may not have read this before and apologies to anyone else who has already read it. Its morning here and a nice day I'm going to go for a ride on my motorcycle, when I come back home tonight or tomorrow I'll try and dig up some primary sources on the Nazarenes. In the meantime I hope this stimulates your interest. Its took me a few months to put this information together.

What Happened to the Nazarenes?

“It is to the Nazarene records that we ought chiefly to look for our knowledge of Jesus, and we must regard Nazarenism as the true Christianity. As the Nazarenes throughout the period of personal recollection and down to the third generation, that is to say at least seventy five years after the death of Jesus, denied his deity and his virgin birth, we must recognize that these are alien doctrines subsequently introduced by a partly paganized Church, as Justin Martyr in the middle of the second century more or less admits. The Church which received them had no other course open than to belittle the Nazarenes and denounce them as heretics. The historian here has no difficulty in detecting the real heretics.” (Hugh Schonfield)

The Nazarenes were Yeshua’s bona fide disciples. Much of their history is missing, probably because early Christians destroyed it. Yet their tale can be pieced together.
I think Paul masqueraded as a Nazarene in the 50’s and early 60’s. He sent what is now a famous letter to “the Romans,” urging them to obey their Roman rulers. He was trying to outgun Nazarene doctrine with his own pro government perspective. To all true Nazarenes, Paul was a heretic and a traitor to Judaism. The cordial relationship described in Acts is a fiction. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, (d. 236 CE) Tertullian, Origen, Epiphanius, (c. 310 – 403 CE, bishop of Salamis) and Jerome all confirmed that the Ebionites (as the Nazarenes were later called, see below) opposed Paul as a false Apostle. So Christian theology is not based on the historical Yeshua.

The Roman Emperor Nero may have blamed the Nazarenes in Rome for the great fire of 64 CE, and persecuted them. Christians today often incorrectly call Nero’s casualties Christians. There’s a Christian “tradition” that this was when Peter was crucified, but there’s no contemporary evidence to confirm the claim.

Hegesippus, (c. 110 - 180 CE) a Christian chronicler of the early Church who may have been a Jewish convert, writes that after the death of James in 62 CE, the Nazarenes selected Symeon, (aka Simeon) son of Cleophas, to be their new leader. He was one of Yeshua’s relatives, possibly a cousin.

During the first Jewish war of 66-70 CE, some of the Nazarenes may have fled across the River Jordan to Pella. Yet many of them probably tried to defend Jerusalem and therefore perished. The survivors must have been bitterly disappointed by the defeat. The remaining rebels reorganized and moved back into Jerusalem in 72 CE, although they never recovered their status and influence after the war.

Prior to 80 – 90 CE, the Nazarenes were still worshipping in synagogues alongside Pharisees. Yet they soon began to be viewed by their fellow Jews as trouble causers, probably because of their nationalistic ambitions. The Pharisaic Jews referred to them as “minim” (Hebrew for heretic.) A heretic is someone who still remains within the faith, but believes in elements not acceptable to the orthodoxy, so mainstream Jews never considered them Christians. A deep schism formed, and by 90 CE, Nazarenes were excluded from some synagogues. I suspect some Jews opted out of Nazarenism, or were intimidated by it, because opposing Rome was dangerous.

In his “Ecclesiastical History,” Eusebius of Caesaria wrote of the grandchildren of Jesus’ brother Jude, who were living in Galilee during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, (81–96 CE) Vespasian’s son and Titus’ younger brother. (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm, book 3, chapter 20.) He says they became dynastic leaders of various “Christian” (a misnomer) churches, and continued to be so up until the time of the Emperor Trajan (98–117 CE.)

Kamal Salibi, a former Emeritus Professor at the American University of Beirut, Department of History and Archaeology, wrote that after Symeon's death, twelve others followed in turn whose names are preserved down to 135 CE (the time of the Second Jewish Revolt.) So there were fifteen leaders of the Nazarene sect after Jesus, all of who were circumcised Jews and relations of Jesus. The word “Desposyni” was reserved uniquely for Jesus' blood relatives and literally meant “belonging to the Lord.” They governed the Nazarenes. Each carried one of the names traditional in Jesus' family: Zachary, Joseph, John, James, Joses, Symeon, Matthias, and others, although no later Desposynos was ever called Yeshua.

Sextus Julius Africanus' (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articl...africanus) reference to "Desposyni" is preserved by Eusebius:
“For the relatives of our Lord according to the flesh, whether with the desire of boasting or simply wishing to state the fact, in either case truly, have handed down the following account... But as there had been kept in the archives up to that time the genealogies of the Hebrews as well as of those who traced their lineage back to proselytes, such as Achior the Ammonite and Ruth the Moabitess, and to those who were mingled with the Israelites and came out of Egypt with them, Herod, inasmuch as the lineage of the Israelites contributed nothing to his advantage, and since he was goaded with the consciousness of his own ignoble extraction, burned all the genealogical records, thinking that he might appear of noble origin if no one else were able, from the public registers, to trace back his lineage to the patriarchs or proselytes and to those mingled with them, who were called Georae. A few of the careful, however, having obtained private records of their own, either by remembering the names or by getting them in some other way from the registers, pride themselves on preserving the memory of their noble extraction. Among these are those already mentioned, called Desposyni, on account of their connection with the family of the Saviour. Coming from Nazara and Cochaba, villages of Judea, into other parts of the world, they drew the aforesaid genealogy from memory and from the book of daily records as faithfully as possible. Whether then the case stand thus or not no one could find a clearer explanation, according to my own opinion and that of every candid person. And let this suffice us, for, although we can urge no testimony in its support, we have nothing better or truer to offer. In any case the Gospel states the truth." (Eusebius, Historica Ecclesiae, 1:7:11.)

Eusebius also preserved an extract from a work by Hegesippus, (c.110–c.180) who wrote five books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church. The extract refers to the period from the reign of Domitian (81–96) to that of Trajan, (98–117) and includes the statement that two Desposyni brought before Domitian later became leaders of the churches:

“There still survived of the kindred of the Lord the grandsons of Judas, who according to the flesh was called his brother. These were informed against, as belonging to the family of David, and Evocatus brought them before Domitian Caesar: for that emperor dreaded the advent of Christ, as Herod had done.

So he asked them whether they were of the family of David; and they confessed they were. Next he asked them what property they had, or how much money they possessed. They both replied that they had only 9000 denaria between them, each of them owning half that sum; but even this they said they did not possess in cash, but as the estimated value of some land, consisting of thirty-nine plethra only, out of which they had to pay the dues, and that they supported themselves by their own labor. And then they began to hold out their hands, exhibiting, as proof of their manual labor, the roughness of their skin, and the corns raised on their hands by constant work.
Being then asked concerning Christ and His kingdom, what was its nature, and when and where it was to appear, they returned answer that it was not of this world, nor of the earth, but belonging to the sphere of heaven and angels, and would make its appearance at the end of time, when He shall come in glory, and judge living and dead, and render to every one according to the course of his life.

Thereupon Domitian passed no condemnation upon them, but treated them with contempt, as too mean for notice, and let them go free. At the same time he issued a command, and put a stop to the persecution against the Church.

When they were released they became leaders of the churches, as was natural in the case of those who were at once martyrs and of the kindred of the Lord. And, after the establishment of peace to the Church, their lives were prolonged to the reign of Trojan.” (Eusebius, Historica Ecclesiae, 3:20.)

Eusebius wrote that they didn’t fight in the second war (132-6 CE) against the Romans, as they considered Simon bar Kochba, the Jewish commander, to be a false messiah. After this war, the fifteenth Nazarene leader was exiled with the remaining Jewish population when the Emperor Hadrian banned all Jews from Jerusalem.

Over the next few centuries, the Nazarenes headed by Yeshua’s relatives continued as a movement that some Jews joined. They were well respected in their own locales. They moved northeastward, eventually making their way to the Tigris-Euphrates basin, spreading throughout Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia.

The early Christians considered them a heretical sect, so ignored and later suppressed them. Justin Martyr denigrated their beliefs. The developing orthodox Catholic Church deliberately called them the “Ebionites,” “the poor ones” (although Jews did not consider this term derogatory; in fact they used the term to refer to the righteous.) Christians prior to Irenaeus didn’t use this term. He wrote
“Those who are called Ebionites agree that the world was made by God; but their opinions with respect to the Lord are similar to those of Cerinthus and Carpocrates.” (These men were Gnostics who believed Jesus was a very human teacher.) “They use the Gospel according to Matthew only, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the law. As to the prophetical writings, they endeavor to expound them in a somewhat singular manner: they practice circumcision, persevere in the observance of those customs which are enjoined by the law, and are so Judaic in their style of life, that they even adore Jerusalem as if it were the house of God” (Against Heresies 1:26.)

The Gospel according to Matthew that Irenaeus refers to was probably the same Gospel that Jerome (342–420 CE) and Epiphanius (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13393b.htm) called the “Gospel of the Nazarenes/Hebrews,” which was written in Aramaic. Jerome mentions that he made translations of it into Greek and Latin. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, no significant part of this Gospel survives today. Some scholars believe that it was loosely linked to canonical Matthew, which fits with Matthew being the most pro-Jewish Gospel of the four. It’s possible that this was how some facts about Yeshua the Nazarene insurrectionist made it into the Gospels.

Much later, Eusebius considered the Nazarenes heretics because
“they regarded [Jesus] as plain and ordinary, a man esteemed as righteous through growth of character and nothing more, the child of a normal union between a man and Mary; and they held that they must observe every detail of the Law—that by faith in Christ alone they would never win Salvation” (Ecclesiastical History 3.7.) I think Irenaeus and Eusebius depicted the Nazarenes correctly in these quotes.
Gentile Christians came to refer to them indiscriminately as “Jewish Christians” because of their link with Jesus, yet this was another misnomer, because they never were Christians.

By the beginning of the fourth century, the Roman Catholic Church was becoming dominant and there were confrontations with Jews, including the Nazarenes. With the Synod of Elvira, held in 306 CE, prohibitions against eating, marriage, and sex with Jews were enacted in the Roman Empire. Nazarenes were included in this ban, which in effect excluded them from all social and religious association with those in the growing Gentile Christian church.

The Emperor Constantine appointed Sylvester as the head bishop of the Catholic church in 313 CE. According to the Irish Jesuit historian Malachi Martin, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malachi_Martin) a meeting took place in 318 CE in Rome between Pope Sylvester I and the Desposyni. Sylvester provided sea travel for the Nazarene leaders as far as the Roman port of Ostia, thirty kilometers west of Rome. The fact that Sylvester thought it necessary to meet with them suggests that he was curious, yet he initiated the meeting with the intention of exerting his pontifical authority over them.

The Nazarene leaders who appeared before Pope Sylvester quite rightly thought they represented Yeshua’s true legacy. They were, after all, his blood relations, part of at least three well-known lines of legitimate blood descent from Yeshua's family. They were eight in number, and Joses, the oldest of them, spoke on their behalf. They bluntly refused to recognize the Roman church as having any authority, and made the following demands:
(1) that the confirmation of the Christian bishops of Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus and Alexandria be revoked;
(2) that these bishoprics be conferred on members of the Desposyni;
(3) that the Law be reintroduced, which included the Sabbath and the Holy Day system of Feasts, and
(4) that Christian Churches resume sending money to the Desposyni Church in Jerusalem, which was to be regarded as the “Mother Church.”
Such bold claims must have come as a surprise to Sylvester, who refused their demands. They were told that the leadership of Jesus’ church had moved to Rome, and that they had no jurisdiction. Sylvester must have known his church was the impostor, but that didn’t concern him. The politics of power were more important than the truth. This was the last known formal dialogue between Christian and Nazarene leaders.

A few years later Nazarenes began to surface in southern Upper Egypt. In this remote locale, far from the center of Gentile Christianity, they continued to practice their beliefs.

In 364 CE, the Catholic Council of Laodicea decreed anathema on any “Jewish Christians” who continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. Historical references to Nazarenes became scarce thereafter. The few remaining believers petered out.

To summarize, the Nazarenes were a Jewish sect that, at least in the first century, had strong anti Gentile political ambitions. Christianity, something quite separate, became a religion for Gentiles. It stole Yeshua the Nazarene’s identity to create Jesus, and reinvented him, not only as its founder, but also as God incarnate and the savior of the world. Christians then suppressed the Nazarenes, who struggled on for about four centuries before they disappeared.

If Yeshua, his family, and his original admirers could speak today, they’d be dumbfounded at the distortion of their legacy.

References:
Eisenman, Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
Klinghoffer, D. 1965 “Why The Jews Rejected Jesus”. Doubleday. United States Of America.
Lockhart, D. 1997 “Jesus The Heretic”. Element Books. Dorset.
Lockhart, D. 1999 “The Dark Side Of God”. Element Books. Dorset
Schonfield, H. 1969 “Those Incredible Christians”. Bantam. New York.
Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4kTNS18ses
http://ia600401.us.archive.org/34/items/...onites.mp3
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebionites
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ebionites
http://douglaslockhart.com/pdf/THE NAZORAEAN SECT.pdf
http://www.yashanet.com/library/nazarene_judaism.html
http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/ebionites.html
http://www.yashanet.com/library/temple/nazarenes.htm for the above information.
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=b7bn...2C&f=false
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=jVyz...on&f=false
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_the_Hebrews
http://www.conorpdowling.com/library/council-of-elvira
http://www.askwhy.co.uk/christianity/0370Ebionites.php
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/te...ippus.html

Hey Mark. Thank you very much! You're lucky to be able to ride your motorcycle, we're getting a ton of snow here. I was thankful recently because my 30 yr. old snowblower started up in -20F weather.
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03-02-2014, 02:37 AM
RE: Of Nazareth or the Nazarene?
(01-02-2014 06:54 PM)anonymous66 Wrote:  
(01-02-2014 05:27 PM)Mark Fulton Wrote:  Hi. Sorry that the references are mainly opinions. I must admit it's been six or seven years since I started learning about the Nazarenes and I haven't checked the sources for a long time now and I'm a bit rusty. The Internet is full of references about them but as you say that could all be just opinion. I'm going to be lazy and post my chapter on the Nazarenes, complete with references. You may not have read this before and apologies to anyone else who has already read it. Its morning here and a nice day I'm going to go for a ride on my motorcycle, when I come back home tonight or tomorrow I'll try and dig up some primary sources on the Nazarenes. In the meantime I hope this stimulates your interest. Its took me a few months to put this information together.

What Happened to the Nazarenes?

“It is to the Nazarene records that we ought chiefly to look for our knowledge of Jesus, and we must regard Nazarenism as the true Christianity. As the Nazarenes throughout the period of personal recollection and down to the third generation, that is to say at least seventy five years after the death of Jesus, denied his deity and his virgin birth, we must recognize that these are alien doctrines subsequently introduced by a partly paganized Church, as Justin Martyr in the middle of the second century more or less admits. The Church which received them had no other course open than to belittle the Nazarenes and denounce them as heretics. The historian here has no difficulty in detecting the real heretics.” (Hugh Schonfield)

The Nazarenes were Yeshua’s bona fide disciples. Much of their history is missing, probably because early Christians destroyed it. Yet their tale can be pieced together.
I think Paul masqueraded as a Nazarene in the 50’s and early 60’s. He sent what is now a famous letter to “the Romans,” urging them to obey their Roman rulers. He was trying to outgun Nazarene doctrine with his own pro government perspective. To all true Nazarenes, Paul was a heretic and a traitor to Judaism. The cordial relationship described in Acts is a fiction. Justin Martyr, Irenaeus, Hippolytus, (d. 236 CE) Tertullian, Origen, Epiphanius, (c. 310 – 403 CE, bishop of Salamis) and Jerome all confirmed that the Ebionites (as the Nazarenes were later called, see below) opposed Paul as a false Apostle. So Christian theology is not based on the historical Yeshua.

The Roman Emperor Nero may have blamed the Nazarenes in Rome for the great fire of 64 CE, and persecuted them. Christians today often incorrectly call Nero’s casualties Christians. There’s a Christian “tradition” that this was when Peter was crucified, but there’s no contemporary evidence to confirm the claim.

Hegesippus, (c. 110 - 180 CE) a Christian chronicler of the early Church who may have been a Jewish convert, writes that after the death of James in 62 CE, the Nazarenes selected Symeon, (aka Simeon) son of Cleophas, to be their new leader. He was one of Yeshua’s relatives, possibly a cousin.

During the first Jewish war of 66-70 CE, some of the Nazarenes may have fled across the River Jordan to Pella. Yet many of them probably tried to defend Jerusalem and therefore perished. The survivors must have been bitterly disappointed by the defeat. The remaining rebels reorganized and moved back into Jerusalem in 72 CE, although they never recovered their status and influence after the war.

Prior to 80 – 90 CE, the Nazarenes were still worshipping in synagogues alongside Pharisees. Yet they soon began to be viewed by their fellow Jews as trouble causers, probably because of their nationalistic ambitions. The Pharisaic Jews referred to them as “minim” (Hebrew for heretic.) A heretic is someone who still remains within the faith, but believes in elements not acceptable to the orthodoxy, so mainstream Jews never considered them Christians. A deep schism formed, and by 90 CE, Nazarenes were excluded from some synagogues. I suspect some Jews opted out of Nazarenism, or were intimidated by it, because opposing Rome was dangerous.

In his “Ecclesiastical History,” Eusebius of Caesaria wrote of the grandchildren of Jesus’ brother Jude, who were living in Galilee during the reign of the Roman Emperor Domitian, (81–96 CE) Vespasian’s son and Titus’ younger brother. (http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/250103.htm, book 3, chapter 20.) He says they became dynastic leaders of various “Christian” (a misnomer) churches, and continued to be so up until the time of the Emperor Trajan (98–117 CE.)

Kamal Salibi, a former Emeritus Professor at the American University of Beirut, Department of History and Archaeology, wrote that after Symeon's death, twelve others followed in turn whose names are preserved down to 135 CE (the time of the Second Jewish Revolt.) So there were fifteen leaders of the Nazarene sect after Jesus, all of who were circumcised Jews and relations of Jesus. The word “Desposyni” was reserved uniquely for Jesus' blood relatives and literally meant “belonging to the Lord.” They governed the Nazarenes. Each carried one of the names traditional in Jesus' family: Zachary, Joseph, John, James, Joses, Symeon, Matthias, and others, although no later Desposynos was ever called Yeshua.

Sextus Julius Africanus' (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articl...africanus) reference to "Desposyni" is preserved by Eusebius:
“For the relatives of our Lord according to the flesh, whether with the desire of boasting or simply wishing to state the fact, in either case truly, have handed down the following account... But as there had been kept in the archives up to that time the genealogies of the Hebrews as well as of those who traced their lineage back to proselytes, such as Achior the Ammonite and Ruth the Moabitess, and to those who were mingled with the Israelites and came out of Egypt with them, Herod, inasmuch as the lineage of the Israelites contributed nothing to his advantage, and since he was goaded with the consciousness of his own ignoble extraction, burned all the genealogical records, thinking that he might appear of noble origin if no one else were able, from the public registers, to trace back his lineage to the patriarchs or proselytes and to those mingled with them, who were called Georae. A few of the careful, however, having obtained private records of their own, either by remembering the names or by getting them in some other way from the registers, pride themselves on preserving the memory of their noble extraction. Among these are those already mentioned, called Desposyni, on account of their connection with the family of the Saviour. Coming from Nazara and Cochaba, villages of Judea, into other parts of the world, they drew the aforesaid genealogy from memory and from the book of daily records as faithfully as possible. Whether then the case stand thus or not no one could find a clearer explanation, according to my own opinion and that of every candid person. And let this suffice us, for, although we can urge no testimony in its support, we have nothing better or truer to offer. In any case the Gospel states the truth." (Eusebius, Historica Ecclesiae, 1:7:11.)

Eusebius also preserved an extract from a work by Hegesippus, (c.110–c.180) who wrote five books of Commentaries on the Acts of the Church. The extract refers to the period from the reign of Domitian (81–96) to that of Trajan, (98–117) and includes the statement that two Desposyni brought before Domitian later became leaders of the churches:

“There still survived of the kindred of the Lord the grandsons of Judas, who according to the flesh was called his brother. These were informed against, as belonging to the family of David, and Evocatus brought them before Domitian Caesar: for that emperor dreaded the advent of Christ, as Herod had done.

So he asked them whether they were of the family of David; and they confessed they were. Next he asked them what property they had, or how much money they possessed. They both replied that they had only 9000 denaria between them, each of them owning half that sum; but even this they said they did not possess in cash, but as the estimated value of some land, consisting of thirty-nine plethra only, out of which they had to pay the dues, and that they supported themselves by their own labor. And then they began to hold out their hands, exhibiting, as proof of their manual labor, the roughness of their skin, and the corns raised on their hands by constant work.
Being then asked concerning Christ and His kingdom, what was its nature, and when and where it was to appear, they returned answer that it was not of this world, nor of the earth, but belonging to the sphere of heaven and angels, and would make its appearance at the end of time, when He shall come in glory, and judge living and dead, and render to every one according to the course of his life.

Thereupon Domitian passed no condemnation upon them, but treated them with contempt, as too mean for notice, and let them go free. At the same time he issued a command, and put a stop to the persecution against the Church.

When they were released they became leaders of the churches, as was natural in the case of those who were at once martyrs and of the kindred of the Lord. And, after the establishment of peace to the Church, their lives were prolonged to the reign of Trojan.” (Eusebius, Historica Ecclesiae, 3:20.)

Eusebius wrote that they didn’t fight in the second war (132-6 CE) against the Romans, as they considered Simon bar Kochba, the Jewish commander, to be a false messiah. After this war, the fifteenth Nazarene leader was exiled with the remaining Jewish population when the Emperor Hadrian banned all Jews from Jerusalem.

Over the next few centuries, the Nazarenes headed by Yeshua’s relatives continued as a movement that some Jews joined. They were well respected in their own locales. They moved northeastward, eventually making their way to the Tigris-Euphrates basin, spreading throughout Palestine, Syria, and Mesopotamia.

The early Christians considered them a heretical sect, so ignored and later suppressed them. Justin Martyr denigrated their beliefs. The developing orthodox Catholic Church deliberately called them the “Ebionites,” “the poor ones” (although Jews did not consider this term derogatory; in fact they used the term to refer to the righteous.) Christians prior to Irenaeus didn’t use this term. He wrote
“Those who are called Ebionites agree that the world was made by God; but their opinions with respect to the Lord are similar to those of Cerinthus and Carpocrates.” (These men were Gnostics who believed Jesus was a very human teacher.) “They use the Gospel according to Matthew only, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the law. As to the prophetical writings, they endeavor to expound them in a somewhat singular manner: they practice circumcision, persevere in the observance of those customs which are enjoined by the law, and are so Judaic in their style of life, that they even adore Jerusalem as if it were the house of God” (Against Heresies 1:26.)

The Gospel according to Matthew that Irenaeus refers to was probably the same Gospel that Jerome (342–420 CE) and Epiphanius (http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/13393b.htm) called the “Gospel of the Nazarenes/Hebrews,” which was written in Aramaic. Jerome mentions that he made translations of it into Greek and Latin. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, no significant part of this Gospel survives today. Some scholars believe that it was loosely linked to canonical Matthew, which fits with Matthew being the most pro-Jewish Gospel of the four. It’s possible that this was how some facts about Yeshua the Nazarene insurrectionist made it into the Gospels.

Much later, Eusebius considered the Nazarenes heretics because
“they regarded [Jesus] as plain and ordinary, a man esteemed as righteous through growth of character and nothing more, the child of a normal union between a man and Mary; and they held that they must observe every detail of the Law—that by faith in Christ alone they would never win Salvation” (Ecclesiastical History 3.7.) I think Irenaeus and Eusebius depicted the Nazarenes correctly in these quotes.
Gentile Christians came to refer to them indiscriminately as “Jewish Christians” because of their link with Jesus, yet this was another misnomer, because they never were Christians.

By the beginning of the fourth century, the Roman Catholic Church was becoming dominant and there were confrontations with Jews, including the Nazarenes. With the Synod of Elvira, held in 306 CE, prohibitions against eating, marriage, and sex with Jews were enacted in the Roman Empire. Nazarenes were included in this ban, which in effect excluded them from all social and religious association with those in the growing Gentile Christian church.

The Emperor Constantine appointed Sylvester as the head bishop of the Catholic church in 313 CE. According to the Irish Jesuit historian Malachi Martin, (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malachi_Martin) a meeting took place in 318 CE in Rome between Pope Sylvester I and the Desposyni. Sylvester provided sea travel for the Nazarene leaders as far as the Roman port of Ostia, thirty kilometers west of Rome. The fact that Sylvester thought it necessary to meet with them suggests that he was curious, yet he initiated the meeting with the intention of exerting his pontifical authority over them.

The Nazarene leaders who appeared before Pope Sylvester quite rightly thought they represented Yeshua’s true legacy. They were, after all, his blood relations, part of at least three well-known lines of legitimate blood descent from Yeshua's family. They were eight in number, and Joses, the oldest of them, spoke on their behalf. They bluntly refused to recognize the Roman church as having any authority, and made the following demands:
(1) that the confirmation of the Christian bishops of Jerusalem, Antioch, Ephesus and Alexandria be revoked;
(2) that these bishoprics be conferred on members of the Desposyni;
(3) that the Law be reintroduced, which included the Sabbath and the Holy Day system of Feasts, and
(4) that Christian Churches resume sending money to the Desposyni Church in Jerusalem, which was to be regarded as the “Mother Church.”
Such bold claims must have come as a surprise to Sylvester, who refused their demands. They were told that the leadership of Jesus’ church had moved to Rome, and that they had no jurisdiction. Sylvester must have known his church was the impostor, but that didn’t concern him. The politics of power were more important than the truth. This was the last known formal dialogue between Christian and Nazarene leaders.

A few years later Nazarenes began to surface in southern Upper Egypt. In this remote locale, far from the center of Gentile Christianity, they continued to practice their beliefs.

In 364 CE, the Catholic Council of Laodicea decreed anathema on any “Jewish Christians” who continued to observe the seventh-day Sabbath. Historical references to Nazarenes became scarce thereafter. The few remaining believers petered out.

To summarize, the Nazarenes were a Jewish sect that, at least in the first century, had strong anti Gentile political ambitions. Christianity, something quite separate, became a religion for Gentiles. It stole Yeshua the Nazarene’s identity to create Jesus, and reinvented him, not only as its founder, but also as God incarnate and the savior of the world. Christians then suppressed the Nazarenes, who struggled on for about four centuries before they disappeared.

If Yeshua, his family, and his original admirers could speak today, they’d be dumbfounded at the distortion of their legacy.

References:
Eisenman, Robert H. “James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls”
Klinghoffer, D. 1965 “Why The Jews Rejected Jesus”. Doubleday. United States Of America.
Lockhart, D. 1997 “Jesus The Heretic”. Element Books. Dorset.
Lockhart, D. 1999 “The Dark Side Of God”. Element Books. Dorset
Schonfield, H. 1969 “Those Incredible Christians”. Bantam. New York.
Thijs Voskuilen and Rose Mary Sheldon co-wrote “Operation Messiah”
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4kTNS18ses
http://ia600401.us.archive.org/34/items/...onites.mp3
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebionites
http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ebionites
http://douglaslockhart.com/pdf/THE NAZORAEAN SECT.pdf
http://www.yashanet.com/library/nazarene_judaism.html
http://www.vexen.co.uk/religion/ebionites.html
http://www.yashanet.com/library/temple/nazarenes.htm for the above information.
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=b7bn...2C&f=false
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=jVyz...on&f=false
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_the_Hebrews
http://www.conorpdowling.com/library/council-of-elvira
http://www.askwhy.co.uk/christianity/0370Ebionites.php
http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/te...ippus.html

Hey Mark. Thank you very much! You're lucky to be able to ride your motorcycle, we're getting a ton of snow here. I was thankful recently because my 30 yr. old snowblower started up in -20F weather.

More food for thought

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Prair...zarens.htm
http://www.rejectionofpascalswager.net/nazarenes.html
http://www.yashanet.com/library/nazarene_judaism.html
http://www.hope-of-israel.org/nazarene.htm

I'm hot. Middle of summer here.
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