By Ralph Larson

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Beroia, moreover, is far away from these two cities and, to our know­ ledge, never mentioned in connection with Jewish Christians. Since Jerome, apparently independently of Epiphanius, also speaks of Beroia as a centre for Nazoraeans, we assume that Epiphanius was basing his assertion on reliable traditions. However, we admit that his mention on Pella and Kochaba as dwelling places of Nazoraeans is the result of his trying to reconcile differing traditions. It was easy for him to draw the conclusion that Jewish-Christians living in Beroia reached that city by way of Pella as they came from Jerusalem.

I l l 27 2 . 4 See Rec. I I 4 2 5. 5 See Rec. I 2 4 5 and Horn. X X 2 2 . 6 I n Pseudo Clementines passim. 7 Hippolytus, Ref. I X 13 2-3 (referring to the Son of God and the H o l y Spirit) and Epiphanius, Pan. 5 3 1 9 (about Christ and the Spirit). 35 EBIONITES In 30 2 2 Epiphanius writes that the Ebionites adhered to Judaism and lived according to the Law, which means that they kept the Sab­ bath and practised circumcision. Circumcision is mentioned several times. In 30 17 5 he says that the Ebionites learned about circumcision, the Sabbath and other observances from Ebion but from Elxai the phantasia.

EBIONITES 25 This second supposition could be corroborated by the contents of the Gospel of the Hebrews which speaks of the holy Spirit begetting Jesus in a way which differs from the simple Ebionite belief that Jesus was the son of Joseph and Mary. If this is true it can also explain Origen's observation about the two Ebionite groups. We may suggest that some of the original Egypt­ ian Jewish-Christians joined the Ebionite sect and that they introduced some ideas about the birth of Jesus that were taken from the "Gospel of the Hebrews" and which Origen interpreted as proof of their belief in the Virgin Birth.

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Apostasy is the Issue by Ralph Larson


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