Nazarene Space

Here is the complete text of "Panarion 29" by Epiphanius as it appears
in the translation published by Brill.

Against Nazoraeans.

l Number nine, but twenty-nine of the series
1,1 After these come Nazoraeans, who originated at the same time
or even before, or in conjunction with them or after them. In any case
they were their contemporaries. I cannot say more precisely who suc-
ceeded whom. For, as I said, these were contemporary with each other,
and had similar notions.

1,2 For this group did not name themselves Christians or with
Jesus' own name, but "Nazoraeans." (3) However, at that time all
Christians were called Nazoraeans in the same way. They also came to
be called "Jessaeans'' for a short while, before the disciples began to be
called "Christians" at Antioch. (4) But they were called Jessaeans because
of Jesse, I suppose, since David was descended from Jesse, but Mary
from David's line. This was in fulfillment of sacred scripture, for in the
Old Testament the Lord tells David, ''Of the fruit of thy belly shall
I set upon
thy throne. "

2,1 At each topic of discussion I am afraid of making its treatment
very long .I give this sketch in brief-though the truth
makes me anxious to give some indication of the subjects (that arise) in
the discussion itself-so as not to cover too much ground in composing
the narrative. (2) Since the Lord has told David, "Of the fruit of thy
shall I set upon the throne," and, "The Lord sware unto David and will
not repent,"' it is plain that God's promise is an irreversible one.

(3) In the first place, what does God have to swear by but "By myself
have I
sworn, saith the Lord?"-for "God hath no oath by a greater."' What
is divine does not even swear; yet the statement has the function of
For God swore with an oath to David that he would set the fruit of his
belly upon his throne. (4) And the apostles bear witness that Christ had
to be born of David's seed, as our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ indeed
was. As I said, I shall pass over most of the testimonies, to avoid a very
burdensome discussion.

2,5 But someone will probably say, "Since Christ was physically
born of David's seed, that is, of the Holy Virgin Mary, why is he not
sitting on David's throne? For the Gospel says, 'They came that they
might anoint him king, and when Jesus perceived this he departed.. and
hid himself in Ephraim, a city of the wilderness." (6) But now that I
reach the place for this, and I am asked about this text, and why it
is that
the prophecy about sitting on David's throne has not been fulfilled
physically in the Savior's case-for some have thought that it has not-I
shall still say that it is a fact. Not a word of God's holy scripture
can come
to nothing.

3,1 David's throne and kingly seat is the priesthood in the holy
church. The Lord has combined this rank, which is both that of king and
high priest, and conferred it on his holy church by transferring David's
throne to it, never to fail. (2) Formerly David's throne continued by suc-
cession until Christ himself, since the rulers from Judah did not fail
he came "for whom are the things prepared, and he is the expectation
of the nations," scripture says.

3,3 For at Christ's arrival the rulers in succession from Judah came
to an end. Until his time rulers < were anointed priests > ' but
after his birth in Bethlehem ofJudaea the order ended and changed with
Alexander, a ruler of priestly and kingly stockÈ (4) After Alexander this
heritage from the time of Sauna-also known as Alexandra-died out
under King Herod and the Roman Emperor Augustus.' (Though Alex-
ander was crowned also, since he was one of the anointed priests and
rulers. (5) For with the union of the two tribes, the kingly and
priestly-I mean Judah's and Aaron's and the whole tribe of Levi-kings
also became priests; nothing based on a hint in holy scripture can be
wrong.) (6) But then finally a gentile, King Herod, was crowned, and not
David's descendants any more.

3,7 But because of the change in the royal throne, the rank of king
passed, in Christ, from the physical house of David and Israel to the
church. The throne is established in God's holy church forever, and has
both the ranks of king and high-priest for two reasons. (8) The rank of
king from our Lord Jesus Christ, also in two ways: because he is descend-
ed from King David physically, and because, in Godhead, he is in fact
a greater king from all eternity. But the rank of priest because Christ is
high priest and chief of high priests-(9) since James, called the brother
and apostle of the Lord, was made the first bishop immediately. Actually
he was Joseph's son, but was said to be in the position of the Lord's
brother because they were reared together.

4,1 For James was Joseph's son by Joseph's wife, not
May, as I have said, and discussed with greater clarity, in many other
places. (2) And moreover I find that he was of Davidic descent because
he was Joseph's son, that he was born a nazirite-for he was
Joseph's first-born, and hence consecrated." But I find further that he
also functioned as a priest in the ancient priesthood. (3) For this reason
he was permitted to enter the Holy of Hohes once a year, as scripture
says the Law commanded the high priests. For many before me-
Eusebius, Clement and others-have reported this of him. (4) He was al-
lowed to wear the priestly mitre besides, as the trustworthy persons
mentioned have testified in the same historical writings.

4,5 Now as I said, our Lord Jesus Christ is ''priest forever after the
order of Melchizedek,'" and at the same time king after the order on
high, and so may transfer the priesthood with its legal charter. (6) But
since David's seed through Mary is seated on a throne,
endures> forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end. He would
need now to reposition the former crown; for his kingdom is not earthly,
as he said to Pontius Pilate in the Gospel, "My Kingdom is not of this
world."" (7) For since Christ fulfills all that was said in riddles, the
beginnings have reached a limit. For he who is always king did not come to
achieve sovereignty.
Lest it be thought that he advanced from a lower estate to a higher, he
granted the crown to those whom he appointed. (8) For his throne
endures, and
there will be no end of his kingdom. And he sits on the throne of David,
and has transferred David's crown and granted it, with the high
priesthood, to his own servants, the high priests of the catholic church.

4,9 And there is much to say about this. However, since I have come
to the reason why those who came to faith in Christ were called
Jessaeans before they were called Christians, I have said that Jesse
was the
of David. And they had been named Jessaeans, either because of this
Jesse; or from the name or our Lord Jesus since, as his disciples, they
were derived from Jesus; or because of the etymology of the Lord's
name. For in Hebrew Jesus means "healer" or "physician," and
"savior." (10) In any case, they had acquired this additional name
before they were called Christians. But at Antioch, as I have mentioned
before and as is the essence of the truth, the disciples and the whole
church of God began to be called Christians.

5,1 If you enjoy study and have read about them in Philo's
historical writings, in his book entitled ''Jessaeans,'' you may discover
that, in his account of their way of life and hymns, and his description
of their monasteries in the vicinity of the Marean marsh, Philo described
none other than Christians. (2) For he was edified by his visit to the
area-the place is called Mareotis-and his entertainment at their
monasteries in the region. (3) He arrived during Passover and observed
their customs, and how some of them kept the holy week of Passover (on-
ly) after a postponement of it, but others by eating every other day-
though others, indeed, ate each evening. But Philo wrote all this of the
faith and regimen of the Christians.

5,4 So in that brief period when they were called Jessaeans-after the
Savior's ascension, and after Mark had preached in Egypt-certain other
persons seceded," though they were followers of the apostles if you
please. I mean the Nazoraeans, whom I am presenting here. They were
Jewish, were attached to the Law, and had circumcision. (5) But it was
as though people had seen fire under a misapprehension. Not under-
standing why, or for use, the ones who had kindled this fire
were doing it-either to cook their rations with the fire, or burn some
dead trees and brush, which are ordinarily destroyed by fire-they kindl-
ed fire too, in imitation, and set themselves ablaze.

5,6 For by hearing just the name of Jesus, and seeing the miracles
the apostles performed, they came to faith in Jesus themselves. But they
found that he had been conceived at Nazareth and brought up in
Joseph's home, and for this reason is called "Jesus the Nazoraean'' in
the Gospel as the apostles say, "Jesus the Nazoraean, a man approved
by signs and wonders, " and so on. Hence they adopted this name, so
as to be called Nazoreans.

5,7 Not ''nazirites''-that means "consecrated persons.'' Anciently
this rank belonged to firstborn sons and men dedicated to God. Samson
was one, and others after him, and many before. Moreover, John the
Baptist too was one of these persons consecrated to God, for "He drank
neither wine nor strong drink." (This regimen, befitting their rank,
was prescribed for persons of that sort.) (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, as they say in accusing the apostle Paul, "We have found
this man a pestilent fellow and a perverter of the people, a ring-leader
of the sect of the Nazoraeans." (3) And the holy apostle did not
disclaim the name-not to profess the Nazoraean sect, but he was glad
to own the name his adversaries' malice had applied to him for Christ's
sake. (4) For he says in court, "They neither found me in the temple
disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, nor have I done
any of those things whereof they accuse me. But this I confess unto thee,
that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I, believing all
things in the Law and the prophets ."

6,5 And no wonder the apostle admitted to being a Nazoraean! In
those days everyone called Christians this because of the city of
Nazareth-there was no other usage of the name then. People thus gave
the name of <"Nazoraeans"> to believers in Christ, of whom it is writ-
ten, "He shall be called a Nazoraean." (6) Even today in fact, people
call all the sects, I mean Manichaeans, Marcionites, Gnostics and others,
by the common name of "Christians," though they are not Christians.
However, although each sect has another name, it still allows this one
with pleasure, since it is honored by the name. For they think they can
preen themselves on Christ's name; not on faith and works!

6,7 Thus Christ's holy disciples called themselves "disciples of
Jesus" then, as indeed they were. But they were not rude when others
called them Nazoraeans, since they saw the intent of those who called
them this. They did it because of Christ, since our Lord Jesus was called
" Nazoraean" himself-so say the Gospels and the Acts of the
Apostles-(8) because of his upbringing in Joseph's home in the city of
Nazareth, which is now a village. (Though he was born in the flesh at
Bethlehem, of the ever-virgin Mary, Joseph's betrothed. Joseph had
settled in Nazareth after leaving Bethlehem and taking up residence in

7,1 But these sectarians whom I am now sketching disregarded the
name of Jesus, and did not call themselves Jessaeans, keep the name of
Jews, or term themselves Christians-but "Nazoraeans,'' from the
place-name, "Nazareth," if you please! However they are simply com-
plete Jews.

7,2 They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as
well,: as the Jews do. For unlike the previous sectarians, they do not
repudiate the legislation, the prophets, and the books Jews call
''Writings.'' They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly
as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion-except for their belief
in Christ, if you please! (3) For they acknowledge both the resurrection
of the dead and the divine creation of all things , and declare that God
is one, and that his Son is Jesus Christ.

7,4 They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the en-
tire Law, the prophets, and the so-called Writings-I mean the poetic
books, Kings, Chronicles, Esther and all the rest-are read in Hebrew,
as they surely are by Jews. (5) They are different from Jews, and dif-
ferent from Christians, only in the following. They disagree with Jews
because they have come to faith in Christ; but since they are still
by the Law-circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest -they are not in
accord with Christians. (6) As to Christ, I cannot say whether they too
are captives of the wickedness of Cerinthus and Merinthus, and regard
him as a mere man-or whether, as the truth is, they affirm his birth of
Mary by the Holy Spirit.

7,7 Today this sect of the Nazoraeans is found in Beroea near
Coelesyria, in the Decapolis near Pella, and in Bashanitis at the place
called Cocabe-Khokhabe in Hebrew. (8) For that was its place of
origin, since all the disciples had settled in Pella after they left
Jerusalem-Christ told them to abandon Jerusalem and withdraw from
it because of its coming siege. And they settled in Peraea for this reason
and, as I said, spent their lives there. That was where the Nazoraean sect

8,1 But they too are wrong to boast of circumcision, and persons like
themselves are still ''under a curse, " since they cannot fulfil the Law.
For how can they fulfil the Law's provision, "Thrice a year thou shalt
appear before the Lord thy God, at the feasts of Unleavened Bread,
Tabernacles and Pentecost," on the site of Jerusalem? (2) As the
site is closed off," and the Law's provisions cannot be fulfilled,
anyone with
sense can see that Christ came to be the Law's fulfiller-not to destroy
the Law, but to fulfill the Law-and to lift the curse that had been put
on transgression of the Law. (3) For after Moses had given every com-
mandment he came to the point of the book and "included the whole in
a curse" with the words, ''Cursed is he that continueth not in all the
words that are written in this book to do them.""

8,4 Hence Christ came to free what had been fettered with the bonds
of the curse. In place of the lesser commandments which cannot be
fulfilled, he granted us the greater, which are not inconsistent with the
completion of the task as the earlier ones were. (5) For I have
discussed this
many times before, in every Sect, in connection with the Sabbath, cir-
cumcision and the rest-how the Lord has granted something more per-
fect to us.

8,6 But how can people like these defend their disobedience of the
Holy Spirit, who has told gentile converts, through the apostles,
"Assume no burden save the necessary things, that ye abstain from
blood, and from things strangled, and fornication, and from meats
offered to
(7) And how can they fail to lose the grace of God,
when the holy apostle Paul says, "If ye be circumcised, Christ shall
you nothing.. . whosoever of you do glory in the Law are fallen from

9,1 In this Sect too, my brief discussion will be enough. People like
these are refutable at once and easy to cure-or rather, they are nothing
but Jews themselves. (2) Yet these are very much the Jews' enemies. Not
only do Jewish people have a hatred of them; they even stand up at dawn,
at midday, and toward evening, three times a day when they recite their
prayers in the synagogues, and curse and anathematize them. Three
times a day they say, "God curse the Nazoraeans." (3) For they harbor
an extra grudge against them, if you please, because despite their
Jewishness, they preach that Jesus is Christ-the opposite of
those who are still Jews, for they have not accepted Jesus.
9,4 They have the Gospel according to Matthew in its entirety in
Hebrew . For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew
alphabet, as it was originally written. But I do not know whether they
have removed just the genealogies from Abraham to Christ.
9,5 But now that we have also detected this sect-like an insect that
is small, yet still causes pain with its poison-and have squashed it with
the words of the truth, let us pray for help from God, beloved, and go
to the next.

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Abridged version (from another translation): 

But these sectarians... did not call themselves Christians--but "Nazarenes," ... However they are simply complete Jews. They use not only the New Testament but the Old Testament as well, as the Jews do... They have no different ideas, but confess everything exactly as the Law proclaims it and in the Jewish fashion-- except for their belief in Messiah, if you please! For they acknowledge both the resurrection of the dead and the divine creation of all things, and declare that G-d is one, and that his son is Yeshua the Messiah. They are trained to a nicety in Hebrew. For among them the entire Law, the Prophets, and the... Writings... are read in Hebrew, as they surely are by the Jews. They are different from the Jews, and different from Christians, only in the following. They disagree with Jews because they have come to faith in Messiah; but since they are still fettered by the Law--circumcision, the Sabbath, and the rest-- they are not in accord with Christians.... they are nothing but Jews.... They have the Goodnews according to Matthew in its entirety in Hebrew. For it is clear that they still preserve this, in the Hebrew alphabet, as it was originally written."

(Epiphanius; Panarion 29)

Yakov kohen gadol? Rav Trimm, what do you think of that?

Yakov kohen gadol? Rav Trimm, what do you think of that?













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