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A name derived from the Hebrew ebionim, meaning “poor men.” It is the title given to an early Christian sect which maintained the Jewish Mosaic Law. They believed in one God, the Creator, accepted Jesus as the Messiah, rejected all the works of the New Testament except a gospel of Matthew different from the one in the present Bible but the existence of which was confirmed by St. Jerome. There are similarities between Ebionite teachings and those found in the Qumran sect. (See DEAD SEA SCROLLS.)

Helena P. BLAVATSKY wrote that “Ebionitic Gnosticism had once been the purest form of Christianity. They were the pupils and followers of the early Nazarenes — the Kabalistic Gnostics” (CW XIV:150). According to Blavatsky, the Ebionites were also the authors of the Clementine Homilies, an account of the acts of Peter, particularly his encounter with SIMON MAGUS (ibid.).


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