(Heb. poor). Some early writers derive the name Ebionites from an otherwise undocumented man named Ebion, but it is now gen. regarded as derived from the Heb. word (ebjÊn) for poor, reflecting asceticism. Term perhaps first applied to Christians in gen., then esp. to Jewish Christians at Jerusalem (cf. Gl 2:10). Origen uses it for Jewish Christians. It was applied also to an extreme Judaistic sect of the 2d c. that gen. professed loyalty to the Torah* reinterpreted to harmonize with tenets of varying groups and that apparently practiced severe asceticism. Jesus was regarded as the Messiah but not divine, nor born of a virgin; Paul was rejected; they used a Heb. Gospel apparently based on Matthew.
Edited by: Erwin L. Lueker, Luther Poellot, Paul Jackson
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