First Fragment[edit]. It came to pass in the days of Herod, King of Judaea under the high priest Caiaphas, that John came and baptized with the. The Ebionites had a very early version of the Gospel of Matthew. There were many versions and editions of the gospels. Alternate title: The Hebrew Gospel. c. C.E.. The only remaining fragments of the Gospel of the Ebionites are preserved in the form of citations by the.

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The Gospel of the Ebionites is the conventional name given by scholars [n 1] to an apocryphal gospel extant only as seven brief quotations in a heresiology known as the Panarionby Epiphanius of Salamis ; [n 2] he misidentified it as the “Hebrew” gospel, believing it to be a truncated and modified version of the Gospel of Matthew.

The surviving fragments derive from a gospel harmony of the Synoptic Gospelscomposed in Greek with various expansions and abridgments reflecting the theology of the writer. Distinctive features include the absence of the virgin birth and of the genealogy of Jesus ; an Adoptionist Christology[n 4] in which Jesus is chosen to be God’s Son at the time of his Baptism ; the abolition of the Jewish sacrifices by Jesus; and an advocacy of vegetarianism.

The Gospel of the Ebionites is one of several Jewish—Christian gospelsalong with the Gospel of the Hebrews and the Gospel of the Nazarenes ; all survive only as fragments in quotations of the early Church Fathers.

Due to their fragmentary state, the relationships, if any, between the Jewish—Christian gospels and a hypothetical original Hebrew Gospel are uncertain and have been a subject of intensive scholarly investigation.

Epiphanius is believed to have come into possession of a gospel that he attributed to the Ebionites when he was bishop of Salamis, Cyprus. The term Gospel of the Ebionites is a modern convention; no surviving document of the early church mentions a gospel by that name.

According to scholars Oskar Skarsaune and Glenn Alan KochEpiphanius incorporated excerpts from the gospel text at a late stage in the composition of Panarion 30, primarily in chapters 13 and 14 [n 19] [n 20] As Epiphanius describes it, “The Gospel which is found among them In particular, it lacked some or all of the first two chapters of Matthew, which contain the infancy narrative of the virgin birth of Jesus and the Davidic genealogy via Solomon”They have removed the genealogies of Matthew There is general agreement about the seven quotations by Epiphanius cited in the critical edition of “Jewish Christian gospels” by Philipp Vielhauer and Georg Strecker, translated by George Ogg, in Schneemelcher ‘s New Testament Apocrypha.

It came to pass in the days of Herod, King of Judaea under the high priest Caiaphas, that John came and baptized with the baptism of repentance in the river Jordan; he is said to be from the tribe of Aaron and a son of Zacharias the priest and of Elizabeth and all went out to him.

He had a garment of camels’ hair, and a leather girdle about his loins. And his meat was wild honey, which tasted like manna, formed like cakes of oil. And as he came out of the water the heavens opened, and he saw the Holy Spirit descending under the form of a dove, and entering into him. And a voice was heard from heaven: And suddenly shone a great light in that place.

The Gospel of the Ebionites and the Hebrew Gospel

And John seeing him, said, ‘Who art thou, Lord’? Then tospel voice was heard from heaven: Thereat John fell at his feet and said: But he would not, saying ‘Suffer it, for so it behoveth that all should be accomplished’. According to my intention ye shall be twelve apostles for a testimony unto Israel’.

The three quotations by Epiphanius in Panarion The text shows a familiarity with the infancy narrative of Luke 1: Quoting from the text regarding the diet of John The presence of ov baptismal theophanies has led to a consensus among modern scholars that the text quoted by Epiphanius is a gospel harmony [n 25] of the Synoptic Gospels.

Paul ‘s conversion or an additional harmonization of the Gospel of the Hebrews to this work. Epiphanius begins his description of the gospel text Jesus recalls how the twelve apostles were chosen and addresses Matthew in the second person as “you ebiojites Matthew”. Although twelve apostles are mentioned, only eight are named.


The phrase “who chose us ” has been interpreted as evidence that the text may be the lost Gospel of the Twelve mentioned by Origen. However, the identification of the gospel text quoted by Epiphanius with this otherwise unknown gospel is disputed.

The polemics of Epiphanius along with his quotations of the gospel text in italics are shown in parallel:. And ebonites stretched forth his hand towards his disciples and said: The fifth quotation However, Jesus’ final proclamation shows a closer eebionites to 2 Clement 9: Referring to a parallel ebkonites in Luke To which He replied: The immediate context suggests the possible attribution of the quotation to a Clementine source; [n 34] however a linkage between the gospel fragments and the Clementine literature remains uncertain.

The baptismal scene of the gospel text This divine election at the time of his baptism is known as an Adoptionist Christology, [n 4] [n 35] and it is emphasized by the quotation of Psalm 2: The absence of any reference to a Davidic son-ship in the gospel text suggests that Jesus has been elected to be the end-time prophetthe Chosen One, sent to abolish the Jewish sacrifices. The change in wording of the gospel text from “locust” akris to “cake” egkris for John the Baptist’s diet Epiphanius gives no indication of concern for vegetarianism in this part of the Gospel text, [7] and it may instead be an allusion to the manna in the wilderness of Exodus Further evidence has been found in the quotation based on Luke Reading from the same source, Epiphanius states that the Ebionites abstained from “meat with soul in it” Due to the close association of this saying with the Clementine literature of the 3rd and 4th century, the earlier practice of vegetarianism by the 2nd-century Ebionites known to Irenaeus has been questioned.

Epiphanius incorrectly refers to the gospel in his possession as the Gospel of Matthew and the gospel “according to the Hebrews”, perhaps relying upon and conflating the writings of the earlier Church Fathers, Irenaeus and Eusebiusrespectively. Jerome’s report is consistent with the prior accounts of Irenaeus and Eusebius. The relationship between the Gospel of the Ebionitesthe Gospel of the Hebrewsand the Gospel of the Nazarenes remains unclear.

All the Jewish—Christian gospels survive only as fragments in quotations, so it is difficult to tell if they are independent texts or variations of each other. Scholar Albertus Klijn established the modern consensus, concluding that the gospel harmony composed in Greek appears to be a distinctive text known only to Epiphanius. The Ebionite gospel is one example of a type of gospel harmony that used the Gospel of Matthew as a base text but did not include the Gospel of John; it is believed to pre-date Tatian ‘s Diatessaron c.

Many of the heterodox variants found in the Gospel of the Ebionites may have been adopted from a larger pool of variants that were in circulation; an example is the appearance of a great light that shone during Jesus’ Baptism which is also found in the Diatessaron.

The Recognitions of Clement contains a source document Rec. Stanley Jones have postulated a direct dependence of the Ascents of James on the Gospel of the Ebionites. The gospel Epiphanius attributed to the Ebionites is a valuable source of information that provides modern scholars with insights into the distinctive characteristics of a vanished branch of Jewish Christianity.

They insisted on the necessity of following Jewish law and rites and they used only the Jewish—Christian gospel. In Epiphanius’ polemic against the Ebionites found in Panarion 30, a complex picture emerges of the beliefs and practices of the 4th century Ebionites that cannot easily be separated from his method of combining together disparate sources.

Scholarship in the area of Jewish Christian studies has tended to be based on artificial constructs similar to those developed by the early Christian heresiologists, with the underlying assumption that all of the beliefs and practices of these groups were based on theology.

The gospel of the Ebionites.

With respect to Epiphanius, and the Ebionites in particular, insufficient attention has been paid to the highly speculative nature of his theological constructs [n 77] and his gispel together of disparate sources [n 78]including his use of a gospel harmony that may have had nothing to do with the Ebionite sect known to Irenaeus [n 79].

In the end, he presents an enigmatic picture of the Ebionites and their place in early Christian history. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. The statements he made about the Ebionites are relatively inconsistent, and cover a ebionutes range of subjects.


Epithanius did not make any statement about the Ebionites contrary to his strident sense of Nicene orthodoxy. Therefore, it seems possible gsopel Epiphanius was merely using the Ebionites and literature that may or may not have been associated with the Ebionites to argue against all types of heretical views.

Gospel of the Ebionites – Wikisource, the free online library

In this saying At no point is there any certain evidence that Epiphanius’ knowledge is based on firsthand, personal contact with Ebionites who called themselves by this name.

However, the explicit rejection of the temple and its cult, the idea of the True Prophet and the selective acceptance of the Pentateuch only, show that Epiphanius’ Ebionites were not direct successors of Irenaeus’ Ebionites.

Because it is not easy to picture a linear development from Irenaeus’ Ebionites to Epiphanius’ Ebionites, and because the Samaritans seem to link Epiphanius’ Ebionites with the Hellenists of the early Jerusalem community, I am inclined to assume that Epiphanius’ Ebionites were in fact successors of the Hellenistic “poor” of the early Ebioonites community, and that Irenaeus’ Ebionites were successors of the Hebrews see Acts 6—8 of the same community. One is a later, more developed tradition, which is probably a Greek language original; the second is a much more primitive tradition and has a strong imprint of a Semitic language.

It is this ebonites tradition which Boismard equates with the Hebrew i.

At present it is generally assumed that Epiphanius quoted from a Gospel that was known to him only. Ths idea that Jesus came to abolish the sacrifices and that the temple was destroyed because the people were reluctant to cease sacrificing is ebionited within the early Christian tradition, making its appearance both in Rec.

However, gosel should be underscored that this picture is presented only by Epiphanius, and once his literary method is recognized as a juxtaposition of sources, it is more difficult to accept this evolution of Ebionite thought as historical fact.

In some cases we should add a fourth to these: In other words, Epiphanius may not without further investigation be assumed to be in possession of much historical information about the origins of the sects he discusses. The selection of the references is, therefore, arbitrary and probably does not indicate the real contents of the Gospel. He interpolated fragments from yhe Gospel in In other words, the addition of these materials to previous knowledge of the Ebionites is Epiphanius’ own contribution to the subject.

However, following the digression of chapters 4—12, clustering is quite evident in the other materials: Three testimonies to that effect are as follows: Matthews Philip, Apostle and Evangelist: Helmut Koester From Jesus to the Gospels: Wilhelm Schneemelcher grants that some of the apocryphal writings “appear in Schneemelcher, New Testament Apocrypha, trans.

The composition of the opening narrative with the first 3 quotations follows Pick’s order. Evidence that it harmonized the earlier sources comes in the account that it gave ebionutes Jesus’ baptism.

As ot readers have long noticed, the three Synoptic Gospels all record the words spoken by a voice from heaven as Jesus emerges from the water; but the voice says something different in all three accounts: In the Gospel of the Ebionites NicholsonThe Gospel according to the Hebrewspp. If this were true, the Gospel could be called Jewish—Christian, but this identification is a matter of dispute.

This would mean that the Gospel could be called ‘Gospel of ebiontes Twelve’, ebinoites is the name of a Gospel mentioned in a passage in Origen.

Schmidtke speculated that the fragment may derive from Origen’s commentary on John, Comm. This Gospel also adds a quotation of part of Psalm 2: The great light shining recalls Isa 9: This idea is clearly represented in another of Epiphanius’ quotations from the Ebionite Gospel. A translation of Epiphanius’ commentary relevant to Jesus’ Adoption reads as follows: He alone, they would have it, is prophet, man, Son of God, ebiohites Christ – and yet a mere man, as I said, though owing to virtue of life he has come to be called the Son of God.

At that moment, God generated him.