Nazarene Space

13. The matter in debate, therefore, or I should rather say your opinion regarding it, is summed up in this: that since the preaching of the gospel of Christ, the believing Jews do well in observing the precepts of the law, i.e. in offering sacrifices as Paul did, in circumcising their children, as Paul did in the case of Timothy, and keeping the Jewish Sabbath, as all the Jews have been accustomed to do. If this be true, we fall into the heresy of Cerinthus and Ebion, who, though believing in Christ, were anathematized by the fathers for this one error, that they mixed up the ceremonies of the law with the gospel of Christ, and professed their faith in that which was new, without letting go what was old. Why do I speak of the Ebionites, who make pretensions to the name of Christian? In our own day there exists a sect among the Jews throughout all the synagogues of the East, which is called the sect of the Minei, and is even now condemned by the Pharisees. The adherents to this sect are known commonly as Nazarenes; they believe in Christ the Son of God, born of the Virgin Mary; and they say that He who suffered under Pontius Pilate and rose again, is the same as the one in whom we believe. But while they desire to be both Jews and Christians, they are neither the one nor the other. I therefore beseech you, who think that you are called upon to heal my slight wound, which is no more, so to speak, than a prick or scratch from a needle, to devote your skill in the healing art to this grievous wound, which has been opened by a spear driven home with the impetus of a javelin. For there is surely no proportion between the culpability of him who exhibits the various opinions held by the fathers in a commentary on Scripture, and the guilt of him who reintroduces within the Church a most pestilential heresy. If, however, there is for us no alternative but to receive the Jews into the Church, along with the usages prescribed by their law; if, in short, it shall be declared lawful for them to continue in the Churches of Christ what they have been accustomed to practice in the synagogues of Satan, I will tell you my opinion of the matter: they will not become Christians, but they will make us Jews.

(Jerome; Letter 75)

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Today there still exists among the Jews in all the synagogues of the East a heresy which is called that of the Minæans (1), and which is still condemned by the Pharisees; [its followers] are ordinarily called 'Nazarenes'; they believe that Messiah, the son of God, was born of the Virgin Miriam, and they hold him to be the one who suffered under Pontius Pilate and ascended to heaven, and in whom we also believe."
(Jerome; Letter 75 Jerome to Augustine)

(1) "Minæans" apparently Latinized from Hebrew MINIM (singular is MIN) a word which in modern Hebrew means "apostates" but was originally an acronym for a Hebrew phrase meaning "Believers in Yeshua the Nazarene".

The following is a an interesting parallel between the oldest form of the so-called “Apostles Creed” and Jerome’s description of the beliefs of the Nazarenes.

 

 

 

The oldest known version of “The Apostles Creed” (Hebraicized):

 

 

 

I believe in Elohim the Father Elyon:

And in Yeshua the Messiah his only begotten Son, our YHWH.

 

Who was born of the Ruach HaKodesh and virgin Miriam,

 

And was crucified under Pontius Pilate and was buried, and the third day rose again from the dead,

 

Ascended into heaven, sits on the right hand of the Father.

 

Whence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead;

 

And in the Ruach HaKodesh

 

The Set-Apart Assembly;

 

The remission of sins;

 

And the resurrection of the flesh,

 

Amen.

Today there still exists among the Jews in all the synagogues of the East a heresy which is called that of the Minæans,and which is still condemned by the Pharisees; [its followers] are ordinarily called 'Nazarenes';

 

 

 

they believe that Messiah, the son of Elohim,

 

 

was born of the Virgin Miriam,

 

 

and they hold him to be the one who suffered under Pontius Pilate

 

 

and ascended to heaven,

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

and in whom we also believe."

(Jerome; Letter 75 Jerome to Augustine)

 

Question:

Was Jerome truncating the "Apostles Creed" intentionally?

Did the Nazarenes hold the "Apostles Creed" (or shall I say the "Emissaries Creed") to have been composed by the Twelve?

Am I jumping to conclusions?

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