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#1 Julie Falling

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 09:56 AM

Hey, all –

 

This has just been released.  I have the old version in Accordance and love it.  Does anyone have any experience with the Revised edition? Is it as solid as the version we already have in Accordance?  This is a resource I can afford.

 

Thanks for the input.


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#2 Graham Buck

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 10:13 AM

It's probably not inappropriate to reproduce the preface and first introductory point:

 

 

PREFACE

 

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, popularly known as ISBE, has served the Church well over the past generations. Even in its revised form, however, it has naturally become dated as new work has been done in the text of Scripture and new light has been shed by continuing, and in some cases exciting, archeological discoveries. If not without some trepidation, then, the decision has been made to issue a fresh and more drastic revision of the venerable and still by no means valueless encyclopedia.

The situation in which the new edition has been prepared resembles that of the preparation of the first edition of 1915. The original preface speaks of a plethora of biblical dictionaries at that time, called forth by the remarkable advances and changes in biblical studies. The new ISBE comes on the scene when dictionaries again abound, and one can only repeat the words of our predecessors when they say that “it is in no spirit of rivalry ... that the present Encyclopaedia is produced” but to fulfil what is seen to be the distinctive purpose of serving both the more advanced student and yet also “the average pastor and Bible student.”

Friends of the project, and many contributors to it, will realize that this new edition has been in the making for an unusually protracted period. There are two main reasons for the delay. The first relates to the editorial team. All three of the original Associate Editors were lost to us at a formative stage in the work: Professor N. B. Stonehouse of Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia, through death; Professor J. L. Kelso of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, through sickness; and Professor J. G. S. S. Thomson of Glasgow, through the pressure of other duties. Their places have been ably filled by Professors E. F. Harrison and W. S. LaSor of Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, and Professor R. K. Harrison of Wycliffe College, Toronto, but not without some unavoidable dislocation. On the managerial side, too, the death of Calvin Bulthuis, who played so large a role in the initial planning, proved to be another serious blow, and his immediate successor, John DeHoog, was able to stay with the project for only a relatively brief span. Fortunately the third project editor, Dr. E. W. Smith, has remained long enough to see the revision through to publication. The progress even at this rate would have been impossible without the diligent and intelligent contributions of Editorial Associate Allen C. Myers; Editorial Assistants Nola J. Opperwall and Dr. Ralph W. Vunderink; Illustration, Design, and Production Coordinator Joel D. Beversluis; and Typographer-Typesetter Donald M. Prus.

Changes in the scope of the revision provided the second main reason for the delay of publication. In view of the high esteem in which ISBE has been held, it was felt at first that the bulk of the existing material should be retained in its original format. A good deal of work was done on that premise. Increasingly it became obvious that with the pace and magnitude of biblical and archeological changes, along with the rapid shifts in the political, geographical, and social life of the Near East, more would have to be done, so that a call went out for more articles and contributors. Eventually the editors and publishers were forced to acknowledge, however reluctantly, that a thorough updating of both matter and format constituted the only logical course, so that now, although some of the most durable of the original material remains, the revision has become to all intents and purposes a new, or at least a completely reconstructed, encyclopedia. In this regard the delay has finally been an advantage, for if the work had been rapidly completed according to the original plan, much of it would already be in need of a new updating and all of it would have a decidedly old-fashioned look.

It should be emphasized that, in spite of the necessary changes, ISBE has by no means lost its identity. Many important features have in fact been carefully retained. To begin with, the new ISBE has aimed to be as consciously international as the old. If all the editors reside in North America, the General Editor and one of the Associate Editors come from Britain, and articles have been sought from scholars in many lands. As in the original ISBE, interdenominationalism has been practiced as well as internationalism. Coincidentally, the General Editor and three Associate Editors consist of two Anglicans and two Presbyterians, but contributors from a wide variety of churches combine to make [Vol. 1, p. vi] this new edition a truly ecumenical enterprise. Along these lines, separate articles have again been included to represent different views on such matters as church polity and baptism.

Furthermore, great care has been taken to maintain what the preface of the first edition described as the attitude of “a reasonable conservatism.” Freedom has naturally been allowed to individual contributors to express their views on debatable matters. At some points divergent approaches may thus be found. A hearing is also given to hypotheses and theories which cannot finally be adopted. Nevertheless, the general “attitude of mind and heart” is still one “which reverently accepts a true revelation of God in the history of Israel and in Christ.” Indeed, while the high level of biblical scholarship has been retained, some of the unnecessarily mediating views of the first contributors have been eliminated, so that the new edition is, we believe, at once more scholarly and more conservative than its predecessor. This demonstrates the change from an earlier period of sharp confrontation between “criticism” and “faith” to one when the possibility grasped by the original editors has been more fully realized and “reverent criticism” is making a constructive contribution to faith.

As the first ISBE aimed at comprehensiveness, its successor has done the same. In this respect the original articles have served as a useful guide in both selection and execution. Some of them have, of course, been changed in length. Usually, although not uniformly, the change has taken the form of shortening to make way for the new material provided by more recent discoveries and developments. All the same, the principle has not changed. The editors have again sought the “ample and minute” treatment of “History ..., Ethnology, Geography, Topography, Biography, Arts and Crafts, Manners and Customs,” etc. which their predecessors claimed. If there has been one main innovation, it lies in the field of dogmatic history. Accounts of the main developments of thought on such central matters as Christology, election, and inspiration have been added. If more is offered here than a biblical encyclopedia strictly demands, we believe that this added feature should be of help and value to many readers.

It might be noted that, in order to maintain continuity with the past, many articles have been preserved in emended form and a few particularly significant ones have been preserved virtually unchanged. To the latter group belong especially the article on the Bible by James Orr, General Editor of the first edition, and that on inspiration by B. B. Warfield. If in Orr’s article the section on the literary origin and growth of the Old and New Testaments needs revision, readers may be referred to the entries under the individual books and still profit from Orr’s article, as from that of Warfield, as an evangelical statement of the early 20th century. That Orr and Warfield differed in the nuances of biblical understanding, yet did not see in this a reason for breaking evangelical unity, gives additional value to their representative articles.

Having spoken of the general continuity between the editions, we may speak more briefly of the detailed discontinuity. In one way the greatest single change is the elimination of most of the indexes. Indexes are obviously useful, but in alphabetically arranged dictionaries and encyclopedias they are obviously not essential. Their retention would have added disproportionately to the expense and price of the series. It is mainly for this reason that they have been deleted.

Of a different order, but possibly even more significant in its own way, is the adoption of the RSV instead of the ASV as the approved English rendering of the Bible. Naturally, an iron rule has not been imposed here. Variants are provided where useful and appropriate. Words from the AV or ASV which have been dropped from the RSV are still listed. It seems, however, that the RSV has now sufficiently established itself, especially in the scholarly world, to justify its general adoption.

Mention need hardly be made of the wholesale replacement of the older maps and illustrations. Even a cursory glance at the earlier editions will show the need for the radical updating which has been done.

Lesser but not unimportant changes have been made in such matters as abbreviations, pronunciations, and schemes of transliteration. The changes here are not just for the sake of change but to bring ISBE into line with generally accepted, although not, of course, definitively established practice in these areas. Details of the adopted schemes will be found in the pages that follow.

Superficially the old ISBE might seem to have been changed beyond recognition by these alterations and updatings. Readers will quickly see, however, that this is not so, for the material continuity, represented by the listings, far outweighs the formal discontinuity. The same fulness, authority, and accessibility have been sought in the new ISBE as in the old. Every effort has again been made to produce an encyclopedia that can meet the “exacting requirements” of teachers, students, pastors, and “all others who desire to be familiar with the Holy Scriptures.” We trust that the new ISBE will have the same enduring value and engender the same enduring affection as the old. Above all, however, we trust that it may contribute to a better knowledge, understanding, and love of holy Scripture and thereby bring glory to God and edification to His people, thus fulfilling, in some measure at least, the service which it is our Christian privilege to render.

 

Pasadena, California GEOFFREY W. BROMILEY

Trinity 1977 General Editor

 

 

INTRODUCTION

 

I. Purpose and Scope.—The purpose of this encyclopedia is to define, identify, and explain terms and topics that are of interest for those who study the Bible. Thus it is like the 1915 ISBE in combining the defining function of a dictionary with the encyclopedia’s presentation of more comprehensive information, summarizing the state of knowledge about each of its topics and leading the reader to further sources of information and insight.

The entries are of several types. Every name of a person or place mentioned in the Bible has an entry here. Often a person is mentioned only once in the Bible, and the little that can be said about him or her will take only a few lines. Yet it may be helpful simply to know that a passage in question has the only mention of this person, or that the same name in another part of the Bible does refer to a different person. Other persons, however, are more frequently mentioned and have more importance in the biblical story of salvation. In such cases the articles about them are much longer, and may have to gather information from widely scattered parts of the Bible (or even from sources outside the Bible) and summarize the story of that person’s life and meaning.

The same is generally true of the names of places. Some remain unidentified, while others have long been known and have been studied by archeological investigation. Some are of little importance, while others played significant roles in the story of God’s redemption of His people. Generally, the length of the article reflects the relative importance. But sometimes a site receives little space because little is (yet) known about it, while a site of lesser importance may receive longer discussion because of division of scholarly opinion about it, or because archeological study of it gives us information about other sites or about passages in the Bible which do not even mention it. The article on Debir, for example, is longer than its relative importance in the Bible might warrant, because this article includes the several sides of a scholarly debate about its location and identification.

The reader will also find articles on all other terms in the Bible that have theological or ethical meaning, and on expressions that would be puzzling or unclear to the average reader. Thus ISBE is an exegetical tool, providing brief discussion of problem texts under the English keywords and guiding the exegete to further information in other scholarly resources.

The scope of this work also includes articles on the Bible itself, and on the transmission (e.g., text and versions), study (e.g., concordances, commentaries, Bible dictionaries), and interpretation (e.g., biblical theology) of the Bible. The sources of our knowledge about the background of the Bible have seen a steady increase as the result both of systematic pursuit of information, as in archeology, and of accidental discoveries, as of the Dead Sea Scrolls; that increase is reflected here in new articles and longer articles on the subjects that deal with the background of the Bible. This encyclopedia also goes further than others in tracing the development of some of the doctrines (e.g., about the Holy Spirit) and practices (e.g., baptism) that are based on biblical teachings.

The treatment of significant names and terms includes those from the writings of the Apocrypha. Even for those who do not accept these writings as canonical, they form an important part of the background of the New Testament, illustrating the development of some Old Testament themes and the introduction of some new ones during the intertestamental period.

Although the titles of articles on biblical terms normally follow the readings of the RSV, the distinctive readings of the AV and the NEB are included, usually as cross-reference entries to the articles that use the RSV forms. This makes the encyclopedia more readily accessible to a wider range of readers.

 

“PREFACE,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (Revised), 1:vi.

 


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#3 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 10:23 AM

Hi, Julie!

 

The revised ISBE has been my "go to" Bible dictionary for many years. I am cheered that we finally have it available in Accordance.

 

It is not as academically "stuffy" as Anchor-Yale, nor as picturesque and overtly evangelical as ZEB. I consider its articles to be accurate, conservatively Christian, and evenly trustworthy. The older ISBE was know for being more of a "theological" Bible dictionary, as many of its articles focused on the item's relationship to Christian theology. An article on "cattle, cow, calf," for instance, would focus on idolatry or metaphors about spiritual growth; the revised ISBE's articles focus on the actual animals, their use in the life of Israel, and their appearance in Scripture. In other words, the revised ISBE has more of an "anthropological" orientation vs. a "theological" one. I find both ISBEs useful, but for totally different kinds of research.

 

Hope this helps!


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Blessings,
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#4 Julie Falling

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 10:29 AM

Thanks, Graham, for the clip.  Helpful.  They really had a job getting it published, didn't they?  I greatly appreciate the persistence.

 

Dr. J – Your endorsement is very helpful.  I am conservative, and evangelical, but I am not a scholar.  I greatly appreciate a work that is geared for scholars + pastors + ordinary students.  Looks like this would be a good investment for me, especially since Anchor-Yale is just more than I can spend.  And, frankly, I don't think I'm 'high brow' enough for it anyway!


Julia Falling

 

Accordance 11

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#5 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 03 June 2014 - 11:03 AM

I think you'll love it, Julie!


Blessings,
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#6 Ryan Stumpf

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 03:08 PM

How does the revised ISBE compared to the new interpreters Bible dictionary?



#7 Dan Francis

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 04:46 PM

The ISBE 1979-1988 (hereafter referred to simply as ISBE) is a solid in depth set. I personally would place the NIDB in a lower ranking in general. That being said I can tell you that some people I know are very gung-ho about the NIDB for no other reason than it is decades newer. This is an advantage but as the minister who confirmed me said, "Interpreter's Bible might be 40 years old, but the Bible is a lot older than that." An older work that is well written still has much to offer. And as an example I am going to grab a small article from  Anchor, ISBE, and NIDB. As you will see below Anchor/ISBE are significantly longer. This is not to say occasionally you will find a longer article in NIDB. But for me I tend to use NIDB as a jumping off point... I go there and if I want more info I head on to ISBE or Anchor. I am not going to purchase ISBE in Accordance for the main reason I have it in both OT and Log (and my spouse might kill me if I did, LOL). Even though I own Anchor in both Log and Accordance, and I do consider it the top over all Bible dictionary on the market, in my physical Library it is NIDB and ISBE that sit there. If you can only own one ISBE is in no way an inferior choice. And if I had unlimited resources I would snap up ISBE for the bargain it is, but I do not need it (I ended up getting anchor in Log and ISBE in OT when super sales had come about).

 

Anchor:

EBIONITES An early Christian sect known for its observance of some form of the Jewish law. Its members were regarded as heretical by the Church Fathers. The earliest undisputed use of the term Ebionites (usually   Ebioœnaioi in Gk, Ebionaei or Ebionitae in Lat) appeared in the 2d century in the Contra Haereses of Irenaeus of Lyon, who recorded it as the name of a Christian group he considered heretical because they lived according to Jewish law. However, the term has an earlier history, having evolved into a sectarian name from the generic biblical Hebrew word }ebyo®nˆîm, meaning “the poor.” The significance of this earlier evolution has long been a subject of dispute.

The beginning of publication of the Qumran scrolls renewed an old debate on the question whether various NT references to “the poor” (ptoœchoi) could help in retracing the history of the Ebionite heresy. The Qumran manuscripts include references to “the poor” which can be seen as semitechnical terms, midway between the generic biblical Hebrew use (e.g., in Psalms) and the use by Irenaeus. For example, in a commentary on Psalm 37, the Qumran writer describes his group as {a∑dat haœ-}ebyo®nˆîm, “the congregation of the poor” (4QpPs37 III.10). Such references were noted by Teicher (1951), who proposed that the Qumran texts were written by Christian Ebionites; his proposal is emphatically rejected by most scholars, who find no evidence at all of Christianity at Qumran. At the other end of the spectrum, Keck (1965, 1966) essentially denies that Qumran, NT, and patristic references to “the poor” can help illuminate one another. The question as to whether the data from Qumran and the NT are useful for understanding Ebionite origins and history depends on what varieties of Jewish sectarianism and of early Christianity influenced the group.

Paul referred to certain early Christians in Jerusalem as “the poor” (Rom 15:26; Gal 2:10; Fitzmyer 1955). There is insufficient evidence to determine whether some of the Jewish law-observant Christians around James in Jerusalem designated themselves “the poor,” though Jas 2:1–7, referring to the poor man in the synagogue, suggests such a term would not have been offensive. What can be asserted on the basis of patristic literature is that the Ebionites associated themselves with early Christians who observed Jewish law. They rejected Paul’s view of Jewish law (Irenaeus, Haer. I 26.2) and possibly encouraged the view that they were represented among the Jerusalem Christians who supposedly fled Jerusalem before 70 C.E. for Pella (as suggested by Epiphanius’ account in Haer. 30.2).

All patristic accounts agree that Ebionites observed some version of Jewish law (including, e.g., circumcision). In addition, according to Irenaeus, Ebionites used only the Gospel of Matthew, venerated Jerusalem, and regarded Jesus’ birth as natural (the patristic references are conveniently gathered in Kiljn and Reinink 1973). Tertullian repeats the complaints that Ebionites observed Jewish law and denied the Virgin Birth, regarding Jesus as merely a prophet, but adds that their founder was a person named Ebion (Hebion), presumably on the false assumption that all heresies can be traced to an eponymous founder. According to Hippolytus, Ebionites claimed that Jesus became Christ as a result of observing the law. Origen dismisses Ebionites as “poor in understanding” for insisting that Jesus was sent only to the Jews. By the 4th century, Eusebius, Epiphanius, and Jerome repeated familiar criticisms, but added some uncertainty as to which apocryphal gospels were used by Ebionites and other Jewish-Christian groups (see EBIONITES, GOSPEL OF THE); also, they allowed that some Ebionites may have accepted the Virgin Birth.

Epiphanius’ long account of Ebionites (Haer. 30; see Koch 1976) assigns some portions of the pseudo-Clementine literature to them; this literature, which has a complex composition history (see CLEMENTINES, PSEUDO-), includes strongly dualistic theology, speaks of a reincarnated true prophet, and has Peter speak against Paul’s view of law. Other innovations include vegetarianism and the rejection of portions of Hebrew scripture. Additionally, Epiphanius asserts that Ebionites had come under the influence of the revelation of Elchasai. See ELCHASAITES.

The Bible translator SYMMACHUS is occasionally mentioned as an Ebionite. His translation of Zech 9:9, for example, renders the characterization of the humble (Heb {onˆî) donkey-riding Messiah as ptoœchos, poor. However, little is known of Symmachus, so this possible identification adds little to our knowledge of Ebionites.

Among possible allusions to Ebionites in Rabbinic literature, one of the more likely appears in b. SÁabb. 116a, wherein rabbis debate whether to save books of the minim (heretics) in the case of fire. If one allows for a slight self-censoring spelling of the names, the rabbis consider books found in the house of Ebionites (by}bydn) relatively more worth saving than books in the house of Nazarenes (see NAZARENES). In favor of this reading, it may be noted that the rabbis were more inclined to condemn Nazarenes, whereas Church writers were more inclined to condemn Ebionites.

Many questions remain concerning the evolution of the Ebionites and their relation to other Jewish-Christian groups. After the accounts in Epiphanius and Jerome, Ebionites fade from history.

 

Bibliography 

Fitzmyer, J. A. 1955. The Qumran Scrolls, the Ebionites and Their Literature. TS 16: 335–72. Repr. in Essays on the Semitic Background of the New Testament. Missoula, 1974.

Keck, L. 1965. The Poor among the Saints in the New Testament. ZNW 56: 100–129.

———. 1966. The Poor among the Saints in Jewish Christianity and Qumran. ZNW 57: 54–78.

Klijn, A. F. J., and Reinink, G. J. 1973. Patristic Evidence for Jewish-Christian Sects. Leiden.

Koch, G. 1976. A Critical Investigation of Epiphanius’ Knowledge of the Ebionites. Ph.D. Diss. University of Pennsylvania.

Schoeps, H.-J. 1969. Jewish Christianity: Factional Disputes in the Early Church. Trans. D. Hare. Philadelphia.

Strecker, G. 1959. Ebioniten, RAC 4: 487–500.

Teicher, J. L. 1951. The Dead Sea Scrolls—Documents of the Jewish Christian Sect of Ebionites. JJS 2: 67–99.

STEPHEN GORANSON

 

AYBD, s.v. “EBIONITES,” 2:260-261.

 
ISBE:
EBIONITES; EBIONISM A Jewish-Christian heretical sect flourishing in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th cents A.D.
 
          I.      Origin
          II.      Sources
      A.      Gospel of the Ebionites
      B.      Pseudo-Clementine Literature
          III.      Theology
          IV.      Ebionites and Qumrân
 
 
I. Origin
 
The name Ebionite seems to be derived from Heb. ʾeḇyôn, “poor.” It first appears in the writings of Irenaeus (Adv. haer. i.26.2), who gave no explanation of the term. Other writers in antiquity, however, variously explained why the Ebionites were so called. Origen in his commentary on Mt. 12:2 said that their name came from the poverty of their faith in Jesus. In Contra Celsum ii.1 he stated that they were named for the poverty of their interpretation of the law. Eusebius reiterated the sentiment of Origen by saying that “from these practices [observing the law, rejecting Paul, and using exclusively the Gospel according to the Hebrews] they have obtained their name, for their name means ‘poor’ in Hebrew” (HE iii.27.2). He also said they got their name from the first Christians because they held such poor and lowly opinions of Jesus Christ. None of these polemical explanations of the origin of the name is taken seriously by scholars today.
About two hundred years after Irenaeus’s first mention of the Ebionites by name, Epiphanius wrote extensively of them in his Panarion (Haer.). He derived their name from Ebion, the alleged founder of the sect, and traced their history back to the period immediately following the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. This explanation, too, is highly unlikely, although there is some evidence that there was a historical person named Ebion. Some scholars think that certain fragments of Doctrina patrum de incarnatione Verbi are by him.
J. A. Fitzmyer suggested that the name Ebionaioi grew out of the practice of referring to the first Christians in Jerusalem as “the poor,” especially after the destruction of the city in A.D. 70. “At some time during the first two centuries … this designation was restricted to those who lived in Palestine and Syria, and who continued to observe the Mosaic Law. It seems likely that the original use of the word was in no way connected with a heretical sect” (Fitzmyer, p. 210). This group of Jewish Christians is usually associated with James the brother of Jesus, the head of the Jerusalem church. “It is not unlikely that remnants of this group, after the destruction of Jerusalem, developed into the Ebionite sect, acquiring heterodox notions in time from other sources, such as Cerinthus and the Elchesaites” (p. 210). How long the Ebionites existed before Irenaeus’ explicit mention of them is not known, but that there was such a group by his time is clear. He calls them heretical (Adv. haer. i.26.2) and classifies them among the Gnostics.
L. E. Keck proposed a similar explanation of their origin: “After the refugees [either from the Jewish War of A.D. 66–70 or the Hadrianic War in A.D. 135] from Jerusalem found themselves destitute, they cherished more than ever the words of Jesus about the poor and the threat of possessions, and so made of their poverty a virtue and probably named themselves ‘the Poor.’ In the region where they now lived, they came into contact with dualistic and syncretistic movements which provided a cosmological rationale of their poverty and intensified certain elements of their theology in general. The link with the practice of the primitive church in sharing wealth came much later as an apologetic device and cannot be taken at face value” (ZNW, 57 [1966], 65f).
 
II. Sources
 
A. Gospel of the Ebionites This is an abridged and falsified Gospel of Matthew known only through the accounts and quotations of Epiphanius. Since it presupposes the Synoptics, the earliest it could have been written is the 2nd century. The Gospel begins not with the Nativity narrative but with the appearance of John the Baptist. This is followed by the Call of the Disciples and the Baptism of Jesus. It also contains parallels to Mt. 5:17; 12:46–50; 26:17ff; and Lk. 22:15 (SQE). Epiphanius said that it included the story of the Last Supper, the Passion of Christ, and the Resurrection, but we have no details.
 
B. Pseudo-Clementine Literature Apart from the Ebionite Gospel, there is little agreement among scholars about authentic Ebionite sources. The nineteenth-century Tübingen scholars isolated a source—Kerygmata Petrou (Sermons of Peter)—in the Pseudo-Clementine literature and identified it as Ebionite. This reconstruction has been followed by more recent scholars. H. J. Schoeps bases his reconstruction of the history and theology of early Jewish Christianity on the Kerygmata Petrou, and both O. Cullmann and J. A. Fitzmyer use the Kerygmata as a primary source to compare the beliefs of the Qumrân community with those of the Ebionites. Considerable doubt exists, however, about the genuineness of the Kerygmata Petrou as an Ebionite source. Keck points out that even though the Pseudo-Clementine literature has been subjected for more than a hundred years to discussion and analysis, “there is still little agreement on the elemental point of whether or not there is any relation whatsoever between this pot-pourri of tradition and the Ebionites” (p. 60).
 
III. Theology
 
Origen was the first to distinguish between two types of Ebionites theologically: those who believed in the Virgin Birth and those who rejected it (Contra Celsum v 61). Eusebius also distinguished between two groups, describing them as follows (HE iii.27):
They held him [Christ] to be a plain and ordinary man who had achieved righteousness merely by the progress of his character and had been born naturally from Mary and her husband. They insisted on the complete observation of the Law, and did not think that they would be saved by faith in Christ alone and by a life in accordance with it. But there were others besides these who have the same name. These escaped the absurd folly of the first mentioned, and did not deny that the Lord was born of a Virgin and the Holy Spirit, but nevertheless agreed with them in not confessing his pre-existence as God, being the Logos and Wisdom. Thus they shared in the impiety of the former class, especially in that they were equally zealous to insist on the literal observance of the Law. They thought that the letters of the Apostle ought to be wholly rejected and called him an apostate from the Law. They used only the Gospel called according to the Hebrews and made little account of the rest. Like the former they used to observe the sabbath and the rest of the Jewish ceremonial, but on Sundays celebrated rites like ours in commemoration of the Saviour’s resurrection. Epiphanius likewise differentiated between a more orthodox group (those who believed in the Virgin Birth) and a more heterodox group. The former he called Nazoreans and the latter Ebionites (Haer. 29f). The Ebionites, he said, were influenced by the Elchasaites, an early heretical group with certain Gnostic ideas. It is also possible that the Ebionites came under the influence of the Essenes.
Although strict observance of the law was enjoined, not all of the law of Moses was accepted as valid. They held that the true law had been adulterated by the addition of certain falsehoods, post-Mosaic in origin. These had to be purged, because they contained doctrines that were actually inimical to Moses’ teaching. By means of this approach to the Pentateuch the Ebionites were able to eliminate concepts of God contrary to their own. In the Pseudo-Clementines (Homily 2.52) the apostle says, “Neither was Adam a transgressor, who was fashioned by the hands of God; nor was Noah drunken, who was found righteous above all the world; nor did Abraham live with three wives at once, who, on account of his sobriety, was thought worthy of a numerous posterity; nor did Jacob associate with four—of whom two were sisters—who was the father of the ten tribes, and who intimated the coming of the presence of our Master; nor was Moses a murderer, nor did he learn to judge from an idolatrous priest.…” Jesus was for them the great reformer of the law, whereas Paul was its distorter.
The Ebionites also believed that the grace of baptism put an end to all sacrifices. The destruction of the temple was brought about by God because of the Jews’ refusal to discontinue the temple sacrificial system. The priesthood, too, was considered no longer valid, since sacrifices were at an end.
Christianity was for them not a religion of salvation. Jesus came not to save but to teach. He stood in a direct line with the great prophets—prophetism climaxed in Him. He came after Adam and Moses to reform and purify Judaism.
Ebionism’s most important deviations from orthodox Christianity were in the realm of Christology. Although, as seen from the above quotations from Origen and statements in Epiphanius, there was no unanimity among them in their christological beliefs, they generally rejected the orthodox doctrine of the Virgin Birth. They also denied the Incarnation. Although they believed in Jesus (this distinguished them from the orthodox Jews), they regarded Him simply as a man chosen by God, who at His baptism received a power from God. It is generally believed that the christological tenets of the Ebionites showed Cerinthian influence.
 
IV. Ebionites and Qumrân
 
Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, vigorous discussions have been carried on about the relationship of the Ebionites to the people of the Scrolls. J. L. Teicher maintained that the Qumrân sect was Ebionite, that Christ was the “Teacher of Righteousness,” and the apostle Paul was the “Man of Lies.” Teicher’s theory faces several difficulties, the most telling of which are: (1) the Ebionites appear too late to be identified with the Qumrân sect (the earliest mention of the Ebionites is ca. A.D. 175); and (2) the religious background of the Ebionites, though heretical, is definitely Christian, whereas that of the people of Qumrân is pre-Christian and oriented to the OT, not the NT.
Although Cullmann did not identify the Qumrân sect with the Ebionites, he argued for a connection between the two: what was left of the Qumrân sect (which he identified with the Essenes) went over to the Ebionites. This theory, of course, would necessitate the conversion of the Essenes to Christianity. While this is not impossible, there seems to be little evidence to support it.
Fitzmyer, after a careful comparison of the theological beliefs and practices of the two groups, found too great a divergence between them to accept either Teicher’s or Cullmann’s theories. He concluded: “It seems that the most we can say is that the sect of Qumran influenced the Ebionites in many ways; Essene tenets and practices were undoubtedly adopted or adapted into the Ebionite way of life. To try to state more than this is to overstep the limits set by the evidence we have at our disposal” (p. 231). This appears to be a more tenable view of the relationship between Qumrân and the Ebionites.
 
Bibliography.—O. Cullmann, “Die neuentdeckten Qumrantexte und das Judenchristentum der Pseudo-klementinen,” in NT Studien für Rudolf Bultmann (BZNW, 21, 1954), 35–51; “Significance of the Qumran Texts for Research into the Beginnings of Christianity,” in K. Stendahl, ed., The Scrolls and the NT (1957), pp. 18–32; J. A. Fitzmyer, “The Qumran Scrolls, the Ebionites and their Literature,” in Stendahl, pp. 208–231 (= Theological Studies, 16 [1955], 335–372); H-S, I, 153–58; F. J. A. Hort, Judaistic Christianity (1898); L. E. Keck, ZNW, 57 (1966), 54–78; H. J. Schoeps, Theologie and Geschichte des Judenchristentums (1949); JTS, 4 (1953), 223ff; J. L. Teicher, JJS, 2 (1951), 67–99.
 
W. W. WESSEL
 
 
W. W. Wessel, “Ebionites; Ebionism,” ed. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Revised (Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1979–1988), 9–10.
 
NIDB:

EBIONITES  ee´bee-uh-nit [∆Ebiwnai√oi Ebioœnaioi, ∆Ebiwnai√tai Ebioœnaitai]. The Ebionites, whose name comes from the Hebrew }evyonim (aRbVyøwnˆyM “the poor”), may have acquired this designation for their desire to live as those “poor in spirit” (Matt 5:3). The church fathers, who regarded them as heretics, state that they remained faithful to some aspects of the Jewish law. According to Irenaeus (Haer. 1.26.2; 3.21.1; 4.33.4; 5.1.3), they used only the Gospel of Matthew but denied the virgin birth, regarded Paul as an apostate, practiced circumcision, and prayed toward Jerusalem. Epiphanius (Pan. 30.13–14, 16, 22) records fragments of the Gospel of the Ebionites, which detail a rejection of sacrifice and the practice of vegetarianism. See EBIONITES, GOSPEL OF THE; JEWISH CHRISTIANITY.

 

DAVID M. REIS

 

NIDB, s.v. “EBIONITES  ,” n.p.


Edited by Dan Francis, 06 June 2014 - 04:55 PM.

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#8 davidmedina

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 11:29 AM

Got mine. Thanks for adding it. Love both ISBE.


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#9 Serpentium

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Posted 08 June 2014 - 03:36 PM

Hi, Julie!
 
The revised ISBE has been my "go to" Bible dictionary for many years. I am cheered that we finally have it available in Accordance.
 
It is not as academically "stuffy" as Anchor-Yale, nor as picturesque and overtly evangelical as ZEB. I consider its articles to be accurate, conservatively Christian, and evenly trustworthy. The older ISBE was know for being more of a "theological" Bible dictionary, as many of its articles focused on the item's relationship to Christian theology. An article on "cattle, cow, calf," for instance, would focus on idolatry or metaphors about spiritual growth; the revised ISBE's articles focus on the actual animals, their use in the life of Israel, and their appearance in Scripture. In other words, the revised ISBE has more of an "anthropological" orientation vs. a "theological" one. I find both ISBEs useful, but for totally different kinds of research.
 
Hope this helps!


So we may consider to get both new ISBE and the old ISBE, in your view? I got the new ISBE and so far I am very happy about it.

#10 Timothy Jenney

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 07:20 AM

Yes, I think the older ISBE is still worth purchasing, especially for those preaching, teaching, or leading Bible studies. It's "theological" orientation makes it a valuable source for those looking to connect their studies to Christian theology or spirituality.

 

I should mention that this source isn't a good starting point though. Start with the research into the real world animal, person, item, plant, fruit, etc. (new ISBE) Learn as much about it as you can, for only then will its use as a theological metaphor (old ISBE) really make sense.


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