“We may the more readily credit this friendship between Peter and his late co-religionists as we find in Theodoret the following assertion: “The Nazarenes are Jews, honoring the ANOINTED, (Jesus), as a just man and using the Evangel according to Peter.” Peter was a Nazarene, according to the Talmud. He belonged to the sect of the later Nazarenes, which dissented from the followers of John the Baptist, and became a rival sect, and which – as tradition goes – was instituted by Jesus himself.
History finds the first Christian sects to have been either Nazarenes like John the Baptist; or Ebionites, among whom were many of the relatives of Jesus; or Essenes, (Iessaens), the Therapeutae, healers, of which the Nazaria were a branch. All these sects, which only in the days of Irenaeus began to be considered heretical, were more or less kabalistic. They believed in the expulsion of demons by magical incantations, and practiced this method; Jervis terms the Nabatheans and other such sects “wandering Jewish exorcists”, the Arabic word Nabae, meaning to wander, and the Hebrew naba, to prophesy.
The Talmud indiscriminately calls all the Christian Nozari. All the Gnostic sects equally believed in magic. Irenaeus, in describing the followers of Basilides, says, “They use images, invocations, incantations, and all other things pertaining unto magic”. Dunlap, on the authority of Lightfoot, shows that Jesus was called Nazaraios, in reference to his humble and mean external condition; “for Nazaraios means separation, alienation from other men.”
The real meaning of the word nazar signifies to vow or consecrate one’s self to the service of God. As a noun it is a diadem or emblem of such consecration, a head so consecrated. Joseph was styled a nazar. The head of Joseph, the vertex of the nazar among his brethren.” Samson and Samuel, (Semes-on and Sem-va-el), are described alike as nazars. Porphyry, treating of Pythagoras, says that he was purified and initiated at Babylon by Zar-adas, the head of the sacred college. May it not be surmised, therefore, that the Zoro-Aster was the nazar of Ishtar, Zar-adas or Na-Zar-Ad, being the same with change of idiom? Ezra was a priest and scribe, a hierophant; and the first Hebrew colonizer of Judea was Zeru-Babel or to Zoro or nazar of Babylon.
The Jewish scripture indicate two distinct worships and religions among the Israelites; that of Bacchus-worship under the mask of Jehovah, and that of the Chaldean initiates to whom belonged some of the nazars, the theurgists, and a few of the prophets. The headquarters of these were always at Babylon and Chaldea, where two rival schools of Magians can be distinctly shown. Those who would doubt the statement will have in such a case to account for the discrepancy between history and Plato, who of all men of his day was certainly one of the best informed. Speaking of the Magians, he shows them as instructing the Persian kings of Zoroaster, as the son or priest of Oromasdes; and yet Darius, in the inscription at Bihistun, boasts of having restored the cultus of Ormazd and put down the Magian rites!
Evidently there were two distinct and antagonistic Magian schools. The oldest and the most esoteric of the two being that which, satisfied with its unassailable knowledge and secret power, was content to apparently relinquish her exoteric popularity, and concede her supremacy into the hands of the reforming Darius. The later Gnostics showed the same prudent policy by accommodating themselves in every country to the prevailing religious forms, still secretly adhering to their own essential doctrines.”
H. P. Blavatsky