isis unveiled, vol 2: chapter iv (gnostic ophites)

“Discussing Basilides, the “pious, god-like, theosophic philosopher”, as Clemens of Alexandria thought him, Tertullian exclaims: “After this, Basilides, the heretic, broke loose. He asserted that there is a Supreme God, by name Abraxas, by whom Mind was created, whom the Greeks call Nous. From her emanated the Word; from the Word, Providence; from Providence, Virtue, and Wisdom; from these two again, Virtues, Principalities, and Powers were made; thence infinite productions and emissions of angels. Among the lowest angels, indeed, and those that made this world, he sets last of all the god of the Jews, whom he denies to be God himself, affirming that he is but one of the angels.”

It would be equally useless to refer to the direct apostles of Christ and show them as holding in their controversies that Jesus never made any difference between his “Father” and the “Lord-God” of Moses. For the Clementine Homilies, in which occur the greatest argumentations upon the subject, as shown in the disputations alleged to have taken place between Peter and Simon the Magician, are now also proved to have been falsely attributed to Clement the Roman. This work, if written by an Ebionite – as the author of Supernatural Religion declares in common with some other commentators – must have been written either far later than the Pauline period, generally assigned to it, or the dispute about the identity of Jehovah with God, the “Father of Jesus”, have been distorted by later interpolations.

This disputation is in its very essence antagonistic to the early doctrines of the Ebionites. The latter, as demonstrated by Epiphanius and Theodoret, were the direct followers of the Nazarene sect, (the Sabians), the “Disciples of John.” He says, unequivocally, that the Ebionites believed in the Aeons, (emanations), that the Nazarenes were their instructors, and that “each imparted to the other out of his own wickedness.” Therefore, holding the same beliefs as the Nazarenes did, an Ebionite would not have given even so much chance to the doctrine supported by Peter in the Homilies.

The old Nazarenes, as well as the later ones, whose views are embodied in the Codex Nazaraeus, never called Jehovah otherwise than Adonai, Iurbo, the God of the Abortive, (the orthodox Jews). They kept their beliefs and religious tenets so secret that even Epiphanius, writing as early as the end of the fourth century, confesses his ignorance as to their real doctrine. “Dropping the name of Jesus”, says the Bishop of Salamis, “they neither call themselves Iessaeans, nor continue to hold the name of the Jews, nor name themselves Christians, but Nazarenes…The resurrection of the dead is confessed by them…but concerning Christ, I cannot say whether they think him a mere man, or as the truth is, confess that he was born through the Holy Pneuma from the Virgin.””

H. P. Blavatsky

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