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The Ebionites (from Hebrew אביונים, Ebionim, "the poor ones") were a post-Essene sect of Judean followers of Jesus which existed east of the Jordan River during the early centuries of the Common Era.

Virtually no writings of the Ebionites have survived, except as excerpted in the writings of orthodox Christian theologians, such as Irenaeus, Hippolytus, and Tertullian, who considered the Ebionites to be "heretics."

All these sources agree that the Ebionites denied the divinity of Jesus, the doctrine of the Trinity and the Virgin Birth.

They emphasized the humanity of Jesus as the human son of Mary and Joseph, who was 'adopted' as a son of God (or rather elevated to the status of prophet) when he was anointed with the Holy Spirit at his baptism, and therefore could have become the messianic king-priest of Israel (by virtue of also being both a descendant of king David through his father and a descendant of high priest Zadok through his mother) but was chosen to be the last and greatest of the prophets.

It seems that the Ebionites may have also rejected the doctrine of Atonement through the death of Jesus, and believed in his spiritual rather than physical resurrection.

The Ebionites revered James the Just as the legitimate apostolic successor of Jesus rather than Peter, considered Paul to be an apostate, and of the books of the New Testament only accepted an Aramaic version (written in Hebrew letters) of the Gospel of Matthew to be Scripture. The Ebionite version of Matthew must have differed from the canonical version, for Symmachus the Ebionite wrote a commentary in the late 2nd century attacking the version of the Gospel that was circulating among Pauline Christians. Ebionites believed that all followers of Jesus, whether they be Judean or Gentile, must adhere to Noahide Laws and Mosaic law albeit a more liberal interpretation and practice of the latter.

The sect did not exert any great influence on Pauline Christianity, and gradually dwindled into obscurity.

Some latter Ebionites adopted Gnostic beliefs but are better identified as Elchasites and were seen as heretics by traditional Ebionites.

In 1995, Shemayah Phillips started a modern Ebionite revival by forming the online Ebionite Jewish Community whose goals are the promotion of Karaite Judaism to Gentiles, the restoration of Jesus as a Jewish prophet through the deconstruction of the "Christ myth," and disproving that Christianity is a biblically-related religion.

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