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ELKESAITES. The origin of the Elkesaites goes back to the Jewish inhabitants of the border region during the Roman-Parthian War at the end of Trajan’s reign ca. 116. At that time a book was written among these Jews which contained revelations and demanded conversion in view of an imminent judgment. According to the book, the revelations were made by two important angels. Although a man called Elxai is generally mentioned in connection with the book, it is normally held that in this word we can make out the Hebrew words ksh ?yl Book of Hidden power. The revelations were not fulfilled, Virginia Beach Metro Map but the book enjoyed such immense credit that its contents were not only interpreted, but even adapted to new circumstances. Virginia Beach Metro Map We know that a certain Alcibiades of Apamea came to Rome in the time of Bishop Callistus preaching a second baptism, referring to the Elkesaite book of revelation Elenchos IX, 13, 1-17, 2. Origen wrote that the Elkesaites appeared at Caesarea announcing that pardon was possible even for those who had denied the faith Euseb., HE VI, 38.

Epiphanius describes a sect called Sampseni, who according to him derived from the Osseni, who had been influenced by Elxai Pan., chs. 19 and 53. The Fihrist, a work written in Arabic at the end of the 10th c., reveals that a sect of Mughtasilah, founded by Elxai, counted Mani’s brother among its members and that Mani himself had been their head al-Nadim, Kitab al-Fihrist 9, 1, ed. Dodge, vol. II, 773-774 and 811. This is supported by a Manichean document on Mani’s youth, Virginia Beach Metro Map commonly called the Cologne Mani Codex. The problem connected with the study of the Elkesaites is to determine, on the one hand, to what extent their original ideas influenced already-existing religious groups, and on the other, to what extent Elkesaite ideas were influenced by these groups. We know from Hippolytus that Alcibiades propagated a conception of Jewish life and accepted a Christology in which Christ appeared in all eras; in this regard Hippolytus also speaks of practices of exorcism and astrology. The Jewish Christian element is much less important in Epiphanius’s descriptions. He emphasizes the supposed influence of the Elkesaites on the Ebionites, but it is plausible that the influence went the other way.

Finally, we note that in the description of the Fihrist and the Cologne Mani Codex nothing is said about Jewish Christian ideas. With the Elkesaites, then, it would seem that we are not dealing with a particular group, but with the influence of a mysterious book of revelations that held sway over a number of preexisting religious ideas, probably starting with some Jewish Christian groups E of the Jordan. EC 5, 194; W. Brandt, Elchasai, Leipzig 1912; A.F.J. Virginia Beach Metro Map Klijn – G.J. Reinink, Patristic Evidence for Jewish-Christian Sects: Supplements to Novum Testamentum 36, Leiden 1973, 54-67; Id., Elchasai and Mani: VChr 28 1974 277-289; L. Cyril, Elchasai e gli elchasaiti, Cosenza 1984; G. L¼demann, Opposition to Paul in Jewish Christianity, Minneapolis 1989; S.C. Mimouni, Le judo-christianisme, Paris 1998; S. Lgasse, L’antipaulinisme sectaire au temps des P¨res de l’‰glise, Paris 2000.

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