Jesus Was a Vegetarian

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Jesus Was a Vegetarian

By Jacob A. Shaw

History in itself is a word that has many layers to it. It is thought to be something that is set in stone and known, however when it comes down to it, what we know and can be said to be set in stone is very little. When discussing historical events that pertain to religious matters, it becomes even more difficult to say what history is, because it can change the perception of a litany of moral, ethical, spiritual, and traditional beliefs or practises. This paper will do just that. In this paper it will be argued that the historical Jesus was a vegetarian. To begin this process two passage are given from the Bible:

Welcome those who are weak in faith, but not for the purpose of quarrelling over opinions. Some believe in eating anything, while the weak eat only vegetables. Those who eat must not despise those who abstain, and those who abstain must not pass judgment on those who eat; for God has welcomed them. (Romans 14:1-3 NRSV)(1) to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that 'no idol in the world really exists,' and that 'there is no God but one,' Indeed, even though there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth -- as in fact there are many gods and many lords -- yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and the one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist. It is not everyone, however, who has this knowledge. Since some have become so accustomed to idols until now, they still think of the food they eat as food offered to an idol; and their conscience, being weak, is defiled. Food will not bring us close to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do. But take care that this liberty does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak. For if others see you, who possess knowledge, eating in the temple of an idol, might they not, since their conscience is weak, be encouraged to the point of eating food sacrificed to idols? So, by your knowledge those weak believers for whom Christ died are destroyed. But when you thus sin against members of your family, and wound their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ. Therefore, if food is the cause of their falling, I will never eat meat, so that I may not cause one of them to fall." (1st Corinthians 8:1-13)

Who is Paul speaking to or about in the above passages? What vegetarian Christians were there at this very early time in the history of the Church? One may suggest that these Christians were a break a-way group. However, if they were, surely Paul would have said so but he does not. In fact, he is careful to have his own followers not offend these vegetarians. Despite his cautiousness with the vegetarians, Paul speaks as though his way is superior; if this be the case, then why is it that Paul states at the end of 1st Corinthians 8 that he will "never" eat meat again? Why is it that Paul, if he thinks he is right, does not inform these vegetarians that they are wrong? What could explain this odd behaviour? Could it be that Paul is really just making an excuse, in front of his own followers, to hide the fact that he does not have the authority to tell these other vegetarian Christians that they are wrong? Is it possible that these vegetarian Christians are from or related to those who follow the ways of James and the others back in the Jerusalem church? Since the New Testament does not describe any groups of Christians other than those headed by James and Paul, we must assume they are from James; for if they were independent loose cannons then surely Paul would assert his claim as an apostle to set them straight. His lack of interest in setting them straight and his going out of his way to not offend them suggests that they were indeed from James tradition. So, are these Christian vegetarians really from James? And if so, why were these followers of James, vegetarian? Further, and much more important to our quest for the vegetarian Jesus, why does not Paul say, ‘Hey! Jesus ate meat and so can we!’? Paul does not say that. Is it possible that Jesus was a vegetarian? In fact, the Rev. Dr. Andrew Linzey brings up this very same question. Referring to Paul, Linzey writes: “he nowhere explicitly states what one would have expected him to say, namely that since our Lord ate meat; there should be no problem about his followers doing so.”(2) Linzey adds:

But if Jesus ate meat, possibly meat offered to idols, even (according to one scholar) sacrificing animals himself, why should there be any Christian vegetarians at all, let alone some to whom Paul is prepared to make concession of Conscience?(3)

To answer the above questions we need to know when Paul lived and when Paul's Epistle to the Romans was written and the same for that of 1st Corinthians. According to Stephen L. Harris, Paul lived from 5 to 67 C.E.(4) Paul's letter to the Romans, according to James D. G. Dunn, based on the general consensus of the listed scholars in his introduction to his book Romans 1-8 38A Word Biblical Commentary, is anywhere between late 55 to 58 C.E. with noted exception by Luedemann who places the date of Romans at 52 or 54/5 C.E.(5) His first epistle to those in Corinth was likely written between 53 - 57 C.E.(6) Andrew Linzey puts it around 60 C.E.(7)

With these dates in mind we can scan the time period for Christians who may have been vegetarian. The big question will be, as indicated above, are these vegetarian Christians some sort of break-a-way, Gnostic, vegetarian, heretics or are they in fact the original and true followers of Christ?

(The term Gnostic is used different ways, in this case I am referring to those who believe in a dualistic, spirit vs. matter type Gnostics; those who believe that there is a higher, good God who is the source of the spirit and a lower Demiurge who is the creator of matter, which is generally seen as evil. Of course, Marcion did not believe that the divine spark existed within men, which is a bit different from other Gnostics. Rather, he saw the higher, good God, as totally separate from creation and only sent salvation to humanity out of His sense of mercy. For the sake of simplicity I will group Marcion together with other Gnostics.)(8)


Let us look at some of the various Gnostic groups that practiced vegetarianism.

Mani, founder of the Manicheans was born April 14, 216, making him and his followers way too late to be those to whom Paul was referring.(9) While the Marcionists were vegetarian, they followed Marcion who was not around at the time of Paul and Maricon did not write his New Testament until likely in or around 140, when according to tradition, his father, a bishop, excommunicated him for seducing a virgin, or in 144 AD when he himself broke from the church community in Rome.(10)(11)

Based on dates alone, neither the Marcionites nor the Manicheans could have been the people to whom Paul was referring. Are there any other Christians, at the time of Paul, who were vegetarian? The answer is, yes! Jerome tells us, in his De Viris Illustribus, wherein he quotes Hegesippus, that indeed, James was a vegetarian: After the apostles, James the brother of Jesus, given the surname ‘the Just’, was made head of the Church at Jerusalem. Many indeed are called James. This one was holy from his mother's womb. He did not drink wine, or strong alcohols, he ate no flesh, and he never shaved or anointed himself with ointment, or bathed. He alone had the privilege of entering the Holy of Holies, since indeed he did not use woollen vestments but linen and went alone into the temple, praying on the behalf of people, in so much that his knees were said to have the hardness of camels' knees.(12)(13)

In the writings of Jerome, we find a clue, a clue that suggests that perhaps the Christians Paul is at odds with, in our two initial quotes, are in fact followers of James. Is there more proof? Yes.

Returning for a moment to Marcion, we find some scholarly insight leading us to realize that the early church, in general, leaned towards vegetarianism. The question of course, would be why. Before attempting to answer this question, let us look at the following quote:

But in a recent article Alistair Steward-Sykes reminds us that our sources for this information come from a time about two centuries after the time of Marcion and his original followers. He claims that in the second century Marcionite liturgical and eating habits would not have varied significantly from those of other Christian groups. In the fourth century, however, such practices were regarded as heretical. Steward-Sykes writes: 'In a second century context there was no difference between Marcionite and catholic sacred meals; both avoided meat, both employed bread and water, both employed wine, both knew the use of a variety of foods... However, by the time of Epiphanius the boundary around the Eucharist had shifted from participation to presence and the use of water in sacred meals had become a mark of a heretic, for bread and wine were now the unique media of sacred eating and the use of water something to be observed as unusual... At the same time the old Christian avoidance of meat had, by the fourth century, become a mark of a heretic, and principled vegetarianism thus forbidden to the clergy. By this time, therefore, the Marcionites stood condemned on grounds of heteropraxy when, liturgically at least, they were guilty of no more than anachronism.(14)

It should be noted in the above quote that water and wine, in the Eucharist, at this later date 310/20 to 403 C.E., when Epiphanius was writing, had become heretical. Irenaeus, on the other hand, born between 115 and 142 C.E. and dying sometime after 191C.E. is the first person to speak of the Ebionites as a heretical group, which would later be identified as vegetarian(15) and points out that they used only water and bread and not wine at their Eucharist. This, he says they do because they reject the idea of the divine and human natures existing in Christ in perfect union, the water representing human nature and the wine representing the divine nature.(16) What Irenaeus fails to report is any vegetarianism practiced by the Ebionites. Interestingly, later, when Epiphanius writes about the Ebionites he does mention the fact that they are vegetarians. The question is then, did Irenaeus not mention the vegetarianism because it was not something seen as done only by heretics but done by all Christians at the time? For example, around the same time as Irenaeus, another famous early church father was writing; his name is Tertullian. It would appear that some Christians were beginning to eat meat and claimed that Christ and his apostles ate meat. We know this because Tertullian wrote against this idea in his On Feasting or Abstinence Against the Carnal-Minded. He holds Daniel in high regard, for his choice in vegetable foods and water. We can see that Tertullian did not mince words when it came to his description of his fellow Christians who ate meat:

Your belly is your god, your liver is your temple, your paunch is your altar, the cook is your priest, and the fat steam is your Holy Spirit; the seasonings and the sauces are your chrisms and your eructations are your prophesyings.(17)

Of course, there were other Gnostic type groups that practiced vegetarianism at this time and they would pop up again throughout the history of the church;(18) the Orthodox Church for the most part became anti-vegetarian, as McGowan pointed out.(19)

David Crumett and Rachel Muers agree, in part, with the early Christians practicing vegetarianism. In their informative book, Theology on the Menu: Asceticism, Meat and the Christian, they state: “In late ancient society and through much of the medieval era, Christians promoted practices similar to those of modern vegetarians.”(20) The only part of their statement that might not be quite so accurate is the later half since, as we have seen, vegetarianism was beginning to fade by the dawning of the middle ages and our strongest evidence for Christian vegetarianism really comes from the late ancient period during the first couple centuries of the Christian era.

Colin Spence, in his book, The Heretics Feast, states, regarding Tertullian's complaint, the following:

It is surprising that Tertullian had to exhort his fellow Christians in this manner, for it was commonly believed by the church fathers after the first century AD that Christ and the Apostles, in common with the Essenes, abstained from meat-eating. St. Peter described his diet to Clement of Rome: 'I live upon bread and olives only with the additions, rarely, of kitchen herbs.' Clement of Alexandria tells us that 'Matthew, the apostle, lived upon seeds and hard shelled fruits and other vegetables without touching flesh.' Others -- Hegesippus and St. Augustine -- state that St. James 'never ate any animals food, living on seeds and vegetables, never tasting flesh or wine'.(21)

Keep in mind that Clement of Alexandria lived roughly from 150 to 215 C.E., thus, once again, before the time of Epiphanius and thus supporting what Alistair Steward-Sykes tells us above, that vegetarianism was part of the early Christian Church and that by the time of Epiphanius, vegetarianism was outlawed for the clergy and meat eating was in.(22)

It would appear that the further we go back in time and the closer we get to the time of Christ, the more vegetarianism is seen as the norm. We have already seen that James was said to be a vegetarian. Regarding James as being a vegetarian, Andrew McGowan, Lecturer in New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of Notre Dame Australia, and Canon of St. George's Cathedral, Perth, states:

It seems obvious that this portrait has been assembled with some reference to the Nazirite tradition and particularly to the biblical portraits of Samson (Judg. 13), Samuel (1Sam. 1), and John the Baptist (Luke 1). Yet James's abstinence from meat is not part of the ancient Nazirite tradition, at least. While it may be understood as a development of the prohibition of unclean foods, the specific extension of the concept to include anything 'animal' or 'ensouled' must, especially given the terminology, owe much to a sense of ascetic resistance to animal and sacrificial food developed originally in pagan thought.(23)

In other words, McGowan seems to be linking this vegetarianism to some pagan philosophical infiltration. He also points out that James is said not to be anointed like a priest and yet he is allowed to or is said to be the only person qualified to enter the Holy of Holies. McGowan continues and says:

Even leaving meat-eating and sacrifice aside, James is therefore presented as a somewhat anti-cultic and anti-sacrificial figure. The addition of the avoidance of meat makes this anti-sacrificial picture all the stronger; it is not simply one of James's piety in the sense of self-denial or frugality, but depicts his separation from a system which is deemed corrupt or redundant. It is hardly an emphasis on his Jewishness as such, since meat-eating in the time of the Temple's existence was not only allowable, but necessary for the observance of Passover and other sacrifices. Rather, it is a picture of a very specific type of Jewish asceticism, and one with strong pagan analogues.(24)

Is McGowan correct? Is there some sort of pagan influence here? Perhaps, it might be possible that James vegetarian eating habits are from some pagan ascetic influence but there is a possible alternative reason for James's vegetarianism. This alternative reason will be addressed in detail later, however for now let us just say: James may not have gotten his vegetarianism from the pagans, rather, James may very well have been an Enochic Jew. In fact, the evidence presented below will indicate that, Christ was the fulfillment of the prophecies in 1 Enoch and that James, Jude, John, John the Baptist, Peter and all the rest of Jesus original following were all Enochic Jews. This could very easily explain why James was a vegetarian for the following reasons:

1 Enoch states the Fallen Angels, the Demons began to eat the flesh of animals (1 En. 7:14)(25) showing flesh eating as something demonic and not in keeping with the original vegetarian commands that God had given humans in the book of Genesis both before and after the fall of Adam and Eve (Gen. 1:29 & 3:18). This idea that James was an Enochian Jew would also explain why he could be a vegetarian and not be concerned with seeing himself as opposing any Mosaic Law, since there is some indication that the Enochic Jews did not necessarily hold to the Mosaic Law. James C. Vandercam makes this startling observation:

Another remarkable feature of 1 Enoch is that the law revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai plays almost no part in it. This is surprising when one considers how important judgment is in 1 Enoch and how often the writers speak of being righteous and doing what is upright, but instead of citing Mosaic Law, the Book of Enoch presents an alternative revelation.(26)

Vandercam goes on to say, this makes sense for traditions states that Enoch lived before the Flood and therefore long before the law was revealed to Moses on Mt. Sinai. However, this does not explain the absence of references to Mosaic Law. Remember, 1 Enoch includes two apocalypses (the Apocalypse of Weeks and the Animal Apocalypse) that recount the entire history of Israel, beginning with the Creation. Both apocalypses cover the wilderness period in which Moses should receive the Law but they gloss over the event. The Apocalypse of Weeks reaches the moment when the law should be given in its fourth week: “And after this in the fourth week, at its end, visions of the holy and righteous will be seen, and a law for all generations and an enclosure will be made for them.” (1 Enoch 93:6)(27)  Indeed, the law is mentioned here but it is not given to Moses. He is not even mentioned here. Further, nothing is added to suggest the law’s importance, character or contents. Finally, Vandercam states: “The Book of Enoch offers an alternative to the forms of Judaism that center upon the covenantal law God gave to Moses.” (28) This may be our clue that James was a vegetarian because he was an Enochic Jew and did not see the laws of Moses, or at least did not see all the laws of Moses, as being binding.

We will come back to the Book of Enoch later, for now, let us just rest in the fact that James was a vegetarian, that this claim comes from one of the early church fathers and not from the Ebionites, and that this claim fits well with what McGowan said regarding the whole of the Christian Church prior to Epiphanius as being more vegetarian friendly. This leads to a very possible conclusion that Paul was indeed referring to followers of James, claiming they were weak, yet telling his own followers not to offend them simply so that Paul would not lose face. Yes, Paul may very well have been at odds with the vegetarian Christians in Jerusalem as further information will show as the investigation of the origins of the vegetarian Christians in the two New Testament passages seen above.

Original Church of Jesus and James

Every generation goes on a quest for the historical Jesus and the original church. We have just seen this with the early church fathers, only a hundred years after the death of Christ. And with this we have, those who would come down to us as the fore-runner of orthodox Christians, scrambling to show their understanding of the true original teachings of Christ and Paul over and against the claims of Marcion, then later fighting with Mani and through this time period a host of other Gnostic type groups. Yet, the question is, do these fore-runners of today’s so-called normative or orthodox Christians such as the Coptic, Catholic and Orthodox Churches, really have the true teachings of Christ? There is another group to consider; a group that may really be the heirs of Christ and James, the early Jewish-Christians, the Nazarenes and the Ebionites. What do they have to say regarding the original and true teaching of Christ and does it relate to our quest for the identity of the Christian vegetarians in the two passages in question? Are these Ebionites really a deviation from the true Jerusalem church or are the secrets, thought to be lost for two thousand years, to be found in their teachings?

Yes, the quest for the presentation and eventually the quest to find the historical Jesus began and continued from the time of the early church fathers up to and through the middle ages. More groups arose at this time practicing what they thought were the true and original teachings of Christ. Then, at the end of the middle ages, the biggest move to find or at least to express what they thought was the original church of Christ was started with the Reformation. In our own modern world, we see that Albert Schweitzer and others were also on a quest for the historical Jesus, though unfortunately Schweitzer gave up and stated that the search was not as important as living well.(29) Since Schweitzer’s time, with the discovery of many lost documents such as the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Nag Hammadi Scrolls, the quest has indeed become not only important but revitalized. Besides the lost documents, many popular books have sparked a grassroots quest for the historical Jesus. This grassroots quest may have had its beginnings in the early 1980s, with the book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail. This book sparked a flame in the hearts of many laypersons to begin their own quest for the historical Jesus, which can be seen by the enormous popularity of the popular book and movie by Dan Brown and Ron Howard; the "Da Vinci Code." In the book, Holy Blood, Holy Grail, there is mention of the Ebionites. Since then, there has been a strong move, even amongst the common folk to find out more about the historical Jesus and the Ebionites. (30) Indeed, the product description from a distributor’s webpage of this book states: Here is the book that has sparked worldwide controversy.” (31)

Finding out what the original church taught can help us understand better what Jesus was all about and as such, perhaps we can deepen our understanding of his teachings and our own understanding of the morals and ethics he taught. More specifically, for our purposes here, we can find out if Jesus was a vegetarian and thus, the likelihood of James being a vegetarian and also the members of the Jerusalem church: Hence, answering the question of whom was Paul speaking in the initial passages presented at the beginning of our investigation. In other words, it is becoming clear to who Paul was referring when he said, “weak”.

Often when individuals say they are interested in the early church and how the early church worked out its teachings, they are thinking of the church beginning in 325 C.E. at the first Council of Nicea followed by the first Council of Constantinople in 381 C.E., then the Council of Ephesis in 431 C.E., the 2nd Council of Ephesis in 449 C.E., the Council of Chalcedon of 451 C.E., the 2nd Council of Constantinople in 553 C.E., the 3rd Council of Constantinople in 680/1 C.E. and the 2nd Council of Nicea in 787 C.E. Based on the evidence thus far this is not, however, the real history of the early church that Jesus founded. Rather, these councils were the early gentile church, founded more on the teachings of St. Paul and not on those of St. Peter or James the Just, the brother of Jesus who was the first true leader of the church once Christ had left Earth.(32) The evidence above and what we shall see below will point to a different church than that discussed in the listed councils.(33) The evidence will show that the true early church is found before 135 A.D. and then lost in the East sometime after that(34) due to the combined efforts of the Jews and the Gentile Christians. The name of that true church will reveal itself to be the Ebionites, that very same group that was named in the Holy Blood, Holy Grail and that very same church that was seen as heretical by Ireneaus and Epiphanius.

How can we determine if the Ebionites were the first and true church founded by Jesus? To start with, the true and original followers of Christ were not called Christians, but rather, they were called Ebionites; Jesus says blessed are the Ebionim (the poor) he did not say the Christians were blessed. The term Christian was given to those who were followers of Christ under the leadership of Saint Paul. The New Testament tells us that in Antioch, the followers of Jesus through Paul were called Christians (Acts 11:26) in 43 A.D. These Christians, Paul and his followers were at first at odds with Jesus’ followers, now under the leadership of the vegetarian head, James the Just. Later in Acts 26:28, we find the term Christian used again, this time in a conversation between Herod Agrippa ll and Paul. In contrast to these Christians of Paul we find that the original followers of Jesus were called Ebionites and these Ebionites were vegetarian; proof of which is to follow.

At the time of Jesus and James, the Jerusalem church used different names as spiritual designations for themselves; they were seen as the Ebionites as well as the Nazarenes.(35) It wasn’t until later, sometime after James’ death, that the Jerusalem church broke up into various factions. At this point they either received names by their opponents or took for themselves specific names.(36)

As stated above, these first followers of Jesus were not called Christians rather, they were called Ebionites. In fact, that is exactly what Jesus called his followers: Jesus said that it would be “the Poor” or in Hebrew, “the Ebionim” usually anglicized as “the Ebionites”, who would enter the kingdom of Heaven, (Matthew 5:3). Some like to think that Jesus was simply referring to the common poor folks we see all around us in life however, this cannot be the truth for Jesus tells us quite plainly that many people would not inherit the kingdom of heaven by virtue of their sinful life and we all know that there are sinners to be found in all financial classes, both rich and poor and those in-between. It is true that Jesus did state that it was hard for the rich to enter the kingdom however; he did not say that the only qualification for getting into heaven was to be poor. Rather, we are to do the will of the Father, which is in heaven, (Matthew 5:17-20). Since this is clear we must look deeper into why Jesus said the Poor or the Ebionim were the ones who would enter the kingdom. Is it because “the Poor” were in fact, the members of the church Jesus founded?

We find more evidence that the original followers of Jesus were called ‘the Ebionim’ or ‘the Poor’ in Galatians 2:10 and in Romans 15:26. There are a few scholars who agree with this idea; however, there are a few who do not. Two such scholars, who do not believe this term means the Jerusalem church, are Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik. They state, in the book, The Early Centuries – Jewish Believers in Jesus, the following: “that upon closer inspection, these passages refer only to the needy in the Jerusalem community and not to the name of the community in general.”(37) Is this true? Does this statement hold up to a careful look at the passages in question? The evidence seems to disagree with Oskar Skarsaune and Reidar Hvalvik, for, if we look closely at these passages, we find no such thing. The word for word rendering of the Galatians passage reads as follows:

….and knowing the grace given to me, James and Cephas and John, those seeming pillars to be right gave to me and to Barnabas of fellowship, that we to the nations, they but to the circumcision; only the POOR that we might remember, which indeed I was eager this same thing to do.(38) (The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English).

If we look at this passage closely, we see that James, Cephas and John are to go out to the circumcised or Jews and that Paul and Barnabas are to go out to the Gentiles. The "poor" are the converted or believing Jews already in existence in Jerusalem. There is nothing in this passage to indicate that Paul is to make financial contributions to the financially destitute of the Jerusalem church but rather, he is to send money to the Jerusalem church as a whole, which are called the Ebionim. If it were the case that Paul was to assist the financially destitute in Jerusalem rather than the Ebionites as a whole that would have indicated that some of the Jerusalem church members were financially well off. Why then would Paul be asked to help out the destitute in Jerusalem? Why would the well off in Jerusalem not do that? Besides, surely Paul, being the apostle to the Gentiles, would have his hands full with the financially destitute in his own group. Therefore, the evidence does not support the idea put forth by Skarsaune and Hvalvik. Rather, it would appear that Paul was being asked to help the command centre, to help it promote the teachings of our Lord. Paul is to make a payment to the Ebionites, which are the members that make up the whole Jerusalem Church of Believers, to help support the cause just as people do today when they support a cause by putting money on the collection plate.

Let us look at the other passage, from Romans 15:26 that Skarsaune and Hvalvik say is not a reference to the Ebionites as a title, but rather, to the needy. The literal translation states:

…in part I may be filled. And, now I am going to Jerusalem ministering to the saints. For thought it good to make certain gifts to the POOR of the Saints in Jerusalem. For if in the spiritual things they shared with the nations, the nations ought to share with them the fleshly things.(39) (Interlinear Bible Hebrew, Greek, and English)

Basically, we have this: All believers in Christ are called Saints. It just so happens, that like others before them, the believers in Jerusalem call themselves the Ebionites. Thus, Paul is to help the cause of the Ebionites to help promote their teachings. This is not a case of the Gentiles taking up money for just some of the Jewish Christians, who happen to be financially in ruin, but for all of them. In other words, the saints in Jerusalem are called the Poor or the Ebionites. Indeed, Skarsaune and Hvalvik admit that Jewish groups did use the term the POOR as a name for themselves,(40) and the evidence suggests there is no reason to deny that such is the situation here.

We will refer back to the Bible for more evidence as we proceed but for now, let us take a look at what the Early Church Fathers had to say about the Ebionites. What we will find is that the Early Church Fathers mistook the Ebionites as an early Jewish-Christian heretical, break-away group.(41) However, as the evidence is beginning to show, it was the Early Church Fathers; who belonged to the heretical break-away group that now thought they held the truth. Let us examine how the Early Church Fathers described this so-called heretical group of Ebionites and then we will return to the Bible and see how in fact, the Early Church Fathers were the ones who were the heretics and seriously wrong in not recognizing the Ebionites as the true and original followers of Jesus.

Until recently, modern Christian scholars have, for the most part, ignored the early Jewish-Christians, specifically the Ebionites, Elkesaites and the Nazoreans; believing, along with the heresiologists of the Early Church Fathers, that such groups were misguided believers that clung erroneously to the Judaic laws and traditions of their Jewish heritage.(42)(43)

Though scholars claim that all we know, or at best, the most we know, about the Ebionites comes from the writings of the Early Church Fathers, evidence will be shown that the Ebionites were in fact the very same group mentioned in the New Testament as the Saints of Jerusalem. In other words, we will soon see that there can be no doubt but that the Ebionites were truly the first and original followers of Jesus, who were later headed up by James, the brother of Jesus, after Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension.(44)(45)

As mentioned above, the first time the Ebionites are mentioned as a distinct heretical Jewish-Christian group is in the writings of the Early Church Fathers is in a work by Irenaeus entitled, Adversus Haereses.(46) Unfortunately Irenaeus, along with the other church fathers of his time, simply names them as heretics. Well, this might not be as unfortunate as it might first appear. The fact that the Early Church Fathers say little about the Ebionites could very well be due to the fact that they, the Gentile Church and it leaders, were at one time connected to the Ebionites just as we see in the Bible that Paul and his Christians were connected to James and his Ebionites in Jerusalem. In fact, it turns out that it is not until 386 C.E., about 350 years after the death of Jesus, that Epiphanius becomes the first one to describe the actual Ebionite teachings in his work, the Panarion.(47)

Here is a list of Early Church Fathers who spoke about the Ebionites: Irenaeus, Tertullian, Pseudo-Tertullian, Hippolytus, Origen, Eusebius, Epiphanius and Jerome. According to Skarsaune and Hvalvik, the two most important of these are Origen and Eusebius since they, Skarsaune and Hvalvik, believe that Origen and Eusebius have more firsthand experience with the Ebionites.(48) Yet, it is Epiphanius who supplies us with the greatest amount of material in regards to the teachings and beliefs of the Ebionites. Some of this material contradicts itself; yet, this is not really a problem as scholars agree that Epiphanius was likely drawing from at least two written sources and personal contact.(49)

Skarsaune and Hvalvik claim that much of what Epiphanius wrote cannot be accepted as representing the truth of the Ebionites. However, the evidence does not support their opinion. Rather, Skarsaune and Hvalvik appear to be absolutely wrong about this. They have not taken into consideration, the vegetarianism, which is the key that ties Epiphanius’ Ebionites to the Biblical Ebionites and thus, would suggest it also refers to the same group of Ebionites that Irenaeus speaks of. As such, there is just no way to accept Skarsaune and Hvalvik's idea as plausible. Rather, based on the evidence of, F.C. Baur and Hans Joachim Schoeps who were on the right track in their research and it is upon their ideas that any further works should stand, though not particularly their dating of the Ebionite documents.(50)(51)

Thus far we have seen that, according to the early church, James, the Just was a vegetarian and it is likely that Paul was at odds with James’ followers regarding this point. The question is: Why would Paul not teach the same things as James? It is highly unlikely that historical sifting will ever discover the actual mental thought processes and motivations for Paul's thinking in this regard however we can possibly answer why, to some degree, Paul was also anti-vegetarian.

As most people know and as reading of the New Testament will indicate, Paul never met Christ, though Paul claimed to have met the risen Christ in some sort of vision on the road to Damascus. There are two problems with this story. First, there are a number of contradictions in Paul's conversion story. Secondly, it would appear that even in Paul's time people thought he was making up his encounter with the risen Christ, in other words, they thought Paul was lying and they also thought Paul was trying to change the teachings of God and Christ. We will examine the proof for all of this below.

The story of Paul's conversion takes place in the Book of Acts, beginning in chapter nine, wherein we find Paul (currently Saul) and his men traveling to Damascus. We are told in verse three that "suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, 'Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?' (Acts 9:3-4). Shortly after this, we are told that "The men who were traveling with him stood speechless because they heard the voice but saw no one."(v.7). Yet, later in Acts 22:9, when Paul is telling his story, we are told that the men with him did see the light: "Now those who were with me saw the light but did not hear the voice of the one who was speaking to me." This is our first contradiction in this story, first we are told that men did not see anyone at the time, later we are told they saw a light. This by itself does not seem like much however, there is more to this. In the presentation of the actual event, in Acts 9:7, we are told that the men stood speechless while Paul had fallen to the ground earlier in verses three and four. Yet later, as Paul shares his experience or so-called experience, he says, in Acts 26:14 that "we all fell to the ground."

Contrary to what some more fundamentalist and charismatic people would like us to believe, the Bible is full of contradictions (52) and so, the above contradictory details, regarding St. Paul’s conversion, may not really reveal any dishonesty on Paul's part but could simply have been pieces of patchwork from the hands of the editor(s) of the Book of Acts. However, not all contradictions can be explained away with editorial mistakes or patchwork, and yet, if we weigh these with other stories in the New Testament relating to Paul, we find that he may not be believed by the people of his own time. In Galatians 1:20 Paul states: "In what I am writing to you, before God, I do not lie!" Is Paul defending himself here? Have people already begun to question him regarding the truth of his conversion? In 2nd Corinthians we find Paul defending himself again: "The God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, blessed be he forever! knows that I do not lie." There is yet another passage wherein Paul seems to be defending himself against those who think he is lying; this is found in 1Timonthy 2:7 "For this I was appointed a herald and an apostle, I am telling the truth, I am not lying, a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth." One might think that these passages do not have anything to do with Paul defending himself but that rather, he is simply being emphatic regarding the truth he has to share, however, there is more.

When we look closely at the teachings of Jesus and James and compare them to those of Paul, we find that Paul tends to have his own differing opinion. Let us compare five passages; three by James and two by Jesus with one coming from Paul:

[1] (Acts 15:20) JAMES says: "But we write unto them that they abstain from the pollution of idols...."
[2] (Acts 15:29) JAMES says "That ye abstain from meats offered to idols...."
[3] (Acts 21:25) JAMES says: "...that they keep themselves from things offered to idols."
[4] (Rev. 2:14) JESUS says: "But I have a few things against thee, because thou hast there them that hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balac to cast a stumbling block before the children of Israel, to eat things sacrificed unto idols..."
[5] (Rev. 2:20) JESUS says: "Notwithstanding, I have a few things against thee, because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel, which calleth herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols."

The above 5 passages, from James and Jesus, state that believers are not to eat meat that has been offered to idols; let’s see what Paul has to say about this.

So you may eat any meat that is sold in the marketplace without raising questions of conscience. For the earth is the Lord's, and everything in it. If someone who isn't a believer asks you home for dinner, accept the invitation if you want to. Eat whatever is offered to you without raising questions of conscience. But suppose someone tells you, "This meat was offered to an idol." Don't eat it, out of consideration for the conscience of the one who told you. It might not be a matter of conscience for you, but it is for the other person. For why should my freedom be limited by what someone else thinks? If I can thank God for the food and enjoy it, why should I be condemned for eating it? (1st. Cor. 10:25-30)(NLT)(53)

There can be no question; Paul’s teachings are at odds with those of Christ and James. In fact, one could easily say that Paul is actively going against James.

Keep in mind that Christ listed eating the meat offered to the idols as one of the sins in Revelations... not that it was an aside fact to the only sin of tolerating a prophetess. Further, what did James tell Paul? Not to eat meat offered to idols. What does Paul say? Eat the meat offered to idols. James was the head of the church after Christ left. This fact is clear from scripture in that we are told that Paul had to go and see James to get instruction and that James is the head of the church is clear from outside canonized scripture; Eusebius uses at least two sources showing that James was considered the head of the Church after Christ left: Clement of Alexander and Heggesippus. He lists James as the first in the Jerusalem list of Bishops. The Gospel of Thomas also has Jesus saying that his followers are to turn to James after he leaves. So, seeing that James now stands in for Christ, it is odd that Paul would disobey him and disobey Christ. There is simply no way to get around this, Paul was teaching a watered down, if not out-right contradictory version of what Jesus and James taught. In other words, when Paul, who is suppose to be representing Christ, tells his followers that they are allowed to eat meat that has been sacrificed to idols, when in fact James has told him no, Paul is in fact, disobedient.

The evidence is mounting that Paul is at odds with James and his followers who are vegetarian. Epiphanaus tells us that the Ebionites were vegetarian and we know from reading Irenaeus’ Against the Heresies 1:26:2, that they rejected Paul. Perhaps after the death of Paul and James the Ebionites decided to go their separate ways from the Pauline groups and to cut them right out of the picture. Whatever the case, the Ebionites mentioned by both Irenaeus and Epiphanaus are both more in harmony with James and his vegetarian Christians in Jerusalem than Paul is. Paul is at odds with James.

Besides the one independent exorcist in Mark 9:38 who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name, there cannot be found in the New Testament any specified group of Christians other than those of Paul and those of James. Yes, we are told that some bragged about being baptized by certain individuals, but there are only two groups identified as followers of Christ and those who follow James and those who follow Paul. Therefore, the evidence thus far points to a rift between Paul and his group of followers and those under James.

If our evidence to this point indicates a difference of opinion between Paul and James then we should be able to find traces of this within the pages of the New Testament and in fact we do. When we look at 2nd Cor. 11:1-6 & 13 we actually find Paul not only speaking out against James but making claims that he is just as powerful and knowledgeable as James. An example could be the following:

I hope you will put up with a little more of my foolishness. Please bear with me. For I am jealous for you with the jealousy of God himself. I promised you as a pure bride to one husband – Christ. But I fear that somehow your pure and undivided devotion to Christ will be corrupted, just as Eve was deceived by the cunning ways of the serpent. You happily put up with whatever anyone tells you, even if they preach a different Jesus than the one we preach, or a different kind of Spirit than the one you received, or a different kind of Gospel than the one you believed. But I do not consider myself inferior in any way to these 'super apostles' who teach such things. I may be unskilled as a speaker, but I’m not lacking in knowledge….. These people are false apostles. They are deceitful workers who disguise themselves as apostles of Christ. (NLT)(55)

There can be no doubt that Paul is referring to James and the others from the Jerusalem church. He calls them “super apostles” and at no time does Paul say; Just ask James, he is the head of the church and he is Christ’s kin and he will tell you that the people are not part of us! Paul does not call upon James to help because he is arguing against James.

This concern of Paul’s regarding another gospel is repeated in Gal. 1:6-9

I am shocked that you are turning away so soon from God, who called you to himself through the loving mercy of Christ. You are following a different way that pretends to be the Good News but is not the Good News at all. You are being fooled by those who deliberately twist the truth concerning Christ. Let God’s curse fall on anyone, including us or even an angel from heaven, who preaches a different kind of Good News than the one we preached to you. I say again what we have said before: If anyone preaches any other Good News than the one you welcome, let that person be cursed. (NLT)(56)

On many occasions Paul makes very strong statements saying that we are saved by "faith alone" or as Martin Luther said, Sola Fide. While it can be argued that Paul was only attacking the cultic aspect of the Jewish religion, Paul's tone can lead one to think that he is teaching a cheap grace. Whether this was the case is hard to say but we can discern from scripture that the other Jews at the time thought that Paul was teaching a totally different message from that of Christ and James. For example, why is it that the crowds in Jerusalem did not want to kill James and the others but only Paul? If Paul was teaching the same thing as Jesus and James, then why would the crowd only want to kill Paul? (Acts 14:19) Because, the Bible tells us, Paul was teaching something different. This is why they called the meeting in Jerusalem in 49 C.E. to instruct Paul. Perhaps Jude was thinking of Paul when he wrote: "...some ungodly people have wormed their way into your churches, saying that God's marvellous grace allows us to live immoral lives." (Jude 4). Again, perhaps it is Paul that James has in mind when he writes that faith without works is dead (James 2:17). Paul attacks the law on many occasions, Romans 3:28, Gal. 2:16, 21 and Gal. 3:10. And, while it might be said that he is attacking the cultic law, there are suggestions that this is not entirely the case, (see Romans 7)1. Even the cultic law was not totally given up by Christ as is evident by the church in Jerusalem; however animal sacrifices were no longer practiced by James and according to the Ebionites. The animal sacrifices were condemned by Christ in the original Hebrew Gospel, a Gospel the Ebionites used and a gospel that Edwards says there was only one of, a gospel that many of the Early Church Fathers claimed was the earliest Gospel.(58)

Given the above information, it should be clear that Paul is at odds with James. Who else could be called a “super apostle” but James and those others who had actually been with Christ while he was on Earth? Besides the comments by Paul indicating he was at odds with James, we should be able to find “doctrinal” proof. In other words, if Paul does not like James and the rest of Jesus’ original followers, there must be a reason and that reason would likely be “doctrinal”. So, the question is, can we find, in the New Testament or elsewhere, traces of two different theologies, one from Jesus and James, and the other from Paul?

It was mentioned earlier that we would return to an alternative to McGowan's idea that James was influenced by paganism. It is time to do just that. The evidence we are about to look at does not show James being influenced by paganism but rather, it shows that he was a devote Enochic Jew.

Rather than paganism, the evidence shows that the vegetarian ideas of Jesus, James and those of the first church at Jerusalem came out of Enochic Judaism, which used, the Book of Enoch. The Book of Enoch (7:3) states that the giants, who were the offspring of the unholy union of fallen angels and human women, began eating the flesh of animals and each other. We must keep in mind that at this time only vegetation had been allowed, by God, as human food. At first, the fact that semi-divine type creatures are eating flesh does not seem to have any bearing on humans, however, if we turn to the Clementine Homilies we find further information, which no doubt has it source in the Enochic tradition. First, let us find the same story as told in Enoch 7:3:

But from their unhallowed intercourse spurious men sprang, much greater in stature than ordinary men, who they afterwards called giants; not those dragon-footed giants who waged war against God, as those blasphemous myths of the Greeks do sing, but wild in manners, and greater than men in size, inasmuch as they were sprung from angels; yet less than angels, as they were born of women. Therefore God, knowing that they were barbarized to brutality, and that the world was not sufficient to satisfy them (for it was created according to the proportion of men and human use), that they might not through want of food turn, contrary to nature, to the eating of animals, and yet seem to be blameless, as having ventured upon this through necessity, the Almighty God rained manna upon them, suited to their various tastes; and they enjoyed all that they would. But they, on account of their bastard nature, not being pleased with purity of food, longed only after the taste of blood. Wherefore they first tasted flesh. (Clementine Homilies 15)

Next we find, in the first sentence of chapter 16 in the Clementine Homilies, the following: “And the men who were with them there for the first time were eager to do like.” From these passages in Enoch and the Clementine Homilies we find that these two works are connected. Further, we see that flesh eating was seen as being started by the children of fallen angels and human women. Like the Ebionites, the Clementine Homilies promote vegetarianism. We may recall what St. Peter tells us in the Homilies: “…I use only bread and olives, and rarely pot-herbs…”(60)

While the information above is quite telling on its own, there are two more passages from the Clementine Homilies that need to be considered; chapters 4 and 8:

And the things which are well-pleasing to God are these: to pray to Him, to ask from Him, recognising that He is the giver of all things, and gives with discriminating law; to abstain from the table of devils, not to taste dead flesh…(61)

And this is the service He has appointed: …to abstain from the tables of devils, that is, from food offered to idols, from dead carcases, from animals which have been suffocated or caught by wild beasts, and from blood;…(62)

The evidence thus far proves that the followers of Christ were part of the Enochic Jewish movement. Further, Jude, in the New Testament quotes Enoch and calls Enoch a Prophet. With this, we find that Luke, Matthew and other parts of the New Testament have almost word for word passages as are found in the Book of Enoch.(63) The Ethiopian Church includes the Book of Enoch in its Bibles as canonical scripture.

Now again, the New Testament shows its influence from Enoch with the story of the pit made for the fallen angels, 2nd Peter 2:4 and other passages relate to the theology of the Book of Enoch, such as Rev. 9:1-2, 11:17, 17:8, 20:1-3 and 1st Peter 3:9; Jude 6-7. There is little doubt that the early Church in Jerusalem; the Ebionites, were Enochic Jews since they were (a) Jews and (b) saw Enoch as a prophet and quoted from his book.
According to the Bible, Enoch was the first person translated by God into heaven. John the Baptist, according to Christ in the Gospel of Mark, was Elijah.... who was also translated by God into heaven. Now, Luke says that Elijah only had the spirit of Elijah but the writers of Luke and John's Gospels had agendas to distract us from the truth. These agendas are not pertinent to our quest for the Vegetarian Jesus. John's Gospel outright states that John the Baptist was not Elijah but Mark says he was. Matthew shows John the Baptist as Elijah as well (17:12). When we look at these contradictions it is important to know which tradition seems more accurate. A careful study will show that the Gospel of Matthew is likely the best source.

There is evidence that our Biblical Gospel of Matthew comes from the Original Hebrew Gospel of Matthew; scholars call this “Matthaei Authenticum” or in English, ‘The Authentic Gospel of Matthew. , Of course, as with all theological ideas not all scholars agree. According to Epiphanaus the Ebionites used this Gospel and we know that the Ebionites taught that John the Baptist was vegetarian and that Christ came to destroy sacrifices. While scholars tend to think this part of the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew is a later alteration or corruption inserted by the Ebionites, the evidence does not support this. If James was a vegetarian and as McGowan points out James was anti-cultic and anti-sacrificial, it would appear that the Ebionites did not change the Original Hebrew Gospel. Rather, the Ebionites were reflecting an accurate description of the first church in Jerusalem and not only was James a vegetarian, but so too was Christ.

We don’t need to rely on the writings of the Ebionites alone. The church father, Eusbius says that all the apostles were vegetarian. Here is the translation:

…Consider the character of the disciples of Jesus. From the men as they stand, surely any sensible person would be inclined to consider worthy of all confidence; they were admittedly poor men without eloquence, they fell in love with holy and philosophical instruction, they embraced and persevered in a strenuous and laborious life, with fasting and abstinence from wine and meat, and much bodily restriction besides, with prayer and intercessions to God, and Lord but not least, excessive purity, and devotion of body and soul.(69)

This is a good point to discuss the diet of John the Baptist and his clothing. We are told that he lived in the desert, dressed in camel hair, had a leather belt and lived off of locusts and honey. Can this really be true? Locust and Honey were common foods for Semites at the time and to say that John was living in the desert and living off these foods would be like saying that a fellow, living today, out in the woods, lived off rabbit and honey. What would be the big deal? Nothing. Truth is there would be no reason to say John the Baptist ate this stuff because that was regular food for Semites, however this would not be the case for the Romans. Further, locusts and honey would certainly be some of the only food out in the desert and so would not be very surprising if that was his food. On the other hand, the Ebionites said that John the Baptist ate cakes and honey.(70) and that John the Baptist was really dressed in tree bark. The vegetarian diet of John the Baptist, as put forth by the Ebionites, is the diet that is more in keeping with James and Jesus’ teachings and the tree bark is more in keeping with James wearing linen and not wearing wool.

As we pointed out, saying that John the Baptist ate locusts and honey is like saying a modern day person, living in the woods, eats rabbit and honey. In other words, it is no big deal. So, why is John the Baptist's diet mentioned and do the present gospels correctly report the truth of his diet?

James A. Kelhoffer in his informative book, The Diet of John the Baptist points out regarding the mentioning of John's diet the following:

Satisfactory explanations for this attribution with regard to the historical Baptist, the author of Mark and the author of Matthew have yet to be given..... John's diet has been largely or completely overlooked in many fine monographs and articles on the Baptist, as well as in commentaries on Mark 1:6 and Matt 3:4.(71)

Let's take a look at these two passages: Mark 1:6 "Now John was clothed with camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey." Matthew 3:4 "Now John wore clothing of camel's hair with a leather belt around his waist, and his food was locusts and wild honey." Kelhoffer points out that not only have scholars not given a satisfactory explanation regarding John the Baptist's diet but that there is a remarkable scarcity of information in the earliest patristice literature, Kelhoffer says that:

The interpretations of John's diet in the earliest patristic literature are arguably most remarkable for their scarcity. In addition to the relative lack of any interest in the Baptist, in the 'Apostolic Fathers.' the silence concerning John's diet in Irenaeus and Tertullian among the second- and third -century Christian authors who commonly interpret 'gospel' materials is noteworthy.(72)

This may seem remarkable to Kelhoffer but not to the evidence we have seen above. As McGowan pointed out, during the time of Irenaeus and Tertullian, most Christians were vegetarian and if our hypothesis is correct, that John the Baptist was a vegetarian and did not really eat locusts, and most Gentile Christians were also vegetarian at the time or were at least vegetarian friendly, then most Gentile Christians, if they had copies of the gospels which stated the Baptist ate locusts, would, with distain, ignore any mention that John ate locusts. In other words, vegetarian Christians would be disgusted with John’s diet and out of wanting to distance themselves from such behaviour, would not bring attention to it. We may recall how Tertullian was disgusted with flesh eating Christians. As such, he may have wished to ignore John's diet so as not to speak against him, given John's key role in introducing Christ at his baptism. We may also recall that Ireneaus did not mention anything about the Ebionites being vegetarian and his writings take place around the same time as Tertullian, when McGowan stated many Christians were vegetarian, thus making vegetarianism normal and not really worth mentioning and certainly not an act of heresy.

According to Epiphanius, the Ebionites taught that John was a vegetarian as was Jesus. Kelhoffer states the following about the Ebionite Gospel:

Like the gospel of Matthew, Justin Martur and Origen, the so-called Gospel of the Ebionites makes an exclusive claim about what John ate. Different from these other two writings, this second-century gospel, according to Epiphanaius, states that John ate only wild honey.(75)

Kelhoffer makes a major assumption in stating that the Gospel of the Ebionites is a second-century Gospel. There is no proof of this. In fact, Epiphanius said the Ebionites used the Gospel of the Hebrews though Epiphanius thought they had made changes to it. There is no evidence that they did change it. In fact, as we may recall, Irenaeus was not likely to mention the vegetarianism of the Ebionites because it was common practice at his time. He did mention that the Ebionites used only water, showing a very ascetic leaning, which usually includes vegetarianism. An interesting aside is that Irenaeus said the Ebionites used Matthew's Gospel while Eusebius said they used the Hebrew Gospel.(78) It was Epiphanius who explained this confusion by telling us that they used the Hebrew Gospel that was written by Matthew.(79)

The Gospel of the Hebrews was used by the various Jewish Christians such as the Ebionites and Nazarenes.(80) Bishop Papias, who died around 130(81) tells us that Matthew wrote the Gospel of the Hebrews, Jerome originally stated that the Hebrew Gospel was authentic and written by Matthew. Later in life he changed his mind on this. Could this be because the Hebrew Gospel challenged his own beliefs? Beliefs that were not in keeping with the original Ebionite Church started by Christ and later headed by James? There are some that say the Greek Gospel of Matthew was also written by the Matthew.(82) In an interview with Lee Strobel, Dr. Craig Blomber, stated that he believed Matthew to be the author of the canonical Gospel which bears his name. F.F. Bruce also believes this.(83) There are a number of others who claim that Matthew wrote his own Gospel and there are still others, who may not hold entirely to that idea but do believe that Matthew was the first gospel written and not Mark, as many other scholars do. Those who believe that Matthew is first are generally said to follow the "Griesbach Hypothesis" named after J.J. Griesbach who pushed the concept, though the idea was first put forward by Henry Owen in 1764.(84) As to the Hebrew Gospel, other scholars like Johann Gottfried Eichhorn and Christian Friedrich Weber of the Tubingen School also thought the Hebrew Gospel may also reflect the eye witness accounts of the Apostle Matthew.(85)

Modern scholars agree that the Nazarenes were the first Christians and were under the leadership of James, Jesus' brother. , , Further, James R. Edwards tells us that there was only one Gospel of the Hebrews and it was used under various names. Finally, modern scholars tend to suggest that there was a difference between the Ebionites and the Nazarenes based on the teachings attributed to the Ebionites that scholars think are different from those of the Nazarenes, such as Jesus' baptism. However, no such record of any Ebionite Gospel exists in the ancient world and the term is never used, rather, it is said that the Ebionites used the Gospel of the Hebrews. All this points to what we have been saying all along. The Nazarenes or Ebionites, who were one and the same according to Jerome, were the very first followers of Jesus and were under the leadership of James when Paul was arguing against vegetarianism. James, as seen, according to Hegesippus was a vegetarian and Clement told us that Peter was too. The Gospel of the Hebrews, the only one used by the Ebionites, would appear to be the source which teaches that Jesus came to do away with sacrifice and that Jesus, did not want to eat the Passover and that John the Baptist was vegetarian.

What we need to do now is look to see if there is any historical or Biblical (Old Testament) support for John the Baptist to be vegetarian. To do this we need to find out if locusts were even allowed, by Jewish Law, to be eaten.

The Bible seems to contradict itself with regard to eating Locusts. Deuteronomy 14:9 states: "And all winged insects are unclean for you; they shall not be eaten." However, Leviticus 11:21 gives an exemption for the eating of Locusts. So, as we begin we can see that Locusts could be eaten by Jews. The real problem with John the Baptist eating Locusts and Honey, is that these are delicacies according to the various Semites in the ancient world. Kelhoffer points out,

John the Baptist's eating of locusts/grasshoppers in Mark 1:6c/Matt 3:4c belongs to a cultural heritage shared for centuries by many Jews and other peoples of the ancient Near East, and continued in Islamic traditions from Muhammad (purportedly) to al-Damiri and beyond. That certain Jews ate locusts/grasshoppers is attested by not only Lev 11:20-23 but also -- and closer to the time of the Baptist --- the Letter of Aristeas, Philo, the Temple Scroll and the Damascus Document.(92)

From this we see that John eating locusts would not be seen as a big deal by the Semites or Jews of his time. In fact, it actually goes against something else that Kelhoffer points out earlier in his book.

Kelhoffer attempts to present John's disciples (and the Pharasees) as fasting and that Jesus' disciples did not. Kelhoffer presents Matthew 9:14, Mark 2:18, Luke 5:33 as evidence, however, it should be noted that Jesus says his followers will fast when he is taken away. Also, Jesus instructs us how to fast, he states in Matthew 6:16:

And whenever you fast, do not look dismal, like the hypocrites, for they disfigure their faces so as to show others that they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that your fasting may be seen not by others but by your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

Jesus himself fasted for forty days in the wilderness (Matthew 4:2). Finally, though not included in modern Bibles, Matthew 17:21 has Jesus saying that some demon possession will require prayer and fasting to exorcise. Interesting note, the "Shem Tov Hebrew Gospel"(93) not necessarily the Hebrew Gospel we have been speaking of, does include Matthew 17:21. So, in fact, Christ does speak about fasting but, he also talks about feasting while he is here. The point really to be made here is this: if John and his disciples was some sort of ascetics, then portraying them as eaters of locusts would not prove it. Rather, being vegetarian would and who said John the Baptist was a vegetarian? The Ebionites did. Further, Jesus and his disciples show signs of being ascetics also: Jesus claimed to have no place to rest his head, he denied himself a married life, went into long periods of prayer and so on. Further, as we read earlier, Eusebius stated the apostles were all vegetarian and poor.

If the Hebrew Gospel is the original Gospel written by Matthew or if the Gospel of Mark comes first, doesn't really matter, since we do not have either of these original documents at hand. We do not have the first Mark ever written and we do not have a copy of the first Gospel of Matthew in either Hebrew or Greek. As such, we need to sift through the evidence and see if we can put the pieces of the puzzle back together. Kelhoffer wants us to believe that Mark portrays John the Baptist as an eater of insects to show his asceticism to the Romans who do not like eating insects. If this be the case, then this could very easily point to a much later translation. In other words, the canonical gospel of Mark, and for that matter, the canonical gospel of Matthew, are both meant to be seen by Gentile Christians and potential converts. Yet, Matthew certainly shows signs of having originally been written for Jews , which most scholars would agree with. However, if Kelhoffer is right, the ascetic portrayal of John’s diet would indicate a suspected Roman audience and hence, show that locusts were a later addition or rather an alteration to the original documents that would have been vegetarian, just as the Ebionites had said. Thus, it is very plausible that the Ebionites were right and that it is plausible that John the Baptist did eat cakes and honey rather than locusts and honey. Indeed, Kelhoffer admits that:

Certain studies of the Baptist have actually argued that John himself was a 'vegetarian'. For example, Aleandros Pallis supports the notion that 'common sense' tells us that John did not eat locusts: ‘This observation derives considerable support from the fact that, in other instances where Jewish tradition represents men as having been driven into the desert either by stress of circumstances or by a passion for asceticism, their food is said to have been what the soil produced. Palis concludes that 'the archetype of Mark 1:6 read eating roots and wild fruit.

Kelhoffer also states that Robert Eisler also argues that the original Synoptic tradition as preserved in Mark 1:6c/Matt 3:4c has become corrupt:

I am myself much more inclined to believe that the word 'tree fruits' was maliciously distorted into locusts by the hand of an enemy of the Baptist's sect, desirous of making the Baptist appear as one feeding on vermin, naturally loathsome to Gentile Christians of the educated class.(97)

Now, Kelhoffer does, in fact, believe that Mark was trying to impress upon his readers that John was an ascetic, but Kelhoffer believes it was the Romans:

The present study has argued that the eating of locusts, grasshoppers or cicadas was not particularly extraordinary during the Classical and Hellenisstic Periods. Much more common in the Roman period, however, are expression of aversion to locust eating.... The most likely context for a communication describing peoples somehow 'different' from 'us' is one in which the author's (whether Pliny or Mark the evangelist) own culture or presumed audience does not eat locusts/grasshoppers.(98)

Now, if, this be the case, then it could be very easily suggested that the original teachings were exactly what the Ebionites taught: that John the Baptist was a vegetarian because being a vegetarian to Jews would be a sign of extreme asceticism since the eating of meat was mandatory at the time in Judaism.(99) However, if the original Hebrew story got changed, then it would be changed to shock a Roman audience and to that we would have to move away from vegetarianism, since many Greco-Roman philosophers were vegetarian, and move to a character that ate insects. It would appear there is ample evidence to suggest that John the Baptist was indeed a vegetarian just as the Ebionites say.

Vegetarian Proof in the Early Church --- The Early Church Before 135 C.E.

As mentioned above, Jesus and his early followers were not called Christians. Rather, they were called the Ebionim or the Ebionites also known as Nazoreans, and/or Nazarenes. The evidence would suggest that the Ebionites came out of the Essenes and were in fact still referred to as Essenes after the time of Jesus’ crucifixion. We find proof of this in the writings of the fourth century bishop of Salamis and Epiphanius who tells us: “All Christians were once called Nazoreans. For a short time they were also given the name Jessaeans [that is, ‘Essenes’], before the Disciples in Antioch began to be called Christians.” , Indeed, we find verification for this in the following quote:

Ebionites: The name is derived from the Hebrew word for “poor.” It refers to a sect of Jews, perhaps previously Essenes, who after the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70 turned to Jesus Christ as the greatest of the prophets.(102)

This provides more proof that the early believers in Jesus were vegetarians, for we know that some Essenes were vegetarian(103) and we know that John the Baptist was a vegetarian and that James was a vegetarian and Peter and Matthew also vegetarian.

Let us take stock of the evidence thus far. We have just seen that some Essenes were vegetarian and part of the Enochic Judaism prior to the coming of Christ, that it is thought that the Essenes became Ebionites, the Ebionites were vegetarian. Enoch states that demons began to eat flesh, the Ebionites say that men followed this practice. John the Baptist was vegetarian, James was vegetarian, Peter was vegetarian, besides all this we also learn from the above quote from Epiphanius, that the first followers of Jesus were not called Christian but rather, they were called Nazoreans and were also called Ebionites. Finally, both the Ebionites and Eusebius told us that the apostles were vegetarian, such as found here “Matthew lived on seeds, fruits of the trees, and vegetables, without meat.” (Clem. Alex., Paid. II, I, 16), “I live on olives and bread to which I only rarely add vegetables.” (Ps. Clem. Hom. XII, 6; Rec. VII, 6) and the longer quote from Eusebius we read earlier.

As we saw earlier, even Paul became a vegetarian, though it would appear that he did so only out of fear of offending those from James's original church. Thus, it took Paul a little longer to come around, but in the end he gave up eating meat. The first part of Paul’s transformation was recorded in our Bibles, (Romans 14:21 “The right thing to do is to keep from eating meat, drinking wine, or doing anything else that will make other believers fall.” (Good New Bible).(104) In this passage from Romans, Paul is not really advocating vegetarianism because he wants to but because he feels he has to in order to harmonize with the original Ebionites started by Jesus and James, though Paul tries to suggest to his followers that being a vegetarian is not important and that they should be vegetarians only to make sure that they do not offend the other Christians who are vegetarian by conviction. However, there is an interesting document that might be based on this event in Romans. This document speaks of Paul’s final and complete conversion to vegetarianism. According to this document Paul says: “Jesus commanded me not to eat meat and not to drink wine, but only bread, water and fruits so that I will be found pure when he wants to talk to me.”(105) Was the Damascus experience real and did Christ have to come again to Paul to set him straight? Putting Paul back in line with Jesus’ original teachings and those of James and the Jerusalem church? Whatever the case, this is just more evidence that the early church was seen as vegetarian.

Jesus Taught Vegetarianism in our Accepted Gospels

As mentioned, the discovery of the numerous lost scrolls during the past 100 years has caused quite a stir, sparking both institutional and private quests for the historical Jesus. Bibles have been up-dated many times using these discovered documents, yet, one thing has not been corrected. In a very old copy of our Gospels, called the Evangeliion Da-Mepharreshe, we read in the Gospel of Luke the following message from Jesus: “Never eat meat or drink wine as they will make your mind heavy.” (Luke 21:34).(106) This is perhaps a reference to Prov. 23:20 in which case the rendition should be “meat” as in the Syriac version of Luke and not as found in our canonical Gospels.(107) This is just one more amazing piece to the puzzle that is helping us put together the picture that Jesus was a vegetarian.

Gospel of the Ebionites

To recap, the only Gospel that the Ebionites, Nazareans and Essenes used was the Hebrew Gospel of Matthew. Early church fathers confirm that the Gospel of Matthew was used by the Ebionites and Nazarenes. Of course, the Gospel of Matthew went through many changes to get to the version we have today in our Bibles.

Scholarly Attack on the True Teachings of Jesus

Though the early church fathers, who lived close to the time of Jesus, tell us that Matthew was the first Gospel, modern Bible critics want us to believe that Mark was the first Gospel. Why? One of the reasons given for this is that Mark is shorter and lacks a birth narrative.(108) Modern scholars want to go against all the teachings handed down to us and change things just because of the length of a document. Let us look to see if the lack of a birth narrative is justification for claiming a gospel is older than those with a birth narrative.

First, most of this Biblical criticism has its origin during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. The Western world had just come out of the reformation and had entered into the age of enlightenment. People, including Bible scholars, began to question everything supernatural. These Biblical scholars felt the need to rationalize everything in the Bible. Miracles were discarded; this is why many modern scholars date Mark at 70 C.E. or later, they do not believe that Jesus could have really predicted the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in 70 C.E. As such, these scholars believe that such predictions were put in later to make it look like Jesus had supernatural powers. Thus, the miracle of the New Testament, were discarded as the result of either over active primitive imaginations and/or outright lies, deliberate deceptions designed to promote Christianity to the ignorant and superstitious. These Biblical scholars also suggested that Mark was the earliest gospel because it had the least amount of information and specifically the supernatural birth narrative. They concluded that Matthew and Luke copied Mark since they contained more information, especially the supernatural birth story of Jesus, which is not to be found in Mark though we saw that Mark still promotes the virgin birth in other ways. Yet, these same scholars also said that the Ebionite Gospel of Matthew came after the canonical Matthew and Luke. Why? Well, there are several reasons such as, the relationship to Aramaic words and the struggle to translate them into Greek, form of the Gospels, but the one of interest to us is because it was shorter and lacks a birth narrative. Does this make sense? Mark is first because it is shorter than that of the canonical Matthew and Luke and lacks a birth narrative, but the Ebionite version is last because it is shorter than the canonical Matthew and Luke and lacks a birth narrative? We can see for ourselves that there is some very fuzzy logic here. In other words, these scholars could be just grabbing at anything to support their own ideas. In this case the people who believe that Mark came first are simply stating that the lack of a birth narrative is reason to believe that Mark came first. These same individuals believe that Matthew and Luke added the birth narratives. Yet, there are other scholars who would argue that Mark left out the birth narrative because he was drawing on Matthew and didn’t think it necessary to repeat what was already known.

So what the scholars are telling us is that since the Ebionites do not have the birth story in their Gospel, then they must have taken it out, whereas Mark didn’t include the birth story, which has one of those nasty miracles, the virgin birth, because he didn’t know about any such miracles. While scholars are to be respected for their many years of study, some of them are products of their time.

To help understand the relevance to having the mainstream theories of historical claims to the Bible, here is another example. During this same enlightenment period we were just discussing, the now common JEDP theory was developed. However recently there are more arguments against this common theory. As Prof. Gary A. Rendsburg, Ph.D. in Hebrew Studies, points out, based on Hebrew linguistics,

The dates of the JEDP theory are all wrong, especially for the last two sources, D and P. Linguistic analysis demonstrates that the entirety of the Torah, and certainly Genesis, is composed in classical Biblical Hebrew, not Late Biblical Hebrew – the dividing point for these two stratis is c. 550 B.C.E., in the middle of the Babylonian exile,

Thus the JEDP theory was a product of its time. Wellhausen, the originator of the JEDP theory, was a Lutheran and divided up the JEDP into the following dates: J = Yahwists, 10th century B.C.E.; E = Elohist, 9th century B.C.E.; D = Deuteronomist, 7th century B.C.E.; P = Priestly, 5th century BCE

The dating by Wellhausen allowed the Prophets to be put into the 8th century. These prophets, who taught moral theology, were the part of the Bible the Protestants were drawn to. The D source was said, by this formula to represent the Jews and the P source, the Catholics, both of whom lacked the true or pure teachings of the Protestants who looked to the Prophets. The previous J and E sources were simply primitive narrations.

To continue to our main focus; confirming what we have just said, regarding the change in attitudes towards, Biblical scholarship, F.F. Powell states:

Nineteenth century theologians seeking to mythologize Jesus soon dismissed the four Gospels’ efforts to describe the historical Jesus.” Further, Powell notes, “For the most part, Protestants now ignore that the writer of Matthew’s Gospel gathered Jesus’ Jewish teachings and placed them in the fifth through the seventh chapters of his work. The passages have been there two thousand years, but few Christians attempt to live by them...(116)

We must be the judge. Do we believe the scholars, most of whom wish to discredit their opponents, or do we believe the early church writings that are closer to the source? Now, keep in mind that when the early church fathers claim that Matthew was the first Gospel, they were not necessarily referring to the canonical Matthew of the modern Bible.

Clementine Homilies

Current scholarship is divided on whether the Clementine Homilies belong to the Ebionites.(117) We will not take the time to go over these disputes here. Rather, we will simply state that our position is that the evidence says they are part of the Ebionite writings. Another group of writings used by the Ebionites are the Periodoi of Peter and the Anabathmoi of James. These writings bear a striking similarity to the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions of the 3rd century.(118) Knowing that the Periodoi of Peter and the Anabathmoi of James predate the actual writing of the Clementine Homilies and Recognitions, modern scholars should say that the Clementine material is a copy of the earlier Ebionite material, yet they do not. Rather, they claim that the Ebionites must have somehow obtained an early copy of the Clementine Homilies (something that has never been found and does not exist today, nor is there any reference to it ever having had existed) and made their own changes to it.

Why would the Ebionites want to change the Homilies? According to some scholars, the Ebionites did not like Paul, for Paul was going against the Mosaic Law, therefore the Ebionites wrote the Homilies to put down Paul and elevate Peter.(120) Keep in mind that, for the most part, scholars who have taken over for the sceptical enlightenment scholars that started Biblical criticism belong to institutions controlled by or connected to established Churches which have a vested interest in insuring that their teachings are not contradicted by historical research and evidence. Indeed, these scholars could go to great lengths to have us ignore the evidence; a case in point is Rudolf Bultmann. As Powell points out, “Bultmann, in his later career ‘developed his own theological position; namely, that Christian faith is, and should be, comparatively uninterested in the historical Jesus and centered instead on the transcendent Christ.”(121) The point being, some scholars try to steer us away from the facts that could contradict their theory.

Let us look at this quote from the “Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period Vol. 1, Jabob Neusner, Editor in chief, William Scott Green, Editor”. Referring to the Ebionites’ Periodoi of Peter and Anabathomoi of James, the dictionary says this:

...the Ebionites must have appropriated the Homilies at an early stage and interpolated them with additions that stressed Peter’s prominence over Paul. Later, in the third century the Recognitions corrected the anti-Pauline bias in conformity with what was then orthodox dogma.

There is no logic in the above claim. If changes or so-called corrections were made, in the Recognitions, to throw a better light on Paul then those changes were a corruption of the original Ebionite teachings and not the other way around. These scholars have juggled and twisted these historical documents and interpreted them within the scope of their own biases, just as many of today’s Bible literalists do, when confronted with contradictions and errors in the Bible simply to justify their beliefs. Thus far the evidence points out that the Ebionites came before the Pauline Christians, as the scholars are now beginning to admit, and therefore the so-called corrected Recognitions of the third century should actually be called the interpolated version, not the other way around.

Paul in the Bible

The teachings of the Ebionites that Paul broke from the law, parallels with our knowledge of Paul in the Bible, for Paul was at odds with James and the original Church which still practiced the parts of the law with the notable exception of animal sacrifice. Paul would not follow the rules as set down by James in the Book of Acts and the teachings of Christ. Paul was in fact, teaching a lifestyle that could be said to be changing what Jesus had taught. Since the Ebionite writings tell us the same thing, then we must conclude that the modern canonized Bible backs up and bears witness to the Ebionite’s authority and authenticity and their claim that Paul broke from the true teachings of Jesus. In other words, since the Bible tells us that Paul was disagreeing with James, and not following James’ instruction, we get confirmation that the Ebionites were in fact the first and true Church, spoken of in our Bibles, at Jerusalem, founded by Jesus and James, which practiced vegetarianism. We can also confirm that Paul started a different version of the teachings of the true church and called it Christianity, and only reluctantly accepting vegetarianism until, if we can believe the Toledo manuscript, Jesus came to Paul and set him straight, telling Paul to abstain from wine and meat.

James the First Pope – Not Peter

As we will see below, after Jesus’ death and resurrection sometime within 29 - 33 C.E., James, his brother, became head of the Ebionite Church. Eusebius tells us that it was James, and not Peter, who was the first head of the church or Bishop of Jerusalem and uses at least 3 different references as proof: (1) Clement of Alexander, (2) Heggesippus and (3) Jerusalem list of Bishops. Below are listed quotes from Various Ancient Historians used by Eusebius…(123)(124)

Peter and James and John after the Ascension of the Saviour did not struggle for glory… but rather chose James the Just as Bishop of Jerusalem.(125) James, to whom the men of old had given the surname of Just, for his excellence of virtue, is narrated to have been the first elected to the throne of the bishopric of the church of Jerusalem.(126) James, who was the first after the ascension of our Saviour to be appointed to the throne of the bishopric in Jerusalem.(127)

Also, from the Gospel of Thomas we read:

The disciples said to Jesus, ‘We are aware that you will depart from us. Who will be our leader? ’ Jesus said to them, ‘No matter where you come it is to James the Just you shall go, for whose sake heaven and earth have come to exist. (Gospel of Thomas v.12)(128)

Most importantly, the Gospel of the Hebrews or the Original Matthew which was used by the Ebionites also state that James, not Peter, was the first head of the church after Jesus ascended into heaven.(129)

All this tells us that if we want to find the original church, then to begin we need to look for James. James is being pointed to be found in the Bible in Jerusalem. We find him telling Paul the rules and we find Paul disobeying the rules. Unfortunately, this information, if it were true, did not make it into our Bibles or maybe it did, but was taken out; we saw how the Aramaic vegetarian Luke passage was not included in our modern Bibles but was simply ignored.

James and the Jerusalem Church

Prior to this possible conversion of Paul to vegetarianism, James and the Ebionites had some problems with Paul as we can see in Galatians 2:6-14 and the book of Acts chapter 15. Both of these Biblical records refer to the Council of Jerusalem in 49 C.E. Paul and his Christians did not want to follow Jesus’ commands that we are to obey the law or Torah as Jesus presented them (Matthew 5:18). Rather Paul fought tooth and nail to have his converts exempt from the restored law of Jesus.

Though, contrary to modern opinion, Paul did not do away with the law totally and replace it with grace alone, rather Paul used the law as a guide for he tells us that… “The Law therefore is holy, and [each] commandment is holy and just and good.” (Romans 7:12 TAB).(130) Paul gave no license to misbehave; on the contrary, he clearly stated that believers were to live upright lives. In fact, Paul said that we were to follow the Law as a guide for knowing what is sinful, (see all of Romans). Yet, he was adamant in his view that the following of the law on its own would not lead to salvation. Paul was looking for an inner transformation of the believer and not just a robotic adherence to the law. Paul was not the big advocate of grace alone as Martin Luther would later claim, rather, Paul spoke very clearly that one could lose their salvation if they did not behave morally and ethically. The understanding of this today is called, “The New Perspective on Paul” and was made popular by Dunn but first proposed by Sanders.(131) What Paul was guilty of was reducing Jesus teachings and eliminating the vegetarianism and commands not to eat food sacrificed to idols; perhaps this was enough to make some Christian Jews, the Ebionites, see Paul as an apostate.

St. Paul Converted

It has been strongly suggested, in the preceding investigation, that Paul’s original resistance to Jesus and James, that is Paul's resistance to vegetarianism, started the heresies which would eventually replace the Ebionite teachings and would eventually become the Gentile churches. Paul is the founder of the heretical Christian Church which has left the vegetarianism of Jesus and James long behind; for Paul’s letters, written prior to his true conversion to the vegetarian teachings of Jesus were at odds with the Ebionites of James on this very issue. One could even suggest that Paul’s anti-Ebionite writings would likely have died out and been forgotten if it were not for the Gnostic Marcion; who was the first to use Paul’s letters and who put together the first new testament, though he made his own changes to the letters. This started a rush to formulate a Christian canon or set of scriptures which lead to the New Testaments being formed and becoming part of the Gentile church which then would become part of the Catholic Church doctrine borrowed around 170 C.E. by the fore-fathers of the Catholic faith. Further, according to scholars, these predecessors of the Roman Catholic Church are thought to have fabricated another three of the letters we now call Paul’s for these three letters were unheard of anywhere prior to 170 C.E. These fabricated letters are 1st and 2nd Timothy and the letter to Titus.(132) Among these letters is an anti-vegetarian passage (1st Timothy 4:1-5), which is a continuation Paul’s original teachings prior to his changing to vegetarianism after receiving the command from Christ not to eat meat or drink wine. Extra-Biblical Source: Paul states: "Jesus commanded me not to eat meat and not to drink wine, but only bread, water, and fruits so that I will be found pure when he wants to talk to me." (133)

James is Killed

James was killed in 62 C.E. by members of the Jewish Sanhedrin.(134) After James’ death, he was succeeded by his cousin Symeon. According to various accounts, false teachings called heresies started to enter the church either during Symeon’s reign as Bishop or immediately after Symeon’s death, which occurred sometime during the time of Emperor Trajan 98-117 C.E.

This has just been an introduction to the Quest for the Vegetarian Jesus. There is much more to understanding this quest and the involvement of the Ebionites.

Ultimately, it’s about compassion towards each other and towards animals and all of creation. Let us, like Paul, have that final conversion to the original teachings of Christ, let us become vegetarian and lovers of animals. It is said that John, the disciple that Christ loved, was a vegetarian who lived off dates and would not kill bugs. Albert Schweitzer , too, in more modern times, would not kill bugs.(135) John Wesley the founder of the Methodists was also a vegetarian.(136)


Let us close by considering this: Originally God gave us a vegetarian diet (Genesis) and even after the fall we still had a vegetarian diet. (Genesis 3:18) Isaiah tells us that with the coming of the new world there will be peace and the wolf shall dwell with the lamb. (Isaiah 11:6) Things will be restored to the way they were before, but even better; this would include vegetarianism. If Jesus really was the saviour, the messiah, then surely he would have promoted a lifestyle that reflected God’s original intent and God’s desired goal… that intent was vegetarianism and thus, if Jesus really was who he says he was/is, then he would have been a vegetarian.


[1] <#_ftnref1> Note all biblical references will be taken from the: NRSV translation. Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, 1990, unless marked otherwise.

[2] <#_ftnref2> Linzey, Andrew Creatures of the Same God: Explorations in Animal Theology, Lantern Books, Brooklyn New York, 2007, 2009 pg. 79  

[3] <#_ftnref3> Linzey, Andrew Creatures of the Same God: Explorations in Animal Theology, Lantern Books, Brooklyn New York, 2007, 2009 Pg. 79

[4] <#_ftnref4> Harris, S. L., Understanding the Bible, Palo Alto Mayfield, 1985 

[5] <#_ftnref5> Dunn James D. G., World Biblical Commentary, Romans 1-8 38A, Word Incorporate, 1988 pages xli, xlii

[6] <#_ftnref6> Ed., Orr. James The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia, 1915;

 Just Felix, S.J., Ph.D. Pauline Chronology: The Life and Missionary Work of St. Paul of Tarsus, <>

[7] <#_ftnref7> Linzey, Andrew Creatures of the Same God: Explorations in Animal Theology, Lantern Books, Brooklyn New York, 2007, 2009 pg. 79  

[8] <#_ftnref8> Ferguson, Everett, Encyclopaedia of Early Christianity, Garland Pub., New York, 1999. Pg. 715

[9] <#_ftnref9> Ibid. Pg.707

[10] <#_ftnref10> Lacoste Jean-Yves, Encyclopaedia of Christian Theology vol. 2, Routledge, NY. Pg 979

 Ferguson, Everett, Encyclopaedia of Early Christianity, Garland Pub., New York, 1999. Pg. 715

[11] <#_ftnref11> Harnack Adolph, Marcion: The Gospel of the Alien God, Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2007

[12] <#_ftnref12> Booth Alan D., The Chronology of Jerome’s Early Years, Phoenix Publication, Classical Association of Canada, Canada, 1981 Pg. 241

[13] <#_ftnref13> Halton Thomas P. (Saint Jerome(Author)Thomas P. Halton (Translator/ Author)), On Illustrious Men: Saint Jerome on Illustrious Men; Fathers of the Church, Catholic University of America Press, 1999. Pg. 7

[14] <#_ftnref14> Tyson Joseph B. Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle, University of South Carolina Press, annotated edition, October 2006.

[15] <#_ftnref15> Williams, Frank. The Panarion of Epiphanius of Salamis, Volume 1, Leiden: Brill, 1987 Pg. 35

[16] <#_ftnref16> McGowan, Andrew. Ascetic Eucharist: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Pg. 145

[17] <#_ftnref17> Spencer, Colin. The Heretics Feast: A History of Vegetarianism, University Press of New England, Hanover, NH 03755, Pg. 119

[18] <#_ftnref18> Ibid., Pg. 1

[19] <#_ftnref19> [19] McGowan, Andrew. Ascetic Eucharist: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals, Oxford University Press, Oxford

[20] <#_ftnref20> Grumett, David; Muers, Rachel, Theology on the Menu: Ascetcism, Meat and Christian Diet, Routledge USA and Canada, Pg. 1

[21] <#_ftnref21> Spencer, Colin. The Heretics Feast: A History of Vegetarianism, University Press of New England, Hanover, NH 03755, Pgs. 119, 120

[22] <#_ftnref22> Tyson Joseph B. Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle, University of South Carolina Press, annotated edition, October 2006.

[23] <#_ftnref23> McGowan, Andrew. Ascetic Eucharist: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Pg. 149, 150

[24] <#_ftnref24> Ibid. Pg. 150

[25] <#_ftnref25> Laurence Richard. The Book of Enoch the Prophet, Lushena Books, Chicago, Il, 2000

[26] <#_ftnref26> Vandercam James, C., Bible Review Magazine: Article, Issued April 2003, Pg. 36

[27] <#_ftnref27> Laurence Richard. The Book of Enoch the Prophet, Lushena Books, Chicago, Il, 2000

[28] <#_ftnref28> Ibid.

[29] <#_ftnref29> Schweitzer, Albert. The Quest of the Historical Jesus, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, MN, 2001

[30] <#_ftnref30> Baigent M., Leight R., Lincoln H., Holy Blood, Holy Grail, Delacorte Press, 2005

[31] <#_ftnref31> Amazon, Product Details for Holy Blood, Holy Grail. <>

[32] <#_ftnref32> Powell, F. F., Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: The Usurpation of Jesus and the Original Disciples, iUniverse , 1663 Liberty Drive, Bloomington, 1N47403, Pg. 112

[33] <#_ftnref33> Goulder, Michael. St. Paul vs. St. Peter: A Tale of Two Missions, SCM Press Ltd. 1995, Pg. 188

[34] <#_ftnref34> Maccoby Hyam, The Myth Maker: Paul and the Invention of Christianity, HarperCollins Publishing.,  NY, 1987, Pg. 172-183

[35] <#_ftnref35> Ferguson, Everett, Encyclopaedia of Early Christianity, Garland Pub., New York, 1999. Pg. 357

[36] <#_ftnref36> Schaff, Phillip. History of the Christian Church, Volume 2, Charles Scribner and Son Press, New York, 1884

[37] <#_ftnref37> Hvalvik Reidar; Skarsaune Oskar. Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries, Peabody, Mass Hendrickson Publication, 2006 Pg. 425

[38] <#_ftnref38> Marshall, Alfred. The Zondervan Parallel New Testament in Greek and English

[39] <#_ftnref39> Green, Jay. Interlinear Hebrew-Greek-English Bible, Hendrickson Publications, 2005

[40] <#_ftnref40> Cross F. L., Livingston Elizabeth A. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, London, NY 1974, Pg. 438  

[41] <#_ftnref41> Douglas J. Deltondo Esq. Jesus’ Words Only, Infinity Pub,, 2007

[42] <#_ftnref42> Butz, Jeffrey J. The Secret Legacy of Jesus: The Judaic Teachings that passed from James the Just to the Founding Fathers, Rochesrer, Vt. : Inner Tradition, 2010 Pg. 4

[43] <#_ftnref43> Jackson-McCabe, Matt A. Jewish Christianity Reconsidered: Rethinking Ancient Groups and Texts, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2007, Pg. 81

[44] <#_ftnref44> Jackson-McCabe, Matt A. Jewish Christianity Reconsidered: Rethinking Ancient Groups and Texts, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2007, Pg 1

[45] <#_ftnref45> Hvalvik Reidar; Skarsaune Oskar. Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries, Peabody, Mass Hendrickson Publication, 2006 Pg. 419

[46] <#_ftnref46> Jackson-McCabe, Matt A. Jewish Christianity Reconsidered: Rethinking Ancient Groups and Texts, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 2007, Pg 81

[47] <#_ftnref47> Ibid, Pg. 81

[48] <#_ftnref48> Hvalvik Reidar; Skarsaune Oskar. Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries, Peabody, Mass Hendrickson Publication, 2006 Pg. 423

[49] <#_ftnref49> Hvalvik Reidar; Skarsaune Oskar. Jewish Believers in Jesus: The Early Centuries, Peabody, Mass Hendrickson Publication, 2006. Pg. 423

[50] <#_ftnref50> Ibid. Pg. 423

[51] <#_ftnref51> Baur; Scopes. Theologie und Geschichte des Judenchristentums, Tubingen: Mohr 1946

[52] <#_ftnref52> Davis, Mark. The Atheist’s Bible Companion to the New Testament: A comparative Guide to Christian Bible Contradictions,  Outskirt Press, Inc. 2009

[53] <#_ftnref53> Wiersbe, Warren W. The Transformation Study Bible, David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, CO; 2009

[54] <#_ftnref54> Davidson, John. The Gospel of Jesus: In Search of His Original Teachings, Origins of Christianity Series, Bath: Clear 2004

[55] <#_ftnref55> Wiersbe, Warren W. The Transformation Study Bible, David C. Cook, Colorado Springs, CO; 2009

[56] <#_ftnref56> Ibid.

[57] <#_ftnref57> Hanson, Kenneth. Blood Kin of Jesus: James and the Lost Jewish Church, CouncilLoakBooks, 2009 Pg. 63

[58] <#_ftnref58> Edwards, James, R. The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition, William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids Mich., 2009

[59] <#_ftnref59> Donaldson, James; Robertson, Alexander, Ante-Nicene Father, T & T Clarke Reprint 1995, Pg. 273

[60] <#_ftnref60> Donaldson, James; Robertson, Alexander, Ante-Nicene Father, T & T Clarke Reprint 1995, Pg. 293

[61] <#_ftnref61> Ibid. Pg. 268

[62] <#_ftnref62> Ibid. Pg. 269

[63] <#_ftnref63> Laurence, Richard L.L.D. The Book of Enoch the Prophet , Kegan Paul, Trench and Co., 1. Paternoster Square, Wizard’s Bookshelf San Diego 1983, Introductory pages, Page xxv, xxvi -xxxiii  

[64] <#_ftnref64> Kelhoffer, James A. The Diet of John the Baptist, Mohr Siebeck, Tubingen, 2005 Pgs. 4-5, 130 - 131

[65] <#_ftnref65> Douglas J. The Original Gospel of Matthew, Infinity Pub,, 2010

[66] <#_ftnref66> Edwards, James, R. The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition, William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids Mich., 2009

[67] <#_ftnref67> Robert E. van Voorst. The Ascents of James: History and Theology of a Jewish-Christian Community. Society of Biblical Literature, 1989

[68] <#_ftnref68> McGowan, Andrew. Ascetic Eucharist: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Pg. 150

[69] <#_ftnref69> Ed. Louth A., Williamson G. A. The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine; Eusebius, Penguin Classics, New York; London, 1989

[70] <#_ftnref70> Howard G., Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, Mercer University Press, Macon, Ga 2000, Pg. 158: Epiphanius, Pansarion 30.13. 4-5

[71] <#_ftnref71> Kelhoffer, James A. The Diet of John the Baptist, Mohr Siebeck, Tubingen, 2005 Pgs. 1-2

[72] <#_ftnref72> Ibid. Pg. 137

[73] <#_ftnref73> McGowan, Andrew. Ascetic Eucharist: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Pg. 150

[74] <#_ftnref74> Howard G., Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, Mercer University Press, Macon, Ga 2000, Pg. 158: Epiphanius, Pansarion 30

[75] <#_ftnref75> Kelhoffer, James A. The Diet of John the Baptist, Mohr Siebeck, Tubingen, 2005

[76] <#_ftnref76> Howard G., Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, Mercer University Press, Macon, Ga 2000, Pg. 158: Epiphanius, Pansarion 30

[77] <#_ftnref77> Ireneus, Against Heresies, 1 .26. 2.

[78] <#_ftnref78> Ed. Louth A., Williamson G. A. The History of the Church from Christ to Constantine; Eusebius, Penguin Classics, New York; London, 1989, 3 .27. 4.

[79] <#_ftnref79> Howard G., Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, Mercer University Press, Macon, Ga 2000, Pg. 158: Epiphanius, Pansarion 30

[80] <#_ftnref80> Fisher, G. P. Essay on the Supernatural Origin of Christianity, C. Scribner and Co. New York, 1870, Pg. 167

[81] <#_ftnref81> Cross F. L., Livingston Elizabeth A. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, London, NY 1974, Pg. 1028

[82] <#_ftnref82> Strobel, Lee. The Case for Christ: A Journalist’s Personal Investigation of the Evidence for Jesus, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, 1998

[83] <#_ftnref83> Bruce, F. F. The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable? William B Eerdman Co. 2009, Pg. 30-50

[84] <#_ftnref84> Tucket C.M. The Revival of the Griesbach Hypothesis: An Analysis and Appraisal, Cambridge University Press, 1983.

[85] <#_ftnref85> Burton, E. D. W., et al, The Biblical World, Volume 20, University of Chicago Press, 1902 Pg. 289 - 252

[86] <#_ftnref86> Cross F. L., Livingston Elizabeth A. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, London, NY 1974, Pgs. 597 & 722

[87] <#_ftnref87> Wilson, Barrie. How Jesus Became Christian, Ransom House of Canada, 2009, Pgs. 1-20

[88] <#_ftnref88> Josephus, Antiquity 20:9.

[89] <#_ftnref89>   Edwards, James, R. The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition, William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids Mich., 2009 Pg. 121

[90] <#_ftnref90> Cross F. L., Livingston Elizabeth A. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, London, NY 1974, Pg 439

[91] <#_ftnref91> Kelhoffer, James A. The Diet of John the Baptist, Mohr Siebeck, Tubingen, 2005 Pg. 74

[92] <#_ftnref92> Ibid. Pg. 60

[93] <#_ftnref93> Ed. Howard, G., The Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, Mercer University Press, Macon, Ga. Pg. 87  

[94] <#_ftnref94> Cross F. L., Livingston Elizabeth A. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, London, NY 1974, Pg 867, 1334

[95] <#_ftnref95> Saldarini, Anthony J. Matthew’s Christian-Jewish Community, University of Chicago Press, Chicago 1994  

[96] <#_ftnref96> Kelhoffer, James A. The Diet of John the Baptist, Mohr Siebeck, Tubingen, 2005 Pg. 19-20

[97] <#_ftnref97> Ibid., Pg. 20

[98] <#_ftnref98> Kelhoffer, James A. The Diet of John the Baptist, Mohr Siebeck, Tubingen, 2005,  Pgs. 79-80

[99] <#_ftnref99> McGowan, Andrew. Ascetic Eucharist: Food and Drink in Early Christian Ritual Meals, Oxford University Press, Oxford, Pg. 150

[100] <#_ftnref100> James Robert Deal, What to serve a goddess when she comes for dinner;

[101] <#_ftnref101> Howard G., Hebrew Gospel of Matthew, Mercer University Press, Macon, Ga 2000, Pg. 158: Epiphanius, Pansarion 30

[102] <#_ftnref102> Ed. Gentz, William H. The Dictionary of Bible and Religion, Abington Press, Nashville: Abingdon 1986

[103] <#_ftnref103> Deal J. R., What to Serve the Goddess When She Comes for Dinner: an Environmental, Historical and Semi-autobiographical food book, goddess recipes included, Great Ideas Press, Wash. 1997  

[104] <#_ftnref104> Good News Bible , Canadian Bible Society, Toronto Ontario, 2008   

[105] <#_ftnref105> Carl Anders Skriber, The forgotten beginnings of creation and Christianity, Krauss Samuel, Toldot Jeschu 1977 Keith Acres Vegetarian Press 1990, Press 144

[106] <#_ftnref106> Burke, Abbot G. Simply Heavenly: The Monastery Vegetarian Cookbook, St. George Press, 1994.

[107] <#_ftnref107> Kiraz G. A., Et. Al., The Old Syriac Gospels: Studies and Comparative Translation, Vol. 2 Luke and John, Notre Dame University, Louaize, Lebanon, and Gorgias Press. LL.C.

[108] <#_ftnref108> Farmer, William.  The Synoptic Problem: Critical Analysis, Mercer University Press, Macon, Ga. 1976. Pg. 231

[109] <#_ftnref109> Flanagan, Patrick J. The Gospel of Mark, Pauline Press, New York, 1997 Pg. 142

[110] <#_ftnref110> Shaw, Jane. Miracles in Enlightenment England, Yale University Press, cop. New Haven 2006, Pg. 3

[111] <#_ftnref111> Barnstone, Willis. The Other Bible, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984 Pg.336

[112] <#_ftnref112> Barnstone, Willis. The Other Bible, Harper & Row, San Francisco, 1984, Pg 336

[113] <#_ftnref113> Rendsburg, Gary A. The Book of Genesis: Study Guide for C.D.s for the Teaching Company, The Teaching Company, Chantilly, VA. 2006 Pg. 28

[114] <#_ftnref114> Ibid., Pg. 28

[115] <#_ftnref115> Rendsburg, Gary A. The Book of Genesis: Study Guide for C.D.s for the Teaching Company, The Teaching Company, Chantilly, VA. 2006, Pg. 6

[116] <#_ftnref116> Powell F. F. Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: The Usurpation of Jesus and the Original Disciples, iUniverse S.I. 2009

[117] <#_ftnref117> Paget, James C. Jews, Christians, and Jewish Christians in Antiquity, Mohr Siebeck, Tubingen, 2010 Pg. 341

[118] <#_ftnref118> Jones, Stanley F. An Ancient Jewish Christian Source: On the history of Christianity Pseudo- Clementine Recognitions, 1.27-71,  Scholars Press, Atlanta Georgia, 1995 pg.13

[119] <#_ftnref119> Sandy, W. The Gospel in the Second Century. Kessinger Publishing, 2004, Pg. 117

[120] <#_ftnref120> Ludemann, Gerd, Opposition to Paul in Jewish Christianity, Fortress Press, Minneapolis, 1989, Pg. 188

[121] <#_ftnref121> Powell F. F. Robbing Peter to Pay Paul: The Usurpation of Jesus and the Original Disciples, iUniverse S.I. 2009,

[122] <#_ftnref122> Green, William Scott; Neusner, Jacob. Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period, Peabody, Mass: Hendrickson, 1999,

[123] <#_ftnref123> Eusebius, History of the Church Eusebius, 2:23, CHE p. 125; cf. HC pp. 99-100, also quoting from Hegesippus

[124] <#_ftnref124> Butz, Jeffery J. The Brother of Jesus: The Lost Teachings of Christianity, Inner Traditions, 2005, Pg. 10

[125] <#_ftnref125> William, Robert. Bishops Lists: Formation of Apostolic Succession of Bishops in Ecclesiastic Crisis, Gorgias Press LLC. 2005, Pg. 105

[126] <#_ftnref126> Ibid., Pg. 105

[127] <#_ftnref127> Ibid., Pg. 105

[128] <#_ftnref128> Lambdin, Thomas O. The Gospel of Thomas, The Gnostic Society Library, The Nag Hammadi Library, 1990, Gospel of Thomas 1:12. <>

[129] <#_ftnref129> Akers, Keith. The Lost Religion of Jesus, Lantern Books, One Union Square West, Suite 201, New York, NY Pg. 179

[130] <#_ftnref130> The Amplified Bible, Lockman Foundation, Zondervan Co. La Habra CA,  1987

[131] <#_ftnref131> Yinger, Kent L. The New Perspective on Paul, Cascade Books, Eugene Or. 2011,

[132] <#_ftnref132> Ehrman, Bart. Lost Christianities: The battle for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew, Oxford University Press, 2005 Pg. 240

[133] <#_ftnref133> Carl Anders Skriber, The forgotten beginnings of creation and Christianity, Krauss Samuel, Toldot Jeschu 1977 Keith Acres Vegetarian Press 1990, Press 144

[134] <#_ftnref134> Cross F. L., Livingston Elizabeth A. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford University Press, London, NY 1974, Pg. 722

[135] <#_ftnref135> Almeder R. F., Humber, James M. Biomedical Ethics Reviews, Humana Press, Clifton, N. J. 1983, Pg. 29

[136] <#_ftnref136> Preece, Rod. Sins of the Flesh: a History of Ethical Vegetarian Thought, UBC 

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