The Poor

Galatians 2
9 and when James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given to me, they gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised. 10 Only, they asked us to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.
The Jewish monastery at Qumran:

Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls in 1947-1956, extensive excavations have taken place in Qumran. Nearly 900 scrolls were discovered. Most were written on parchment and some on papyrus. Cisterns, Jewish ritual baths, and cemeteries have been found, along with a dining or assembly room and debris from an upper story alleged by some to have been a scriptorium as well as pottery kilns and a tower.

Many scholars believe the location was home to a Jewish sect, probably the Essenes. But, according to Lawrence Schiffman, the rules of the community, its heavy stress on priesthood and the Zadokite legacy, and other details indicate a Sadducean-oriented sect either distinct from or one of the various Essene groupings.[1]

Many of the texts found in the caves appear to represent widely accepted Jewish beliefs and practices, while other texts appear to speak of divergent, unique, or minority interpretations and practices. Some scholars believe that some of these texts describe the beliefs of the inhabitants of Qumran, which, may have been the Essenes, or the asylum for supporters of the traditional priestly family of the Zadokites against the Hasmonean priest/kings. A literary epistle published in the 1990s expresses reasons for creating a community, some of which resemble Sadducean arguments in the Talmud.[4] Most of the scrolls seem to have been hidden in the caves during the turmoil of the First Jewish Revolt, though some of them may have been deposited earlier.

This community did not give themselves a formal title, though outside, contemporaneous sources use Essenes:
...Josephus gave a detailed account of the Essenes in The Jewish War (c. 75 CE), with a shorter description in Antiquities of the Jews (c. 94 CE) and The Life of Flavius Josephus (c. 97 CE). Claiming first hand knowledge, he lists the Essenoi as one of the three sects of Jewish philosophy[7] alongside the Pharisees and the Sadducees. He relates the same information concerning pietycelibacy, the absence of personal property and of money, the belief in communality and commitment to a strict observance of Sabbath. He further adds that the Essenes ritually immersed in water every morning, ate together after prayer, devoted themselves to charity and benevolence, forbade the expression of anger, studied the books of the elders, preserved secrets, and were very mindful of the names of the angels kept in their sacred writings.

The Qumran community, led by James until his extra-judicial killing in 62, and which became the enemy of Chrestianity (in the Heradian monarchy and its supporters in both Egypt and Rome) used many terms to describe itself, perhaps none better known than The Poor: Ebionites, or Ebionaioi (Greek: Ἐβιωναῖοι; derived from Hebrew אביונים ebyonim, ebionim, meaning "the poor" or "poor ones").

Eisenman's James the Just in the Habakkuk Pesher became the foundation stone for this study:
...what Prof. Eisenman does in this short volume is to go through what is known by scholars as "The Habakkuk Pesher" and laymen, "The Habakkuk Commentary" – "Pesher" in Hebrew having the same sense as "Commentary" in English – in a line-by-line, passage-by-passage fashion; and meticulously set forth just how they can relate to known events, ideas, and happenstances known from and associated with the life of James or as all Early Christian accounts would have it: "James the Just" (the cognomen, “the Just One” of course, being at all times all-important) or “James the Zaddik”. 

As everyone knows, he has expanded this in two 1000+ page books since: James the Brother of Jesus: The Key to Unlocking the Secrets of Early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls (1997-98) and The New Testament Code: The Cup of the Lord, the Damascus Covenant, and the Blood of Christ (2006) and two shorter ones: James the Brother of Jesus and the Dead Sea Scrolls I and II (2012 and 2013); but these two initial volumes represent his first forays into this territory. Once again, despite the impression by a few critics, who try make light of or marginalize his theories or scholarship (as if they could produce anything better); as in MZCQ, he absolutely distinguishes between "the Spouter of Lies” or “Lying” (the so-called “Liar” or “Scoffer” – for Eisenman, a more accurate translation of this last being “the Jester”) and "the Wicked Priest"; and this dichotomy has withstood the test of time and initiated a host of imitators. 

Not only does he make it clear – despite some simplistic “Consensus” theorizing – that these two are utterly different; but, in doing so, he absolutely confirms through internal analysis a First Century CE date for principal Qumran original Documents (called by so-called ‘consensus scholars’, “Sectarian”), a position he already basically set forth in MZCQ. The first, of course, is an internal ideological Adversary of the hero of the Scrolls, "the Righteous Teacher" – “the Liar” who "denied the Law in the midst of their entire Congregation" – the second, the present Establishment High Priest and this, definitively not a “Maccabean” but the reigning “Herodian” one. 

It is he who is responsible for the death or destruction of "the Righteous Teacher" and some of those with him – called revealingly “the Poor" – “the Ebionim" in the Hebrew of the Scrolls and very probably equivalent to "the Ebionites" of Early Church History about whom Eusebius in the 4th Century is so contemptuous and scathing of.

The Poor is neither a Chrestian, nor Christian group; it is Jewish through-and-through - Observant, pious, and desperate to free both itself and Judea from outside influences (whether Greek or Roman):
The term Ebionites derives from the common adjective for "poor" in Hebrew (singular: אֶבְיוֹן ev·yōn, plural: אביונים ev·yōn·im),[10][11][12] which occurs fifteen times in the Psalms and was the self-given term of some pious Jewish circles (e.g. Psalm 69:33 ("For the LORD heareth the poor") and 1 QpHab XII, 3.6.10).[13] The term "Ebionim" was also a self description given by the people who were living in Qumran, as shown in the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Qumran tefillin cases; Leather, First century B.C.E.-first century C.E.
The laws governing the wearing of these were derived from four Biblical passages (Deut. vi. 8, xi. 18; Ex. xiii. 9, 16). Each box contains the four Scriptural passages Ex. xiii. 1-10, 11-16; Deut. vi. 4-9, xi. 13-21.

How The Poor are portrayed in the following textual tradition, including texts of the New Testament, Church histories, various anti-heresy polemics and in traditional, modern scholarship, reveals the character of the history provided by the combination of Church, academia and State:
The term "the poor" was at first a common designation for all Christians - a reference to their material and voluntary poverty.[11][14][15]

The enemy of The Poor takes the title for itself; this is the stuff of parody and black propaganda. An early start to this fraudulent process is:
Eusebius Pamphilius: Church History, Life of Constantine, Oration in Praise of Constantine
1. The evil demon, however, being unable to tear certain others from their allegiance to the Christ of God, yet found them susceptible in a different direction, and so brought them over to his own purposes. The ancients quite properly called these men Ebionites, because they held poor and mean opinions concerning Christ.
2. For they considered him a plain and common man, who was justified only because of his superior virtue, and who was the fruit of the intercourse of a man with Mary. In their opinion the observance of the ceremonial law was altogether necessary, on the ground that they could not be saved by faith in Christ alone and by a corresponding life.
3. There were others, however, besides them, that were of the same name, but avoided the strange and absurd beliefs of the former, and did not deny that the Lord was born of a virgin and of the Holy Spirit. But nevertheless, inasmuch as they also refused to acknowledge that he pre-existed, being God, Word, and Wisdom, they turned aside into the impiety of the former, especially when they, like them, endeavored to observe strictly the bodily worship of the law.
4. These men, moreover, thought that it was necessary to reject all the epistles of the apostle, whom they called an apostate from the law; and they used only the so-called Gospel according to the Hebrews and made small account of the rest.
5. The Sabbath and the rest of the discipline of the Jews they observed just like them, but at the same time, like us, they celebrated the Lord’s days as a memorial of the resurrection of the Saviour.
6. Wherefore, in consequence of such a course they received the name of Ebionites, which signified the poverty of their understanding. For this is the name by which a poor man is called among the Hebrews.

The purported author is one Eusebius of Caesarea, a fiction; the earliest texts claiming - with no support - to be copied from his works, belong to the 6th century, two centuries late. They become the basis for much of the false history taught today. This fiction becomes the glittering web of false assumptions which sets the agenda for scholarly debate and mires most scholars, even skeptics.

Even the Jewish Encyclopedia (1906) accepts most of this self-contradicting nonsense:

Sect of Judæo-Christians of the second to the fourth century. They believed in the Messianic character of Jesus, but denied his divinity and supernatural origin; observed all the Jewish rites, such as circumcision and the seventh-day Sabbath; and used a gospel according to Matthew written in Hebrew or Aramaic, while rejecting the writings of Paul as those of an apostate (Irenæus, "Adversus Hæreses," i. 262; Origen, "Contra Celsum," ii. 1; Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." iii. 27; Hippolytus, "Refutatio Hæresium," vii. 34; Jerome, Commentary on Isaiah, i. 3, 12; on Matt. xii. 13). Some Ebionites, however, accepted the doctrine of the supernatural birth of Jesus, and worked out a Christology of their own (Origen, l.c. v. 61).

The origin of the Ebionites was, perhaps intentionally, involved at an early date in legend. Origen ("De Principiis," iv. 1, 22; "Contra Celsum," ii. 1) still knew that the meaning of the name "Ebionim" was "poor," but refers it to the poverty of their understanding (comp. Eusebius, l.c.), because they refused to accept the Christology of the ruling Church. Later a mythical person by the name of Ebion was invented as the founder of the sect, who, like Cerinth, his supposed teacher, lived among the Nazarenes in Kokabe, a village in the district of Basan on the eastern side of the Jordan, and, having spread his heresy among the Christians who fled to this part of Palestine after the destruction of the Temple, migrated to Asia and to Rome (Epiphanius, "Hæreses," xxx. 1, 2; Hippolytus, l.c. vii. 35, x. 22; Tertullian, "De Præscriptione Hæreticorum," 33). The early Christians called themselves preferably "Ebionim" (the poor; comp. Epiphanius, l.c. xxx. 17; Minucius Felix Octavius, ch. 36), because they regarded self-imposed poverty as a meritorious method of preparation for the Messianic kingdom, according to Luke vi. 20, 24: "Blessed are ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God"; and "Woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation" (=Messianic share; Matt. v. 3, "the poor in spirit," is a late modification of the original; comp. Luke iv. 18, vii. 22; Matt. xix. 21 et seq., xxvi. 9 et seq.; Luke xix. 8; John xii. 5; Rom. xv. 26; II Cor. vi. 10, viii. 9; Gal. ii. 10; James ii. 5 et seq.). Accordingly they dispossessed themselves of all their goods and lived in communistic societies (Acts iv. 34 et seq.). In this practise the Essenes also were encouraged, partly by Messianic passages, such as Isa. xi. 4, xlix. 3 (comp. Ex. R. xxxi.), partly by Deut. xv. 11: "The poor shall never cease out of the land"—a passage taken to be a warning not to embark upon commerce when the study of the Law is thereby neglected (Ta'an. 21a; comp. also Mek., Beshallaḥ, ii., ed. Weiss, 56; see notes).

Origen (l.c. ii. 1), while not clear as to the precise meaning of the term "Ebionim," gives the more important testimony that all Judæo-Christians were called "Ebionites." The Christians that fled to the trans-Jordanic land (Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." iii. 5, 3), remaining true to their Judean traditions, were afterward regarded as a heretic sect of the Ebionites, and hence rose the legend of Ebion. To them belonged Symmachus, the Bible translator (ib. vi. 17).

    • Herzog-Hauck, Real-Encyc. s.v. Ebioniten;
    • Harnack, History of Dogma, pp. 299-300, Boston, 1895;
    • Hilgenfeld, Ketzergeschichte, 1884, pp. 421-446, where the legendary Ebion is treated as a historical person.
The references (highlighted supra) thus become a valuable list of false sources.
Avigad (1971: 193, 198) contends that ‘Yehonathan the Nazirite’ was the head of a prominent and aristocratic family, probably buried in the plain sarcophagus, while his wife was apparently interred in the ornamented sarcophagus. In its architectural and artistic standards it is akin to the royal tombs of Queen Helen of Adiabene and Herod’s family.

The Jews of Qumran were known by many titles other than The Poor and Essenes; one was Nazirite:

In the Hebrew Bible, a Nazirite or Nazarite, (in Hebrew: נזיר, nazir), refers to one who voluntarily took a vow described in Numbers 6:1–21. The proper noun "Nazarite" comes from the Hebrew word nazir meaning "consecrated" or "separated".[1] This vow required the man or woman to:

    • Abstain from wine, wine vinegargrapesraisinsintoxicating liquors,[2] vinegar distilled from such substances,[3] and eating or drinking any substance that contains any trace of grapes.[4]
    • Refrain from cutting the hair on one's head; but to allow the locks of the head's hair to grow.[5]
    • Not to become impure by corpses or graves, even those of family members.[6]

After following these requirements for a designated period of time (which would be specified in the individual's vow), the person would immerse in amikveh and make three offerings: a lamb as a burnt offering (olah), a ewe as a sin-offering (hatat), and a ram as a peace offering (shelamim), in addition to a basket of unleavened bread, grain offerings and drink offerings, which accompanied the peace offering. They would also shave their head in the outer courtyard of the Temple (the Jerusalem Temple for Judaism) and then place the hair on the same fire as the peace offering. (Numbers 6:18)

This term was parodied with:

The Nazarenes were a sect of 4th-century Christianity first mentioned by Epiphanius of Salamis, who considered them heretics.[1] The group was later mentioned by Jerome and Augustine of Hippo.[2][3]

Epiphanius, and other writers such as Jerome, distinguished the 4th Century Nazarenes from the earlier use of "Sect of the Nazarenes" (ἡ τῶν Ναζωραίων αἵρεσις) applied to the New Testament Church in Acts 24:5, where Paul the Apostle is accused before Felix at Caesarea (the capital of Roman Judaea) by Tertullus of being "a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes."[4]

This provides further, useful additions to false sources. A more famous parody of the term is, of course, Nazareth, for which archaeology has demonstrated no village or town of that name in the 1st century.

On these terms, we finish with an extract from an early paper by Eisenman, republished in 2013:
Through this analysis, also, sense can be made of the testimony, referred to above, of James actually functioning as high priest. Whether the Maccabean priesthood "of the Most High God” is, also, to be identified with the Melchizedek one of Christianity and the Letter to the Hebrews remains open to question. Whether this latter usage of the term can be extended to the Qumran (or Zadokite) use of the term as well has been debated. The writer would take a position in the affirmative, considering all such juxtapositions of the letters Z-D-K to be interrelated, in this regard, it should be remembered that the formula, “men of the lot of Melchizedek”, of 11QMelchizedek corresponds almost precisely to the terminology “sons of Zadok" in the Zadokite Document; and therefore, by simple reduction, Zadok and Melchizedek are equivalent usages.
The Damascus Document Scroll, 4Q271Df, found in Cave 4 at Qumran

Finally, if there is substance to any of these extensions and identifications, “the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek” must be related to what we have called “the Zealot”, based on “the zeal of Phineas" and invoked on behalf of Simeon the Righteous, Mattathias, and Onias in the Hebrew version of Ecclesiasticus, 1 Macc, and 2 Macc respectively." Correspondingly, J. Bowman has argued in a much overlooked article on this subject that the Zadokite one bases its claims for legitimacy on this selfsame “covenant of Phineas”. By now it should be clear that these are not all separate reckonings, but rather esoteric or poetic variations around the same theme, “Righteousness” and/or “zeal"; just as the various phraseologies the community at Qumran used to refer to itself e.g., “sons of Light”, “sons of Truth", "sons of Zadok”, "sons of Zedek” , “the sons of Hesed” , “Ebionim", “the Elect of Righteousness”, “the Meek", "Ebionei-Hesed" (“the Poor Ones of Piety“), "Nimharei-Zedek” (“the Zealous for Righteousness”), “Tamimei-Derech” (“the Perfect of the Way”), "Anshei-Tamim ha-Kodesh” (“the Men of the Perfection of Holiness”), etc., do not all designate different groups , but function as interchangeable metaphors. In this view, the Covenant of Phineas operated over and above the general Aaronite one (Bowman considered the Covenant of Phineas to be the prior one), setting forth which among the various Aaronite heirs could be considered suitable candidates for the high priesthood, i.e., the “zealous” or “righteous” ones. it is significant that one of the original demands at the time of the first uprising in 4 BCE, inspired according to Josephus by “the Zealots”, was to appoint “according to the law” a high priest of “more perfect purity”. For their part it was the “messianically”-inspired zealous young priests who by stopping sacrifice on behalf of the Romans gave the signal for the start of the uprising in 66 CE. Commentators who cannot make a determination as to whether the Dead Sea Scroll sect was anti-Herodian or pro-Herodian, pro-Hyrcanus or pro-Aristobulus, and consequently are unable, for instance, to make any sense out of the destruction of the community in the forties or thirties BCE by fire, are equally unable to understand any of the considerations delineated above; or rather simply do not wish to, preferring to take a position on the relatively safer and less controversial questions of palaeography and archaeology. (Maccabees, Zadokites, Christians, and Qumran by Robert Eisenman)