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Bible Dictionaries

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary


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A sect among the ancient Jews, thus called from their washing and bathing every day, in all seasons; and performing this custom with the greatest solemnity, as a religious rite necessary to salvation. Epiphanius, who mentions this as the fourth heresy among the Jews, observes, that in other points these heretics had much the same opinion as the Scribes and Pharisees; only that they denied the resurrection of the dead, in common with the Sadducees, and retained a few other of the improprieties of these last. The sect who pass in the East under the denomination of Sabians, calling themselves Mendai Iiahi, or the disciples of St. John, and whom the Europeans entitle the Christians of St. John, because they yet retain some knowledge of the Gospel, is probably of Jewish origin, and seems to have been derived from the ancient Hemerobaptists; at least it is certain that John, whom they consider as the founder of their sect, bears no sort of similitude to John the Baptist, but rather resembles the person of that name whom the ancient writers represent as the chief of the Jewish Hemerobaptists. These ambiguous Christians dwell in Persia and Arabia, and principally at Bassora; and their religion consists in bodily washings, performed frequently and with great solemnity, and attended with certain ceremonies which the priests mingle with this superstitious service.

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Bibliography Information
Buck, Charles. Entry for 'Hemerobaptists'. Charles Buck Theological Dictionary. 1802.

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