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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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an ancient sect, said to be Chaldeans, addicted to astrology and star- worship. The word is derived, according to Pococke, from the Aramaic tsabad, the heavenly host, from which same root the word Sabian is taken, but in the different sense of "to change religion." The Zabians were idolaters, (dwelling in the north of Mesopotamia, in the Biblical Haran. An Arabic writer, quoted by Chwolsohn, says that they adopted the name Zabian as being a religion tolerated by the Koran, and so escaped the persecution to which their star-worship would have exposed them. They first gave planetary names to the days of the week; the feast day of each planet being determined by the time of its culmination; hence, also, the alchemists of the Middle Ages, and through them heralds, have borrowed the notion of assigning a particular metal and a particular color to the several planets. In common with other Aramaic races they had a civil year, which began like the Jewish Rosh Ia-Shanah in autumn, and an ecclesiastical year commencing at the vernal equinox. Before the time of Mohammed they offered human sacrifices to the deities which they believed were embodied in the planets. See Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v. (See SABIANS).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Zabians'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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