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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Simon

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Si´mon, the same name, in origin and signification, as Simeon.

Simon, 1

Simon Maccabaeus [MACCABEES]

Simon, 2

Simon, the apostle, to whom Christ gave the name of Peter, after which he was rarely called by his former name alone, but usually by that of Peter, or else Simon Peter [PETER].

Simon, 3

Simon, surnamed Zelotes, one of the twelve apostles (; ), and probably so named from having been one of the Zealots. He is also called 'The Canaanite' in ; . This, however, is not, as is usually the case, to be taken for a Gentile name, but is merely an Aramaic word signifying 'zeal,' and therefore of the same signification as Zelotes. Simon is the least known of all the apostles, not a single circumstance, beyond the fact of his apostleship, being recorded in the Scriptures. He is probably to be identified with Simon the son of Cleophas; and if so, the traditions concerning that person, given by those who make them distinct, must be assigned to him. These traditions, however, assign a different destiny to this Simon, alleging that he preached the Gospel throughout North Africa, from Egypt to Mauritania, and that he even proceeded to the remote isles of Britain.

Simon, 4

Simon, son of Cleophas and Mary, brother of the apostles James and Jude, and a kinsman of Jesus (; ). He is probably the same with the Simon Zelotes above mentioned, and in that case we must regard the separate traditions respecting him as apocryphal, and take those assigned to the present Simon as proper to both. They amount to this, that after St. James had been slain by the Jews in A.D. 62, his brother Simon was appointed to succeed him in the government of the church at Jerusalem, and that forty-three years after, when Trajan caused search to be made for all those who claimed to be of the race of David, he was accused before Atticus, the governor of Palestine, and after enduring great torture was crucified, being then 120 years of age.

Simon, 5

Simon, father of Judas Iscariot (; ; ; ).

Simon, 6

Simon, a Pharisee who invited Jesus to his house (; ).

Simon the Leper

Simon the Leper, so called from having formerly been afflicted with leprosy (; ). He was of Bethany, and after the raising of Lazarus, gave a feast, probably in celebration of that event, at which both Jesus and Lazarus were present (comp. ). He was, therefore, probably a near friend or relation of Lazarus: some suppose that he was his brother; others that he was the husband of Mary, the sister of Lazarus, who at this feast anointed the Lord's feet, and that Lazarus abode with them. But all this is pure conjecture.

Simon the Cyrenian

Simon the Cyrenian, who was compelled to aid in bearing the cross of Jesus (; ; ). Whether this surname indicated that Simon was one of the many Jews from Cyrene, who came to Jerusalem at the Passover, or that he was originally from Cyrene, although then settled at Jerusalem, is uncertain. The latter seems the more likely opinion, as Simon's two sons, Alexander and Rufus, were certainly disciples of Christ; and it was perhaps the knowledge of this fact which led the Jews to incite the soldiers to lay on him the burden of the cross. The family of Simon seems to have resided afterwards at Rome; for St. Paul, in his epistle to the church there, salutes the wife of Simon with tenderness and respect, calling her his 'mother,' though he does not expressly name her: 'Salute Rufus, and his mother and mine' ().

Simon the Tanner

Simon the Tanner, with whom St. Peter lodged at Joppa (; ; ). He was doubtless a disciple. His house was by the seaside, beyond the wall, as the trade of a tanner was one which the Jews did not allow to be carried on inside their towns.

Simon Magus

In Acts 8 we read that Philip the Evangelist, while preaching the Gospel in a city of Samaria, came in contact with a person of the name of Simon, who had formerly exercised immense power over the minds of the people by his skill in the resources of magic. So high were the pretensions of this impostor, and so profound the impression he had made on the minds of the multitude, that they not only received with readiness all that he taught, but admitted his claim to be regarded as an incarnation of the demiurgic power of God. The doctrines of Philip, however, concerning Christ as the true and only incarnation of Deity, supported by the unparalleled and beneficent miracles which he performed, had the effect of dispelling this delusion, and inducing the people to renounce their allegiance to Simon and receive baptism as the disciples of Christ. On the mind of Simon himself so deep an impression was produced, that he professed himself a disciple of Jesus, and as such was baptized by Philip.

On the news of Philip's success reaching Jerusalem, Peter and John went down to Samaria to confer upon the new converts the spiritual gifts which were vouchsafed to the primitive churches. During their visit Simon discovered that by means of prayer and the imposition of hands the Apostles were able to dispense the power of the Holy Ghost; and supposing probably that in this lay the much-prized secret of their superior power, he attempted to induce them to impart to him this power by offering them money. This, which for such a man was a very natural act, intimated to the Apostles at once his true character (or rather, to express more accurately our conviction, it enabled them to manifest to the people and publicly to act upon what their own power of discerning spirits must have already taught them of his true character); and accordingly Peter indignantly repudiated his offer, proclaimed his utter want of all true knowledge of Christian doctrine, and exhorted him to repentance and to prayer for forgiveness. The words of Peter on this occasion, it is justly remarked by Neander, 'present the doctrine of the Gospel, which so expressly intimates the absolute necessity of a right state of mind for the reception of all that Christianity conveys, in direct opposition to the Magianism, which denies all necessary connection between the state of mind and that which is divine and supernatural, brings down the divine and supernatural within the sphere of ordinary nature, and imagines that divine power may be appropriated by means of something else than that which is allied to it in man's nature, and which supplies the only point of union between the two.' The solemn and threatening words of the Apostle struck dread into the bosom of the impostor, who besought the Apostle to pray for him that none of the things he had threatened might come upon him—an entreaty which shows that his mind still labored under what Neander above describes as the chief error of the Magian doctrine.

After this we read no more of Simon Magus in the New Testament.

Simon's doctrines were substantially those of the Gnostics, and he is not without reason regarded as the first who attempted to engraft the theurgy and egotism of the Magian philosophy upon Christianity. He represented himself, according to Jerome, as the Word of God, the Perfection, the Paraclete, the Almighty, the All of Deity; and Irenaeus (i. 20) tells us he carried with him a beautiful female named Helena, whom he set forth as the first idea of Deity. If this be not exaggerated fable on the part of his enemies, we must suppose that such modes of speech and representation were adopted by him as suited to the highly allegorical character of Orientalism in his day; for were we to suppose him to have meant such utterances to be taken literally, we should be constrained to look upon him in the light of a madman.

 

 

 

 


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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Simon'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/kbe/s/simon.html.

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Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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