Sunday, December 30, 2012

Epiphanius's Mention of the 'Zacchaeans' as a Heretical Sect

The Borborites (= Gk. filthy) are clearly a sect name which understood themselves to be pure or clean (= Aram zakah) and so the name appears in Epiphanius's account of the sect:

But I am afraid of revealing the whole of this potent poison-like the face of a serpent’s basilisk-to the reader’s harm rather then his correction. For it does no pollute the ears, the blasphemous assembly with its great audacity, its gathering and description of its dirt, the filthy (borborodes) ill-will of its scummy obscenity. Thus some actually call them “Borborians.” but others call them Koddians “qodda” means “dish” or “bowel” in Aramaic-because no one can eat with them. Food is served to them separately in their defilement, and no one can eat even bread with them because of the pollution. And this is why their fellow alien reisdents, who consider them distinct from themselvs, have named them Kodians. But in Egypt the same people are known as Stratiotics and Phibionites, as I said earlier. But some call them Zacchaeans, others, Barbelites.” (Book I Section 26, 3,5-3,7: page 85 in Wlliams trans.)

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