Baha'i Library Online

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COLLECTIONUnpublished articles
TITLEIlluminator vs. Redeemer: Was Ebionite Adam/Christ Prophetology "Original," Anti-Pauline, or "Gnostic"?
AUTHOR 1Christopher Buck
ABSTRACTContains no mention of the Bahá'í Faith, but is of interest because of the phenomenological resonance between the Ebionite Christian doctrine of the "True Prophet" with the Bahá’í doctrine of the “Manifestation of God.”
NOTES Written in June 1982, revised in 1983 as Illuminator vs. Redeemer: A Trajectory of Ebionite Christology from Prophet Messianism to Baha'I Theophanology. Proofread/formatted by Bobbi Lyons and updated by Buck in 2012.
TAGS- Christianity; - Interfaith dialogue; - Judaism; Adam and Eve; Ebionism; Jesus Christ

This is the author's research paper for his first graduate course, "Problems in Ebionism," a directed study at Western Washington State College (now Western Washington University), under William K.B. Stoever (now Professor Emeritus), chair of Liberal Studies. The paper was awarded an A on its completion in June 1982. Dr. Stoever is named on the last page of the paper. The paper itself was word-processed by Carol Lenhard.

This paper was later revised as “Illuminator vs. Redeemer: A ‘Trajectory’ of Ebionite Christology from Prophet Messianism to Bahá’í Theophanology,” a synopsis of which was published in Abstracts: American Academy of Religion/Society of Biblical Literature Annual Meeting 1983 in Dallas (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1983, p. 86).

Although the paper is unpublished, it may be considered to be the equivalent of a peer-reviewed paper insofar as the paper was critically reviewed by Dr. Stoever. Of interest is the striking phenomenological resonance between the Ebionite Christian doctrine of the "True Prophet" with the Bahá’í doctrine of the “Manifestation of God.” See also this brief compilation by Buck: “Some Important Documents for the History And Doctrines of Ebionite Christianity” (1982), online at

Excerpt from an early Jewish-Christian work, The Homilies of Clement:

Salvation of Jews and Christians

"For on this account Jesus is concealed from the Jews, who have taken Moses as their teacher, and Moses is hidden from those who have believed in Jesus. For, there being one teaching by both, God accepts him who has believed either of these" (H 8:6). "For even the Hebrews who believe Moses, and do not observe the things spoken by him, are not saved, unless they observe the things that are spoken to them... Neither is there salvation in believing in teachers and calling them lords" (H 8:5).

"Neither, therefore, are the Hebrews condemned by account of their ignorance of Jesus, by reason of Him who has concealed Him, if, doing the things commanded by Moses they do not hate Him (Jesus) whom they do know. Neither are those from among the Gentiles condemned, who do not know Moses, provided that these also, doing the things spoken by Jesus, do not hate Him (Moses) whom they do not know" (H 8: 7) .

"And some will not be profited by calling the teachers lords, but not doing the works of servants... Moreover, if anyone has been thought worthy to recognize both as preaching one doctrine, that man has been counted rich in God, understanding the old things as new in time, and the new things as old" (H 8:7).

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