Symmachians The term designates the members of a sect mentioned only by Philaster (Haer. 63). He describes them as adherents of Patricius, who taught that the human body was not created by God, but by the devil, and that it should be abused in every possible way, suicide even being regarded as allowable. The Symmachians asserted also that every vice and fleshly lust should command the obedience of mankind, and that there is no future judgment for the race. It is more probable, however, that the Symmachians were disciples of Symmachus (q.v.) of Samaria, a Jew who became a Christian, consorted with the Ebionites, and furnished a Greek version of the Old Test. which stands before that of Theodotion in the Polyglot, but is of more recent date than the latter. Petavius (in Notes on Epiphanius, 2, 400) endeavors to trace their origin to yet another Symmachus; and Valesius (on Euseb. 6. 17) says that a Jewish-Christian sect originated with the Ebionite Symmachus, of whom Ambrose states, in a commentary on the Epistle to the Galatians, that they descended from the Pharisees, kept the whole law, called themselves Christians, and followed Photinus in the belief that Christ was merely a man. The Manichaean Faustus (see Augustine, Contra Faust. 19:14), on the other hand, describes the Symmachiansl as Nazarenes, and Augustine adds (Contra Cresconium, 1, 31) that they were but few in number in his time, and that they practiced both Jewish circumcision and Christian baptism. See Fabricius [Joann.Alb.], Philastrii de Haeresibus Liber, cum Emend. et Notis (Hamb. 1725), p. 125.Herzog, Real-Encyklop. s.v.

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