Zoharites so called from their attachment to the book Zohar, are properly to be regarded as a continuation of the sect formed by the famous Sabbathai Zevi (q.v.). Their creed is briefly as follows:
1. They believe in all that God has ever revealed, and consider it their duty constantly to investigate its meaning.
2. They believe the letter of Scripture to be merely the shell, and that it admits of a mystical and spiritual interpretation.
3. They believe in a Trinity of Parzuphim, or persons, in Elohim.
4. They believe in the incarnation of God; that this incarnation took place in Adam, and that it will again take place in the Messiah.
5. They do not believe that Jerusalem will ever be rebuilt.
6. They believe that it is vain to expect any temporal Messiah; but that God will be manifested in the flesh, and in this state atone, not only for the sins of the Jews, but for the sins of all throughout the world who believe in him.
This sect was revived about the year 1750 by a Polish Jew, of the name of Jacob Frank, who settled in Podolia, and enjoyed the protection of the Polish government, to which he was recommended by the bishop of Kamenetz, in whose presence he held disputes with the orthodox Jews, and who was astonished at the approximation of his creed to the principles of Christianity. On the death of the bishop, he and his adherents were driven into the Turkish dominions; and being also persecuted there by the Rabbinists, they resolved to conform to the rites of the Catholic Church. Frank at last found a place of rest at Offenbach, whither his followers flocked by thousands to visit him, and where he died in 1791. Their numbers do not appear to have increased much of late; but they are to be met with in different parts of Hungary and Poland. SEE ZOHAR.