Ray A. Pritz discusses in some depth the evidence extant for Nazarene Jewish Christianity (the title of his book, subtitled: “From the end of the New Testament Period Until Its Disappearances in the Fourth Century”). It was published 1988 so no doubt the scholarly discussion summarized by Pritz at that time has since moved on.
I post here the first of his discussions of a “pre-Christian” sect related to a name like “Nazarenes”. We know from Acts that early Christians were known (at least by outsiders) as Nazarenes — Acts 24:5.
I skip here the reasons (covered many times elsewhere) this term cannot refer (contrary to Matthew 2:23) to a person from the village of Nazareth. Maybe will do so in a future post. I only present Ray Pritz’s discussions, and the evidence he cites, for a pre-Christian group known as “Nazarenes” or something similar. read more