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Justin says further that Simon came to Rome during the reign of the Emperor Claudius and by his magic arts won many followers so that these erected on the island in the Tiber a statue to him as a divinity with the inscription "Simon the Holy God". The statue , however, that Justin took for one dedicated to Simon was undoubtedly one of the old Sabine divinity Semo Sancus. Statues of this early god with similar inscriptions have been found on the island in the Tiber and elsewhere in Rome. It is plain that the interchange of e and i in the Roman characters led Justin or the Roman Christians before him, to look upon the statue of the early Sabine deity, of whom they knew nothing, as a statue of the magician.

Whether Justin's opinion that Simon Magus came to Rome rests only on the fact that he believed Roman followers had erected this statue to him, or whether he had other information on this point, cannot now be positively determined. His testimony cannot, therefore, be verified and so remains doubtful. The later anti-heretical writers who report Simon's residence at Rome , take Justin and the apocryphal Acts of Peter as their authority, so that their testimony is of no value.

Simon brought with him, so Justin and other authorities state, a paramour from Tyre called Helena. He claimed that she was the first conception ennoia whom he, as the "great power of God ", had freed from bondage. Simon plays an important part in the "Pseudo-Clementines".

Simon Magus: History Versus Tradition | Religious Studies Center

He appears here as the chief antagonist of the apostle Peter, by whom he is everywhere followed and opposed. The alleged magical arts of the magician and Peter's efforts against him are described in a way that is absolutely imaginary. The entire account lacks all historical basis.

In the "Philosophumena" of Hippolytus of Rome vi, vii-xx , the doctrine of Simon and his followers is treated in detail. The work also relates circumstantially how Simon labored at Rome and won many by his magic arts, and how he attacked the Apostles Peter and Paul who opposed him. According to this account the reputation of the magician was greatly injured by the efforts of the two Apostles and the number of his followers became constantly smaller.

He consequently left Rome and returned to his home at Gitta.

In order to give his scholars there a proof of his higher nature and divine mission and thus regain his authority, he had a grave dug and permitted himself to be buried in it, after previously prophesying that after three days he would rise alive from it. But the promised resurrection did not take place; Simon died in the grave. The apocryphal Acts of St. I Brunswick, In this work also great stress is laid upon the struggle between Simon and the two Apostles Peter and Paul at Rome. By his magic arts Simon had also sought to win the Emperor Nero for himself, an attempt in which he had been thwarted by the Apostles.

As proof of the truth of his doctrines Simon offered to ascend into the heavens before the eyes of Nero and the Roman populace; by magic he did rise in the air in the Roman Forum, but the prayers of the Apostles Peter and Paul caused him to fall, so that he was severely injured and shortly afterwards died miserably.

Arnobius reports this alleged attempt to fly and the death of Simon with still other particulars "Adv. This legend led later to the erection of a church dedicated to the Apostles on the alleged spot of Simon's fall near the Via Sacra above the Forum. The stones of the pavement on which the Apostles knelt in prayer and which are said to contain the impression of their knees, are now in the wall of the Church of Santa Francesca Romana. All these narratives belong naturally to the domain of legend. Money is the issue here.

1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Simon Magus

You have no part or share in this, for your heart is not right before God. Repent therefore of this wickedness of yours, and pray to the Lord that, if possible, the intent of your heart may be forgiven you. For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and the chains of wickedness. Peter directs him to repent, unlike Ananias and Sapphira , who also go astray because of money Pervo, Acts , Whatever the case, this is the last we hear of Simon Magus in Acts of the Apostles, though he becomes a major figure in the heresiology of the later Church.

Are we to understand Simon as a Samaritan? Or perhaps a pagan? The lines are being blurred as to whom the Gospel can be taken and we will see in the next passage even more of a blurring of these lines as to whom can respond and accept the Gospel message freely. I invite you to follow me on Twitter Biblejunkies. This entry is cross-posted at Biblejunkies. See Pervo, Acts , I am a student of Adele Reinhartz, however, and do follow her understanding of the distinction. The Good Word. John W. Martens August 28, There is not the slightest hint that he gave up believing that he had divine right to be an Apostle.

He deliberately continued in this error, with his later followers -- calling himself "Christian"! It is because of the later deceptive activities of this would-be Apostle that Luke was compelled to show his ignominious beginning and to reveal what Peter prophesied about him. What Did Simon and the Samaritans Believe?

One of the most scholarly of early church historians was Harnack, who wrote an extensive seven-volume work titled The History of Dogm a. This man is recognized as one of the top authorities in the world on this subject. And why not? The Samaritans were largely Babylonian by race. Later on, Ezra informs us that others who were mainly of Babylonian stock came to Samaria Ezra These people amalgamated their Babylonian religious beliefs with some of the teachings from the Old Testament.

If anyone doubts that these Samaritans practiced outright paganism under the guise of YHVH worship, let him read the extraordinarily clear indictments recorded in the inspired Word of God II Kings After a short while in their new country, they were ravaged by lions. They interpreted this punishment as coming upon them because they failed to honor the god of the new land -- not realizing that there is only One Great GOD, who is not confined to any one land. They asked the Assyrian king to send back one of the priests of Israel to teach them the former religion in order that the plague of lions would be stayed.

The Israelitish priest who was sent to them taught the religion of Northern Israel. Jeroboam set up his own form of religion with the calves at Dan and Bethel I Kings He moved the Holy Days from the seventh to the eighth month. But that priest was one of the former calf-worshipping priests of the rebel Israelites. He was almost as pagan as the Babylonians themselves! This priest of Israel taught the Babylonians now called Samaritans to adopt the former worship of the Northern Israelites. Notice what God says about the final condition of these Samaritans. These people called themselves the worshippers of the True God, but were actually Babylonian idolaters.

What Deities Did the Samaritans Worship? It will pay us to notice the gods and goddesses that these forefathers of Simon Magus brought with them to Samaria. It was Semiramis in the form of Venus. Listen to Jones in his Proper Names of the O. He says the name signifies "Tabernacles of daughters. VI, p. Jones shows us that he was the great pagan god of propitiation, i. The fifth Babylonian tribe worshiped pre-eminently two gods.

The first was the "god of fire," the Sun or the Phoenician Baal Jones, p.

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It is self-evident that these gods and goddesses were the major Babylonian deities, and at the same time, the very gods and goddesses which the Roman Catholic Church deifies today as Christ, Mary, etc. Simon Magus grew up in this mixed-up society. The Samaritans called themselves the people of the True God, but religiously were practicing Babylonians.

Thus, in the encounter of Peter with Simon Magus, we find the first real connection of true Christianity with the Chaldean priest who was prophesied to bring in its false counterpart. Next, we will see how Simon Magus managed to startle the Roman world with his plan to bring in one universal religion under the guise of Christianity.


He was a part of the Babylonian community that had been living in the land of Northern Israel ever since the Northern Ten Tribes were carried away captive by the Assyrians. God tells us that these Samaritans, as they were called, were claiming to be the true people of God while at the same time practicing many heathen rites which came directly from Babylon II Kings This was the type of religious environment in which Simon Magus was born. This was the environment in which he commenced his own ministry and was finally proclaimed the "great one.

He so swayed the whole of the Samaritan nation that all gave heed to him -- they did for a very long time Verses But when he saw the potential of Christianity, he endeavored to buy an apostleship in the Church. Peter rebuked him sternly. But a church with Babylonianism as its basis. The mysterious worship.

Simon can be classified among the major group of so-called Christians and Simon called himself such , called by Harnack the: "decidedly anti-Jewish groups.

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With this background, we can understand why Peter so strongly rebuked Simon for his Babylonian ideas. Peter prophesied that this was the man who was to be the "gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity" to the True Church. The Bible shows he had been working through demons. And yet, he finally called himself a "Christian. McGiffert, speaking of Simon Magus, says: "His effort to rival and surpass Jesus very likely began after his contact with the Christians that Luke records. He has been called by many of them "the father of HERESY," and, apart from the Bible, the amount of literature devoted to him and his activities, shows he lived up to that title.

Some of the following authorities to be brought forth were eyewitnesses of many of the things mentioned, and they were writing to others who were likewise eyewitnesses. Much of the testimony to be mentioned is conclusive and cannot be set aside. It is more probable that he carried some of the Christian ideas with him, and that he wove these into a system of his own. This system did contain some of the later germs of Gnosticism. Thus he became a leader of a retro-grade sect, perhaps nominally Christian, and certainly using some of the Christian terminology but in reality anti-Christian and exalting Simon himself to the central position which Christianity was giving to Jesus Christ" Ibid.

Simon only used the name of Christianity to bring about his own desired ends. This made it more dangerous to Christians than a Gnostic which did not affect any Christian influence. The reason Luke recorded this encounter with Simon was its far-reaching effects. He states that he was a Samaritan, adding that his birthplace was a village called Gitta; he describes him as a formidable magician, and tells that he came to ROME in the days of Claudius Caesar 45 A.

And, that a statue of Simon was actually erected is definite, for Justin asks the authorities in Rome to destroy it! Those who want to reject these clear statements have nothing in their favor. Justin is clearly giving us fact! If he made a mistake, it must have been at once exposed, and other writers would not have frequently repeated the story as they have done.