Regarding the gnostic Naassenes and their doctrine of the “Perfect Man” (seemingly equated with Christ), the Christian theologian Hippolytus of Rome (170 – 235 AD) in his work Philosophumena (Book V, 3) writes:
. . . [Jacob] was astonished at the celestial Gate, exclaiming, “How terrible [full of awe] is this place! It is nought else than the house of God, and this (is) the Gate of Heaven.” On account of this, he [the Naassene] says, Jesus uses the words, “I am the true Gate.” (John 10:9; Matthew 7:13.) Now he who makes these statements is, he says, the Perfect Man that is imaged from the unportrayable One from above [compare ‘the Reality of Muhammad’ al-Ḥaqīqah al-Muḥammadīyah as the first self-determination of the ineffable One al-dhāt al-aḥadiyya] . . . Jeremiah likewise utters lamentation for Jerusalem below, not the city in Phoenicia, but the corruptible generation below. For Jeremiah likewise, he says, was aware of the Perfect Man, of him that is born again—of water and the Spirit not carnal. At least Jeremiah himself remarked: “He is a man, and who shall know him?” In this manner, (the Naassene) says, the knowledge of the Perfect Man is exceedingly profound, and difficult of comprehension.
This “knowledge of the Perfect Man,” which is “exceedingly profound, and difficult of comprehension,” can be compared to the Sufi and Shīʿa ʿirfan (gnosis) of Insān al-Kāmil ‘the Perfect Man’ and ultimately ‘the Reality of Muhammad’ al-Ḥaqīqah al-Muḥammadīyah. Read more
I’ve recently been thinking about the “Dome of the Rock” (Arabic qubbat as-ṣakhra)—the rock reportedly being the Foundation Stone, upon which was situated the Jewish “Holy of Holies” (Hebrew qodesh ha-qodāshîm), of the Temple in Jerusalem. Ancient Jewish traditions consider the rock and the inner sanctuary as the spiritual junction of heaven and earth, as well as (at least symbolically) “the initial point—the starting-point—of Creation, the original Centre around which the earth developed concentrically.” (Henry Corbin)
What interests me is how—during the time of the Herodian-installed ‘Sadducee’ priesthood and the Roman political occupation in the early first century CE—the Jewish Nazarenes (notsrim, Qumran notsrei brito “Keepers of His Covenant” as per 1QS v.2ff) and their priesthood had “separated” from the Temple (1QS viii.13-14) and “the Land of Judah, to dwell in the Land of Damascus” (CD iv.2-4, vi.5) [which included Perea and the trans-Jordan wilderness], where they were to establish “the New Covenant in the Land of Damascus” (CD vi.19). But more than that—and considering the destruction of the temple and the eventual ‘fall’ of Jerusalem—there is the subsequent and inevitable shift towards the communal body itself as ‘temple/church’, with the Holy of Holies and therefore also the Shekhinah “divine dwelling” considered as dwelling within the revered Zaddik (Tsaddiq) as “Righteous” Pillar and “Foundation of the World” (compare the Shīʿī Imām and the Sufi Qutb). Read more
James ‘the Just’ as Zaddik (Tsaddiq ‘Righteous One’)
In the introductory “Epistle of Clement to James” in the “Pseudo-Clementine” Homilies, James the Righteous (AKA James the Just) is addressed as “the Bishop of bishops, who rules Jerusalem, the Holy Assembly of the Hebrews and the Assemblies everywhere.”
From the perspective of first-century Judaism, James (Hebrew Yaʿakov or ‘Jacob’) was also the Opposition High Priest (in contradistinction to the Herodian-installed ‘Sadducee’ High Priest) and he was the revered Tsaddiq ‘Righteous One’ of his time—hence the name James theRighteous (Yaʿakov haTsaddiq). According to Proverbs 10:25 and the Zohar (1.59b), the Tsaddiq is “the Perfect copy of the heavenly Ideal,” “the Foundation of the World” and “the Pillar that upholds the World”. Read more