Notsrim in the Talmud: Mandaeans, Christians, or Both?

A recent article in Tablet magazine mentions the reference to notsrim in a Talmud discussion of Sunday. There is a longstanding use of this term in reference to Christians, inasmuch as Jesus himself is described as “Yeshu ha-notsri.” But the term “notsri” does not naturally denote Nazareth, and the use of “Nazarenes” to describe Christians is something of an oddity itself, since there is no particular emphasis on or connection with the village of Nazareth in Christianity.

Natsurai is, on the other hand, an important term used in Mandaeism, either as a designation for Mandaeans in general, or as a way of referring to those with particular insight into religious matters.

In Mandaean literature, Jesus is viewed as a Mandaean who went astray. And Mandaeism seems to have persisted within Judaism in the regions which shaped the Talmud for longer, and to a greater extent than, Christianity is known to have.

Which leads me to ask the question: are the notsrim in the Talmud always Christians? Could they sometimes, of even always, be Mandaeans?

Sunday is the day that is sacred to Mandaeans as well as Christians, and so either would fit the passage mentioned in the article I linked to.

A quick search in the Talmud finds several instances of “Jesus the notsri” which could easily mean “Jesus the Mandaean/Gnostic.”

Berakoth 17b has a relevant variant reading in some manuscripts:

There is no breach: [that is], may our company not be like that of David from which issued Ahitophel. And no going forth: [that is] may our company not be like that of Saul from which issued Doeg the Edomite. And no outcry: may our company not be like that of Elisha, from which issued Gehazi. In our broad places: may we produce no son or pupil who disgraces himself in public like the notsri.

This could be a reference to Jesus – but it doesn’t have to be, and Jews who became Mandaeans could be viewed in this way.

Two more passages that are of interest, b. Shabb. 116a and b. Erub 79b-80a, refer to Be Nitzraphi, which could be a reference to a meeting place of the notsrim.  The reference in the latter passage to dates used to make wine might well be a reference to the hamra used by Mandaeans, which is water with juice not only from raisins or grapes added to it, but juice from dates.

This seems like a subject worthy of further exploration, and I plan to begin looking into it.

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  • http://againstjebelallawz.wordpress.com/ Enopoletus Harding

    Do you have any explanations as to how the term “Nazarenes” became used for Christians so widely?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      No, although it might be that a term which already existed (as Acts suggests) was applied to Christians, and Christians did their best with it by interpreting it as having to do with Nazareth. But it is very peculiar if Christians were actually deliberately labeled by the place Jesus was supposed to have come from.

      • Red_Fox

        I’ve heard speculation that the term “Nazarene” may have some kind of connection to nazirite, and later got somehow misunderstood. I don’t know how solid a connection that is, but that’s something I have often heard.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          It reflects a lack of awareness on the part of many English speakers that the terms are not etymologically related in Hebrew.

  • arcseconds

    This kind of thing always makes me wonder how many other things there are from the past where we think we know what they’re talking about, but actually they’re referring to something else that we know nothing about and has been lost to time.

    • Anonymous Coward

      I want to highlight the above remark–I think it’s of paramount importance not to forget how alien the texts we have can be. We don’t know what we don’t know.

      • Cfrobw

        Adding to that–Not to mention they are in other tongues, Tanakh (Hebrew) Christian Testament (Greek), our West Germatic (English).
        How do we cross language barriers and know what the meaning and purpose and slang. lingo, and culture and the intentions of the authors are without adding in our own meanings or thoughts?

  • zach

    Regarding Berachot 17b, there are four cases. In the first three, a specific person is given as an example of a undesirable quality. The parallel construction suggests that it is highly unlikely that the fourth case of “notsri” refers to a GROUP like the Mandaeans rather than Jesus or some other individual.

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      That’s a good observation! On the other hand, the three named individuals are from the Hebrew Bible, while the fourth, whether a reference to a category of people or specifically to Jesus, is not someone from the Hebrew Bible. Presumably the fourth case is the point, offering an insult aimed in that direction, whoever the target may have been. And so I think that explains why the fourth case is the odd one out, on either interpretation.

  • Jonathan Bernier

    Interesting. Any idea why Mandeans came to be associated (or to associate themselves) with the term “Notsrim”?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      The Mandaeans term nasuraiia and other related terms are simply taken for granted as part of Mandaean vocabulary. If you read Acts in the New Testament, when it makes references, such as to Paul as a “ringleader of the Nazoreans,” it seems to many readers that an already-existing term is being used. And so it may be better to ask why Christians came to be associated with the term, than why Mandaeans did.

      • Jonathan Bernier

        Interesting. Thank you for this. Mandeanism is one of those many, many, things about which I would love to know more but having only 24 hours in a day have not yet had the chance to really investigate.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

          Well, if you ever feel like branching out, it is a field with plenty of room – very different from working in early Christianity, both inasmuch as one has a lot of prior work to build on in the latter, and inasmuch as we struggle to find something new to say. In the field of the Mandaeans, there are far more questions that we already know it is worth asking than there are people who are managing to work on them.

  • Anonymous

    NAZARENES Name given to those who followed Jesus of Nazareth. Since Jesus was known as Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus the Nazarene, it was easy to transfer that title to his followers. They were “followers of the Nazarene” or “Nazarenes.” The earliest use of the term is in Acts 24:5, where Tertullus accused the apostle Paul of being “a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes.” Certainly, he did not intend the title as a compliment. The early Christians probably did not use that name for themselves, whereas later Jewish-Christian and Gnostic groups did call themselves Nazarenes. One early writing was even called The Gospel of the Nazarenes.

    Walter A. Elwell and Philip Wesley Comfort, Tyndale Bible Dictionary, Tyndale Reference Library (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2001), 938.

  • Anonymous

    NAZARENE [năzˊə rēn] (Gk. Nazarēnos, Nazōraios). A gentilic ascribed to Jesus (Matt. 2:23; Mark 14:67) and once, by extension, to his followers (Acts 24:5). Even though the term Nazarene occurs only three times in most English versions, the Greek form occurs in all four Gospels (Gk. Nazōraios, Matt. 26:71; Luke 18:37; John 18:5, 7; 19:19; Nazarēnos, Mark 1:24; 10:47; 16:6; Luke 4:34; 24:19), translated “of Nazareth.”

    The derivation of the term, complicated by the different spellings, is variously disputed. Some scholars derive the term from Nazareth (Gk. Nazara, Nazarat[h], Nazaret, Nazareth), the town in which Jesus grew up. Matthew explicitly states that Jesus “went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, ‘He shall be called a Nazarene’ ” (Matt. 2:23). But Nazōraios is not easily explained as a derivation of the place name (although some argue that a derivation from Aram. nāṣerāyā is possible). More importantly, the gentilic may not be more than a play on Isaiah’s prophecy that “there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse, and a branch (Heb. nēṣer) shall grow out of his roots” (Isa. 11:1).

    Nazarene does appear to be closely linked to the term Nazirite (Heb. nāzîr; Gk. nazeiraíos). Accordingly, some scholars suggest that the source of Matthew’s prophecy was actually Judg. 13:3–7. But Jesus is never referred to in the New Testament as a Nazirite. No specific reference is made to his hair being cut, but he did touch at least one dead body (Matt. 9:18–25) and drink wine (26:26–29; Luke 7:34)—both of which are prohibited by the Nazirite vow. So while the attempt to link Nazarene to Nazirite is etymologically possible, it is denied by the actions of Jesus, “the Nazarene.”

    Finally, some scholars trace the term to a supposedly pre-Christian cult, citing Acts 24:5, which refers to a “sect of Nazarenes,” and a puzzling fourth-century reference to a cult of Nasaraioi (Epiphanius Haer. i.18; xxix.6). The twelfth section of the Palestinian recension of the Eighteen Benedictions, used at the close of the synagogue service, also apparently cursed “the Nazarenes”—and was directed against Jewish Christians. Some early Christian groups also labeled themselves “Nazarenes,” despite the once derogatory connotation (cf. John 1:46). No evidence survives, however, that this group existed before the birth of Jesus, and it cannot therefore account for the source of the term with regard to him.

    In summary, there is no unassailable explanation of the term Nazarene. The New Testament authors obviously linked it to Jesus’ hometown, Nazareth. That the term carried a more powerful connotation cannot p 751 be doubted, but what that connotation was remains in doubt.

    Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 750–751.

  • mashiyach.com

    Where did the term “Netzarim” originate?

    Quoted from http://www.mashiyach.com/QandA.htm
    “Netzer is a prophetic word that YHWH spoke to His prophets. It refers to a sprout or shoot of new growth at its earliest appearance. Isaiah 11:1 “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Netzer (sprout) shall grow out of his roots:” This sprout (pronounced “neytzer”) was mistranslated as “the Branch”. The word Tsemach (Branch) is a more commonly used Hebrew term for the coming forth of Mashiyach, but Netzer is the base word used for the Netzarim or “Nazarenes”. Apostle Paul being a ringleader of the Netzarim (Acts 24:5).

    When Isaiah wrote of the “Netzer”, in Isaiah 11:1 the city of Nazareth didn’t exist, yet a common mis-understanding arose that Yeshua Mashiyach was a “Nazarene” because He came from the city of Nazareth. The “Netzer” speaks of the attributes of Mashiyach, not about where he lived. It is futile to intellectually believe that Y’shua is the Mashiyach, but not understand WHO He is according to YHWH and Torah, OR, what is required of those who follow Him. The Seven Attributes listed in Isaiah 11:2-4 are Attributes which emanate through the lives of each soul who walks in Yeshua Mashiyach.

    And the Spirit of YHWH shall rest upon Him, the Spirit of Wisdom and Understanding, theSpirit of Counsel and Might, the Spirit of Knowledge and of the Fear of YHWH; And shall make Him of quick understanding in the fear of YHWH: and He shall not judge after the sight of His eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of His ears: But with Righteousness shall he Judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and He shall smite the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips shall He slay the wicked. Isaiah 11:2-4 (click here for more)

    There is confusion regarding the prophetic name “Netzer”, it is derived from the Hebrew “Natzar” (naw-tsar) which means to keep, preserve, to watch, watchman, so some refer to themselves as the “Natzarim”. A very familiar verse uses this word as in; “Natzar (keeping) mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin” Shemot/Exodus 34:7. To further complicate things derogatory terms were coined like “Natsarim” or “Natzarim” (naw-tzarim), “Notsarim” or “Notzarim” (no-tsrim) by the Pharisees to show condescending attitude towards the followers of Y’shua Mashiyach.

    “Natsarim” is derived from the word “Natsah”; “The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make your land desolate; and your cities shall be laid Natsah (waste), without an inhabitant” Jeremiah 4:7. Another verse is; “Now have I brought it to pass, that you should lay waste defended cities into Natsah (ruinous) heaps. Isaiah 37:26

    The ancient Pharisees and some modern Orthodox like to wish evil things upon Yeshua and His followers, so they come up with derogatory names and slurs against Yeshua and His followers as a feeble way to try to put curses on us. “Notzarim” comes from the root word “no-tsaw” as in Leviticus 1:16 “And he shall pluck away his crop with his “Notsah” (feathers)”. Another verse is; “And say, Thus says YHWH Elohim; A great eagle with great wings, long winged, full of

    Notsah (feathers), which had divers colours, came unto Lebanon, and took the highest branch of the cedar:” Ezekiel 17:3 Some American folk have been led to believe by the Daatim (religious Jews) that they should call themselves “Notsrim or Natsrim”, but as well all know those little petty religious games don’t amount to anything anyway. See also “Netzer” in Isaiah 60:21; Daniel 11:7.

    What is Netzarim Judaism?

    The teachings and lifestyle that Y’shua HaMashiyach* demonstrated is known as Netzarim Judaism. In its purest form Netzarim Judaism is the state of having Yeshua Mashiyach live inside of us. Netzarim Judaism is about being and living according to the Spiritual Man. It is also within the ministry (serving) others in the work of the Ruach HaKodesh (Spirit Set Apart). Anyone can become Netzarim, each of us individually respond to being called to follow the leading of the Set Apart Spirit. Netzarim Judaism is the journey and process of the Ruach HaKodesh writing Torah on our hearts and revealing the character of Yeshua inside of our souls. We experience Mashiyach through not only studying Torah (or Bible studies alone) but by living and walking according to Torah being birthed inside of us. It is our prerogative to work, to put an effort forth, to pray, study, worship the King of Kings and walk in the Joy of YHWH. Being a Netzarim, “a little sprout” is to co-labour with Yeshua. We don’t sit idly by and ask for things of our King, rather we listen to his instructions and we serve Him and one another.

    If we deny the Ruach HaKodesh the opportunity to write Torah upon our hearts, then we deny the “Spirit of Mashiyach” from changing us into the “Image of Elohim”.

    Netzarim Judaism is not a religion that is based on a cerebral “theology”. There are no lists of doctrines or do’s and dont’s that make us “acceptable to the beloved”. There are only Righteous Principles of Faith and living that are observe as a Way of Being. Mashiyach said if we DO His Mitzvoth (Commandments) we will know His “Doctrine” is true. In other words we are called to deny ourselves, and take up a progressively higher calling every day and every week. Yeshua instructs us to fulfill the weightier matters of Judgment, Faith and Mercy, this is the Nature of Yeshua Mashiyach.

    Netzarim Judaism is a continuum of the covenants given by YHWH from Adam to Yeshua Mashiyach. Mashiyach is the Memra (Word) of YHWH that lives inside of us. As spiritual beings we know that there are righteous actions that bring us joy and peace and deep gratitude for life, and there are other anti-Torah actions that bring division, loneliness and despair. Truth and righteous spirituality brings life, religion and carnal living and attitudes brings death.

    It wasn’t only the Jewish followers of Y’shua that were mocked, Greek followers of Y’shua Mashiyach were originally labeled as “Krist’yana” by their Greek detractors (Acts 11:26). When the first Greeks began to enter into the Kingdom through Y’shua’s ministry they were also Torah Observant (Acts 15:20,21) along with Netzarim Yehudim (Jews). The terms Netzarim and Christian are both legitimate Biblical terms, however first generation Jewish Talmidim of Yeshua were not originally referred to as “Christians”. As noted earlier, Apostle Paul was charged with being a “ringleader of the sect of the Netzarim”(Nazarenes) Acts 24:5. Mashiyach Y’shua and the Shlichim (Sent Ones or Apostles) received Torah in their Spirits, both in a literal living application and because as Apostle Paul taught in Romans 7:14, the Torah is Spiritual. The Pharisees and other sects of Judaism and Christianity only see Torah as a theology, a list of do’s and dont’s, rather than a divine spiritual connection between YHWH and His people, through His Mashiyach.
    …..”

    Copyright © 2005 MASHIYACH.COM All Rights Reserved.

    EMAIL

  • anonymous

    NAZARETH [năzˊə rĕth] (Gk. Nazara, Nazarat[h], Nazaret, Nazareth; perhaps from Heb. nāṣar “watch, guard, observe” or nēṣer “sprout, descendant”). A city in Galilee where Jesus grew up.

    The location of Nazareth at modern en-Nâṣirah is generally accepted. The village is situated on the side of a hill some 350 m. (1150 ft.) above sea level, 24 km. (15 mi.) from the Sea of Galilee and 3 km. (2 mi.) south of Sepphoris. Toward the south and south-east Nazareth commands the view of the entire valley of Jezreel as well as Mt. Carmel and Mt. Tabor. Nathanael’s comment to Philip, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth” (John 1:46), probably only indicates that the village was small. The city is not mentioned in the Old Testament.

    Although some scholars are skeptical because of difficulties in correlating the two accounts of Jesus’ birth and infancy, Mary and Joseph apparently lived in Nazareth before their journey to Egypt (Luke 1:26; 2:4–5) and settled there when they returned from Egypt (Matt. 2:23). Jesus lived in the village as a boy (Luke 2:39, 51; cf. 4:16), coming from there to be baptized by John the Baptist (Mark 1:9). Jesus apparently moved from Nazareth to Capernaum at the beginning of his public ministry (Matt. 4:12–13). He returned at least once to his boyhood home, where his message was rejected (Mark 6:1; Luke 4:16–24; cf. Matt. 13:53–58).

    Modern Nazareth features a number of shrines. Nearby is a spring, according to tradition Mary’s well, at which Mary and her son may have gone daily to draw water, and several other sites within the town are traditionally associated with the Holy Family: the Annunciation church, supposedly built on the site of Jesus’ home; to the north a church dating from the Crusades; a Greek church, said to be the site of the synagogue where Jesus spoke of the fulfillment of Isa. 61:1–3 (Luke 4:18–21); and to the south Mons Saltus Domini, purportedly the hill from which the Jews sought to throw Jesus (v. 29).

    Allen C. Myers, The Eerdmans Bible Dictionary (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1987), 751.

  • anonymous

    NAZARETH. A town of Galilee where Joseph and Mary lived, and the home of Jesus for about 30 years until he was rejected (Lk. 2:39; 4:16, 28–31). He was therefore called Jesus of Nazareth. It is not mentioned in the OT, the Apocrypha, by Josephus, or in the Talmud. (The earliest Jewish reference to it is in a Hebrew inscription excavated at Caesarea in 1962, which mentions it as one of the places in Galilee to which members of the twenty-four priestly courses emigrated after the foundation of Aelia Capitolina in AD 135.) The reason for this was first geographical and later theological. Lower Galilee remained outside the main stream of Israelite life until NT times, when Rom. rule first brought security. Even then Sepphoris was the chief town of the area, a little to the N of Nazareth. But Nazareth lay close enough to several main trade-routes for easy contact with the outside world, while at the same time her position as a frontier-town on the S border of Zebulun overlooking the Esdraelon plain produced a certain aloofness. It was this independence of outlook in Lower Galilee which led to the scorn in which Nazareth was held by strict Jews (Jn. 1:46).

    Nazareth is situated in a high valley among the most S limestone hills of the Lebanon range; it runs approximately from SSW to NNE. To the S there is a sharp drop down to the plain of Esdraelon. The base of the valley is 370 m above sea level. Steep hills rise up on the N and E sides, while on the W side they reach up to 500 m and command an impressive view. Major roads from Jerusalem and Egypt debouched into the Esdraelon plain in the S; caravans from Gilead crossed the Jordan fords and passed below; the main road from Ptolemais to the Decapolis and the N, along which the Rom. legions travelled, passed a few kms above Nazareth. Such a location may have given rise to the name, which is possibly derived from the Aramaic nāṣeraṯ, ‘watch-tower’. Another suggested derivation is from the Heb. nēṣer, ‘shoot’, advocated in Eusebius’ Onomasticon and by Jerome (Epist. 46, Ad Marcellam). The mild climate in the valley causes wild flowers and fruit to flourish.

    To judge by the rock-tombs, the early town was higher up the W hill than the present Nazareth. There are two possible water-supplies. The first, which is the larger, lies in the valley and has been called ‘Mary’s Well’ since AD 1100, but there is no trace of early dwellings near by. The second is a very small fountain, called ‘the New Well’, in an angle formed by a projection of the W hill; the Byzantine church and town lay closer to this. The steep scarp of Jebel Qafsa, overlooking the plain, is traditionally but erroneously called ‘the Mount of Precipitation’, since this was not the hill ‘on which their city was built’ (Lk. 4:29).

    BIBLIOGRAPHY. G. H. Dalman, Sacred Sites and Ways, 1935, pp. 57ff.

    J. W. CHARLEY.

    J. W. Charley, “Nazareth,” ed. D. R. W. Wood et al., New Bible Dictionary (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 808.

  • anonymous

    NAZARETH—separated, generally supposed to be the Greek form of the Hebrew netser, a “shoot” or “sprout.” Some, however, think that the name of the city must be connected with the name of the hill behind it, from which one of the finest prospects in Palestine is obtained, and accordingly they derive it from the Hebrew notserah, i.e., one guarding or watching, thus designating the hill which overlooks and thus guards an extensive region.

    This city is not mentioned in the Old Testament. It was the home of Joseph and Mary (Luke 2:39), and here the angel announced to the Virgin the birth of the Messiah (1:26–28). Here Jesus grew up from his infancy to manhood (4:16); and here he began his public ministry in the synagogue (Matt. 13:54), at which the people were so offended that they sought to cast him down from the precipice whereon their city was built (Luke 4:29). Twice they expelled him from their borders (4:16–29; Matt. 13:54–58); and he finally retired from the city, where he did not many mighty works because of their unbelief (Matt. 13:58), and took up his residence in Capernaum.

    Nazareth is situated among the southern ridges of Lebanon, on the steep slope of a hill, about 14 miles from the Sea of Galilee and about 6 west from Mount Tabor. It is identified with the modern village en-Nazirah, of six or ten thousand inhabitants. It lies “as in a hollow cup” lower down upon the hill than the ancient city. The main road for traffic between Egypt and the interior of Asia passed by Nazareth near the foot of Tabor, and thence northward to Damascus.

    It is supposed from the words of Nathanael in John 1:46 that the city of Nazareth was held in great disrepute, either because, it is said, the people of Galilee were a rude and less cultivated class, and were largely influenced by the Gentiles who mingled with them, or because of their lower type of moral and religious character. But there seems to be no sufficient reason for these suppositions. The Jews believed that, according to Micah 5:2, the birth of the Messiah would take place at Bethlehem, and nowhere else. Nathanael held the same opinion as his countrymen, and believed that the great “good” which they were all expecting could not come from Nazareth. This is probably what Nathanael meant. Moreover, there does not seem to be any evidence that the inhabitants of Galilee were in any respect inferior, or that a Galilean was held in contempt, in the time of our Lord. (See Dr. Merrill’s Galilee in the Time of Christ.)

    The population of this city (now about 10,000) in the time of Christ probably amounted to 15,000 or 20,000 souls.

    “The so-called ‘Holy House’ is a cave under the Latin church, which appears to have been originally a tank. The ‘brow of the hill’, site of the attempted precipitation, is probably the northern cliff: the traditional site has been shown since the middle ages at some distance to the south. None of the traditional sites are traceable very early, and they have no authority. The name Nazareth perhaps means ‘a watch tower’ (now en-Nasrah), but is connected in the New Testament with Netzer, ‘a branch’ (Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5; Zech. 3:8; 6:12; Matt. 2:23), Nazarene being quite a different word from Nazarite.”

    M. G. Easton, Easton’s Bible Dictionary (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1893).

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/exploringourmatrix/ James F. McGrath

      OK, that’s enough of your spamming. There is no need to copy this text here, these resources are well known. If you want to be allowed to comment here, then you should explain why you think these articles are relevant to this post, rather than just copying and pasting the words of others which people here are likely to already have read.

  • second anonymous coward

    Sorry, not trying to spam, but posting to provided for the readers thoughts and to possibly help answer questions.

    Nazarenes, Nasranis, Notzrim, Christians

    Around 331 Eusebius records that from the name Nazareth Christ was called a Nazoraean, and that in earlier centuries Christians, were once called Nazarenes.[28] Tertullian (Against Marcion 4:8) records that “for this reason the Jews call us ‘Nazarenes’. In the New Testament Christians are called “Christians” three times by Paul in Romans, and “Nazarenes” once by Tertullus, a Jewish lawyer. The Rabbinic and modern Hebrew name for Christians, notzrim, is also thought to derive from Nazareth, and be connected with Tertullus’ charge against Paul of being a member of the sect of the Nazarenes, Nazoraioi, “men of Nazareth” in Acts. Against this some medieval Jewish polemical texts connect notzrim with the netsarim “watchmen” of Ephraim in Jeremiah 31:6. In Syriac Aramaic Nasrath (ܢܨܪܬ) is used for Nazareth, while “Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5) and “of Nazareth” are both Nasrani or Nasraya (ܕܢܨܪܝܐ) an adjectival form.[29][30][31] Saint Thomas Christians, an ancient community of Jewish Christians in India who trace their origins to evangelistic activity of Thomas the Apostle in the 1st century, are known by the name Nasranis even today[32][33].

    28 Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies: Volume 65, Issue 1 University of London. School of Oriental and African Studies – 2002 “… around 331, Eusebius says of the place name Nazareth that ‘ from this name the Christ was called a Nazoraean, and in ancient times we, who are now called Christians, were once called Nazarenes ‘;6 thus he attributes this designation …”

    29 Bruce Manning Metzger The early versions of the New Testament p86 – 1977 “Peshitta Matt, and Luke … nasraya, ‘of Nazareth’.”

    30 William Jennings Lexicon to the Syriac New Testament 1926 p143

    31 Robert Payne Smith Compendious Syriac Dictionary 1903 p349

    32 Županov, Ines G. (2005). Missionary Tropics: The Catholic Frontier in India (16th–17th centuries), p. 99 and note. University of Michigan Press. ISBN 0-472-11490-5

    33 Bindu Malieckal (2005) Muslims, Matriliny, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream: European Encounters with the Mappilas of Malabar, India; The Muslim World Volume 95 Issue 2 page 300

    Article taken from Wikipedia (may or may not be accurate)