HEMEROBAPTISTS (; lit. "morning bathers"):

Division of Essenes who bathed every morning before the hour of prayer in order to pronounce the name of God with a clean body (Tosef., Yad., end; the correct version being given by R. Simson of Sens: "The morning bathers said to the Pharisees: 'We charge you with doing wrong in pronouncing the Name in the morning without having taken the ritual bath'; whereupon the Pharisees said: 'We charge you with wrong-doing in pronouncing the Name with a body impure within'"). In the time of Joshua b. Levi (3d cent.) a remnant still existed, but had no clear reason for their practise (Ber. 22a). The Clementina speak of John the Baptist as a Hemerobaptist, and the disciples of John are accordingly called "Hemerobaptists" ("Homilies," ii. 23; comp. "Recognitions," i. 54); similarly, Banus, the teacher of Josephus ("Vita," § 2), was a Hemerobaptist. Hegesippus (see Eusebius, "Hist. Eccl." iv. 22) mentions the Hemerobaptists as one of the seven Jewish sects or divisions opposed to the Christians. Justin ("Dial. cum Tryph." § 80) calls them simply "Baptists."

According to the Christian editor of the "Didascalia" ("Apostolic Constitutions," vi. 6), the Hemero-baptists "do not eat until they have bathed, and do not make any use of their beds and tables and dishes until they have cleansed them." This obviously rests upon a misunderstanding of their true character. Epiphanius ("Panarion," i., heresy xvii.) goes still further, and says that the Hemerobaptists deny future salvation to him who does not undergo baptism daily.

  • Grätz, Gesch. iii. 700.
Images of pages