He did not really illumine or convert great Armenia, for the people were in the main already converted by Syrian missionaries to the Adoptionist or Ebionite type of faith which was dominant in the far East, and was afterwards known as Nestorianism.
Symmachus, according to Eusebius and Jerome, was an Ebionite; Epiphanius represents him (very improbably) as a Samaritan who became a Jewish proselyte.
Outside this group would come what are called the Apocryphal Gospels and Acts (Gospel according to Hebrews, according to Egyptians, of Peter, of Truth, of the Twelve [or Ebionite Gospel], the recently recovered so-called Logia; the Gospel of Nicodemus, the Protevangelium of James, the Gospel of Thomas, the Acts of Pilate, Acts of Paul, Peter, John, Andrew, Thomas; the Preaching of Peter, the Apocalypse of Peter).
Even the so-called Judaeo-Christian Gnostics (Cerinthus), the Ebionite (Essenian) sect of the PseudoClementine writings (the Elkesaites), take up an inconsistent attitude towards Jewish antiquity and the Old Testament.
However, we do hear of versions of Nestorian writers like Diodore of Tarsus being in circulation, and the Disputation of Archelaus proves that the current orthodoxy of eastern Armenia was Adoptianist, if not Ebionite in tone.
Paul's Christology therefore was of the Adoptionist type, which we find among the primitive Ebionite Christians of Judaea, in Hermas, Theodotus and Artemon of Rome, and in Archelaus the opponent of Mani, and in the other great doctors of the Syrian Church of the 4th and 5th centuries.
Here Ephiphanius simply assumes that the Ebionite Circuits of Peter was based on a genuine work of the same scope, and goes on to say that the spurious elements are proved such by contrast with the tenor of Clement's "encyclic epistles" (i.e.
Those to virgins, (2) above); for these enjoin virginity (celibacy), and praise Elijah, David, Samson, and all the prophets, whereas the Ebionite Circuits favour marriage (even in Apostles) and depreciate the prophets between Moses and Christ, "the true Prophet."
It was, then, to these "Preachings of Peter" that the most Ebionite features, and especially the anti-Pauline allusions under the guise of Simon still inhering in the Periodoi (as implied by Homilies in particular), originally belonged.
Ad Jac. 2), which probably shared most of the features of Ebionite Essenism as described by Epiphanius xxx.
The sternness of certain passages, which has led some critics to imagine that he was an Ebionite, is mainly, if not entirely, due to his faithful reproduction of the language of the second document.
Ebionite views lingered especially in the country east of the Jordan until they were absorbed by Islam in the 7th century.
The type of ethical thought exemplified in James has been called Ebionite (Hilgenfeld).