Before Nicaea and the idea that the early true Christians were the Ebionites.
1. Cerinthus, again, a man who was educated in the wisdom of the Egyptians, taught that the world was not made by the primary God, but by a certain Power far separated from him, and at a distance from that Principality who is supreme over the universe, and ignorant of him who is above all. He represented Jesus as having not been born of a virgin, but as being the son of Joseph and Mary according to the ordinary course of human generation, while he nevertheless was more righteous, prudent, and wise than other men. Moreover, after his baptism, Christ descended upon him in the form of a dove from the Supreme Ruler, and that then he proclaimed the unknown Father, and performed miracles. But at last Christ departed from Jesus, and that then Jesus suffered and rose again, while Christ remained impassible, inasmuch as he was a spiritual being.
2. Those who are called Ebionites agree that the world was made by God; but their opinions with respect to the Lord are similar to those of Cerinthus and Carpocrates. [see above] They use the Gospel according to Matthew only, and repudiate the Apostle Paul, maintaining that he was an apostate from the law. As to the prophetical writings, they endeavour to expound them in a somewhat singular manner: they practise circumcision, persevere in the observance of those customs which are enjoined by the law, and are so Judaic in their style of life, that they even adore Jerusalem as if it were the house of God. [ my emphasis]
It is inconsistent for Muslims to use the Ebionites, as most of them did deny the virgin birth of Christ, yet Islam affirms the virgin birth of Christ. (Surah 3:45-48; 19:19-21)
According to some scholars, there were some sub-groups of Ebionites that did not deny the virgin birth of Christ.
He totally avoids all the early evidence we do have for James as being in complete harmony with the apostle Paul. (see Galatians chapters 1-2 and I Corinthians 15:1-9)
James White did an excellent job of refuting the book and film on “The Jesus Family Tomb” in From Toronto to Emmaus : The Empty Tomb and the Journey from Skepticism to Faith. http://www.aomin.org/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=40_47&products_id=41
Wrong use of the Didache
The part about the Didache in the “hard questions” documentary was very shallow and left out one of the earliest quotes that affirms baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit! Yes, the Didache 7, quotes from Matthew 28:19. See http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/didache-roberts.html
Chapter 7. Concerning Baptism. And concerning baptism, baptize this way: Having first said all these things, baptize into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, in living [running, flowing] water. But if you have no living water, baptize into other water; and if you cannot do so in cold water, do so in warm. But if you have neither, pour out water three times upon the head into the name of Father and Son and Holy Spirit. But before the baptism let the baptizer fast, and the baptized, and whoever else can; but you shall order the baptized to fast one or two days before. [ my emphasis]
βαπτίσατε εἰς τὸ ὄνομα τοῦ πατρὸς καὶ τοῦ υἱοῦ καὶ τοῦ ἁγίου πνεύματος ἐν ὕδατι ζῶντι.
The 3 persons of the Trinity are named there. Dr. Tabor forgot that. Oops! He also left out that James calls Jesus “the Lord” twice. (James 1:1, 2:1 – “glorious Lord”) Lord is kurios, also used in the LXX for “Yahweh”. (see Psalm 110:1, which is quoted in all the synoptic gospels (Matthew 22:44; Mark 12:36; Luke 20:42-43) and Acts (2:34-35) and Hebrews (1:13) and alluded to in I Corinthians 15:25 – and other places that talk about Christ’s ascension and session at the right hand of the Father; all to point to the Deity of Christ. Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; Ephesians 1:22; Colossians 3:1)
They also seem to skew what the Eastern/Greek Orthodox priest says in the video documentary, but at least it is clear that the Orthodox priest says that belief in the resurrection of Jesus Christ is essential!
I am not impressed with Dr. Tabor as a scholar, when one looks a little deeper into the historical facts of these issues.
One cannot just name the Ebionites and connect them without any evidence to Jewish Christians or Jews or “the Nazarenes” in the first century. Muslims seem desparate to try and make a case for “proto-Muslims” from the first century in the Ebionites and Arians in the 4rd Century onward; as they both rejected the Deity of Christ. But, wait, most of them accepted the crucifixion and yet most of the Ebionites rejected the virgin Birth!