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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(Ε᾿λύμας ), an appellative commonly derived from the Arabic Aliman ("a wise man," see Pfeiffer, Dubia vex. page 941; like the Turkish title Ulema, see Lakemacher, De Elyma Mago, in his Observatt. 2:162), which Luke interprets by μάγος, the Magian or "sorcerer:" it is applied to a Jew named BAR-JESUS, who had attached himself to the proconsul of Cyprus, Sergius Paulus, when Paul visited the island (Acts 13:6 sq.). A.D. 44. On his attempting to dissuade the proconsul from embracing the Christian faith, he was struck with miraculous blindness by the apostle (see Neander's History of first Planting of the Christian Church, 1:125). A very different but less probable derivation of the word is given by Lightfoot in his Hebrew and Talmudical Exercitations on the Acts (Works, 8:461), and in his Sermon on Elymas the Sorcerer (Works, 7:104). Chrysostom observes, in reference to the blindness inflicted by the apostle on Bar-Jesus, that the limiting clause, for a season, "shows that it was not intended so much for the punishment of the sorcerer as for the conversion of the deputy (Chrysost. in Acta Apost. Homeil. 28; Opera, 9:241). On the practice generally then prevailing, in the decay of faith, of consulting Oriental impostors of this kind, see Conybeare and Howson, Life of St. Paul, 1:177-180, 2d ed. (See MAGIC).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Elymas'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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