On the other hand, the genuine Orphics, a fraternity of religious ascetics, found unscrupulous imitators and impostors, who.
Wizards and impostors persuaded the multitude to follow them into the desert, and an Egyptian, claiming to be a prophet, led his followers to the Mount of Olives to see the walls of Jerusalem fall at his command.
Van Helmont (1577-1644) was the last distinguished investigator who professed actually to have changed mercury into gold, though impostors and mystics of various kinds continued to claim knowledge of the art long after his time.
But the false prophets were by no means mere common impostors; they were the accredited exponents of the common orthodoxy of their day, for the prophets who opposed Jeremiah took their stand on the ground of the prophetic traditions of Isaiah, whose doctrine of the inviolability of Yahweh's seat on Zion was the starting-point of their opposition to Jeremiah's predictions of captivity.
No doubt there were many conscious hypocrites and impostors among the professional prophets, as there always will be among the professional representatives of a religious standpoint which is intrinsically untenable, and yet has on its side the prestige of tradition and popular acceptance.