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#21 Rick Warren

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 11:05 AM

What you fail to understand Rick, is that those articles are written by people who believe that Mary was a virgin and maintained herself as a virgin, meaning Jesus had no genuine brothers. They often designate them as sons of Clopas, and, that is because of the confusion over the various Marys, believing that Mary, the mother of Jesus, was wedded to Clopas after the death of Joseph. Further confusing things is the belief that the name "Clopas" is the Greek version of the name "Alpheus".



Therefore, they confuse the Mary's and the sons of the Mary's. It is well accepted among biblical scholars that James the Just/Less was the Lord's brother. It is also documented by historians.



Wellll, not according to that info. And evolved history is full of gaping holes, echo chambers, half truths and deceits, in spite of the expert's best guesses. But if it was true, one would think the Revelators would consider it worthy of relating. Maybe not. Anyway, thanks again for the study, it should spark a new debate between scholars, given the historical insights and corrections offered in the UPs on the many James.



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#22 Bonita

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 01:29 PM

The fact that the Lord's brother James was the Bishop of the Jerusalem church and that he died in 62A.D. is one of the few things that scholars do not debate over. It's pretty settled history. They do argue over whether he was a step-brother or not because they have trouble accepting the fact that Mary had more than one child. There is plenty of historical evidence concerning James' service as head of the church, which TUB admits is true, and his death around 62A.D.. Both Hegesippus and Eusebius state that James was stoned to death. The Oxford Guide to the Bible states James' martyrdom is a fact.

Here is the reference from Josephus who was born in 37A.D., the son of a Jewish priest and a mother who descended from the royal Jewish family of the Hasmoneans. He wrote the following passage around 93A.D..

Having such a character, Ananus thought that with Festus dead and Albinus still on the way he would have the proper opportunity. Convening the judges of the Sanhedrin, he brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called the Christ, whose name was James, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law and delivered them up to be stoned. (Maier, pg. 281)


Below is what Eusebius wrote about the events following James' martyrdom.

After the martyrdom of James and the conquest of Jerusalem which immediately followed, it is said that those of the apostles and disciples of the Lord that were still living came together from all directions with those that were related to the Lord according to the flesh (for the majority of them also were still alive) to take counsel as to who was worthy to succeed James. They all with one consent pronounced Symeon, the son of Clopas, of whom the Gospel also makes mention; to be worthy of the episcopal throne of that parish. He was a cousin, as they say, of the Saviour. For Hegesippus records that Clopas was a brother of Joseph. (Eusebius of Caesarea, Church History, Book III, ch. 11.)


You'll note that they called him a cousin because at that time, they believed that Mary had married Joseph's brother Clopas after Joseph's death. It was the custom at that time for the a brother to marry his brother's widow. (You may recall the question one of the Saduccees asked Jesus concerning the question about who's wife a woman would be if she married all six brothers after each one died and Jesus answered that after the resurrection, the righteous ". . . neither marry nor are given in marriage.") Here is where TUB enlightens us by telling us that Clopas was not Joseph's brother. He was Mary's (mother of Jesus) uncle, the husband of Mary's mother's sister, also named Mary. (187.3.2) We know that Mary had two aunts, Mary and Martha (188.1.7), who were not incidentally the sisters of Lazarus. So you can see all the confusion over names when there were only a handful being used by a few million people. In fact, the fellow who martyred James was named Jesus Ananus.

So, I'm really sorry Rick, if you think that something cannot be true unless it is printed in the words of TUB. You can miss so much that way.

#23 Rick Warren

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 02:39 PM

The fact that the Lord's brother James was the Bishop of the Jerusalem church and that he died in 62A.D. is one of the few things that scholars do not debate over. It's pretty settled history. They do argue over whether he was a step-brother or not because they have trouble accepting the fact that Mary had more than one child. There is plenty of historical evidence concerning James' service as head of the church, which TUB admits is true, and his death around 62A.D.. Both Hegesippus and Eusebius state that James was stoned to death. The Oxford Guide to the Bible states James' martyrdom is a fact.

Here is the reference from Josephus who was born in 37A.D., the son of a Jewish priest and a mother who descended from the royal Jewish family of the Hasmoneans. He wrote the following passage around 93A.D..



Below is what Eusebius wrote about the events following James' martyrdom.



You'll note that they called him a cousin because at that time, they believed that Mary had married Joseph's brother Clopas after Joseph's death. It was the custom at that time for the a brother to marry his brother's widow. (You may recall the question one of the Saduccees asked Jesus concerning the question about who's wife a woman would be if she married all six brothers after each one died and Jesus answered that after the resurrection, the righteous ". . . neither marry nor are given in marriage.") Here is where TUB enlightens us by telling us that Clopas was not Joseph's brother. He was Mary's (mother of Jesus) uncle, the husband of Mary's mother's sister, also named Mary. (187.3.2) We know that Mary had two aunts, Mary and Martha (188.1.7), who were not incidentally the sisters of Lazarus. So you can see all the confusion over names when there were only a handful being used by a few million people. In fact, the fellow who martyred James was named Jesus Ananus.

So, I'm really sorry Rick, if you think that something cannot be true unless it is printed in the words of TUB. You can miss so much that way.



Thanks for the empathy Bonita. Not to worry, I don't submit every piece of history or science for UB verification, but I do compare them when coincidental, and am curious on this one point?

Bonita: ...There is plenty of historical evidence concerning James' service as head of the church, which TUB admits is true, and his death around 62A.D...



Are you saying the UB does give his death year? I did miss that.



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#24 Rick Warren

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 02:49 PM

Never mind, I see that was answered earlier in the negative. :rolleyes:

#25 Rick Warren

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 04:02 PM

Hi Bonita,

Doing more research, about the three James. Found this:

...And as concerns James [Zebedee], it was literally true--he did drink the cup with the Master, seeing that he was the first of the apostles to experience martyrdom, being early put to death with the sword by Herod Agrippa.... P.1553 - §4

So it was not him historians refers to. And it is unlikely that James Alpheas was a church leader, therefore I agree that in all likelihood it was the Master's brother, James.

Sorry for the distraction and the question. My caution flags went up when I read:

...The twins [James and Judus] served faithfully until the end, until the dark days of trial, crucifixion, and despair... P.1564 - §5

...coupled with the confused record:

The Catholic Encyclopedia concludes that, based on Hegesippus's account, it is "probable" that James the Just is also James the Less, and in line with "most Catholic interpreters", that he is therefore James, son of Alphaeus as well as James the son of Mary.


Glad it's settled. Please go on with your historical presentation, it's fascinating. Rick

#26 Bonita

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Posted 14 July 2010 - 05:29 PM

Oh . . . ok. I thought I was up against some head winds here and was bracing myself for being told to take my musings elsewhere. But I'm glad you think it's fascinating because I do too. I'm about to take a side track on James, because my brain has become sort of ADHD since the trauma and surgery. . . . oh look, a bird!

Anyway, I was perusing TUB about James and came across this quote about the Epistle of James:

196.2.1 Almost the whole of the New Testament is devoted, not to the portrayal of the significant and inspiring religious life of Jesus, but to a discussion of Paul’s religious experience and to a portrayal of his personal religious convictions. The only notable exceptions to this statement, aside from certain parts of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, are the Book of Hebrews and the Epistle of James. Even Peter, in his writing, only once reverted to the personal religious life of his Master. The New Testament is a superb Christian document, but it is only meagerly Jesusonian.



Now, I find this interesting in that TUB is saying that the Epistle of James does portray the inspiring religious life of Jesus. The problem is, TUB doesn't tell us who wrote the Epistle. The Archaeological Study Bible, which is what I use, states that James, the Lord's brother, is most likely the author. However, Sadler's workbook, Bible Study says, "For many reasons it is difficult to accept James, the Lord's brother, as the author of this epistle." (p.477) Sadler gives the following reasons:

1. James was slow to accept Jesus' divine mission.
2. Jesus committed his mother to the care of John.
3. It was written by a learned writer familiar with Hellenistic literature.
4. It was written in Greek and James probably spoke Aramaic.
5. Because it cites Romans, and Romans was written in 58A.D..

Now, be it far from me to suggest that I know more than Sadler, but I do think he could be wrong about this. If he's not wrong, then at least his arguments are weak.

The fact that James was slow to accept Jesus' divine mission has nothing to do with the fact that he became the leader of the Church in Jerusalem and very likely wrote letters to the Church at large. Although he was slow, he did wholeheartedly accept Jesus' mission. Likewise, the fact that Jesus committed his mother to John's care was likely for other reasons. Perhaps he knew that James would have other responsibilities that would preclude his ability to care for her, who incidentally died quickly (was she ill?). Plus his position would have put her in possible danger. The fact that it was written by someone familiar with Hellenistic literature actually makes it probable that it belongs to James since he grew up in the Galilee which was a Hellenized region. And finally, we know that he was probably nearly as well educated as his brother because he did make his bar mitzvah and was trained in the same synagogue by the same rabbi with the same literature. Jesus learned Greek which makes it likely that James did as well. Moreover, the fact that Romans is cited gives him at least 4 years to get his epistle written. So, I'm inclined to think that it is a possibility that James did write some, if not all of this epistle. So, now I'm curious as to why TUB would say that it depicts more of Jesus' religious life.

Just reading the first chapter, it seems to me to be what I would imagine Jesus taught James while he was growing up in Nazareth. He says, "Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." (1:2-4) He also states "Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires."(1:19-20) "If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless." (1:26) Can't you imagine Jesus teaching his siblings these very lessons while raising the Nazareth family? I can.

#27 Bonita

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Posted 16 July 2010 - 10:02 AM

TUB tells us that the Galilee was a rural and fertile place where it was easier to gain a livelihood than in Judea, which is one of the reasons Joseph wanted to raise his family there instead of Bethlehem. We also know that Galilee contained the major crossroads that linked nations and promoted commerce.

124:2.9 Joseph early began to instruct Jesus in the diverse means of gaining a livelihood, explaining the advantages of agriculture over industry and trade. Galilee was a more beautiful and prosperous district than Judea, and it cost only about one fourth as much to live there as in Jerusalem and Judea. It was a province of agricultural villages and thriving industrial cities, containing more than two hundred towns of over five thousand population and thirty of over fifteen thousand.



Galilee was not only a rich agricultural area, but it contained a very lucrative fishing industry around the Sea of Galilee.

124:2.10 When on his first trip with his father to observe the fishing industry on the lake of Galilee, Jesus had just about made up his mind to become a fisherman; but close association with his father's vocation later on influenced him to become a carpenter, while still later a combination of influences led him to the final choice of becoming a religious teacher of a new order.



Reicke tells us more about this. The plain of Gennesareth that he mentions includes Capernaum where Jesus lived and work as a fishing boat builder in Zebedee's business.

Galilee, with its green hills and blue lake, was also the home of Jesus. In Our Lord's day, the whole countryside, fertile, well-watered, and intensively cultivated, looked like a garden. The plain of Gennesareth, then as now, was of legendary beauty. . . . Gennesareth is a section of the coast on the northwest shore of the Sea of Galilee, about a mile wide and three miles long. It has a subtropical climate. Situated at the foot of the mountains 690 feet below sea level, it is protected from the wind. It was also an important commercial site, for at the time of Jesus the Via maris passed through Gennesareth. This is the "way of the sea", the caravan route from Damascus through northern Transjordan and "the land of Naphtali" to Caesarea by the Sea. Not far from the border of Philip's tetrarchy in northern Transjordan there was located therefore a military post and customs station: Capernaum. In addition, the plentiful supply of fish in the Sea of Galilee made possible the development of a food industry, the size of which is suggested by the city of Magdala or Tarichea, on the west shore of the lake. Jesus therefore proclaimed the kingdom of God in a delightful natural setting and an environment filled with activity; these earthly things, however, flowers and fields, farmers and fishermen, he saw only as an image of heavenly things. (Reicke pgs. 116-117)


Here is further information about the Via Maris:

The Via Maris entered the Great Rift Valley from the east and continued south to the Sea of Galilee. It then turned southwest into the Valley of Jezreel and cut through the ridge of Mount Carmel to reach the coastal plain. After arriving at the coastal plain, the road continued along the coast towards Egypt. (followtherabbi.com)

The Via Maris

#28 Bonita

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Posted 17 July 2010 - 11:49 AM

I just found this quote from TUB which supports the historical fact I cited above, that Capernaum was a military post:

129.1.7 Throughout this year Jesus built boats and continued to observe how men lived on earth. Frequently he would go down to visit at the caravan station, Capernaum being on the direct travel route from Damascus to the south. Capernaum was a strong Roman military post, and the garrison’s commanding officer was a gentile believer in Yahweh, “a devout man,” as the Jews were wont to designate such proselytes. This officer belonged to a wealthy Roman family, and he took it upon himself to build a beautiful synagogue in Capernaum, which had been presented to the Jews a short time before Jesus came to live with Zebedee. Jesus conducted the services in this new synagogue more than half the time this year, and some of the caravan people who chanced to attend remembered him as the carpenter from Nazareth.



I just love it when pieces fall together so nicely.

#29 Bonita

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 03:38 PM

TUB tells us that the Jewish synagogue was an essential feature in the spread of the Gospel.

121.2.4 Greece provided a language and a culture, Rome built the roads and unified an empire, but the dispersion of the Jews, with their more than two hundred synagogues and well-organized religious communities scattered hither and yon throughout the Roman world, provided the cultural centers in which the new gospel of the kingdom of heaven found initial reception, and from which it subsequently spread to the uttermost parts of the world.

121.2.5 Each Jewish synagogue tolerated a fringe of gentile believers, “devout” or “God-fearing” men, and it was among this fringe of proselytes that Paul made the bulk of his early converts to Christianity. Even the temple at Jerusalem possessed its ornate court of the gentiles. There was very close connection between the culture, commerce, and worship of Jerusalem and Antioch. In Antioch Paul’s disciples were first called “Christians.”



Reicke explains why the synagogue was so crucial to the spread of Christianity:

Without this connection with Judaism the Christian communities would have found themselves in a legally dubious position; for in the Roman Empire, since the time of Caesar and Augustus, the formation of new associations had been prohibited. The Jewish synagogues, however, were excepted. Only with the Neronian persecution was a temporary distinction made between Jews and Christians before the law. (Reicke, pgs.226-227)


The history books I am reading expound greatly on this topic. First, the term "synagogue" is derived from the Gk. word "synagoge" meaning a place of assembly, a council and pedagogical center. It is no wonder that the synagogues were so successful; they were not only buildings used for religious purposes, but also community centers and schools where religious living embraced all of aspects of life. Such centers must have contributed greatly to the cohesiveness of the community despite the fact that the Jewish people were scattered throughout the known world. Another benefit to the synagogue was the lack of sacrifices. The type of worship in the synagogue had to do with teaching and gaining knowledge of scriptures and their meanings in order to fulfill the law and commandments of God.

139.0.3 Do not make the mistake of regarding the apostles as being altogether ignorant and unlearned. All of them, except the Alpheus twins, were graduates of the synagogue schools, having been thoroughly trained in the Hebrew scriptures and in much of the current knowledge of that day. Seven were graduates of the Capernaum synagogue schools, and there were no better Jewish schools in all Galilee.



Reicke describes the purpose of the synagogue:

In many places, within the framework of the synagogues, the Jews were allowed to exercise their own jurisdiction, hold communal banquets, and establish communal financial institutions--in short, to enjoy a legal and commercial, religious and social freedom of movement that was exceptional in the Greek cities for reasons of civil defense and in the Roman Empire because of the law against associations promulgated in 55. One should not overlook the significance this freedom was later to have for the spread of the Gospel, which took place in and through the synagogues of the Diaspora, including their membership and adherents. (Reicke, pg. 89)

Representatives of this nation [Jewish] were now scattered throughout the Roman world; they had synagogues and social organizations in every important city, at least in the eastern parts of the commonwealth. . . . The exceptionally vigorous expansion of the Jews, together with their freedom of movement within the framework of Augustus' world empire and the Pax Romana, which are important considerations in the New Testament period, had of course long been in the making especially under Caesar. (Reicke, pg. 101)


TUB tells us that Alexandria played an important role in the spread of Christianity, partly because of the presence of synagogues.

130.3.8 Alexandria was the city of the blended culture of the Occident and next to Rome the largest and most magnificent in the world. Here was located the largest Jewish synagogue in the world, the seat of government of the Alexandria Sanhedrin, the seventy ruling elders.

195.3.10 Conditions, however, were not so bad at Alexandria. The early schools continued to hold much of Jesus’ teachings free from compromise.



Reicke goes on to explain the history of the synagogue which originated in Egypt, the first being built in 525B.C. in Upper Egypt. Eventually, Alexandria became home to the largest known synagogue, not to mention the world's largest library at the time, the place of refuge for the infant Jesus and also the home of the early Christian Church.

One of the essential institutions for the religious life of Galilee was the synagogue. This type of community center and place of worship was undoubtedly borrowed from the Diaspora, where the social and religious need for a common meeting place was especially great and the environment furnished certain models.
The earliest historical evidence of a synagogue is an inscription from Lower Egypt which states that the Jews of Schedia, near Kafr el-Dawar, fourteen miles east-southeast of Alexandria, built a place of prayer about 225B.C. in honor of Ptolemy III and his family. . . . Alexandria in particular was distinguished by its possession of a large number. Essentially, then, the Jewish synagogue system can be derived from Ptolemaic Egypt, where the Hellenistic associations, with their meeting places, influenced its development. . . .
During the judaization of Galilee in the first century B.C. the Jewish scribes obviously found this system, developed in the Diaspora, to be of value in teaching the law to the Galileans . . . By the time of Jesus, at any rate, Galilee had been won to Judaism, and a network of synagogues had been buiilt in which scribes from Jerusalem often supervised the conduct of worship. Originally colonial and missionary institutions, these synagogues developed into community centers. . . . (Reicke, pgs. 119-120)

In addition to religious worship, the synagogue also provided a center for social service; in fact, the distinction between a place of prayer and a community center seems to have been rather vague. In particular we read about instruction of children and care of the poor. The synagogue officials were also concerned with such juristic matters as flogging and excommunication.


We know a little about the physical layout of the synagogues from TUB, especially the women's gallery.

150.1.3 It was most astounding in that day, when women were not even allowed on the main floor of the synagogue (being confined to the women’s gallery), to behold them being recognized as authorized teachers of the new gospel of the kingdom.

150.3.1 The Sabbath services of the apostolic party had been put in the hands of the women by Andrew, upon instructions from Jesus. This meant, of course, that they could not be held in the new synagogue.



Reicke describes more about the structure of the synagogue:

The synagogue buildings in Galilee often took the form of a basilica with three doors at the southern end, a long tripartite room, and perhaps a gallery for the women. During worship and other transactions, the members of the community and the worshipers sat on benches in the front part of the nave; the elders or rulers sat on chairs further back in the choir, facing the people. The last section, the Holy Place, contained the so-called ark, a container for the scrolls of the law and the Prophets. Two men were responsible for the building and its worship: a "ruler of the synagogue" and an "attendant". At least ten persons had to be present at worship, which was often held on Monday and Thursday as well as every Sabbath and feast day. (Reicke, pg. 121)


Another feature of the synagogue was Moses' seat where the discourse on the Torah readings was given. Jesus' referenced Moses' seat in regard to those who claimed to have authority to teach the law according to the Torah. The seat represents religious authority rather than the teaching of truth, which is what Jesus did every time he sat in Moses' seat in the synagogue which is one of the reasons why he was later rejected by the Jews.

175.1.8 Nevertheless, I admonish you that these scribes and Pharisees still sit in Moses’ seat, and therefore, until the Most Highs who rule in the kingdoms of men shall finally overthrow this nation and destroy the place of these rulers, I bid you co-operate with these elders in Israel.

177.3.7 While they feared he would stir up a tumult among the people, the Master’s last words to the multitude had been an exhortation to conform in every reasonable manner with the authority of those “who sit in Moses’ seat.”



"And he [Jesus] closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant, and sat down" (Luke 4:20); that is, he sat down on the special preaching seat of the synagogue (called "Moses' seat" in Matt. 23:2) in order to deliver a sermon based on the reading. Technically this scene at Nazareth corresponds to the usual course of synaogue worship, except that Jesus provided not scribal wisdom but messianic revelation. (Reicke pgs. 122-123)


The "leading sect" in popular eyes, however, was the Pharisees. Their teachers were called rabbis, "held to be the most authoritative exponents of the Law", meaning the Torah. . . . the rabbis, who felt that to make up a doctrine of one's own was a betrayal, and this would be fundamental to the Jewish rejection of Pauline Christianity. Any authentic teaching had its origins not with the teacher who articulated it, but with his teachers starting with Moses at Mount Sinai, who learned from God. (Klinghoffer, pgs. 20&22)


Edited by Bonita, 22 July 2010 - 07:11 PM.


#30 Nigel Nunn

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 06:12 PM

TUB tells us that the Jewish synagogue was an essential feature in the spread of the Gospel.
...

Bonita, this is really interesting; thank you for sharing your work!
Fascinating how this "place of assembly and teaching" evolved.
Nigel

#31 Bonita

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 10:44 AM

Thanks so much Nigel. It is a relief to me to know that someone is enjoying this besides me. What was it that Rodan said about that? Let me look up the quote. . . . . Here it is:

160.2.8 One of the crowning glories of human friendship is this power and possibility of the mutual stimulation of the imagination.



But now you've encouraged me so I'm in the process of preparing something on the scribes. Jesus was known as the scribe of Damascus. We are told that the scribes and rabbis together were called the Pharisees. Who would have thought that Jesus was a Pharisee!! I've discovered quite a bit about the scribes, as well as info on the Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots and Essenes at the time of Jesus. Hopefully I'll get it all together in good time.

137.7.6-7.9 The scribes and rabbis, taken together, were called Pharisees. They referred to themselves as the "associates." In many ways they were the progressive group among the Jews, having adopted many teachings not clearly found in the Hebrew scriptures, such as belief in the resurrection of the dead, a doctrine only mentioned by a later prophet, Daniel.

The Sadducees consisted of the priesthood and certain wealthy Jews. They were not such sticklers for the details of law enforcement. The Pharisees and Sadducees were really religious parties, rather than sects.

The Essenes were a true religious sect, originating during the Maccabean revolt, whose requirements were in some respects more exacting than those of the Pharisees. They had adopted many Persian beliefs and practices, lived as a brotherhood in monasteries, refrained from marriage, and had all things in common. They specialized in teachings about angels.

The Zealots were a group of intense Jewish patriots. They advocated that any and all methods were justified in the struggle to escape the bondage of the Roman yoke.



#32 Bill Martin

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Posted 23 July 2010 - 03:47 PM

Bonita,

I enjoy being the beneficiary of your research. I'm "lurking" and don't reply but would if I had a question or felt there was something I could add.

Thanks,

Bill
Slowly but surely the Power of Love is overcoming the Love of Power

#33 Bonita

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 09:46 AM

Hey Bill,

Great to hear from you! Did you see that video of the whale trashing a yacht? I've always worried about you out on the high seas and prayed for your safety, knowing the dangers of pirates, storms and massive waves. Who knew to add killer whales to the list? Go figure. Next it will be giant squids and sea monsters.

#34 Bill Martin

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Posted 24 July 2010 - 05:47 PM

That was strange. sailboats are quiet, their hull is shaped very much like a whale's body to enable them to slip the water past them.

The whale could have been sleeping and they hit it (not uncommon) or it could have been a boy whale with amorous intentions interrupted at a bad time.


I am soon to be back to my primary mission of apostleship spreading the simple good news about the Gospel of the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of Man.
\
My mama graduated on June sixteenth and i have placed all her worldly goods with poor people who have little. A few more weeks of work around the homestead, clean out the barn, cut, split and stack about ten trees and I will be off to spend the winter in beautiful Rio Dulce/Lago Izabal, Guatemala. We have two study groups started, and i am eager to be back with some of the persons who received El Libros. One Maya girl Maria Angelina Sicajan, i am hopeful has finished the book while i have been caring for my ailing Mom, here in Michigan.

We will be sailing my friend's 50 ft Morgan Sloop to the Western Caribbean at the last part of December. Anybody wishing to crew just PM me.


Love,


Bill
Slowly but surely the Power of Love is overcoming the Love of Power

#35 Bonita

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 01:04 PM

Please accept my condolences Bill. I've been wondering about your mother recently. I hope she passed peacefully without much suffering. Although I only spoke to her once, I know her as a very fine lady and I look forward to meeting her on the mansion worlds where I'm sure we will have a heck of a good time.

#36 Bonita

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 09:28 AM

A massive storm blew through here yesterday knocking out power and cable which gave me plenty of time to organize my thoughts on the subject of scribes. I'm hoping this doesn't get too boring, if so, ignore it. Moving on then to the subject of the various religious groups within historic Palestine. . . I made note of the fact that Jesus was called the Scribe of Damascus and often referred to as Rabbi. Yet, TUB informs us that the scribes and rabbis made up the group known as the Pharisees.

137.7.6-7.9 The scribes and rabbis, taken together, were called Pharisees.


Well, I have always found this quite confusing in that most references in TUB and in the Bible refer to the "scribes and Pharisees" as though they were two separate groups. After reading many different sources, I've come to the current conclusion that not all Pharisees were scribes or rabbis; it was possible to be a Pharisee and not have the title of scribe or rabbi. But, clearly we see in Jesus that it was also possible to be a scribe or rabbi and not be a Pharisee. So I've spent a goodly amount of time attempting to understand these various groups and although I think I only have a partial grasp of the subject, I'd like to share what I've discovered so far.

The texts I'll use in all the posts concerning these various groups are as follows:

  • Jesus, Michael Grant, Rigel, London, 2008
  • Why the Jews Rejected Jesus, David Klinghoffer, Doubleday, NY, 2005
  • NIV Archaelogical Study Bible, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 2005
  • The New Testament Era, Bo Reicke, Fortress Press, Philadelphia, 1974
  • Everyday Living:Bible Life and Times, MJF Books, NY, 2006
  • From Jesus to Christ, Paula Fredriksen, Yale University Press, New Haven, 2000
  • Oxford Guide to the Bible, Bruce Metzger & Michael Coogan eds., Oxford University Press, NY, 1993
  • Josephus, the Essential Works, Paul Maier, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, 1988
  • The Kingdom of God and Primitive Christianity, Albert Schweitzer, The Seabury Press, NY, 1968
  • The New Testament Code, Robert Eisenman, Watkins Publishing, London, 2006

The following is a partial list of the various groups I have identified and will attempt to describe, not necessarily in this order:

  • Elders
  • Priests
  • Scribes
  • Saducees
  • Pharisees
  • Essenes
  • Zealots

Beginning with the scribes, I'd like to first give an historical perspective. We know from TUB that the scribes played a large role in preserving Hebrew written lore. These individuals were not attempting to create scripture, only a record of the Hebrew people in order to preserve a national identity.

93.9.9 The national ego of the Jews was tremendously depressed by the Babylonian captivity. In their reaction against national inferiority they swung to the other extreme of national and racial egotism, in which they distorted and perverted their traditions with the view of exalting themselves above all races as the chosen people of God; and hence they carefully edited all their records for the purpose of raising Abraham and their other national leaders high up above all other persons, not excepting Melchizedek himself. The Hebrew scribes therefore destroyed every record of these momentous times which they could find, preserving only the narrative of the meeting of Abraham and Melchizedek after the battle of Siddim, which they deemed reflected great honor upon Abraham.

97.7.3 These Hebrew priests and scribes had a single idea in their minds, and that was the rehabilitation of the Jewish nation, the glorification of Hebrew traditions, and the exaltation of their racial history. If there is resentment of the fact that these priests have fastened their erroneous ideas upon such a large part of the Occidental world, it should be remembered that they did not intentionally do this; they did not claim to be writing by inspiration; they made no profession to be writing a sacred book. They were merely preparing a textbook designed to bolster up the dwindling courage of their fellows in captivity. They were definitely aiming at improving the national spirit and morale of their compatriots. It remained for later-day men to assemble these and other writings into a guide book of supposedly infallible teachings.



The Hebrew scribes who altered and preserved the history of their national leaders were simply fulfilling their professional responsibility to interpret and record.

Scribes were distinguished professional people throughout the ancient world. . . In Israel, some were officials who had authority to draw up legal documents. some held special positions in the royal palace and functioned as ministers of finance or secretaries of state. Some were academic advisors to the king. During the Diaspora in Babylon, scribes became responsible for preserving and interpreting scripture. Later, scribes were also called "the wise" and described as those with special knowledge of the Law. (7.pg.684)


The Babylonian captivity, which occurred in three different deportations between 597-538B.C., was an opportunity for the Hebrews to assimilate certain features of the Persian culture and society they were living in, and the role of scribe was one such component. It is important to point out that the Hebrews had no written language until 900B.C. and it wasn't until the Babylonian captivity that they were able to improve their skills. The model for the scribe was also borrowed from Egypt, Greece and Rome.

74.8.9 The Hebrews had no written language in general usage for a long time after they reached Palestine. They learned the use of an alphabet from the neighboring Philistines, who were political refugees from the higher civilization of Crete. The Hebrews did little writing until about 900 B.C., and having no written language until such a late date, they had several different stories of creation in circulation, but after the Babylonian captivity they inclined more toward accepting a modified Mesopotamian version.



As the term scribe suggests, the historical precursors of this division of the High Council were the secretaries and notaries of the Oriental kings and governors, with whom the Jews became particularly familiar in the Persian Empire. The Chronicler [Ezra] took it for granted that those kings of Judah who had long before developed a hierarchy and bureaucracy like that of the Persian Empire employed skilled notaries drawn from the Levites. Conditions in Egypt and Greece made officials of this class seem absolutely indispensable in the Ptolemaic kingdom. Contacts with the Roman world probably also impressed the Jews with the role played by the scribae, who came from the equestrian class and were organized into guilds. (4.pg.150-151)


Regardless of the presence of the written language, widespread literacy did not quickly occur until the 6th century B.D. (7. pg.438), hence the need for educating those who were so necessary for commerce, legal institutions, the military, royalty and of course the religious institutions. Not only were scribes responsible for reading and writing documents, they were expected to interpret the written word as well. Because of their affiliation with those in high places and their power over the word, scribes became regarded as men of wisdom and such value and esteem tended to be especially guarded among families, early turning it into a family trade. Eventually however, formal scribal schools developed and in Judea they were primarily affiliated with the Temple and later with the synagogues.

Because of their learnedness, scribes became widely regarded as men of great wisdom and later these ideals became focused in the scribe Ezra, who represented the ideal model of a rabbinic sage. (3. pg.682) In future posts I'd like to elaborate on Ezra, the quintessential scribe, and the role scribes played in ending the role of prophets. Later, I'll go into the role of the scribes in first century Palestine, their presence among the Pharisees and Saducees, how they contributed to the development of the Zealots and how the term rabbi was used, among other things.

#37 Teobeck

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 04:00 PM

I find Bonita to have the most incisive mind I've encountered in quite awhile, especially on spiritual and related historical subjects, and she is indefatigable - a light amongst the shadows. Also a great heart. I have researched many of the areas she reports/opines on, and she is always factually correct, due to comprehensive research. She is also always objective, without a lot of ego, the first sign of a great mind.

These boards usually include maybe 10 participants at most, so it's a small club. Does that mean anything, other than a shortage of folks interested in spiritual interests?

Best, Ted

#38 Bonita

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 05:59 PM

Ted,

I'm so honored by your impression of me. Honestly, I've never been spoken so well of. Thank you.

As for your question about the few posters here. I have noted that the readership is large compared to other sites. I'm not sure why there are more readers than posters, but I leave it in God's hands.

So very glad you are here.

#39 Bonita

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 10:28 AM

This is the only quote in TUB concerning Ezra, but it is enlightening in terms of the role of the scribe in helping to confound the minds of the Jewish people.

97.8.3 But five hundred years of the overlordship of alien rulers was too much for even the patient and long-suffering Jews. The prophets and priests began to cry: “How long, O Lord, how long?” As the honest Jew searched the Scriptures, his confusion became worse confounded. An olden seer promised that God would protect and deliver his “chosen people.” Amos had threatened that God would abandon Israel unless they re-established their standards of national righteousness. The scribe of Deuteronomy had portrayed the Great Choice — as between the good and the evil, the blessing and the curse. Isaiah the first had preached a beneficent king-deliverer. Jeremiah had proclaimed an era of inner righteousness — the covenant written on the tablets of the heart. The second Isaiah talked about salvation by sacrifice and redemption. Ezekiel proclaimed deliverance through the service of devotion, and Ezra promised prosperity by adherence to the law. But in spite of all this they lingered on in bondage, and deliverance was deferred. Then Daniel presented the drama of the impending “crisis” — the smiting of the great image and the immediate establishment of the everlasting reign of righteousness, the Messianic kingdom.



After reading about Ezra, I have to admit that it puzzles me as to how he became the ideal model of a rabbinic sage, but it is clear to me how his efforts conspired to end the age of the prophets and begin the messianic age.

Before going on, I have to add an additional reference book to the list. It arrived yesterday and it has a wonderfully concise entry on Ezra. It will be #11. Legends of the Bible, Louis Ginzberg, Konecky & Konecky, Old Saybrook,CT, 1956.

Ezra was a Babylonian Jew who was allowed by King Artaxerxes to lead a party of approximately 1500 co-religionists back to Palestine in the fifth or early fourth century BC. He is most known for banning marriage between Jews and heathens, teaching the written law and reforming religious rites. There is some scholarly controversy over what books of the Bible he wrote, but it is generally viewed that he is, at least in part, responsible for the books, First and Second Chronicles and Ezra and Nehemiah. Of note, these books of the Bible are actually quoted in TUB forty-nine times which perhaps attests to Ezra's sageness.

More later on how Ezra became known as the scribe-priest and how his efforts to answer the question, "What must I do to be saved?" propelled him to the stature of the ideal scribe.

#40 Bonita

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Posted 31 July 2010 - 03:29 PM

The more I read about Ezra, the more I realize that I have too much information to post. I'm having a hard time deciding how to present the material and make it interesting and relevant to TUB. Part of my problem is that the 500 years of Jewish history prior to Michael incarnating on this earth played such an enormous role in creating the cultural and religious environment in which he lived that it can't really be overlooked. We are reminded by TUB that Jesus incarnated into the mind of a first century human being (136.8.7), meaning I'm sure, that the religion and culture of the time had a significant impact that we, twenty centuries later, might sometimes find curious. At least I can say that I've wondered about plenty of things that TUB, and now historical documents, have begun to clear up.

Before trying to focus on Ezra, the quintessential scribe, I feel compelled to also bring to bear the preliminary environment in which he was called to function in order to understand how he was able to make such an impact on Hebrew history. I hope you'll tolerate a bit more back story before getting to the heart of Ezra's contribution. Also, I found another reference which I'll list at the end (sorry, I'm out of control). :unsure:

This particular five hundred years of the history of Palestine can be divided up into five phases: 1.) Persian; 2.) Greek; 3.) Hasmonean; 4.) Roman; and, 5.) Herodian. The Persian period is from 538 B.C. to 330 B.C. and begins with Cyrus the Great allowing the Israelites to return to their homeland. The events in each period set the stage for the final period, the Herodian, in which we see the birth of Jesus. Much evolved in the collective Hebrew hearts and minds which helped to bring messianic longing to a fever pitch, and our friend Ezra was a player.

In several sources Ezra is referred to as a second Moses. I found that fact so interesting in that Jesus was referred to as the second Adam by Paul. This apparent need of the Hebrews to go back and rely so heavily on the original prophets, priests and kings did not happen in a vacuum. The Babylonian captivity and exile, in the minds of the Jews, was much like the exile in Egypt. God delivered them from that bondage and he would do so again with another Moses. The scribes of this period had only one goal, rehabilitation of the Jewish nation, which also meant the Temple cult. Such a feat would require heroic legendary figures much like King David and his temple building, nazarite son, Solomon, who were responsible for the glory days of ancient Jewish civilization.

97.7.3  These Hebrew priests and scribes had a single idea in their minds, and that was the rehabilitation of the Jewish nation, the glorification of Hebrew traditions, and the exaltation of their racial history.



And, such a secular/sacral pair did eventually arise. Zerubbabel, who had Davidic lineage, and Joshua, a priest with Aaronic lineage, were sent by Cyrus to rebuild the holy city of Jerusalem. As I pointed out, they did manage to dedicate the Temple in 515 B.C. with help from the Persians but not without much interference from the surrounding community, particularly the Samaritans. Their task was daunting, as Finkelstein and Silberman explain:

At the time of the arrival of successive waves of Judahite exiles from Babylonia, the province of Yehud was a pale shadow of its former existence as the kingdom of Judah. Its borders were shrunken, its population significantly diminished, and Jerusalem remained in ruins, the official center of neither state nor cult, nor a developed and diversified economy. . . Intensive excavations in Jerusalem have shown that the city was systematically destroyed by the Babylonians and its immediate vicinity remained sparsely settled for decades. . . In short, the province of Yehud to which the Babylonian exiles returned was a rural landscape of scattered communities of survivors, with a ruined city where a Temple and royal capital had once stood. . . Zerubbabel, the Davidic heir, participated in the first act of restoration, when the foundations of the new Temple were laid. . . Perhaps the moment had arrived for the long-awaited Davidic restoration. Zerubbabel, who had in the meantime been officially appointed governor of Yehud, became the focus of renewed messianic hopes. (12., pgs. 217-219)

At its [Jerusalem's] center--its main reason for existence--was the restored Temple and the cultic activities carried out in its sacred precincts. With no king to lead the nation, a dual system of rule was established in the province of Yehud. The Persian-appointed governor dealt with secular matters such as collection of tax and imperial administration, while the Temple priesthood, led by a high priest, supervised ritual sacrifice and oversaw the collection of offerings. This duality is already evident in the division of power between the governor Zerubbabel and the high priest Joshua in the late sixth century BCE. The priests' religious activities included responsibility for the sacred writings of the community, editing and revising them over the course of generations--but also producing new works as well. (12., pg.221)


One might wonder why the Persians were so eager to help the Hebrews reestablish Jerusalem. One might also wonder why I bother to mention it. :rolleyes: TUB tells us that there is no secular history of the Jews, so in order to reconstruct it, one must look at the secular history of the neighboring cultures of that time.

97.8.1   The custom of looking upon the record of the experiences of the Hebrews as sacred history and upon the transactions of the rest of the world as profane history is responsible for much of the confusion existing in the human mind as to the interpretation of history. And this difficulty arises because there is no secular history of the Jews. After the priests of the Babylonian exile had prepared their new record of God’s supposedly miraculous dealings with the Hebrews, the sacred history of Israel as portrayed in the Old Testament, they carefully and completely destroyed the existing records of Hebrew affairs — such books as “The Doings of the Kings of Israel” and “The Doings of the Kings of Judah,” together with several other more or less accurate records of Hebrew history.



The Persian kings generally endorsed the religious activities of the Jews both in Babylon and then in Jerusalem for the following reasons:

Temples served as regional power centers and helped maintain civil obedience and political loyalty. . . Priestly governmental systems were less threatening to Persian kings than were local monarchies. Judea was ruled by both a high priest and a governor. . . The Persians hoped to curry the favor and support of local deities and their priestly servants, who might intercede for the prosperity of the empire. . . . Religious endorsement was essential to the legitimization of Persian rule in the eyes of various peoples. (3., pg.699)


But soon new urgent political and religious reasons arose in Babylon under the new Persian king, Artaxerxes I around 458 B.C., and this is the point where Ezra enters the stage. To be continued . . . . :P

12. David and Solomon, In Search of the Bible's Sacred Kings and the Roots of Western Tradition, Finkelstein and Silberman, Free Press, NY, 2006




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