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#61 Teobeck

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Posted 15 August 2010 - 07:18 PM

Fascinating. Just goes to show how people who knew and know God need Him enough to carry on for Him even in captivity. However, I wonder whether there is any other historical info about Jerusalem in that time other than Lamentations?

Just a few new facts - seems Jerusalem was about 25,000 people at the time just prior to the diaspora, and very few books of the Bible were complete other than the Torah. The Temple was much smaller than that of Herod, but houses were two stories. It was a lot smaller than I envisioned. Galilee wasn't a part of their world at that time either.

Edited by Teobeck, 15 August 2010 - 08:29 PM.


#62 Bonita

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Posted 16 August 2010 - 11:44 AM

Just a few new facts - seems Jerusalem was about 25,000 people at the time just prior to the diaspora, and very few books of the Bible were complete other than the Torah.


As you know, the Torah, or Pentateuch, is the first five books of the Old Testament: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. Since the Jews didn't have a written language until around 900 B.C., most of this material was oral tradition and when the stories were finally written down, they went through several edits and rewrites. These are the dates I have concerning those books:

Genesis- 1200-450 B.C.
Exodus- 1200-450 B.C.
Leviticus- 560-450 B.C.
Numbers- 850-400 B.C.
Deuteronomy- 630 B.C.

Other books nearly as old as the Torah and/or written or edited during this post-exilic period:

Judges- 1150-550 B.C.
I and II Samuel- 1000-500 B.C.
Joshua- 850-350 B.C.
I and II Kings- 850-350 B.C.
Amos- 750 B.C.
Hosea- 745-735 B.C.
Isaiah I (vs.1-39)- 740-700 B.C.
Micah- 715-686 B.C.
Jeremiah- 625-586 B.C.
Zephaniah- 625-300 B.C.
Nahum- 614-300 B.C.
Habakkuk- 600 B.C.
Job- 600 B.C.
Proverbs- 600-200 B.C.
Ezekiel- 593-571 B.C.
Lamentations- 570-450 B.C.
Isaiah II (vs.40-66) 546-400 B.C.
Haggai- 520 B.C.
Zechariah (vs.1-8) 520-518 B.C.
Psalms- 500-100 B.C.
Obadiah- 470 B.C.
Malachi- 460 B.C.
Nehenuah- 432 B.C.
Ruth- 400 B.C.
Joel- 350 B.C.
Jonah- 350-300 B.C.


All dates from: 14. The Urantia Book Workbooks Volume VI; Bible Study, William Sadler, Urantia Foundation, Chicago, 2003

#63 Bonita

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Posted 20 August 2010 - 03:39 PM

I think it's time to get back to the Hellenistic period of Palestine. One might wonder what the value is in studying this period of history. Palestine, having just undergone several centuries of exposure to Eastern culture and religion was entering into a period of exposure to Western culture and religion which catapulted it into the era in which Michael incarnated. After searching TUB, I discovered numerous references to this important era which I will attempt to incorporate in my study when appropriate.

121.6.1 By the close of the first century before Christ the religious thought of Jerusalem had been tremendously influenced and somewhat modified by Greek cultural teachings and even by Greek philosophy. In the long contest between the views of the Eastern and Western schools of Hebrew thought, Jerusalem and the rest of the Occident and the Levant in general adopted the Western Jewish or modified Hellenistic viewpoint.



There are two parts to the Hellenistic period, the years spent under Ptolemaic rule and then under Seleucid rule. I've spent a fair amount of time looking for firm dates for the various stages of this period only to discover that scholars do not agree, so the following dates are approximations (circa).

Hellenistic Period: 332 B.C. to 167 B.C.
Ptolemaic Period: 301 B.C. to 200 B.C.
Seleucid Period: 200 B.C. to 152 B.C.

Below, I've attempted to outline or highlight the significant events (not in order) that occurred during this portion of the history of Palestine. I'll go into the specifics in future posts hoping to put emphasis on the origin of the various Jewish sects and the ever evolving eschatology.

  • The completion of the Hebrew canon and translation into Greek as the Septuagent.
  • The institution of a universal language for politics and commerce.
  • A cosmopolitan life style and growth of Hellenized cities, particularly of the Decapolis.
  • The rise of Alexandria as a center of culture and intellect along with an increase in libraries and universities.
  • The further evolution of the synagogue and rise of proselytes.
  • The growth of mysticism and eschatology, (Daniel) and the rise of Gnosticism.
  • The acclimation of Platonic philosophy with the resultant reinterpretation of scripture. (Philo)
  • The production of a large corpus of rabbinic writings.
  • The formation of multiple religious sects and parties.
  • Adaptation and inclusion of a new culture particularly with proliferation of stadiums and theaters.

In 332 B.C. Jerusalem surrendered to Alexander the Great. The resultant change in governance resulted in very little change until the death of Alexander after which his huge empire was divided among his generals. The two generals who had the most influence on the Levant were Seleucus I Nicator who seized control of Syria and Ptolemy I Sater who seized control of Egypt and Palestine.

In the next post, I'll attempt to describe the influence of the Ptolemies on Jewish history.

#64 Bonita

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Posted 30 August 2010 - 04:39 PM

Ptolemy I was one of the most shrewd of Alexander's generals, yet his rule over Judah was mild in that he allowed and fostered Judaism. He seemed to uphold the vision of Alexander the Great who was the embodiment of Greek ethos. Alexander, having been educated by Aristotle and inspired by the ideals of Athens attempted to bring Greek culture to the entire known world.

Ptolemy ruled from Egypt and built Alexandria, a Greek city, as his capital. His successor, Ptolemy II was responsible for building the library at Alexandria as well as the lighthouse of Pharos. And, it is this same Ptolemy mentioned in TUB who was responsible for translating the Hebrew scriptures into Greek, an exceedingly important event that greatly influenced history. A copy of this translation was given to the baby Jesus when he left Egypt to return to Galilee.

74:8.11 When the Jewish priests returned to Jerusalem, they had already completed the writing of their narrative of the beginning of things. Soon they made claims that this recital was a recently discovered story of creation written by Moses. But the contemporary Hebrews of around 500 B.C. did not consider these writings to be divine revelations; they looked upon them much as later peoples regard mythological narratives.

74:8.12 This spurious document, reputed to be the teachings of Moses, was brought to the attention of Ptolemy, the Greek king of Egypt, who had it translated into Greek by a commission of seventy scholars for his new library at Alexandria. And so this account found its place among those writings which subsequently became a part of the later collections of the "sacred scriptures" of the Hebrew and Christian religions. And through identification with these theological systems, such concepts for a long time profoundly influenced the philosophy of many Occidental peoples.

123.0.3 On this occasion the assembled friends presented Jesus with a complete copy of the greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures. But this copy of the Jewish sacred writings was not placed in Joseph’s hands until both he and Mary had finally declined the invitation of their Memphis and Alexandrian friends to remain in Egypt. These believers insisted that the child of destiny would be able to exert a far greater world influence as a resident of Alexandria than of any designated place in Palestine. These persuasions delayed their departure for Palestine for some time after they received the news of Herod’s death.

123.3.1 3. EVENTS OF THE SIXTH YEAR (1 B.C.) Already, with his mother’s help, Jesus had mastered the Galilean dialect of the Aramaic tongue; and now his father began teaching him Greek. Mary spoke little Greek, but Joseph was a fluent speaker of both Aramaic and Greek. The textbook for the study of the Greek language was the copy of the Hebrew scriptures — a complete version of the law and the prophets, including the Psalms — which had been presented to them on leaving Egypt. There were only two complete copies of the scriptures in Greek in all Nazareth, and the possession of one of them by the carpenter’s family made Joseph’s home a much-sought place and enabled Jesus, as he grew up, to meet an almost endless procession of earnest students and sincere truth seekers. Before this year ended, Jesus had assumed custody of this priceless manuscript, having been told on his sixth birthday that the sacred book had been presented to him by Alexandrian friends and relatives. And in a very short time he could read it readily.

126.2.6 This year it became the custom for the neighbors to drop in during the winter evenings to hear Jesus play upon the harp, to listen to his stories (for the lad was a master storyteller), and to hear him read from the Greek scriptures.

126.5.6 Fearing that the copy of the Greek scriptures might be discovered and confiscated by the tax collectors, Jesus, on his fifteenth birthday, presented it to the Nazareth synagogue library as his maturity offering to the Lord.

130.3.4 In this library Ganid saw the largest collection of Indian literature in all the world; and they spent some time here each day throughout their stay in Alexandria. Jesus told Ganid about the translation of the Hebrew scriptures into greek at this place.

195.2.7 And so did these Romanized Greeks force both Jews and Christians to philosophize their religion, to co-ordinate its ideas and systematize its ideals, to adapt religious practices to the existing current of life. And all this was enormously helped by translation of the Hebrew scriptures into Greek and by the later recording of the New Testament in the Greek tongue.



TUB sheds light on the truth about the Septuagint which is currently steeped in legend. We are told that a document written by scribes around 500 B.C. was spuriously claimed to be a new discovery of an ancient document written by Moses himself. This same document was then brought to Ptolemy, upon his request, and then translated by a commission of seventy (72 according to some sources) scholars around 285 B.C.. It is believed that the original document was added to by multiple translators between the third and first centuries B.C..

The legend that grew up around this translation states that seventy scribes were invited to come to Alexandria and translate the five books of the Law into the Greek language. The seventy men worked in solitude for seventy days and when they finished, they discovered that all seventy translations were identical. It was declared a miracle and proof of the infallibility of the scriptures.

We can all be grateful that we live in a scientific age because archeological findings do not support the above legend.

The Septuagint is the ancient Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament. However, we should not think of it as a uniform and consistent translation like the NIV. Much to the contrary, the Septuagint was translated by numerous scholars with varying skill levels and philosophies of translation, and it was also revised many times. The first portion to be translated was the Pentateuch in the third century B.C.. The rest was completed over the next couple of centuries, and the entire corpus underwent continuous revisions for hundreds of years. A modern copy of the Septuagint is really an amalgam of manuscripts and fragments, and it inevitably includes many revisions slipped in by later scribes (even though modern editors do strive to get back to the earliest version, called the "Old Greek" text). One reality is clear, however: At some points the text of the Septuagint is different from what we see in the standard Hebrew Old Testament, the Masoretic Text. (3. p. 1254)



#65 Teobeck

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 09:42 PM

Bonita said:

TUB sheds light on the truth about the Septuagint which is currently steeped in legend.We are told that a document written by scribes around 500 B.C. was spuriously claimed to be a new discovery of an ancient document written by Moses himself.


You also quoted:

(838.3) 74:8.11 When the Jewish priests returned to Jerusalem, they had already completed the writing of their narrative of the beginning of things. Soon they made claims that this recital was a recently discovered story of creation written by Moses. But the contemporary Hebrews of around 500 B.C. did not consider these writings to be divine revelations; they looked upon them much as later peoples regard mythological narratives.


Could the Hebrew scriptures narrative of the beginning of things have been included somewhere in what we call the Old Testament, originating with the Hebrew Scribes in Babylon?

I also found:

(838.2) 74:8.10 Jewish tradition became crystallized about Moses, and because he endeavored to trace the lineage of Abraham back to Adam, the Jews assumed that Adam was the first of all mankind. Yahweh was the creator, and since Adam was supposed to be the first man, he must have made the world just prior to making Adam. And then the tradition of Adam’s six days got woven into the story, with the result that almost a thousand years after Moses’ sojourn on earth the tradition of creation in six days was written out and subsequently credited to him.


So it seems that Genesis, which is this story, developed from oral traditions about Moses.

Thanks

Edited by Teobeck, 31 August 2010 - 10:23 PM.


#66 Bonita

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:15 AM

So it seems that Genesis, which is this story, developed from oral traditions about Moses.


In order to understand the reason for the creation myth, one has to understand the mind set of the exiled Jews in Babylon and also understand the Babylonian and Persian myths that influenced them. Because of their need to elevate their god as well as the importance of their relationship to their god, the Jews had to formulate a majestic myth that outdid the myths of their captors. Before creating those myths the Jews had both a documented profane history and sacred history, but they merged them in order to make the profane appear to have supernatural origins so to convince the world that they were the chosen people, and for the most part, it worked. They even convinced themselves eventually.

It's also important to understand how vital lineage was to this culture. One's lineage determined one's standing in society and carried with it certain rights. Without lineage, one had little or no rights. One's identity was entirely determined by the father and backwards in a irrefutable familial tie with the past which determined land and property ownership, marriage, and one's role in society. The ability to hold office, including the priesthood and kingship, was entirely determined by such heritage. Women had no rights of their own, always being considered to be the property of a man. Jewish households maintained strict genealogical records and leading families actually stored these documents in a public archive in the temple mount. When the Jews returned to Jerusalem from exile, it was even more important to be able to prove lineage in order to reestablish the structure of society and reclaim property as well as prove their racial purity. (Remember the insanity over "mixed marriages")

We can see that even into the writing of the New Testament, lineage was still a major issue witnessed by the enormous effort put into establishing Jesus' lineage. Today we believe in inalienable rights given by our Creator, but in the culture of that time there was no such thing; rights were given by birth through the human father, not the divine Father. That is one of the reasons why Jesus' message of spiritual sonship with the Father was such a powerful message in first century Palestine.

So, you can understand the preoccupation those exiled scribes had with tracing the Jewish race back to the first man. But, they had difficulty when they came to Abraham and decided to wipe out the human race with a flood and claim that Abraham was a descendant of Noah and Noah was a descendant of Adam. The reason they picked the flood story is because of the myth of Gilgamesh and an earlier Sumerian story, Eridu Genesis, both of which they used as prototypes for their own Genesis story.

78.7.3 Almost five thousand years later, as the Hebrew priests in Babylonian captivity sought to trace the Jewish people back to Adam, they found great difficulty in piecing the story together; and it occurred to one of them to abandon the effort, to let the whole world drown in its wickedness at the time of Noah’s flood, and thus to be in a better position to trace Abraham right back to one of the three surviving sons of Noah.

78.7.4 The traditions of a time when water covered the whole of the earth’s surface are universal. Many races harbor the story of a world-wide flood some time during past ages. The Biblical story of Noah, the ark, and the flood is an invention of the Hebrew priesthood during the Babylonian captivity.



You will note that there are at least ten principal genealogical lists in Genesis alone. This was the Hebrew attempt to legitimize their sonship with the first man God created, and thus establish their connection with Deity. It was the Babylonian captivity that inspired the scribes to connect the Jewish race back to Yahweh, because the Babylonian myths had already established that they were descended directly from the gods. The Jews had to establish that they were descendants from the one true God in order to legitimize their chosen people status. Because they mistakenly believed that Adam was the first man created by God, due to their earlier creation stories dating from the time of Moses, they desperately needed to establish that link with him in order to prove that they were directly descended from Yahweh.

74:8.6 The Babylonians, because of immediate contact with the remnants of the civilization of the Adamites, enlarged and embellished the story of man's creation; they taught that he had descended directly from the gods. They held to an aristocratic origin for the race which was incompatible with even the doctrine of creation out of clay.

74:8.7 The Old Testament account of creation dates from long after the time of Moses; he never taught the Hebrews such a distorted story. But he did present a simple and condensed narrative of creation to the Israelite, hoping thereby to augment his appeal to worship the Creator, the Universal Father, whom he called the Lord God of Israel.

74:8.8 In his early teachings, Moses very wisely did not attempt to go back of Adam's time, and since Moses was the supreme teacher of the Hebrews, the stories of Adam became intimately associated with those of creation. That the earlier traditions recognized pre-Adamic civilization is clearly shown by the fact that later editors, intending to eradicate all reference to human affairs before Adam's time, neglected to remove the telltale reference to Cain's emigration to the "land of Nod," where he took himself a wife.

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.

74:8.10 Jewish tradition became crystallized about Moses, and because he endeavored to trace the lineage of Abraham back to Adam, the Jews assumed that Adam was the first of all mankind. Yahweh was the creator, and since Adam was supposed to be the first man, he must have made the world just prior to making Adam. And then the tradition of Adam's six days got woven into the story, with the result that almost a thousand years after Moses' sojourn on earth the tradition of creation in six days was written out and subsequently credited to him.



So, you can see that the story of Genesis is derived from much more than the oral traditions about Moses.

#67 Teobeck

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 09:40 AM

Quite interesting. Since the flood was invented in captivity around 500 B.C., could one assume it was written into Genesis and blended into original Moses oral tradition?
Thanks

#68 Bonita

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Posted 01 September 2010 - 05:13 PM

I'd like to share a quote from Karen Armstrong that explains how the Jews dealt with Hellenization. They began to break up into sects or parties.

Hence there developed a clash of civilizations. Some of the locals were fascinated by Greek culture. Others were horrified by the secular tenor of polis life, the immoral activities of the Greek gods, and the spectacle of youths exercising naked in the gymnasia. Jews were divided in their response to the Greeks. . . . In Jerusalem, which was more conservative, two factions developed. One was led by the Tobiad clan, descendants of the Tobiah who had caused Nehemiah so much trouble. They felt at home in the Greek world and became pioneers of the new ideas in Jerusalem. But others found this foreign influence extremely threatening, clung defensively to the old traditions, and gravitated toward the Oniads, a priestly family who were determined to maintain the old laws and customs. (13. p.351)


TUB explains how the Greeks dealt with sudden expansion of Greek culture. They too were forming sects or parties.

195.1.7  The influence of Greek culture had already penetrated the lands of the western Mediterranean when Alexander spread Hellenistic civilization over the near-Eastern world. The Greeks did very well with their religion and their politics as long as they lived in small city-states, but when the Macedonian king dared to expand Greece into an empire, stretching from the Adriatic to the Indus, trouble began. The art and philosophy of Greece were fully equal to the task of imperial expansion, but not so with Greek political administration or religion. After the city-states of Greece had expanded into empire, their rather parochial gods seemed a little queer. The Greeks were really searching for one God, a greater and better God, when the Christianized version of the older Jewish religion came to them.



Armstrong also writes of their angst:

Any period of major social change is troubled. The collapse of the old order and the inevitable political disruption were disturbing. There was widespread bewilderment and malaise. Personal and political autonomy had always been crucial to the Greeks' sense of identity, but now their world had expanded so dramatically that people felt that their destiny was controlled by vast impersonal forces. During the third century, three new philosophies, rooted in the pain of the period, tried to assuage this sense of alienation.(13. pg 352)


These groups were the Epicureans, Stoics and Skeptics, which were still existent at the time of Jesus and of which TUB has plenty to say.

#69 Bonita

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Posted 23 September 2010 - 09:40 AM

Ptolemaic Period: 301 B.C. to 200 B.C.
Seleucid Period: 200 B.C. to 152 B.C.

During these periods Palestine was at the center of almost constant conflict. TUB explains the reason:

121.2.8  The secret of the survival of Palestine, the kingdom of the Jews, as a semi-independent state was wrapped up in the foreign policy of the Roman government, which desired to maintain control of the Palestinian highway of travel between Syria and Egypt as well as the western terminals of the caravan routes between the Orient and the Occident. Rome did not wish any power to arise in the Levant which might curb her future expansion in these regions. The policy of intrigue which had for its object the pitting of Seleucid Syria and Ptolemaic Egypt against each other necessitated fostering Palestine as a separate and independent state. Roman policy, the degeneration of Egypt, and the progressive weakening of the Seleucids before the rising power of Parthia, explain why it was that for several generations a small and unpowerful group of Jews was able to maintain its independence against both Seleucidae to the north and Ptolemies to the south. This fortuitous liberty and independence of the political rule of surrounding and more powerful peoples the Jews attributed to the fact that they were the “chosen people,” to the direct interposition of Yahweh. Such an attitude of racial superiority made it all the harder for them to endure Roman suzerainty when it finally fell upon their land. But even in that sad hour the Jews refused to learn that their world mission was spiritual, not political.



In 200 B.C., after more than a century of war with the Ptolemies over who were the rightful rulers of Palestine, the Seleucid king, Antiochus the Great finally wrested control. But, it was his son Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 B.C.) who caused the greatest problems for the Jews with his attempt to extirpate Judaism and replace it with Hellenistic culture which eventually resulted in the Maccabean revolt.

It was in this period when the various religious parties and sects began to form. TUB describes the philosophical and religious differences:

98.2.7  The evolution of religious philosophy among the Hellenic and Hebrew peoples affords a contrastive illustration of the function of the church as an institution in the shaping of cultural progress. In Palestine, human thought was so priest-controlled and scripture-directed that philosophy and aesthetics were entirely submerged in religion and morality. In Greece, the almost complete absence of priests and “sacred scriptures” left the human mind free and unfettered, resulting in a startling development in depth of thought. But religion as a personal experience failed to keep pace with the intellectual probings into the nature and reality of the cosmos.

98.2.8  In Greece, believing was subordinated to thinking; in Palestine, thinking was held subject to believing.

98.2.9  In Palestine, religious dogma became so crystallized as to jeopardize further growth; in Greece, human thought became so abstract that the concept of God resolved itself into a misty vapor of pantheistic speculation not at all unlike the impersonal Infinity of the Brahman philosophers.



Philosophically, we can see within the culture of Judaism the results of Greco-Roman stressors, which are revealed in how various groups adapted to both the political and religious frictions facing them. There were four different responses to the stressors: 1.) those who passively resisted political change while actively resisting religious change; 2.) those who actively resisted political change while passively resisting religious change; 3.) those passively resisting both politics and religion; and 4.) those actively resisting both politics and religion.

Looking at the first group, we encounter the Sadducees. The Sadducees uncompromisingly centered their religious faith on the Temple while being rather tolerant of the occupying political regime whom they relied on to remain in power.

137:7.7 The Sadducees consisted of the priesthood and certain wealthy Jews. They were not such sticklers for the details of law enforcement.



The Temple-centric focus of the Sadducees contrasted with the synagogue based Pharisees and the segregated and secluded Essene cult. It is no wonder that the Pharisees were the surviving party after the destruction of the Temple and the Essene colonies by the Romans.

The Sadducees enter the annals of history for the first time in Josephus' Antiquities. There is some disagreement over the origin of the term Sadducee, some believing that it is derived from the name of the high priest Zadok whose descendants were considered to be the legitimate priests of the new Jerusalem in Ezra's postexilic period. However, Reicke writes that the Sadducees supported the non-Zadok dynasty of Annas and called themselves the "sons of Annas", whereas the Essenes claimed to be the real spiritual "sons of Zadok". (4. pg.153)

173.1.2 At one time the greedy priests went so far as to demand the equivalent of the value of a week’s labor for a pair of doves which should have been sold to the poor for a few pennies. The “sons of Annas” had already begun to establish their bazaars in the temple precincts, those very merchandise marts which persisted to the time of their final overthrow by a mob three years before the destruction of the temple itself.



#70 Rick Warren

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Posted 24 September 2010 - 04:59 AM

The Sadducee/Pharisee paradigm appears to repeat thru-out Urantia's history as religio/political opposition, leading and lagging edge, liberal vs conservative, strict and traditonal vs free and forward thinking. It plays out on a the bigger stages of state rights vs theological loyalties, citizen rights vs the need for authority, war vs peace. Thanks again.

#71 HSTa

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 07:03 AM

Bonita:
I have one (or two) question concerning the source you mentioned:

All dates from: 14. The Urantia Book Workbooks Volume VI; Bible Study, William Sadler, Urantia Foundation, Chicago, 2003

http://en.wikipedia....lliam_S._Sadler

As William S. Sadler died in 1969, to what extent have the Urantia Book Workbooks been authenticated to be texts by W.S. Sadler himself? Or are these books mostly later contributions by the Urantia Foudation? Why isn’t the real editors mentioned?

I have herd that it is difficult to know, which texts were really written by William Sadler himself, and which are not. I find that this is a strange fact!

= = =

Concerning Palestine I have understood that there was no Palestine (with that name) exiting when Jesus lived? Do you agree with this explanation:

What does the word Palestine MEAN? What land did the term Land of Palestine originally refer to?

The name and borders of Palestine have varied throughout history. Palestine originally denoted only the sea-coast of the land of Canaan inhabited by the Philistines. It is in this sense exclusively that the Hebrew name Pelesheth (translated "Philistia" in the King James Version Bible) occurs in the Old Testament.

In the year 68 B.C. what would later be called the land of Palestine was reduced by Pompey the Great to a Roman province.

The name Palestine itself was given to these lands by the Romans around 135 A.D. when the emperor Hadrian brutally suppressed the Jewish Resistance movement and occupied Judea. They called it the Province of 'Syria Palaestina.'

Sources: Wikipedia, Easton's Bible Dictionary


Anyway, the name Palestine occurs in the UBook more than 100 times. Have you seen sources confirming that the philistines were from “the higher civilization of Crete”?

The language written by these Cretans was obviously Linear B, a very old form of the Greek language. Anyway, I know that some of the Cretan Linear B letters were identical to those in the old Hebraic script.

UB (838.1) 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.

#72 Bonita

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 08:19 AM

As William S. Sadler died in 1969, to what extent have the Urantia Book Workbooks been authenticated to be texts by W.S. Sadler himself? Or are these books mostly later contributions by the Urantia Foudation? Why isn’t the real editors mentioned?

I have herd that it is difficult to know, which texts were really written by William Sadler himself, and which are not. I find that this is a strange fact!


The face page of The Urantia Book Workbooks, Volume VI, Bible Study by William S. Sadler, M.D. states:

This series of workbooks originally was published in the 1950's and 1960's to assist those early students who wanted to pursue an in-depth study of The Urantia Book. The workbook creators recognized that the materials were imperfect and were far from being definitive works on the subjects. Current students may be able to make more exhaustive analyses due to advances in knowledge and computerization of the text that are available today. Nevertheless, we recognize the enormous effort that went into this attempt to enhance understanding of The Urantia Book by some of its earliest students. We think these materials will be of interest to many and are therefore republishing them for their historic and educational value.


I, myself, have challenged some of the information in this volume and realize that the dates I quoted from it are debatable by scholars. However, being a Urantia forum, I thought it prudent to use Sadler's research as a source. Certainly, I understand that the information is imperfect and open to question. Likewise, I'm inclined to believe that the material was gathered in study sessions by many people then organized, edited and published by Sadler; but, I could be wrong about that. I honestly don't know, nor do I think it terribly relative; it's a study guide.

Concerning Palestine I have understood that there was no Palestine (with that name) exiting when Jesus lived? Do you agree with this explanation:


Yes, but I think that it is important to realize the difference between the geopolitical term "Palestine" and the religious and cultural designation of the term "Palestine" often synonymous with the term, "Holy Land". I believe it was the Greek historian Herodotus (5th century BCE) who first coined the term "Palestine", which was derived from the word for Philistine.

Anyway, the name Palestine occurs in the UBook more than 100 times. Have you seen sources confirming that the philistines were from “the higher civilization of Crete”?


Yes, they were the Sea Peoples who settled on the southern coast of Palestine in the 12 century BCE, arriving from Caphtor (Jeremicah 47:4), which is now Crete. They were a superior civilization, as evidenced by their advanced writing, and military skills. They ravaged the entire eastern Mediterranean world after the collapse of the Myceneans. They first attempted to settle in Egypt but were repulsed by Ramesses III, then choosing to settle on a coastal strip of Canaan instead, where they soon came into conflict with the Israelites.

The language written by these Cretans was obviously Linear B, a very old form of the Greek language. Anyway, I know that some of the Cretan Linear B letters were identical to those in the old Hebraic script.


I'm not a language expert. Actually, I'm not an expert on any of this . . . just an armchair enthusiast. Over the years I've amassed a library on the subject and have decided to amuse myself with the material in my "golden years". If you have anything to add, please feel free.

#73 Midsoniter woman

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 09:43 AM

The Sadducee/Pharisee paradigm appears to repeat thru-out Urantia's history as religio/political opposition, leading and lagging edge, liberal vs conservative, strict and traditonal vs free and forward thinking. It plays out on a the bigger stages of state rights vs theological loyalties, citizen rights vs the need for authority, war vs peace. Thanks again.



There's really no comparison between conservatives in ancient Palestine to the conservative political party of today. And the liberal Jew that Jesus was back in his day would be considered an ultra-conservative today. I should also point out that the word "liberal" has a different meaning than membership in the liberal political party. And the word "conservative" means something completely different than membership in the conservative political party. The UB is using those words by their strict dictionary definition, not by their political connotation of today. The same is true when you try to compare the conservative party in Europe to the conservative party of the U.S.

An ultra conservative in Europe would be considered a flaming liberal in the U.S. They would be calling Jesus a sexist bigot if he were alive today. And remember that it was the Democrats who fought to keep slavery and subsequently formed the KKK. It was the Republicans who freed the slaves. So during the civil war, the Republicans were more liberal and the Democrats were more conservative in the strict dictionary definition of the words.

By the way, the so-called progressives as a party sponsor many regressive ideas that wouldn't fit the Urantia Book concept of progress such as the destruction of chivalry. Michael Moore just came out and said Jesus was anti-capitalist. Anti-capitalism is considered progress today. But Jesus' family sold butter and cheese. And he worked as a carpenter and boat builder. It's just so silly.

The word liberal just means broad-minded and tolerant. It doesn't mean that you endorse all policies of the liberal political party. Same with the word conservative which just means traditional. Back in ancient Palestine being conservative and traditional would be a bad thing because that would mean rejection of Jesus' new gospel. But not all traditions are bad. There are many traditions the UB tells us we should conserve.
"If woman aspires literally to enjoy all of man's rights, then sooner or later, pitiless and emotionless competition will certainly replace that chivalry and special consideration which many women now enjoy, and which they have so recently won from men (Urantia Book, 938)."

#74 HSTa

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Posted 25 September 2010 - 10:55 AM

OK Bonita:

Several years ago I tried to find evidence for the origins of the Philistines in the literature. But today it is so easy with Google. I found for instance this source, which is a good verification of the UB statement:

The Philistines I, Origins

Crete
The oldest literature about the Philistines points to Crete as their original home. This idea is strengthened by the ancient name of the Philistine city of Gaza: Minoah; the same name was given to several trade stations started from Crete. It is furthermore known from the Odyssee that the island was inhabited around 1200 B.C. by a variety of peoples. …

Cyprus
Cyprus is named as the homeland of the Philistines especially in recent literature. …
Another argument in favour of Cyprus is a definite resemblance between Philistine and Cypriotic - Minoic writings from that period.

The presence, though perhaps temporary, of Philistines in Cyprus or Crete is given wider perspective if the contemporary events in this part of the Mediterranean are also taken into consideration. Literary references and excavations from the Late Bronze period only demonstrate the great importance of such a widened perspective.




The Sea Peoples
It will be clear from the foregoing that a number of non-native peoples lived in Cyprus around 1200 B.C. and that the inhabitants of the eastern Mediterranean apparently were exposed to danger. The reasons for this unstable situation, which lasted from c. 1300 to c. 1170 B.C., are still uncertain


http://www.bga.nl/en...es/filist1.html

#75 HSTa

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Posted 28 September 2010 - 02:16 PM

Posted Image

Map from the Book: “Eternal Egypt” by Pierre Montet, 1964.
The map is from the time when Tuthmosis (III) was the ruler of Egypt. His empire extended up to Euphrates in the north, and the islands Crete and Cyprus belonged to Egypt.

Caphtor or Keftiu are also by some taken to refer to Cyprus. Bonita mentioned Caphtor.

Some names from history on the map:

- Sea of the Hellenes
- The Islands in the Middle of the Sea
- Keftiu (with the Minoan Knossos, Crete today)
- ISI (Cyprus today)
- Ugarit (modern Ras Shamra, rich in old scripts in many languages)
- And other historical places and names.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is, that the Egyptians knew Cyprus by the name ISI.

This is in line with the fact that the Assyrians knew Cyprus by the name Ia; the same goddess as Isis.

From the book “History of Assyria”, by A.T. Olmstead, Univ. of Illinois, 1923:

We can therefore understand why, while Sargon was in Babylon, he received an embassy and gifts from the seven kings of the land of Ia, a region of Iatnana, as the Assyrians named Cyprus, which lay seven days distant in the midst of the sea (page 226).


From page 58, Olmstead also says:

Driven from their homeland in Crete, by the mail-clad Greek barbarians, and foiled in their invasion of Egypt, the Philistines settled down on the fertile plain to which they were to furnish the name of Palestine.


Edited by HSTa, 28 September 2010 - 02:21 PM.


#76 Bonita

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Posted 08 October 2010 - 03:40 PM

The Sadducees were primarily made up of the sacerdotal aristocracy. They were focused almost exclusively on the Temple, its finances and the ritual performance of sacrifices. This fact explains why, even though they were extremely conservative concerning religion, they were remarkably quiet and accommodating to the political regime responsible for their continued existence. It also explains their sudden disappearance after the fall of the second Temple.

The Sadducee priests were the mediators between the governing authorities and the people which, in part, accounts for their reputation as the conservative party. They supported the authority of the aristocracy and functioned to maintain the discipline of the common people. This also explains why the Sadducees passionately opposed all popular movements which threatened to usurp either the power of the governing officials or the priesthood.

The Temple was controlled not, like the synagogues, by the Pharisees and scribes, but by the powerful Sadducees. Jesus had encountered them more or less casually on earlier occasions in Galilee. Now, in Jerusalem, he came into close, unsympathetic contact with their leaders and policies. A relatively small and select group, though somewhat more complex than has been supposed, the Sadducees were dominated by influential and wealthy men, mostly landowners on a substantial scale. It was from the Sadducee ranks that the high priest- the national leader of the Jews and dominant figure of the Jewish Council (Sanhedrin) at Jerusalem- was appointed, and the hereditary priests under him, of whom the most important were those who organized the manifold activities of the Temple, including an ancient priestly clan known as the Levites.
Sadducee and priestly politics supported collaboration with the Roman occupying authority, represented by the governor (prefect) of Judaea, at this time Pontius Pilate. He in return recognized the high priest as his intermediary with the Jewish people as a whole. So the Sadducee leaders followed an unspiritual policy, directed towards the survival of the established order. Above all they sought to avoid rebellion, and the retaliatory actions with which the Romans would inevitably respond. (1. pg.145)


Concerning the scriptures, the Sadducees were the biblical fundamentalists of the time, meaning that they held to a very strict and literal understanding of only the first five books of the Torah, the Pentateuch, also known as the "five Books of Moses" or the Law. They rejected all of the writings of the prophets as well as all oral interpretation of the law, which was a practice of the Pharisees. The reason for the opposition to interpretation and for strict adherence to the written law was because it reinforced their control over the Temple and its practices as well as preventing the transfer of priestly power from the Temple to the synagogues, and thus the Pharisees, of the towns and villages outside of Jerusalem.

174.3.4 Jesus appealed only to Moses in his encounter with the Sadducees because this religio-political sect acknowledged the validity of only the five so-called Books of Moses; they did not allow that the teachings of the prophets were admissible as a basis of doctrinal dogmas.



Because of their strict fundamentalism, the Sadducees rejected many religious beliefs because they were not stipulated within the pages of the Pentateuch. Such beliefs included: 1.) the resurrection of the dead; 2.) the afterlife; 3.) immortality of the soul; 4.) fate, the belief that man is not in complete control of his life; 5.) final judgment; 6.) angels and demons.

167.7.1 As they journeyed up the hills from Jericho to Bethany, Nathaniel walked most of the way by the side of Jesus, and their discussion of children in relation to the kingdom of heaven led indirectly to the consideration of the ministry of angels. Nathaniel finally asked the Master this question: “Seeing that the high priest is a Sadducee, and since the Sadducees do not believe in angels, what shall we teach the people regarding the heavenly ministers?”



The Oxford Guide to the Bible offers another explanation of why the Sadducees rejected the belief in the resurrection, a belief which offered hope and solace for those who felt that they, individually as well as collectively, were suffering injustices despite living a righteous life:

Rejection of belief in the resurrection again indicates a traditionalist stance. Jews had long believed that so long as Israel obeyed the Law then God would rule over them and reward the righteous and punish the wicked in this life. Belief in the resurrection, on the other hand, was linked to beliefs that the present age was in the grip of dark powers, so that in this life the righteous would suffer, although God would ultimately vindicate them. Those who had died would be raised so that they too could receive their due rewards (Dan. 12.2). To reject belief in the resurrection and, indeed, possibly also in demonic powers who controlled this world in the present age, was then also to reject the belief that this present age was radically corrupted; in fact, from the Sadducees' point of view, those who argued the contrary view may have appeared to deny the continued existence of the covenant between God and Israel. This may also explain their denial of fate. They believed that Jews were free to influence their destiny; if they obeyed the Law and repented and made due restitution when they sinned, then all would be well. (7. pg. 668)



#77 Teobeck

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 10:24 AM

Belief in the resurrection, on the other hand, was linked to beliefs that the present age was in the grip of dark powers, so that in this life the righteous would suffer, although God would ultimately vindicate them. Those who had died would be raised so that they too could receive their due rewards (Dan. 12.2).


Some observations based on the above quote:

The Pharisees believed in in the resurrection:

(1534.5) 137:7.6 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.


It seems that the Pharisees also believed in the voluminous traditional customs that Jesus taught chained the people, and he replaced that with faith in the Father. He also taught that many of them were also spiritually unclean inside, and rode on the backs of the people.

It appears that their belief in the resurrection, however, provided a a good basis for Jesus' teachings about eternal life.

The Sadducees also controlled Jesus' trial:

(1978.4) 184:1.1 Annas, enriched by the temple revenues, his son-in-law the acting high priest, and with his relations to the Roman authorities, was indeed the most powerful single individual in all Jewry. He was a suave and politic planner and plotter. He desired to direct the matter of disposing of Jesus; he feared to trust such an important undertaking wholly to his brusque and aggressive son-in-law. Annas wanted to make sure that the Master’s trial was kept in the hands of the Sadducees; he feared the possible sympathy of some of the Pharisees, seeing that practically all of those members of the Sanhedrin who had espoused the cause of Jesus were Pharisees.


The Sadducees also appeared with Jesus before Pilate and Herod, obtaining the death sentence.

So, your post above actually helped me to realize that the Sadducees were the leading factor in Jesus' arrest, condemnation and execution, and Annas' ire at Jesus led the way. I had not earlier realized their influence.

(1979.1) 184:1.3 When Jesus was young, Annas had taken a great interest in him, but now his revenues were threatened by what Jesus had so recently done in driving the money-changers and other commercial traders out of the temple. This act had aroused the enmity of the former high priest far more than had Jesus’ teachings.


I did not do this research to justify condemnation of the Sadducees. Jesus foreknew all of this, and his execution and resurrection completed his doing of the Father's will, and gave all mankind forever the knowledge of the way to heaven and the Father through Him.

#78 Bonita

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 11:10 AM

Jesus was introduced to Annas through the mother of John and James Zebedee.

129:1.5 Zebedee's wife, Salome, was a relative of Annas, onetime high priest at Jerusalem and still the most influential of the Sadducean group, having been deposed only eight years previously.

129:2.7 Jesus had carried with him to Jerusalem a letter from Salome, Zebedee's wife, introducing him to the former high priest, Annas, as "one, the same as my own son." Annas spent much time with him, personally taking him to visit the many academies of the Jerusalem religious teachers. While Jesus thoroughly inspected these schools and carefully observed their methods of teaching, he never so much as asked a single question in public. Although Annas looked upon Jesus as a great man, he was puzzled as to how to advise him. He recognized the foolishness of suggesting that he enter any of the schools of Jerusalem as a student, and yet he well knew Jesus would never be accorded the status of a regular teacher inasmuch as he had never been trained in these schools.



They all apparently got along very well for a while.

129:2.8 Presently the time of the Passover drew near, and along with the throngs from every quarter there arrived at Jerusalem from Capernaum, Zebedee and his entire family. They all stopped at the spacious home of Annas, where they celebrated the Passover as one happy family.



Then came that fateful day when Annas' heart was turned away from truth.

142:0.2 The first day in Jerusalem Jesus called upon his friend of former years, Annas, the onetime high priest and relative of Salome, Zebedee's wife. Annas had been hearing about Jesus and his teachings, and when Jesus called at the high priest's home, he was received with much reserve. When Jesus perceived Annas's coldness, he took immediate leave, saying as he departed: "Fear is man's chief enslaver and pride his great weakness; will you betray yourself into bondage to both of these destroyers of joy and liberty?" But Annas made no reply. The Master did not again see Annas until the time when he sat with his son-in-law in judgment on the Son of Man.



#79 Bonita

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 03:20 PM

The issue of the Sadducees' lack of belief in the resurrection is described in the following discourse they had with Jesus. Here they tried to trap Jesus into admitting to the resurrection of the physical body, which the Sadducees denied. Jesus knew what they were attempting to accomplish with the question.

174:3.1 Before Jesus could get started with his teaching, another group came forward to question him, this time a company of the learned and crafty Sadducees. Their spokesman, drawing near to him, said: "Master, Moses said that if a married man should die, leaving no children, his brother should take the wife and raise up seed for the deceased brother. Now there occurred a case where a certain man who had six brothers died childless; his next brother took his wife but also soon died, leaving no children. Likewise did the second brother take the wife, but he also died leaving no offspring. And so on until all six of the brothers had had her, and all six of them passed on without leaving children. And then, after them all, the woman herself died. Now, what we would like to ask you is this: In the resurrection whose wife will she be since all seven of these brothers had her?"



Here Jesus declares that there is a spiritual resurrection as well as angels, which more than delighted the Pharisees who believed in a form of resurrection and in angels. Furthermore, he declares that Moses clearly states in the Pentateuch that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob live on in the afterlife with God their Father. He was using a teaching method that the Sadducees could understand by referring to the Books of Moses.

174:3.2 Jesus knew, and so did the people, that these Sadducees were not sincere in asking this question because it was not likely that such a case would really occur; and besides, this practice of the brothers of a dead man seeking to beget children for him was practically a dead letter at this time among the Jews. Nevertheless, Jesus condescended to reply to their mischievous question. He said: "You all do err in asking such questions because you know neither the Scriptures nor the living power of God. You know that the sons of this world can marry and are given in marriage, but you do not seem to understand that they who are accounted worthy to attain the worlds to come, through the resurrection of the righteous, neither marry nor are given in marriage. Those who experience the resurrection from the dead are more like the angels of heaven, and they never die. These resurrected ones are eternally the sons of God; they are the children of light resurrected into the progress of eternal life. And even your Father Moses understood this, for, in connection with his experiences at the burning bush, he heard the Father say, `I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.' And so, along with Moses, do I declare that my Father is not the God of the dead but of the living. In him you all do live, reproduce, and possess your mortal existence."

174:3.3 When Jesus had finished answering these questions, the Sadducees withdrew, and some of the Pharisees so far forgot themselves as to exclaim, "True, true, Master, you have well answered these unbelieving Sadducees." The Sadducees dared not ask him any more questions, and the common people marveled at the wisdom of his teaching



Although the Pharisees were delighted with Jesus' answer, they likely misunderstood its true meaning since the Pharisees' concept of the resurrection was not necessarily consistent with Jesus'. The Sadducees, however, clearly understood Jesus' remarks concerning the burning bush episode, which is why they withdrew to reconnoiter their plan of attack.

174:3.4 Jesus appealed only to Moses in his encounter with the Sadducees because this religio-political sect acknowledged the validity of only the five so-called Books of Moses; they did not allow that the teachings of the prophets were admissible as a basis of doctrinal dogmas. The Master in his answer, though positively affirming the fact of the survival of mortal creatures by the technique of the resurrection, did not in any sense speak approvingly of the Pharisaic beliefs in the resurrection of the literal human body. The point Jesus wished to emphasize was: That the Father had said, "I am the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob," not I was their God.



#80 Teobeck

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Posted 09 October 2010 - 05:50 PM

When searching for information about the early Jewish followers of Jesus after the resurrection, I found a book which has some real insights, below:

The first recognized early Christian authors from within the church, Eusebius of Cesarea (260-339) and Cyril of Jerusalem (320-386), who addressed the significance of Jerusalem, were opposed. Eusebius wrote it had been abandoned by God and Cyril wrote the opposite, that any such divine judgment was 'not final". See "Jerusalem In the Early Christian Centuries", Peter Walker 1992.

There is not a lot of comprehensive historical information concerning the earlier period (30 - 260 C.E.) about Jewish followers, albeit there is much info in the last 50 years where modern scholars are beginning to speculate about the two strands of Christian development, i.e. the Jewish believers in Christ and the separate Catholic Church beginning with Constantine, which absorbed Mithraism.

It seems the Jewish believers stayed closer to Jesus' teachings, whereas the church was a mish mash of beliefs from whence all of the schisms came.

This may be like Abnerian v Pauline theology in TUB.

Edited by Teobeck, 09 October 2010 - 05:56 PM.





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