Asclepius & the appeal of Jesus to Gentiles

Discussion in 'Comparative Studies' started by salishan, Mar 9, 2012.

  1. Etu Malku

    Etu Malku Mercuræn

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    I do see a later Christian influence, but that was the goal of Christianity, to assimilate into the Pagan systems and systematically take them over. Hence you'll find Christian influence in all the later Belief Systems.

    It is clear that Christianity adopted an aspect of Mithraism - the celebration of the birth of Christ on December 25, a tradition that began in the 4th century.

    December 25 was also the birthday of the more popular Roman god known as the "Unconquered Sun" (with whom Constantine identified himself before his conversion to Christianity), who was closely associated with Mithras.



    Sol Invictus became the birth of the Christ.



    Most Pagan religions worship the Goddess aspect. Luciferianism balances the Male/Female principles equally.

    I'll agree that the NT does represent the Feminine in a better light than the dark, violence of the OT.

    You may have a "POINT" there (*pun intended :D)

    Diabolus Beatus,
    Etu
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Hi Etu Malku —

    I rather think that notion is one of those ideas, repreated so widely and so often, it's assumed to be true. But there are a number of very good reasons to doubt it. (Where is the data tying December 25th to Mithraism?)

    And what about January 6th, the date upon which the Greek East celebrates Christmas? No ... I suggest that theory doesn't stand up.

    Evidence of syncretism is ample throughout the Greek and Roman worlds, the pagan gods were not exclusive. But not the Christian world. A simple test to catch out a Christian was ask them to offer sacrifice to the gods. It seems highly unlikely that they would evidence such fidelity on the one hand, then copy so easily on the other.

    The popular theory goes that as the Romans had their mid-winter Saturnalia in late December, and that Emperor Aurelian established the feast of the birth of Sol Invictus on December 25 and that Christmas is really a spin-off from these pagan solar festivals. Early Christians deliberately chose these dates to encourage the spread of Christmas and Christianity throughout the Roman world: If Christmas looked like a pagan holiday, more pagans would be open to both the holiday and the God whose birth it celebrated.

    Significantly, the first mention of a date for Christmas (c. 200) and the earliest celebrations that we know about (c. 250–300) come in a period when Christians were not borrowing from pagan tradition — they were defending themselves from them, and defending their doctrine from heresy.

    Again, it seems somewhat quizzical that a church, so often accused of the vilent persecution of heretics, would engage in such a patently heretical pracice as incorporating pagan tradition into their own ... and all without a single mention? Highly unlikely.

    In the first few centuries the persecuted Christian minority was greatly concerned with distancing itself from the larger, public pagan religious observances, such as sacrifices, games and holidays. This was still true as late as the violent persecutions of the Christians conducted by the Roman emperor Diocletian between 303 and 312AD.

    This did change after Constantine converted to Christianity. From the mid-fourth century on, we do find Christians deliberately adapting and Christianizing pagan festivals, but not from the third, and certainly not earlier. Thus it's unlikely that the date was simply selected to correspond with pagan solar festivals.

    Here we broach the topic of 'esoteric Christianity' and the Recapitulation Theory of Redemption that originates with Irenaeus and is founded on St Paul. One of the keystones of this thesis is that Christ undoes what was done: He is the New Adam, His mother the New Eve, and that the course of history is reversed ... Christian esoterists have long made much of the rolling back of the stone from the tomb ...

    The key to dating Jesus’ birth lies in the dating of His death. Tertullian reported that the 14th of Nisan (the day of the crucifixion according to the Gospel of John) in the year Jesus died was equivalent to March 25 in the Roman (solar) calendar. March 25 is nine months before December 25. March 25 was later recognised as the Feast of the Annunciation – the commemoration of Jesus’ conception. Thus Jesus was believed to have been conceived, and crucified, on the same day of the year.

    This idea appears in an anonymous Christian treatise titled On Solstices and Equinoxes, which appears to come from fourth-century North Africa. The treatise states: “Therefore our Lord was conceived on the eighth of the kalends of April in the month of March (March 25), which is the day of the passion of the Lord and of his conception. For on that day he was conceived on the same he suffered.” Based on this, the treatise dates Jesus’ birth to the winter solstice.

    Augustine was familiar with this association. In On the Trinity he writes: “For he (Jesus) is believed to have been conceived on the 25th of March, upon which day also he suffered; so the womb of the Virgin, in which he was conceived, where no one of mortals was begotten, corresponds to the new grave in which he was buried, wherein was never man laid, neither before him nor since. But he was born, according to tradition, upon December the 25th.

    The same theory existed in the Greek East. Rather than work from the 14th of Nisan in the Hebrew calendar, the easterners used the 14th of the first spring month (Artemisios) in their local Greek calendar (April 6 to us).

    April 6 is, tra-laaa, nine months before January 6 – the eastern date for Christmas.

    Bishop Epiphanius of Salamis writes that on April 6, “The lamb was shut up in the spotless womb of the holy virgin, he who took away and takes away in perpetual sacrifice the sins of the world.” Today, the Armenian Church celebrates the Annunciation in early April (on the 7th, not the 6th) and Christmas on January 6.

    Thus, we have Christians in two parts of the world calculating Jesus’ birth on the basis that his death and conception took place on the same day (March 25 or April 6) and coming up with two close but different results (December 25 and January 6).

    The above might seem convoluted to the modern mind, but to the mind of antiquity, that's the way the world worked. Everything is symbolic. In Christian art, numerous paintings of the Annunciation show the infant Jesus descending from heaven on or with a small cross — the conception brings the promise of salvation through Jesus’ death.

    The notion that creation and redemption should occur at the same time of year is also reflected in ancient Jewish tradition, recorded in the Talmud: “In Nisan the world was created; in Nisan the Patriarchs were born; on Passover Isaac was born...and in Nisan they [our ancestors] will be redeemed in time to come.”

    Elements of the festival that developed from the fourth century until modern times unquestionably derive from pagan traditions, but the actual date most probably derives from Judaic and Christian theology ...

    God bless

    Thomas
     
  3. salishan

    salishan freesoul

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    Thomas
    exquisite creature

    in the doctrinal battles between early-Church intellectuals
    in order to establish the canons of faith , yes
    there are many different mythic-narratives being argued-over
    (narratives about Jesus , & narratives about Peter & Paul & others)

    but to average-folk (back then) , the appeal of Christianity has little to do with "Doctrine"
    (rather) the appeal is much more immediate , is more existential

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    yeah , i've read Carl Jung & Joseph Campbell
    "myths" (& "faery stories") may contain contents which ring psychologically true
    ("philosophically" "profound") but are existentially false
    ("myths" have scant to do with how normal people actually live their lives)

    but yes , Thomas
    u are correct
    myths are powerful
    ugly-powerful (dangerous , vilely sectarian)

    parables (for Jesus , as for certain Hebrew Bible authors)
    serve as a corrective to this awful-power of mythic-narrative

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Thomas , u should not "idealize" terms
    (this is what is false in most "classical" scholarship
    u should keep the terms u employ , literal & neutral)

    "myth" (standing by itself) is a loaded-term
    (that is why i prefer "folk-legend" or "lore"
    there is no "huge assumption" here
    just a tale being constructed over time
    being continually re-imagined , reconstructed
    thereby dissolving most historic facts , but retaining some)​
    there is (however) something canonical about "myth"
    once it is written down , it becomes sectarian
    it contains ideological-force

    A is a mythic-narrative
    B reads like A
    therefore B is a mythic-narrative

    yes
    a tale which "reads like" a narrative , is a narrative
    the appeal of "myth" is a narrative appeal , a sectarian appeal
    not an existential appeal
    ("myth" is an ideal , where "mythic-narrative" is a real thing
    a process , not a conclusion)
    the logic does hold , once u define things properly

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    no , only fragments of Scripture can possibly be history

    no
    the "Jesus of Scripture" is the Jesus of doctrinal history
    (the "Jesus" of the winners in the battle for canonical inclusion
    a "Jesus" portrayed via one particular mythic-narrative , rejecting other narratives)

    i am more interested in Moses
    (the Moses-of-history)
    than i am in the "Moses" of the Moses-mythic-narrative

    i am more interested in Jesus
    (the Jesus-of-history)
    than i am in the "Jesus" of the Jesus-mythic-narrative

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Jesus
    please read some John Dominic Crossan , Thomas
    (i.e.) to this eminent scholar , "healer" is half of Jesus' principal appeal
    (as i explain in my earlier post)

    the other half of this appeal (to Crossan) is the "common meal"
    (instituted by Jesus , as compliment/follow-up to healing)

    (for Crossan) "healing & communion" is "Christianity" to common-folk
    during this faith's first 3 centuries
    (is "grass-roots" Christianity , not the "philosopher's" Christianity)

    healing (& common-meal) , this is an appeal which
    (is non-mythic , non-doctrinal) an appeal (rather)
    which is immediate & comprehensible (which is "existentially real")

    but (to me , contra-Crossan) there is also a 3rd existential appeal
    (which Christianity evokes , in its early centuries)
    which is also Rodney Stark's take upon
    the success of early Christianity

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Thomas , nascent-Christianity gets along pretty-well despite its ...
    (despite u'r beloved) ... intellectuals

    there are (at least) 3 sound concrete-reasons
    why Christianity has an early grassroots appeal
    (non-philosophical/non-mythic appeal)
    to common-folk in the Roman Empire
    1. healing
    2. common-meal
    3. social services​
    & (to me) this triune-appeal is the strength of early Christianity

    i.e.
    to novice-believers , it is what makes this new-religion feel real

     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    D'you think so? You're quite wrong, you know.

    It was everything to do with doctrine.

    In the height of the Arian disputes, one 'intellectual' (as you would have it) bemoaned that he couldn't even buy fruit at the market without being engaged by stall-holders as to whether indeed 'there was a time when he was not' as the Arian Party declared!

    Indeed, the 'Arian Heresy' only came to light when the 'common people' complained to their bishop that their presbyter Arius was preaching false doctrine ...

    And at the height of the dispute, there were serious confrontations between the two parties ...

    You see, in those days, what you believed really did matter, it was existential, it was a matter of life and death ... it wasn't an exercise in rationalism as it is today ...

    In the 60s, there were running battles in Rome between Jews and Christians. I'm not justifying it, I'm just telling you that people believed what they believed. That's one of the reasons Nero thought he could get away with his persecution in 65AD, but it backfired.

    To a degree yes, but we moderns place far more weight on the existential and the experiential today than man did then, that is well attested. So today we need 'evidence', we need 'proof', we need 'empiricism', whereas for the average folk, faith suffices ...

    As an aside, one of the interesting points is that, whilst the Fathers argued the nature of the Incarnation and the Trinity on through to the sixth century and beyond, the assumption that they invented those doctrines is quite erroneous.

    From the very beginning, the simple folk believed that Jesus was the Son of God come in the flesh, who lived and died and rose again, and ascended to the right hand of His Father, and that the Holy Spirit came and dwells in and with His Church, and that the People of God are the Mystical Body of the Lord ... like today, they saw no need to rationalise or intellectualise, they simply believed.

    +++

    That's not quite accurate ...

    They are not 'existentially false' (indeed the laws of physics have precious little to do with how normal live their lives, few understand how electricity works, they just trust it to) ...

    The more accurate would be they transmit truths that themselves transcend the 'normal' domain of things, but in the domain in which they are real, this world is not ...

    It's a complex issue, and often misunderstood. People too readily embrace the idea of maya to mean the world is extrinsically not real ... an untruth that a dropped hammer on the toe will soon illuminate ... the point is that the phenomenal world is intrinsically not real, because it is subsistent, and indeed each domain is real unto itself, but not real in relation to higher domains ...

    Thus the content of myth and faery tale might seem unreal, but nevertheless they detail cause and effect.

    Indeed they are.

    Depends on the myth.

    Oooh no ... you're quite wrong there!

    Parable is Greek. The Hebrew term is mashal and traditional commentaries state that without them, you're lost!

    "Rabbi Hanian, said: "Until the time of Shlomo (Solomon) the Torah could have been compared to a well full of cool refreshing water, but because of its extraordinary depth no one could get to the bottom. What was necessary was to find a rope long enough to tie to the bucket in order to bring up the water. Shlomo made up this rope with his parables and thus enabled everyone to reach to the profoundest depths of the well." ref. here and here

    Thus the mashal or parable is an hermeneutic key ... check out mashal on Google.

    +++

    Then allow me to suggest, with reference to the above, that your loading is erroneous ...

    Different thing altogether. There is legend and lore in my family history, but none of it mythic.

    But if the definition is false?

    Really?

    So what's your option ... include them all? That seems more irrational than arguing their veracity in the first place.

    That's my point. The Jesus of your so-called mythic-narrative is the only one you've got, the other one is an invention — The Jesus Seminar is the third attempt to invent the Jesus of History, and alreday it's been disposed of by scholars.

    The JS process of 'rationalising' or 'demythologising' Scripture is just another exercise in self-ratification.

    I have, as in my studies I was obliged to read arguments for and contrary to my own opinions. I find the weight of argument against Crossan telling, and I find the methodology of the Jesus Seminar utterly, utterly flawed.

    Suffice to say if you used their 'scholarly' method in presenting a physics paper, you'd be failed on the spot!

    A useful critique can be found here

    It's evident that Crossan does not believe what the common-folk of the first three centuries believed — they believed in healing and communion, but Crossan assumes this is all superficial ... ask why.

    I happen to believe those common folk believed that Christ was (and is) present in them, with them, and they in Him and with Him, in the Mystery of the Eucharist ... there's evidence for that which Crossan chooses to ignore.

    I think Crossan's thesis is a construct that does not stand up to rigorous examination ... too many self-serving assumptions.

    Salishan, my dear Salishan, Crossan is your own 'beloved intellectual' ...

    The common folk did not believe in the doctrine of the philosophers, they believed in the Gospel, something Crossan goes at great philosophical lengths to undermine ... and, you can believe me, for it gives me no great pleasure to say it, but if Crossan preached then what he does now, he'd have those 'common-folk' on his doorstep, and they wouldn't be happy, they'd see his as worse than Arius (for whom I have no little sympathy) ...

    Yes, but over and above all that, was the appeal of the Mysteries ... the life in Christ.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  5. salishan

    salishan freesoul

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    Thomas
    exquisite creature

    okay , i read
    "A Review of John Dominic Crossan’s The Historical Jesus" by Anthony Horvath

    jeez , Thomas !
    that's an hour of my life i'll never get back !
    (u actually spend u'r days reading such BS ? )
    even if Crossan's scholarship is as problematical as u say
    why choose a third-rate hack-scholar to critique Crossan ?
    (surely even u can tell that Crossan is in an entirely different league , right ?! )

    i do not know the politics surrounding (nor membership of) the "Jesus Seminar"
    nor do i care to
    i just know books which enrich my life
    that do not treat me like a child
    books that have opened religion back up to me

    John Dominic Crossan & N.T. Wright & Marcus Borg & Helmut Koester in New Testament studies
    serious-minded , thorough scholars (guys who
    dig deep , think deep)

    sure , the Jesus-Seminar "methodology" is a bit shaky
    (but it is far from "discredited" , like u blithely claim)
    just add to their minimalist reading of scripture
    a deep historical context like Crossan & Wright & others do
    & a living picture of a 1st century Jewish parablist/prophet
    (not the Disney-remake) comes into remarkably sharp focus

    Horvath (supporting his bland doctrinaire cartoon-Jesus) can offer us
    nothing close to a better (to a more insightful) historical "methodology"
    than does the (supposedly "reviled") Jesus Seminar results
    (can u , Thomas ? )

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    at UNC-Chapel Hill , one Jesus-Seminar-influenced scholar
    begins his 2nd "Historical Jesus" lecture like this
    yes , a bit of a cheap-shot
    but Thomas , it makes its point

    what separates Jesus out from the crowd of 1st-century "miracle-workers" ?

    for Ehrman
    Jesus' ultimate life-purpose can be located in Jesus' (supposed) "apocalyptic" eschatology

    here , John Dominic Crossan is more nuanced
    this is deep stuff , Thomas
    why should i read hacks like Horvath , instead ?

    xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

    Horvath's entire (un-nuanced) book-review can be summed-up in one (polemical) phrase
    i have not read William Lane Craig or Gary R. Habermas (who Horvath references)
    but it sounds like they do no better

    i (personally) believe in the supernatural

    but i also believe that the "supernatural"
    has been (miserably) misconstrued
    by doctrinaire monotheists of all stripes

    i believe that Jesus' supernaturalism is far more profound than
    all the "documented" (run-of-the-mill , Roman-era) "magic-acts"
    enacted by countless pagan (& a few monotheist) sorcerers
    (whose names & acts come down to us in 2000yo historic-documents)

    by implication , Horvath is asking Crossan to treat
    not just the Gospel-reports of Jesus' magic-acts , but also
    all these other magic-acts , as credible

    Thomas ,
    Q if all these (pagan & Christian) "miracle"-reports are accepted (on thin evidence) as true ...
    how (then) is Jesus special ?
    A (my answer & i think Crossan's) Jesus importance does not reside in these magic-acts !

    or
    Q if all these "miracle"-reports are rejected as false ...
    how (again) is Jesus special ?
    A Jesus importance does not reside in these magic-acts !

    u lecture me on logic , Thomas
    think about it

    this is why (as a scholar) u treat all magic-acts
    (treat all superficially "supernatural" acts) as irrelevant

    (not because u "have a bias" against the supernatural
    but it is instead , a question of where u draw the line)

    if u accept all Gospel "accounts" of everyday "supernatural" acts as true
    & reject all pagan "accounts" of "supernatural" acts as false
    how (as an unbiased scholar) do u justify such prejudice ?
    how (as scholar) can u look u'r self in the face in the mirror each morning ?

    no , u (instead) look for real supernaturalism
    like Paul of Tarsus does , or
    (today) u look for it in the likes of Crossan (sapiential eschatology)
    or in someone like N.T. Wright (c.f. Wright)

    why feed me junk-food , Thomas
    when u could be feeding me milk & honey ?

     
  6. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Well now you know how I feel about Crossan!

    Suffice to say there's enough open criticism of the Jesus Seminar on the web to make the point. Check out N.T. Wright on the matter, you seem to respect him, and he's got nothing good to say about them. I think he wouldn't take too kindly to be lumped in with them, either.

    I don't know what you mean by 'supernaturalism' ... again I can agree with Wright who sees in the Canonical Gospels the revelation of an inchoate Trinitarian theology that would take centuries to unravel.

    That we used Greek philosophy to unpack Revelation has its benefits and its drawbacks ... the benefit is it frees us from the narrow containment of a God who is the possession of the Hebrew peoples, but on the other hand it can tend to abstract God into a neoPlatonic ideal ... and which the Hebrew commentaries would provide a useful corrective.

    But either way, I'd rather the God of Jerusalem, even filtered through Athens (to misquote Tertullian), than the god of pseudo-scholarly relativism in which subjective credulity is portrayed as the benchmark of truth, in which 'god' is just the projection of a cultural aspiration.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  7. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    Well said, Thomas! Even though we have differing opinions about the Seminar and Hovarth or Revelation needing to be unpacked or Revelation as history. We need more godly behavior and less modern, scientistic, Western, culturally-driven behavior.
     
  8. BrotherMichaelSky

    BrotherMichaelSky New Member

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    Salishan
    Dear Heart

    :)

    Were you aware that asclepius was once called " The Waterbearer"?
    Do you realize that Asclepius was the thirteenth sign of the Zodiac - until the Catholic church arranged a new calendar?

    Do you realize as well, that on Dec 22 of 2012 the zodiac sign which will be on the ecliptic is Asclepius?
    Do you realize that this was entirely the reason for the 2012 prophesies?

    Asclepius was the water bearer - I have offered in another place on this forum to expound on how "the Waters" is a very important concept in Christianity - which was also a victim of Doctrine.

    The Healing which was attributed to Asclepius was indeed physical - but was accomplished through spirituality. The staff with twined serpents was once the symbol for His temples ( and has been stolen by the medical profession )... and has a direct correlation to the Staves and Serpents which are found sprinkled through the Christian texts... but they are in Gnostic code ( probably accomplished by essenes - who were a very respected section of the Jewish Priesthood - one third of them in fact )

    Furthermore - if one is to look closely at the Papal throne ( the popes special chair ) they will find Mithraic runes.... funny how the story of Mithra coincides so closely to the Jesus story... and Christian holidays were placed on Pagan celebratory days.... almost like they were trying to" hijack" believers.... but one could still go to the Christian celebrations and give one's adoration to another.... it's just over time it was forgotten who the holiday was originally for, became all about Christianity...

    Asclepius stands for something which was well understood before Christianity, and it was Christianity who pushed Him under the carpet....

    Interesting isn't it, that Jesus was the Prophet for the coming Aquarius age, wouldn't you say.... seeing as how that DIRECTLY relates to Water? interesting as well how references to the Waters was removed from Christian texts....
     
  9. Sam Albion

    Sam Albion akaFrancisKing:ViveLeRoi!

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  10. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Do you realise that the 2012 prophesies are based on a mis-application of the calendar?

    A common assumption, repeated so often it's assumed to be true, but without absolutely nothing to support it, and a host of reasons to doubt it.

    My post to Etu above gives the esoteric reasoning behind the date of Dec 25 in the Christian calendar, with references.

    Is that the 'as there's no evidence to support my argument, the evidence must have been removed' argument? Are you a member of the Theosophical Association?

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  11. BrotherMichaelSky

    BrotherMichaelSky New Member

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    your question make no sense whatsoever - you do not even mention which calendar you are talking about... clarity, my friend - if you wish to have a conversation.....
    I suppose the fact that Christians have Christmas trees has EVERYTHING to do with Jesus - please explain that..... ( and that is simply my first example....)
    what i saw was an explanation that took over a thousand years to convince folks of - and only those who cannot read, buy it today ( or those who cannot be troubled to read)....
    once again, all one must do is research - preferably outside of a Christian seminary..... because the folks at the seminary have an agenda - surprise, surprise....
    and they somehow feel that Christianity just APPEARED out of nowhere - complete with Doctrine....
    The Christ was a JEW - and one must understand the concepts which HE was familiar with - and understand things in a Jewish context...
    One must go back to the understandings which were prevalent when the texts were rearranged by Constantine...
     
  12. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    First, it is very clear that Thomas was referring to the Mayan calendar (since that is the original 21 Dec 2012 prophecy). Yes, the calculations the prophecies are based on are severely flawed (based on a whole series of un-provable assumptions). Made sense to me.

    Christmas was chosen as described by Thomas (there is plenty of empirical evidence for the Annunciation-Christmas link). Which, by the way, was centuries before Christmas trees. There is really very little relevant proof that Christmas was “borrowed from the pagans”. If you can find one example as old as Tertullian, that would surprise a lot of serious academicians who favor Thomas’ dating (not all are even remotely Catholic or Christian).

    Like the pueblo Indians here hid their old katsinas inside the walls of the churches (so when they prayed in churh they also prayed to them) or blessings with blue-corn meal in an evergreen wikiup in the plaza on Saints’ Days, the yulr log and Christmas tree tradition began with pagans importing into Christianity, not the other way around. The Christmas tree and Yule log, while part of the “folk tradition” really have no basis in Orthodox or Catholic beliefs.

    IMHO a well-read individual who paid attention to the academicians and theologians and not to “popular media” would reach these same conclusions. To wit: the dating of Christmas predates Yule trees and any pagan connections were made by pagans to ease the transition into the Church and not visa-versa.

    For a real good analysis of this try on Fine’s “the Bosnian Church”—a clear non-believer who has a quite interesting explanation (and not that Bogomils or Cathars were in Bosnia) of the Church’s reaction. The church never really penetrated the Bosnian highland (some of the worst and most remote in Europe) and after the natives added some folk traditions to the rites (there were no priests, so everything was done by the laity) the land-hungry Hungarians cried “heresy” and the pope swallowed it (this was at the height of the Albigensian Crusade and voila! See the native culture creeps into the exoteric forms of religion—the religion does not have to expropriate it.

    There is no early church documents (and there are entire warehouses of them) that in any way supports that Jesus was the Prophet for the Aquarian Age and the Church removed references to the waters. The real problem here is that you are hypothesizing an un-falsifiable notion (“Waters removed from Christian texts”). There is no answer to that except point out it is not scientific at all.

    Going back to the understanding of the texts as “rearranged by Constantine” (what do you mean by this?), the bishops at the Councils did acknowledge their Jewish roots (which is why Marcionism was stamped out). The Early Church Fathers created the doctrines (just about all Catholics and Orthodox accept that) based on their understanding of the texts well before Constantine.

    Christianity is much more than Main Stream American Protestantism. Thomas and I realize that as much as we disagree with them (and each other) that Armenians, Ethiopians, and Assyrians all pre-date the Catholic-Orthodox Church. Look up information from within the faith, from liberal zealots (like Quakers) to the most conservative of Armenians. Very few with that broad view would agree with “popular texts” about the origins of that faith.

    Stay well, Friend
     
  13. BrotherMichaelSky

    BrotherMichaelSky New Member

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    You are making an assumption which I was not prepared to..
    Interesting then, isn't it, to find that the average Roman of the time held the idea that spruce trees were holy - because the needles all pointed skyward... ( even if the average Roman was just hedging his bets... ) interesting again to find which pagans ALSO held this view....
    lots of things Christians practice have no basis in the texts - kinda my point - they simply do those things mindlessly... as has been encouraged since the Catholic church started taking over pagan holy days.... that was kinda the idea - get them to celebrate on "OUR" holidays, and through the generations they WILL be celebrating "OUR" holidays...
    Nevermind that the solstice JUST HAPPENS to fall on the day they chose as The Christ's birthday - which just HAPPENED to be one of the biggest celebrations of the year... and JUST HAPPENED to be celebrated by almost ALL the pagans for whatever reason....
    but - maybe you are right - after all if we cant trust the pope to tell the truth... nevermind, we wont go there just yet....
    sorry - a well read individual, who has constrained their education to the theologians, will find themselves VERY FAMILIAR with the DOCTRINE.... I prefer to be a student of HISTORY, without the blinders.... I am aware of the History of the Catholic church - and one immediately recognizes when they begin to study their history, that you cannot believe a word they say - in other words - they lie.
    you may choose to spend your time reading the opinions of others - but i will spend that time in my own research.... i find i spend less time correcting misinterpretations and wishful thinking... it is entirely too possible for one to enter the text with the idea of "PROVING" something they wish was the case - and theologians are the best at that.... Catholic Church doesn't even bother - they simply rewrite what they disagree with... history proves that to be true.. though I admit, they haven't done too much of that lately, there are too many examples to put forward.
    well, lets see - we'll combine this with the next section
    you are mistaken.
    Locking a select group of the most important Jewish Rabbis up, telling them that they will no longer be allowed to teach in their chosen fashion - and that they must come up with a homogenized version of their oldest Religious records - and insisting that particular pieces of doctrine be accepted.... You wouldn't call that rearranging?
    You don't get to pick and choose history....
    Christianity is an offshoot of the Jewish Faith.
    The Jews kept a record of ALL their interactions, over a period of thousands of years, with their God.
    You take a record stretching back that far, lock up the guys teaching about that record and insist they make changes..... doesn't sound like an auspicious beginning....but with that, the die was cast... it was no longer about God - it was about assimilating a very troublesome group into the empire...
    The Responsibility which was exhibited by the Jews was not in evidence when Christianity became the Official Religion of the Holy Roman Empire.... and those indomitable Jews were FINALLY well in hand.... the New State Religion could be manipulated...
    You Betcha - with my eyes wide open...
    you do the same...
     
  14. BrotherMichaelSky

    BrotherMichaelSky New Member

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    forgot to address your waters comment -
    I put that forward badly...what they did was require that certain concepts be hidden within the text - because they were no longer "approved for public consumption".

    I don't plan on giving up all the facts yet - one must look backwards - to the earliest commentaries, and letters written amongst Romans to find the original meaning of "The Waters"....
    I can be playful too - and no one has asked for that info yet... simply refuted that it is so....
     
  15. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Hi Michael,

    Could you please be more specific concerning this incident? It sounds to me as though you might be referring to circumstances which prevailed during the preparation of the Septuagint. If so, and as I understand, that predated Christianity by two or three centuries. At any rate, when was a "select group of the most important Jewish Rabbis" locked away in conclave? I am interested to read more.

    Thank you.

    Best regards (and welcome to the discussions),

    Serv
     
  16. BrotherMichaelSky

    BrotherMichaelSky New Member

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    Indeed you are right!
    I was afraid folks only wanted to argue.... or had no interest in historical facts.

    I must admit to expecting Thomas to speak up...guess not.
    I was indeed speaking of the 72.

    and to be fair - it is said Ptolemy asked for 72 Rabbis - placed in separate rooms, to write down the Pentateuch from the Hebrew to Greek. why 72? 6 rabbis from each of the 12 tribes. Why did he want it done? For inclusion in the library at Alexandria.
    That's how it was, with no spin.

    When Jerusalem was burned in 70 CE, there arose a great concern for retaining centuries of observation. It became very important to preserve the variants of the texts which remained when the temple burned. A dedicated effort was made to be very exacting in copying the texts - and this dedication remained...

    So why is it that the Christians prefer the Septuagint? When it clashes with the texts the Jews preferred? Could it be because one could pick and choose their understanding from a range of texts, instead of going to the experts?

    When the dead sea scrolls were found - 6% of the fragments parallel the Septuagint - 60% the Masoretic text.

    However, those concerns predate Constantine... By the time of constantine we are finding differing versions of the texts in use by christians... and an emperor who has no problems ordering church folks around and ordering changes to the texts....
    Shortly thereafter we find Justinian following his example - ordering the removal of concepts from doctrine - and actually arresting the pope for believing in the words of one of the Early church founders - Origen - and ordering changes to the text...... The pope refused to make such changes..

    And REALLY - considering what occurred in the following 800 (or so) years - it matters little whether one wants to quibble details, for the texts were in the hands of Rome..... And for a thousand years changes were made at a whim - by Popes who , at times, had ZERO ACTUAL BELIEF in the office they held...
    A Pope who pulled a dead body out of crypts and put it to trial, a pope who claimed "we have profited greatly by this myth of Jesus ", Popes who murdered and stole - and bargained salvation for cash..... the texts were in the hands of Evil Incarnate for a long, long time....
    and yes, they made what changes they liked - and if one believes they can extract ALL of the Truth from what is left - go back and read the history of the Catholic Church - they were bold enough to record making those changes....

    The changes I was referring to..... really, just look - you will find them....
     
  17. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Hi Michael,

    (With apologies to Salishan if this is too off topic.)

    I should think that they preferred the Septuagint because they were, in the main, native speakers of Greek. Furthermore, the quotations from the (so called) Old Testament which appear in the New are from the Septuagint. It’s a matter of consistency.

    To my ear, this contains an assumption. The Jews participated in the preparation of the Septuagint because so many of them spoke Greek. It was prepared by and primarily for them. And, again, they did this before Christianity emerged and before Christians, later, became so apparently adept at quoting and interpreting the texts to the advantage of their own burgeoning and expanding religion.

    That doesn’t impress me as most plausible. If anything, I suspect that the Jewish authorities (of what is now called Judaism) backtracked, once they saw the success of Christianity, and discouraged the use of the Septuagint. Consider, for instance:

    ===>Source:
    “At a later time—perhaps in the second century of the present era—a different view [than one which was pro-Septuagint] seems to have prevailed; and it was said that the day on which the Law was translated into Greek was as unfortunate for the Jews as that on which the Golden Calf was made (Soferim i. 8, 9). Even to teach children Greek was forbidden (Soṭah ix. 14) … Evidently this change of view was occasioned by the rise of the Christian Church, which used the Bible only in the Septuagint Version ...

    Two things, however, rendered the Septuagint unwelcome in the long run to the Jews. Its divergence from the accepted text (afterward called the Masoretic) was too evident; and it therefore could not serve as a basis for theological discussion or for homiletic interpretation [this, despite the fact that, according to the same author, a long list of non-Christian, Hellenic Jews used it]. This distrust was accentuated by the fact that it had been adopted as Sacred Scripture by the new faith [i.e., Christianity].”


    Aye, there's the rub. There is, at any rate, one of the rubs.


    Serv
     
  18. Servetus

    Servetus New Member

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    Also, BrotherMichaelSky,

    From my comparatively short time on this board, I would think it's a bit of both. People (except Salishan, who likes also to envision facial expressions and other gestures of communication) generally do like to argue, in the best sense of the word, but do also have a healthy respect for historical facts.

    Carry on, then ...


    Serv
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Super Moderator Staff Member

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    Yet you were quite happy to leave me to make assumptions ... please deal with others as you would wish them to deal with you.

    Not just the Romans. Most traditions have trees figuring in their iconography, for various reasons. The point is, in the period under discussion — the 2nd century, when the date was first put forward — there is nothing to support the notion of Christians appropriating pagan practice, and indeed everything points against it.

    Well that rather depends what Christians you mean. But when it comes to the Tradition, believe me, there's reasons for everything, and deeper than you can imagine!

    Please don't assume everyone is 'mindless' because their reasoning escapes you.

    There are usually reasons for everything, especially in the Church, in which nothing has no reason. Whether these are theologically viable is a question open to debate.

    Birthdays, in my opinion, are not. The Jews didn't keep them, the early Christians didn't keep them. Even pinpointing the date of the birth of Christ does not mean we should celebrate every birthday ... so the practice is alien to Revelation, but not contrary to it. As my director once asked: There's nothing about bicycles in Scripture, does that make riding a bike a heresy?

    All Souls and all saints however, if an interesting point. I would argue that a day of remembrance of the dead is not alien to Christian thought, indeed it's a good thing. So why introduce a date, and a feast, when a date and a feast already exists? Simply utilise the popular date ... I'm pretty sure those dates were assumes from older traditions ... the history of Scripture reveals as much.

    Where would your own philosophy be without it?

    Well, how about the fact that as those festivals mark events on the cosmological calendar, and Christ is the Pantokrator, the Lord of Creation, a metacosmic being, then it was He who ordered the seasons, and the procession of the equinoxes ... so when He chose to disclose Himself in the flesh, it would not be too inconcievable to think that He would do so according the the rhythms of the Cosmos that He, as Logos, instituted in the first place.

    So rather than the Christians taking what belongs to the pagans, the stronger argument is we make known at a metacosmic level what they can only hint at prophetically and vesitigially in their cosmological determinations.

    Ooh, how often has that been said in history, and how often have we looked back and laughed at its naivety. You're seriously deceiving yourself if you believe that.

    As the source of inspiration of philosophers and poets, mystics and musicians, artists and artisans?

    Ah ...

    Ah, the "Any history that agrees with me is history, any history that doesn't is a lie" school of history.

    God bless,

    Thomas
     
  20. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

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    I just am not a really big conspiracy buff. I find lots of academisc and theological references that refute your claims... and all the spinning of stories about coindidences does not influence me that much. Yep, coould have happened that way, I just see no evidence (when you can cite someone as ancient as Tertullian (say 200 CE) that talks about adopting spruce trees or yule logs or Christmas trees or even syas that the birst of J!sus must be 25 December becuse it is the solstice I do not give it much more than a 5-10% chance.

    The problem is still (1) I see lots of charges and no data, and (2) (esp in the matter of "removed references") there is no way to either refute or validate your claim (hence, in scientific or historical terms, it is nor pertinent).
     

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