Philo's guide to decoding the Hebrew Bible

The study of religious or heroic legends and tales. One constant rule of mythology is that whatever happens amongst the gods or other mythical beings was in one sense or another a reflection of events on earth. Recorded myths and legends, perhaps preserved in literature or folklore, have an immediate interest to archaeology in trying to unravel the nature and meaning of ancient events and traditions.

Moderators: Minimalist, MichelleH

Ishtar
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by Ishtar » Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:10 pm

Minimalist wrote:Does that make him so different from Livy, Tacitus, Suetonius, Plutarch and the rest?

Caring about what the "little people" did is, I'm afraid, a modern affectation.
No, it doesn't make him different, it just makes the whole lot of them a bit useless when it comes to identifying tiny beginnings, as they tend to slip under their radars.

Thus Josephus not knowing about the Poor Ones, the Ebionites, doesn't mean that they weren't there when we've got letters from the early church fathers attacking them.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebionites

The Ebionites (Greek: Ἐβιωναῖοι Ebionaioi from Hebrew; אביונים[citation needed], Ebyonim, "the Poor Ones") were an early Jewish Christian sect that lived in and around Judea and Palestine from the 1st to the 4th century.[1]

To throw light on the views, practices and history of the Ebionites, modern scholars attempt to reconstruct information from the available sources. Much of what is known about the Ebionites derives from the Church Fathers, who wrote polemics against the Ebionites, whom they deemed heretical Judaizers ...

Ishtar
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by Ishtar » Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:37 pm

Min, I've found something.

Josephus records something about James the Just. James the Just was supposed to have been the leader of the Ebionites and first bishop pf Jerusalem.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_the_Just

According to a passage in Josephus's Jewish Antiquities, (xx.9) "the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" met his death after the death of the procurator Porcius Festus, yet before Lucceius Albinus took office (Antiquities 20,9) — which has thus been dated to 62.

Minimalist
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15783
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Post by Minimalist » Fri Jul 25, 2008 2:58 pm

Here's the entire passage: I'll give you some time to read the whole thing.
CHAPTER 9.

CONCERNING ALBINUS UNDER WHOSE PROCURATORSHIP JAMES WAS SLAIN; AS ALSO WHAT EDIFICES WERE BUILT BY AGRIPPA.

1. AND now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator. But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus. Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests. But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, (23) who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed; when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority]. Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned: but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent. (24) Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.
The "King" referred to in the second sentence is M. Julius Agrippa (a/k/a Herod Agrippa II and not to be confused with Caesar.)

Please read the whole thing carefully and we can discuss it later. I'm not so sure that there is even a forgery here. I think it may just be later-christian wishful thinking.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

Ishtar
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by Ishtar » Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:06 pm

OK, I've read that ... now if you read this from the Catholic Encyclopaedia which gives a fuller picture of what they believe .. and then we can talk after that (although I'll have to be going to bed soon).

The Catholic Encyclopedia classifies the Ebionite writings into four groups:[62]

* The Gospel of the Ebionites: According to Irenaeus, the Ebionites used only the Gospel of Matthew. Eusebius of Caesarea[63] mentions a Gospel of the Hebrews, often identified as the slightly modified Aramaic original of Matthew, written with Hebrew letters. Such a work was known to Hegesippus,[63] Origen[64] and to Clement of Alexandria.[65] Epiphanius of Salamis attributes this gospel to Nazarenes, and claims that Ebionites only possessed an incomplete, falsified, and truncated copy.[66] The question remains whether Epiphanius was able to accurately distinguish between Nazarenes and Ebionites.

* Apocrypha of the New Testament: The Circuits of Peter and Acts of the Apostles, including the work usually titled the Ascents of James. The first-named books are substantially contained in the Homilies of Clement under the title of Clement's Compendium of Peter's itinerary sermons, and also in the Recognitions attributed to Clement. They form an early Christian didactic fiction to express Jewish Christian views, i.e. the primacy of James the Just, their connection with the episcopal see of Rome, and their antagonism to Simon Magus, as well as gnostic doctrines. Scholar Robert E. Van Voorst opines of the Ascents of James (R 1.33–71), "There is, in fact, no section of the Clementine literature about whose origin in Jewish Christianity one may be more certain".[49] Despite this assertion, he expresses reservations that the material is genuinely Ebionite in origin.

* The Works of Symmachus the Ebionite: Symmachus produced a translation of the Hebrew Bible into Koine Greek, which was used by Jerome and is still extant in fragments, and Hypomnemata written to counter the canonical Gospel of Matthew. The latter work, which is totally lost[67][68] is probably identical with De distinctione præceptorum mentioned by Ebed Jesu (Assemani, Bibl. Or., III, 1).

* The Book of Elchesai claimed to have been written about 100 CE and brought to Rome in c. 217 CE by Alcibiades of Apamea. Ebionites deemed those who accepted its gnostic doctrines apostates.[69][70]

Some also speculate that the core of the Gospel of Barnabas, beneath a polemical medieval Muslim overlay, may have been based upon an Ebionite or gnostic document.[71] The existence and origin of this source continues to be debated by scholars.[72]

Ishtar
Posts: 2631
Joined: Tue Apr 24, 2007 1:41 am
Location: UK
Contact:

Post by Ishtar » Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:40 pm

... and this,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ebionites

James, the brother of the Lord, presided over the Jerusalem church after the other apostles dispersed.[54] Paul, the Apostle to the Gentiles, established many churches[55] and founded a Christian theology, see Pauline Christianity. At the Council of Jerusalem (c 49),[54] Paul persuaded the other apostles to abrogate certain Mosaic observances[56] insofar as they were allegedly applicable to non-Jewish Christians. For the parallel in Judaism, see Noachide law.

Some scholars[57][58] argue that the Ebionites regarded James, brother of Jesus, the first bishop of Jerusalem,[59] the rightful leader of the Church rather than Peter. James Tabor argues that the Ebionites claimed a unique dynastic apostolic succession for the relatives of Jesus.[60] They opposed the Apostle Paul, who established that gentile Christians did not have to be circumcised or otherwise follow the Law of Moses, and named him an apostate.[25] Epiphanius relates that some Ebionites alleged that Paul was a Greek who converted to Judaism in order to marry the daughter of a high priest of Israel but apostasized when she rejected him.[61]
Let's talk tomorrow. Goodnight. 8)
Last edited by Ishtar on Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

rich
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Post by rich » Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:40 pm

Min - what the heck???

From http://jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp? ... h=Caiaphas
After Pontius' recall Caiaphas was removed by the new governor, Vitellius (Josephus, "Ant." xviii. 4, § 3), and was succeeded by Jonathan, who was the son of Anan (36) and perhaps a brother-in-law of Caiaphas. It was probably at this time that the meeting with the apostles took place, at which Caiaphas is mentioned as belonging to the high-priestly family (Acts iv. 6). It was said later in the Syrian Church that he had been converted to Christianity, and was identical with the historian Josephus Flavius (Assemani, "Bibl. Orient." ii. 156, iii. 522; Solomon of Bassora, "The Book of the Bee," ed. Budge, tr. p. 94). His house outside Jerusalem is still (1902) shown.
My underlining. But my question besides this is if you read the article they quote from different books in the NT?!?!?!?! It's a Jewish encyclopedia - or am I missing something??
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin

Forum Monk
Posts: 1999
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:37 pm
Location: USA

Post by Forum Monk » Fri Jul 25, 2008 3:57 pm

if you read the article they quote from different books in the NT?!?!?!?! It's a Jewish encyclopedia - or am I missing something??
:twisted: muhahahahaha
Soon your house will be invaded and your books replaced with christian forgeries. Do not fall asleep!

muhahahaha :twisted:

rich
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Post by rich » Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:04 pm

Lol - what - now they're gonna' replace all my porn???? Dang. :D :D :D
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin

Minimalist
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15783
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Post by Minimalist » Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:12 pm

James, the brother of the Lord, presided over the Jerusalem church after the other apostles dispersed.

Yeah....but other than christian "tradition" what is the source of that data?
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

Minimalist
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15783
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Post by Minimalist » Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:18 pm

After Pontius' recall Caiaphas was removed by the new governor, Vitellius

Do you really want to hear the political situation in Rome which led to this?

The Romans periodically appointed/removed the high priest. It was one of the ways they maintained their influence on the sanheddrin.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

rich
Posts: 486
Joined: Fri Mar 07, 2008 11:08 pm
Location: New York state

Post by rich » Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:21 pm

That wasn't what I was questioning, Min. Why is a Jewish encyclopedia using references to the NT? The other thing is it says Caiphas was Josephus?????? Is that confirmed other places?
i'm not lookin' for who or what made the earth - just who got me dizzy by makin it spin

Forum Monk
Posts: 1999
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:37 pm
Location: USA

Post by Forum Monk » Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:24 pm

rich wrote:The other thing is it says Caiphas was Josephus?????? Is that confirmed other places?
Ahhh, the true identity of Josephus. Now there's a question!

Forum Monk
Posts: 1999
Joined: Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:37 pm
Location: USA

Post by Forum Monk » Fri Jul 25, 2008 4:49 pm

Ishtar wrote:Monk, you are again switching the argument to the present in saying "There is no such thing as a gnostic Christian or Jew".
... They were known by the name of their group and although these groups had varying but similar beliefs, one thing they all had in common was an initiation and an allegorical initiation story very much like the story of Jesus. That is what is meant by Gnostic Jews or Gnostic Christians and it is a valid term. So to say they didn't exist is not true.
So what you are saying is this:
1. gnostics existed but were not known as gnostics in the 1st century
2. this group had a story very similar to the christian story
3. so this group was known as gnostic christians even though i just said they were not known as gnostics.
:?
Therefore, the Jews would never trust a religion that portrayed their Yahweh in such a bad light - when in fact, their own religion already does!
That is your assessment - not a jewish one. :wink:
And finally Monk, you said that the purpose of the Creed was not to keep the Gnostics out.
What I said:
I think you are somewhat right that the creed is intentionally designed to be a concise statement of the most fundamental christian beliefs and so they are a rejection of the gnostic principles. But I do not think, the creed was targeted toward gnostics in particular.


Your bolded quote:
The Apostles' Creed, drawn up in the first or second century, emphasizes the true Humanity, including the material body, of Jesus, since that is the point that the heretics of the time (Gnostics, Marcionites, and later Manicheans) denied.

Pretty much exactly what i said. The creed rejected a number of heretical ideas including gnostics, but was not specifically targeted to gnosticism.

Minimalist
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15783
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Post by Minimalist » Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:41 pm

I'm breaking this down in separate sentences...or at least convoluted phrases, Ish.
1. AND now Caesar, upon hearing the death of Festus, sent Albinus into Judea, as procurator.

But the king deprived Joseph of the high priesthood, and bestowed the succession to that dignity on the son of Ananus, who was also himself called Ananus.

Now the report goes that this eldest Ananus proved a most fortunate man; for he had five sons who had all performed the office of a high priest to God, and who had himself enjoyed that dignity a long time formerly, which had never happened to any other of our high priests.

But this younger Ananus, who, as we have told you already, took the high priesthood, was a bold man in his temper, and very insolent; he was also of the sect of the Sadducees, (23) who are very rigid in judging offenders, above all the rest of the Jews, as we have already observed;

when, therefore, Ananus was of this disposition, he thought he had now a proper opportunity [to exercise his authority].

Festus was now dead, and Albinus was but upon the road; so he assembled the sanhedrim of judges, and brought before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James, and some others, [or, some of his companions]; and when he had formed an accusation against them as breakers of the law, he delivered them to be stoned:

but as for those who seemed the most equitable of the citizens, and such as were the most uneasy at the breach of the laws, they disliked what was done; they also sent to the king [Agrippa], desiring him to send to Ananus that he should act so no more, for that what he had already done was not to be justified; nay, some of them went also to meet Albinus, as he was upon his journey from Alexandria, and informed him that it was not lawful for Ananus to assemble a sanhedrim without his consent.

(24) Whereupon Albinus complied with what they said, and wrote in anger to Ananus, and threatened that he would bring him to punishment for what he had done; on which king Agrippa took the high priesthood from him, when he had ruled but three months, and made Jesus, the son of Damneus, high priest.
First - Sentence 1 gives us the time. Porcius Festus died and was replaced by Leuccius Albinus in 62 AD.

#2 - If you bother to read Chapter 8 preceding, you would see that Herod Agrippa was constantly changing high priests. Several such changes are noted by Josephus in Ch 8 and, while this might be important to a member of the ruling class like Josephus (who was from a priestly family himself) it is not terribly interesting to us.

#3 So, Ananus son of Ananus is now high priest and Josephus tosses in the interesting biographical tidbit that Ananus' father and brothers had also been high priests. There seem to have been a lot of ex-high priests around.

#4 Josephus was a pharisee...he had no love for the sadduccees and proves it, again.

#5 So Festus is dead and Albinus is on the road....but Josephus has just finished telling us that it is Herod Agrippa who appoints and removes the high priests so it is a bit more difficult to see what this supposed "opportunity" may have been.

#6 Anyway, "before them the brother of Jesus, who was called Christ, whose name was James" This is where I think the early christians let their imaginations run wild. We are in the midst of discussion about high priests thanks to Josephus. Without being a Greek scholar I do know that "Jesus" is a latinized reading of the Greek Iesous which was in turn taken from the Hebrew Y'shua, and "James" was derived from the Hebrew "Yakov." Both were exceedingly common names in the first century and in Chapter #5 preceding, Josephus tells us how "James" and "Simon" sons of Judas had been crucified by Philo's relative, Tiberius Alexander. Yet no one ever tries to confuse this "James" with Jesus' supposed brother. But, I digress.
In addition to the names we have to consider that the Greek word "Christos" is a translation into Greek of the Hebrew word Mosiach meaning "the annointed" or "annointed one." But in Jewish circles who was "annointed?" Answer: The high priest and the king. So almost everyone that Josephus is talking about in this entire paragraph....except the deceased Festus and the absent Albinus...are "christoses." I submit that only christian arrogance would allow someone reading this to automatically assume that the "christos" being referred to is "their Jesus". What it says in plain "Greek" is that "James" the brother of Jesus who was called Christ but in the context of the entire passage it would mean that Jesus was a high priest, too....along with almost everyone else. Especially since at the end we find Jesus, son of Damneus being named high priest....and therefore a "christos."

This example of an Ancient Greek inscription shows that not only are there no capitals...or more correctly there are only capitals...there is no punctuation and no spaces between words.


Image

Can we forgive some unknown Christian scribe for coming across the word "christos" in Josephus' writing and thinking, in his own mind that it meant "Christ?" We probably should. People tend to see what they wish to see.

Finally, "he delivered them to be stoned" Note that Josephus never actually says that any of them WERE stoned. Josephus is rarely squeamish about reporting bloodshed.

#7 So here we are in Jerusalem and other citizens who could equally be pissed about "James" being arrested or "James" being stoned...if he were stoned... send delegations to Albinus...still some distance away and the KING who is sitting right in Jerusalem! Moreover,

#8, Albinus sends a "nasty letter" and Herod Agrippa removes Ananus from the high priesthood and promotes yet another Jesus (son of Damneus) to be high priest...(christos.)

Just a gut feeling here that 4th century christian writers, suddenly seeking evidence for the existence of their jesus latched onto anything that remotely helped their case. But if you take the words in the context of which they are written there really seems to be a lot less here than the christian apologists claim. We have a man named "James" with a brother named Jesus who seems to have been a high priest accused of unspecified crimes who was arrested and, perhaps, although it doesn't actually say it, executed by stoning. I don't see anything in there that suggests that "James" was running another church.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

Minimalist
Forum Moderator
Posts: 15783
Joined: Mon Sep 26, 2005 1:09 pm
Location: Arizona

Post by Minimalist » Fri Jul 25, 2008 5:42 pm

The other thing is it says Caiphas was Josephus?????? Is that confirmed other places?

I've never heard that. Josephus was born in 37. According to this, Caiaphas was removed as high priest some time before that. The latest that Pilate could have been in Jerusalem is 36 AD.
Something is wrong here. War, disease, death, destruction, hunger, filth, poverty, torture, crime, corruption, and the Ice Capades. Something is definitely wrong. This is not good work. If this is the best God can do, I am not impressed.

-- George Carlin

Post Reply