jeudi 12 octobre 2017

Should Jimmy Akin Review His View on History?

I think he should, if he wants to stay (or become) Catholic:

Did the Exodus Happen?
by Jimmy Akin

General intro is good and conclusion as summarised by Mark Shea is good, but look at this:

If accounts of the Exodus were circulating in Israel by 850 B.C. and if the event itself would have taken place around 1250 B.C., that’s only a gap of 400 years.

Four centuries is not a long time when it comes to national origin stories.

Even in purely oral (illiterate) societies that depend entirely on tradition for knowledge of the past, collective memory can preserve the core facts regarding where a people came from for that length of time.

Here is why this is problematic:

  • 1) It is the same amount of time as between Trojan War and Homer (in fact, it is the same time as these, the modern scholarship Akin is copying onto his post is probably copying as in plagarising traditional distance between Iliad's Content and Iliad, Odyssey's content and Odyssey.
  • 2) It is a time which sufficed to not only forget how chariots were used in battle, perhaps that Linear B was not used in letters carried by messengers as far as we know (the semata lygra carried by Bellerophon), but also to obfuscate existence of Hittites, Hattusha beyon abandoned about one of the times which could fit traditional destruction of Troy.
  • 3) It is a time in which according to much modern scholarship the Odyssey was made up from basically nothing at all - except geography of Ithaca, either Santa Mavra or Thiaki or a blend of the two ("Athena's" words to Odysseus suggest Santa Mavra insofar as with a ditch separating it from mainland, it is difficult to classify it as either island or cape, but some geography on Thiaki is shown as fitting Odyssey).

My own take about Homer is this : the tradition forgot technical detail, the Bellerophon story could be made up (I have some trouble digesting a historic counterpart to Fledge), several exploit stories were preserved by aristocrats of ancestral names, but transferred from, for instance, Battle of Kadesh, since Hittites were to be forgotten, above all, Hittites were forgotten on purpose. The Iliad is given without its political context, only personal stories (which may be genuine) are given, it is as if you made an epic about Stalingrad in which Duke Adolf and Duke Joseph (yes, Vozhd, like Duce and Führer means leader) were sending their men to fight each other, but Communism and National Socialism were not mentioned at all, and exploits which had taken place in Spanish War were transferred, because of a similar refusal to recall how Communism was involved in International Brigades. Yes, one could attach "International Brigades" as one of Duke Joseph's helpers at Stalingrad ... and Homer came along to codify it at a time when the voluntary forgetfulness about 'Ittites and their tax collecting Hethos made it possible for him to tell solely what tradition had brought him - bona fide.

He was also descended from Ulysses, Penelope and Telemach, which accounts for his knowledge in personal detail of that story, fairly unfaked, except for how much witches and warlocks and makeup artists are passed off as "Athena" and possibly also except for what really happened between Ulysses crew and his arrival at Phaeacians, sth he could have faked himself (he is not known for total truthfulness, and one part of the story involves him saying himself he had lied to the Cyclops).

As composition was oral, his blindness was no handicap, and even an asset as giving him time for oral composition : he first made Odyssey, where he was well documented, then Iliad, where he had to piece things together, and he involved false theology in the explanations (Athena and Zeus are holding a conference on Olympus which as Christians we know never took place in that form). He also involved true memories, including of demonic activity and of guardian angels admonishing through dreams : Apollo in Iliad A is arguably Apollyon, and Hermes coming to Aegistus (see Conference on Olympus, Odyssey α, was probably his guardian angel.

In other words, the 400 years served to forget what one wanted to forget and fix inconsistencies arising therefrom as best they could.

But ordinary scholarship as it is today considers, mainly, nearly all of Odyssey and much of Iliad (including fair Helen and therefore personal motive) is mythical. That is the kind of guys who won't allow Exodus to be in traditionally 1510 BC (Roman Martyrology for December 25!) or even before (Syncellus and Byzantine martyrology).

As for stories of a people being autochthonous, I take the Theban story as exceptionally close to actual origins. The devil obviously can't make people from dragon teeth, and God won't. Similarily, the devil can't even transform a human body into an animal one : but he can make it seem to others and to the person him or herself it happened through this or that visible magician or theophany or magic. In some cases, he could perhaps even cause a very severe amnesia. He can also, and even fairly quickly, transport human bodies.

So, Theban story could basically be as correct a memory as possible, considering how sinful men had had their free access to memories tampered with by a devil also staging a scenario of each fighting a non-extant double (demons acting) and all coming from dragon teeth.

Egyptian story of autochthony, well, I take it that like Indian one, it is a cutting off of inconvenient history. In the Egyptian case, Egypt arising after Babel, and Pharaos' direct ancestry perhaps even taking some stay in Stonehenge and Newgrange before getting beaten by Miledians and remaining in a memory like "people of Dana" while being exiled ... well, one can imagine how they would excise Flood, Babel and their Irish misadventure from memory, and go directly back to a remake of Genesis 2, one in which, like in Sumer, the human race were created as a collective. This could already have been part of what Nimrod preached as errors, though in his day the Flood was not forgotten.

Indian one, as they have a kind of Adam like story, I take it they were after Babel more anti-Nimrodian than Nimrodian (also, they have no Marduk-defeats-monster as prequel of creation of Earth), so, they would be attaching pre-Flood memories, Mahabharata style, to their own post-Flood situation, excising both Flood and Babel and obviously Nimrod's tyranny at Babel. Inconveniently, they did want to recall their post-Flood arrival in India too, in Ramayana (Rama is a son of Kush and a brother of Nimrod, and Hanuman could be Nimrod in his youth, as Josephus recalls him as not yet evil, but protective of his brothers). Solution : transfer Ramayana material back to even earlier than Mahabharata material. But the probably Cainite pre-Flood man of renown recalled as Krishna (probably a relative of the Biblical Kush : both names mean swarty, and if Krishna was called swarty before Babel and Flood, it was in Hebrew, not sanscrit, so Cham's son is probably named after Krishna).

And the hero Bharat, eponym for India, is probably a mix of both Henochs : the Cainite city builder (or city name giver) and the Sethite just man beloved by God.

I do not know the exact reason why Zuni and Hopi claim autochthony. But it is such a bland cop out in general, that this is not a reason against more detailed origin stories.

The detail of Sipapuni probably shows some historical moment, probably with more distortion than I credit Theban story with, but lots less than modern scholarship credits it with.

If Jimmy Akin wants to side with Exodus historicity, as I think he should, I think he should start defending Iliad and Odyssey too, about on my lines.

Which means, obviously, relying less on modern scholarship.

Japan can very well have been "created" by angels and demons or one of them allowed by God to play around with volcanic eruptions. Jimmu can very well descend from, not indeed a goddess of the Sun (any more than our very useful Mister Brother Sun was grudging Ulysses' men the feast on beef), but a priestess of such a goddess, like Aeneas cannot be son of a literal love deity, but very well of a priestess of such a one : Puduhepa was priestess of both, before being Hittite queen, and Hittites seem to have agreed on auto-oblivion, if the story about abanding Hattusha, given in "Dark Lords of Hattusha" is the real cause of démise of that empire. This means that descending from Puduhepa would have needed to be reformulated - precisely as for very different theological difficulties, Greeks could not stomach the literal account of three angels visiting Abraham, promising him and his long infertile wife a mircaulous old age fertility, two of them saving Lot from both Sodomites and their destruction : so Abraham and Lot became Deucalion, twisting details of Noah's story to fit in more Biblical facts with less Biblical truth, and similarily, a Hittite priestess of love and sun became first ritually involved in sex and pregnancy on behalf of her goddess (she identified them), then branches of her family were forgetting all about the Hittite part and recalling only one of the goddesses, and the present Tenno is a cousin several removed of Julius Caesar.

In other words, Japanese origin history, apart from Pagan notions confusing what truth was known by Genesis 11, and "three first kamis" perhaps borrowed from very early Christians speaking of the Trinity (would not be last time Japs forgot about having been nearly Catholic, would it!) coming in not as creating but as procreating persons, is very close to actual origins of their imperial family and their islands.

But Zuni and Hopi, I'll have to check.

Exodus not only happened as written, but was also written by Moses. However, Moses also wrote Genesis, to which he was more of a Homer than of a Julius Caesar writing Bellum Gallicum in third person. This means a Catholic who, with Church Fathers and Trent, wants to believe literal truth of Genesis, could have at least potentially an interest in upgrading other stories long transmitted orally.

This is why he should ditch modern scholarship, ditch its pretence tradition by itself tends to distortion. Modern historiography would come with men like Humboldt in Prussia and Weibull in Sweden, in a Protestant culture - the kind of men who can't believe St George even lived, let alone St Christopher.

Oral tradition, when organised, gives little room for distortion, except misunderstanding or non-understanding of outmoded detail, and when it distorts it does so for a reason. If ever a Stalingrad Epic without National Socialism or Communism is written, it will be because one decided to forget about Communism and its Ethos. Or possibly Hethos. If Ulysses meeting the cyclops is fake, he was the one with best motives to change the story - not the tradition after him.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Sts Evagrius, Priscian and Companions, Martyrs

vendredi 29 septembre 2017

History is Tradition

Folklore and legend are species of history. Folklore is history transmitted by amateurs rather than by official or professional or quasiprofessional tradition bearers. Legend is history with a ring to it. Neither folklore nor legend need be historically non-factual. Historiography as written by the modern academic discipline can be factually inaccurate too.

Here is an Atheist who considers the usual cant about "folklore" and "legend" a succient argument to argue against historicity of for instance Gospels.

Dr Johnson: Legend, Myth, and More
August 1, 2012 by Bob Seidensticker

We’ll begin with the big category, folklore. This is the traditional knowledge or forms of expression of a culture passed on from person to person. Folklore can be material (quilts, traditional costumes, recipes, the hex signs on Amish barns, etc.), behavioral (customs such as throwing rice at a wedding, what constitutes good manners, superstitions, etc.), or traditional stories.

Traditional stories is itself a large category, containing music, anecdotes, ghost stories, parables, popular misconceptions, and other things you might not think of.

Now on to the kinds of traditional stories that are most interesting to apologetics. These terms can overlap quite a bit, so consider these definitions approximations. First, let’s consider stories seen as true (or plausibly so) by their hearers.

  • Legends are grounded in history and can change over time. They can include miracles. Urban legends are a modern category of legends that don’t include miracles, are set in or near the present day, and take the form of a cautionary tale.
  • Myths are sacred narratives that explain some aspect of reality (for example: the myth of Prometheus explains why we have fire and the Genesis creation myth explains where everything came from). Epic poems such as Beowulf and the Odyssey are one kind of myth.

The difference between legends and myths is that a legend is set in a more recent time and generally features human characters, while myths are set in the distant past and have supernatural characters. Some stories are mixtures of the two—the Iliad tells the story of a real city, and the characters include gods, humans with supernatural powers, and ordinary humans.

Here is first a Christian commenter and then author commenting back and then my own take, I'll give the last in full, but quote only the parts of the other two that fit above and what I have to say about it.

Rick Townsend
5 years ago
Seems to me you left out a category—accurate history. Why don't you give us a definition for that, as well as examples from the period before, Oh, say, 35 AD. Give us the data you used to determine it was accurate as well, please. Unless of course you think it was all myth and legend before YouTube, CNN and Wikipedia. ....

Bob Seidensticker
-> Rick Townsend
5 years ago
... My focus was folklore and some of its many categories, not history. My examples of history before 35CE would, obviously, be the same as yours--the record of Julius Caesar, Alexander the Great, and so on. ...

Hans-Georg Lundahl
- > Bob Seidensticker
an hour ago
Actually, you seem to share a presupposition which does not follow from premises in definitions.

That accurate history is something OTHER than traditional stories.

I would say it often may involve more diverse traditions telling the same story, but that is not a prerequisite for its factual accuracy.

Also, historiography of the modern type claiming to be accurate is obviously open to deformation too. How many Communist and pro-Communist historians mention the Bleiburg massacre at end of WW-II?

Also, a historiographer usually gives an interpretation of his material. An atheist historiographer will give an atheist interpretation, i e things like claiming the Angels of Mons were no actual angels, but "collective hallucinations" (apart from hypnosis at stage unknown outside atheist historiography).

Iliad and Odyssey to my mind are history. Homer left out the Hittites. Homer interpreted by inserting scenes with gods on mount Olympus. But he need not have included any or very many events that are totally misrepresented or even invented. Men turning to pigs is impossible, but a witch making it seem as if is not impossible (if a hypnotist can induce a collective hallucination, so can a witch). Penelope [and Ulysses] actually getting [older and] younger is impossible, but feeling and looking so is not impossible.

Fighting chariots are described in terms of individual exploits, not in terms of battles where teams of three took turns, horses also taking turns, as it probably was historically. Some exploits can have been transferrred from other wars, notably Kadesh battle between Egyptians and Hittites, from which some nobility would descend, but no one wanted to mention Hittites (like Commies don't want to mention Bleiburg).

So, Homer is more slightly falsified history than a really other kind of narrative than history.

Homer is, in terms of generations, if not years, as close to Iliad's and Odyssey's actual events as Moses is to certain earlier events of Genesis, the early 11 chapters. Homer is in terms of years as close to them as Moses is to sometime in the main and late events in the latter 39 chapters of Genesis. Though Moses was from a line of people living to old, so the minimal generation overlap has arguably fewer steps than with Homer.

Gregory of Tours was as close to Clovis - and as far as I know, we don't have much better and more contemporary sources for him, if he's mentioned by contemporary Byzantines, it is more briefly.

I will here answer another point which Seidenstecker makes. He said:

Why not the miracles of Jesus of Nazareth? Obviously, those wouldn't make my list of historical events because they're all rejected by the historical consensus.

What he means by "the historical consensus" is problematic. It arguably means "consensus of Academic historians today, as extant since 19th C. Germany".

But in order to be of a significant value in determining this, it ought to mean "consensus of historians back then, consensus of narrative sources from back then". It does not.

Tacitus and Josephus do not reject the miracles of Christ. They don't accept the miracles of Christ very clearly or at all either. They don't go into detail. Josephus' "paradox actions" could include miracles, but could also involve simply things like dring out merchants from temple or taking disciples from among fishermen and one converted sinner, which would not be the prime choice of a rabbi.

Toledoth Jeschu* in my view seems to conflate Our Lord with an earlier man, who really was just a magician, and founded a sect which really was idolatrous, namely Odin : but the charge of magic is not a rejection of miracles as things which never happened, it is an attempt at non-divine explanation for events at the time taken as miraculous - both in cases like Odin, where the thing really was just magic, appearing and disappearing before poor Gylfe up to a hundred years before Christ's work, and in cases like Jesus working real divine miracles.

No historian is actually saying, as historian** "Jesus never worked miracles, but somehow his disciples believed he did or claimed he did" - as far as narrative historians back then are concerned.

No historian is actually the direct opposite of "consensus of historians".

As to the consensus of modern historiography, like the consensus on Marcan priority among Bible scholars, it has more to do with Prussian dominance over Academia than with sound logic. And Prussia, as known, had already received Voltaire before developing either modern historiography or Marcan priority.

Now, back to the point : all history is tradition. It is not always tradition on as amateur a level of transmission as folklore. It is not always tradition as far removed from events when written down as Homer or Gregory of Tours. But it is always tradition and any writing down of it, whether disappearing before our time or preserved to us, is equally a part of the process called tradition.

When it is not tradition, it is reconstruction - usually termed conjecture - replacing either tradition completely lacking on a point or contradicting tradition on a point. And reconstruction has a weaker probability of being the truth than any tradition, unless it is one rejected for very solid reasons - among which I would obviously neither place the fad in reducing tradition to folklore, nor the atheist fad of presuming a tradition must on any point be non-factual just because it is miraculous.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
St Michael's Mass

* Or alternative transscription : Toledot Yeshu. ** I have not checked what Celsus is saying, but he is not describing Christians as a historian, he is arguing against them as a polemicist.

jeudi 10 août 2017

Francesca Stavrakopoulou on Moses ...

Kevin Wesley
27 juillet, 03:42

"Are you ready to listen yet? You ask for scholarship? Here it is!"

Because she is head of theology at University of Exeter?

She says Moses didn't exist. She says there is no evidence for it.

Hebrews (later divided into Christians and Jews) claim Moses was the founder of the Covenant of Sinai, its human mediator between God and His people and the one writing down their constitution and major or even exclusive legislation (except perhaps parts being case law).

U. S. Americans claim George Washington was the foremost founding father of United States of America.

What kind of evidence does she have George Washington did exist which she does not have for Moses existing?

The reporter asked her why people had such a hard time accepting a historical approach. But claiming, as she did, that Moses was invented by people with father issues, is not a historical approach, but it is a reconstructural one.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Paris, FR
St Lawrence of Rome

samedi 18 mars 2017

Carrier on Tacitus

Creation vs. Evolution : Richard Carrier Refutes Certain Evolutionists · somewhere else : Carrier on Tacitus

I am here continuing my reading (partly perhaps sloppy, but I am dealing with things that catch my eyes too much for me to misconstrue them, not with article as a whole), of Richard Carrier's article.*

Thus, that Tacitus should mention a Gospel claim about Jesus (if in fact he ever did) is already 100% expected on the existence of the Gospels, regardless of whether Jesus existed or not. That reference in Tacitus thus has no effect on our final probability of historicity. That’s how dependent probability works. And ironically, here it’s Christian apologists who typically don’t grasp the point that Fishers of Evidence is making: that the probability the extrabiblical sources would mention Jesus, even if he didn’t exist, is dependent on the Gospels having already done so (and their Christian informants subsequently relying on the Gospels, as we know they did).

That Tacitus mentioned a Gospel claim about Jesus is not 100 % expected on the existence of the Gospels.

It could be he never laid eyes on them and therefore would not mention Jesus.

Also, his having read a Gospel is not 100 % expected on his having referred to a Gospel claim, since he could have it, directly or indirectly from a Christian.

But it is if evidence he knew the Gospel claims as in Gospels at least evidence the Gospel already existed in his time, and that Christians already believed them OR it is evidence that Christians already believed the claims before the Gospels were written.

Does the evidence Tacitus brings here tie this to only his own time?

The Christians persecuted by Nero could (theoretically, from the point of view of a non-Christian enquirer) have believed something totally different, then changed their minds, then Tacitus had access to what they later believed, then projected this back to the time of Nero's persecuting Christians.

But this is where skepsis would be getting really unlikely.

For one thing, it is unlikely in the first place that a community believing in a purely spiritual Jesus without any historic or physic connection (comparable to Hindoo beliefs about Shiva or Greek about Apollo, the kind of belief Carrier thinks was that of the first Christians) would become a belief in a historical one (comparable to Hindoo beliefs in Krishna or Greek beliefs in Hercules, and yes, I think these existed as men).

But for another thing, it is also unlikely that Tacitus would do such a blunder about the Christians. He cites and therefore had access to three historians from the time of Nero, which are lost to us.

This means, Tacitus' is functioning as a wiki article for information gleaned from these three historians, and this means Tacitus would have known what Christians believed about Jesus, not in AD 90 only, but in AD 64, when Nero crucified St Peter, decapitated St Paul and used x number of other saints as torches in the dark, which, irony on irony, spiritually they actually were for pagans who saw them from the dark of their paganism.

So, Tacitus and Suetonius (both of which had access to three historians mentioned, as well as to Acta Senatus from those years) are telling us that Christians in AD 64 "already" believed Jesus had lived as a historical person.

Though Tacitus does not mention St Peter and St Paul as individual persons, their existence was believed by his contemporaries among Christian writers whose historicity is generally not put in doubt. Sts Polycarp, Ignatius of Antioch, Irenaeus of Lyons and Papias are accepted as historical and they accepted the evidence internal to the Apostolic community for the existence of Apostles, Irenaeus directly mentioning Sts Peter and Paul and I think more of them did so.

And this in turn means that Sts Peter and Paul are as well attested by Christians in the time of Tacitus, as Jesus is attested in the time of Nero by Tacitus' sources.

And St Peter was identified as having spoken with Jesus for years, as His disciple.

Presumably, this is also the story Christians in Rome could get from St Peter close to AD 64.

Either he invented the story and died a martyr's death for it, which is totally improbable, or he believed it.

If he believed it, he either made a mistake or was right about what he was dying for.

But this brings us to the Gospels' as to what circumstances he gained his impression from.

So, for example, if assessing the evidence of a murder, FoE found blood on the accused, he could rightly say “the probability that the accused is bloody, given that I observed and verified the accused is bloody” is 1 (or near enough; there is always some nonzero probability of still being in error about that, but ideally it will be so small a probability we can ignore it).

Yes, when the hypothetic policeman in whose skin Carrier puts himself observed the blood, it is probability of 1 or very close that the man actually was bloody.

And when Peter saw Jesus while on a fishing tour, after Jesus had died, it is a probability of 1 that he observed Jesus alive.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Sabbath after
II Lord's Day in Lent

* I think I forgot attrubution on the previous article, needing a coffee, so here is the attribution:

Fishers of Evidence Gets Confused about Math
by Richard Carrier on March 17, 2017

I was going to notify him by commenting under that article with a link to these two articles of mine. But I saw this:

I only publish comments by my patrons and anyone who or whose work I discuss in the article commented on. Comments must also follow good etiquette. Those who engage in dishonest, abusive, or harassing behavior may even be banned as commenters and patrons.

If my comment won't be published anyway, why not let his patrons notify him, if they are reading this?

For my own part, I am not into patreon ...

jeudi 9 mars 2017

While Acharya Sanning has died, her mistakes may live on - here is for her Pagan Parallels

If you recall her, she considered that Christ's Ascension or even Resurrection was plagairised from Krishna.

Here is what Mahabharata has to say:

The Mahabharata
Book 16: Mausala Parva
Section 4:

Begins with the words:

Vaishampayana said:

And the rest of the section is what he said, including the end:

"After his brother had thus departed from the (human) world, Vasudeva of celestial vision, who was fully acquainted with the end of all things, wandered for some time in that lonely forest thoughtfully. Endued with great energy he then sat down on the bare earth. He had thought before this of everything that had been fore-shadowed by the words uttered by Gandhari in former days. He also recollected the words that Durvasas had spoken at the time his body was smeared by that Rishi with the remnant of the Payasa he had eaten (while a guest at Krishna’s house). The high-souled one, thinking of the destruction of the Vrishnis and the Andhakas, as also of the previous slaughter of the Kurus, concluded that the hour (for his own departure from the world) had come. He then restrained his senses (in Yoga). Conversant with the truth of every topic, Vasudeva, though he was the Supreme Deity, wished to die, for dispelling all doubts and establishing a certainty of results (in the matter of human existence), simply for upholding the three worlds and for making the words of Atri’s son true. Having restrained all his senses, speech, and mind, Krishna laid himself down in high Yoga.

"A fierce hunter of the name of Jara then came there, desirous of deer. The hunter, mistaking Keshava, who was stretched on the earth in high Yoga, for a deer, pierced him at the heel with a shaft and quickly came to that spot for capturing his prey. Coming up, Jara beheld a man dressed in yellow robes, rapt in Yoga and endued with many arms. Regarding himself an offender, and filled with fear, he touched the feet of Keshava. The high-souled one comforted him and then ascended upwards, filling the entire welkin with splendour. When he reached Heaven, Vasava and the twin Ashvinis and Rudra and the Adityas and the Vasus and the Viswedevas, and Munis and Siddhas and many foremost ones among the Gandharvas, with the Apsaras, advanced to receive him. Then, O king, the illustrious Narayana of fierce energy, the Creator and Destroyer of all, that preceptor of Yoga, filling Heaven with his splendour, reached his own inconceivable region. Krishna then met the deities and (celestial) Rishis and Charanas, O king, and the foremost ones among the Gandharvas and many beautiful Apsaras and Siddhas and Saddhyas. All of them, bending in humility, worshipped him. The deities all saluted him, O monarch, and many foremost of Munis and Rishis worshipped him who was the Lord of all. The Gandharvas waited on him, hymning his praises, and Indra also joyfully praised him."

So, how do we know Krishna was received into Heaven?

Because Vaishampayana tells that story.

Was he received bodily into Heaven?

No, one of the next sections tells of his funeral:

"Thus addressed by Pritha’s son of pure deeds, all of them hastened their preparations with eagerness for achieving their safety. Arjuna passed that night in the mansion of Keshava. He was suddenly overwhelmed with great grief and stupefaction. When morning dawned, Vasudeva of great energy and prowess attained, through the aid of Yoga, to the highest goal. A loud and heart-rending sound of wailing was heard in Vasudeva’s mansion, uttered by the weeping ladies. They were seen with dishevelled hair and divested of ornaments and floral wreaths. Beating their breasts with their hands, they indulged in heart-rending lamentations. Those foremost of women, Devaki and Bhadra and Rohini and Madira threw themselves on the bodies of their lord. Then Partha caused the body of his uncle to be carried out on a costly vehicle borne on the shoulders of men. It was followed by all the citizens of Dwaraka and the people of the provinces, all of whom, deeply afflicted by grief, had been well-affected towards the deceased hero. Before that vehicle were borne the umbrella which had been held over his head at the conclusion of the horse-sacrifice he had achieved while living, and also the blazing fires he had daily worshipped, with the priests that had used to attend to them. The body of the hero was followed by his wives decked in ornaments and surrounded by thousands of women and thousands of their daughters-in-law. The last rites were then performed at that spot which had been agreeable to him while he was alive. The four wives of that heroic son of Sura ascended the funeral pyre and were consumed with the body of their lord. All of them attained to those regions of felicity which were his. The son of Pandu burnt the body of his uncle together with those four wives of his, using diverse kinds of scents and perfumed wood. As the funeral pyre blazed up, a loud sound was heard of the burning wood and other combustible materials, along with the clear chant of Samans and the wailing of the citizens and others who witnessed the rite. After it was all over, the boys of the Vrishni and Andhaka races, headed by Vajra, as also the ladies, offered oblations of water to the high-souled hero.

So, no parallel.

Hindoos who believe Krishna was a god and is a god want to be burned as funeral.

We who believe Jesus is the True God and also the Promised Christ, want to be buried in soil or rock, and hope for the Resurrection of which He, but not Krishna, was the first fruit.

Meanwhile, one may ponder when Mahabharata might have happened, if it happened (most of it, not Krishna's soul being adored by gods), and my solution is, something like it happened in the pre-Flood world.

The hero Bharat, ancestor to Krishna and the Pandavas (and also to the Kauravas) may well have been a post-Flood confusion between two different Henoch : the one who founded a city (or for whom his father Cain named a city), in Genesis 4:17, and the one who was lifted up to Heaven, in Genesis 5:24.

The Semites (at least those who later became Hebrews) remembered the difference between the two Henoch, the ancestors of Hindoos confused them into one single Bharat. That is my guess.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Thursday of Ember week
of Lent

lundi 9 janvier 2017

Did St Matthew Err About Which Prophet Has Said What?

Matthew 27:9-10 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias the prophet, saying: And they took the thirty pieces of silver, the price of him that was prized, whom they prized of the children of Israel. And they gave them unto the potter' s field, as the Lord appointed to me.

This has been considered as a reference, not to Jeremias, but to Zacharias.

Zacharias 11:12-13 And I said to them: If it be good in your eyes, bring hither my wages: and if not, be quiet. And they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. And the Lord said to me: Cast it to the statuary, a handsome price, that I was prized at by them. And I took the thirty pieces of silver, and I cast them into the house of the Lord to the statuary.

So, was St Matthew wrong? If not, why did he say Jeremias instead of Zacharias?

I know from J. P. Holding that one attack on inerrantism does bring this up:

Fifth, Cragun argues that church fathers did not "idolize" the Scriptures, but that is not really the point. What he needs to show is that the church fathers thought Scripture erred. As it is, he can come no closer to this than e.g., Jerome discussing problems in the text (such as Matthew referring to the "thirty pieces of silver" passage in Zechariah -- an issue, by the way, that is easily resolved under Jewish exegetical and citation procedures). Although Jerome discusses the problem, he does not say, "this is an error." What Jerome does do is suppose that e.g., Matthew might be charged with "falsehood" for such things as adding, "I say unto thee" to the translation of "Talitha cumi." But as Cragun admits, this sort of thing comes more of Jerome's perceived neurotic compulsion for detail than from any real problem.

First of all, I totally take my distance from the qualification "neurotic compulsion" about Saint Jerome's care for detail.

I take my distance from the psychological idealogy it involves, I consider it an idiotic observation about writers (where would Tolkien's Middle Earth have been if he had not had a real concern for detail - mutatis mutandis applicable also to writers touching on real life), and I consider that on the one hand learned people in Antiquity and Middle Ages had a very great respect for verbal exactitude, and on the other hand at any time when Christianity was socially strong, apologists were obliged to deal with people "really neurotic" about detail (insofar as "neurotic" has any meaning at all), and ready to twist things.

Now, what about Zacharias or Jeremias? There are at least three solutions, not sure if all are distinct.

J. P. Holding, as cited:
(such as Matthew referring to the "thirty pieces of silver" passage in Zechariah -- an issue, by the way, that is easily resolved under Jewish exegetical and citation procedures)

Damien Mackey
whom I follow on Academia, once said that Jeremias and Zacharias have the exact same person as an author.

AND while googling,
I just found yet another soloution.

KJV Today thinks
we are instead dealing with another text:

The words from Zechariah 11:12-13 are not the exact words recorded at Matthew 27:9-10. Zechariah does not mention the "children of Israel" and the "field". In fact, only Jeremiah mentions the "field". Jeremiah 32:6-10 describes Jeremiah being commanded by the LORD to buy a field with seventeen shekels of silver.

In other words, when St Matthew writes about thirty pieces, he is estimating this as equivalent to Jeremias' "seventeen shekels" (Douay Rheims has seven staters and ten pieces of silver).

Jeremias 32:6-10 And Jeremias said: The word of the Lord came to me, saying: ehold, Hanameel the son of Sellum thy cousin shall come to thee, saying: Buy thee my field, which is in Anathoth, for it is thy right to buy it, being akin. And Hanameel my uncle' s son cam to me, according to the word of the to the entry of the prison, and said me: Buy my field, which is in in the land of Benjamin: for the right of inheritance is thins, and thou art next of kin to possess it. And I understood this was the word of the Lord. And I bought the held of my uncle' s son, that is in Anathoth: and I weighed him the money, seven staters, and ten pieces of silver. And I wrote it in a book and sealed it, and took witnesses: and I weighed him the money in the balances.

Now, I'd be surprised if Haydock comment didn't somehow cite St Jerome's solution for Matthew 27:

Ver. 9. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremias. Jeremias is now in all Latin copies, and the general reading of the Greek; whereas the passage is found in Zacharias xi. 12. Some judge it to have been in some writing of Jeremias, now lost; as St. Jerome says he found it in a writing of Jeremias, which was not canonical. Others conjecture, that Zacharias had also the name of Jeremias. Others, that St. Matthew neither put Jeremias nor Zacharias, but only of the prophet: and that the name of Jeremias had crept into the text. Jeremias is not in the Syriac; and St. Augustine says it was not in divers copies.

And they took the thirty pieces of silver; each of which was called an argenteus. The evangelist cites not the words, but the sense of the prophet, who was ordered to cast the pieces into the house of the Lord, and to cast them to the potter:[2] which became true by the fact of Judas, who cast them into the temple: and with them was purchased the potter's field. The price of him that was prized. In the prophet we read, the handsome price, spoken ironically, as the Lord did appoint me; i.e. as he had decreed. (Witham)

So, St Jerome says it was in a non-canonical writing of Jeremias. And that Matthew found it there.

I wonder whether J. P. Holding is here by "easily resolved under Jewish exegetical and citation procedures" meaning sth like it being OK to cite a conglomerate of Zacharias 11:12-13 with Jeremias 32:6-10.

But that would also be a solution.

And KJV Today gives yet a solution, same page as previous:

The text of Matthew 27:9-10 says "that which was spoken", not "that which was written", so there is no need to look for the exact quotation in the book of Jeremiah. Jeremiah spoke the prophecy but did not write it. Zechariah then wrote Jeremiah's oral prophecy while omitting the reference to a field because that detail had already been described in Jeremiah 32:6-10.

A very laudable sentiment, too sad that the site is dedicated to King James Version rather than Vulgate / LXX / Douay Rheims.

In other words, while I am not often engaged in this sort of problems about the Bible, where it is supposed to contradict itself, it seems that the solutions abound well over the problems.

However, both the problems and the solutions assume a familiarity with all aspects of the Bible well above my level - that is why I usually leave this kind of thing to others.

Let's return to this:

What Jerome does do is suppose that e.g., Matthew might be charged with "falsehood" for such things as adding, "I say unto thee" to the translation of "Talitha cumi."

Would that be St Mark? I found it in Mark 5:41. Now, I go to Corpus Thomisticum, Catena Aurea in Marcum, to chapter 5, lectio 3, and find, nope, there is a passage in Matthew too! Anyway, the reference to St Jerome is indeed there in the lectio 3 of chapter 5 of St Mark's Gospel:

Hieronymus de optimo genere Interpret.

Arguat aliquis Evangelistam mendacii, quare exponendo addiderit tibi dico; cum in Hebraico Thabitha, cumi tantum significet puella, surge. Sed ut emphaticoteron** faceret et sensum vocantis et imperantis exprimeret, addit tibi dico, surge.

Let someone argue the Gospeller [guilty] of lying, because exposing he added "I say unto thee"; when in Hebrew Thabitha, cumi only signifies "maid, stand up". But in order to make it more emphatical and express the sense of [Him] calling and of [Him] commanding, he adds "I say unto thee, stand up".

It could of course also be that Christ in fact used the Hebrew or Aramaic (St Jerome was using the word Hebrew for both Hebrew and Aramaic*) equivalent of "I say unto thee" but St Mark thought "thalitha cumi" was as much "Hebrew" as non-Hebrew speaking faithful could stomach, or perhaps St Peter cited only those verbatim from memory, as a side remark to St Matthew's:

9:25 And when the multitude was put forth, he went in, and took her by the hand. And the maid arose.

Or to St Luke's:

8:54 But he taking her by the hand, cried out, saying: Maid, arise.

If St Luke's sources could not recall "I say unto thee" neither they nor St Luke said anothing actually false in stating "maid, arise", while St Marc could be giving a fuller quote along with a translation back to Aramaic of the words. Either way, there is no falsehood.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre UL
Sts Julian and Basilissa

* This is perhaps one of the arguments for those saying the Vulgate relied on Aquila rather than direct and own reading of OT text.

** St Jerome is very clear that "emphaticos" is Greek, so that it needs a Greek comparative and neuter accusative "emphaticoteron" rather than Latin "emphaticius". Forming "emphaticius" which would be the Latin form, I think his taste was good.