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FW: Constantine and Ardashir (slightly OT)

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  • Trudy Kawami
    previous Persian emperors had also centralized Judaism in Jerusalem and authorized a single legitimate text. I would be really interested in the
    Message 1 of 7 , May 31, 2013
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      "previous Persian emperors had also centralized Judaism in Jerusalem and authorized a single legitimate text."

      I would be really interested in the (contemporaneous) Persian evidence for the above statement.


      Trudy S. Kawami
      Arthur M. Sackler Foundation
      New York, NY 10022
    • Jgibson
      ... So would I. Jeffrey -- ... Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. Oxon. 1500 W. Pratt Blvd Chicago, IL jgibson000@comcast.net
      Message 2 of 7 , May 31, 2013
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        On 5/31/2013 12:54 PM, Trudy Kawami wrote:
        >> RFaussette@...
        >>
        >> "previous Persian emperors had also centralized Judaism in Jerusalem and authorized a single legitimate text."
        >
        > I would be really interested in the (contemporaneous) Persian evidence for the above statement.
        >
        >
        > Trudy S. Kawami
        > Arthur M. Sackler Foundation
        > New York, NY 10022
        >
        So would I.

        Jeffrey

        --
        ---
        Jeffrey B. Gibson D.Phil. Oxon.
        1500 W. Pratt Blvd
        Chicago, IL
        jgibson000@...
      • richfaussette
        ... Hello Trudy, Jeffrey, Some quotations: Cyrus to Alexander Pierre Briant If we deny the existence of special relationships between Cyrus and the Jewish
        Message 3 of 7 , Jun 3 7:11 PM
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          --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Trudy Kawami <tkawami@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          >
          > "previous Persian emperors had also centralized Judaism in Jerusalem and authorized a single legitimate text."
          >
          > I would be really interested in the (contemporaneous) Persian evidence for the above statement.
          >
          >
          > Trudy S. Kawami


          Hello Trudy, Jeffrey,

          Some quotations:

          Cyrus to Alexander
          Pierre Briant

          If we deny the existence of special relationships between Cyrus and the Jewish leaders in Babylonia how are we to interpret his directives? We are reduced to hypothesizing. Let us recall that according to Herodotus, Egypt took the side of the enemies who feared Cyrus when he left the Lydian front in 546. For such reasons as this it is generally recognized that the creation of a province of Jerusalem entirely faithful to Persian interests took place in a wider strategic context, with the ultimate goal, sooner or later, of conquering Egypt.

          page 48

          It was just about the same date, 519, that Darius sent a letter to his satrap in Egypt, which we know (in fragmentary form) from a text on the back of the Demotic Chronicle. Darius ordered his satrap to assemble Egyptian sages, chosen from among priests, warriors and scribes. They were instructed to gather in writing all of the old laws of Egypt down to year 44 of Pharaoh Amasis, that is 526, the eve of the Achaemenid conquest. The commission worked for 16 years (519-503) and produced two copies of its work, one in Demotic, another in Aramaic.

          page 474

          Coming on the heels of Cyrus's and Cambyses' efforts, the reorganization and reconstruction carried out by Darius radically accelerated the movement toward administrative unification of the conquered territories.

          page 507

          From the point of view of both the Jews and the royal power, the principal mission entrusted to Ezra was in the legal realm. He was, in fact, ordered to appoint judges and magistrates "to administer justice for the whole people of TransEuphrates."

          …But what is especially noteworthy is that thereafter the laws of the country were placed under the protection of the king and thus were included in the all encompassing category of royal law.

          The king became the protector and guarantor of local customs as long as they did not contradict Persian interests, even more by returning harmony to Jerusalem, Ezra served the cause of imperial order.

          Nehemiah put his brother Hanani in charge of Jerusalem…

          Page 584

          Nehemiah had received orders from the Great King; unlike Ezra he held an official position: governor (peha). His jurisdiction was the country of Judah, that is the province (medinah) that on 4th century coins is called Yehud. Apparently the province including Jerusalem itself was undoubtedly based at Damascus.

          Page 585

          The principles on which Jewish autonomy and the limits of its effectiveness were established are clarified by Aramaic documents from Egypt during the reign of Darius II. In 410 during a murky affair (to which we return below in chap. 14/8) that found them in opposition to the governor of Syrene, the Jews of the Elephantine garrison sent a petition addressed jointly to "Johanan the high priest and his colleagues the priests who are in Jerusalem, and to Ostana the brother of Anani and the nobles of the Jews" – that is, to everyone who constituted the internal government of the community of Jerusalem alongside the governor of Judah proper. The people of Elephantine received no reply to their plea. The reason was probably because in their rituals they had violated the "Law of Moses" as had so recently been proclaimed so forcefully by Ezra and/or Nehemiah. Their petition in fact concerned the reconstruction of the temple of Yahweh that they had built on the island in the Nile contrary to the principle of the uniqueness of the center of worship.

          Page 586

          One document, certainly from 419, shows that the Jews of Elephantine paid a head tax intended to sustain the expense of the temple service, conduct that was even more reprehensible because this money would serve to honor not only Yahweh but also Aramean gods (Bet'el and Anat). In contrast, when Ezra was sent to Jerusalem, the Jewish settlers in Babylonia had given him offerings for the temple in Jerusalem (Ezra 7:16)

          Page 586


          The Jews (or, rather, Judeo-Arameans) of Elephantine probably had appealed to the authorities in Jerusalem at an earlier time because the Great King had conferred on the rulers of Jerusalem the authority to intervene in purely religious affairs of the Jewish diaspora in the Empire.

          Page 586

          In 418, one Hanani (Nehemiah's brother?) came to Elephantine bearing a very important document that regulated the celebration of Passover by the Jews. It does seem that in this case the initiative came from the authorities in Jerusalem, who wanted to unify ritual throughout the diaspora.

          Page 586


          -------------------


          Israel's History and the History of Israel
          Mario Liverani

          More reliable – if not in actual wording at least in having a generally plausible historical context – are the edicts of Artaxerxes authorizing the return of a group led by Ezra (Ezra 7:12-26) and the authorization by the same king for the return of a second group under Nehemiah (Neh. 2:7-8).

          Page 253

          They [the returnees] had fanatical determination, leaders and a paramilitary structure; they had an educated class (the scribes who returned introduced the Aramaic script into Palestine, replacing the Phoenician one previously in use) economic resources and the support of the imperial court.

          Page 256
          --------------------------

          Then there is Peter Frei's paper on the imperial authorization of the Pentateuch. James W. Watts was sufficiently motivated by the theory to edit a book including Frei's paper and other scholarly papers on the issue.

          Consider the process of establishing a religion and who initiates the process.

          Emperor Darius summoned Egyptian priests and warriors (suggesting he was compiling material on religious and civil matters) and their scribes and produced a single copy of Egypt's laws; with a version in Demotic and one in Aramaic.

          Emperor Ardashir summoned Zoroastrian priests and worked with them until they produced a single religious text which he used to re-establish Zoroastrianism. There is evidence of renewed fire altar construction in the Sassanid empire indicating a resurgence of aniconism.

          Emperor Constantine summoned priests and worked with them to resolve their greatest theological controversy while building their churches establishing what would later be the exclusive Church of the Empire.

          Each time one of these religions is established, centralization under imperial rule occurs.

          Given the information provided by the scholars above, the imperial context of these religious establishments, the authoritarian posture of Jerusalem toward the neglected temple at Elephantine, and a literal reading of the Biblical text, the centralization of Judaism in Jerusalem as a result of Persian administration is highly probable.

          What kind of evidence are you looking for?

          Regards,
          Rich Faussette
          NYC
        • Graham Hagens
          What confidence do we have that Ardashir actually produced a single religious text of the very oral Zoroastrian traditions?   The Karnamas i Ardashir
          Message 4 of 7 , Jun 4 1:24 PM
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            What confidence do we have that Ardashir actually produced a 'single religious text' of the very oral Zoroastrian traditions?
             
            The Karnamas i Ardashir Babagan appears to present  rituals  being recited rather than read, while the activities of the priest Tansar often linked to Ardashir's purported literarry activity are of doubtful value.  Boyce considered the (6th century version of the)  Letter of Tansar to be a 'fugitive piece'
             
            Graham Hagens
            Hamilton, ON 


            ________________________________
            From: richfaussette <RFaussette@...>
            To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Monday, June 3, 2013 10:11 PM
            Subject: [ANE-2] Re: FW: Constantine and Ardashir (slightly OT)

             

            -------------------

            Israel's History and the History of Israel
            Mario Liverani


            Page 256
            --------------------------
            Emperor Ardashir summoned Zoroastrian priests and worked with them until they produced a single religious text which he used to re-establish Zoroastrianism. There is evidence of renewed fire altar construction in the Sassanid empire indicating a resurgence of aniconism.


            What kind of evidence are you looking for?

            Regards,
            Rich Faussette
            NYC

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • Trudy Kawami
            I can only address a few of these issues. Then there is Peter Frei s paper on the imperial authorization of the Pentateuch. James W. Watts was sufficiently
            Message 5 of 7 , Jun 4 2:25 PM
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              I can only address a few of these issues.

              "Then there is Peter Frei's paper on the imperial authorization of the Pentateuch. James W. Watts was sufficiently motivated by the theory to edit a book including Frei's paper and other scholarly papers on the issue.

              Consider the process of establishing a religion and who initiates the process.

              Emperor Darius summoned Egyptian priests and warriors (suggesting he was compiling material on religious and civil matters) and their scribes and produced a single copy of Egypt's laws; with a version in Demotic and one in Aramaic.

              Emperor Ardashir summoned Zoroastrian priests and worked with them until they produced a single religious text which he used to re-establish Zoroastrianism. There is evidence of renewed fire altar construction in the Sassanid empire indicating a resurgence of aniconism.

              What I was asking for were contemporaneous evidence, that is inscriptions, etc. from the time at which the events were supposed to happen that established that they did happen. And even if two monarchs separated by nearly 800 years did ask for a compendium of local laws/practices, it does not follow that they established & codified a religion, as opposed to knowing that the current practice was & using it to their advantage. Please note that you used the word "suggesting". That is not objective evidence. Again what evidence is there of a "single religious text" for Zoroastrianism in the 3rd century CE? What is the name of the text and what is the date of our earliest copy? Where is it kept? The assumption that renewed fire altar construction can be equated with aniconism is also an assumption, not objective documentation.

              I really, really like Pierre Briant and love his book on the Achaemenids, but that book is NOT contemporaneous evidence. Everything you claim these two kings did, is what kings and other rulers since
              Sargon of Akkad have done - try to channel, control, manipulate, etc. the religious entities they have in the regions they control. And each one claims to go back to the "good old days," to renew temples their predecessors let fall into ruin, to renew the proper rituals, etc. You may believe their propaganda if you wish, but you cannot expect everyone else to believe it.


              Trudy S. Kawami



              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • richfaussette
              ... I can only address a few of these issues. Everything you claim these two kings did, is what kings and other rulers since Sargon of Akkad have done - try to
              Message 6 of 7 , Jun 4 3:50 PM
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                --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com, Trudy Kawami <tkawami@...> wrote:
                >
                I can only address a few of these issues. Everything you claim these two kings did, is what kings and other rulers since Sargon of Akkad have done - try to channel, control, manipulate, etc. the religious entities they have in the regions they control. And each one claims to go back to the "good old days," to renew temples their predecessors let fall into ruin, to renew the proper rituals, etc. You may believe their propaganda if you wish, but you cannot expect everyone else to believe it.
                >
                >
                > Trudy S. Kawami



                I am not deeply concerned with what "everyone else" believes nor do I believe your simply mentioning Sargon of Akkad equates what he might have done with what Ardashir or Constantine or Darius did. Renewing temples and rituals is not what Ardashir, Darius and Constantine were engaged in. They were engaged in strengthening and unifying their respective empires through a deliberate centralization of religion; its personnel and its texts. I don't believe the process they were engaged in was a channeling of propaganda.

                The correspondence with Elephantine is objective. Why don't you mention it?

                You wrote:

                "The assumption that renewed fire altar construction can be equated with aniconism is also an assumption, not objective documentation."


                The Achaemenid emperors lapsed into idolatry. This is a fact. Zoroaster created his religion in opposition to idolaters. It is not an assumption that Zoroastrian fire altars contain no graven images. It is a fact. To note a resurgence of fire altar construction in the wake of Ardashir's purported reformation of Zoroastrianism makes perfect sense.

                You enjoy Briant but you do not share his conclusions.

                Briant wrote:
                "In 418, one Hanani (Nehemiah's brother?) came to Elephantine bearing a very important document that regulated the celebration of Passover by the Jews. It does seem that in this case the initiative came from the authorities in Jerusalem, who wanted to unify ritual throughout the diaspora."

                Page 586


                Does Briant come to that conclusion because he believes the propaganda? Note his term is unifying (e.g. centralizing) not rehabilitating or renewing as Sargon did by your reckoning.


                I believe that there is much more Persian influence in the Torah than is generally believed; more than I have presented here.

                You can read my paper on the subject.

                The Fundamental Structure and Systematic Theology of the Torah

                At this link:

                http://independent.academia.edu/RichardFaussette

                Click the download link. The other links are not formatted as well.


                Regards,
                Rich Faussette
                NYC
              • Trudy Kawami
                Dear Mr. Faussette, The Achaemenid emperors lapsed into idolatry. This is a fact. Zoroaster created his religion in opposition to idolaters. Alas, this may
                Message 7 of 7 , Jun 5 9:29 AM
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                  Dear Mr. Faussette,

                  "The Achaemenid emperors lapsed into idolatry. This is a fact. Zoroaster created his religion in opposition to idolaters."

                  Alas, this may be a fact in your mind, but there is no tangible, contemporaneous evidence of the dates of Zoroaster's life nor that he post-dated any Achaemenid ruler. If anything he may have pre-dated them substantially.

                  To argue that the Achaemenid rulers "lapsed in idolatry" you would need to show definitively that there was an identifiable tradition of what - monotheism? Aniconic or anti-iconic worship? Achaemenid royal inscriptions mention a number of "gods' or divine beings. To argue that this represents a lapse, you have to come up with inscriptions that substantiate an earlier, different belief system. Without that documentation, this is just a pointless argument about beliefs, which is not the function of this list.

                  Trudy S. Kawami

                  From: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com [mailto:ANE-2@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of richfaussette
                  Sent: Tuesday, June 04, 2013 6:50 PM
                  To: ANE-2@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: [ANE-2] Re: FW: Constantine and Ardashir (slightly OT)




                  --- In ANE-2@yahoogroups.com<mailto:ANE-2%40yahoogroups.com>, Trudy Kawami <tkawami@...<mailto:tkawami@...>> wrote:
                  >
                  I can only address a few of these issues. Everything you claim these two kings did, is what kings and other rulers since Sargon of Akkad have done - try to channel, control, manipulate, etc. the religious entities they have in the regions they control. And each one claims to go back to the "good old days," to renew temples their predecessors let fall into ruin, to renew the proper rituals, etc. You may believe their propaganda if you wish, but you cannot expect everyone else to believe it.
                  >
                  >
                  > Trudy S. Kawami

                  I am not deeply concerned with what "everyone else" believes nor do I believe your simply mentioning Sargon of Akkad equates what he might have done with what Ardashir or Constantine or Darius did. Renewing temples and rituals is not what Ardashir, Darius and Constantine were engaged in. They were engaged in strengthening and unifying their respective empires through a deliberate centralization of religion; its personnel and its texts. I don't believe the process they were engaged in was a channeling of propaganda.

                  The correspondence with Elephantine is objective. Why don't you mention it?

                  You wrote:

                  "The assumption that renewed fire altar construction can be equated with aniconism is also an assumption, not objective documentation."

                  The Achaemenid emperors lapsed into idolatry. This is a fact. Zoroaster created his religion in opposition to idolaters. It is not an assumption that Zoroastrian fire altars contain no graven images. It is a fact. To note a resurgence of fire altar construction in the wake of Ardashir's purported reformation of Zoroastrianism makes perfect sense.

                  You enjoy Briant but you do not share his conclusions.

                  Briant wrote:
                  "In 418, one Hanani (Nehemiah's brother?) came to Elephantine bearing a very important document that regulated the celebration of Passover by the Jews. It does seem that in this case the initiative came from the authorities in Jerusalem, who wanted to unify ritual throughout the diaspora."

                  Page 586

                  Does Briant come to that conclusion because he believes the propaganda? Note his term is unifying (e.g. centralizing) not rehabilitating or renewing as Sargon did by your reckoning.

                  I believe that there is much more Persian influence in the Torah than is generally believed; more than I have presented here.

                  You can read my paper on the subject.

                  The Fundamental Structure and Systematic Theology of the Torah

                  At this link:

                  http://independent.academia.edu/RichardFaussette

                  Click the download link. The other links are not formatted as well.

                  Regards,
                  Rich Faussette
                  NYC



                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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