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  • Robert Mason
    Some notes toward a critical review of Robert Powell s *Chronicle of the Living Christ* History: The Anthroposophic Press publishes many books by Robert
    Message 1 of 3 , Nov 3, 2008
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      Some notes toward a critical review of Robert
      Powell's *Chronicle of the Living Christ*

      History: The Anthroposophic Press publishes many
      books by Robert Powell, including his *Chronicle
      of the Living Christ*. I haven't read his other
      books, but apparently this one is somewhat of his
      *magnum opus*. From the fact that these books are
      published by the Anthroposophical Press, one might
      get the impression that Powell's work is
      Anthroposophical and is in harmony with Steiner's
      teachings. But there is good reason to believe
      that this would be an erroneous impression, as I
      will try to show here by a partial review of this
      *magnum opus*.

      Powell professes to be making a further
      development of "astrosophy" -- the new
      astrological wisdom inaugurated by Rudolf Steiner
      and expanded by Elisabeth Vreede and Willi Sucher.
      I don't claim to be much of an astrosopher, but I
      will rely mainly on common sense and simple
      arithmetic rather than astrological calculations,
      with some references to the work of Willi Sucher
      and, of course, Rudolf Steiner.

      Some months ago I got into a cyber-discussion with
      someone who knows Powell and passed along some of
      my critical comments to him. Powell answered back
      with his rejoinders, sticking to his position, and
      his comments were passed along to me. In the text
      below I will indicate Powell's comments and my
      replies to them.

      I don't have *Chronicle* in hand, and my own notes
      are very disorganized, but I'll try to hit the
      main points. Hopefully, these notes here will
      make some sense even for those who haven't read
      Powell's book or studied astrosophy.

      -- Powell acknowledges Steiner and Willi Sucher as
      his teachers, but Powell's chronology is
      impossible to reconcile with either Steiner's or
      Sucher's. Powell agrees on the dates of the
      Crucifixion, Resurrection, Ascension, and
      Pentecost -- but not much else in the life of
      Jesus. He relies mostly on AC Emmerich, and
      apparently that's how he gets into trouble. He
      makes much of the fact that ACE got right the
      weekdays of the Hebrew dates, but naming the
      weekdays correctly does not prove at all that what
      one says happened on those days really happened.
      If I said that November 22, 1963 fell on Friday,
      this would not prove that I would be correct in
      saying that Lee Harvey Oswald acting alone killed
      JFK. Powell also makes it seem that Steiner
      endorsed the accuracy of ACE's visions, but if one
      reads Steiner's words exactly (as Powell quotes
      them), one can see that he stopped far short of
      endorsing everything that she said.

      Willi Sucher (in *Cosmic Christianity*) follows
      the Gospels closely and comes up with a chronology
      that accords with Steiner's statements, and with
      which he also makes some far-reaching
      astrosophical calculations. Emil Bock (*The Three
      Years*) and Ormond Edwards (*The Time of Christ*)
      also follow the Gospels and come up with
      chronologies that essentially agree (with some
      small discrepancies). On the one side we have the
      Gospels, tradition, Steiner, Bock, Sucher, and
      Edwards -- and on the other we have Powell and
      Emmerich. But Powell tries to skate around his
      differences with Steiner, and I don't recall that
      he even acknowledges his differences with the
      Gospels.

      (Powell dates the birth of the Solomon [Matthew]
      Jesus at March 5, 6 BC; the birth of the Nathan
      [Luke] Jesus at December 6/7, 2 BC; and the
      Baptism at September 23, 29 AD -- making the life
      of the Luke Jesus very nearly 33 1/3 years and the
      Incarnation nearly 3 1/2 years. Sucher, et al.
      put the Matthew Nativity at January 6, 1 BC; the
      Luke Nativity at December 25, 1 BC; and the
      Baptism at January 6, 31 AD -- making the life of
      the Luke Jesus to be about 32 1/4 years and the
      Incarnation approximately 2 1/4 years.)

      -- For one of the specifics: Powell dates the
      Feeding of the 5000 at January 29, 31 AD. But
      *John* 6;4 rather clearly indicates that this
      Feeding happened when the Passover "was nigh". We
      know that Passover comes only in the early Spring.
      Obviously, for Powell to be right *John* must be
      very wrong.

      Powell's rejoinder: The Passover took place
      either on March 27 or March 28 in the year 31 AD,
      so the Feeding of the 5000 took place two months
      prior to this. Thus, the Feast of the Passover
      "was nigh" at the time of the Feeding of the 5000.

      But: Two months doesn't seem very "nigh" to me.
      We need to compare what John meant by "at hand" in
      6;4 with what he meant by that term elsewhere, and
      with the standard New Testament Greek meaning.

      I searched around a little, and came to the "Blue
      Letter Bible" website; it's very handy for this
      kind of research. The Greek word translated as
      *at hand* is *eggys*. (The "Strong's Number" is
      *1451*.) It has a spatial, a religious, and a
      temporal meaning:

      ***
      1) near, of place and positiona) nearb) those who
      are near access to God
      1) Jews, as opposed to those who are alien from
      God and his blessings
      2) The Rabbis used the term "to make nigh" as
      equivalent to "to make a proselyte"

      2) of time
      a) of times imminent and soon to come pass
      ***

      The question is: How "imminent and soon"? John
      uses this word in the temporal sense in several
      other places:

      ***
      Jhn 2:13 And 2532 the Jews 2453' passover 3957
      was 2258 at hand 1451, and 2532 Jesus 2424 went up
      305 to 1519 Jerusalem 2414,

      Jhn 6:4 And 1161 the passover 3957, a feast 1859
      of the Jews 2453, was 2258 nigh 1451.

      Jhn 7:2 Now 1161 the Jews 2453' feast 1859 of
      tabernacles 4634 was 2258 at hand 1451.

      Jhn 11:55 And 1161 the Jews 2453' passover 3957
      was 2258 nigh at hand 1451: and 2532 many 4183
      went 305 out of 1537 the country 5561 up 1519 to
      Jerusalem 2414 before 4253 the passover 3957, to
      2443 purify 48 themselves 1438.
      ***

      In Chpt. 2, as the quote shows, Jesus went *when*
      the Passover was "eggys". In Chpt. 6 the Feeding
      of the 5000 was about to take place. In Chpt. 7
      Jesus' brothers were trying to get him to go to
      the feast *when* it was "eggys". In Chpt. 11 the
      Jews were going to the Passover feast *when* it
      was "eggys".

      It does seem that John used *eggys* to mean *It's
      time to get on the road and go, if you want to get
      there*. In this meaning, two months is obviously
      more than "eggys", even when considering
      travelling from Galilee to Jerusalem on foot. --
      No; Powell is stretching *nigh* much too far, just
      to make it fit his chronology.

      (And Sucher gives some astroposophical
      considerations about the movement of Mercury,
      consistent with the dating of the Feeding of the
      5000 around Passover of 32 AD.)

      -- For another example: RS (*The Fifth Gospel*)
      says that at the time of the Baptism the Solomon
      Mary was "between her 45th and 46th year". If, as
      Powell indicates, the Luke Jesus was around 29.8
      years old and the Solomon Jesus was born about 4.5
      years earlier (34.3 years before the Baptism),
      then the Solomon Mary would have had to have been
      around 10.2 (9.7 to 10.7) years old at the birth
      of the Solomon Jesus -- not very likely, but
      demanded by Powell's chronology if RS was right.

      Powell's rejoinder refers to the discussion of
      this in the *Chronicle*, p. 87. The reasoning
      here, leading to the conclusion that the Solomon
      Mary was 9 or 10 years old at the birth of the
      Solomon Jesus is faulty. As shown in the
      Chronicle, she was 14 1/2 years old when the
      Solomon Jesus was born.

      But: I don't have the book in hand. And I don't
      see what is supposed to be this unspecified
      "faulty" reasoning. Powell dates the birth of the
      Solomon Jesus at March 5, 6 BC. He dates the
      Baptism at September 23, 29 AD. 28.72 (appx) plus
      5.83 (appx) equals 34.55 (putative years from the
      birth of the Solomon Jesus until the Baptism). 45
      minus 34.55 equals 10.45 (years of the approximate
      age of the Solomon Mary at that birth, give or
      take half a year, assuming Steiner's statement of
      her age). But taking January 6, 1 BC as the birth
      of the Solomon Jesus (Three Kings Day) and January
      6, 31 AD as the Baptism (Sucher, Edwards, etc.) as
      the Baptism, that gives a difference of exactly 31
      years, making the Solomon Mary around 14 years old
      at that birth; a far more plausible age.

      -- And another: Following the Gospel, Bock allows
      three Springtimes between the Baptism and the
      Crucifixion, inclusive. But according to Powell's
      dating, there must have been four.

      Powell counters that Biblical scholars are divided
      as to whether there were three or four Passovers
      during Christ's Ministry. Bock opted for three.
      However, his is only one perspective. Other
      Biblical scholars argue that there must have been
      four Passovers (including a "silent Passover" not
      mentioned in the Gospels). The Chronicle shows
      that these scholars are right.

      But: If you look around enough, you can always
      find scholars who will disagree on almost
      anything. I would assume that Bock "opted" for
      three because only three are listed in the
      Gospels, and because three fits with the other
      correspondences that are required. And three fits
      very well with the other dates demanded by the
      Gospels, known history, Steiner, and the
      astrosophy of Sucher. The *Chronicle* shows, at
      most, that four accords with AC Emmerich and
      Powell's own astrosophy.

      -- And there is the problem of Powell's
      abandonment of the traditional dates for Christmas
      and Epiphany in the life of Jesus. It would seem
      to me that the events in the life of Jesus should
      have been in harmony with the yearly rhythm of the
      Earth. If Powell is right, then what happens to
      the significance of the 12 Holy Nights?

      Powell replies that one has to distinguish between
      the yearly rhythm of the Earth and the sidereal
      rhythm of the stars. The Chronicle is concerned
      with the latter â€" that is, with determining the
      cosmic stellar configurations at events in the
      life of Christ. This in no way undermines the
      celebration of the traditional Christian
      festivals, which have a symbolic significance in
      relation to the Earth's yearly cycle. All of this
      is discussed at length in the Chronicle.

      But: And the "rhythms of the stars" according to
      Sucher accord well with the traditional dates for
      the Nativity, Epiphany, and the Three Kings Day --
      without abandoning the harmony of those
      traditional dates with the Earthly rhythm -- and
      without introducing the host of other difficulties
      that Powell's chronology does. And plainly,
      Powell's dating really does undermine the
      traditional Christian festivals. If Jesus were
      not born on December 25, then the Christmas
      festival is misplaced. If the Baptism were not on
      January 6, then the Epiphany festival is
      misplaced. Etc.

      In practically all of Steiner's discussions of
      Christmas and Epiphany it is implicit, and
      sometimes explicit, that the Baptism was on
      January 6 and the birth of the Luke Jesus on
      December 25. If Powell is correct in his dating
      of these events, isn't it strange that RS in all
      his teachings never mentioned that the traditional
      dates of these festivals are completely wrong?

      For instance, in the lecture "The Birth of the
      Sun-Spirit as the Spirit of the Earth" (Hanover,
      26th December, 1911) RS explains how the early
      Christian celebration of the Birth on Jan. 6 was
      correct for the Cosmic Christ, but changed through
      a Providential confusion to the Christmas date of
      the birth of the innocent soul of the Luke Jesus.

      (RS also implies that the Baptism happened on
      January 6, for he says:

      ("When understanding was lost of what had streamed
      from cosmic worlds in the event which would
      rightly have been celebrated on the 6th of January
      . . . ."

      (In other words, RS was saying that the Christ
      Spirit was "born" [as it were; in another sense,
      the right word is *begotten*, as Paul has it]
      during the Baptism which happened on January 6.
      Of course, this contradicts Powell's chronology.)

      In *Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts* A CHRISTMAS
      STUDY: THE MYSTERY OF THE LOGOS, RS says
      explicitly that "the Jesus child . . . appears on
      Earth during the cosmic Initiation-Night . . . .
      of Christmas".

      In *The Cycle of the Year*, Lecture
      I<http://wn.rsarchive.org/Lectures/CycleYear/19230
      331p01.hml>RS explains at length why Jesus had to
      be born at Christmas. (Incidentally, he also
      explains the earthly-breathing significance of St.
      John's Day being on June 24. He doesn't say
      explicitly that the Baptist was in fact born on
      this day, but it seems to be implicit. And that
      approximate date is demanded by the Gospel
      account. It would seem that RS should have
      mentioned that the Baptist wasn't born then, if in
      fact he had been born at some other time, as
      Powell's chronology says.) But just a snip about
      from this lecture about the timing of Christmas:

      "At the end of December the Earth has fully in-
      breathed and is holding in herself the forces of
      which I just spoke. She has entirely sucked in her
      soul element, for the forces of which I have
      spoken are the soul element of the Earth. She has
      drawn it completely in, just as a man who has
      inhaled holds the air entirely in himself. This is
      the time at which with good reason the birth of
      Jesus has been set, because Jesus is thus born out
      of an Earth force which contains the entire soul
      element of the Earth within it."

      -- Those are just a few citations out of I-don't-
      know however many possible. Powell's chronology
      makes nonsense of Steiner's teaching on Christmas,
      Epiphany, and the 13 Holy Days, as it does of so
      much of Steiner's teaching. There really is no
      way to reconcile the teachings of Powell and
      Steiner; at least one of them must be very wrong.
      -- And so on. Obviously, there are huge problems
      with Powell's chronology; and I've hardly
      scratched the surface.

      I'd suggest that anyone interested might want to
      read at least Sucher's *Cosmic Christianity*. One
      could see at least how his astrosophical
      considerations are in harmony with the traditional
      dating of the life of Jesus, and also with
      Steiner's of the two Jesus boys. And Bock's *The
      Three Years* shows much about that dating that is
      closely aligned with the Gospels.

      (And since Powell seems to have a high opinion of
      Tomberg [Powell apparently considers Tomberg to be
      the Maitreya, though he doesn't discuss this
      question in *Chronicle*], one might want to read
      Prokofieff's two books on Tomberg . . . and for
      that matter, Irina Gordienko's book on
      Prokofieff.)

      -- About the 33 1/3 year rhythm:

      According to Steiner, Sucher, etc., the life of
      (the Luke) Jesus was not 33 1/3 years exactly.
      But still, the physical life of Jesus was 33 years
      *qualitatively* in quantity, as it were. The
      32.28 years took place *in* 33 years, just as the
      2 1/4 years of the Incarnation took place *in* 3
      years. This is how time was often meant in the
      Bible; as when Jesus said, "Destroy this temple,
      and in three days I will raise it up." The
      roughly 39 hours from the death on the cross until
      the Resurrection were spread over three
      consecutive days, so the Temple was rebuilt in
      three days, qualitatively. -- Emil Bock discusses
      this question; as does Sucher, I think.

      Powell mentions Steiner's "Et Incarnatus Est"
      lecture, and tries to make it support the
      *Chronicle*. I have only a snip from this
      lecture, so I don't know exactly all that RS said
      about this (or more so, exactly what he meant;
      considering the standard *caveat* about the
      lecture transcripts), but he did speak loosely,
      approximately sometimes, as he spoke of "33
      years" when he meant *one third of a century*.

      In that snip RS discusses the "Christian Year".
      (text found online, taken from: 23 Dec. 1917, in:
      "Et Incarnatus Est... The Time-cycle in Historic
      Events", pp.1-3, unpubl. Typescript courtesy RSL)
      Here RS says:

      ". . . . the period between Christmas and Easter
      is seen as a picture of the 33 years of Christ's
      life on Earth. . . . The time interval between
      Christmas and Easter is to be understood as
      consisting of 33 years. This is the key. What does
      this mean? That the Christmas festival celebrated
      this year belongs to the Easter festival that
      follows 33 years later, while the Easter festival
      we celebrate this year belongs to the Christmas of
      1884."

      Since this lecture was given in 1917, and the
      interval between Christmas 1884 and Easter 1917 is
      32 1/4 years, the implication is that *the 33
      years of Christ's life on Earth* means *33* in the
      qualitative sense, that the life of the Luke Jesus
      body was 32 1/4 years from birth. Thus, RS
      contradicts Powell on this point and supports
      Bock, Sucher, et al.

      -- Another point: Abandoning Powell's chronology
      does not imply the abandonment of the significance
      of the Great Conjunction of 7-6 BC. Sucher
      discusses this event in connection with the
      "spiritual nativity" of Jesus and the healing of
      the man who had been sick for 38 years (*John* 5).
      Steiner discusses "spiritual nativity" in lecture
      4 of *Human and Cosmic Thought*:

      ". . . . these constellations are of much greater
      importance in the life of the person than the
      constellations of the external horoscope, and do
      not necessarily coincide with the 'nativity' - the
      external horoscope. For the enhanced influence
      which is exerted on the soul by this standing of
      Mysticism in the sign of Idealism waits for the
      propitious moment when it can lay hold of the soul
      most fruitfully. Such influences need not assert
      themselves just at the time of birth; they can do
      so before birth, or after it. In short, they await
      the point of time when these predispositions can
      best be built into the human organism, according
      to its inner configuration. Hence the ordinary
      astrological 'nativity' does not come into account
      here."

      Sucher tells how he calculates this "spiritual
      nativity", and he comes to 7 or 6 BC for the Luke
      Jesus. (His discussion isn't very precise, by
      Powell's standards.) He goes on to connect this
      with the 38 years (qualitatively) that elapsed
      until the healing of the man who had been sick for
      38 years -- two Moon node cycles, qualitatively.

      -- I noticed another specific discrepancy with the
      Gospel: Powell puts the raising of Lazarus at
      July 26, 32 AD. But according to *John* (10-11)
      this raising came between the Feast of the
      Dedication (winter; late Nov. to Dec. in different
      years) and the final Passover (AD 33). So the
      most natural reading is to date this raising in
      the Winter of 32-33 AD, as do Edwards et al. But
      Powell dates it in the preceding Summer. He would
      have to hold that *John* 10 refers to the
      preceding Winter, and this raises the host of
      difficulties that come with stretching the
      Incarnation over another year. But there is no
      need to conjure up all those difficulties, if one
      just reads *John* in the natural way.

      -- Steiner said that the Solomon Jesus was born "a
      period of months" before the Nathan Jesus and died
      soon after his 12th year. This is reinforced by
      his statement about the age of the Solomon Mary.
      Powell puts the birth of the Solomon Jesus almost
      five years before the date required by Steiner's
      statements, and he tries to get around the
      discrepancies. But there is no way to get around
      them; he must say that Steiner was wrong, and
      repeatedly wrong on the same point. As Steiner
      must have been wrong about the dates of the first
      Christmas and Epiphany. Yet, he cites Steiner as
      his teacher and tries (strains) to enlist him to
      vouch for the accuracy of AC Emmerich's visions. -
      - No, it doesn't work; Powell and Steiner can't be
      reconciled. At least one of them must be very
      wrong.

      -- For other critiques of Powell's work, I know of
      two online:

      An *Info3* article points out difficulties in
      Powell's
      *Chronicle*:<http://www.info3.de/ycms/printartikel_117.shtml>
      It's in German, but with Freetranslation.com or
      Babelfish one can make sense enough out of it.

      Also, at
      <http://www.rsarchive.org/Forums/eliboard.php?rfr=elib>
      (search for thread: "2nd Coming"; 1999-20-11) one
      can find a discussion of the German edition of the
      book in which (apparently) Powell makes his
      calculations of the 2nd Coming.

      Again, there's Proky's first *Tomberg* book; it
      contains a brief critique of RP's support of
      Tomberg, which apparently includes the
      identification of Tomberg with the Maitreya
      Bodhisattva.

      -- Speculative addendum: Considering the 33 1/3
      year period more exactly --

      If we abandon Powell's chronology (which has the
      life of Jesus fit this time period almost exactly)
      and stick to Jan. 6 and Dec. 25, 1 BC as the
      birthdays of the Solomon and Nathan boys (as
      Sucher et al. have it), then what happens to the
      33 1/3 year period in the life of Jesus?

      Ponder: Ascension was May 14, 33 AD. That's 39
      days after Resurrection Day. Add 39 days to Dec.
      6-7, 1 BC, and we come to Jan. 14-5, 1 BC. [31-
      6=25; 39-25=14] Count back another 1 1/2 days
      from Ascension, and we come to Jan. 13, 1BC.
      That's 7 days after the birth of the Solomon
      Jesus, i.e. on the 8th day. That's the day of the
      Mosaic circumcision, isn't it? So there are (very
      nearly) 33 1/3 years from the circumcision of the
      Solomon Jesus until the Ascension.

      There is undoubtedly an esoteric meaning to the
      Mosaic rite of circumcision. It has something to
      do with the curtailing of sexuality. Sexuality
      and death are inextricably linked together. The
      Resurrection redeemed the Phantom body, making it
      a template of a deathless physical body; hence the
      deathless form-body also overcomes sexuality.
      Might we also assume that the immortality of the
      form-body came about because it was joined to the
      life-body? RS sometimes when discussing the
      Resurrection Body did not clearly distinguish
      between the immortal etheric body and the form
      body of Jesus. The Ascension somehow joined the
      resurrection body to the etheric body of the Earth
      and Cosmos.

      We might hypothesize that the circumcision of the
      Solomon Jesus was somehow transferred, in effect,
      to the life body and form body of the Luke Jesus.
      The Zarathustra Ego also brought his memories into
      the sheaths of the Luke Jesus, and memories are
      carried in the etheric body. These memories of
      the Solomon Jesus worked into the sheaths of the
      Luke Jesus for a little more that one Moon node
      cycle.

      Somehow, the curtailment of sexuality, and hence
      of death-forces, in the Solomon Jesus must (?)
      have carried some effect into the overcoming of
      death in the resurrection body of Christ Jesus,
      and this redeemed Phantom Body achieved some kind
      of cosmic culmination at the Ascension, very
      nearly 33 1/3 years after the circumcision of the
      Solomon Jesus.

      I get the feeling that there is a profound Mystery
      hidden here, and I can only grope at it in the
      dark. But all these considerations do indicate
      that the 33 1/3 year cycle does have significance
      when we postulate the correctness of the
      chronology of Bock, Sucher, etc.

      Robert Mason
    • dottie zold
      Well, what a shock! There is a line down the street and around the block of the Woman s Club waiting to vote. Three presidential elections we have seen at this
      Message 2 of 3 , Nov 4, 2008
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        Well, what a shock! There is a line down the street and around the block of the Woman's Club waiting to vote. Three presidential elections we have seen at this club since I have been here and never a line...not even when so much was at stake in 2004. Good to see.
         
        All good things,
        Dottie
         
        p.s. I have to think these are mostly democrats as the republicans are a really well oiled machine and they vote. So I have to think this is mostly a democratic revolution going on, AFTER the revolution. Whew.
         

      • Kim
        Congratulations, This is a long awaited change, that will change how people thinks. Love, Kim ... block of the Woman s Club waiting to vote. Three presidential
        Message 3 of 3 , Nov 4, 2008
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          Congratulations,
          This is a long awaited change, that will change how people thinks.
          Love,
          Kim

          --- In anthroposophy_tomorrow@yahoogroups.com, dottie zold
          <dottie_z@...> wrote:
          >
          > Well, what a shock! There is a line down the street and around the
          block of the Woman's Club waiting to vote. Three presidential
          elections we have seen at this club since I have been here and never a
          line...not even when so much was at stake in 2004. Good to see.
          >  
          > All good things,
          > Dottie
          >  
          > p.s. I have to think these are mostly democrats as the republicans
          are a really well oiled machine and they vote. So I have to think this
          is mostly a democratic revolution going on, AFTER the revolution. Whew.
          >  
          >
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