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Parameters for Discovering the Historical Jesus

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  • Philip B. Lewis
    A hypothesis calling for establishing parameters within which an Historical Jesus might be identified assumes that the search must wend its way among varied
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 1 2:08 PM
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      A hypothesis calling for establishing parameters within which an Historical
      Jesus might be
      identified assumes that the search must wend its way among varied traditions
      reflecting
      different symbolic interpretations of the individual described. In other
      words, we are
      confronted with variables and must anchor ourselves to recognized parameters
      from which
      the less certain traditions may be assessed.

      A few weeks ago I chose to summarize briefly what could be known about the
      Role of
      Women in 1st Century Palestine. The reason was simple. Women are bearers
      of children.
      The procreative drive is one of four which govern all life forms.
      Communities accept
      norms of sexual behavior that define what is expected in the exercise of
      that drive.
      Identifying What an historical figure may have done and taught about women
      should
      authenticate

      I suggest that a second set of parameters may be established based on what
      is known of
      the cosmological outlook of 1st century Palestine. This approach is
      suggested because
      women's menstrual cycles, already determinant in revealing the role of
      women, have been
      linked, rightly or wrongly, with lunar cycles. Luna, Earth's moon, is
      universally thought to
      be feminine; the sun is considered masculine in comparison.

      And at once the Ptolemaic cosmology of the time dictates that Earth is the
      center of the
      cosmic encircling of Sun and Moon. Had anyone thought that Earth orbited
      the Sun, a
      different set of calendrical orders might have been adopted. But, world
      over, calendars
      were devised attempting to correlate, or at least deal practically, with the
      apparent
      engirdlement of Earth by these two heavenly bodies with conflicting cycles.
      New moons
      were determined by the testimony of faithful witnesses in Jerusalem, and 28
      & 29 day
      months were ordered to count off a lunar year. A true Solar year would come
      to 365 1/4
      days and requires an extra day every 4 years, but the calendar reflected in
      the Temple
      Scroll consists of 364 days - 52 weeks of 7 days each. Again, across the
      world a cult of
      specialists called "priests" were trained to juggle the passages of the
      observable Moon and
      the Sun (as astral observations confirmed it) in order to guide the
      producers of food in
      seasons of planting and harvesting. Sacrifices also had to be made to
      propitiate heavenly
      powers and secure good omens.

      When we find tanakh passages referring to the Pleiades, the seven stars (of
      Ursa Major),
      and other heavenly constellations, we enter the realm of cosmology. And
      when we find
      Zodiac symbols named after constellations which rise at the Spring Equinox
      in a regular
      succession - the progression of the equinoxes - we are dealing with the
      form of astronomy
      current at the time. Julius Caesar might "beware the ides of March." But
      that was
      nothing compared to the anxiety attendant upon the rise of a New Age, as
      Julius predicted
      it 18 years before Pisces replaced Aries as the age under which men dwelt.

      I have spoken before of the significance in Mark's Feeding of the 5,000 when
      5 loaves and
      2 fish (the sign of Pisces) were broken for the multitude. No one alive at
      the turning of
      the New Age had any doubt about what those symbols meant: the Torah for the
      New Age.

      Saturday evening I enjoyed some forty minutes exploring the website for the
      Roman
      Catacombs Mark Goodacre had recommended. You'll find it at
      <http://www.catecombe.roma.it/welcome.html> On the end wall of the crypt of St.
      Lucina where St. Cyprian is buried, one finds a fresco of two fish bearing a
      basket of five
      loaves on their backs - symbol, the narrative tells us, of the Eucharist
      celebrated there.
      Churchmen long ago made the association that we today, as interpreters, need
      to be able
      to make for ourselves. A Jesus who could be represented as teaching a
      multitude the Law
      for the New Age night be described in the language of that New Age's
      cosmology only if
      the community that told the story was itself living The Way exhibited by its
      teacher. It is an important parameter reflecting the Jesus of history.

      Philip

      -phil@...
      + + + + + + + + + + + + + + + +
      We invent histories to suit ourselves and call them facts.
    • Paul Miller
      Philip Lewis wrote: And at once the Ptolemaic cosmology of the time dictates that Earth is the center of the cosmic encircling of Sun and Moon.
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 1 2:58 PM
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        Philip Lewis wrote:
        And at once the Ptolemaic cosmology of the time dictates that Earth is the
        center of the cosmic encircling of Sun and
        Moon. ---------------------------------------------------

        The Ptolemies lost Palestine to the Seleucids about 200 b.c.e. who then lost
        it to the Romans 63 b.c.e. Of course your point about 1st century Palestine
        and Ptolemaic cosmology is valid because that influence had made it's mark.
        The Jews seemed to have hated the Romans and the Seleucids a bit more than
        the Ptolemaic empire.

        Philip Lewis wrote:
        ." But that was nothing compared to the anxiety attendant upon the rise of
        a New Age, as Julius predicted it 18 years before Pisces replaced Aries as
        the age under which men dwelt.
        I have spoken before of the significance in Mark's Feeding of the 5,000 when
        5 loaves and 2 fish (the sign of Pisces) were broken for the multitude. No
        one alive at the turning of
        the New Age had any doubt about what those symbols meant: the Torah for the
        New Age.---------------------------------------

        This "new age" probably had everything to do with the KOG concept of early
        christianity. Just as our new age of aquarius has brought alot of strange
        beliefs, not the least of which is the whole modern new age movement, the
        change of age then brought belief in a new age where god would rule (KOG),
        and the present evil world would be reversed.
        It's my view that understanding how early christians thought about the KOG
        is the key to understanding christian origins.

        Philip Lewis wrote:
        A Jesus who could be represented as teaching a multitude the Law for the New
        Age night be described in the language of that New Age's
        cosmology -----------------------------------------

        Thanks for this Philip, you have added a piece to the puzzle I'm working on.

        Paul Miller
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