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Re: [GTh] Re: Alexandria

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  • sarban
    ... From: clontzjm To: Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 7:04 AM Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria ... If
    Message 1 of 10 , May 26, 2004
      ----- Original Message -----
      From: "clontzjm" <clontzjm@...>
      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2004 7:04 AM
      Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria


      <SNIP>
      >
      > Some of the Jewish groups point to Moses as the source of a secret or
      > hidden torah. In the DSS (Dead Sea Scrolls), this seems to be
      > referred to as the nistar (hidden) torah - see schiffman's reclaiming
      > the DSS. The pharisees also have legends of a hidden torah with Moses
      > as the first initiate. If you read John 5:46 and 2 cor 3:cor 13-16
      > both Jesus and Paul seem to indicate that they know a secret that is
      > contained in Moses' writings. Many Christians are unaware that 2 cor
      > 3:cor 13-16 actually points to the event where according to Jewish
      > legend Moses received the hidden torah from God (ex 34:31). Notice in
      > EX 34:31 that Aaron and the leaders return or "turn" to Moses and
      > Moses talked to them. According to Jewish legend this is where Moses
      > passed the hidden torah to the Jewish leadership. Paul also uses the
      > term "turn" concerning being able to understand the "secret" hidden
      > in the torah.
      >
      > So some Jewish groups, Jesus and Paul all point to a secret that was
      > known by Moses and placed in the torah that others including Jews did
      > not "know." We can also add Clement of Alexandria to the list of
      > people pointing to Moses knowing a secret placed in the torah
      > (stromata). I would also submit that Philo also points to Moses
      > knowing a secret that he passed to the levitical priests but the
      > evidence for this is more general than those that I've already
      > mentioned.
      >
      If you're referring to the claim in rabbinic Judaism that Moses
      possessed secret information concerning Torah which he passed
      on to his successors and his successors to their successors (which
      is part of the doctrine of the 'Oral Torah'), then I'm not convinced
      that it goes back as early as this.
      It may only begin in the 3rd century CE.
      (The claim that there are secrets in Torah is much older and Moses
      may well have been thought to have known these secrets, what I'm
      dubious about is an early date for the claim of a chain of initiates
      going back to Moses to whom the secrets were passed on)

      Andrew Criddle
    • clontzjm
      Hello Andrew, I also do not believe the rabbinic claim goes back very far. However they aren t the only Jewish group in the 1st century that address the secret
      Message 2 of 10 , May 26, 2004
        Hello Andrew,

        I also do not believe the rabbinic claim goes back very far. However
        they aren't the only Jewish group in the 1st century that address the
        secret info in the torah. Philo states that the secret info was given
        by Moses to the levites and to no one else which is different than
        the rabbinic tradition and slightly askew of exodus 34:31.

        In the DSS, the inhabitants of Qumran also point to moses in the rule
        of the community 8:15-16. The interpretative method in the DSS was
        pesher which is different than midrash but often confused by
        pharisees with pesher. see also zadokite fragments 3:12-16. In my
        opinion the inhabitants of Qumran viewed pesher as the interpretive
        method given by moses to the priesthood and those who covenanted with
        the priesthood.

        In any case, it would be possible for Moses to have given secret info
        to the priesthood that they protected through the centuries. This
        would match Philo and the DSS. Moses and Aaron's descendants were
        part of the priesthood and were also likely recipients of any secret
        info that Moses had.

        Philo speaks of an intiation afterwhich the initiated members of the
        priesthood were given the secret info. This would match what we know
        of the essenes as recounted by Josephus. Josephus describes a lengthy
        intiation process for the essenes afterwhich they gained full access
        to the community.

        Getting a little ahead of myself, I see a possibility that the essene
        initiation process according to Josephus and Acts 26:18 are
        describing the same ceremony. Cyril of Jerusalem's catechetical
        lectures on baptism describes how acts 26:18 was applied and his
        description imo is very similar to what we know of the essene process
        from Josephus.

        Cyril also mentions that after the baptismal oaths and ceremony the
        initiates who had turned were priviledged to secret info concerning
        the scriptures.

        The NT's statement about a christian being part of a royal priesthood
        are paralleled by Philo concerning the levites. Philo and clement of
        alexandria indicate that the secrets from moses were reserved for the
        priesthood only. If the early christian baptismal ceremony was some
        form of process of bonding to the priesthood then after completing
        that ceremony they would've been priviledged to the levitical info.
        Philo indicate that nazirites no matter what their ancestry were
        allowed to work in the temple and that also sojourners who had left
        everything were allowed to live in the levitical communities.

        In the DSS rule of the community 5:7-12, there is a strong indication
        that people other than levites who had "covenanted" with the levites
        were also privy to the secret info. Covenented might be something
        akin to philo's statement concerning nazirites and sojourners and
        also may be similar to Acts 2:44-46. Notice in Acts 2:46 that day by
        day they broke bread in their homes which matches the description of
        the essenes by Josephus. Josephus also says that essenes adopted the
        children of others and the story of samuel as a nazirite would match
        as well as the protoevangelum's description of Mary as an infant
        being given to the temple priests as a nazirite.

        Peace,
        Jerry


        --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "sarban" <sarban@s...> wrote:
        >
        > If you're referring to the claim in rabbinic Judaism that Moses
        > possessed secret information concerning Torah which he passed
        > on to his successors and his successors to their successors (which
        > is part of the doctrine of the 'Oral Torah'), then I'm not
        convinced
        > that it goes back as early as this.
        > It may only begin in the 3rd century CE.
        > (The claim that there are secrets in Torah is much older and Moses
        > may well have been thought to have known these secrets, what I'm
        > dubious about is an early date for the claim of a chain of
        initiates
        > going back to Moses to whom the secrets were passed on)
        >
        > Andrew Criddle
      • sarban
        ... From: clontzjm To: Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 3:36 AM Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria ... I m not sure
        Message 3 of 10 , May 27, 2004
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "clontzjm" <clontzjm@...>
          To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 3:36 AM
          Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria


          > Hello Andrew,
          >
          > I also do not believe the rabbinic claim goes back very far. However
          > they aren't the only Jewish group in the 1st century that address the
          > secret info in the torah. Philo states that the secret info was given
          > by Moses to the levites and to no one else which is different than
          > the rabbinic tradition and slightly askew of exodus 34:31.
          >
          I'm not sure what passage(s) in Philo you're referring to.
          If you mean 'The Worse Attacks the Better' chapter 19 in
          Whiston, then I think that Philo is using the biblical passages
          about the levites as an Allegory illustrating how 'the mind of the
          good man is the guardian and steward of the doctrines of virtue'
          I duobt whether this is a safe basis for attributing to Philo
          historical claims about a secret doctrine passed down by the
          Levites.
          (You may be thinking about a quite different passage in which
          case please give the reference )


          > In the DSS, the inhabitants of Qumran also point to moses in the rule
          > of the community 8:15-16. The interpretative method in the DSS was
          > pesher which is different than midrash but often confused by
          > pharisees with pesher. see also zadokite fragments 3:12-16. In my
          > opinion the inhabitants of Qumran viewed pesher as the interpretive
          > method given by moses to the priesthood and those who covenanted with
          > the priesthood.

          IMHO the Qumran material is talking of secrets of Torah which
          were (presumably) known to Moses and have been subsequently
          revealed to the Zadokite priests who lead the Qumran community
          I don't think the idea is that these mysteries had been passed on
          by an unbroken chain of initiates from Moses to the leaders at
          Qumran (Apart from anything else this would seem to minimalize
          the role of the 'Teacher of Righteousness' as having brought to
          light previously lost secrets of God's law.)

          Andrew Criddle
        • sarban
          ... From: sarban To: Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 1:54 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: Alexandria ... (sorry I
          Message 4 of 10 , May 27, 2004
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: "sarban" <sarban@...>
            To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 1:54 PM
            Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: Alexandria


            > >
            > I'm not sure what passage(s) in Philo you're referring to.
            > If you mean 'The Worse Attacks the Better' chapter 19 in
            > Whiston,
            (sorry I meant Yonge not Whiston)

            Andrew Criddle
          • clontzjm
            Hello Andrew, These quotes and fragments from Philo touch on the subject at hand. THE CHERUBIM (OF CAIN AND HIS BIRTH) XIV. (48) Now I bid ye, initiated men,
            Message 5 of 10 , May 27, 2004
              Hello Andrew,

              These quotes and fragments from Philo touch on the subject at hand.

              THE CHERUBIM (OF CAIN AND HIS BIRTH)
              XIV. (48) Now I bid ye, initiated men, who are purified, as to your
              ears, to receive these things, as mysteries which are really sacred,
              in your inmost souls; and reveal them not to any one who is of the
              number of the uninitiated, but guard them as a sacred treasure,
              laying them up in your own hearts, not in a storehouse in which are
              gold and silver, perishable substances, but in that treasurehouse in
              which the most excellent of all the possessions in the world does
              lie, the knowledge namely of the great first Cause, and of virtue,
              and in the third place, of the generation of them both. And if ever
              you meet with any one who has been properly initiated, cling to that
              man affectionately and adhere to him, that if he has learnt any more
              recent mystery he may not conceal it from you before you have learnt
              to comprehend it thoroughly. (49) For I myself, having been initiated
              in the great mysteries by Moses, the friend of God, nevertheless,
              when subsequently I beheld Jeremiah the prophet, and learnt that he
              was not only initiated into the sacred mysteries, but was also a
              competent hierophant or expounder of them, did not hesitate to become
              his pupil.

              THAT THE WORSE IS WONT TO ATTACK THE BETTER
              (62) Do you not see that the lawgiver entrusts the keeping and
              preservation of the holy things not to any chance person, but to the
              Levites, who were the most holy persons in their opinions? for whom
              the earth and the air and the water were considered an unworthy
              inheritance, but the heaven and the whole world were looked upon as
              their due... (63) And it has not fallen to the lot of all the
              suppliants to become guardians of the holy things, but to those only
              who have arrived at the number fifty, which proclaims remission of
              offences and perfect liberty and a return to their ancient
              possessions. "

              THAT THE WORSE IS WONT TO ATTACK THE BETTER
              (67) On which account Moses, also, in his praises of Levi, having
              previously said many admirable things, adds subsequently, "He has
              guarded thy oracles and kept thy Covenant

              FRAGMENTS EXTRACTED FROM THE PARALLELS OF JOHN OF DAMASCUS
              Page 533. C. It is not lawful to speak of the sacred mysteries to the
              uninitiated.

              FRAGMENTS EXTRACTED FROM THE PARALLELS OF JOHN OF DAMASCUS

              Page 782. A. It is not lawful to divulge the sacred mysteries to the
              uninitiated until they are purified by a perfect purification; for
              the man who is not initiated, or who is of moderate capacity, being
              unable either to hear or to see that nature which is incorporeal and
              appreciable only by the intellect, being deceived by the visible
              sight, will blame what ought not to be blamed. Now, to divulge sacred
              mysteries to uninitiated people, is the act of a person who violates
              the laws of the privileges belonging to the priesthood.

              Peace,
              Jerry


              --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "sarban" <sarban@s...> wrote:
              >
              > ----- Original Message -----
              > From: "sarban" <sarban@s...>
              > To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
              > Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 1:54 PM
              > Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: Alexandria
              >
              >
              > > >
              > > I'm not sure what passage(s) in Philo you're referring to.
              > > If you mean 'The Worse Attacks the Better' chapter 19 in
              > > Whiston,
              > (sorry I meant Yonge not Whiston)
              >
              > Andrew Criddle
            • fmmccoy
              ... From: clontzjm To: Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 9:36 PM Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria ... Hi Jerry:
              Message 6 of 10 , May 30, 2004
                ----- Original Message -----
                From: "clontzjm" <clontzjm@...>
                To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                Sent: Wednesday, May 26, 2004 9:36 PM
                Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria



                > I also do not believe the rabbinic claim goes back very far. However
                > they aren't the only Jewish group in the 1st century that address the
                > secret info in the torah. Philo states that the secret info was given
                > by Moses to the levites and to no one else which is different than
                > the rabbinic tradition and slightly askew of exodus 34:31.

                Hi Jerry:

                From what I understand, the Pharisees believed that Moses received two
                revelations from God: (1) the written Torah and (2) an unwritten Torah. The
                purpose of the unwritten Torah is to supplement the written Torah--to make a
                fence around the written Torah. The written Torah consists of the first
                five books of the Jewish bible and it was written by Moses. The unwritten
                Torah was orally transmitted by Moses to Joshua, by Joshua to the elders, by
                the elders to the prophets, by the prophets to the Grand Sanheidrin, and by
                the Grand Sanheidrin to those religious authorities who became known as the
                Pharisees.

                Again, from what I understand, they did not deem the unwritten Torah to be a
                secret. Rather, they held that it ought to be known to, and observed by,
                all pious Jews.

                Philo believed that the Torah has two levels of meaning: the written level
                of meaning and the allegorical level of meaning, just as a human being has a
                body and an interior soul. Further, just as the soul is superior to the
                body, so the inner allegorical level of meaning is superior to the written
                level of meaning.

                Particularly important is Conf (190), where Philo states, "Still I would
                exhort them to not stop there (i.e., the literal level), but to press on to
                allegorical interpretations and to recognize that the letter is to the
                oracle but as the shadow to the substance and that the higher values therein
                revealed are what really and truly exist." Here, he emphasises that the
                revelation to be found on the literal level of the Torah is inferior to the
                perfect revelation to be found on the allegorical level of the Torah.

                While the Pharisees deemed the unwritten Torah to not be a secret to be hid
                from most, Philo did deem the inner allegorical level of the Torah to be a
                secret to be hid from most.

                Particularly important is Gig. (54), where Philo states, "Moses pitched his
                own tent outside the camp (Exod. xxxiii. 7) and the whole array of bodily
                things, that is, he set up his judgement where it should not be removed.
                Then only does he begin to worship God and entering the darkness, the
                invisible region, abides there while he learns the secrets of the most holy
                mysteries. There he becomes not only one of the congregation of the
                initiated, but also the hierophant and teacher of divine rites, which he
                will impart to those whose ears are purified."

                Here, Philo uses the language of the Eleusinian mysteries. The lesser
                mysteries were the first stage of initiation and the greater myseries were
                the second stage of initiation. A hierophant was the priest in charge of
                the initiation into the greater mysteries. In the darkness of the
                telesterion (initiation hall), a fire was kindled and the hierophant took
                the hiera (holy things) that were kept in the anaktoron (a small room) and
                held them up to light of the fire for those being initiated into the greater
                mysteries to see.

                When Philo says that Moses entered the darkness, he is alluding to the
                movement of an initiant into the darkness of the telesterion. When Philo
                says that Moses learned the secrets of the most holy mysteries there, he is
                alluding to the revealing of the hiera to the initiates. When Philo states
                that Moses became a hierophant, he is alluding to the hierophant--the priest
                in charge of the initiation into the greater mysteries.

                Underlying Philo's usage of the language of the Eleusinian mysteries is his
                concept of the two levels to the Torah--the literal and the allegorical.
                The literal level of the Torah, the inferior revelation, corresponds to the
                lesser mysteries. The allegorical level of the Torah, the perfect
                revelation, corresponds to the greater mysteries. Moses learned this
                perfect revelation from God, thereby being initiated into these greater
                mysteries. Then, while writing the Torah, he added this perfect revelation
                to an allegorical level of it. So, when one allegorically interprets the
                Torah, one is, in effect, learning the greater mysteries that have been
                placed there by Moses acting as a Hierophant.

                The key thing is that, this means, the higher revelation of the allegorical
                level of the Torah is not meant for everyone. Rather, it is meant only for
                those who have spiritually progressed beyond the lesser mysteries of the
                literal text of the Torah.

                According to Philo, those sufficiently advanced spiritually to receive this
                higher revelation include the Levites. Jerry, this is because, as you
                point out above, Philo believed that Moses entrusted this secret part of the
                Torah to the Levites. Indeed, to underscore this point, you, in a later
                post, cite this passage by Philo:
                > THAT THE WORSE IS WONT TO ATTACK THE BETTER
                > (62) Do you not see that the lawgiver entrusts the keeping and
                > preservation of the holy things not to any chance person, but to the
                > Levites, who were the most holy persons in their opinions? for whom
                > the earth and the air and the water were considered an unworthy
                > inheritance, but the heaven and the whole world were looked upon as
                > their due... (63) And it has not fallen to the lot of all the
                > suppliants to become guardians of the holy things, but to those only
                > who have arrived at the number fifty, which proclaims remission of
                > offences and perfect liberty and a return to their ancient
                > possessions. "

                Here, Philo is not referring to those who are Levites in a bodily sense.
                Rather, he is referring to those who are Levites in an inward sense, i.e.,
                in terms of their minds or souls. See, for example, Plant. (63-64), where
                he states, "'The tribe of Levi,' he says, 'shall have no lot or portion
                among the children of Israel, for the Lord is their portion' (Deut. x. 9);
                and there is an utterance rung out on this wise by the holy oracles in the
                name of God, 'I am thy portion and inheritance' (Numb. xviii. 20); for in
                reality the mind, which has been perfectly cleansed and purified, and which
                renounces all things pertaining to creation, is acquainted with One alone,
                and knows but One, even the Uncreate, to Whom it has drawn nigh, by Whom
                also it has been taken to Himself."

                The basic idea is that, just as the outer literal level of the Torah, which
                can be likened to its body, is in the custody of those who are Levites in
                the bodily sense of being descendents of Levi, so the inner allegorical
                level of the Torah, which can be likened to its soul, is in the custody of
                those who are Levites in terms of their minds or souls.

                Jerry, a little later in your post, you state:
                > In any case, it would be possible for Moses to have given secret info
                > to the priesthood that they protected through the centuries. This
                > would match Philo and the DSS. Moses and Aaron's descendants were
                > part of the priesthood and were also likely recipients of any secret
                > info that Moses had.
                >
                > Philo speaks of an intiation afterwhich the initiated members of the
                > priesthood were given the secret info. This would match what we know
                > of the essenes as recounted by Josephus. Josephus describes a lengthy
                > intiation process for the essenes afterwhich they gained full access
                > to the community.

                IMO, this hypothesis that Moses gave secret info to the priesthood that they
                protected through the centuries is highly speculative and lacks a proper
                foundation. Those who wrote the DSS do not claim that they possessed secret
                info given by Moses to the priesthood and protected through the centuries.
                Also, you apparently mis-understand Philo's position because, as pointed out
                above, he apparently believed that the Levites to whom are to be given the
                secret info are not those who are Levites in the sense of being the bodily
                descendents of Levi but, rather, those who are Levites in terms of their
                minds or souls. Further, in speaking of initiation, Philo was not speaking
                literally but, rather, using the language of the Eleuisinian mysteries in a
                non-literal fashion.

                Yet, it is very significant that both Philo and the Essenes, the writers of
                the DSS, did believe that there is a higher revelation to be hid from most.
                For Philo, it is the inner allegorical level of the Torah. For the Essenes,
                it is the teachings given only to those who are full members of their sect.
                As a result, in first century CE Judaism, the idea that there is a higher
                revelation to be hid from most was alive and well--even though there were
                radical differences of opinion as repects the nature of this higher
                revelation..

                This concept of there being a higher revelation to be hid from most
                also appears in some Gnostic Christian circles and the most plausible
                hypothesis, IMO, is that it is based on the first century CE Jewish idea
                that there is a higher revelation to be hid from most.

                The big question is whether Jesus had accepted this first century CE Jewish
                idea that there is a higher revelation to be hid from most. For example,
                what are we to make of Luke 8:10? Here, Jesus tells his disciples, "To you
                it has been given to know the secrets of the Kingdom of God; but for others
                they are are in parables, so that seeing they may not see, and hearing they
                may not understand."

                What about the members of the Thomas community? Did they have what they
                deemed to be a secret higher revelation to be hid from others and which they
                used for interpreting the sayings of Jesus is GThomas?

                Frank McCoy
                1809 N. English Apt. 15
                Maplewood, MN USA 55109
              • clontzjm
                ... snips ... that they ... proper ... possessed secret ... centuries. ... pointed out ... given the ... bodily ... their ... speaking ... mysteries in a ...
                Message 7 of 10 , May 31, 2004
                  --- In gthomas@yahoogroups.com, "fmmccoy" <FMMCCOY@e...> wrote:
                  snips
                  > IMO, this hypothesis that Moses gave secret info to the priesthood
                  that they
                  > protected through the centuries is highly speculative and lacks a
                  proper
                  > foundation. Those who wrote the DSS do not claim that they
                  possessed secret
                  > info given by Moses to the priesthood and protected through the
                  centuries.
                  > Also, you apparently mis-understand Philo's position because, as
                  pointed out
                  > above, he apparently believed that the Levites to whom are to be
                  given the
                  > secret info are not those who are Levites in the sense of being the
                  bodily
                  > descendents of Levi but, rather, those who are Levites in terms of
                  their
                  > minds or souls. Further, in speaking of initiation, Philo was not
                  speaking
                  > literally but, rather, using the language of the Eleuisinian
                  mysteries in a
                  > non-literal fashion.snips
                  >
                  Hello Frank,
                  I see that you and I share many of the same ideas. I agree with you
                  concerning a levite being a spiritual levite. To your point:

                  ON THE LIFE OF MOSES, II
                  (274) So they rushed forth with a shout, and slew three thousand,
                  especially those who were the leaders of this impiety, and not only
                  were excused themselves from having had any participation in the
                  wicked boldness of the others, but were also enrolled among the most
                  noble of valiant men, and were thought worthy of an honour and reward
                  most appropriate to their action, to wit the priesthood. For it was
                  inevitable that those men should be ministers of holiness, who had
                  shown themselves valiant in defence of it, and had warred bravely as
                  its champions.

                  THE SPECIAL LAWS, II
                  (164) Apart from the fact that the legislation is in a certain way
                  teaching about the priesthood and that the one who lives by the laws
                  is at once considered a priest, or rather a high priest, in the
                  judgment of truth, the following point is also remarkable.

                  ON THE GIANTS
                  (61) Lastly, those who are born of God are priests and prophets, who
                  have not thought fit to mix themselves up in the constitutions of
                  this world, and to become cosmopolites, but who having raised
                  themselves above all the objects of the mere outward senses, have
                  departed and fixed their views on that world which is perceptible
                  only by the intellect, and have settled there, being inscribed in the
                  state of incorruptible incorporeal ideas.

                  Even more remarkably philo indicates that nazirites are priests see
                  caps below. Nazirites according to Philo were allowed to work in the
                  temple since all sacrifices including the living sacrifice of the
                  nazirite were allowed anywhere in the temple. Because they were
                  allowed to work in the temple they were considered to be priests.
                  This would explain how the sons of David were allowed to function as
                  priests in the temple:

                  THE SPECIAL LAWS, I – LE 6:13, NU 6:14,18, NU 19:1
                  XLV. (247) Having given these commandments about every description of
                  sacrifice in its turn, namely, about the burnt offering, and the
                  sacrifice for preservation, and the sin-offering, he adds another
                  kind of offering common to all the three, in order to show that they
                  are friendly and connected with one another; and this combination of
                  them all is called the great vow; (248) and why it received this
                  appellation we must now proceed to say. When any persons offer first
                  fruits from any portion of their possessions, wheat, or barley, or
                  oil, or wine, or the best of their fruits, or the firstborn males of
                  their flocks and herds, they do so actually dedicating those first
                  fruits which proceed from what is clean, but paying a price as the
                  value of what is unclean; and when they have no longer any materials
                  left in which they can display their piety, they then consecrate and
                  offer up themselves, displaying an unspeakable holiness, and a most
                  superabundant excess of a God-loving disposition, on which account
                  such a dedication is fitly called the great vow; for every man is his
                  own greatest and most valuable possession, and this even he now gives
                  up and abandons. (249) And when a man has vowed this vow the law
                  gives him the following command; first of all, to touch no unmixed
                  wine, nor any wine that is made of the grape, nor to drink any other
                  strong drink whatever, to the destruction of his reason, considering
                  that during this period his reason also is dedicated to God; FOR ALL
                  WHICH COULD TEND TO DRUNKENNESS IS FORBIDDEN TO THOSE OF THE PRIESTS
                  WHO ARE EMPLOYED IN THE SACRED MINISTRATIONS, THEY BEING COMMANDED TO
                  QUENCH THEIR THIRST WITH WATER; (250) in the second place they are
                  commanded not to show their heads, giving thus a visible sign to all
                  who see them that they are not debasing the pure coinage of their
                  vow; thirdly, they are commanded to keep their body pure and
                  undefiled, so as not even to approach their parents if they are dead,
                  nor their brothers; piety overcoming the natural good will and
                  affection towards their relations and dearest friends, and it is both
                  honourable and expedient that piety should at all times prevail.
                  XLVI. (251) But when the appointed time for their being Released{32}
                  {#nu 6:14.} from this vow has arrived, the law then commands the man
                  who has dedicated himself to bring three animals to procure his
                  release from his vow, a male lamb, and a female lamb, and a ram; the
                  one for a burnt offering, the second for a sin-offering, and the ram
                  as a sacrifice for preservation.


                  As to the point of whether Moses placed secret info in the torah,
                  Clement of Alexandria states:

                  clement of alexandria stromata book V
                  chapter IV
                  CHAPTER IV -- DIVINE THINGS WRAPPED UP IN FIGURES BOTH IN THE SACRED
                  AND IN HEATHEN WRITERS.
                  But since they will believe neither in what is good justly nor in
                  knowledge unto salvation, we ourselves reckoning what they claim as
                  belonging to us, because all things are God's; and especially since
                  what is good proceeded from us to the Greeks, let us handle those
                  things as they are capable of hearing. For intelligence or rectitude
                  this great crowd estimates not by truth, but by what they are
                  delighted with. And they will be pleased not more with other things
                  than with what is like themselves. For he who is still blind and
                  dumb, not having understanding, or the undazzled and keen vision of
                  the contemplative soul, which the Savior confers, like the
                  uninitiated at the mysteries, or the unmusical at dances, not being
                  yet pure and worthy of the pure truth, but still discordant and
                  disordered and material, must stand outside of the divine choir. "For
                  we compare spiritual things with spiritual." Wherefore, in accordance
                  with the method of concealment, the truly sacred Word truly divine
                  and most necessary for us, deposited in the shrine of truth, was by
                  the Egyptians indicated by what were called among them adyta, and by
                  the Hebrews by the veil. Only the consecrated -- that is, those
                  devoted to God, circumcised in the desire of the passions for the
                  sake of love to that which is alone divine -- were allowed access to
                  them.

                  CHAPTER VII -- THE EGYPTIAN SYMBOLS AND ENIGMAS OF SACRED THINGS.
                  Whence also the Egyptians did not entrust the mysteries they
                  possessed to all and sundry, and did not divulge the knowledge of
                  divine things to the profane; but only to those destined to ascend
                  the throne, and those of the priests that were judged the worthiest,
                  from their nurture, culture, and birth. Similar, then, to the Hebrew
                  enigmas in respect to concealment, are those of the Egyptian.

                  CHAPTER X -- THE OPINION OF THE APOSTLES ON VEILING THE MYSTERIES OF
                  THE FAITH.
                  Rightly, therefore, the divine apostle says, "By revelation the
                  mystery was made known to me (as I wrote before in brief, in
                  accordance with which, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge
                  in the mystery of Christ), which in other ages was not made known to
                  the sons of men, as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and
                  prophets." For there is an instruction of the perfect, of which,
                  writing to the Colossians, he says, "We cease not to pray for you,
                  and beseech that ye may be filled with the knowledge of His will in
                  all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that ye may walk worthy of
                  the Lord to all pleasing; being fruitful in every good work, and
                  increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might
                  according to the glory of His power." And again he says, "According
                  to the disposition of the grace of God which is given me, that ye may
                  fulfil the word of God; the mystery which has been hid from ages and
                  generations, which now is manifested to His saints: to whom God
                  wished to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery
                  among the nations." So that, on the one hand, then, are the mysteries
                  which were hid till the time of the apostles, and were delivered by
                  them as they received from the Lord, and, concealed in the Old
                  Testament, were manifested to the saints...

                  And he still more clearly reveals that knowledge belongs not to all,
                  by adding: "Praying at the same time for you, that God would open to
                  us a door to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am bound; that
                  I may make it known as I ought to speak." For there were certainly,
                  among the Hebrews, some things delivered unwritten...

                  "For I know," says the apostle, "that when I come to you, I shall
                  come in the fulness of the blessing of Christ;" designating the
                  spiritual gift, and the gnostic communication, which being present he
                  desires to impart to them present as "the fulness of Christ,
                  according to the revelation of the mystery sealed in the ages of
                  eternity, but now manifested by the prophetic Scriptures, according
                  to the command of the eternal God, made known to all the nations, in
                  order to the obedience of faith," that is, those of the nations who
                  believe that it is. But only to a few of them is shown what those
                  things are which are contained in the mystery.

                  Book VI
                  .[1] Whence also Peter, in his Preaching, speaking of the apostles,
                  says: "But we, unrolling the books of the prophets which we possess,
                  who name Jesus Christ, partly in parables, partly in enigmas, partly
                  expressly and in so many words, find His coming and death, and cross,
                  and all the rest of the tortures which the Jews inflicted on Him, and
                  His resurrection and assumption to heaven previous to the capture[2]
                  of Jerusalem. As it is written, These things are all that He behoves
                  to suffer, and what should be after Him. Recognising them, therefore,
                  we have believed in God in consequence of what is written respecting
                  Him."

                  Peace,
                  Jerry
                • sarban
                  ... From: clontzjm To: Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 1:19 AM Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria ... ...
                  Message 8 of 10 , Jun 1, 2004
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: "clontzjm" <clontzjm@...>
                    To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                    Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 1:19 AM
                    Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria


                    > Hello Andrew,
                    >
                    > These quotes and fragments from Philo touch on the subject at hand.
                    >
                    > THE CHERUBIM (OF CAIN AND HIS BIRTH)
                    > XIV. (48)

                    <SNIP>
                    >
                    > THAT THE WORSE IS WONT TO ATTACK THE BETTER
                    > (62)

                    <SNIP>
                    >
                    > THAT THE WORSE IS WONT TO ATTACK THE BETTER
                    > (67) >

                    <SNIP>

                    > FRAGMENTS EXTRACTED FROM THE PARALLELS OF JOHN OF DAMASCUS
                    > Page 533. C. It is not lawful to speak of the sacred mysteries to the
                    > uninitiated.
                    >
                    > FRAGMENTS EXTRACTED FROM THE PARALLELS OF JOHN OF DAMASCUS
                    > Page 782. A.

                    <SNIP>

                    Thanks for the references.
                    Frank has already given a helpful response
                    but I'd like to add my own comments.
                    Philo IMO is saying that references in
                    the Old Testament to guarding holy things
                    refer allegorically to his (Philo's) ideas
                    about esoteric teaching. The passages
                    are IMO to be understood allegorically
                    and not as historical claims as to where
                    Philo got his ides from.

                    Andrew Criddle
                  • fmmccoy
                    ... From: clontzjm To: Sent: Monday, May 31, 2004 10:44 AM Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria Even more
                    Message 9 of 10 , Jun 2, 2004
                      ----- Original Message -----
                      From: "clontzjm" <clontzjm@...>
                      To: <gthomas@yahoogroups.com>
                      Sent: Monday, May 31, 2004 10:44 AM
                      Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria


                      Even more remarkably philo indicates that nazirites are priests see
                      caps below. Nazirites according to Philo were allowed to work in the
                      temple since all sacrifices including the living sacrifice of the
                      nazirite were allowed anywhere in the temple. Because they were
                      allowed to work in the temple they were considered to be priests.
                      This would explain how the sons of David were allowed to function as
                      priests in the temple:

                      Hi Jerry:

                      To the best of my knowledge, a priest had to legally be a descendent of
                      Aaron. To legally be a descendent of David, then, would bar one from being
                      a priest who could perform sacrifices at the temple and enter into the holy
                      place. Whether a person was under a Nazarite vow was not a relevant matter.

                      There is an early Christian tradition that James, the brother of Jesus, had
                      been a Nazarite and had served at the temple.

                      There are serious questions as to the accuracy of this tradition. However,
                      even granting (for the sake of argument) that it is true, James had served
                      at the temple because he legally was a descendent of Aaron rather than
                      because he was under a life-long Nazarite vow. In this regard, it is
                      noteworthy that (at least to the best of my knowledge) he is nowhere
                      referred to in early Christian tradition as being a son of David.

                      IMO, in this case, the most likely explanation is that James had a different
                      father than Jesus--a father who had legally been a descendent of Aaron. In
                      this case, he was the brother of Jesus in the sense of being a step-brother
                      rather than in the sense of being a full brother.

                      Another possibility is that James was adopted by someone who legally was a
                      descendent of Aaron. However, our knowledge of how the Law was interpreted
                      at the time of Jesus is rather sketchy on this point, so it's unclear
                      whether such an adoption would have made James, legally, a descendent of
                      Aaron.

                      In any event, the citation you make from Philo regarding the great vow
                      (i.e., the Nazarite vow) does not indicate that, Philo believed, Nazarites
                      are priests.

                      It reads:
                      THE SPECIAL LAWS, I - LE 6:13, NU 6:14,18, NU 19:1
                      XLV. (247) Having given these commandments about every description of
                      sacrifice in its turn, namely, about the burnt offering, and the
                      sacrifice for preservation, and the sin-offering, he adds another
                      kind of offering common to all the three, in order to show that they
                      are friendly and connected with one another; and this combination of
                      them all is called the great vow; (248) and why it received this
                      appellation we must now proceed to say. When any persons offer first
                      fruits from any portion of their possessions, wheat, or barley, or
                      oil, or wine, or the best of their fruits, or the firstborn males of
                      their flocks and herds, they do so actually dedicating those first
                      fruits which proceed from what is clean, but paying a price as the
                      value of what is unclean; and when they have no longer any materials
                      left in which they can display their piety, they then consecrate and
                      offer up themselves, displaying an unspeakable holiness, and a most
                      superabundant excess of a God-loving disposition, on which account
                      such a dedication is fitly called the great vow; for every man is his
                      own greatest and most valuable possession, and this even he now gives
                      up and abandons. (249) And when a man has vowed this vow the law
                      gives him the following command; first of all, to touch no unmixed
                      wine, nor any wine that is made of the grape, nor to drink any other
                      strong drink whatever, to the destruction of his reason, considering
                      that during this period his reason also is dedicated to God; FOR ALL
                      WHICH COULD TEND TO DRUNKENNESS IS FORBIDDEN TO THOSE OF THE PRIESTS
                      WHO ARE EMPLOYED IN THE SACRED MINISTRATIONS, THEY BEING COMMANDED TO
                      QUENCH THEIR THIRST WITH WATER; (250) in the second place they are
                      commanded not to show their heads, giving thus a visible sign to all
                      who see them that they are not debasing the pure coinage of their
                      vow; thirdly, they are commanded to keep their body pure and
                      undefiled, so as not even to approach their parents if they are dead,
                      nor their brothers; piety overcoming the natural good will and
                      affection towards their relations and dearest friends, and it is both
                      honourable and expedient that piety should at all times prevail.
                      XLVI. (251) But when the appointed time for their being Released{32}
                      {#nu 6:14.} from this vow has arrived, the law then commands the man
                      who has dedicated himself to bring three animals to procure his
                      release from his vow, a male lamb, and a female lamb, and a ram; the
                      one for a burnt offering, the second for a sin-offering, and the ram
                      as a sacrifice for preservation.

                      The fully capitalized words above appear to allude to Leviticus 10:8-10,
                      "And the Lord spoke to Aaron, saying, 'Ye shall not drink wine nor strong
                      drink, thou and thy sons with thee, whensoever ye enter into the tabernacle
                      of witness, or when ye approach the altar, so shall ye not die; it is a
                      perpetual statue for your generations, to distinguish between sacred and
                      profane, and between clean and unclean,...'"

                      As a result, these words apparently have nothing to do with Nazarites.
                      Rather, they apparently regard the ordinance, to which all sons of Aaron
                      (i.e., the priests) were bound, to not drink wine or any other alcoholic
                      beverage before entering the temple and serving there. They were free,
                      though, to drink wine and other alcoholic beverages at any other time.

                      Philo's point, ISTM, is that just as a priest abstains from wine while being
                      dedicated to God by serving in the temple, so a Nazarite abstains from wine
                      because such a person is dedicated to God.

                      So, ISTM, in the above citation from Philo, he does not say that Nazarites
                      are priests.

                      Also see Cont (74), where, regarding the Therapeutae, Philo states,
                      "Abstinence from wine is enjoined by right reason as for the priest when
                      sacrificing, so these for their lifetime." Here, Philo again emphasises,
                      the priests are subject to Lev. 10:8-10. Here, we see that the Therapeutae,
                      like the Nazarites, did not drink wine. However, this did not make them, in
                      Philo's eyes, priests--for he distinguishes them from the priests..

                      Regards,

                      Frank McCoy
                      1809 N. English Apt. 15
                      Maplewood, MN USA 55109
                    • clontzjm
                      Hello Frank, 2 samuel 8:18 indicates that david s sons were priests. This along with samuel s apparent adoption into the priesthood suggests that there was a
                      Message 10 of 10 , Jun 2, 2004
                        Hello Frank,

                        2 samuel 8:18 indicates that david's sons were priests. This along
                        with samuel's apparent adoption into the priesthood suggests that
                        there was a way to become an adopted levite as you suggest for james.
                        Samuel, the virgin mary, james the brother of Jesus were allowed to
                        serve in the temple and were all nazirites according to various
                        traditions. Josephus gives us an adoption process for the essenes
                        (who at Qumran seem to have been led by levites). Philo also suggests
                        a strong relationship for the nazirites and the priests.

                        imo the nazirite ceremony or something used in conjunction with it
                        like acts 26:18 was used as an adoption process by the levites. This
                        would explain why nazirites per various traditions and why non-
                        descendants of levi (2 samuel 8:18) were considered to be priests.

                        Irregardless, 2 Samuel 8:18 indicates that people could become
                        priests who weren't blood descendants of levi.

                        Peace,
                        Jerry
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