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Re: [GTh] Re: Alexandria

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  • sarban
    ... From: sarban To: Sent: Thursday, May 27, 2004 1:54 PM Subject: Re: [GTh] Re: Alexandria ... (sorry I
    Message 1 of 10 , May 27, 2004
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      ----- 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 2 of 10 , May 27, 2004
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        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 3 of 10 , May 30, 2004
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          ----- 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 4 of 10 , May 31, 2004
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            --- 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 5 of 10 , Jun 1, 2004
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              ----- 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 6 of 10 , Jun 2, 2004
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                ----- 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 7 of 10 , Jun 2, 2004
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                  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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