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[GTh] Re: Alexandria

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  • clontzjm
    ... snips ... that they ... proper ... possessed secret ... centuries. ... pointed out ... given the ... bodily ... their ... speaking ... mysteries in a ...
    Message 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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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