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Re: [GTh] Re: Alexandria

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  • sarban
    ... From: clontzjm To: Sent: Friday, May 28, 2004 1:19 AM Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria ... ...
    Message 1 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.
      > XIV. (48)

      > (62)

      > (67) >


      > Page 533. C. It is not lawful to speak of the sacred mysteries to the
      > uninitiated.
      > Page 782. A.


      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 2 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

        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
        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..


        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 3 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.

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