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Re: [GTh] Re: Alexandria

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  • fmmccoy
    ... From: clontzjm To: Sent: Monday, May 31, 2004 10:44 AM Subject: [GTh] Re: Alexandria Even more
    Message 1 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 2 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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