Jerry Russell

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But, maybe I should have asked first, what were you intending to do with that line?
I don't doubt that close relationships exist between the various cultures and characters. Judaism comes from Egypt and maintains strong links to Egyptian cultural practices. The Maccabees are Jewish (and, thus, also culturally Egyptian to some extent) and yet they also drew from Hellenistic globalism, and struck opportunistic alliances with the Romans.

But historical processes also led to distinguishable characteristics. Judaism inverts much of Egyptian law. By the 1st century AD, Judaism had adopted a stark monotheism easily distinguished from Egyptian polytheism, and has its own distinctive canonical literature. Parthians of the time adopted a hybrid polytheistic religion based on syncretism of Hellenistic and ancient Persian deities, and Zoroastrianism had fallen from favor.

Geography also creates local distinctiveness. The Edessan royal family came out of Parthia, while the Maccabees were from Judaea.

I'm sure that Josephus was well aware of these distinctions. So if the passage about "Zamaris the Babylonian Jew" is really speaking of Phraates IV the Parthian, then Josephus isn't just being cute or erudite, he's being deliberately deceptive and/or obscure. And we ought to at least consider the possibility that Zamaris wasn't the same person as Phraates.

Just based on historical and geographical factors, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Maccabee royal family of Judaea would have left descendants who were not the same individuals as Parthian royalty. So why is it that we would think that those Maccabeean descendants would disappear completely in Josephus's narrative, hidden underneath the Edessan characters?

the question of whether or not Judas of Gamala and his son, Jesus of Gamala, are really ... the Edessan royal family.... is indeed the recent central question.
Indeed. Refreshing my memory from the early pages of this thread, I see it isn't the first time I've raised this concern. It makes sense to me that there must have been an organic Judaean opposition to Rome, otherwise why would there need to be some attempt to create an alternative "controlled opposition" as its opponent?
 

Jerry Russell

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Staff member
"Zamaris the Babylonian Jew"
Since later members of this dynasty became Jews, I suppose one can't foreclose the possibility that Phraates V and Thea Musa were the first converts to Judaism in the family.

Also: 'Zamaris' would be equated to Phraates V, not Phraates IV, right? Phraates IV was killed by Thea Musa several years before the family's departure from Parthia?
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
I'm sure that Josephus was well aware of these distinctions.
Geography also creates local distinctiveness. The Edessan royal family came out of Parthia,
According to whose account? Josephus doesn't mention them. Does this mean that he wasn't aware of them, or that he is being deliberately deceptive ... or had orders from the Flavians not to mention them.

As Ellis states, the Edessan king list says they were an already extant dynasty.
I'm sure that Josephus was well aware of these distinctions. So if the passage about "Zamaris the Babylonian Jew" is really speaking of Phraates IV the Parthian, then Josephus isn't just being cute or erudite, he's being deliberately deceptive and/or obscure.
Hello!! This is the bulk of Ellis's presentation, that deceptive games are being played in all of the texts (regarding names, places, and chronology), while they otherwise tell accounts of identical things happening. Nobody has a clue where Adiabene was, much less ever existed.
Just based on historical and geographical factors, it seems to be a foregone conclusion that the Maccabee royal family of Judaea would have left descendants who were not the same individuals as Parthian royalty. So why is it that we would think that those Maccabeean descendants would disappear completely in Josephus's narrative, hidden underneath the Edessan characters?
Huh? Did I say this?
 

Jerry Russell

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Staff member
[The Edessan royal family came out of Parthia], According to whose account? Josephus doesn't mention them.
Yes, that's correct, Josephus doesn't explicitly mention this. Josephus talks about Adiabene, and the dynasty of Monobazus and Izates and queen Helena. Right? But if indeed Ellis is correct that Josephus is really talking about the Abgarid dynasty of Osroene and Edessa, it doesn't necessarily prove that Josephus was being deliberately deceptive. He may have had incomplete information.

And you're also correct that the Abgarid dynasty is said to have been pre-existing, founded by King Aryu approx. 132 BC. Does Ellis suggest that the dynasty sprung into existence with the arrival of Phraates V and Thea Musa? Or perhaps on their arrival from Parthia, they displaced the earlier dynasty, with no one the wiser?

For that matter, the idea that Phraates V and Thea Muse left Parthia and came to Edessa is entirely invented by Ellis, correct? We need to be careful to identify the evidence specifically supporting this. Conventional history says that Phraates and Thea Musa were killed in Parthia, and the Abgarids have nothing to do with them.

Hello!! This is the bulk of Ellis's presentation, that deceptive games are being played in all of the texts (regarding names, places, and chronology), while they otherwise tell accounts of identical things happening.
Also correct, and I'm saying that part of our job here is to evaluate each of these Ellis claims on its own merit.

Huh? Did I say this?
Isn't that the implication when you make Judah the Galilean a doppleganger or pseudonym of Phraates V?
 

Seeker

Active Member
So why is it that we would think that those Maccabeean descendants would disappear completely in Josephus's narrative, hidden underneath the Edessan characters?
They did not disappear completely in Josephus's narrative, as he himself admits that through his mother he descended from Maccabean royalty. Now, if by implication this makes Josephus Edessan royalty also, that may explain why he could be related to Jesus as "Joseph of Arimathea", his turncoat nemesis who nevertheless could not leave his royal relative to dangle on a cross.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Isn't that the implication when you make Judah the Galilean a doppleganger or pseudonym of Phraates V?
My head was already spinning before you brought this up, and Finder's Seeker has just raised one pertinent response to this.

All that said, the Maccabees very well may be related to the Edessan royal family, and with Josephus being the 'replacement brother' for John the Baptist. This, as I suspect that all of the major individuals mentioned, at least since Abraham can be seen as semi-historical, red-headed, royals .. and all interbred to a larger or greater degree. But, I didn't think I stated so in that context. Which I another reason we need to have nested threads ... and some way to present all this data.

And you're also correct that the Abgarid dynasty is said to have been pre-existing, founded by King Aryu approx. 132 BC. Does Ellis suggest that the dynasty sprung into existence with the arrival of Phraates V and Thea Musa? Or perhaps on their arrival from Parthia, they displaced the earlier dynasty, with no one the wiser?
The possibilities are that Phraates V and Thea Musa were set up in a more southern 'Syrian' city first, and later cuckolded their way into Edessa, or that the prior kings on the list were created out of whole cloth, or ...

In any case, Ellis does discuss historical accounts that do list such as Helena as being from Edessa, rather than from Adiabene.

In any case, I just watched Derek and Aron Ra kick Joe Atwill to the curb, and by implication Ellis and Dr. Price, since Price has come to see the merits of Roman Provenance. Strangely, the mythicist Aron Ra sees a composite historical charlatan Jesus (multiple Jesi) almost similar to Ehrman's historical sincere preacher Jesus. Whereas, I see Christ Titus grafted (Romans 11) onto the Egypto-Jew Monobazus (2) 'Kamza the Locust'.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Yes, the late Cyrus H. Gordon argued that Urfa/Edessa had been a typical trading outpost of the better known major Sumerian city of Ur to the south. This would be like Hebron was a trading outpost of the Hittites within Canaan, and then similarly was the later New Amsterdam cum New York.

Gordon argued persuasively that Abraham (and other patriarchs) was accurately depicted as a typical merchant prince of that day, with his armed retinue. Albeit the number (318) of his retinue of tsabians has an esoteric ring to it. In any case, the narrative has it with Abraham moving his caravan and herds from one one trading outpost to another. Some, like me, wonder if we are being told of the original Hyksos Shepherd King, and from Sumerian the word saba means 'shepherd'.
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
Finder's Seeker has just raised one pertinent response to this.
Well, I was only messin' with you. From "Judas of Nazareth" by Daniel Unterbrink, p. 16:

"The Fourth Philosophy of Judas the Galilean may have had its beginnings prior to the Golden Eagle Temple Cleansing (4 BCE). Before Judas the Galilean teams up with John the Baptist in 6 CE, he is an important and well-respected political activist working with Matthias; their messages and struggles parallel those of the earlier freedom fighters Judas Maccabee and his father, Mattathias."

But of course, parallel names, messages and struggles are probably just coincidental...
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Ellis discusses the Jewish synagogue zodiacs. He disputes their later dating, rather being consistent with the depictions of animals that Saul was sent to destroy, and the likely 'heretical beliefs of the Egypto/Hellenic/Jews, the so-called 4th sect.


Here's some interesting historical commentary on Vespasian's life, including some minor discussion of the mountain fortress of Gamla/Gamala:

 

Jerry Russell

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And, from Unterbrink's more recent "WHO WERE the HISTORICAL JESUS of NAZARETH and PAUL of TARSUS?" (Location 795):

(Timeline 1 - Herod the Great)

A . Herod the Great was responsible for founding the Herodian dynasty, his reign supported by the Romans, who had established roots in Judea as early as 63 BCE. Herod and the ancestors of Judas the Galilean first clashed when Herod put Ezekias to death in 37 BCE ( Antiquities 14.158-167).(3) Josephus claimed that Ezekias (or Hezakias) was a robber and a wicked man, yet Herod was accused by some of the chief men amongst the Jews for his brutality in the matter. Josephus stated that “the mothers also of those that had been slain by Herod …continued every day in the temple, persuading the king [Hyrcanus] and the people that Herod might undergo a trial before the Sanhedrin for what he had done” ( Antiquities 14.168). When Hyrcanus realized that the Sanhedrin was going to pronounce Herod guilty of murder, he advised Herod to flee. Herod complied and later repaid this kindness of Hyrcanus with death ( Antiquities 14.169-178). According to Josephus, Ezekias was a robber and a wicked man, yet his supporters were active at the temple and probably held the moral high ground. In this case, Josephus’ bias in favor of the Herodian ruling class is obvious.
B . The next clash between Herod and the nascent Fourth Philosophy concerns the Star of Bethlehem, where Herod slew children around Bethlehem thought to be a danger to his own rule. In the Slavonic Josephus, this episode occurs around 25 BCE, relatively early in Herod’s reign.(4) This same story is placed at the end of Herod’s reign (4 BCE) by Matthew‘s gospel. Certainly, Herod’s paranoia and fear for his rule clouded his reasoning. In Antiquities , Herod slew the sons of Baba, the last descendants of the Maccabees around 25 CE, corresponding to the dating of the Slavonic Josephus’ Star of Bethlehem. Josephus wrote: “and the kingdom was entirely in Herod’s own power, and there was nobody remaining of such dignity as could put a stop to what he did against the Jewish laws” ( Antiquities 259-266). Was the murder of the innocent sons of Baba the template for the “Star of Bethlehem” story? The difference in dating the two Star of Bethlehem stories is approximately 20 years: 25 BCE versus 4 BCE. The earlier Slavonic Josephus date makes sense considering the whole story of Herod and the movement forming against him. In Herod’s early reign, the Maccabees were the only real threats to his rule. By killing the last of the Maccabees, Herod removed any competition for power. The Gospel idea that the old Herod feared a baby is probably mythmaking, foreshadowing the importance of the coming Messiah.

Again Unterbrink is too cautious to state the implication: that Herod intended to kill all the last descendants of the Maccabees, but that the Star of Bethelem signified that one child survived.
 

Seeker

Active Member
By killing the last of the Maccabees, Herod removed any competition for power. The Gospel idea that the old Herod feared a baby is probably mythmaking, foreshadowing the importance of the coming Messiah.
Again Unterbrink is too cautious to state the implication: that Herod intended to kill all the last descendants of the Maccabees, but that the Star of Bethelem signified that one child survived.
The Maccabean ancestor of Josephus obviously survived (as Josephus was supposed to have been born about 37 AD), so I guess he either was lying about his alleged priestly/royal Maccabean ancestry, or, by implication, belonged to the surviving family of the Messiah.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
Agreed.

When Jerry was much younger :(, he came up with this brilliant theory of elite tribal 'submergence', where it seems that these people would disappear from the record while others remarkably like them pop up elsewhere. Maybe we should relabel this phenomenon as 'Russell Sabian Tunneling' (RuST)?

In any case, I generally believe that Ellis's approach to interpreting Josephus is the best, in trying to derive the most coherent narrative thread from as many sources as possible, realizing that Josephus (and Eusabius et al.) is playing various games of obscurantism.
 
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Richard Stanley

Administrator
The following is from a video discussing the Crusade era, but one can see both the proximity of Harran to Edessa (Urfa) and the finger of land labelled with the name 'Assassins', in today's Syria. Is it mere coincidence that the proper name for these people are the Nasari / Ismaili Shiites, and that this land is generally common to that we're discussing for the Nazarenes 1,000 years before?

As I've discussed before, the Templar / Crusaders made a detour to conquer Edessa before they went on to conquer Jerusalem.

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Strange bedfellows with Josephus and the Maccabees?

Bush 41 was great friends (Yale college roommates and later tennis partner) with the then current Ismaili Aga Khan (claimed to descend from Muhammed PBUH himself), even as VP 'sleeping' with his secretary at the Aga Khan's Swiss estate. Later the Ismailis would build their multi-million dollar American center in Sugarland, TX, where Bush 41 lived. Of course, the CIA Bush's were ecumenical as Bush 41 was great friends with the Sunni Bin Laden family as well. The Ismailis helped the CIA's Kermit Roosevelt depose Iran's President Mossadegh in 1953.

You see, we can all just get along ... today. As well, back in the day, the Sunnis accused the Shiite 'Assassins' (Sicari anyone?) of assassinating them, colluding with the Templars.

All coincidence people, nothing to see here.
 

Jerry Russell

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Staff member
When Jerry was much younger :(, he came up with this brilliant theory of elite tribal 'submergence'
I thought you came up with that idea! Or anyhow, you described the phenomenon with respect to the Jesuit suppression of ~1773 and their subsequent restoration following 1814, suspiciously timed so as to allow them to manipulate the American revolution behind the scenes.
 

Richard Stanley

Administrator
After having just brought up the Shiite Nasari / Ismailis, I might be accused here of committing an impious fraud, as coming to the 50% point in Jesus, King of Edessa, Ellis discusses the Nazarene association with castration and bloody self-flagellation. The latter phenomenon a practice of early Jesuits, at least, and the Shiite Muslims even today.

While the Ethiopians may or may not have used eunuchs [referring to Acts 8:27 - rs] in their administration, it is certain that the Nazarene Edessans did; in fact, it was a central tenet of their religion so that initiates could be more like their spiritual father, the Primaeval Adam, who was said to have been a hermaphrodite. This is why Jesus asked his disciples to become eunuchs in Math 19:12; and since Jesus is so closely linked to the city of Edessa, it is not surprising that Edessa also practiced ritual castration. This rather bizarre practice was banned by a later King Abgar, most probably Abgar VIII, and Bardaishan records this in his Book of the Laws of Countries:
In Syria and in Edessa men used to castrate themselves in honour of Tharatha; but, when King Abgar (VIII) became a believer he commanded that every one that did so should have his hand cut off, and from that day until now no one does so in the country of Edessa. (Book of the Laws of Countries, Bardaishan ch45.)
Ellis, Ralph. Jesus, King of Edessa (The King Jesus Trilogy Book 3) . Edfu Books. Kindle Edition.​

Ellis goes on to mention the cult of Kybele and Attis, and their practice of ecstatic castration of their priesthood, the Galli. This cult was generally practiced in the neighboring region of Anatolia, and I believe that it was also related to a meteoritic stone, and at one point the cult was brought to Rome. Kybele, the Great Mother, also related to the cult of Dionysius, via Sabazios, from where the Christian sacrament of the eucharist derived.

Ellis ponders the heavenly 'star' meaning of the Bible's Lord Sabaoth (of the heavenly armed host), and I have to wonder what the relationship of Saboath to Sabazius is, as well as the various groups of people known as Sabeans and such (including from Harran). As I have mentioned that 'saba' in Sumerian means 'shepherd', in other areas it means 'star', and 'seven' (the number of wisdom), for instance, in Spanish 'saber' means 'to know'. Additionally, there is the martial aspect of 'saber' in relating to a sword.

There is some thinking that the origins of Kybele goes all the way back to Çatalhöyük, evoking, via similar time frames, the extreme proximity of the astrotheological site of Göbekli Tepe to Edessa. If there are these extremely old associations, the Kybele's association with lions is quite apropos in the context of the work of such as Randall Carlson. As such, this all sounds like more evidence of the syncretism of religious mergers and acquisitions.

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In any case, Ellis goes on:

But the cult of castration in Edessa is interesting, as it was also a central part of Nazarene ritual. Hippolytus says of the Nazarene cult:
For (the Nazarene) say there is the hermaphrodite man (the Primaeval Adam) … (The Nazarene) say Attis has been emasculated, that is, he has passed over from the earthly parts of the nether world to the everlasting substance above, where, he says, there is neither female or male, but a new creature, a new man, which is hermaphrodite. (Hippolytus, Refutation of Heresies 5:2)
In other words the Nazarene cult were closely linked to the cult of Cybele-Rhea, the archetypal Gaia-style Mother Goddess. The consort of Cybele was the youthful Attis, and so this mother-son style relationship was very close to what we see in the marriage between Queen Ourania and her son Phraataces. But since Queen Ourania (Meherdath) and King Phraataces (King Abgar V) were now in Edessa, and since Attis was castrated at some point in his life, it is not so surprising that we should see a manifestation of the Cybelian castration cult in Edessa.
Ellis, Ralph. Jesus, King of Edessa (The King Jesus Trilogy Book 3) . Edfu Books. Kindle Edition.​
 
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