Peoples of the Flavian Book discussion

Emma Robertson

Active Member
An Archetypal Returner

The Jewish scriptures have a remarkable clue that the Yehudim were not natives of the hill country but were from Babylon. It is the story of Abraham, supposedly the father of the Jewish race who in the legend travelled from Ur “of the Chaldees” to Judaea. Abraham was allegedly travelling about 2000 BC but the Chaldees did not exist then, it was the name of the neo-Babylonian empire at the time of the “exile” so Abraham is simply a symbolic “returner” shoved into the past anachronistically.
Historians, believing the bible rather than their inspection of the relevant documents, have said that Cyrus was kind to Jews because he found the Jewish God so impressive and akin to his own god, Ahuramazda. Most biblical scholars would not be interested in anything that cast any doubt upon the bible, and if it looked threatening, would denounce it as fraud or copying or anything else they could think off. Here the evidence is as clear as could be that Cyrus manipulated the worshippers of Yehouah that he had returned to Jerusalem, exactly as he had manipulated the worshippers of Marduk.

Before the exile, Judahites conceived of their anthropomorphic tribal God as a fertility and storm god. The earlier Yehouah had been a local god that the simple hill folk of Palestine could easily recognize. Most called him “Baal” their word for “Lord”. The Jews who “returned” worshipped a different Yehouah from those who had been originally deported. This Yehouah was a universal god like Ahuramazda, the Persian Most High God, who thought nothing of choosing a foreign prince as a Jewish messiah. He was good, perfect, remote and a God of righteous living—just like Ahuramazda. He was, however, also a vengeful god for those who did not live righteously. Naturally, since no one previously had known that Yehouah was like this, all of His earlier worshippers were sinners! That is why He had had His revenge, but now He had sent the Persian kings as His saviours.

[...]

Darius the Great (522-486 BC)

The son of Cyrus, Cambyses, a more ruthless man than his father completed the conquest of Egypt, ending traditional pharaonic rule for good. Following standard policy, Cambyses transported the ruling class of the Egyptians, including Pharaoh and his family, to Susa, but legitimized his rule by paying homage to the Egyptian gods. Then, so as to appear to the common people as a deliverer, he ordered the administration to introduce reforms to benefit them. While conquering Egypt he incidentally made several north African Greek colonies, like Libya and Cyrenaica to submit, thus bringing more of the Greek world into the Persian ambit.

[...]

Respecting Gods of Vassals

All of the imperial powers that the Iranians met had a powerful national god. In Urartu—Khaldi, in Assyria—Assur, in Babylon—Marduk, in Elam—Humban. As Mary Boyce puts it: “This was the time of ethnic faiths, when every people honoured their own gods”. Maybe it was a reason that the Achaemenids adopted Zoroastrianism. It meant that generally an imperial state like Assyria would respect the gods of vassal states—the gods the vassal called upon as its witnesses to the vassalage treaty. The suzerain would make votive offerings to the gods of a subject people as a sign of good-will, most notably if they had surrendered rather than resisted.

Such “respect” did not mean that the imperial power would not impose its own gods on to people of countries it annexed into the empire rather than ruled as a colony, nor did it mean that the imperial power would not use diplomatic, cultural and propaganda campaigns to influence the attitudes of conquered or subject peoples in the colonies. They fully realized how much better it was to promote a sympathetic party in a nation than to batter it head-on with armies. Such methods were necessarily subtle because they would obviously not work if people realized they were being manipulated. These great conquering powers were not unsubtle—subtle enough to fool Jews and Christian scholars for millennia!

Western historians, especially Biblicists, persuade themselves that ruthless soldiers like the leaders of these imperial nations became pussy-cats when it came to religion. Out of pure kindness, they rebuilt temples, restored gods that had been suppressed, and returned plundered divine images stolen centuries before to the renovated temples. All in the hope the people would be grateful. It just does not hack. They knew human nature was more perverse than that. They did it, but the god restored and the ritual presented as proper were what suited the conquerors! And it is most unlikely that the restored priesthood were independent. They were agents of the conqueror.

Proof that the Persians were not tolerant in general is their treatment of their near neighbours, the friendly Elamites, non-Iranians who eventually were attacked for not worshipping Ahuramazda, and were punished severely for “hostility”. The Persians doubtless reached a point where they questioned the Elamites adherance to daeva gods, the people having been closely linked for a long time, but whatever the cause it shows that Persians were interested in other people taking up the worship of Ahuramazda.

[...]

Prophecy as Propaganda

Evidence that the Persians were great propagandists, and used prophecy for propaganda purposes, comes from an oracle delivered to Nabonidus of Babylon about 553 BC. Cyrus had ruled about five years, and the discovery of the oracle shows that in the eight years from his accession to the time when he defeated Astyages the Mede, he was carefully preparing the ground for it.

[...]

The question that this use of prophecy to influence events raises is whether the prophets of the Jewish scriptures served the same role. Boyce speaks of the “widespread activities of of Cyrus’s agents” who were “gifted as well as bold men”, and she accepts that similar religious propaganda appears in the bible, citing Isaiah 40-48. Yehouah picked Cyrus (Isa 44:27-45:4,13) and the Chaldaeans and Babylonians are punished (43:14;47:14). In reality, they were not because they surrendered with no trouble. It was also not true that Cyrus conquered Egypt and Nubia (Isa 45:14). That Cyrus was called the messiah (God’s anointed) even though, as a gentile, he could not have been descended from David according to the myth, shows both that this was a newly coined word and that the legend of king David had not yet arisen so that the messiah was not yet associated with David. The passage was written by a Persian propagandist.

Though Cyrus is depicted as messiah, and historical errors occur, it does not necessarily mean that Cyrus had prepared the ground in advance, as he did with Nabonidus. He might have done, true, but the legend might with more likelihood have been built up later, when Babylon had been punished for its own rebellions and Egypt had long been conquered by Cambyses. The myth of the search for Cyrus’s decree looks as though it was invented for propaganda purposes at exactly this time. It was found! The same ploy was used regarding Deuteronomy, but they pretended the discovery of it was before the Babylonian conquest!

Boyce goes on to say:

To this striking usage, Second Isaiah joins startlingly original theological utterances… markedly Zoroastrian in charcter.
Plainly they were not original in Iran but Boyce means they were in scriptural terms. This originality in Judaism is what makes Isaiah such a notable prophet for Jews and Christians.

Since Genesis and the Psalms are later than second Isaiah, the idea of Yehouah as the creator appears here in the bible for the first time too. It is a main theme of Isaiah 40-48 even though it is not directly relevant to the objective of assuring the Jews of deliverance by Cyrus as the agent of Yehouah. The implied power of the god as the creator would help assure the Jews that the prophecies would be upheld, but the extent to which the prophet dwells on the creation story shows it was not familiar to the audience. It was a new and unrecognized message to the “returners”.

The fact that he claims it is old (Isa 40:12;28) is a familiar theme of this type of propaganda. The people were being “returned” to a land that they had never known, and were being told legends they had never heard but had to accept were those of their ancestors who had been unjustly deported. So, the stories had to be presented as the ancient legacy of the people. Morton Smith sees second Isaiah as drawing on a specific Gatha of the Avesta. Yasna 44 is the source.

In Yasna 44, Zoroaster asks Ahuramazda questions to which the god replies simply such as “I am” or “I do”. Isaiah only differs in that the talking is done by Yehouah rather than the prophet.

Tell me truly Lord, who in the beginning, at the creation was the father of Justice? GY 44.3.1-2
Rain justice you heavens… this I, Yehouah, have created. Isa 45:8
Who established the course of the sun and the stars? Through whom does the moon wax and wane? GY 44.3.3-5
Lift up your eyes to the heavens. Consider who created it all, led out the host one by one. Isa 40:26
What craftsman made light and darkness? GY 45:5.1-3
I am Yehouah. There is no other. I make the light. I create darkness. Isa 45:7
The passages in Isaiah are not merely translations of the Avesta but their relationship is too close to be coincidence. Someone has paraphrased the content of the Yasna for a different audience and purpose. Ahuramazda is the Zoroastrian creator, this being his main title, and this title is being given to the local Ahuramazda—God of the Heavens, identified with the Greek Zeus, just as Yehouah was.


The prophets Haggai and Zechariah began to urge the building of a temple in Jerusalem in the “second year of Darius”. We get the biblical story of the Edict of Cyrus being sought and found in Egbatana (Hamadan). It sounds like typical Persian cunning—an application of their popular technique of finding ancient documents that upheld their foreign policy. Whether the edict was original or not, it suited Darius to find it and uphold it. Ezra 5:1-6:10 explains that the priests were to be rewarded for offering sacrifices and praying for the life of the king and his sons. As Boyce rightly observes, “the king’s generosity had an obvious political ingredient”. Ezra 6:14-15 says the task was completed in four years. As for generosity, the cost was initially from tribute raised, a loss-leader, so to speak because when the tradition of obligatory sacrifice and tithes had been accepted, the temple became self-supporting, and indeed the centre for collecting tribute.

[...]


Supposedly, Cyrus allowed deported people to return home as the scriptures say (Ezra 6:3-5). Several different peoples are mentioned on the cylinder seals and it is assumed that each of them would have had similar promises to those given above or in the Jewish scriptures. Frightened Biblicists attribute the whole of this Persian imperial policy to the magnanimity of the Achaemenids, with no conditions or ulterior motives. They dare not accept that religion was used for the purpose of foreign policy, to control the subject people.

In the days before mass communication, it was mass communication! Few people would not go to their temple or place of worship on the prescribed occasions and hear the words of their god read out. The strategy of the Shahanshahs was to ensure that what they heard inculcated respect for the Great King, the god that had picked him out to rule the world, and the laws that they formulated and presented to the people. To be rewarded the people must be obedient, and to pay their tithes and taxes was a duty to god. People who did this were righteous. Just in case they were not, and proving the practical nature of the whole policy of retoration, is the fact that “restored” temples in frontier territories nearly always had an attached fortress!—in Jerusalem, what eventually became the Antonia Tower.

The belief in the universal dominion of a supreme god, the idea that a local deity, let us say, Koshar of Ugarit, reigns also over Crete and Memphis, changed the formula of homage but left intact its content. A new ruler received the lordship from each universal god simultaneously, and established his relations to each god separately as before.
E J Bickerman
The Persian kings paid dutiful homage to each local god as the universal god. They had control of the land in fact through conquest, but sought to confirm it in law—the law of God, whatever name he had locally. So, their policy was to restore what had previously been national gods that approved local rulers, as a universal god that approved the Persian rulers. Obviously, this was a long-term policy. It was winning the hearts and minds, and simple people had to be treated differently from clever ones. That was the purpose of deportation. Clever people were removed from their power base and given a power base elsewhere that they held contrary to the local people and only with the support of the empire. They were made princes and priests in a strange country to control the local people on behalf of the Great Kings. They were privileged but precarious.

As Mary Boyce says:

It would have been impossible for the Persians to have imposed their own religion on the numerous and diverse peoples of the ancient lands they now ruled.
Cyrus and his descendants were not so crude. They did not impose their own religion, they generously “restored” the old one, using the proven method of deportation. But curiously enough, the old one had significant features of the Persian religion once restored. Boyce knows that Cyrus was an expert propagandist and there was no better propaganda than religious propaganda. The religious right in America know it still. Even liberal Presidents of the USA have to end every speech with the mantric words, “God Bless America”.

People of religious conviction are convinced that what is good for their god is good for everyone. Doubtless Persian kings felt the same way. Cyrus and Darius were not so foolish as to try to force people to worship an unknown god, but the Jewish scriptures testify to the fact that the restored god might not have been recognizable to the local population, despite a familar name and certain traditional trappings. Pace Bickerman, they rather changed the content of the old religions towards Zoroastrianism while leaving symbols intact.

The Same in Egypt?

Why leave out Cambyses? No reason, despite the bad press he had from the Greeks and Egyptians. They claimed he was a madman who knifed the Apis bull and had destroyed Egyptian temples. It seems not to have been true. Though his soldiers had plundered them, he had quickly taken action to stop it and “restore” them. Like his father, Cambyses was keen to use religion. He restored the priesthood of Sais, presented libations for Osiris and venerated Neith, the goddess of the city. He also claimed he was a legitimate ruler of Egypt because his mother was the daughter of the Pharaoh that Psamtik III’s father had deposed. Royal inheritance in Egypt remained in the female line until this point in history.

[...]
 

Emma Robertson

Active Member
Judaism and Zoroastrianism

Zoroastrianism was the source of Jewish monotheism, brought from “exile” on the “return” (Isa 43:10-13; Jer 10:1-16). Even Christian scholars note that the concept of Ahuramazda is closer to that of the Jewish God than that of any other eastern religion. The old Israelites of the Palestinian hill country were not monotheists. Before it was remodelled by the Persians, Judaism was polytheistic. The Jewish god was a tribal god—one of many Semitic tribal gods, generally called Lord, which in Semitic languages is Baal or Bel. A tribal god, of necessity, implies polytheism since there are other tribes. The idea of the covenant with one tribe, the Israelites, implies polytheism. In it God commands:

Thou shalt have no other gods before me, Ex 20:3
admitting there were other gods. When the sages wrote down the holy books, they introduced ideas from Zoroastrianism. Spentas became angels and divas became demons (devils). Their tribal god became a universal God but one which still favoured his Chosen People.

[...]

In Judaism, Deutero-Isaiah contains the first monotheistic declarations in the Bible, the first expression of universalism which has no antecedent in it, approaching the monotheism and universalism of Zoroaster just when the Persian King Cyrus appears as an apparent saviour for the Jews! A universal God must be monotheistic because only he is worshipped. A local god is only one of many. The Persians introduced the idea of a perfect, loving, universal god—Ahuramazda by any other name—whose earthly presence and saviour was the king of kings, the king of the Persian Empire. Thucydides (460-399 BC, War 4:50), quoting the words of the Persian, Artaphernes, who was captured taking a message from the Persian king to Sparta, confirms the idea of the king as saviour:

The best of our many good customs is that we revere the king and worship him as the image of God, God who saves everything.
Over 100 Persian words appear in the Judaeo-Christian bible. One of the last words uttered by Jesus on the cross was Persian (Lk 23:43). After the Persian conquest, Jerusalem became a Persian city in many respects. The threefold division of Persian society is reflected in Israel—priests, princes and Israelites.

It is an obvious and pressing fact that much exilic matter is present in many places in our present so-called pre-exilic texts. We might indeed be imperatively forced to doubt the uninfluenced existence of any pre-exilic texts at all.
L H Mills

Ahuramazda and Yehouah

The Persian religion was as monotheistic as the Jewish religion it created—it wasn’t! Judaism was never monotheistic and still is not, just as Zoroastrianism, however it might have been conceived by the Prophet, never ever was monotheistic. The Persians passed on the identical idea that they had about Ahuramazda—that he was the Most High God. The old gods were declared to be demons—but demons are gods, if gods are supernatural entities. And if there were demons as wicked spirits, there had to be angels as good spirits helping the good god. They had different levels of powers.

“Ahu” means life and forms part of the word Ahura which seems to equate with “living”, an obvious association with the sun (surya, asura, ahura), especially for people from cold climates. Here is another link with Yehouah, also said to mean “living”, from its supposed similarity to the first person singular of “to be”. Thus both Yehouah and Ahuramazda were understood as “living gods”. The title of Yehouah as the “Ancient of Days” equates with “Zrvani akarane”, “eternal time”, the Persian god Zurvan.

Both the Jewish and the Zoroastrian gods were ultimately supreme, though temporarily were not. Ahuramazda had to battle with the Evil Spirit, Ahriman, throughout material history, and Yehouah had to battle with Satan. Satan, originally a servant of God, appointed by Him as His prosecutor, took on the role of Ahriman as the enemy of God. Satan is not equal in power to Yehouah, yet the supreme god cannot destroy the lesser one. This is effectively the relation between Ahuramazda and Angra Mainyu. The serpent in Genesis is considered to be Satan. Snakes in Zoroastrianism are of the Evil Creation and, according to the Vendidad, it is the first of the Evil Creation and so represents the face of evil in the material world!

The Zoroastrian scheme is more complete because it offers an explanation of the two spirits, but Yehouism does not. Mazdayasnaism has many lesser spirits just as Yehouism has its angels, but the Evil Spirit in Zoroastrianism is equal to Ahuramazda in all respects except foresight.

The attempt to solve the problem in Judaism and Christianity with the fall from grace is no answer. In Zoroastrianism, Asmodeus (Aesmadaeva) is an angry spirit (Y 28:7) that led to the fall of man (Y 30:3) by offering humanity the worst mind. Some are tempted, but those of good mind will defeat the demons in the end. Yehouism has Satan as a fallen angel, but angels are supposed only to be lesser spirits, so there is no explanation of why Yehouah does not simply finish him off. Moreover, Yehouah, like Ahuramazda had foresight, so knew that they would fall from grace when he made them, just as he knew Adam and Eve would. Yet he went ahead and created entities that he knew would fall into evil. That is just the same as creating evil, because there was no need to do it once he had foreseen it.

Judaism and Christianity want a single absolute God, but the legends they acquired in the Persian period are of two equal gods, and they consequntly get into theological tangles, that Zoroastrianism does not have. Indeed, to all intents and purposes, many Christian sects today believe in an original Evil Spirit equal to God, at least on the earthly plane.

Ahuramazda was the author only of good, whereas Yehouah has to be the author of both good and ill (Isa 45:7), the angels but also the demons, that have such power in the New Testament. Did the Jews believe that the evil spirits, Satan and the Baals, railed against in the scriptures, were actually created by Yehouah? Much of the scriptures show that they were equal gods to Yehouah and the favourite name of God in the bible is not simply Yehouah but Yehouah of the Gods! YHWH Elohim. In places in the bible “elohim” stands alone and is translated as “the gods”. Furthermore, the prophets consider tha Baals as real gods, not simply idols.

Any attempt to produce evil from somewhere outside of the control of Yehouah makes the Jews and Christians just as dualist as the Iranians. No one does, though Satan is often characterized as the “god of the world” while Yehouah is the “god of heaven”, especially by Christians, whose Gnosticism still shines through, as if they were equal gods with different realms. This is just a distortion of the Zoroastrian belief that the material world has been corrupted by the Evil Creation. But in Zoroastrianism, it was fundamentally still the creation of the Good God, not the Evil One. The Evil Spirit could only contend with the Good God on the material plane in Mazdaism, but in Yehouism the fight was continued on the heavenly or cosmic plane. Again the Zoroastrian cosmogony is more complete.

[...]

Holy Spirits and Saviours

Ahuramazda has a Holy Spirit that sometimes seems to be him and at other times seems to be independent. This is identical to the Holy Spirit of Yehouah that has the same characteristics. It is not the only spirit of Ahuramazda however—there are six others, making seven in all. Yehouah has seven archangels. In the Book of Tobit the seven spirits appear at Ragha, the Zoroastrian Holy City, and one of them is called Raphael, the Jewish archangel! Tobit also has the name of an Avestan demon, Asmodeus. Zechariah 4:10 speaks of “these seven” that are the eyes of the Lord, and earlier had been the imagery of seven lampstands that appears again in Revelation. There again also are the seven spirits of God.

Mithras appears in the Talmud as Mittron (Metatron). This angel is not mentioned as such in the scripture but is seen as the “Angel of the Presence”, a role that Mithras seemed to have in Persian religion, possibly accounting for Mithras replacing Ahuramazda in the Persian religion that came west. The “Angel of the Presence” is God himself appearing in a form that can be looked upon by humans beings without terminal sunburn. He is also “one whose name is like that of his master”. “Who is like God?” is the meaning of the name Michael. It confirms what might have seemed plain anyway, that Michael is Mithras (Mica in Old Persian).

In Zoroastrianism, a spotless virgin conceives from the preserved semen of Zoroaster when she bathes in the lake where it has been preserved, and remains a virgin because she is not penetrated. She thus becomes the virgin mother of the last Saoshyant or saviour. This is according to the Bundahish which is late, but the elements of it can be seen in parts of the Avesta (Y 13:142, 19:92, 13:62) so, although alteration cannot be counted out, some similar legends existed in the earlier period.

The Jewish Messiah became a Saviour similar to the Iranian Saoshyant, in the shape of a future King of Israel who would save his people from oppression. Apologists try to make out that the Jewish idea of a Saviour did not come from Persia but came from their anguish of exile in Babylon and the covenant relationship they had with Yehouah that promised them his protection if they remain righteous. Yet the whole argument is manifestly anachronistic.

The writers of Matthew want to imply, through the introduction of the visiting Magi, that Jesus is the Saoshyant of the Zoroastrians, as well as the Christians. The Saoshyant:

…shall make the world progress unto perfection, and when it shall be never dying, nor decaying, never rotting, ever living ever useful, having power to fulfil all wishes, when the dead shall arise and immortal life shall come… Y 19:83
Compare this with Isaiah 26:19:

Thy dead men shall live, together with my dead body shall they arise. Awake and sing, ye that dwell in dust: for thy dew is as the dew of herbs, and the earth shall cast out the dead.

The Persians, like the post-exilic Jews, believed the soul remained with the body for three days—a dead person was not really dead until the fourth day when the soul had departed. This explains why Jesus was to rise on the third day. It also shows that the raising of Lazarus was an afterthought. The greatness of the miracle of raising Lazarus in the fourth gospel is that he had been dead for four days. His soul had departed and he was beyond recall. One would have thought that Jesus would have saved this exceptional miracle for himself.

[...]

A Law for the Priests

Heavy taxation by the Persians impoverished the people of even rich countries like Babylonia. Herodotus, before about 480 BC, says the Babylonians were rendered so poor they had to prostitute their daughters. So, having a system of control of the population through the privileged class of priests was essential. The Babylonian priests brought astronomy to its peak under Persian rule, showing that they had plenty of money and time for arcane studies. The Jerusalem variety of holy spongers were equally privileged.

The law, for all its supposed basis in God’s justice, served as the mechanism by which the priests squeezed every last shekel out of the poor. The priests were entitled to:

every sin and trespass offering (Neh 18:9);
parts of other offerings (Lev 7:30-34);
the first fruits of the
corn harvest,
the grape harvest,
the fig harvest,
the pomegranate harvest,
the olive harvest, and
the honey harvest (Dt 26:1);
in addition, “all the best of the oil and all the best of the vintage and corn” to make up between a sixtieth and a fortieth (Num 18:12);
of the remainder, a tenth had to be set aside for the lesser but more numerous temple functionaries called Levites, and the temples had to give a tenth of this to the priests (Num 18:20;
besides these, every twentieth loaf baked (Num 15:17);
every firstborn calf or its value in cash (Num 18:15);
a family’s first born son had to be “redeemed” at a month old by payment of 5 shekels (at least �50-100, about double in dollars) (Num 18:16)
of any animal killed for a family’s own consumption, “the shoulder, the two cheeks and the maw” (Dt 18:3);
a proportion of the wool sheared from a sheep;
any ox, ass, maidservant or manservant devoted to god (Num 18:14);
any restitution made for an injustice went to the priest when the person wronged could not recieve it (Num 5:5);
Just as in its daughter religion, Christianity, the tithes for the Jewish priests were extorted mainly by psychological power held by the priests through people’s fear of divine wrath.

As it says in Ecclesiaticus:

Fear the Lord and honour the priest, and give him his portion, as it is commanded thee: the firstfruits, and the trespass offering, and the gift of the shoulders, and the sacrifice of sanctification, and the firstfruits of the holy things. Ecc 7:31
In the early days of the reformation, the people refused to co-operate because they rejected the Persian reforms, and Nehemiah and Malachi record them being taken to task (Mal 3:9; Neh 13:10). A few generations down the line when the reforms had taken root, prompt payment of the tithes was an important sign of piety! Attendance at church and rattling the platter or collection boxes with coinage plays the same role in Christianity. The apocryphal book of Judith tells us that the people were loathe to deny the priests their sanctified portions even during drought and famine (Jud 11:13)

[...]

Few scholars would deny that the Jews had many of the central features of their religion from Zoroastrianism. They obtained from Zoroastrianism their beliefs in:

uncleanness and pollution;
angels and demons and their hierarchies—angelology and demonology;
the soul’s immortality;
the Last Judgment and the doctrine of the millennium;
rewards and punishments after death;
the heavenly book in which human actions are inscribed;
eschatology and resurrection;
the final purification of the earth;
a future state of a kingdom of God on earth;
heaven;
hell.
The idea of a covenant with god was imposed on the “returners” from exile, who had to impose it on the native people of the Palestine hills. The Persians are repeatedly shown on their sculptures making covenants with Mazda or Marduk. Persian held covenant relationships to be binding as an aspect of truth and had Asha and Mithras to guard them. Both saviour and covenant came from the Persians, the saviour was Cyrus and the covenant was with Ahuramazda, the God of Heaven, renamed Yehouah for the Jews, whose representative on earth was the Persian king.
 

Emma Robertson

Active Member
It's just 1/6th of the whole document. If you think it's too much you can remove it. I am not going to edit it to make it shorter. I already spent enough time trying to find the best excerpts.
 

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Yes, Jerry and I are long familiar with Magee's work. See this post: https://postflaviana.org/community/index.php?threads/from-chrest-to-christ.2462/post-13233

We believe, like most scholars today, that the formalized Temple Cult Judaism was indeed created in that Persian crucible, and like Magee we agree that the Achaemenids were indeed involved, hence Cyrus is explicitly mentioned as their messiah of that day. But that corpus was cobbled together and redacted from the prior period that was given birth to by the Egyptians (find our link for the Sabbah brothers' Secrets of the Exodus) of the 18th and later Dynasties.

It's just 1/6th of the whole document. If you think it's too much you can remove it. I am not going to edit it to make it shorter. I already spent enough time trying to find the best excerpts.
It may be best placed on a new thread. We'll let Jerry decide.
 

Emma Robertson

Active Member
could this human sacrifice to Yahweh have started all the way back with farmer Cain "sacrificing" shepherd Abel to him as a human blood sacrifice, as "the Lord" had rejected his first sacrifice of the fruits of his land.
Also notice that the Lord does not kill nor order Cain to be killed for what he did, but instead gives him a special "mark", which Saussy seems to think was the "powers and insignia of kingship", which made him more powerful than the common people.
Actually Yahweh punishes Cain by making him wandering forever. He only puts his mark on him to protect him from being killed because that would be an unfair consequence of his punishment, in my view (in alignment with Persian philosophy of a just God).

We must think why the story of Cain and Abel was written. If we keep in mind that it was written by Persian conquerors to discipline conquered Israelites we can see that it's a way to teach them not to kill each other out of envy. Envy arised in Cain because God had praised Abel's offering and refused Cain's ones. But God had praised it because Abel had offered his first born animals. Instead Cain had not offered his first born fruits. So he had lacked effort to give the best to his God.


https://www.quora.com/Why-would-anyone-think-Cain-killing-Abel-is-an-allegory-to-something-non-literal

Why would anyone think Cain killing Abel is an allegory to something non-literal?

The allegory is a flash back to the Persian Zoroastrian mythos (that was refined over time) but ended with the pure creator god having two sons. One son was loyal and mimicked his father’s character (likely the first born) and the other son became jealous and wanted to steal his father’s property and glory.
This aligns with the first born receiving a greater portion of the inheritance which was common in those times (thus initiating potential jealousy by the 2nd son and others). So the story reflected a real economic, social and legal issue.

Allegory are “made up” of course, and this one has lasted thousands of years. Why? Because it so perfectly embodies the literal truth of envy/jealousy/hate (secretly wanting what others have).
Even more, it embodies the core of the dualism in Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam: The eternal battle between good and evil.
The later Prodigal Son parable has a taste of this too but Jesus added grace and forgiveness to his story. Jesus wanted to minimize the image of a wrathful god and amplify the image of an “over-abundant” loving god which Jesus came to highlight (and die for).
That loving god was not happy to watch the disloyal son leave, but instead waited patiently for the son to return and welcomed back the repentant son.
The repentant son is emblematic of what all of us can do (and god remains patiently hoping we will do), repent and return home. To emphasize this, Jesus said that there are no truly sinless humans who need not repent. So it is a message for all of us.
 

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
We must think why the story of Cain and Abel was written. If we keep in mind that it was written by Persian conquerors to discipline conquered Israelites we can see that it's a way to teach them not to kill each other out of envy. Envy arised in Cain because God had praised Abel's offering and refused Cain's ones. But God had praised it because Abel had offered his first born animals. Instead Cain had not offered his first born fruits. So he had lacked effort to give the best to his God.
The Persians freed the Jews from the Babylonian conquerors. The Persian conqueror, i.e. Cyrus (the first Persian emperor), conquered the Babylonians (Nabonidus).
 

Seeker

Active Member
The 'Jewish' OT says that Esau will regain his rightful inheritance, and he did (thanks to Christ Titus); and that Ephraim and Judah will become as one, and it seems they may have, thanks to the Holocaust.
Roman Piso has Vespasian and Titus descended from Herod Pollio, and thus from Esau, through the mother of Vespasian, Vespasia Polla. http://www.angelfire.com/biz5/piso/her-flav.html. However, Suetonius has Vespasia Polla as the daughter of VESPASIUS Pollio, not Herod. "Vespasia came of good family, her father Vespasius Pollio of Nursia (Norcia) being three times a military tribune and also camp prefect, while her brother was a Senator with praetor’s rank" (Book Eight: I The Flavians). Also, could you please explain what you mean by Ephraim and Judah may have become as one, thanks to the Holocaust?
 

Seeker

Active Member
Charles and Camilla, what a coincidence (?), and they both have the "Freedom of the City of London", besides being a Knight and Dame of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. Charles has descents from the Habsburg Roman Emperors, the elite Italian Farneses (including Pope Paul III, who officially recognized the Jesuit Order in 1540), the elite Orsini Italian family, and the royal English Plantagenets, among other royalty and nobility. Camilla's late father, Italian businessman Camillo Crociani, was involved in the Lockheed Scandal, and her mother, former Italian actress Edy Vessel, took over his company, now known as Vitrociset. Also, I don't know if this is my imagination, but I was instantly struck by the resemblance of the female members of this family to the daughters of President Trump, but of course how can this be?
 

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Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
Yes, but also note the facial similarities between Trump and Charles.

Roman Piso has Vespasian and Titus descended from Herod Pollio, and thus from Esau, through the mother of Vespasian, Vespasia Polla. http://www.angelfire.com/biz5/piso/her-flav.html. However, Suetonius has Vespasia Polla as the daughter of VESPASIUS Pollio, not Herod. "Vespasia came of good family, her father Vespasius Pollio of Nursia (Norcia) being three times a military tribune and also camp prefect, while her brother was a Senator with praetor’s rank" (Book Eight: I The Flavians).
And as Carotta noted, it was the history of Asinius Pollio that formed the typological basis for the gospel narratives of Jesus' mission in Gallilee. Which begs the question of just how much of Josephus' account of the war is based upon this as well, since it is typologically interwound with the gospels as Atwill has shown.
Also, could you please explain what you mean by Ephraim and Judah may have become as one, thanks to the Holocaust?
I any be wrong about the Holocaust having been the occasion, that it is yet to occur. In any case, the 'sticks' are the 12 tribal sticks that were in the tableau of the Exodus tabernacle. After WWII John XXIII told the Jews assembled before him that he was their 'Joseph', cryptically implying Ephraim. This could be interpreted that the two sticks are not yet one, but is to come.

15The word of the LORD came again unto me, saying, 16Moreover, thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it, For Judah, and for the children of Israel his companions: then take another stick, and write upon it, For Joseph, the stick of Ephraim, and for all the house of Israel his companions: 17And join them one to another into one stick; and they shall become one in thine hand. 18And when the children of thy people shall speak unto thee, saying, Wilt thou not shew us what thou meanest by these? 19Say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the stick of Joseph, which is in the hand of Ephraim, and the tribes of Israel his fellows, and will put them with him, even with the stick of Judah, and make them one stick, and they shall be one in mine hand. 20And the sticks whereon thou writest shall be in thine hand before their eyes. 21And say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: 22And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: 23Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions: but I will save them out of all their dwellingplaces, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God. 24And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them. 25And they shall dwell in the land that I have given unto Jacob my servant, wherein your fathers have dwelt; and they shall dwell therein, even they, and their children, and their children's children for ever: and my servant David shall be their prince for ever. 26Moreover I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them: and I will place them, and multiply them, and will set my sanctuary in the midst of them for evermore. 27My tabernacle also shall be with them: yea, I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 28And the heathen shall know that I the LORD do sanctify Israel, when my sanctuary shall be in the midst of them for evermore. (Ezekiel 37 KJV)​
 

Seeker

Active Member
After WWII John XXIII told the Jews assembled before him that he was their 'Joseph', cryptically implying Ephraim. This could be interpreted that the two sticks are not yet one, but is to come.
This occurred in 1960 when Pope John XXIII received a Torah scroll from a delegation of American Jewish leaders in gratitude for the Jewish lives he had saved during the Holocaust. His concluding remark to them was "I am Joseph, your brother" (Genesis 45:4), using his middle baptismal name, Giuseppe. Eventually, the statement "Nostra Aetate" was overwhelmingly approved by the Council Fathers on Oct. 28, 1965, rejecting the charge of Jewish guilt for the death of Jesus, and calling on the Church to engage Jews in a "dialogue of mutual esteem". https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/pope-john-xxiii
 

Jerry Russell

Administrator
Staff member
An interesting example of this "merger of sticks" is Attorney General William Barr. Barr's father was a Jew who converted to Catholicism, while his mother was Catholic. He attended a Catholic grammar school, and then a "nonsectarian (but largely Jewish)" prep school.

WSWS ran an article today about a recent speech from Barr:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/11/05/barr-n05.html

US Attorney General William Barr and the establishment of religion

US Attorney General William Barr made a highly provocative speech at the University of Notre Dame on October 11, ostensibly on the subject of religious freedom. In what was perhaps more properly viewed as a sermon, or papal encyclical, Barr made the case for a fusion of church and state. Specifically, Barr argued that Judeo-Christian morality held the country together and that publicly funded religious education should serve as the cornerstone of a desperately needed “moral renaissance.”
To appreciate the reactionary character of the speech—and a more explicit government endorsement of religion could hardly be imagined—unfortunately requires some extensive quoting.

Follow the jump for the long article...
 

Seeker

Active Member
Roman Piso has Vespasian and Titus descended from Herod Pollio, and thus from Esau, through the mother of Vespasian, Vespasia Polla. http://www.angelfire.com/biz5/piso/her-flav.html. However, Suetonius has Vespasia Polla as the daughter of VESPASIUS Pollio, not Herod. "Vespasia came of good family, her father Vespasius Pollio of Nursia (Norcia) being three times a military tribune and also camp prefect, while her brother was a Senator with praetor’s rank"
I read the fine print of Roman Piso and he has Herod Pollio as aka Vespasius Pollio, though it seems like quite a stretch to me to have a career Roman officer become a Jewish ruler, although Pontius Pilate may have in effect become like that (without the alias!).
And as Carotta noted, it was the history of Asinius Pollio that formed the typological basis for the gospel narratives of Jesus' mission in Gallilee. Which begs the question of just how much of Josephus' account of the war is based upon this as well, since it is typologically interwound with the gospels as Atwill has shown.
Also, I have seen this Asinius Pollio in a genealogy leading to Holy Roman Emperor Charlemagne. Unfortunately, no sources are mentioned, but I am guessing that this is something that French genealogist Christian Settipani may have come up with, since he was big on connecting ancient Roman families to Charlemagne, which in turn would lead to Asinius Pollio being the ancestor of those of us with Carolingian forebears. It seems that all roads lead to Charlemagne (and thus to Rome), genealogically speaking, though it must be noted that so far this is all speculation.
 

Richard Stanley

Well-Known Member
I read the fine print of Roman Piso and he has Herod Pollio as aka Vespasius Pollio, though it seems like quite a stretch to me to have a career Roman officer become a Jewish ruler, although Pontius Pilate may have in effect become like that (without the alias!).
No wonder Joe Atwill wants these DNA results. :rolleyes:
 

Seeker

Active Member
No wonder Joe Atwill wants these DNA results
I know how he feels, I am still awaiting my final "Big Y" DNA results, so that I can claim that I am a male line descendant of Chester Christ and receive the "entitlement" that I am sure I deserve for that "accomplishment" o_O
 
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