Continuous Modifications in Faith Fashions

Truth, it has been said, defines a principle which stands unchanged under any inquiry. By this measure of dependability we have a means to evaluate the reliability of claims, traditions and tenets of any faith system.  The reason for this thought has been initiated by a memory of events that occurred in 2011 concerning rabbis in Ashkelon, Israel where attempts were then being made to close out an ancient African-Jewish practice of Judaism–the ancient unmodified priest led version.

The Ethiopian followers of the more ancient Jewish faith system of belief claimed to be descendants of the alleged “lost tribes” of Dan.  It is a fact that for well over a thousand years ancient Jewish practices as once established in the crude book of Leviticus–a book that had been written by priests for priests and jimmied between Exodus and Numbers and which interrupted the Israelite plot line.  This early style version continued to be followed and led by priests in far-off Ethiopian communities.  Isolated from the rest of the Jewish factions the Ethiopian division maintained scriptural instructions on priesthood while in the rest of the Jewish world the priesthood was phased out and replaced by rabbis. Consequently the scriptural recorded practices such as sacrificing animals and the collection of first fruits of the harvest (for priest use) had prevailed among the Ethiopian Jews.  The old priest formula had remained in place in the distant African communities and the result of this was a reaction of discrimination in Israel against the Ethiopian immigrants who had followed the rejected earlier form of practiced reverence.  Neither side, apparently, had ever been alerted by god as to which of these two man-contrived methods of devotional indulgences was his preferred system to honor him.

The early priest concocted method of Judaic faith which the Ethiopian believers still followed was phased out around the later part of the sixth century BCE.  Indeed, it was in Babylonia where the actual character of the Jewish people began to be shaped among the exiles and where Judaism as such was really shaped.  Cyrus II of Persia freed the people of Judah from Babylonian captivity c. 536 BCE and aided the exiles return to Judah.  Virtually all that had once been instilled as sacred practice by the earlier Jerusalem priests of Yahweh had been largely forgotten after seven decades of exile in Babylonia.

In the life altering seventy year exile which is referred to as the Babylonian Captivity the people from Judah had been heavily influenced by the Chaldean and Persian cultures, which became united into one nation by the military might of Cyrus.  For the people returning to the land of Judah a sense of national unity became confident and optimistic.  By this time the Judaic people were accustomed to and influenced by the religion of Zoroaster.   Indeed, there is a Talmudic passage that freely acknowledges that the name of the months, and even the letters of the alphabet were brought back with the refugees who returned to the land of exile.  It was after the return to their homeland that the literature which is now cherished as the Torah was assembled and imposed by the priest authors as law.

The principal architect of the reconstruction of Judaic culture is claimed to have been a priest name Ezra–a somewhat shadowy figure of whom nothing really positive has ever been found in support of such a person.  The most likely scenario, dare we speculate, is that a few enterprising men who returned to the homeland discovered and utilized the earlier versions of priest-written “history” and exclaimed “aha!”  Here was a treasure trove: it only needed a bit of editing.  This they did under the nom de plum of Ezra to lend the aura of a divine messenger.  The Temple was rebuilt, and at the meetings held there this revised and edited “history” anthology was read aloud, which for all extent and purpose, gave holy authority to the texts.

To promote the amended anthology as holy authority the reworked texts were asserted to have been dictated by God to Moses,  so the editing job followed the same motivational reasoning of the earlier priest-authors of Yahweh.  It was in this same timeframe of Temple reconstruction that the rewrite authors also utilized the Babylonian character of Job, which, theologically speaking, is not Judaic in flavor.  It was in this borrowed literary work that Judaism was presented with the premier appearance of Satan–with a capital S. Unfortunately, the anonymous authors, i.e. Ezra, misinterpreted the astronomical and zodiacal significance pertinent to the original Babylonian story which clarified the relationship of such things as the names of the months, and the cosmological significance of the purely symbolic “angels”.  The “angels” in the borrowed literature were earlier references to the solar family’s planets.  It was not acknowledged even in the Babylonian version, however, that it was from Zoroaster that ideas of angels had become separated from ancient planetary references and reinterpreted by Zoroaster as making up an infernal hierarchy.  As a consequence ancient wisdom and symbolism became hopelessly confused.  And subsequent faith systems which have splintered off from this background have only added to that confusion.

The point which has been labored for here is that faith system modifications have been going on ever since our distant ancestors climbed down from primordial trees.  Different environments and life stresses always color previous superstitions, and it was the most boisterous and belligerent activists who most often managed to badger their pet superstitions into tribal culture as “holy law.”.

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