Archive for Jews

What Marked Jerusalem as Holy

Posted in agnoticism, Atheism, Atheist, belief, Bible, faith, history, prehistory, random, religion, thoughts with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 1, 2010 by chouck017894

What was it about the location that became Jerusalem that inflamed Yahweh priests with the obsession that a temple must be built upon one certain mount in Judaea?  Even before the priests of Yahweh arrived at the mount, the site had been regarded as sacred by inhabitants of the region.  The earliest known name for the site was Ur-Shalem (or Yeru-Shalem), and from as far back as can be traced the hub area of Ur-Shalem encompassed three particular mounts.  The most ancient names of the mounts seem to point to some singular association that is yet to be discovered.  The southernmost mount had the name of “Mount of the Signal” in antiquity; the northernmost peak is said to have been known as “Mount of the Observers.”  The central mount, however, seems to have been central in more ways than one, for it bore the name “Mount of Directing.”  This is the mount which is claimed to have been seen by Abraham from a distance; he is alleged to have  witnessed a heavy cloud over this mount in which the glory of god was seen.  The word Ur translates roughly as fire or light, but the word Shalem is remarkably similar to the Hebrew shalom, the greeting or farewell meaning peace.  Jerusalem has thus been said, rather ironically considering its history of discord, to mean light and peace.  Another speculation is that shalem means something like the perfect place.

Curiously the barren mountain site that would become Jerusalem lacked the basic needs for a center of religious or political pursuits.  There was neither water nor food sources near the site, nor even any trade or military routes anywhere near.  One might be inclined to call it a god-forsaken place!  Around c. 2000-1800 BCE there was little in the region but small sparsely inhabited highland areas.  When the Yahweh priests arrived they were already determined that one particular spot there was marked out as a center that god favored.  What was the supposed special indicator that the place was blessed by heaven?  It was a massive artificially cut rock.  The priests were divinely certain that despite the stone’s antiquity it had all been fashioned just for them.

The sacred rock was  known in Hebrew as Eben Sheti-yah, and translates as the “Stone from which the world was woven.”  This reference seems to hold an intricate relationship to the more ancient names for the three mounts mentioned earlier upon which Jerusalem evolved.  The sacred rock can be deduced as once having served as a kind of platform that was put in place atop artificially cut massive stone blocks—in pre-diluvial times.  The sacred rock at the Jerusalem location has a startling similarity in age and structure to the more massive stone platform located at Baalbeck, in today’s Lebanon.  This sacred rock, therefore, existed for millennia before c 1000 BCE—which is the timeframe when David is alleged to have captured the sparse area (today’s Mount Zion) from the Jebusites (an early tribal league).

Tradition says that the sacred rock was cube-like, with its corners precisely facing the four directions of the compass.  In addition, it is said that two tube-like funnels had been bored out of the rock, and these connected to a subterranean tunnel.  How these feats could have been accomplished in prehistory times, or the purpose they served is unknown.  Tradition has it also that the construction plans for the temple that was erected later had been provided directly by an unnamed source which holy myth, of course, credits to “the Lord.”

We should also note that ancient names of the valleys in the area carried special implication as well.  For example, Isaiah spoke of one of them as the Valley of Hizzayon, which loosely translates as Valley of Vision.  Ugaritic texts tell of divine healers in a valley they called Valley of Repha’im (the healers).  Legends from prehistory times also tell of a subterranean region in “the Valley of Hinnom,” where the entrance could be discerned by a column of smoke that rose between two palm trees. 

Archeological research has shown that the biblical accounts of Canaan-Israel-Judah history are far from reliable.  A brief example: the character of Saul (c. 1025-1005 BCE), the alleged first king of Israel, was supposedly installed by the eleventh century BCE judge and “prophet” Samuel.  This places it in the Iron Age I period.  Nothing has ever been unearthed in archeological digs that even suggests that a prosperous united monarchy existed then.  And no archeological evidence has ever been found of David’s alleged kingdom, and no indication of the conquests attributed to David have been unearthed either.  In fact, evidence reveals that settlements in the Jerusalem region in this Iron Age I timeframe experienced no interruption of Canaanite culture.  Likewise, in regard to David’s alleged son Solomon (time setting c. 970-931 BCE), nothing has ever been brought to light of any monumental architecture in Jerusalem, Megiddo or Hazor in this timeframe as has been attributed to Solomon. 

The holy truth is that precious little reliable priestly accounting of Israel or Judah surfaces until around 800 BCE.  Even then much of the priest-written “history” has been freely embroidered upon.  It is wise to remember that Jews are never mentioned until the Maccabees (Hasmonaeans), a Jewish dynasty of “patriots,” high priests and kings of the 2nd and 1st century BCE who sought to rouse the Jews against their Seleucid ruler.

  •  See related posts, The David Saga, parts 1 and 2; and  Solomon’s Majesty, August 2009.

Born Again Secrets

Posted in Atheist, Bible, Christianity, culture, history, random, religion with tags , , , , , on April 13, 2009 by chouck017894

In Christian gospel there appears in one book, and one book only, a two-word phrase found nowhere else in biblical lore: born again. As is the habit of those who confuse their ego with divine worthiness, they have lifted the phrase out of context to use as a title of their self-proclaimed worthiness of heaven’s favoritism.

It is curcial, however, to understand when, where, and to whom Jesus supposedly said the phrase “born again.” The words are found in a brief scene in “St John’s” rendition of the Jesus story, and the words are said to a bit-player named Nicodemus, identified as “a ruler of the Jews,” who appears only twice in John’s storyline. It should be noted that the book of St John was written c.105-106 CE, when resistance to Roman rule was so sharp that the Pharisees actively discouraged Jews from travel in Italy and other parts of the Roman Empire declaring them to be “unclean.” But the John book was inserted later between Luke and Acts– both written c.84-90–to give the appearanace of event-continuity in Jewish resistance to the new cult movement.

The name given for the “ruler of the Jews” is a shrewd clue that passes along covert meaning only to those who were privileged to secret ancient teachings. The name is manufactured on neco-demon, loosely translated as “matter as devil.” This is Gnostic material, which the church fathers held to be heretical, but here it is so well reworked that it has become deeply rooted in some Christian sects, and the castoff line to a bit-player is taken as Jesus’ prime message to the world. But since the writer of the tale made a point in verse one of chapter three that Nicodemus was “a ruler of the Jews,” it is to the Jews that Jesus says, “You people must be born again.” (In many reworkings of this verse the word “people” has been edited out.) Then later, verse 10, Jesus asks, “…Art thou a master of Israel and knowest not these things?” The implication is that the Jews, whose alleged “ruler” was Nicodemus, epitomized matter as of the devil.

The single meeting of Jesus with the bit-player Nicodemus gives additional clue to the secret meaning in the name, for Nicodemus is portrayed as coming to Jesus “in the night” and just before Passover. With this single line there is cunningly welded together four approaches to “faith”: Jewish, Gnostic, the struggling Christian hybrid, and the suppressed ancient teachings that predated even the Egyptian and Sumerian civilizations.

Artfully admitted in St John 3:5-7, in the comment attributed to Jesus, is that ancient secret teachings are being referred to: “Most truly I say to you, Unless anyone is born from water and spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. What has been born from the flesh is flesh, and what has been born from the spirit is spirit. Do not marvel because I told you, You [people] must be born again.” Thus ancient teachings on man’s energy composition, then known only to select persons, was reduced to political maneuvering. (See The Celestial Scriptures: Keys to the Suppressed Wisdom of the Ancients for original teachings on energy as matter, and what water, spirit, night, and pass-over meant.)

The second and last strange appearance of Nicodemus in 19:39 casts him as providing the material for the entombmentof Jesus’ mortal remains.

It should be noted that St John summed up his account of Jesus’ life in a statement that is illogical in regards to a mortal man–even a god-sired man. “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”

This superfluous tidbit between narrator and audience was typical of all Pagan passion plays and was often employed in Roman presentation. (It is noted in Time Frames and Taboo Data that no one has ever provided authentication of John.)