Determinism, Speed of Light Take Back Seat

It is called Quantum Entanglement and it has just been proven more true, repeatable time and again with the same identical results (so far), and so must exist as a law, if not near-law, in Quantum Mechanics. The implications of this being law are massive!

Why massive? Let me first share what experiment just took place further proving the truth of quantum entanglement, or what Albert Einstein called “spooky action at a distance,” and what was done and what it means, then I will discuss the possible implications, particularly for ethics and morals.

Two Distant Separate Quasars Judge Proceedings

The old guard, i.e. classical physics and/or philosophy, hold that for an event or action at one point to have an influence at another point, something in the perceived space between those points such as a field or unseen supreme being must arbitrate the action. To exert an influence or force, something, e.g. a wave, energy, or particle, must travel through the field between the two bodies, carrying the information/influence. Therefore, the principle of locality implies that an event/force at one point cannot cause an instantaneous, simultaneous result at another point. This also implies then that Quantum Mechanics violates either locality or realism, and models of Hard Determinism. More on this later.

What is undeniable and already happening is the dawn of Quantum Supremacy. What is Quantum Supremacy? Currently, and over the last decade or more, conventional supercomputers and microprocessors like the phone in your hand or laptop at your office do computations using bits-flipped like a coin with heads and tails; 1’s and 0’s and various binary combinations of those 1’s and 0’s. Polarity is another way of looking at it:  positive and negative combinations. The bigger the calculation, the more bits/coins (size and time) the microprocessor requires in today’s supercomputers. With quantum bits/processing (Qubits or Qb’s) they are a combination of 1’s and 0’s, or heads or tails as if the coin was constantly spinning on its axis showing both sides:  the more qubits, the greater the processing power.

quantum computer

A Quantum computer

What these calculating speeds mean is that Quantum Supremacy can make so many large, various calculations simultaneously that the number would exceed all the atoms in the entire observable Cosmos. The observable cosmos is currently measured at about 93-billion light-years in diameter. Try to imagine the number of atoms in that space. Quantum Supremacy is essentially reaching or is on the doorstep of consciousness. These quantum computers and quantum encryption rely on quantum entanglement being real, a law of nature!

Since the 1920’s and 1930’s Quantum physicists have theorized various forms and possible laws pertaining to the activity, behavior, and makeup of subatomic particles and their predicted or probable condition at any given time. However, old habits and stubborn ideologies and traditions die hard. Dare I say they sometimes appear immortal, divine, impervious, and immeasurable.

Not anymore, or not so much.

animated particlesMany scientific experiments have been made to test the veracity of quantum entanglement. All of them in their specific parameters have so far shown that quantum entanglement is real, but quite difficult to consistently explain. The nagging counter-argument has always been the freedom of choice loophole. This loophole basically means or purports that a hidden classical variable (God?) can or does influence (in degrees) how a curious experimenter/observer measures a subject, or in this case an entangled particle. Is that too confusing to wrap your head around? No worries. Here’s a tangible analogy.

Imagine the Universe as a bar-pub with 20 different beers listed above the bartender for you to drink. You think you can order any of the 20 beers, but then the manager from the back tells you, “We’re out of the lagers,” and so it turns out only thirteen of the beers are really on draft. You still have the freedom to choose from the remaining thirteen beers, but you were over-counting your degrees of freedom while unexpectedly reducing your chance of excessive inebriation! Woohoo! A good thing, right? Eh, depends on the size of the beer-drinker, his or her thirst, and the size of beer-glasses, and whether you have that much money to pay… or find your mouth by the time the 10th or 12th beer-glass is served and gravity kicks in like a MoFo! Get the loophole picture? God or gravity does not want you drinking so many good beers.

But in February 2018 our favorite pub-bar was completely redone, restaffed, restocked, and redefined. Sorry Jim, John Zande, and Arkenaten. Using the William Herschel Telescope in conjunction with the Galileo National Telescope—both a half-mile apart from each other—at the Roque de los Muchachos Observatory, in La Palma, Spain in the Canary Islands, a team of physicists led by Anton Zeilinger of the University of Vienna and David Kaiser of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, focused on two different High-Redshift quasars billions of light-years away (7.8 and 12.2) in order to determine whether the light-photons are more red or blue than a baseline. Since those photon-lights of the quasars being measured by the telescopes are actually over 7.8- and 12.2-billion years old, the likelihood that some classical mechanism, process, or loophole could intervene/interfere with their tests are precisely 10 ¯²°, or 1 in 100 billion billion. There is no conspiracy because the Earth is only 4.5 billion years old. However, there are probabilities as tiny and as far into outer space as you could impossibly imagine!

detector schematic-entangled photons

D. Rauch (Phys. Rev. Lett. 121, 080403)

For the purpose of quantum entanglement, determinism, and the speed of light, what Zeilinger’s and Kaiser’s two 15-minute experiments—of over 17,000 and 12,000 pairs of entangled photons—showed was that the photon quasar pairs were indeed quantumly entangled even while located billions of light-years apart. Therefore, it is only a 1 in 100 billion billion chance that quantum entanglement does not exist. Like it or not, it is quite real and to Einstein’s chagrin, it is faster than the speed of light. Want a more layman’s description of that speed? If you could travel the speed of light, you could go around the entire Earth 7.5 times in one second. I’ll give you less than a minute to catch your breath.

The Ethical and Moral Implications of Quantum Entanglement

Earlier in this post I mentioned that Quantum Mechanics violates either locality or realism, and models of Hard Determinism. The origin of Determinism, and most certainly Hard Determinism can be found in several ancient Bronze and Iron Age, Classical Age, Post-Classical, and Early Modern civilizations and their histories. One of those civilizations or cultures that heavily influenced our Western Civilizations was ancient Judaism, Judaeo-Christianity, and Medieval-to-Modern Christianity. One consistent theme throughout all three of those aforementioned cultures was the implied and Scriptural sovereignty and foresight of their Judaeo-Christian God “YHWY” or Yahweh. In other words and for our identification and distinction here, God is causa sui, or a self-caused cause, timeless, the beginning of all beginnings in need of no cause to be. The overwhelming (canonical) Scriptural corroboration for this follows:

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)

Before the mountains were born
Or You gave birth to the earth and the world,
Even from everlasting to everlasting, You are God. (Psalm 90:2)

“For I, the Lord, do not change… (Malachi 3:6a)

O Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
You understand my thought from afar.
You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And are intimately acquainted with all my ways.
[…]
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.

For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb. (Psalm 139:1-13)

And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do. (Hebrews 4:13)

And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high… (Hebrews 1:3)

The Lord has established His throne in the heavens,
And His sovereignty rules over all. (Psalm 103:19)

Are not two sparrows sold for a cent? And yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So do not fear; you are more valuable than many sparrows. (Matt. 10:29-31)

What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be! For He says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” (Romans 9:14-15)

Also Romans 8:28-39; Ephesians 1:3-14; 2:8; and 2 Timothy 1:9-10 and many more.

Clearly, according to the Jewish and Judaeo-Christian or Christian “God” of their canonical Bible there is no room for freedom of choice or free-will. This is also called Incompatibilism. No doubt, there will be thousands of other Christians, preachers and scholars alike (Wayne Jackson), screaming “foul, lies, and apostasy” at me. Yet, as shown by the above passages “God” is in complete and total control of everything and ultimately you. We are merely players acting out our preconceived programmes according to their Holy Scriptures and wildly enough, this is also believed and taught by some non-Christians. This thinking and imposed determinism (apostasy?) was further defined and defended by the creation of at least 10 classic dogmas, three that I emphasize deserve special attention:

  • Being – from Parmenides and Plato to Heidegger and Sartre, all Becoming and Time has been seen as a corrupt this-worldly illusion, preventing us from seeing the Great Chain of Being. All events are extratemporal and simultaneous in the eyes of God. Aquinas’ totem simul.
  • Necessity – Necessity is often opposed to chance. In a necessary world there is no chance. Everything that happens is necessitated. Nothing is contingent. From Leucippus to the Stoics, Leibniz, and Spinoza.
  • Analysis – from Pythagoras, Plato, Euclid, Archimedes, and Galileo comes the powerful train of thought that everything can be explained by analytical mathematical functions. Newton’s mathematical laws of motion for celestial bodies was the crowning achievement for analysis. For William Blake, breaking things into their component parts to analyze their workings was “murder to dissect.”
  • Certainty – Descartes’ quest for an undeniable fact on which he could erect the Truth of Philosophy and the Christian Religion.
  • Logic – Logical determinism is the simple idea that events in the future must be as true or false today as they will be after they happen. Aristotle doubted this in his famous discussion of the Sea Battle.
  • Causality – Aristotle and the great Scholastic thinkers imagined a causal chain from the First Cause to the present moment. Although David Hume said we could not prove causality from mere appearances of Regularity, he nevertheless believed deeply in Necessity, above as the 2nd bullet-point.
  • Physical – The first great determinism was that of the earliest physicists and philosophers Leucippus and Democritus. For them there was nothing but atoms moving through a void. Later the Stoic physicists based physical determinism on the Laws of Nature or the Laws of God, since they identified Nature with God via General Revelation.
  • Mechanism – If classical mechanics could explain the motions of the heavens as the result of natural laws, the same laws might explain human beings, including the individual mind and society. Enlightenment philosophers wrote of “Man as Machine.” Planetary motions and mental processes were compared to mechanical clockworks.
  • Reasoning – The idea that the universe must be rational—because its designer was rational, because thought would not be possible without reason, because natural laws must be rational, etc.—convinced many thinkers that reason allows only one future, and only one possible choice for the rational will.
  • Truth – The idea that one man, one religion, or one state possesses the One Truth (Monisms like 1 Corinthians 1:10) has been one of the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought.
bible determinism

(Abaco Bum, Flikr, Public Domain)

Some of these past thinkers, reformers, revolutionaries, prophets, preachers, apostles, philosophers, patristic fathers and what have you, would turn these dogmas into indivisible, lowest common denominator fundamentals, or immutable laws that all knowledge, thought, or the best science could not exist without one or more of the ten being unequivocally “true.” Bold? Misguided? Ignorant?

As Quantum Physics, Mechanics, and Computing become more understood, more refined, and harnessed beyond the speed of light to the point of consciousness, it would be an understatement to say humanity is near or undoubtedly at an unprecedented place in history. With quantum entanglement and computing anything is or will be possible because observed measurements (moral/ethical judgments) can never be more than probabilities. Hard Determinism denies any randomness in the operation of the world. Old guard traditionalist and Monists deny chance. They turn their eyes away from the underlying chaos in the universe. Probabilities and subjectivism makes their stomachs ill and their skin crawl. As William James succinctly described, Determinists or if I may, Absolute Certainists(?), have antipathy to chance and adequate probability.

Quantum entanglement and supremacy forces them to see the magnificent kaleidoscope of ergodic, creative phenomena that can build adequately determined information-blueprints in spite of, and basically on top of, our perpetual chaos. Hah! Ergodic procedures control, contain, constrain, and co-opt entropic chaos, using it to their own teleonomic ends of biological creativity, and, in the case of animal intelligence, human freedom. In a few words, Monism or classic Determinism, especially hard determinism, or causality is just plain ignorance and there is now ample evidence proving it does not exist. But there will always be hard-line deniers of pluralism and uncertainty.

Reason is the Devil’s greatest whore,” Martin Luther believed. I guess then it follows Luther’s logic that Quantum Entanglement is God’s invigorating libertine, huh? Mmm. Oh the rampant debauchery of it! Be still my thumping heart and nether parts!

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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Steve Green: Fiction, Foolery & Frauds

snake-oil

By now you have likely heard or read about the fake Dead Sea Scrolls or forgeries inside the recently opened Museum of the Bible in Washington D.C. The museum was built and stocked by retail chain Hobby Lobby owner and multi-billionaire, evangelical Steve Green. What many might not know or have forgotten is that this foolery is not the first time Steve Green has knowingly bought and promoted fake, fraudulent artifacts from the Classical and Antiquity Eras in the Near East. Similar to the 19th-century Old West medicine and “miracle elixirs” touring-shows of magical tricks, musical acts, jokes, and fantastical storytelling, smarter discerning people today can certainly argue that Mr. Green has an addictive sweet-tooth for fantasy and hoaxes.

In 2011 a FedEx package from an Israeli antiquities dealer labelled “hand-crafted clay tiles” with a stated worth of less than $300 drew the suspicious attention of U.S. Customs officials. They opened it and instead of home or bathroom decor it was 300 cuneiform clay tablets in Assyrian and Babylonian languages stolen in great numbers during the U.S.-Iraqi War and its aftermath over the last few decades then sold on the black market.

In 2014 while visiting the Vatican’s Verbum Domini II exhibit of antique Bibles and Bible-related artifacts, an Italian papyrus expert immediately noticed a tattered fragment containing verses from Galatians 2 written in Coptic. It was being sold on eBay many months earlier by a Turkish dealer known to be unreliable and dishonest. Several of his colleagues believed he was a smuggler of anything that would sell to evangelical buyers, fake or otherwise.

Both the clay tablets and the papyrus were dubiously purchased and owned by Steve Green.

This month Steve Green’s Museum of the Bible was forced to publicly acknowledge that five (and probably seven) of their “Dead Sea Scrolls” are forgeries. Continued scientific examinations on the museum’s remaining scrolls, perhaps other artifacts if the Greens allow, will probably reveal more similar results. Why? Because from 2009 to 2014 word spread rapidly throughout Antiquities dealers (of any sort) in the Near East that authorized dealers of the multi-billionaire Green family were purchasing around 40,000 ancient biblical-religious artifacts for their future museum in Washington D.C. This whirlwind of money and hyper fast-track purchases ignited a buzz in the market never before seen. The New York Times in 2010 reported “[t]he buying [had] also spawned some skepticism about the overall quality of purchases made in such rapid-fire style.

Museum-of-the-Bible

The Hobby Lobby of Biblical Fakes n Frauds” in Washington D.C.

Joel S. Baden of the Yale University School of Divinity described Green’s incompetent acquisitions this way:

Every antiquities seller knew the Greens were buying everything and not asking questions about anything.

Aside from the hap-hazard amateur acquisition methods the Greens employed, there is another serious problem:  the unprincipled, unethical intent to show in their museum fraudulent items as factual originals rather than labeling them modern replicas.

These practices by the Greens soon put them in the cross-hairs of the U.S. Justice Department. Hobby Lobby had to pay a $3-million fine as well as surrender and return the thousands of illegally acquired ancient artifacts from Iraq that were knowingly smuggled into the U.S. by Mr. Green. The Hobby Lobby tycoon, however, has his evangelical agenda working in several other areas of public life.

The Greens have spent massive amounts of money to confuse, redefine, and rewrite our clear Constitutional lines between church and state and their separation. In the 2014 Supreme Court decision of Burwell vs Hobby Lobby, “closely held for-profit” corporations like Hobby Lobby can refuse their employed women contraceptive medicines and/or care which was once mandated by the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The Greens have also funded a controversial nation-wide Biblical curriculum for American public schools as well as dumped millions into private Fundamentalist Christian institutions and colleges domestically and abroad. But this is not all.

The executive director of the Society for Biblical Literature, John Kutsko, speaks to this evangelical corporate movement with heightened concern:

There is no such thing as ‘the’ Bible… We [Americans] are a melting pot, and there are many religions here […] The [Green’s] museum could be a showcase for how we and our texts are different and can coexist peacefully. That would be a wonderful message to bring to bear, particularly in the environment we live in, an environment of absolutists and polarization.

But that is not Green’s intentions as evidenced by his artifact purchases and practices.

There is another disturbing concern:  the simple truth. There are a large number of historical, biblical, archaeological, paleographical, and other scholars and experts, all of which have many decades of study and acclaimed lifetime careers that know too well how “pseudo-biblical archaeology” is replete with amateur scams, frauds, and wild claims meant to prove to buyers and audiences, at least through misleading visuals, that stories in the Bible are historically accurate when in fact they are not. These same scholars and academics are just as bothered by the man hired as the Bible museum’s director who was former director of the outlandish Creation Museum in Kentucky. This further undermines the museum’s credibility. And still there is more disturbing news.

The museum blatantly misleads, even lies about recent American history. In a dramatic promotional video for the museum it alleges that the Founding Fathers designed our government and civil culture to be Bible-centered; that is Christian-centered. The video states that George Washington himself said:

It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.

The Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington in Mount Vernon, VA (click here) is a resource for scholarly research about George Washington and the Founding Era, while collecting original Washington books and manuscripts. The library has already determined beyond doubt that this is a misquote or complete fabrication. When Mr. Green and his leadership team were presented with this correction, he was unphased, indifferent and insisted that our U.S. government was purposefully created as Bible-centered; that is Christian-centered. In my May 2015 blog-post The Mistaken Identity of the U.S. I go into great detail — from months and years of research utilizing resources like the Smith National Library – George Washington — about how this belief or fable Mr. Green persists in propagandizing is unfounded and simply not true.

Bible Nation-Moss-BadenAt a 2014 interview at the Vatican, Steve Green imparted a rallying call to Christians, especially evangelicals that The fact of the matter is, the [Bible] is under assault today. It seems to Mr. Green and many Fundy-Evangelical Christians that there are other ways of starting and fighting a Holy War, or Jihad as the militant Islamists would call it, and it is covertly changing this democracy into a theocracy by whatever means necessary, similar again to Islamic nations of today. Based on Steve Green’s practices and museum, theocracizing includes smuggling, deception, diversion, well-funded propaganda that rivals even Joseph Goebbels’ tactics, and most of all the M.O. that the end always justifies the means. Principles of accuracy, due process, fact-verifying, truth or pro-truthiness, doesn’t matter. Force the “right end” to happen whatever the cost, literally.

Mr. Green seems ignorant of his unethical track-record. Being forthright from the very beginning will always be more valuable, more historic to the greater good and demonstrate higher levels of dignity and honor. So I say to all concerned, be astute and warned when you happen upon any involvement with Hobby Lobby or the Museum of the Bible:  their owner, Steve Green, continuously exhibits that he possesses none of the great noble virtues.

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

Now, if you are one for euphoric feel-good truths, fly-by-night veracity, and fantastical stories hyping life-changing memories in this life and the next, this is for you: 😎

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

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This work by Professor Taboo is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Saul the Apostate – Part IV

 

Continuing from Part III

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“Justice demands that that barbaric superstition should be opposed;
and it is to the interest of the state not to regard that Jewish mob
which at times breaks out in open riots… […]
At one time the Jewish people took up arms against the Romans;
but the gods showed how little they cared for this people,
suffering it to be conquered and made tributary.”
— Cicero, “Pro FlaccoCh. 28, 59 BCE

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∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

The deep permeation of Greek culture into Judaism and the Near and Middle East during late Classical Antiquity cannot be overstated. It was profound. It made its way into early Christianity and into Saul’s Stoic-Gnostic theology. But lets backup a bit first.

The centuries following Alexander the Great’s epic conquests, expansion, and planting of Hellenistic culture throughout the Near East and across the Western hemisphere saw the remarkable flourishing of philosophy, science, art, and governing. It was during the Hellenistic period (323 – 31 BCE) that Archimedes of Syracuse wrote the Earth-changing treatise “On Floating Bodies,” known today in physics as the Archimedes’ Principle. Then Aristarchus formulated the first recorded heliocentric theory, which of course asserted that Earth revolved around the sun. During the Hellenist period, several art forms became less mythological and more realistic, more practical. The most important thing in life, said Epicurus, was the pursuit and attainment of the individual’s pleasure and happiness, known as hedonism, while Stoic philosophy became more mainstream and accessible, including to women, unheard of in many empires around the world then and now.

Hellenism carried over well into the European Middle Ages. Hellenic Jews welcomed Greek influences, represented primarily by the Temple Sadducees. However, traditional or conservative Jews represented by the sects of Pharisees and Essenes in synagogues around the empire, saw Hellenism’s infiltration in some respects as an abomination of God’s Law and Temple. A side-by-side comparison of the two juxtaposed cultures, Mosaic Judaism and Hellenism, points out four major differences:

Judaism v Hellenism

Alexander’s Hellenistic culture was very tolerant of native customs and beliefs. In fact, new Greco-Roman kingdoms often assimilated parts of the indigenous practices as it suited the empire’s needs. Hence, further examination of the Judaic and Hellenic cultures (distinguished above) shows when there is intolerance to flexibility, compromise, wisdom, or adaptability, one small ring or just one person flies off the handle in one or both cultures,  the constant tension becomes a ticking time-bomb. Click here for a revealing Jewish rendition of how an ancient Greek and Hebraic Jew might have discussed their religions in the 1st-century CE.

Let’s return to middle-Hellenism. Enter the false rumor in 168 BCE that Seleucid king Antiochus IV was killed in Egypt. Bitter, disgruntled, and deposed High Priest Jason/Jesus rounds up a Jewish army to attack ascending High Priest Menelaus in Jerusalem. Angry that the Jews started a civil war in his kingdom, Antiochus came down harshly on the Jews executing thousands and banning the practice of their religion forcing them to worship Zeus instead. His heavy bloody hand only infuriated more Jews and thus began the Maccabean Revolt.

During these cultural clashes and shifts, brief independence under the Hasmoneans, other military conquests, defeats, exiles, dispersions into slavery, intermarriages, and mixed offspring, Jews were increasingly mixed into Hellenistic ideals that also reached into their religion, particularly Greek Stoic philosophy. For Pharisaic and Essene Jews, including two centuries later Jewish-Essene Jesus (Part II), this became a sharp schism inside Judaism. But for Saul of Tarsus and Rome in the mid-1st century CE and the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple and last remnants of radical Jewish resistance by the Sicarii at Masada (73 – 74 CE), it was an opportunity for both Hellenism and Saul to rewrite history. The history, not Messianic Jewish history.

Herodian Saul and Hellenism Victorious

Explicit facts about Saul’s/Paul’s family, his Jewish [sic] heritage, and educational backgrounds [sic] (Part I) as well as his involvement in Jewish Merkavah and/or Heikhalat mysticism (Intro to Part II) are masked at best. Most of what is known comes strictly from his 7 – 12(?) canonical epistles and Acts. All of these biblical texts must be read under the overwhelming shadow of the Roman-Hellenist Patristic authorities, editors, and copyists. Why? Between 70 CE and 787 CE (over 700-years!) they had complete and total control of what would become “traditional Christianity.”

Fortunately, for the modern neutral and astute reader of earliest Christianity the canonical NT (the mask) is by no means the only source to gain a more realistic, more accurate picture. It is not a fixed mask. In fact, extra, independent sources that are available (among others) come from a large corpus of Jewish scrolls written between the 4th-century BCE and 5th-century CE found just outside of Jerusalem! They are the Dead Sea Scrolls (DSS) from Qumran. They offer us an almost stunningly vivid background and context of Second Temple Judaism/Messianism and Sectarianism of late Classical Antiquity in the Levant and around Jerusalem. This 700-year era written about in the DSS from a non-Roman non-Patristic standpoint is an unprecedented broader look into the very soil, seeds, and roots from which earliest Jewish-Christianity sprang. The DSS are an untouched, pure Jewish-Messianic, independent lens on Hellenistic-Herodian Judaism, on Hellenistic Rome and her eventual, Imperial, Pauline Christ-cult.

Publication of Post-1957 Discovered Scrolls Withheld
The first scrolls were discovered in 1946 and ’47. More caves and scrolls were discovered in 1948 – ’49, then more still from 1950 – ’56 totaling over 980 texts from twelve (12) different caves. The first complete photographs (in infrared) of all the texts were made between 1952 – 1967 including the newly discovered scrolls and fragments post-1957. However, due to the political and religious implications of what these texts held, several of the scrolls and fragments were withheld from publication for 30-40 years by a small circle of “established scholars” or what several outsider-scholars have called “The DSS Academic Curia.” The Curia was led by French Dominican priest Roland de Vaux and consisted of just three Hebrew scholars, Józef MilikJohn M. Allegro, and John Strugnell.

By 1956 problems were broiling inside the Curia and outside by historical and biblical scholars wanting access to the DSS. Allegro put the ego-driven controversy quite succinctly in his letter to de Vaux:

It’s a pity that you and your friends cannot conceive of anything written about Christianity without trying to grind some ecclesiastical or non-ecclesiastical axe.

For an outdated, brief introduction about these controversies you can go to this 1993 New York Times article, The Dead Sea Scrolls: Fragile and Remarkable, specifically the 17th paragraph.

Was Saul A Herodian-Jew and Not A Pharisaic-Jew?
If the only testaments you read are the canonical Epistles of Saul/Paul and Acts of the Apostles, of course you’d simply conclude that Saul was “a Hebrew among Hebrews,” descended from the tribe of Benjamin, and educated by Gamaliel in the acclaimed Beit Hillel. But Josephus, the Pseudo-Clementines, and Epiphanius offer a compelling refraction of Saul’s Epistles and his related passages in Acts that with the three aforementioned sources tell a different background and family of Saul-Paul.

In many past blog-posts (e.g. The Incarnation of G-Man) I have made the distinction between Greco-Roman deification or Apotheosis, and Second Temple Jewish Messianism. The two adversaries can never be ignored. This clear distinction can also be appropriately applied geographically in the eastern portions of the Late-Republic to Imperial-Principate Roman Empire (c. 133 BCE – 284 CE).

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From the slides above we see a macrocosm of Hellenism’s expansion and permeation of the entire Mediterranean Basin begun by the Greek Empire and then by the end of the 1st-century BCE, Rome’s version and reinvention of its allure until the eventual decline throughout the 4th and 5th-centuries CE. If you’d like to see the slides independently and enlarged, click here. Rome and her Hellenistic culture gradually swallowed up almost all Sectarian, Torah-loving (Jewish-Essene Jesus) Judaism/Messianism. This extermination of revolutionary Palestinian Messianism was completed after the fall of Masada in 74 CE when the DSS were hidden in the 12 various caves around Qumran. For almost 1,900 years the only Judaism and Christianity the world would ever know was Messiah-killing Hellenistic Judaism or Hellenistic-Roman Christianity… until 1946.

Through the Herodian dynasty (37 BCE – 44 CE) to the complete control of Judea, Samaria, and Idumea by the Roman Empire (44 – 136 CE), most traditional Law-oriented Jews in the Levant had very little patience for Hellenistic Overseas Jews and their distorted ideas and teachers of either a corrupted Temple, Torah, and Messiah(s). They were often referred to as “The Enemy” by Palestinian Jews/Messianism. Saul was clearly an “Enemy” and he knew it. Compare:

Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth? — Galatians 4:16

You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the [Hellenic] world means enmity against God? Therefore, anyone who chooses to be a friend of the [Hellenic] world becomes an enemy of God. — James 4:4

It is widely accepted that Saul authored Galatians. The epistle of James has traditionally been attributed to James, the brother of Jesus, or at least pseudonymous to him. James’ audience was clearly the Palestinian Messianic followers or otherwise known as Judaeo-Christians. When comparing the two we can infer the stark differences between Overseas Judaism/Messianism and that of Palestinian Judaism/Messianism. And how badly Saul was treated in Syrian and Palestinian synagogues attests to this schism. There’s more.

Terminology like the Enemy, the Liar or Spouter of Lies, Man of Lying, Comedian of Lying (i.e. epileptic?), and some others, was strongly applied to the adversary of “The Righteous Teacher” within the Palestinian Movement and the DSS at Qumran. Saul/Paul again shows familiarity with these terms. In fact, he references them repeatedly in Gal. 1:20, 2 Corinthians 11:31, and Romans 9:1 (to name just three) that he was not a Liar or he does not lie.” This explicitly implies that his groups/churches there have been told that Saul of Tarsus deceives and maligns.

The Enemy” terminology is also quite strong and prevalent in the Pseudo-Clementines. For example, in Homilies in the apparent Epistle of Peter to James the brother in Jerusalem:

For some from among the Gentiles have rejected my legal preaching, attaching themselves to certain lawless and trifling preaching of the man who is my enemy. […]

[The Gentile Enemies] transform my words by certain various interpretations, in order to the dissolution of the law. […]

…the law of God which was spoken by Moses, and was borne witness to by our Lord… for thus he spoke:  “The heavens and the earth shall pass away, but one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.” (quoting Matt. 5:18) Homilies, Epistle of Peter to James, Ch. 2

Dr. Bart Ehrman describes the significance of this Epistle of Peter to James as a Palestinian counter-balance to the Hellenic canonical NT and Acts of the Apostles:

This book provides the counter-view to that found in the New Testament book of Acts, where Paul and Peter are thought to be completely on the same side and simpatico on every major issue. Not according to this short letter. Here Peter and James are the heroes of the faith, and Paul is the great enemy. 
Bart Ehrman Blog, “Another Forgery in the Name of Peter, April 2013, accessed Oct. 11, 2018

There have been several religious-historical scholars that theorize Simon Magus (of Acts 8) and Saul of Tarsus are one in the same. Accepting this theory is not unreasonable. Consider these side-by-side teachings reported by Irenaeus in his Against Heresies I.23.3 and Saul’s in Galatians:

Iranaeus v Saul

The two comparisons are practically identical. And thus in the Pseudo-Clementine Recognitions 1 Ch. 70, Palestinian Judaism/Messianism did not hold Hellenic Saul/Paul in any high esteem due to what he incited earlier at the Temple against James the brother of Jesus regarding “sacrifices” and how Temple worship was conducted by Herodian Priesthood, the two biggest conflicts of the time between Overseas Hellenic Judaism and Palestinian Judaism/Messianism:

While he was thus speaking, and adding more to the same effect, and while James the bishop was refuting him, he began to excite the people and to raise a tumult, so that the people might not be able to hear what was said. Therefore he began to drive all into confusion with shouting, and to undo what had been arranged with much labour, and at the same time to reproach the priests, and to enrage them with revilings and abuse, and, like a madman… […]

Then others also, seeing him, were carried away with like readiness. Then ensued a tumult on either side, of the beating and the beaten. Much blood is shed; there is a confused flight, in the midst of which that enemy attacked James, and threw him headlong from the top of the steps; and supposing him to be dead, he cared not to inflict further violence upon him. Tumult Raised by Saul, Recognitions Book 1 Ch. 70

Saul is saved from this scene by a troop of Roman soldiers, oddly enough protection Jews rarely received unless of Roman aristocracy. Read what even Episcopalian/Catholic ordained Dr. Taylor R. Marshall points out about Saul-Paul of Tarsus here. It is a remarkable read! Furthermore, in the Epiphanius traditions, e.g. Anabathmoi Jacobou or “The Ascents of Jacob,” Saul has a large entourage of Greek-Romans and Roman troops with him during his trip through Caesarea (the seat of the Herodian family by then) then on to Jerusalem to test the recent ban against Herodians and foreigners inside the Temple Mount by, most assuredly, the “zealot” tradition-minded (Jamesian?) Priesthood. This is telling. A simple Hellenist-Jew was never accorded that level of Roman pomp or protection. I ask, is it really anymore compelling why Saul’s true background was so clouded, so overlooked centuries later?

Is there more to Saul’s repulsive reception by Palestinian Judaism/Messianism? Actually there is enough to at the very least question Saul’s true origins, if not rewrite them.

Aside from the angry mob who attacks Saul while trying to enter the Temple in Acts 21:27-29, how Saul acquired his “Roman citizenship” was a very peculiar, suspicious accession. None of the original “Apostles” were ever given Roman citizenship. None of the previously ruling Maccabees were ever awarded citizenship. However, Herodian Jews did indeed receive Roman citizenry. Ironically, Saul himself supports this method of Roman-Herodian citizenship:

Greet Apelles, the approved in Christ. Greet those who are of the household of Aristobulus. Greet Herodion, my kinsman. — Romans 16:10-11

Dr. Robert Eisenman of Cornell, New York, and Columbia Universities closely examines this possible/probable Saul bloodline saying:

Here, he refers to his “kinsman Herodion,” i.e., “The Littlest Herod” (obviously the son of the Roman Governor Felix mentioned above and the Herodian Princess Drusilla, killed in the eruption of Vesuvius at Pompeii) — whom he introduces with an allusion to another person with a name popular among Herodians, “Aristobulus,” i.e., “the Household of Aristobulus” in Romans 16:10. The “Aristobulus” referred to here may or may not be the “Aristobulus the son of Agrippa I’s brother Herod of Chalcis” mentioned above — the husband of that Salome who plays such a key role, according to Gospel portraiture, in the death of John the Baptist — both of whom advertise themselves on the reverse of their Lesser Armenian Kingdom coinage in “Asia” what “Great Lovers of Caesar” they were! That Paul has powerful relatives of this kind in Jerusalem with a direct entree to the Roman Governor and Soldiery is made crystal clear too by Acts 23:16 which refers — following his rescue by said Troops preceding this — to the role his “nephew” (“his sister’s son”) played in this affair while declining to specifically name him!
— Eisenman, Robert. Breaking the Dead Sea Scrolls Monopoly: A New Interpretation of the Messianic Movement in Palestine

This would explain neatly and nicely why Saul/Paul was so unwelcomed in Palestinian Judaism/Messianism (e.g. Antioch, Damascus) and in Jerusalem by the real students/disciples (pillars) of Jesus who actually knew, lived with, and traveled with him in person. But as my above maps illustrate, in the end for true historicity it did not matter that Palestinian Judaism-Messianism (Jesus’ reforms and teachings) would be lost under Rome’s power and glory. The expansive swallowing effect of Hellenism all throughout the Mediterranean Basin, then adopted by the Roman Empire, and in time absorbed the Overseas (Diaspora) Judaism, Palestinian Law-oriented Judaism/Messianism — the movement begun by Jewish-Essene Jesus that failed — was a doomed minority movement. Plain and simple, becoming an uncomfortable friend to Rome, i.e. Hellenic Apotheosis and Pauline-Christ, had a much better allure than being her nagging, failing enemy.

Accordingly Saul’s Christ-cult was Embraced By Hellenic Pagans/Gentiles
Well before Saul was born and came on the scene, for about two centuries Jewish Synagogues had opened up their worship and teaching to the Gentile/Pagan world with the incorporation of Hellenistic literature and philosophy. This is attested in the Gospels (Matt. 23:15). Uncircumcised, God-fearing Gentile-Jews were already part of many synagogues and communities. This is confirmed in the Talmud. What was typically the confusion about this controversial topic was the naïvety of protecting the Torah and its study, versus the study of the seven Noachian commandments available to all people. The very fact that Saul was unaware of these distinctions — especially claiming Benjamite-Hebrew heritage! — smacks of his highly suspect (fraudulent?) origins or at least implies he is a Herodian-Jew, an outsider, mentally lost and ignorant of these established Jewish practices!

Furthermore, what would the best alternative approach for the centuries-later Hellenic Patristic Fathers to a failed Messiah, who never returns, and the related Messianic prophecies also fail? Dr. James Tabor answers this superbly with his 1997 presentation to the American Academy of Religion Annual Meeting here. This is another excellent read!

In a nutshell, Torah-loving, Law-abiding Jewish-Essene Jesus in Palestine was not teaching a diluted, distorted Judaism like was practiced by Hellenic, Herodian pseudo-Jews. When constantly rejected and persecuted by those Torah-abiding Jews in synagogues across the Empire, particularly Palestinian Messianic Jews in the Levant, Saul was forced to reinvent his TL-epileptic “divine revelations” into his own Roman-Christ, his own Roman-church, and his own Roman-Hellenic theology. With his background in mysticism and elements/themes of Gnostic Philo-philosophical strands, the Gentile-pagans (non-Jews) — who couldn’t understand the complicated, law-ridden Jewish practices and customs in the first place — were very open to his “new” religious cult. It appealed more to their Hellenic lifestyle and thinking: God’s blessings and salvation were available to everyone if the death of Christ was embraced, death to this world was embraced, and steadfast blind “faith” in these two precepts (since they were unsupportable anyway) granted one’s spiritual entrance into God’s Kingdom of Earth and Heaven.

Thereafter, pagan Pauline Christology was born and still exists today as a never-ending complexity of diverse, dis-unified theology and practices called Christianity.

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Feel free to share your thoughts and/or questions below over this 5-part series. Kind thanks for your patience and time during this series and its demands to research, authoring, and publishing. It is appreciated.  🙂

Post script — For more details about how and why Christianity is comprehensively problematic, unravels, and collapses on numerous counts beyond its founder Saul of Tarsus, go to my page:  Why Christianity Will Always Fail.

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