The New-Man from Old

 

One doesn’t discover new lands without consenting
to lose sight of the shore for a very long time.

— Andre Gide

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It was said a long, long time before in ancient times by a wise soothsayer, “Therefore the He-on-High will give you a sign, the brightest star in the night which lights the way:  The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a boy, and will call Him New-Man.


OB-GYN Examination Room

A fiber optic camera observes a five-month-old male fetus as he gently floats, weightless, suspended in the amniotic fluid of his mother’s womb. We focus on the unborn’s hand, already a tiny, exquisite work of art, moving towards his newly formed lips. He sucks his thumb.

Hospital Delivery Room
The seconds old baby boy New-Man — umbilical cord still attached, smeared with blood and protective skin grease — is held up by an anonymous pair of latex gloves to the camera. Shocked by the unaccustomed light and cool of the delivery room, the newborn fights for his first, arduous breath. Following almost immediately… a cry.

From another angle we see the crying infant on a television screen, seen by expectant millions around the world! They had been waiting for this birth, this night, for a very long time. Other teachers known as Magi come from far, far away to pay New-Man homage. Why? New-Man is the highest of all leaders ever, here to show once and for all the Way to paradise through extraordinary miracles now and after death, forever!

Childhood Homes — Bethmayhem & Nazasporin, GE, Palestone County
New-Man the toddler was immediately in danger. Because He and his parents were incredibly popular, the highest Nielsen-ratings ever recorded! Commercial sponsors everywhere were paying top-dollar for direct or indirect slots on the show! Mr. Bigley, the local leader of the tri-county area including Gaylee (GE), Palestone County, could NOT STAND having his fame and limelight shared by some infant-toddler that could almost speak on the same intellectual level as Mr. Bigley! Following the long-standing Imperial Pax Romana tradition of self-protection and perpetuation, Mr. Bigley already had several family members and in-laws eliminated. For this new toddler-threat, Mr. Bigley ordered that all little boys throughout the tri-county area, including Bethmayhem and Nazasporin, be removed! No one was going to steal His Majesty’s throne!

Much Bigger Than A Throne
For decades since arriving in Palestone County, Mr. Bigley listened non-stop to stories and rumors about a coming Rescuer for all the oppressed citizens of Gaylee, Palestone and Joedaya counties and beyond the seas. This coming “Rescuer” called New-Man has been talked about among the subjugated Hipparues for at least 1,000 years! In fact, top Hipparue officials say at least ten principal ancient predictions were fulfilled/confirmed by New-Man’s birth. Four of those ten undeniably astronomical and specific:

  1. Born in Bethmayhem
  2. Born from a virgin woman
  3. A massacre of hundreds or thousands of boys in and around Bethmayhem due to him
  4. A galactic quasar would lead Magi from the distant east to him

These four astonishing fulfilled predictions from many centuries earlier, along with 40 more, possibly 300 more predictions, has never been remotely possible by any man past, present, and most likely ever in the future. The enormity of these fulfillments can never be overstated. This “New-Man” was like none other. Further still, not only did this infant boy have centuries of desperate expectations by his Hipparue people and THE MOST unique one-of-a-kind cosmic nights of birth, but some ten, eleven years later New-Man made an even wider impression as a boy upon his wisest adult leaders inside the capital of Joedaya in the Hipparue Auditorium #II. For about 3-days New-Man utterly amazed and astounded all the high-ranking auditorium officials with his questions and answers!

jesus-at-the-temple

If his centuries long and foretold coming wasn’t enough, if his one-in-a-million cosmic birth by a quasar bringing Magi from afar wasn’t enough, if his designation as New-Man from the one on High along with all its meaning wasn’t enough, if the local Mr. Bigley’s hunt and slaughter of hundreds-to-thousands of innocent boys was not big enough, now over those three days in front of all those high-ranking leaders inside Auditorium #II surely made his young face, super-human wisdom, his name, and his family background known all throughout the region and across the seas! Some were already claiming his “divine” nature, as well they should. This sort of long expectant news and chatter spreads very fast! Everyone in the land would know who New-Man was the minute he walked into a room or entered town, no doubt about it. After all, those previous 12-years were Earth-shattering!

Then Nothing — Total Silence, Total Indifference by Everyone Everywhere!
Yes, this is indeed how the story goes. You are in the middle of your favorite dessert, not even one-third into it and it is yanked out from under your chin while you still hold your spoon in the air about to scoop-up another bite. Whoosh! It is truly the epitome of a “never saw that coming” moment! A plot-twist that fooled/fools every single person who ever met New-Man and/or his parents, or ever heard the remarkable prediction-fulfillments of centuries long expectant news. Vanishes, supposedly never to be heard from or seen again for seventeen years! Gone. Huh? Yes, poof… into total nothingness, silence, and indifference by all New-Man’s fanatics, admirers, enemy or allied leaders, Magi or scholars of the day. Suddenly, no one cares anymore! Seriously? Are you as baffled by and suspicious of this bombshell as I am?

Are you asking the same question(s) as I did? I’m very curious, what is it/are they?

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Live Alive! — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Should you have any further interest in additional incongruencies of folklored Christianity and its obscured origins and testaments, read these following op-eds:

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Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.professortaboo.com/contact-me/.

Origins and Orthodoxy

The six of us were all sitting around the kitchen table discussing time-travel and the effects of gravity on time itself. A good friend of the family repeated once again what she had stated earlier, “It is all merely philosophy and theory.” The word speculation would probably have been another word she would have approved and used. My political and respectful(?) response was “But how will we learn and know if we don’t GET OUT THERE and collect the actual data?” She agreed.

You see, our sweet good friend comes from a long maternal ancestral line of Protestant evangelical fundamental Christian indoctrination. She has not known any other lifestyle or worldview her entire life of 32-years. Because of this and also where I currently reside — the Hill Country towns of central Texas and nearer a few of my extended family — I am confronted daily or weekly with this religious mindset and way of life which they automatically assume to be true and right from generations after generations, after generations. I ask… should we not get out there, explore, examine, scrutinize, and always ask the hardest questions in order to arrive at the most plausible truths? I think so.

From 1983 to 2002 “getting out there” was exactly what I set out to do regarding a real God, the Christian bible, then the Hebrew bible, and more recently the Quran. This post and some of my other related blog-posts are what I discovered over those 19-years and counting. This post is another condensed study and research from those years based on 20 scholars listed in this supporting Bibliography Library-Page, as well as my personal experiences with fundamental Christian evangelists, extended family, apologists and one particular Hindi futeboller from Kashmir, India. My purpose for writing another post about biblical fundamentalism, particularly Christian, is simple. Share with the public and anyone interested just how few questions are asked about the roots of earliest Christianity under the contextual dominance of the early through late epochs of the Imperial Roman Empire. It is safe to assume that mainstream Christianity, if not church leadership too, are naïve of their own faith’s history and origins.
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The Nature of God?

How does a person learn who God is, what She/He/It is like, and how do we know it is truly God and not some imposter or auditory or visual hallucination? This question of course presupposes that a God exists in the first place. Ignoring this a priori step in the process of logic and reasoning would be a serious mistake. However, for the sake of time and subject matter, I will not go into the existence or non-existence of God. For a plethora of reasons much of the world believes God or a Supreme Being exists anyway.

Therefore, assuming a God(s) does exist, how can we know this God? Morgan Freeman’s recent National Geographic mini-series The Story of God was pretty well received by audiences and critics as Freeman and his team traveled the world gathering various cultural perspectives of God. I Google-searched the question “How can we know God?” and it returned these first 10 resources, out of about 483,000,000 results:

“How to Know God Personally —

What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you?

You may be surprised that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him.

The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ…”

(from the Campus Crusade for Christ International website)

From the Joyce Meyer Ministries website “Everyday Answers”…

“There was a time in my life when I struggled with all types of fears and insecurities, constantly worried about the future, my job, my ministry, and my family. Needless to say, I wasn’t really enjoying my life!

However, over time, the Lord helped me to change… and He helped me understand an important key to truly enjoying life. It all begins with what the apostle Paul says in Philippians 3:10… something I believe we should all pray regularly…

“[For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him…understanding the wonders of His person more strongly and more clearly]…” (AMP).”

From the Got Questions Ministries website

“How can I get to know God better?” —

Answer: Everyone knows that God exists. “God has made it plain” that He is real, “for since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20). Some try to suppress the knowledge of God; most try to add to it. The Christian has a deep desire to know God better (Psalm 25:4). — by J.I. Packer

(the next 7 paragraphs reference the Christian bible 13-times)

From the In Touch Ministries website

“Getting To Know God” —

Did you know God wants to show you more of Himself every day? Does your time with the Lord revitalize you, or does it feel more like a ritualistic experience? In Hosea 6:6, God is clear: “I delight in loyalty rather than sacrifice, and in the knowledge of God rather than burnt offerings.”

(the next 6 directives reference the Christian bible 3-times)

From the Every Student website

“What does it take to begin a relationship with God? —

Wait for lightning to strike? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you? NONE of these. God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him. This will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now…”

(the rest of the page references the Christian bible 16-times)

And jumping to the 10th result on the Harvest Ministries website

“Know God —

You were created to know God in a personal way—to have a relationship with Him, through His Son, Jesus Christ. How do you start a relationship with God?”

(the following 4 step procedure references the Christian bible in every step)

peggy-and-godNoticing the pattern? The bible, the bible, the bible, and repeatedly the bible apparently has all the answers to knowing God. There doesn’t seem to be any tangible physical meeting of God where you actually see God, or hear Her/His/Its voice, you cannot call God up for an interview, nor is there a global standard of where to find God or how to find God’s collective global nature from any of these websites… except, in the Bible.

This has been my own experience when asking faith-followers these questions about God. In other words, the more people asked, there seems to be more than just one simple version of God! Hmmm. Maybe what should be asked is what “version” of God is most popular in the world?

According to www.Adherents.com and other sources, the world’s largest religion by population is Christianity (2.1 billion), followed by Islam (1.5 billion), then the Non-religious or unaffiliated (1.1 billion), Hinduism (900 million), Chinese Traditional (394 million), and Buddhism at 376 million respectively. As a result of popularity then, let’s look more closely at the Christian version of knowing God. How can it be done?
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Divine Revelation?

Throughout the lore and archaeological evidence of humans, when a divine spirit or Supreme Beings disclosed themselves to people, or something about existence, or about the world, in theological terms that is often defined as revelation. Because video and audio technology did not exist 50,000 years ago when forms of verbal human language began, and institutionalized morality only began long after around 10,200 BCE in the Neolithic Period, we cannot know the types of divine revelations that took place. Prior to the start of human writing (cuneiform) 5,000 years ago or around 3,000 BCE, there was still no video or audio technology available to literally record gods or God. Only rituals, song and dance, and oral traditions passed to descendants in various chiefdoms and tribes in ancient Egypt, Sumeria, and Mesopotamia were the way to know about God or gods.

Kesh-temple-hymn-tablet

Kesh Temple Hymn tablet

Today, one of the oldest known religious texts is the Kesh Temple Hymn from ancient Sumer which dates to around 2,600 BCE. Yet, other than Sumerian admonishments the hymn offers only glimpses and inference into their gods. The other oldest religious text — the Egyptian Pyramid Texts — was carved into the walls of the pyramids at Saqqarah and date to around ca. 2400–2300 BCE. However, these Egyptian texts do not reveal any specific ways to know the gods other than again by inference.

As a result of very very ancient oral traditions or storytelling, and very ancient cuneiform inferences, both from an area of the ancient world covering over 1.5 million sq. miles, how then do Christians today really know God? Are all of them experts in palaeography and epigraphy and their interpretations? Of course not. Do they speak regularly with those deceased Neolithic Sumerian, Egyptian, Mesopotamian storytellers, or ancient Hebrew, Arabian, or Greek orators? Of course not. It would be wise, therefore, to better understand what exactly it is and why Christians place so much unquestioning faith and belief in 1) a religion based on ancient storytelling, 2) widespread fluid (imprecise) cuneiform art, 3) a couple or three very small Hebrew tribes from the ancient Middle East, and followed by 4) more letters and stories about a man’s life and teachings recorded 60 to 110 years AFTER the actual events occurred in the 2nd century CE.

Fertile Crescent

The Fertile Crescent

Yet, despite this precarious framework of revelation, a great number of evangelical fundamental Christians would disagree with my above assessment. Why?
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Special Communion

They disagree because they and apparently 2.1 billion in the world proclaim that God CAN be known. They disagree because God has made Herself/Himself/Itself available to be communed with through two or more methods. If anyone can list and explain more than these two methods, please feel free to share in the comments below! Nevertheless, take a large enough sample of those 2.1 billion Christ-believers — similar to hearing a complete sentence on the trading-floor of the New York Stock Exchange during heavy screaming — and one can start to narrow the methods down. I will borrow from Theopedia.com to explain…

  • General Communion/Revelation – “Also known as Universal revelation, general revelation deals with how God can be understood through his creation. More specifically, this can be manifest in physical nature, human nature, and history.
  • Special Communion/Revelation – “is distinguished from general revelation in that it is direct revelation from God. Examples include God’s direct speech to various people (e.g., prophets; cf. 2 Peter 1:20-21), the incarnation (cf. Hebrews 1:1-2), and the Bible. Such revelation is sufficient to communicate the gospel, unlike general revelation, and thus salvation is possible only through special revelation.

Is General Communion/Revelation adequate to authenticate evidence of a God as Christians claim from Romans 1:19-20? The controversy over this religious tenet versus human reasoning (science?) started way before 2nd century CE Christianity and as early as the 7th century BCE in Mesopotamia by Assyrian and Babylonian astronomers.

Total-lunar-eclipse-moonThe lethal controversy was over the purpose or reason for lunar eclipses. The Assyrian-Babylonian priests believed that lunar eclipses were evil omens and vindictive restlessness of the gods directed against their kings. However, due to hundreds of centuries of recorded astronomical data, by the 1st century BCE Babylonian astronomers knew an upcoming lunar eclipse would happen on May 28th, 585 BCE at sunset. In fact, their mathematical calculations were accurate within a couple of minutes! The astronomers had calculated the 18 year and 11.3 day (223 synodic month) interval between lunar eclipses. This suggested that the eclipses had a natural (scientific) cause. If lunar eclipses were predictable, then the Babylonians could appoint a temporary king (likely through coercion) who would accept the horrible wrath of the gods, thus saving the real king from a death-omen.

The most famous controversy of church tenets versus human reasoning and mathematics was between Galileo Galilei (1564-1642 CE) and the second organized Christian church, the Roman Catholic Church. As most already know, Galileo was tried and convicted as a heretic by the church for his correct Heliocentric system of our solar system. It made no difference though, God’s Holy Church and Testaments infalleably ruled. It wasn’t until over 350 years after Galileo’s death that the church addressed their ‘mishap‘:

“… Pope John Paul II gave an address on behalf of the Catholic Church in which he admitted that errors had been made by the theological advisors in the case of Galileo. He declared the Galileo case closed, but he did not admit that the Church was wrong to convict Galileo on a charge of heresy …”
National Center for Biotechnology Information, October 1992

Therefore, given that the physical world has not and cannot be wholly described at a moment in time as monistic evidence, or substance monism/Neoplatonism, for evidence of God — i.e. one creation by one source during the sixth day of creation while new species are being discovered and others going extinct every decade or century — this leaves us with only Special Communion/Revelation to know God.

As stated by Theopedia and most Christian-believers, Special Communion/Revelation is their firm foundation for knowing and experiencing the Judeo-Christian God. This communion has three components:

  1. Direct speech – through past and present prophets carried by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:20-21).
  2. The Incarnation – through the birth, life, crucifixion, and resurrection of Christ (Hebrews 1:1-2).
  3. Holy Bible – a communal collection of ancient writings breathed by God which comprise the sixty-six books of both the Old Testament and the New Testament.

For the sake of my reader’s time and mine, I will make brief comments on the first two special-revelation components which I hope will cause anyone to examine or reexamine their dubious implications. Following those comments we will finally delve into the origins and developments of the Christian Bible.

joshua-jerichoDirect speech
By popular definition prophets hear or sense the voice of God directly then obey. Innumerable documented examples reside both in ancient and modern history. About 1,550 BCE the prophet Joshua was told by God to go conquer the land and people across the Jordan River (Joshua 1:1-6), killing all the men, women, and children (Joshua 6:21). After Jericho was razed, on the further commands of God Joshua then razed the town of Ai, killing 12,000 men and women (Joshua 8:24-28). Genocide is not the only command by God either, mass suicide is also spoken by God to the more faithful zealous followers. At the fortress of Masada in 73 CE led by the apocalyptic prophet Eleazar ben Yair, though details are debateable, 960 Jewish revolutionaries committed suicide/murder for their God rather than endure enslavement by Rome.

Jones-Koresh

Jones (left) and Koresh

In modern history three iconic prophets also followed God’s direct speech for mass suicide of all their most faithful zealous followers. They do not need any elaboration here. They were Jim Jones in Jonestown, Guyana (Nov. 1978) of 918 followersnearly 300 were childrenMarshall Applewhite in Rancho Santa Fe, CA (March 1997) convincing 39 followers, and David Koresh in Waco, TX (April 1993) leading 85 followers — 22 of them children/teenagers — to their mass suicide/incineration.

In a 2007 co-authored article by Erich Follath (diplomatic journalist), Manfred Müller, Ulrich Schwarz (theologian), and Stefan Simons (Spiegel Online correspondent) entitled Following Divine Orders which focuses on the Age Old irresistible appeal of religiosity for fanatics, or rather those who are not moderate or “luke warm” about their beliefs:

“According to the three Abrahamic faiths, God only revealed the truth about Himself, humankind and the world to their respective religion; it is therefore recorded separately in their holy scriptures: the Hebrew Bible (the Torah, or Old Testament to Christians), the Christian New Testament and the Islamic Koran.

These [bibles] contain countless contradictions. Both the Koran and the Bible’s Old and New Testaments bear witness to a good and merciful God. They urge humans to live in peace and harmony. This is reflected most clearly in the instruction attributed to Jesus in the Hebrew Bible: “Love thy neighbor as thyself.

But these messages of brotherhood clash with sentiments that condone intolerance and violence: “For I came to set a son against his father, a daughter against her mother …“; “Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me“; “Do not think that I came to bring peace on Earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword.” The prophet Mohammed also delivered harsh threats from Allah: “Fear the fire prepared for the infidels.

Throughout history, the Abrahamic religions’ claim of absolute authority has exerted an irresistible appeal on fanatics, encouraging them to impose their own faith on nonbelievers and dissidents alike – if need be by using fire and the sword. To this day, nearly all religions supply the kindling that fuels wars and acts of persecution, sparks torture and murder, and inflames ethnic hatred. Examples abound: the bloody wars between Hindus and Muslims in India, or the enmity between Muslims and Christians in Indonesia.

For centuries, it seemed that the Abrahamic religions had come to terms with – and discarded – extremism. In the case of Christianity, this dates back to the Enlightenment, when the symbiosis between church and state collapsed and a new system of ethics emerged – one that was independent of faith in God and derived solely from social consensus.”

Those above examples of ancient and modern direct divine revelation seriously beg the questions What exactly is the Holy Spirit and how is it (a prophet) accurately tested for authenticity? Anyone who wishes to answer these questions, good luck! I do NOT envy you. There are as many various definitions of the Holy Spirit/False Prophet debate by Christians as there are species and sub-species in the animal kingdom! It is truly unimaginable. Suffice it to say here that almost all Christ-believers, scholars and laypersons alike, ultimately and exclusively refer to their Bibles for definitive Holy Spirit or non-Holy Spirit answers. Naturally, that only leads to more questions. Therefore, “direct speech” is not a religious consensus to really knowing God.

Greek-soccer-fans

Greek soccer fans

It is worth mentioning, the fields of psychology, neurology, and sociology have many theoretical studies associating heightened religious behaviour due to Temporal lobe epilepsy and minor forms of schizophrenia, and sociologists have found that social God-constructs can persuade individuals into states of euphoria because of large numbers of people acting together in a strongly shared belief — crowd psychology. Huge sporting events are good examples of this phenomena. Extreme isolation can have similar effects of hyper-religiosity and paranormal hallucinations, sometimes negative.

The Incarnation
In theological terms, this is simply God in and as Jesus Christ; both God and man simultaneously. The first grave problem with this Christian doctrine is that it is based upon only “Christian-biased” historical sources and traditions riddled with inconsistencies. In other words, who and what Jesus of Nazareth was historically between 6-4 BCE and 30-36 CE, the generally agreed upon lifespan, cannot be verified with absolute certainty outside of the Christian Synoptic Gospels. Many Christian apologists vehemently claim that writings by Flavius Josephus, Pliny the Younger, and Tacitus are non-Christian evidence for the historicity of Jesus. F. Josephus, however, was not completely unbiased about the new Jesus-Movement called The Way by Judean-Christians; he too was involved in 1st century CE Jewish Messianism as a Pharisee. Pliny and Tacitus were indeed Roman and non-Christian, but their very brief mentions are about Christians as a whole, rather than a biography about a specific person named Jesus.

Therefore, the best that Christian-believers can hope for regarding an actual verifiable incarnation of God through Jesus of Nazareth is by Christian scribes and followers 30-90 years after his death based on oral-storytelling traditions. That is the closest that honest scholarship can provide at this time, and beyond that is a question of individual faith within crowd psychology. This now leaves us only with the Bible… what the doctrines of Direct speech and The Incarnation frequently must reference anyway.
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The Canonical Bible

Many modern Christians are unaware of the origins, early development, and the 2nd and 3rd century CE controversies surrounding the final compilation of their Bibles. Some believers might even think their bible suddenly dropped out of heaven long long ago after God finished writing the 66 books, never thinking to ask “Why just 66 books? Why not 40 or 10 simple books?” And honestly, orthodoxed American society today, including many Christians, know very little of the ancient world of Jesus, the Levant, and the Fertile Crescent.

First_century_Iudaea_province

click here to enlarge

The birthplace of Jesus was Judea, the Jewish province ruled by Rome. Divided by intense religious factionalism, the people of Judea, as well as Galilee, Idumea, Nabatea, and Perea were anxiously awaiting the arrival of the Messiah and God’s salvation. First century CE Romans would have encountered a large mix of traditions and philosophies in this world. The Hebrews had for many centuries suffered foreign invasions and been harshly buffeted by powerful external cultural forces. The most potent of these was Alexander the Great’s Greek civilization supported by several centuries of Hellenistic overlords in Egypt and Syria.

The Jews in these regions were divided over subjects ranging from the legitimacy of the priesthood to the acceptance of certain books into the Hebrew Canon. The Essenes rejected the priesthood entirely. Samaritans formulated their own unique doctrines. Various cadres of Jewish zealots pledged themselves to the expulsion of the Romans. Sadducees made up their prestige with the aristocratic clans making up the priesthood in Jerusalem and exclusive supervision of the Temple. They rejected the books of the Prophets and Writings and also became more ingratiated with Herod and Roman governors who eventually granted them local rule in the Sanhedrin. The Pharisees were more progressive than the Sadducees in that they not only accepted those books, but also believed in angels, demons, resurrection, and — like the Essenes and other groups — passionately in the coming of the Messiah, e.g. the Apostle Paul. The Pharisees also had grown a body of unrecorded commentary on Hebrew Scriptures and rulings by Jewish sages. This was intended to help Jews adapt the ancient Law of Moses to the circumstances of their own time.

Essentially, roots of the Christian New Testament began during this period of great Jewish disunity, alienation, isolation, and confusion before anything Christian was written down. Once Christ-followers began recording an anthology or testaments of Jesus’ parables, prophetic and wisdom teachings, and exhortations — by around 150 CE (over a century after Jesus’ death) — there was no less than 42 testaments or gospels for Christian teachings which were freely circulating as opposed to just 27-books in today’s New Testament. The formulation of the Hebrew Bible, i.e. the Old Testament, went through similar reconfigurations between 500 BCE and 70 CE, i.e. approximately 600 years!

Naturally, all this diversity and variety of who and what the Nazarene was caused more confusing fractures among outlying Christians and Judean-Christians for centuries! It is like trying to answer What is an American?” today in one single description from 324+ million citizens. To learn more about the various origins of Nazarene-Nasorean-Nasara, go here to my bibliography subpage: The Nasara Party.

map_Roman-Empire_14-117CE

1st & 2nd century Roman Empire

Authoritative or Not Authoritative? 
For over three and a half centuries (between 337 and 389 years!) after Jesus’ death, there existed no standardized written collection about Jesus’ ministry or precisely what he did or taught. Everything known about him (and not known) was by word-of-mouth across 2,000 sq. miles. What is more dubious and astounding is that what little there was written down about Jesus’ message was by a foreigner, a Hellenistic Pharisee named Saul of Tarsus who had never once met Jesus in the flesh, in person. No surprise, after Saul’s ‘paranormal conversion‘ to “The Way” on the road to Damascus, he fell into serious conflict with the Council of Jerusalem headed by Jesus’s next-in-line brother James, Peter, Cornelius, and other Judean-Christian leaders who had personally known Jesus quite well compared to Saul. Yet, today Pauline-Christianity (aka Saul) predominates the New Testament, seminaries, and modern churches. James Tabor, professor in the Department of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, writes about this heavy influence from a near total stranger to the Jerusalem leaders… and their and Jesus’ Neo-Jewish teachings. Tabor states:

The fundamental doctrinal tenets of Christianity, namely that Christ is God “born in the flesh,” that his sacrificial death atones for the sins of humankind, and that his resurrection from the dead guarantees eternal life to all who believe, can be traced back to Paul — not to Jesus…

In contrast, the original Christianity before Paul is somewhat difficult to find in the New Testament, since Paul’s 13 letters predominate and Paul heavily influences even our four Gospels. Fortunately, in the letter of James, attributed to the brother of Jesus, as well as in a collection of the sayings of Jesus now embedded in the Gospel of Luke (the source scholars call Q), we can still get a glimpse of the original teachings of Jesus…

What we have preserved in this precious document is a reflection of the original apocalyptic proclamation of Jesus: the “Gospel of the kingdom of God” with its political and social implications.
Christianity Before Paul, The Huffington Post, November 2012 cited Aug. 16, 2016 at http://www.huffingtonpost.com/james-d-tabor/christianity-before-paul_b_2200409.html

With this and other additional alternative extant evidence, one has to ask “What formula was used some 300-years later to configure and reconfigure the vast oral and written testaments/gospels of Jesus?” Hitherto is a list of the most significant testaments/gospels about Jesus of/the Nazareth/Nazarene out of approx. 130 known writings not present in the New Testament today:

Non-Canonical Writings (Incomplete)

For a more complete list of the many known writings of Jesus and his earliest followers, go to the NNU Wesley Center’s page of Non-Canonical Literature.

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Apostolic Fathers and the Canon Formula

Signs that much of these various Jesus-literatures had been accepted as authoritative by church leaders and early Christian congregations as early as the 1st and 2nd centuries CE appear in the letters of the Apostolic Fathers. During these centuries of the new upcoming churches, no official creed or universally accepted liturgy existed. In the following paragraphs, notice the similarities from the first churches to modern-day Christian churches.

The biggest and most heated controversy was a newer version of an old Jewish sectarian problem:  Are the Hebrew Laws, Prophets, and Writings above, below, or void in light of Paul’s Hellenistic teachings — deeds or faith? Another ongoing spinoff debate was the Gnostic challenge:  There are two dualistic worlds and two Gods, and there was no Incarnation, explained as follows:

  • The World of Darkness was created by an inferior God, the Hebrew God, and so the Hebrew scriptures were rejected or severely de-emphasized.
  • Material aspects of this Dark World, including the human body, were burdens that humanity was forced to endure by the Hebrew God.
  • The World of Light and Knowledge was ruled by a Supreme Being. Salvation was possible only through gnosis of this divine world and the Supreme Being’s mysteries, but salvation was available only to some, not all. Some Gnostics had a three-tiered class system too.
  • There was No Incarnation because he was not the Son of the inferior Hebrew God, nor did he become a man, suffer human pain, or die on a cross. Resurrection was merely a spiritual linking of the soul with the World of Light and had nothing to do with a human body.

Because Pauline Orthodoxy had the support of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, and Antioch, and their power and influences of those churches and bishops, by the 4th century CE the Gnostics would quickly be labelled heretics and harshly hunted down and most all their holy literature burned. With the four strongest episcopal sees in the Roman Empire, Ignatius, Clement of Rome, Polycarp, Hermas, and their colleagues along with their heavy power and influence… the weaker episcopal sees around the Empire and the remaining Jewish-Christians in and around Jerusalem simply could not stand up to the might of Hellenistic Constantinian Rome.
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Victors and Emperors Always Make the “Authoritative” Laws and Histories

Walter Benjamin posited that “History is written by the victors.” Historical records of major social, national, economic, ethnic, or religious upheavals and cleansings bear this philosophy out to some/large degrees. And so with his maternal-influenced-miracle-based sanction of the “official” Christianity, Emperor Constantine not only led the Roman Empire, but was also Head (Pope?) of the Church. He called for unity as a whole within the Church and agreement on its scriptures. Easier said than done inside one of history’s largest empires.

There were no less than seven failed attempts to form an official universal Bible. On the eighth failed attempt by Eusebius of Caesarea at the request of Emperor Constantine, Eusebius’ rejection of the popular Gospel of Peter, Gospel of Thomas, Gospel of Matthias; the Acts of Andrew, of Paul and of John; the Shepard of Hermas, the Epistle of Barnabas; the Didache, 1 and 2 Clement; and the Apocalypse of Peter… got his configuration rejected (see Table of Canonical Debate below). His reasons for classifying certain texts as questionable or spurious had revealed the basic formula for inclusion. Probably more important for him was a writing’s perceived apostolic authorship, though its antiquity and orthodoxy were also of significant consequence. Study closely the following table…

Table Canonical Debate

Athanasius of Alexandria wrote his Easter letter to the churches and monasteries in his diocese identifying the books they were to include in the testaments. Athanasius was one of the more flamboyant patriarchs. He was exiled from his pentarchy five times leading back to the Council of Nicaea due to his unyielding defense and decisions to compromise with other Roman patriarchs (which at times included Eusebius) over controversial points of Christian doctrine. His canon had been later confirmed by the church in Rome in 405 CE, in 393 at Hippo Regius in North Africa, and in Carthage twice, in 397 and then again after the growing Gnostic churches in 419 CE in reaction to the intensifying debate regarding James, Jude, and Hebrews. The Syrians used the Diatessaron as their canon for another 50-years. The Ethiopian church continues to this day to recognize a book of Clement and several other non-canonical books of liturgy. Though the various pentarchy churches had made ground toward unity, it is important to know they were never in absolute agreement on the New Testament canon and Christian doctrines.

Notice from the above Table how even the seven Patriarchs, who were themselves understudies to the Apostolic Fathers, after 300 years still did NOT completely agree on what God’s Son, the Messiah, and the new and old messages was suppose to mean to all people. Yet Constantine, his bishops, and propraetors had to have orthodoxy — a long standing Greco-Roman political tradition.

It wasn’t until around 400-419 CE and centuries of compromise and more compromise that the final configuration of the Christian New Testament was officially closed — closed by the declaration of the Emperor, put into law, and enforced by the torches and swords of his Roman Legions. For a God who is proclaimed as omnipotent, omniscient, and infallible, and whose traits are “proven” in the special revelations of the Canonical Bible, raises the glaring question:

Why was there three centuries of confusion, fracturing, and compromise among its early most prolific theologians… and even still to this day!?

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For Jews and Christians alike, study of the Scriptures has often been an end to itself — a simple act of devotion — rather than an exercise in absolute truth. These peaceful moderates likely realize today that human interpretation, interpolation, and orthodoxy (individual or group) cannot create an inerrant testimony of the nature of a God, nor of the full nature and teachings of a Jew named Jesus based from ancient oral traditions and differing literature spread over multiple centuries… or from differing regional cultures over 2,000 sq. miles. From an early date, believers then also began to scrutinize the Bible for what it had to say to their own generation and community along with their prolific leaders. Exegesis back then was done for purposes of preaching, pastoral care, formulating codes of behavior, and finding answers to theological and ethical questions not explicitly addressed by the texts.

As it happens today, inevitably back in Antiquity, disagreements arose — over importance of texts, their relative authority to the community, how to account for known inconsistencies and contradictions, and how to explain confusing biblical stories. Like our dear family friend in the kitchen at the beginning, both sides of the debates were probably saying to each other, “Your posture is all merely philosophy and theory.” But orthodoxy nonetheless developed, often based on a pseudo-definite set of human-like rules or patterns regarding multiple meanings and levels of meaning. To imagine there to be just one universal way, one universal lifestyle, one universal truth (e.g. John 14:6), one universal orthodoxy extracted from these millenia of “divine revelations” then and now… is not only an attempt to force a square peg into a round hole, but it is a blatant denial and/or ignorance of historical facts, wide-ranging scholarly critical thinking, reasoning, and probability, and/or a lack of deeper persistent curiosity.
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Or it could be only tunnel-vision “faith.” Right? (wink)

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Live Well — Love Much — Laugh Often — Learn Always

Blog-posts for additional information:

Constantine: Christianity’s True Catalyst/Christ
The Suffering Messiah That Wasn’t Jesus
Correcting the Gospels of Jesus
Masada, Texas: How Egos and History Repeat
The “Holy” River

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The Circus of Recycling – Part I

As the Easter weekend ended, I had once again come through the annual quagmire of suspicious historical thickening and recycled storytelling.

No, this post is not about the increasingly needed awareness and action of local and global conservation; though I wish it were. Recycling is highly beneficial for our planet and certainly requires non-stop reminding, teaching, promoting, and implementing on wider scales from everyone. But this post will not be that. No, the post will be about repetition, about repackaging worn out fossilized traditions. If anything, it should be a challenge, an “I dare you!” for many to drop their pretense. This post will be about the complete irony of a great number of humans resisting or denying change while also existing in the very state of endless change. As Heraclitus wisely concluded, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” And Socrates reinforced, that living “the unexamined life is not worth living.

Every Spring Without Fail

I was at the local Starbucks to continue reading my new book by neurologist Dr. Simon LeVay, Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation. Since it was a comfortable cool evening, I thought I’d lounge at an outside table with my book and Caffè Americano. I hadn’t realized I chose a table near a church group. I assume they noticed my book and its title. Otherwise, I’m not sure what motivated them to strike-up (politely) conversation. We exchanged our pleasantries and preferences about the various coffee and beverage choices. The older gentleman of the group seemed to have another question.

eostreOver the years the discussions usually go something like this as did this one… “What are your plans for Good Friday and Easter weekend?” I respond, My kids are grown now so no need for fun rabbits and Easter-egg hunting. Their face appears more curious. “What Easter Sunday service will your family attend?” they ask with some reserved excitement. Not wanting to risk their invitation to their church service, followed by my decline and learned explanation, I simply reply I don’t have a specific Eostre location to celebrate the Pagan festival. And there it is… their puzzled, blank, momentary silent stare. One might think their curiosity has now rendered them speechless, right? Wrong.

I am now confronted with the choice to either let the naïvety perpetuate, or determine how much time they REALLY and truly want to invest into highly probable and highly plausible (near accurate?) history. Hmmm.

However, in this particular instance their next question was a new variation of the same agenda. It was not the usual “so you’re not a Christian? Why not?” or “Would you like to come with us to our sunrise service?” or the popular “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten…” lah-de-dah who eventually was crucified, buried, and rose from the dead days later. No, this question took a slightly different twist.

Have you not heard” he began to explain “that the resurrection of Jesus Christ is the one divine miracle that distinguishes Christianity above all other beliefs?” My eyebrows raised into my forehead and a big grin took over my cheeks. Suddenly the song by The Clash leaps into my head, that well-known guitar strum opens, then… Should I Stay or Should I Go? I sigh, That is quite a bold claim I tell him modestly with a chuckle.

(In my head… I guess I’m staying, huh?)

It is bold because it is true” he answers. “Extraordinary events are very difficult for many to understand,” he continued “but God’s Word and promises, revealed in Scripture, fortunately make it easy as well as true.” My brain is going 90-to-nothing and all I could muster was Really? I wasn’t sure where to start! The explicit and implied presuppositions were everywhere flying out of his mouth and brain!

Yes” he told me, “and many hearts are too hardened to hear God’s Word and promises” I let him go on “…and some softer hearts respond immediately!” Now I’m thinking two different scenarios here. One, what type of “heart” does he think I have? And two, what is the difference (his definition) between a soft heart and a hardened heart? Drum roll please.

Irving TX mosque protestors

Protestors at Irving, Texas mosque – Nov. 2015

Since I suspected the gentleman was not a cardiologist and could offer very little knowledge on my own heart through his obvious clairvoyance, I chose number two. What is your explanation of a soft heart versus a hardened heart? I’m thinking I will dread having asked my hearty question. In my head I beg, please sir, answer cholesterol or too many ice-cones?

No such luck. “The soft hearted have been chosen by God’s Holy Spirit. In Hebrews” he began “God said, ‘…make sure brothers and sisters that none of you have a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.’” He was on a roll. “‘Encourage one another daily…so none of you will become hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. We have come to share in Christ.’” With a slight grin I ask, Should I assume then you are massaging my soft or hardened heart? A loaded question, right? I did manage a laugh from him and two others of the group.

Before he could answer and start again, I quickly asked,

Up in Irving and Richardson, Texas a group of “Christian Patriots”, I’ll call them, stood outside Muslim mosques with slandering picket-signs, in camo-fatigues and semi-automatic rifles. Who has the “hardened hearts”? The American Muslims attending their mosque, or those wailing Christian Patriots with displaced trigger fingers?

I think the gentleman’s response was something like “the history between God, Abraham, Isaac, and Ishmael answers the big question:  God’s favor.” The man’s biblical knowledge was good and so far correct. He went on… “In Genesis 16 an angel of God told Sarah, Abraham’s wife, that Ishmael and his descendants would be in disfavor of God. It would be Isaac, son of Abraham and Sarah, that would inherit all of Abraham’s, and therefore God’s blessings.” Then I added, And Ishmael would simply father a great nation of wild men full of justifiable animosity!Well yeah, more less” he said a little surprised by my apparent bible knowledge. “Since then,” the man continued “the Near and Middle East have been in constant conflict. They have hardened hearts to the purpose and salvation of Christ’s death and resurrection.” Yes, my eyes popped out like bowling balls as well… WOW! You just made a huge leap! I said startled. I asked:

Don’t you think the conflict today — well, for that matter, since the first Catholic Crusade in 1099 — is a culmination of the 1917 Balfour Declaration, the 1947 U.N. Partition Resolution #181, the United State’s ongoing military and economic support for the Israeli Occupation of Palestine!? And as if some 3,000 years of “Divine disfavor” and mistreatment on Ishmael’s descendants weren’t enough, the U.S. has and will commence necessary warfare and occupation on any Near and Middle Eastern countries should our foreign interests be perceived as threatened?

Geez, I really do empathize with their animosity!

It didn’t matter that my intended reaction from him was unsuccessful, it didn’t fit his intended result. He paid me a polite compliment for my history lesson, perhaps to patronize, but he returned to what he really wanted to achieve, “If you decide you’d like to attend a different sort of Easter service,” he reached into his satchel “here is my business card with our church’s address.” I smiled warmly That’s not necessary. Thank you. But the determined evangelist left his card on the table anyway.

After 20-minutes or so chatting with this gentleman, I asked myself why do so many (Texans) people care little about verified and most plausible history, especially that of Antiquity? Am I the only person to comprehend the concept:  Pop(ular) history is always written by the Victors — in this case, not the last remaining holdouts of 2nd century Jerusalem-Palestinia nor post-4th century Alexandria?

Class, Students…Take Your Seats

Since I have covered numerous times on my blog the wrong and unreliable history and construction of the Christian Canonical New Testament, I will not expound or repeat those posts here. I will make, however, one very important point in regard to the “story” of Jesus’ resurrection…the modern asserted purpose of Easter.

It is critical for the average indifferent reader of the New Testament crucifixion and resurrection story to know that the four synoptic gospels were not written in the same monastery room simultaneously — or within days or weeks of each other — by four specific authors or apostles. Furthermore, most all expert palaeographers agree that 1) the gospels proceed from oral traditions, 2) their language is from the primitive Aramaic form, and 3) the transliteration, mutation, and copying of the oral Aramaic tradition into the Greek Gospels took place some 70-80 years AFTER the crucifixion. Yet, with all the relevant scientific evidence as to reliable dating each of the four gospels, one must remember too that by 70 CE there were no living survivors personally acquainted with eyewitnesses to the crucifixion or possible resurrection. Only word-of-mouth from synagogue and household to synagogue and household were these stories passed on for 6-8 decades.

james tabor

Dr. James Tabor

With that Dr. James Tabor and the vast majority of other historians and scholars of Antiquity agree that the Gospel of Mark copies are the oldest and first written accounts of Jesus’ events. What makes this dating so paramount is that in the first written account of Jesus’ crucifixion and supposed resurrection is… there is NO RESURRECTION story in Mark! My evangelist gentleman at Starbucks had his story/facts wrong and disordered. Truly, the very last passages simply stop after Mary Magdalene and her female companions see Jesus’ tomb opened and emptied with a young man — not an angel — standing at the entrance. Out of astonishment and fear they fled from the tomb and said absolutely nothing! End of story (Mark 16:6-8). Dr. Tabor explains the massive implications for the validity of resurrection forgery stories thereafter in this article:  The “Strange” Ending of the Gospel of Mark and Why It Makes All the Difference. As it is, Easter is merely an ancient pagan festival.

Nevertheless, should you desire to read-up and possibly rethink on such a pivotal time in Western civilization’s social and literary history, I’ve provided the below list/links:

What I would now like to tackle are the little known historical factors about modern Jerusalem, Israel, and Palestine and the justifiable animosity some Muslims, Arabs, and Palestinians harbor toward all of the Western Allied victors of World War I. I’d wager that many of you had/have no clue.

Some Bullets for Buster-ing
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A rundown of the Jerusalem historical timeline from my March 2014 post Religious Imperialism Alive Still and Dr. Juan Cole’s ten historical reasons why Jerusalem is not Israel’s to occupy… deserves a quick revisit.

  • The ancient geographical history of Judaism begins in Mesopotamia, loosely modern-day Iraq and Syria, not Jerusalem or the Levant.
  • The settlement of Jerusalem was named in honor of Shalim, (salem) from the Canaanite religious pantheon, found on inscriptions in Syria. Modern Judaism wrongly translates the word as City of Peace, and has romanticized its historical context as their own at the exclusion of Palestinians, Syrians, Lebanese, and Jordanians.
  • Strictly from Biblical sources, i.e. not from additional independent sources, Judaism (a monotheistic religion) asserts that the prophet Moses led slaves inside ancient Egypt to the Sinai Peninsula. The only archeological evidence of a monotheistic worship happening inside Jerusalem doesn’t take place until around 1000 BCE.  All evidence prior to 1000 BCE clearly demonstrates common Canaanite deities were worshiped.
  • There is no definitive independent proof that Jerusalem was even inhabited between 1000 and 900 BCE by any particular people or tribes.
  • A Jewish group known as the Hasmoneans did rule Jerusalem briefly between 168 and 37 BCE.  This is a grossly different time span (almost a 2,200 year difference) from what Zionist Judaism claims:  3000 BCE to present? Beginning in 637 CE, the Muslim Arabs put siege to Jerusalem and conquered it a year later.  They ruled until 1099 CE when all the European Crusaders took it. It is at this point when the Jewish and Muslim inhabitants of Jerusalem fought side-by-side but were horrifically murdered in mass by Christian Crusaders.
  • Perhaps the most notable part of Jerusalem’s history is in 136 CE after the Bar Kochba revolt against Roman authority failed.  Some of the Jews in Jerusalem remained, but firmly under the rule of Rome and then Byzantium.  Many converted to Christianity to escape the harsh oppression.  After 638 CE and the Arab Muslim invasion, 90% of Jerusalem converted to Islam!  Thereafter, the entire region was almost exclusively Muslim for the next 1,300 plus years.  Palestinians are the legitimate descendants of Jerusalem, Eastern Israel, and the region!
  • In 1947 the virtual city and region of peace was completely turned upside down.  Despite the historical and archeological chronicle of Judaism, the United Nations enacted the Partition Plan for Palestine following World War II and under sympathy of the Jewish Holocaust.
  • Past and present Israeli governments have not been united, much less consistent, about how East Jerusalem and the West Bank should be settled and managed once they were taken over.  Comically, this is reminiscent of Judaism’s long history of sectarian division and fragmentation going all the way back to 37 CE.
  • The archeological record and linguistic history of Jerusalem and the Levant show who has the most legitimate claim to sovereignty from best to least, in chronological order listed below, by the number of years settled:
    1. Muslims – they ruled it and built it for at least 1,191 years.
    2. Egyptians – ruled it as a vassal state for several centuries in the 2ndmillennium BCE.
    3. Italians – ruled it for about 445 years until the fall of the Roman Empire in 450 CE.
    4. Iranians – ruled for 205 years under the Achaemenid Empire, for three years as a Parthian-Hasmonean vassal state, and for 15 years under the Sassanids.
    5. Greeks – ruled it for over 160 years, counting the Ptolemys and Seleucids as Greek empires.  If this period is counted as Egyptian and Syrian, that adds significantly to an Egyptian claim while introducing a Syrian one!
    6. Byzantines (Greeks/Turks) – ruled it for 188 years, however if one considers the heir to be Greece and add the time Hellenistic dynasties ruled, that gives Greece almost 350 years of ruling Jerusalem.
    7. Iraq– the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires ruled Jerusalem for 183 years, though adding the Ayyubid Empire (Saladin’s dynasty) who were Kurds from Iraq, ruled for 730 years bringing the total reigning years up to that point to a whopping 913 years!
    8. Jews – finally we arrive to the people who have the LEAST claim for Jerusalem.  The Hasmoneans ruled as a vassal state under Parthia for 131 years.
  • In the end, the only real claim Judaism has for Jerusalem and a state of Israel is based subservient to Persians, Greeks, and Romans when they ruled Palestine.

That said and established, now to take a 2-part look at how the United States, and by default its people, were a pawn used in the 1948 Israeli occupation of Palestine.

* * * * * * * * * *
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The U.S. and Israel Meet
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His name was Theodor Herzl. An Austrian-born European journalist, Herzl founded the Zionist Movement in 1897 called the World Zionist Organization and its first Zionist Congress. After its inception the WZO experienced unprecedented growth in just two years from representing 117 groups to 900 groups world-wide. Their first order of business was to start a Jewish state somewhere in the world. They consider at least four locations throughout four different continents, including Texas, but eventually decided on Jerusalem and Palestine even though Palestine in 1899 was already inhabited by 93-96% non-Jews all living in overall peace between the 7th century CE until 1920 when Great Britain took it as compensation from WWI and the Ottomans.

theodor herzl

Theodor Herzl

With 99% of Palestinian land owned by Christians and Muslims, the WZO had a serious obstacle in the way of their new Israel state. Dr. Israel Scheib (later Eldad) was a philosopher and member of the Zionist Movement, specifically the Lehi group. Despite being born in Pidvolochysk, Galicia — an area in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire now in modern day western Ukraine — Dr. Scheib wrote…

“Israel is the Jew’s land… It was never the Arabs land, even when virtually all of its inhabitants were Arab. Israel belongs to four million Russian Jews despite the fact that they were not born here. It is the land of nine million other Jews throughout the world, even if they have no present plans to live in it.”

Several other high-ranking WZO members speak the same language. Scheib’s and other sources can be provided if necessary.

Max Nordau is the next pivotal player. In the Maccabaean, Vol. 7 (1904), Nordau was quoted as saying “Zionism’s only hope is the Jews of America.” He was a close associate to Theodor Herzl. They are both initiates in the galvinization of American-based Zionist organizations in New York City, Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Baltimore by the start of the 20th century. By 1918 Nordau, Scheib, and Herzl had helped generate over 200,000 Zionists in America. At the end of 1923 every New York Yiddish news press except one was Zionist, reaching 535,000 families in 1927. By 1948 Zionist numbers swelled to near 1-million.

Merely reaching ordinary American citizens, however, was not sufficient. Through most of President William Taft’s administration (1909-1913), American Zionist organizations began their inroads into Congress influencing Senators and House Representatives about the plight and goal for an Israeli state. Unlike Congressional officials, U.S. State Department positions were not dependent on public votes and campaign donations. Therefore, State Department officials had the advantage of more objective thinking and reasoning for the people rather than a tiny group working for domestic or foreign entities. Here we have the first serious opposition to Zionism. Correspondence after correspondence, year after year, U.S. statesmen and military advisors under Taft repeated, ‘Zionism runs counter to U.S. interests and principles.’ But they would not be deterred.

In 1912 the Zionist Literary Society approached the Executive office directly for endorsement. Secretary of State Philander Knox flat out refused them audience, saying:

“The problems of Zionism involve certain matters primarily related to the interests of countries other than our own.”
Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy towards Palestine and Israel since 1945, by Donald Neff, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2002

In that same year the Zionist went directly to prominent Harvard Law graduate Louis D. Brandeis who would later become a Supreme Court Justice in 1916.

Into the U.S. Supreme Court

louis brandeis

Justice Louis Brandeis

Though Brandeis’ Kentucky parents raised Louis as secular, in 1912 he converted to Zionism. Two years later he became the Director of the international Zionist Central Office which had recently moved from Germany to the United States. By most accounts and biographies, Justice Brandeis is held in high esteem. Yet, when his extra activities are put under microscope with Felix Frankfurter — later to become appointed Associate Supreme Court Justice by Franklin D. Roosevelt — evidence begins to paint a different picture.

Historian Bruce A. Murphy, an acclaimed judicial biographer of American Constitutional law and politics, wrote in his 1982 book The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection: The Secret Political Activities of Two Supreme Court Justices

“In one of his most unique arrangements in the Court’s history, Brandeis enlisted Frankfurter, then a professor at Harvard Law School, as his paid political lobbyist and lieutenant. Working together over a period of 25 years, they placed a network of disciples in positions of influence, and labored diligently for the enactment of their desired programs. This adroit use of the politically skillful Frankfurter as intermediary enabled Brandeis to keep his considerable political endeavors hidden from the public.”
The Brandeis/Frankfurter Connection, by Bruce Murphy, New York, Oxford UP, 1982, p. 10, 44

Murphy continued writing that Brandeis mentioned their arrangement to “another Zionist lieutenant — Court of Appeals Judge Julian Mack.” This book would earn Murphy the Certificate of Merit from the American Bar Association. Then and today, these types of activities and associations, intentionally hidden ones at that, would have been considered highly unethical for a Federal Justice. The fact that Brandeis and Frankfurter hid them is indication they knew they were unethical as well.

Because Theodor Herzl, Israel Scheib, Max Nordau, Louis Brandeis, and Felix Frankfurter realized over two decades, they would need a more extensive wider-web of key people in key positions to harness American support for an Israel state. But key U.S. federal offices and agencies were staunchly opposed to such obvious public efforts and very risky affairs abroad. As a result, they would have to go clandestine but efforts would have to appear upfront as humanitarian, as educational, and culturally uniting. Where best to begin their foreign interests in America? In the bosom of her most prestigious campuses: the Ivy League. Of course.

The Undisclosed ‘Other’ Menorah Society of Harvard

Professor at Hebrew University of Jerusalem Dr. Sarah Schmidt first published an article in the American Jewish Historical Quarterly in 1978 reviewing the society saying “The image that emerges of the Parushim is that of a secret underground guerilla force determined to influence the course of events in a quiet, anonymous way.” Peter Grose, writer and former editor to the New York Times and ironically a Zionist sympathizer, also reported on a branch of the Menorah Society at Harvard in 1984 writing that Justice Brandeis was a leader in “an elitist secret society called the Parushim, the Hebrew word for ‘Pharisees’ and ‘separate,’ which grew out of Harvard’s Menorah Society.” Grose goes on to report that Brandeis used the Parushim  “as a private intellectual cadre, a pool of manpower for various assignments.

Julian_William_Mack_c1912

Associate Justice Julian Mack

During Woodrow Wilson’s Presidential campaign of 1912, Wilson was impressed by Brandeis’ abilities and accomplishments to make business moguls and government officials accountable to the public. They both shared very similar views on social and economic policies, and completely agreed that federal government should stay out of the national economy. This friendship would eventually foster Brandeis’ appointment by Wilson to the Supreme Court in 1916. Reluctantly, however, Brandeis had to withdraw from all his private clubs and associations, as was the ethical standards against conflicts of interest. Two years later when the multiple branches of the Federation of American Zionists reorganized, renamed as Zionist Organization of America, Brandeis was elected an honorary President and coincidentally(?) Harvard Law graduate Julian W. Mack elected as acting President. But privately Louis Brandeis did not abandon his ZOA lieutenants and friend Julian Mack.

“Through his lieutenants, [Brandeis] remained the power behind the throne.”
— Fallen Pillars: U.S. Policy towards Palestine and Israel since 1945, by Donald Neff, Washington D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies, 2002, p. 59-60

“At Brandeis’ behest, Frankfurter also became involved with American Zionism. In 1917 Frankfurter accompanied Ambassador Henry Morgenthau to Turkey and Egypt to see what could be done for the settlements in Palestine during the World War. Frankfurter also attended the peace conference in Paris as a representative of the American Zionist movement and as a liaison for Brandeis.”
Jazz Age Jews, by Michael Alexander, Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 2001, p. 91

Sarajevo_Funeral

Funeral of Archduke Ferdinand & wife Sophie, Sarajevo, 1914

Despite the opposition by American Jewish anti-Zionist, the ZOA and American Zionist memberships grew dramatically during World War I. One particular anti-Zionist according to Jews Against Zionism by Thomas A. Kolskey (p. 25) wrote of the movement, it is “a foreign, un-American, racist, and separatist phenomenon.” When one today considers the 19th century seeds and roots of Zionism, i.e. Eastern Europe and specifically Vienna, Austria, they will find those seeds and roots in the heart of the Balkans conflict of 1912-13. When Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este was assassinated, World War I broke out. Zionism was born out of this deep historical Near Eastern-European crisis, losses, exiles and Diaspora, and the unwavering belief that Jerusalem and Palestine will forever be their homeland which continued through World War II and continues today.

On a sidenote correlating to my earlier Starbuck’s encounter above, Dr. Sarah Schmidt reviews the work of Timothy Weber, President of the Memphis Theological Seminary, regarding how the late 20th century friending of American evangelicals by the state of Zionist Israel, and continued today, was a natural eschatological fit for both. Since the end of WWI the two are synonymous with Fundamentalism. I highly recommend reading Schmidt’s short review:  Dangerous Friends – How Evangelicals Became Israel’s Best Friend. How the two want “God’s plan for mankind” to become fulfilled will or should horrify the world.

* * * * * * * * * *

World War I and the Balfour Declaration
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From the earliest stages of the Ottoman Empire’s decline, Zionist recognized that their weak global positioning required the backing of a superpower. They had tried to sequester the help of the Ottoman’s who controlled Palestine at the time, but by 1912 the Ottomans had only illusionary power over their distant provinces. They turned to the British. However, like the Ottomans the British were less than enthusiastic about their cause.

lord arthur balfour

Lord Arthur Balfour

In 1916 the war was going very poorly for the British. In one day alone in 1916 the British lost 57,470 soldiers in the Battle of the Somme. Now the Zionist had their leverage. Since pushing religious and idealist arguments upon the British Parliament hadn’t worked previously, pushing the power and influence of American Zionist to bring the United States into the war had much more punch. They promised the British they could bring the U.S. into the war on the side of the British under one condition:  give full support of a Jewish home in Palestine afterwards. Thus, in 1917 British Foreign Minister Lord Balfour wrote a letter to Zionist leader Baron L.W. Rothschild promising Great Britain would sympathize…

“…with Jewish Zionist aspirations which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Cabinet.

His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavors to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.

I should be grateful if you would bring this declaration to the knowledge of the Zionist Federation.”

Because 92% of all Palestinians were non-Jews in 1917, the U.S. State Department always saw the creation of a Jewish state there as nothing less than building a powder-keg and lighting the fuse. Zionist always had their counter-punch to any resistance to a state of Israel in Palestine as plain and simply ‘blatant anti-Semitism.’

Because Zionist sentiment was growing in America with powerful proponents as Brandeis, Mack, Nordau, and Schieb, along with growing ZOA memberships, the State Department considered alternative actions. One of these plans, though a long shot, was a separate U.S.-Ottoman peace. To explore this slim possibility the State Department sent an emissary, Ambassador Henry J. Morgenthau, to Turkey to discuss. However, Felix Frankfurter became part of the delegation and ultimately became a staunch opponent. He eventually persuaded Morgenthau to abandon all efforts for a separate non-British U.S.-Ottoman peace. All subsequent complaints of Zionist sabotage were answered as ‘blatant anti-Semitic rhetoric.

By war’s end, Jewish Zionist would have their necessary superpower support and begin the dismissal and removal of some 750,000+ Muslim and Christian Arabs.

* * * * * * * * * *

In the upcoming Part II of The Circus of Recycling, these four topics: the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, the Modern Israeli Lobby & Harry S. Truman, the buckling of the U.N. General Assembly in 1947, and Zionist Militarism and the Conquest of Palestine… will be the next critical topics covered.

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