Monday, November 30, 2009


Advent (from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming") is a season of the Christian church, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus, in other words, the period immediately before Christmas.
10Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz, 11"Ask a sign of the LORD your God; let it be deep as Sheol or high as heaven." 12But Ahaz said, "I will not ask, and I will not put the LORD to the test." 13And he said, "Hear then, O house of David! Is it too little for you to weary men, that you weary my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 15He shall eat curds and honey when he knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good. 16For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted. 17The LORD will bring upon you and upon your people and upon your father’s house such days as have not come since the day that Ephraim departed from Judah—the king of Assyria." —Isaiah 7:10-17 ESV
Isaiah 14:9 (above) from the Latin Vulgate [emphasis added]:
infernus subter conturbatus est in occursum adventus tui suscitavit tibi gigantas omnes principes terrae surrexerunt de soliis suis omnes principes nationum
The Hebrew word from which the Latin is derrived for this verse is בוא bow' which means, "to go in, enter, come, go, come in.


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Book of Revelation

The Four Horsemen of the ApocalypseThe Book of Revelation, also called Revelation of John, Apocalypse of John, or The revelation of Jesus Christ (Rev. 1:1) is the canonical book of the New Testament commonly placed last in the Bible. It is the only biblical book that is wholly composed of apocalyptic literature.

The book is frequently called "Book of Revelation" or simply "Revelation"; however, the title found on some of the earliest manuscripts is "The Apocalypse/Revelation of John" (ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΙΩΑΝΝΟΥ), and the most common title found on later manuscripts is "The Apocalypse/Revelation of the theologian" (ΑΠΟΚΑΛΥΨΙΣ ΤΟΥ ΘΕΟΛΟΓΟΥ). Many mistake The Book of Revelation for the plural revelations, which is false; there was only one known revelatThe Revelation of Jesus Christion recorded in the author's manuscript. The first sentence of the book, ... unto his servant John, is also used as a title.


After a short introduction (ch. 1:1–10), it contains an account of the author, who identifies himself as John, and of two visions that he received on the isle of Patmos. The first vision (chs. 1:11–3:22), related by "one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle", speaking with "a great voice, as of a trumpet", are statements addressed to the seven churches of Asia.


Saturday, November 28, 2009


The logo of the Skull and Bones consists of a skull and crossbones, along with the number 322. According to one theory, 322 symbolises the year the society was founded (1832) and indicates that it is the second chapter of a German secret society, supposedly the Bavarian Illuminati.Illuminati (plural of Latin illuminatus, "enlightened") is a name that refers to several groups, both historical and modern, and both real and fictitious. Historically, it refers specifically to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on May 1, 1776. In modern times it is also used to refer to a purported conspiratorial organization which acts as a shadowy "power behind the throne", allegedly controlling world affairs through present day governments and corporations, usually as a modern incarnation or continuation of the Bavarian Illuminati. In this context, Illuminati is often used in reference to a New World Order (NWO). Many conspiracy theorists believe the Illuminati are the masterminds behind events that will lead to the establishment of such a New World Order.

The movement was founded on May 1, 1776, in Ingolstadt (Upper Bavaria), by Jesuit-taught Adam Weishaupt (d. 1830), who was the first lay professor of canon law at the University of Ingolstadt. The movement was made up of freethinkers, as an offshoot of the Age of Enlightenment. Writers at the time, such as Seth Payson, believed the movement represented a conspiracy to infiltrate and overthrow the governments of European states. Some writers, such as Augustin Barruel and John Robison, even claimed that the Illuminati were behind the French Revolution, a claim that Jean-Joseph Mounier dismissed in his 1801 book On the Influence Attributed to Philosophers, Free-Masons, and to the Illuminati on the Revolution of France.


Friday, November 27, 2009

Lamb of God

Madonna and Child with the Lamb of God, Artist: CESARE da Sesto, c. 1515, Oil on panel, 37 x 30 cm, Museo Poldi Pezzoli, MilanLamb of God (Latin: Agnus Dei, Greek ἀμνός θεός amnos theos) is one of the titles given to Jesus in the New Testament and consequently in the Christian tradition. It is believed to refer to Jesus' role as a sacrificial lamb atoning for the sins of man in Christian theology (Acts 8:32), harkening back to Isaiah's prophesy (Isa 53:7, 8) and also to the ancient Korban Jewish Temple sacrifices in which a lamb was slain during the passover:
"you shall say, 'It is the sacrifice of the Lord 's Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.'" -Exodus 12:27

"Agnus Dei" - Worthy is the Lamb - Third Day

The Biblical significance of the title is rendered in the context of earlier lamb symbolism in addition to the literal reference to Jesus in chapter 53.

The blood of the paschal lamb of the Old Testament protects and saves the Israelites in Exodus 12. This link is made explicit in 1 Corinthians 5:7. For Paul, Christians are saved by Christ as their true paschal lamb.

The Hebrew Bible also testifies to the earlier practice of sin offerings as a possible means of atonement. Lambs could be used in these offerings (e.g. Leviticus 4:32-34 and 5:6), and this link is strongly suggested by John 1:29 and 1 Peter 1:19. Like the sin of a person could be forgiven through the offering and the pouring out of the blood of an "unblemished" lamb (cf. Lev 4:32), so Christians would be freed from sin by the blood of Jesus as the unblemished Lamb of God. See Sin for further discussion about the concept of sin and the means of atonement in Judaism.


It's all about Jesus... (Isaiah 53 ESV)... written between 701 and 681 B.C. approximately 700 years before the birth of Jesus.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

America: Freedom to Fascism by Aaron Russo
[ T h e ] Rothschild family (often referred to simply as the Rothschilds) is an international dynasty of German Jewish origin that established worldwide banking and finance operations and was ennobled by Austria and the United Kingdom.

The family tree of the Rothschild banking families.

The family's rise to international prominence began with Mayer Amschel Rothschild (1744–1812), the son of Amschel Moses Rothschild, a money changer. Born in the ghetto (called "Judengasse" or Jew Alley » See: Jerusalem Jewish Quarter/Jewish quarter (diaspora)) of Frankfurt am Main, he developed a finance house and spread his empire by installing each of his five sons in European cities to conduct business. An essential part of Mayer Rothschild's strategy for future success was to keep control of their businesses in family hands, allowing them to maintain full discretion about the size of their wealth and their business achievements. Mayer Rothschild successfully kept the fortune in the family with carefully arranged marriages between closely related family members. His sons were:

* Amschel Mayer Rothschild (1773–1855): Frankfurt
* Salomon Mayer Rothschild (1774–1855): Vienna
* Nathan Mayer Rothschild (1777–1836): London
* Calmann Mayer Rothschild (1788–1855): Naples
* Jakob Mayer Rothschild (1792–1868): Paris


Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Hans Hofmann, ‘The Gate,’ 1959-1960, collection: Solomon R. Guggenheim MuseumModernism is a trend of thought that affirms the power of human beings to create, improve, deconstruct and reshape their environment, with the aid of scientific knowledge, technology and practical experimentation, and is thus in its essence both progressive and optimistic. The term covers many political, cultural and artistic movements rooted in the changes in Western society at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. Broadly, modernism describes a series of reforming cultural movements in art and architecture, music, literature and the applied arts which emerged in the decades before 1914. But Modernism encouraged the re-examination of every aspect of existence, from commerce to philosophy, with the goal of finding that which was "holding back" progress, and replacing it with new, progressive and therefore better, ways of reaching the same end. In essence, the modernist movement argued that the new realities of the industrial and mechanized age were permanent and imminent, and that people should adapt their world view to accept that the new equaled the good, the true and the beautiful. Modern (quantum and relativistic) physics, modern (analytical and continental) philosophy and modern number theory in mathematics are, however, also said to date from this period.

Embracing change and the present, modernism encompasses the works of thinkers who rebelled against nineteenth century academic and historicist traditions, believing the "traditional" forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, social organization and daily life were becoming outdated; they directly confronted the new economic, social and political aspects of an emerging fully industrialized world. Some people divide the 20th Century into movements designated Modernism and Postmodernism, whereas others see them as two aspects of the same movement.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Supper at Emmaus. Artist: Michelangelo da Caravaggio. Painted for Ciriaco Mattei in 1601-02.A disciple is a follower and student of a mentor, teacher, or other wise figure.

In Christianity, the disciples were the students of Jesus during his ministry. Though often restricted to the Twelve Apostles, the gospels refer to varying numbers of disciples. In the Book of Acts, the Apostles themselves have disciples. The word disciple is used today as a way of self-identification for those who seek to learn from Christianity.

The term disciple is derived from the New Testament Greek word μαθἡτἡς., coming to English by way of the Latin discipulus meaning "a learner". Disciple should not be confused with apostle, meaning "messenger, he that is sent". While a disciple is one who learns from a teacher, a student, an apostle is sent to deliver those teachings to others. The word disciple appears two hundred and thirty two times in the four gospels and the Book of Acts.

See also: Mark 1 Both the gospels of Mark 1:16–20 and Matthew 4:18–22 include passages where Jesus initially calls four fishermen from among those at the Sea of Galilee. These are Simon (later called "Rock" or Peter) and his brother Andrew, and the brothers James and John (later called the "Sons of Thunder" or Boanerges). A very similar account in the Gospel of Luke 5:1–11 lacks a mention of Andrew. John 1:35-51 also includes an initial calling of disciples, but these are: an unnamed disciple, Andrew, Simon, Philip and Nathanael.


Monday, November 23, 2009

Paul Tillich

Bust of Paul Johannes Tillich by James Rosati in New Harmony, Indiana, U.S.A.Paul Johannes Tillich (August 20, 1886 – October 22, 1965) was a German-American theologian and Christian existentialist philosopher. Tillich was one of the most influential Protestant theologians of the twentieth century.

Paul Tillich was born on August 20, 1886, in the province of Brandenburg in eastern Germany in the small village of Starzeddel. Tillich's Prussian father was a Lutheran pastor and his mother was from the Rhineland and more liberal, influenced heavily by Calvinist thinking. At an early age Tillich held an appreciation for nature and the countryside into which he had been born.

When Tillich was 17 his mother died of cancer. Tillich studied at a number of German universities including Berlin, Tübingen (sister city of Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA), and Halle, and joined the Christian fraternity Wingolf, finally obtaining his Ph.D. at Breslau in 1911. Shortly thereafter, in 1912, he was ordained minister in the Lutheran Church, and soon took up a career as professor. Except for an interlude as chaplain in the German army during World War I, he taught at a number of universities throughout Germany over the next two decades. Tillich taught theology at the universities of Berlin, Marburg, Dresden, and Leipzig, and philosophy at Frankfurt. However, his opposition to the Nazis cost him his job: he was fired in 1933 and replaced by philosopher Arnold Gehlen, who had joined the Nazi Party that year. Finding himself thus barred from German universities, Tillich accepted an invitation from Reinhold Niebuhr to teach at the Union Theological Seminary in the United States, where he emigrated later that year. Tillich became a US citizen in 1940.


Sunday, November 22, 2009


The Flagellation of Christ, Artist: Nicola Grassi, c. 1720, Oil on canvas, 105 x 159 cm, Museum of Fine Arts, BudapestKenosis is a Greek word for emptiness, which is used as a theological term. The ancient Greek word κένωσις kénōsis means an "emptying", from κενός kenós "empty". The word is mainly used, however, in a Christian theological context, for example Philippians 2:5-8, using the verb form κενόω kenóō.

5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, 6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.
From Strong's G2758:
  1. to empty, make empty
    • of Christ, he laid aside equality with or the form of God
  2. to make void
    • deprive of force, render vain, useless, of no effect
  3. to make void
    • cause a thing to be seen to be empty, hollow, false


Saturday, November 21, 2009


Rabonni, Thayers Lexicon.Rhabbouni, (master, chief, prince. Rhabbouni is a title of honour Mary used to address Jesus. Strong's G4462 of Aramaic origin):
Jesus said to her, "Mary." She turned and said to him in Aramaic, "Rabboni!" (which means Teacher). John 20:16 ESV
The Hebrew form rabbi used as a title of Jesus. (Strong's G4461 of Hebrew origin):
  • And Jesus said to him, "What do you want me to do for you?" And the blind man said to him, "Rabbi, let me recover my sight." -Mark 10:51
  • Judas, who would betray him, answered, "Is it I, Rabbi?" He said to him, "You have said so." -Matthew 26:25
  • And Peter said to Jesus, "Rabbi, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah." -Mark 9:5
  • And Peter remembered and said to him, "Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered." -Mark 11:21
  • And when he came, he went up to him at once and said, "Rabbi!" And he kissed him. -Mark 14:45
  • Nathanael answered him, "Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!" -John 1:49
  • Meanwhile the disciples were urging him, saying, "Rabbi, eat." -John 4:31
  • When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, "Rabbi, when did you come here?" -John 6:25
  • And his disciples asked him, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" -John 9:2
  • The disciples said to him, "Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?" -John 11:8
In both Aramaic and Hebrew, it would have been רבוני. The Hebrew form of this word is attested in Codex Kaufman to the Mishnah.

The word rabbi derives from the Hebrew root word רַב, rav, which in biblical Hebrew means ‘great’ in many senses, including "revered." The word comes from the Semitic root R-B-B, and is cognate to Arabic ربّ rabb, meaning "lord" (generally used when talking about God, but also about temporal lords). As a sign of great respect, some great rabbis are simply called "The Rav."

Rabbi is not an occupation found in the Torah (i.e. the Pentateuch) as such, and ancient generations did not employ related titles such as Rabban, Ribbi, or Rab to describe either the Babylonian sages or the sages in Israel.[1] Even the very eminent Biblical prophets are referred to as "Haggai the prophet" e.g. The titles "Rabban" and "Rabbi" are first mentioned in Hebrew scriptures in the Mishnah (c. 200 CE). The term was first used for Rabban Gamaliel the elder, Rabban Simeon his son, and Rabban Johanan ben Zakkai, all of whom were patriarchs or presidents of the Sanhedrin.[2] A Greek transliteration of the word is also found in the books of Matthew, Mark and John in the New Testament, where it is used in reference to Jesus.

The basic form of the rabbi developed in the Pharisaic and Talmudic era, when learned teachers assembled to codify Judaism's written and oral laws. In more recent centuries, the duties of the rabbi became increasingly influenced by the duties of the Protestant Christian Minister, hence the title "pulpit rabbis," and in 19th century Germany and the United States rabbinic activities including sermons, pastoral counseling, and representing the community to the outside, all increased in importance.

Within the various Jewish denominations there are different requirements for rabbinic ordination, and differences in opinion regarding who is to be recognized as a rabbi.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche

Photo by Hans Olde from the photographic series, The Ill Nietzsche, summer 1899Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (October 15, 1844 – August 25, 1900) was a nineteenth-century German philosopher and philologist. He wrote critical texts on religion, morality, contemporary culture, philosophy, and science, using a distinctive German language style and displaying a fondness for aphorism. Nietzsche's influence remains substantial within and beyond philosophy, notably in existentialism and postmodernism. His style and radical questioning of the value and objectivity of truth raise considerable problems of interpretation, generating an extensive secondary literature in both continental and analytic philosophy. Nonetheless, his key ideas include interpreting tragedy as an affirmation of life, an eternal recurrence (which numerous commentators have re-interpreted), a rejection of Platonism, and a repudiation of (especially 19th-century) Christianity.

Nietzsche began his career as a classical philologist before turning to philosophy. At the age of 24 he became the Chair of Classical Philology at the University of Basel (the youngest-ever holder of this position), but resigned in 1879 due to health problems, which would plague him for most of his life. In 1889 he exhibited symptoms of serious mental illness, living out his remaining years in the care of his mother and sister until his death in 1900.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Adolf Hitler, Rise To Power

“Das Volk wählt Liste 1 Nationalsozialisten Reichstagswahl.” Translation:“The people are voting for list 1, the Nazis, at the Reichstag election.” Poster for the November 11, 1932 election.Adolf Hitler's rise to power in Germany began in September 1919 when Hitler joined the political party that was known as the Deutsche Arbeiterpartei (abbreviated as DAP, and later commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). This political party was formed and developed during the post-World War I era. It was anti-Marxist and was opposed to the democratic post-war government of the Weimar Republic and the Treaty of Versailles; and it advocated extreme nationalism and Pan-Germanism as well as virulent anti-Semitism. Hitler's "rise" can be considered to have ended in March 1933, after the Reichstag adopted the Enabling Act of 1933 in that month; President Paul von Hindenburg had already appointed Hitler as Chancellor on 30 January 1933 after a series of parliamentary elections and associated backstairs intrigues. The Enabling Act—when used ruthlessly and with authority—virtually assured that Hitler could thereafter constitutionally exercise dictatorial power without legal objection.

Hitler rose to a place of prominence in the early years of the party (1919 - 1923) largely as a result of his considerable skills in oratory, organization and promotion. He was aided in part by his willingness to use violence in advancing his political objectives and to recruit party members who were willing to do the same. The Beer Hall putsch in 1923 and the later release of his book Mein Kampf (usually translated as My Struggle) introduced Hitler to a wider audience. In the mid-1920s, the party engaged in electoral battles in which Hitler participated as a speaker and organizer, as well as in street battles and violence between the Rotfrontkämpferbund and the Nazi's Sturmabteilung (SA). Through the late 1920s and early 1930s, the Nazis gathered enough electoral support to become the largest political party in the Reichstag, and Hitler's blend of political acuity, deceptiveness and cunning converted the party's non-majority but plurality status into effective governing power in the ailing Weimar Republic of 1933.

Once in power, the Nazis created a mythology surrounding the rise to power, and they described the period that roughly corresponds to the scope of this article as either the Kampfzeit (the time of struggle) or the Kampfjahre (years of struggle).


Wednesday, November 18, 2009


Jesse (Detail) from Jesse - David - Solomon. Artist: MICHELANGELO Buonarroti. Date: 1511-12.Jesse or Yishai (Hebrew יִשַׁי/יֵשַׁי is the father of the biblical King David mentioned in the Books of Samuel of the Hebrew Bible. David is sometimes called simply "Son of Jesse" (ben yishai). Jesse was the son of Obed, the grandson of Ruth.

In the Talmud it says Yishai was one of four men (the others are Benjamin, Amram, and Chileab) never to have committed a sin.

Prior to the time of Israel's first king, Samuel was sent, by God, to anoint Saul. Samuel spoke the words of the Lord to Saul:
'3 Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'"

4 So Saul summoned the people and numbered them in Telaim, two hundred thousand men on foot, and ten thousand men of Judah. 5 And Saul came to the city of Amalek and lay in wait in the valley. 6 Then Saul said to the Kenites, "Go, depart; go down from among the Amalekites, lest I destroy you with them. For you showed kindness to all the people of Israel when they came up out of Egypt." So the Kenites departed from among the Amalekites. 7 And Saul defeated the Amalekites from Havilah as far as Shur, which is east of Egypt. 8 And he took Agag the king of the Amalekites alive and devoted to destruction all the people with the edge of the sword. 9 But Saul and the people spared Agag and the best of the sheep and of the oxen and of the fattened calves and the lambs, and all that was good, and would not utterly destroy them. All that was despised and worthless they devoted to destruction.

10 The word of the LORD came to Samuel: 11 "I regret that I have made Saul king, for he has turned back from following me and has not performed my commandments." And Samuel was angry, and he cried to the LORD all night. 1 Samuel 15:3-11 ESV
Saul's failure to obey the Lord resulted in his rejection as King of Israel. God sent Samuel to Bethlehem.
The Lord said to Samuel, "How long will you grieve over Saul, since I have rejected him from being king over Israel? Fill your horn with oil, and go. I will send you to Jesse the Bethlehemite, for I have provided for myself a king among his sons."


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

liberation theology

Glenn Beck interviews Dr. Anthony Bradley, visiting professor of theology at The King's College in New York City, and research fellow at the Acton Institute. Dr. Bradley holds Bachelor of Science in biological sciences from Clemson University, a Master of Divinity from Covenant Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Westminster Theological Seminary.
Liberation theology is a school of theology within Christianity, particularly in the Roman Catholic Church. It emphasizes the Christian mission to bring justice to the poor and oppressed, particularly through political activism. Its theologians consider sin the root source of poverty, the sin in question being exploitative capitalism and class war by the rich against the poor. It has a range of meanings: broadly, especially in the media, it may refer to any politically-activist Christian thought, but the technical sense is narrower.

Liberation Theologians use political theory, primarily Marxism, to help understand how to combat poverty. Some elements of certain liberation theologies have been rejected by leaders of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church over the last 30 years. At its inception, liberation theology was predominantly found in the Catholic Church after the Second Vatican Council. It is sometimes regarded as a form of Christian socialism, and it has enjoyed widespread influence in Latin America and among the Jesuits, although its influence diminished within Catholicism after liberation theologians using Marxist concepts were harshly admonished by Pope John Paul II (leading to the curtailing of its growth).


Monday, November 16, 2009

son of god

The Entombment of Christ or Deposition from the Cross (1602–1603) is a masterwork of Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio. It was originally located in Santa Maria in Vallicella, a church built for Saint Phillip Neri's Oratorian order, and adjacent to the buildings of the order. A copy of the painting is now in the chapel. The painting was originally commissioned by Alessandro Vittrice in 1601, and completed by two years later. Now, after some eloping, it is among the treasures of the Vatican Pinacoteca."Son of God" is a biblical phrase from the Hebrew bible, and the New Testament of the Christian bible. According to the bible, it refers to Jesus.

Throughout the New Testament the phrase "son of God" is applied repeatedly, in the singular, only to Jesus. "Sons of God" is applied to others only in the plural. The King James version of the New Testament calls Jesus God's "only begotten son"

(John 1:14, 3:16-18, 1 John 4:9)

  • "begotten"
    Greek: μονογενής
    single of its kind, only

  • "his own son" (Romans 8:3)

  • "own"
    Greek: ἑαυτοῦ
    himself, herself, itself, themselves

It also refers to Jesus simply as "the son" in contexts in which "the Father" is used to refer to God.
16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 ESV


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Byzantine Empire

Map of the Roman Empire ca. 395, showing the dioceses and praetorian prefectures of Gaul, Italy, Illyricum and Oriens (east), roughly analogous to the four Tetrarchs‘ zones of influence after Diocletian’s reforms.Byzantine Empire (Greek: Βασιλεία) is the term conventionally used since the 19th century to describe the Greek-speaking Roman Empire (see Rome) during the Middle Ages, centered at its capital in Constantinople []. In certain specific contexts, usually referring to the time before the fall of the Western Roman Empire, it is also often referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire. There is no consensus on the starting date of the Byzantine period. Some place it during the reign of Diocletian (284–305) due to the administrative reforms he introduced, dividing the empire into a pars Orientis and a pars Occidentis. Some consider Constantine the Great its founder. Others place it during the reign of Theodosius I (379–395) and Christendom's victory over Roman religion, or, following his death in 395, with the division of the empire into western and eastern halves.

Others place it yet further in 476, when the last western emperor, Romulus Augustus, was forced to abdicate, thus leaving sole imperial authority to the emperor in the Greek East.

In any case, the changeover was gradual and by 330, when Constantine inaugurated his new capital, the process of further Hellenization and increasing Christianization was already underway.

The name Byzantine Empire is derived from the original Greek name for Constantinople, Byzantium. The name is a modern term and would have been alien to its contemporaries. The Empire's native Greek name was Ῥωμανία Romanía or Βασιλεία Ῥωμαίων Basileía Romaíon, a direct translation of the Latin name of the Roman Empire, Imperium Romanorum. The term 'Byzantium' seems to have been first re-introduced by 15th century classicising Greeks who preferred it to 'Constantinople'. Through the translations of their texts into Latin, its usage was picked up north of the Alps by historians who were just becoming acquainted with the art of historiography. Hence, to the best of our knowledge, the term Byzantine Empire was introduced in 1557, about a century after the fall of Constantinople by German historian Hieronymus Wolf, who presented a system of Byzantine historiography in his work Corpus Historiae Byzantinae in order to distinguish ancient Roman from medieval Greek history without drawing attention to their ancient predecessors. So far, it appears that there has been no study tracking the reasons why that term came to gain prominence.


Saturday, November 14, 2009


The Enoch Scroll, Hanokh, 4Q201(En ar[superscript]a), Parchment, Copied ca. 200-150 B.C.E.,Fragment A: height 17.5 cm (6 7/8 in.), length 17.5 cm (6 7/8 in.),Fragment B: height 6.4 cm (2 1/2 in.), length 6.9 cm (2 11/16 in.), Courtesy of the Israel Antiquities AuthorityPseudepigrapha (from Ancient Greek pseudes = "false", epigraphe = "inscription") are falsely attributed works, texts whose claimed authorship is unfounded; a work, simply, "whose real author attributed it to a figure of the past." For instance, few Hebrew scholars would ascribe the Book of Enoch to the prophet Enoch, and few liberal Christian scholars would insist today that the Third Epistle of John was written by John the Evangelist, or that the Second Epistle of Peter was written by Simon Peter. Nevertheless, in some cases, especially for books belonging to a religious canon, the question of whether a text is pseudepigraphical or not elicits sensations of loyalty and can become a matter of heavy dispute. The authenticity or value of the work itself, which is a separate question for experienced readers, often becomes sentimentally entangled in the association. Though the inherent value of the text may not be called into question, the weight of a revered or even apostolic author lends authority to a text: in Antiquity pseudepigraphy was "an accepted and honored custom practiced by students/admirers of a revered figure". This is the essential motivation for pseudepigraphy in the first place.

Pseudepigraphy covers the false ascription of names of authors to works, even to perfectly authentic works that make no such claim within their text. Thus a widely accepted but incorrect attribution of authorship may make a perfectly authentic text pseudepigraphical. Assessing the actual writer of a text brings questions of pseudepigraphical attributions within the discipline of literary criticism. In a parallel case, forgers have been known to improve the market value of a perfectly genuine 17th-century Dutch painting by adding a painted signature Rembrandt fecit.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Ramesses II

Details of mummy of the pharaoh. Ramesses II. Date: 1912. Location: Cairo Museum.Ramesses II (Hebrew: רעמסס Ra`mĕcec, "child of the sun") also known as Ramesses the Great and alternatively transcribed as Ramesses and Rameses *Ria'mīsisu, was the third Egyptian pharaoh of the Nineteenth dynasty. He is often regarded as Egypt's greatest, most celebrated, and most powerful pharaoh. His successors and later Egyptians called him the "Great Ancestor." He is traditionally believed to have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus.

At age fourteen, Ramesses II was appointed Prince Regent by his father. He is believed to have taken the throne in his early 20s and to have ruled Egypt from 1279 BC to 1213 BC for a total of 66 years and 2 months. He was once said to have lived to be 99 years old, but it is more likely that he died in his 90th or 92nd year. Ancient Greek writers such as Herodotus attributed his accomplishments to the semi-mythical Sesostris, and he is traditionally believed to have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus due to a tradition started by Eusebius of Caesarea. If he became king in 1279 BC as most Egyptologists today believe, he would have taken the throne on May 31, 1279 BC.


Thursday, November 12, 2009


Jewish Cantillation signsCantillation is the ritual chanting of readings from the bible in synagogue services.

The chants are rendered in accordance with the special signs or marks printed in the Masoretic text of the Hebrew Bible (or Tanakh) to complement the letters and vowel points. These marks are known in English as accents and in Hebrew as טעמי המקרא ta`amei ha-mikra or just טעמים te`amim. (Some of these signs were also sometimes used in medieval manuscripts of the Mishnah.) The musical motifs associated with the signs are known in Hebrew as niggun and in Yiddish as טראָפ trop: the equivalent word trope is sometimes used in English with the same meaning.

A primary purpose of the cantillation signs is to guide the chanting of the sacred texts during public worship. Very roughly speaking, each word of text has a cantillation mark at its primary accent and associated with that mark is a musical phrase that tells how to sing that word. The reality is more complex, with some words having two or no marks and the musical meaning of some marks dependent upon context. There are different sets of musical phrases associated with different sections of the Bible. The music varies with different Jewish traditions and individual cantorial styles.

The cantillation signs also provide information on the syntactical structure of the text and some say they are a commentary on the text itself, highlighting important ideas musically. The tropes are not random strings but follow a set and describable grammar. The very word ta'am means "taste" or "sense", the point being that the pauses and intonation denoted by the accents (with or without formal musical rendition) bring out the sense of the passage.

There are two systems of cantillation marks in the Tanakh. One is used in the twenty-one prose books, while the other appears in the three poetical books of Psalms, Proverbs and Job. Except where otherwise stated, this article describes the "prose" system.

The current system of cantillation notes has its historical roots in the Tiberian masorah. The cantillation signs are included in Unicode as characters 0591 through 05AF in the Hebrew alphabet block.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Israel in New Testament times, 1st Century A.D., Samaria left centerSamaria, or Shomron (Hebrew:שמרון Shomĕrown, "watch mountain", its root word, שמר shamar, meaning to "keep, guard, observe, give heed") is a term used for the mountainous northern part of the area on the west bank of the Jordan River. The word is perhaps from shâmar, 'to watch,' hence meaning something like 'outlook'; but, according to 1 Kings 16:24, derived from the individual [or clan] Shemer, from whom Omri purchased the site.

Samaria is one of the several standard statistical "areas" utilized by the Central Bureau of Statistics of the State of Israel. "The CBS also collects statistics on Judea-Samaria and the Gaza District. It has produced various basic statistical series on the territories, dealing with population, employment, wages, external trade, national accounts, and various other topics." Samaria is used by people who want to emphasize Israel's and the Jewish people's relationship with their land. For example, Samaria, along with Judea, is now more widely known, outside of Israel, by the neologism "West Bank."

According to Paul, the last words of Jesus before His ascension included Samaria:

6So when they met together, they asked him,

"Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?"

7He said to them: "It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority. 8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth."

9After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight.
Acts 1:6-9


Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Christian and Jewish prophecy (Hebrew: נבואה nĕbuw'ah, nf. prophecy, prediction, soothsaying, precognition, prevision, false, prophetic writing) refers to passages in the bible that predict future events and that are believed to be divinely inspired revelation. In a broad sense, prophecy is the prediction of future events.

The etymology of the word is:

1) to prophesy

a) (Niphal)

1) to prophesy
a) under influence of divine spirit
b) of false prophets

b) (Hithpael)

1) to prophesy
a) under influence of divine spirit
b) of false prophets

Throughout history, people have sought knowledge of future events from special individuals or groups who were thought to have the gift of prophecy, such as Oracles at Delphi in ancient Greece. Cultures in which prophecy played an important role include the North American Indians, Mayans, Celts, Druids, Chinese, Chaldeans, Assyrians, Egyptians, Hindus, Hebrews, Tibetans, Greeks, and many in the Christian tradition, among others.


Monday, November 09, 2009

archaeology of Israel

The Amphitheatre in Beit She’anThe archaeology of Israel is a national passion that also attracts considerable international interest on account of the region's Biblical links.

Each university in Israel possesses a strong department or institute of archaeology and is involved in research, excavation, conservation and training.

Israeli archaeologists frequently achieve a high profile, both at home and internationally.

Yigael Yadin, one-time Deputy Prime Minister of Israel, was one of the more influential amongst the older generation of Israeli archaeologists before his death. Eilat Mazar, granddaughter of the pioneering Israeli archaeologist Benjamin Mazar, has emerged as a frequent spokesperson for concerns regarding the archaeology of the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.


Sunday, November 08, 2009


Dome of the RockThe architectural structure in Jerusalem that was the focal point of worship and the national life of Israel form the 10th century B.C. when it was built by king Solomon, until it was destructed by Rome in A.D. 70. The temple was rebuilt two times and had three periods during which the temples of Solomon, Zurubabbel, and Herod were in existance.

A temple (from the Latin word templum)
sicque faciebat per singulos annos cum redeunte tempore ascenderent templum Domini et sic provocabat eam porro illa flebat et non capiebat cibum 1 Samuel 1:7 Vulgate
So it went on year by year. As often as she went up to the house of the Lord, she used to provoke her. Therefore Hannah wept and would not eat. 1 Samuel 1:7 ESV
is a structure reserved for religious or spiritual activities, such as prayer and sacrifice, or analogous rites. A ‘’templum’’ constituted a sacred precinct as defined by a priest, or augur. It has the same root as the word “ template,’’ a plan in preparation of the building that was marked out on the ground by the augur.


Saturday, November 07, 2009


Fallen angels in Hell, John Martin c. 1841Gehenna (or Gehenom or Gehinom), in Jewish eschatology, is a fiery place where the wicked are punished after they die or on Judgment Day. Gehenna also appears in the New Testament and early Christian writing, and appears in Islam as Jahannam.

The word traces to Greek, ultimately from Hebrew: גי(א)-הינום‎ Gêhinnôm (also Guy ben-Hinnom (Hebrew: גיא בן הינום‎) meaning the Valley of Hinnom's son. The valley forms the southern border of ancient Jerusalem and stretches from the foot of Mount Zion, eastward, to the Kidron Valley. It is first mentioned in Joshua 15:8.

Originally it referred to a garbage dump in a deep narrow valley right outside the walls of Jerusalem (in modern-day Israel) where fires were kept burning to consume the refuse and keep down the stench. It is also the location where bodies of executed criminals, or individuals denied a proper burial, would be dumped. In addition, this valley was frequently not controlled by the Jewish authority within the city walls; it is traditionally held that this valley was used as a place of religious child-sacrifice to Moloch by the Canaanites outside the city.


Friday, November 06, 2009


The Witch of Endor is the most famous Biblical necromancer.Necromancy (pronounced /ˈnɛkrɵmænsi/; Greek νεκρομαντία nekromantía) is a form of magic in which the practitioner seeks to summon "operative spirits" or "spirits of divination", for multiple reasons, from spiritual protection to wisdom. The word necromancy derives from the Greek νεκρός (nekrós), "dead", and μαντεία (manteía), "prophecy".

However, since the Renaissance, necromancy (or nigromancy) has come to be associated more broadly with black magic and demon-summoning in general, sometimes losing its earlier, more specialized meaning. By popular etymology, nekromantia became nigromancy "black arts", and Johannes Hartlieb (1456) lists demonology in general under the heading.

Eliphas Levi, in his book Dogma et Ritual, states that necromancy is the evoking of aerial bodies (aeromancy).

Early necromancy is likely related to shamanism, which calls upon spirits such as the ghosts of ancestors. Classical necromancers addressed the dead in "a mixture of high-pitch squeaking and low droning", comparable to the trance-state mutterings of shamans.


Thursday, November 05, 2009


St Simon. Artist: Albrecht DÜRER. Date: 1523.A member of an ancient Jewish sect in Judea in the first century who fought to the death against the Romans and who killed or persecuted Jews who collaborated with the Romans.Zealotry (with an upper case "Z") was a movement in first century Judaism, described by Flavius Josephus as one of the "four sects" at this time. The term Zealot, Kanahi (Hebrew: קנאי plural: kanahim, קנאים); is a term given for a "zealot". It literally means one who is "burning with zeal" on behalf of God. The term is Greek in origin. The lower case form in modern English is used to refer to any form of zeal, especially in cases where activism and ambition in relation to ideology have become excessive, possibly to the point of being harmful to others, oneself, and one's own cause. A zealous person is called a zealot. In non-political or non-religious terms, zeal is an ordinary word and simply means extreme enthusiasm and passion for a particular activity.

Zealotry was originally a political movement in first century Judaism which sought to incite the people of Iudaea Province to rebel against the Roman Empire and expel it from the holy land by force of arms, most notably during the Great Jewish Revolt (AD 66-70). Zealotry was described by Jewish historian Flavius Josephus as one of the "four sects" at this time.


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Karl Marx

Karl Heinrich Marx in 1882Karl Heinrich Marx (May 5, 1818 – March 14, 1883) was a German atheistic philosopher, political economist, historian, political theorist, sociologist, communist and revolutionary, whose ideas are credited as the foundation of modern communism. Marx summarized his approach in the first line of the first chapter of The Communist Manifesto, published in 1848:
“The history of all hitherto existing society is the history of class struggles.”
Marx argued that capitalism, like previous socioeconomic systems, will inevitably produce internal tensions which will lead to its destruction. Just as capitalism replaced feudalism, he believed socialism will, in its turn, replace capitalism, and lead to a stateless, classless society called pure communism. This would emerge after a transitional period called the "dictatorship of the proletariat": a period sometimes referred to as the "workers state" or "workers' democracy."

See, for example, Marx's comments in section one of The Communist Manifesto on feudalism, capitalism, and the role internal social contradictions play in the historical process:
"We see then: the means of production and of exchange, on whose foundation the bourgeoisie built itself up, were generated in feudal society. At a certain stage in the development of these means of production and of exchange, the conditions under which feudal society produced and exchanged...the feudal relations of property became no longer compatible with the already developed productive forces; they became so many fetters. They had to be burst asunder; they were burst asunder. Into their place stepped free competition, accompanied by a social and political constitution adapted in it, and the economic and political sway of the bourgeois class. A similar movement is going on before our own eyes.... The productive forces at the disposal of society no longer tend to further the development of the conditions of bourgeois property; on the contrary, they have become too powerful for these conditions, by which they are fettered, and so soon as they overcome these fetters, they bring disorder into the whole of bourgeois society, endanger the existence of bourgeois property."


Tuesday, November 03, 2009

N.T. Wright

N.T. WrightTom (N.T.) Wright is the Bishop of Durham of the Anglican Church and a leading British New Testament scholar. Ordinarily he is known as "Tom Wright", although his academic work has always been published under the name "NT Wright" (Nicholas Thomas). He is generally perceived as coming from a moderately evangelical perspective. He is associated with the so-called Third Quest for the Historical Jesus, and the New Perspective on Paul (a complex movement with many unique positions, originating from the probing works of James Dunn and E. P. Sanders). He argues that the current understanding of Jesus must be connected with what is known to be true about him from the historical perspective of first century Judaism and Christianity.

Wright has written over 30 books.

He has completed three books in a projected six-volume scholarly series Christian Origins and the Question of God. These are:
  1. The New Testament and the People of God,
  2. Jesus and the Victory of God, and
  3. The Resurrection of the Son of God.
He has also written books on a popular level, including The Challenge of Jesus and the projected twelve volume For Everyone Bible commentary series in a similar vein to William Barclay's Daily Study Bible series.


Monday, November 02, 2009

historicity of Jesus

John Rylands Library Papyrus P52, rectoThe historicity of Jesus (i.e., his existence as an actual historical figure), is accepted as a theological axiom by three world religions, Christianity, Islam and the Bahá’í Faith, based on their respective scriptures.

The earliest known sources are Christian writings - the New Testament - which, according to modern historians, were written only 20-30 years after Jesus died.

However, while Christianity considers Jesus to be the Christ (Messiah) and Son of God, and Islam views him only as a prophet, secular historians and followers of most other world religions (including Judaism) tend to regard him as an ordinary human. Messianic Judaism, however, also considers Jesus (Yeshua HaMashiach) to be the Jewish Messiah.

With few exceptions (such as Robert M. Price), scholars in the fields of biblical studies and history agree that Jesus was a Jewish teacher from Galilee who was regarded as a healer, was baptized by John the Baptist, was accused of sedition against the Roman Empire, and on the orders of Roman Governor Pontius Pilate was sentenced to death by crucifixion.


Sunday, November 01, 2009

Albrecht Dürer

self portraitAlbrecht Dürer (German pronunciation: [ˈalbʀɛçt ˈdyʀɐ]) (21 May 1471 – 6 April 1528)[1] was a German painter, printmaker and theorist from Nuremberg. His prints established his reputation across Europe when he was still in his twenties, and he has been conventionally regarded as the greatest artist of the Northern Renaissance ever since. His well-known works include the Apocalypse woodcuts, Knight, Death, and the Devil (1513), Saint Jerome in his Study (1514) and Melencolia I (1514), which has been the subject of extensive analysis and interpretation. His watercolours mark him as one of the first European landscape artists, while his ambitious woodcuts revolutionized the potential of that medium. Dürer's introduction of classical motifs into Northern art, through his knowledge of Italian artists and German humanists, have secured his reputation as one of the most important figures of the Northern Renaissance. This is reinforced by his theoretical treatise which involve principles of mathematics, perspective and ideal proportions.

Dürer was born on 21 May 1471, third child and second son of his parents, who had between fourteen and eighteen children. His father was a successful goldsmith, originally named Ajtósi, who in 1455 had moved to Nuremberg from Ajtós, near Gyula in Hungary. The German name "Dürer" is derived from the Hungarian, "Ajtósi". Initially, it was "Thürer," meaning doormaker, which is "ajtós" in Hungarian (from "ajtó", meaning door). A door is featured in the coat-of-arms the family acquired. Albrecht Dürer the Elder married Barbara Holper, the daughter of his master, when he himself became a master in 1467.





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