Monday, March 31, 2008

Persian Empire

The Persian Empire about 500 B.CThe term Persian Empire refers to a series of historical empires that ruled over the Iranian plateau. The political entity which was ruled by these kingdoms has been known as Persia throughout history.

Generally, the earliest entity considered the Persian Empire is Persia's Achaemenid Empire (648-330 BC) a united Aryan-indigenous Kingdom that originated in the region known as Pars (Persis) and was formed under Cyrus the Great. Successive states in Iran before 1935 are collectively called the Persian Empire by Western historians.

Prior to this, Persia's earliest known kingdom was the indigenous proto-Elamite Empire whose rule was limited to western provinces of what is modern-day Iran, while the indigenous Jiroft Kingdom ruled the eastern provinces. In the 1st millenium BC, with the arrival of Indo-European Aryans on the Iranian plateau, indigenous kingdoms in Iran successively fell to the outnumbering Aryans in wars of settlement.

The first kingdom founded by Aryans in Iran was the Median empire, which completely ruled the Iranian plateau.


Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Middle East

Political & transportation map of the Middle East today. Turkey, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Iraq, Iran, Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia. Oman, Yeman, Ethiopia and SudanThe Middle East is a historical and political region of Africa-Eurasia with no clear definition. The term "Middle East" was popularized around 1900 by the British, and has been criticized for its loose definition. The Middle East traditionally includes countries or regions in Southwest Asia and parts of North Africa. The corresponding adjective to Middle East is Middle-Eastern and the derived noun is Middle-Easterner.


The term "Middle East" may have originated in the 1850s in the British India Office, and became more widely known when American naval strategist Alfred Thayer Mahan used the term.

The history of the Middle East dates back to ancient times, and throughout its history the Middle East has been a major center of world affairs. The Middle East is also the geographic origin of the the Abrahamic religions - Christianity, Islam, Judaism - comprising approximately one half of the world's religions. The Middle East generally has an arid and hot climate, with several major rivers providing for irrigation to support agriculture in limited areas. Many countries located around the Persian Gulf have large quantities of crude oil. In modern times, the Middle East remains a strategically, economically, politically, culturally, and religiously sensitive region.


Friday, March 28, 2008

Eusebius of Caesarea

Eusebius of Caesarea, early Christian church historianEusebius of Caesarea (c. 275 – May 30, 339) (often called Eusebius Pamphili, "Eusebius [the friend] of Pamphilus") was a bishop of Caesarea in Palestine and is often referred to as the father of church history because of his work in recording the history of the early Christian church. An earlier history by Hegesippus that he referred to has not survived.


His exact date and place of birth are unknown, and little is known of his youth. He became acquainted with the presbyter Dorotheus in Antioch and probably received exegetical instruction from him. In 296 he was in Palestine and saw Constantine who visited the country with Diocletian.

He was in Caesarea when Agapius was bishop and became friendly with Pamphilus of Caesarea, with whom he seems to have studied the text of the Bible, with the aid of Origen's Hexapla and commentaries collected by Pamphilus, in an attempt to prepare a correct version.

In 307, Pamphilus was imprisoned, but Eusebius continued their project. The resulting defence of Origen, in which they had collaborated, was finished by Eusebius after the death of Pamphilus and sent to the martyrs in the mines of Phaeno in Egypt. Eusebius then seems to have gone to Tyre and later to Egypt, where he first suffered persecution.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

Mount of Olives

The Mount of Olives The Mount of Olives (also Mount Olivet, Hebrew: Har HaZeitim הר הזיתים, sometimes Jebel et-Tur, "Mount of the Summit," or Jebel ez-Zeitun, "Mount of Olives") is a mountain ridge to the east of Jerusalem. It is named from the olive trees with which its sides are clothed. Jesus entered Jerusalem, gave his final teaching, and ascended to heaven from the Mount. It is the site of many important Biblical events.

In the Book of Zechariah the Mount of Olives is identified as the place from which God will begin to redeem the dead at the end of days.

For this reason, Jews have always sought to be buried on the mountain, and from Biblical times to the present day the mountain has been used as a cemetery for the Jews of Jerusalem.

Major damage was suffered when the Mount was occupied by Jordan during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, with Jordanians using the gravestones from the cemetery for construction of roads and toilets, including gravestones from millennia-old graves.


Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Statue of Melchizedek. Santa Maria Maggiore, Rome.Melchizedek or Malki-tzédek (מַלְכִּי־צֶדֶק / מַלְכִּי־צָדֶק), sometimes written Malchizedek, Melchisedec, Melchisedech, Melchisedek or Melkisedek, is a figure mentioned by the Hebrew Bible, in the Book of Genesis, where he interacts with Abraham.

Name and titles

Melchizedek's name can be translated (from Hebrew) either as Zedek is my king or as My king is righteous, the former, which treats Zedek as a proper noun, is the translation favoured by most biblical scholars, and refers to a Canaanite deity - Zedek. In Genesis, Melchizedek is also referred to as king of Salem (generally believed to be ancient Jerusalem), and priest of El Elyon. Though traditionally El Elyon is translated as most high God, and interpreted as a reference to Yahweh (by tradition) or El (by some scholars), other scholars believe that it refers to Zedek - regarding El Elyon as referring to a most high god, and using Melchizedek's name as the indicator of who the deity was.

If the majority of scholars are right in taking the name as a reference to Zedek, then it would imply that Zedek was the main deity worshipped at Salem (i.e. Jerusalem) at that time. It is certainly the case that Jerusalem is plausibly referred to as city of Zedek (ir ha-zedek) in the Book of Isaiah, as well as home of Zedek (neweh zedek) in the Book of Jeremiah and as gates of Zedek (sha'are zedek) in the Book of Psalms, though it is also true that in each of these cases zedek is traditionally translated as righteous (as in city of righteousness).

Biblical Narrative

In the Tanakh, Melchizedek brought bread and wine to Abraham (then called Abram) after Abraham's victory over the four kings (led by Chedorlaomer) who had besieged Sodom and Gomorrah and had taken Abraham's nephew Lot prisoner. Melchizedek is also described as blessing Abraham in the name of El Elyon (see name and titles section for identification of El Elyon), and in return for these favours, Abraham gave Melchizedek a tithe, from the spoils gained in the battle.


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Prophets

Isaiah the Prophet in Hebrew Scriptures was depicted on the fresco at the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo. Isaiah (Jesaja), 1509, MichelangeloIn religion, a prophet is a person who has directly encountered God, of whose intentions he can then speak. Those who are not prophets must then commit themselves to the divinely inspired word as an act of faith. This can be problematic, especially as there are false prophets. When the prophet is held to be genuine, new religions may be adopted, based on the prophet's teachings, and on their interpretation.

A prophet often operates through some means of divination or channeling. The process of receiving a message from God (or the gods) is known either as prophecy or as revelation. (In this sense, the terms are synonyms.)

The Prophets

Books of the Old Testament referred to as "the prophets":

Former Prophets

  • Joshua or Yehoshua [יהושע]
  • Judges or Shoftim [שופטים]
  • Samuel or Shmu'el [שמואל]
  • Kings or Melakhim [מלכים]

    Latter Prophets

    • Isaiah or Yeshayahu [ישעיהו]
    • Jeremiah or Yirmiyahu [ירמיהו]
    • Lamentations [מגילת איכה]
    • Ezekiel or Yehezq'el [יחזקאל]
    • Daniel

    Major Prophets

    A major prophet is a book in the Major Prophets section of the Christian Old Testament in the Bible. The term "major prophet" is typically a Christian term as the Jewish Hebrew Bible does not group these books together and does not even include the deuterocanonical/apocryphal Book of Baruch. The closest analogous grouping in the Hebrew Bible is the "Prophets" or Nevi'im. The Christian major prophets in order of occurrence in the Christian Bible are:
    • Isaiah
    • Jeremiah
    • Lamentations, also known as the Lamentations of Jeremiah
    • Ezekiel
    • Daniel (listed with the Ketuvim in the Hebrew Bible).

    Monday, March 24, 2008

    William Thomson

    A photograph of William Thomson, likely from the late-19th century William Thomson (1st Baron Kelvin, Lord Kelvin), OM, GCVO, PC, PRS, FRSE, (26 June 1824 – 17 December 1907) was a mathematical physicist, engineer, and outstanding leader in the physical sciences of the 19th century. He did important work in the mathematical analysis of electricity and thermodynamics, and did much to unify the emerging discipline of physics in its modern form. He is widely known for developing the Kelvin scale of absolute temperature measurement. The title Baron Kelvin was given in honour of his achievements, and named after the River Kelvin, which flowed past his university in Glasgow, Scotland.

    He also enjoyed a second career as a telegraph engineer and inventor, a career that propelled him into the public eye and ensured his wealth, fame and honour (see also Founders of modern science).

    Thomson was a defender of Christian education, and he studied the Bible, its history, and the geography of the ancient world.


    Sunday, March 23, 2008


    Luigi Pellegrino Scaramuccia, known as il Perugino (1621-1680), Resurrection of Christ. Fresco on the ceiling of the Pietà chapel, in the left hand transept of Saint Mark church in Milan (Italy). Picture by Giovanni Dall'Orto, April 14 2007Easter is the most important religious holiday of the Christian liturgical year, observed in March, April, or May to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, which Christians believe occurred after his death by crucifixion in AD 27-33 (see Good Friday). Easter can also refer to the season of the church year, lasting for fifty days, which follows this holiday and ends at Pentecost.

    Nature and development

    In most languages of Christian societies, other than English, German and some Slavic languages, the holiday's name is derived from Pesach, the Hebrew name of Passover, a Jewish holiday to which the Christian Easter is intimately linked.

    Easter depends on Passover not only for much of its symbolic meaning but also for its position in the calendar; the Last Supper shared by Jesus and his disciples before his crucifixion is generally thought of as a Passover seder, based on the chronology in the Synoptic Gospels. The Gospel of John has a different chronology which has the death of Jesus at the time of the slaughter of the Passover lambs, which may have been for theological reasons but which is regarded by some scholars as more historically likely given the surrounding events.


    Saturday, March 22, 2008


    A 16th-century painting of the resurrection of Jesus by Matthias Grünewald.Jesus1 (8–2 BC/BCE to 29–36 AD/CE) is the central figure of Christianity. He is also called Jesus Christ, where "Jesus" is an Anglicization of the Greek: Ίησους (Iēsous), itself a Hellenization of the Hebrew יהושע (Yehoshua) or Aramaic ישוע (Yeshua), meaning "YHVH is salvation"; and where "Christ" is a title derived from the Greek christós, meaning the "Anointed One," which corresponds to the Hebrew-derived "Messiah." Jesus is the incarnate Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, and the prophesied Hebrew Messiah (Anointed One, deliverer of Israel). Jesus is also known as "Jesus Christ", "Jesus of Nazareth", and "Jesus the Nazarene."

    Christian views of Jesus (known as Christology) are both diverse and complex. Most Christians are Trinitarian and affirm the Nicene Creed, believing that Jesus is both the Son of God and God made incarnate1, sent to provide salvation and reconciliation with God by atoning for the sins of humanity (see also Christian worldview).

    The most detailed accounts of Jesus' birth are contained in the Gospel of Matthew (probably written between 60 and 85 AD/CE) and the Gospel of Luke (probably written between 60 and 100 AD/CE). There is considerable debate about the details of Jesus' birth even among Christian scholars, and few scholars claim to know either the year or the date of his birth or of his death.

    7He (Jesus) 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." -Jesus (Acts 1:7-8)


    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Good Friday

    Burial of Jesus, Carl Heinrich BlGood Friday, also called Holy Friday or Great Friday, is the Friday preceding Easter Sunday. It commemorates the crucifixion and death of Jesus at Calvary.

    Original Events of Good Friday

    Main articles: Passion, resurrection of Jesus, and Sayings of Jesus on the cross

    Jesus Christ, having been arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane by the Temple Guards through the guidance of Judas Iscariot, is brought to the house of Annas, who is father-in-law of the current high priest, Caiaphas. There he is interrogated with little result, and sent bound to Caiaphas the high priest, where the Sanhedrin had assembled (John 18:1-24).

    Major events in Jesus' life in the Gospels


    Thursday, March 20, 2008

    The Last Supper

    The Last Supper fresco in Milan (1498)  by Leonardo da Vinci.In the Christian faith, the Last Supper was the last meal Jesus shared with his apostles before his death. The Last Supper has been the subject of many different paintings, perhaps the most famous by Leonardo da Vinci. Christians celebrate the related events quasi-annually (annually on a Lunar Calendar) as Maundy Thursday.

    In the New Testament


    The meal is discussed at length in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 22 of the Bible. It was the seder for the Passover, and it was in the morning of the same day the Paschal lamb, for the meal, had been sacrificed (see also: Korban).

    However, under the Jewish method of reckoning time, the day was considered to begin straight after dusk, and so the Passover feast would be regarded as ocurring on the day after the lamb was sacrificed. This implies that either the synoptic gospels are not written with an awareness of the Jewish method of time reckoning (Kilgallen 264), or that they used the literary technique of telescoping events that actually happened on different days into just happening on single ones (Brown et al. 625).


    Wednesday, March 19, 2008

    John the Apostle

    St John the Evangelist, imagined by Jacopo Pontormo, ca 1525 (Santa Felicita, Florence)John the Apostle (יוחנן "The LORD is merciful", Greek Ευαγγελιστής Ιωάννης), was one of The Twelve Apostles of Jesus. Christian tradition proclaims he is the same person who wrote:
    • the Gospel of John and first epistle of John (the author of these is also referred to as John the Evangelist, John the Theologian or John the Divine)
    • the second and third Epistle of John (the author of these is sometimes distinguished under the name of John the Presbyter).
    • the Book of Revelation (the author is sometimes referred to as John of Patmos or John the Revelator).

    In the Bible

    John the Apostle was the son of Zebedee, and the brother of James. One tradition gives his mother's name as Salome.

    John and James were originally fishermen and fished with their father in the Lake of Genesareth (the Sea of Galilee).

    He was first a disciple of John the Baptist and later one of The Twelve Apostles of Jesus. He is revered as a saint by most of Christianity. The Roman Catholic Church commemorates him on December 27. He is also remembered in the liturgy on January 3. The Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates him on September 26, and also remembers him on May 8, on which date Christians used to draw forth from his grave fine ashes which were believed to be effective for healing the sick.


    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    history of Christianity

    The Sermon On the Mount by Carl Heinrich Bloch, Danish painter, d. 1890.The history of Christianity concerns the history of the Christian religion and the Church, from Jesus and His Twelve Apostles to contemporary times. Christianity is the monotheistic religion which considers itself based on the revelation of Jesus Christ. "The Church" is understood theologically as the institution founded by Jesus for the salvation of mankind.

    Christianity began in the 1st century AD as a Jewish sect but quickly spread throughout the Greco-Roman world.

    Rapid early spread of Christianity

    Although it was originally persecuted under the Roman empire, it would ultimately become the state religion. In the Middle Ages it spread beyond the old borders of the Empire into Northern Europe and Russia. During the Age of Exploration, Christianity expanded throughout the world; it is the world's largest religion.

    Throughout its history, the religion weathered schisms and theological disputes that have resulted in the development of three main branches: Catholicism, Eastern Christianity (Eastern Orthodoxy), and Protestantism.


    Monday, March 17, 2008

    Saint Patrick

    Saint PatrickSaint Patrick (386—March 17, 493 AD, see below) is the patron saint of Ireland, along with Saint Brigid and Saint Columba. He was born somewhere along the west coast of Britain in the little settlement or village of Bannavem of Taburnia (vico banavem taburniae in his Confessio), which has never been identified with certainty. Sites suggested include Dumbarton, Furness and Somerset, or the coastline of Wales or northern France; another possibility put forward for his birthplace is the settlement of Bannaventa in Northamptonshire, for raiders captured him with "many thousands of people" according to Patrick's autobiographical Confessio, and sold them as slaves in Ireland. The tiny Welsh village of Banwen has often been suggested as his birth place. It was clearly occupied in Roman times, sitting on the Neath-Brecon Roman road and next to the two Roman forts in Coelbren.

    Early life

    Although he came from a Christian family, he was not particularly religious before his capture. However, Patrick's enslavement markedly strengthened his faith. It was at this time he learned the native Celtic language and the customs of the druids, as his master was a druidic high priest. He escaped at the age of twenty-two, as legend has it, under the direction of an angel, and spent twelve years in a monastery in Auxerre, where he adopted the name Patrick (Patricius, in Old Irish spelled Pádraig). One night he heard voices begging him to return to Ireland, and he thus, by now in his thirties, became one of the first Christian missionaries in Ireland, being preceded by Palladius (died c.457/461).

    Britain at this time was undergoing turmoil following the withdrawal of Roman troops in 407 and Roman central authority in 410 (see Rome). Having been under the Roman cloak for over 350 years, the Romano-British were having to look after themselves. Populations were on the move on the European continent, and the recently converted Christian Britain was being colonised by pagan Anglo-Saxons.


    Saturday, March 15, 2008


    Paul and Barnabas at Lystra. 1650 Oil on canvas. Musée d’Art, Saint-Etienne
    Barnabas was an early Christian mentioned in the New Testament. His Hellenic Jewish parents called him Joseph, (although the Byzantine text-type calls him Joses, the Aramaic version of Joseph, (Aramaic of Jesus) but when he sold all his goods and gave the money to the apostles in Jerusalem they gave him a new name: Barnabas, which means huios parakleseos (Greek: υιος παρακλήσεως) "son of exhortation," or 'man of encouragement.' see Acts 11:23) and connotes a prophet in the Early Christian sense of the word (see Acts 13:1; 15:32). His feast day is June 11. In many English translations of the Bible, including the New International Version (NIV), King James Version (KJV), and New American Standard Bible (NASB), Barnabas is called an apostle. In Acts 14:14 of these translations, he is listed ahead of Paul, "Barnabas and Paul," instead of "Paul and Barnabas;" both men being described as apostles. Whether Barnabas was an apostle became an important political issue, which was debated in the Middle Ages.

    8-10 There was a man in Lystra who couldn't walk. He sat there,
    crippled since the day of his birth. He heard Paul talking, and Paul, looking
    him in the eye, saw that he was ripe for God's work, ready to believe. So he
    said, loud enough for everyone to hear, "Up on your feet!" The man was up in a
    flash—jumped up and walked around as if he'd been walking all his life.

    11-13 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they went wild,
    calling out in their Lyconian dialect, "The gods have come down! These men are
    gods!" They called Barnabas "Zeus" and Paul "Hermes" (since Paul did most of the
    speaking). The priest of the local Zeus shrine got up a parade—bulls and banners
    and people lined right up to the gates, ready for the ritual of sacrifice.

    14-15 When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on,
    they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out,
    "What do you think you're doing! We're not gods! We are men just like you, and
    we're here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly
    god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God. We don't make God; he makes us, and all of this—sky, earth, sea, and everything in them. -Acts 14:10-15 (The Message)


    Friday, March 14, 2008


    A Torah scroll, the Torah contains the five books of Moses, which are the first five books of the Hebrew Bible.Judaism is the religion of the Jewish people, with around 14 million followers (as of 2005). It is one of the first recorded monotheistic faiths and one of the oldest religious traditions still practiced today. The values and history of the Jewish people are a major part of the foundation of other Abrahamic religions such as Samaritanism, Christianity, and Islam.

    Judaism has seldom, if ever, been monolithic in practice, and has not had any centralized authority or binding dogma. Despite this, Judaism in all its variations has remained tightly bound to a number of religious principles. the most important of which is the belief in a single, omniscient, omnipotent, omnibenevolent, transcendent God, who created the universe and continues to be involved in its governance.

    According to Jewish thought, the God who created the world established a covenant with the Jewish people, and revealed his laws and commandments to them in the form of the Torah. The practice of Judaism is devoted to the study and observance of these laws and commandments, as they are interpreted according to the Tanakh, Halakha, responsa and rabbinic literature.


    Wednesday, March 12, 2008

    Epistle to the Romans

    Portrait of St. Paul by Rembrandt The Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans is one of the letters of the New Testament canon of the Christian Bible. Often referred to simply as Romans, it is one of the seven currently undisputed letters of Paul. It is even counted among the four letters accepted as authentic (known in German scholarship as Hauptbriefe) by F. C. Baur and the Tübingen School of historical criticism of texts in the 19th century.

    The book, according to Joseph Fitzmyer, "overwhelms the reader by the density and sublimity of the topic with which it deals, the gospel of the justification and salvation of Jew and Greek alike by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ, revealing the uprightness and love of God the father." N.T. Wright notes that Romans is "neither a systematic theology nor a summary of Paul's lifework, but it is by common consent his masterpiece. It dwarfs most of his other writings, an Alpine peak towering over hills and villages. Not all onlookers have viewed it in the same light or from the same angle, and their snapshots and paintings of it are sometimes remarkably unalike. Not all climbers have taken the same route up its sheer sides, and there is frequent disagreement on the best approach. What nobody doubts is that we are here dealing with a work of massive substance, presenting a formidable intellectual challenge while offering a breathtaking theological and spiritual vision".


    Tuesday, March 11, 2008


    The lamb is one of the animals that was used as a sacrificial animal prior to 70 CE.Korban (קרבן) (plural: Korbanot קרבנות) is a Jewish practice of sacrificing an animal or of making an offering at the Temple. It is known as a Korban in Hebrew because its Hebrew root K [a] R [o] V (קרב) means to "[come] Close (or Draw Near) [to God]", which the English words "sacrifice" or "offering" do not fully convey. There were many different types of korbanot. Once performed as part of the religious ritual in the Temple in Jerusalem in Ancient Israel, the practice was stopped in 70 CE, after the destruction of the Second Temple

    A Korban was usually an animal sacrifice, such as a lamb or a bull that was ritually slaughtered, and (usually) cooked and eaten by the offerer, with parts given to the Kohanim (priests) and parts burned on an altar. Korbanot could also consist of turtle-doves or pigeons, grain, incense, fruit, and a variety of other offerings.

    The Hebrew Bible narrates that the God of Israel commanded the Children of Israel to offer korbanot up on various altars, and describes the ritual's practice in the ancient Tabernacle, on high places, and in the Temple in Jerusalem during the history of ancient Israel and Judah until the Second Temple was destroyed in 70 CE. Korbanot and the nature of their practice continue to have relevance to Jewish theology, ritual, and law, particularly in Orthodox Judaism.


    Monday, March 10, 2008

    Jesus and the Money Changers

    us vertreibt die Händler aus dem Tempel by Giovanni Paolo PanniniThe narrative of Jesus and the Money Changers occurs in both the Synoptic Gospels and in the Gospel of John, although it occurs close to the end of the Synoptic Gospels at:
    Mark 11:15–19, 11:27–33,
    Matthew 21:12–17, 21:23–27, and
    Luke 19:45–48, 20:1–8
    but close to the start in John (at John 2:12–25) and as a result some biblical scholars think there may have been two incidents. In the episode, Jesus is stated to have visited the Temple in Jerusalem, Herod's Temple, at which the courtyard is described as being filled with livestock and the tables of the money changers, who changed the standard Greek and Roman money for Jewish and Tyrian money, which were the only coinage that could be used in Temple ceremonies.

    According to the Gospels, Jesus took offense to this, and so, creating a whip from some cords, drives out the livestock, scatters the coins of the money changers, and turns over their tables, and those of the people selling doves.

    In the Gospel of John this is the first of the three times that Jesus goes to Jerusalem for the Passover, and John says that during the Passover Feast there were (unspecified) miraculous signs performed by Jesus, which caused people to believe in him, but that he would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men. Some scholars have argued that John may have included this latter statement, about knowing all men, in order to portray Jesus as possessing a knowledge of people's hearts and minds (Brown et al. 955), and hence have attributes that would be expected of God.

    This event satisfies the criterion of multiple attestation, and scholars of the historical Jesus generally credit this event as genuine and associate it with Jesus' arrest and crucifixion.


    Saturday, March 08, 2008

    Feasts and Festivals

    Yom Kippur in the synagogue, painting by Maurycy Gottlieb (1878)A Jewish holiday or festival is a day or series of days observed by Jews as a holy or secular commemoration of an important event in Jewish history. In Hebrew, Jewish holidays and festivals, depending on their nature, may be called yom tov ("good day") (Yiddish: yontif) or chag ("festival") or ta'anit ("fast").

    The origins of various Jewish holidays generally can be found in Biblical mitzvot (commandments), rabbinical mandate, and modern Israeli history.

    Yom Kippur — Day of Atonement

    • Erev Yom Kippur — 9 Tishrei
    • Yom Kippur (יום כיפור‎) — 10 Tishrei

    (Leviticus 23:27)27 "The tenth day of this seventh month is the Day of Atonement. Hold a sacred assembly and deny yourselves, and present an offering made to the LORD by fire.

    (Leviticus 16:29)
    29 "This is to be a lasting ordinance for you: On the tenth day of the seventh month you must deny yourselves and not do any work—whether native-born or an alien living among you-

    (Numbers 29:7)7" 'On the tenth day of this seventh month hold a sacred assembly. You must deny yourselves and do no work.


    Friday, March 07, 2008

    Flood Geology

    The Rocky MountainsFlood geology (also creation geology or diluvial geology) is a creationist perspective on geologic phenomena which assumes the literal truth of the Great Flood described in Genesis (see also Noah's Ark).

    Specifically, the Great Flood is claimed to be the origin of most of the Earth's geological features, including sedimentary strata, fossilization, fossil fuels, submarine canyons, salt domes, and frozen mammoths.

    Creationists regard Genesis as providing a scientifically accurate record for the geological history of the Earth, but some claim this is not accepted within the science of geology. This segment of the scientific community state that flood geology is pseudoscience.

    Flood geology is a part of the broader endeavor of creation science, particularly being associated with proponents of Young Earth creationism. Flood geology adherents support their views with geological field work that they believe gives strong evidence of a universal flood, and they usually profess a literal belief in the Biblical record as their baseline for research.

    Mainstream science does not consider the young earth biblical interpretation of a global flood and associated deluge mythology to be a valid scientific theory. Although flood geology was widely supported by early practitioners of geology and geosciences, it was contradicted by many scientific discoveries of the first half of the 19th century and it was abandoned as a serious scientific hypothesis by the middle of the century. It was revived in the early 20th century as part of the growth of the Christian fundamentalist movement in the United States.


    Thursday, March 06, 2008

    The Serpent

    Michelangelo’s depiction of the serpent staff on the Sistine Chapel ceilingSerpent is a word of Latin origin (serpens, serpentis) which is ultimately derived from the Sanskrit term serp, that is normally substituted for "snake" in a specifically mythic or religious context, in order to distinguish such creatures from the field of biology.

    Hebrew Bible

    In the Hebrew Bible (the Tanakh) of Judaism, the speaking Serpent (nachash) in the Garden of Eden brought forbidden knowledge, but was not identified with Satan in the Book of Genesis. Nor is there any indication there in Genesis that the Serpent was a deity in his own right, aside from the fact that the Pentateuch is not teeming with talking animals.
    1"Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which the Lord God has made," (Genesis 3:1)
    Moses lifts up the brass snake, curing the Isrealites from Snake Bites. Hezekiah called the snake Nehushtan though he was cursed for his role in the Garden, this was not the end of the Serpent, who continued to be venerated in the folk religion of Judah and was tolerated by official religion until the in time of king Hezekiah. The Book of Numbers provides an origin for an archaic bronze serpent associated with Moses, with the following narrative:


    Wednesday, March 05, 2008

    Authorship of the Pauline epistles

    Portrait of St. Paul by RembrandtThe Pauline epistles are the fourteen books in the New Testament traditionally attributed to Paul of Tarsus, of which thirteen are explicitly ascribed to Paul, and one, Hebrews, is anonymous. Except for Hebrews (see Antilegomena), the Pauline authorship of these letters was not academically questioned until the nineteenth century.

    Seven letters are generally classified as “undisputed”, expressing contemporary scholarly near consensus that they are the work of Paul: Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, 1 Thessalonians, and Philemon. Six additional letters bearing Paul's name do not currently enjoy the same academic consensus: Ephesians, Colossians, 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, and Titus. The first three, called the "Deutero-Pauline Epistles," have no consensus on whether or not they are authentic letters of Paul. The latter three, the "Pastoral Epistles", are widely regarded as pseudographs, though certain scholars do consider them genuine. There are two examples of pseudonymous letters written in Paul’s name apart from the alleged New Testament epistles. Since the early centuries of the church, there has been debate concerning the authorship of the anonymous Epistle to the Hebrews, and contemporary scholars reject Pauline authorship.


    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    Abrahamic religion

    Abrahamic religions symbols designating the three prevalent monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and IslamIn the study of comparative religion, an Abrahamic religion is any of those religions deriving from a common ancient Semitic tradition and traced by their adherents to Abraham ("Father/Leader of many" Hebrew אַבְרָהָם Arabic ابراهيم), a patriarch whose life is narrated in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, and as a prophet in the Qur'an.

    This forms a large group of related, largely monotheistic religions, generally held to include Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and the Bahá'í Faith (based upon Islam), and comprises about half of the world's religious adherents.

    According to the Jewish tradition, Abraham was the first person to reject idolatry, hence he symbolically appears as the founder of monotheistic religions. In that sense, Abrahamic religion could be simply equated with monotheistic religion, but not all monotheistic religions are Abrahamic. In Islam he is considered as the first monotheist and is often refered to as Ibrahim al-Hanif or Abraham the Monotheist. The term, desert monotheism, is sometimes used for a similar purpose of comparison in historical contexts, but not for modern faiths.

    All the Abrahamic religions are derived to some extent from Judaism as practiced in ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah prior to the Babylonian Exile, at the beginning of the 1st millennium BCE. Many believe that Judaism in Biblical Israel was renovated and reformed to some extent in the 6th century BCE by Ezra and other priests returning to Israel from the exile. Samaritanism (see: Samaritans) separated from Judaism in the next few centuries.


    Monday, March 03, 2008


    M 17 Omega Nebula, © NASA / Hubble Hope is one of the three theological virtues in Christian tradition (Faith, Hope and Love).

    Hope being a combination of the desire for something and expectation of receiving it, the virtue is hoping for Divine union and thus eternal happiness. Like all virtues, it arises from the will, not the passions.

    13 Brothers, we do not want you to be ignorant about those who fall asleep, or to grieve like the rest of men, who have no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)

    9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:9-11)

    Saturday, March 01, 2008

    The Twelve Apostles

    The Last Supper fresco in Milan (1498)  by Leonardo da VinciThe Twelve Apostles (in Koine Greek "απόστολος" apostolos, Liddell & Scott, Strong's G652, a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders) were men that according to the Synoptic Gospels and Christian tradition (see also Oral Tradition), were chosen from among the disciples of Jesus for a mission (see also: Seventy Disciples). According to the Bauer lexicon, Walter Bauer's Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: "...Judaism had an office known as apostle (שליח)".

    The Gospel of Mark states that Jesus initially sent out these twelve in pairs (Mark 6:7-13, cf. Matthew 10:5-42, Luke 9:1-6), to towns in Galilee [map].

    Literal readings of the text state that their initial instructions were to heal the sick and drive out demons, but some scholars read this more metaphorically as instructions to heal the spiritually sick and thus to drive away wicked behaviour. They are also instructed to only take their staffs, and that if any town rejects them they ought to shake the dust off their feet as they leave, a gesture which some scholars think was meant as a contemptuous threat (Miller 26). Their carrying of just a staff is sometimes given as the reason for the use by Christian Bishops of a staff of office, in those denominations that believe they maintain an Apostolic Succession.

    Later in the Gospel narratives the Twelve Apostles are described as having been commissioned to preach the Gospel to the world, regardless of whether Jew or Gentile. Although the Apostles are portrayed as having been Galilean Jews, and 10 of their names are Aramaic, the other 4 names are Greek, suggesting a more metropolitan background.





    Blog Archive

    Desiring God Blog

    Youth for Christ International