Monday, August 31, 2009


And Elohim created Adam. Artist: William Blake, 1757–1827Elohim (אלהים) is a Hebrew word which expresses concepts of divinity. It consists of the Hebrew word Eloah (אלוה) with a plural suffix. Elohim is the third word in the Hebrew text of Genesis and occurs frequently throughout the Hebrew Bible. The most commonly accepted root of this source among Jewish scholars is that the word literally translates to "powers" meaning God is the One in control of these powers.
Bereshit bara Elohim et hashamayim ve'et ha'arets
(Genesis 1:1, Jewish Transliterated text)

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth
(Genesis 1:1, English Text)
This word choice may be contrasted with the Tetragrammaton, which appears throughout the second telling of creation, in Genesis 2. The documentary hypothesis usually attributes Genesis 1:1 to the priestly source.
Tetragrammaton (from the Greek τετραγράμματον, meaning 'four-letter [word]'), and are usually transliterated JHWH in German, and YHWH or YHVH or JHWH or JHVH in English.


Sunday, August 30, 2009

Johannes Gutenberg

Statue of Johannes GutenbergJohannes Gensfleisch zur Laden zum Gutenberg (c. 1398 – 3 February, 1468) was a German goldsmith and printer who is credited with being the first European to use movable type printing c. 1439 and the global inventor of the mechanical printing press. His major work, the Gutenberg Bible [gbs], is acclaimed for its high aesthetic and technical quality.

Among the specific contributions to printing that are attributed to Gutenberg are the invention of a process for mass-producing movable type, the use of oil-based ink, and the use of a wooden printing press similar to the screw olive and wine presses of the period. His truly epochal invention was the combination of these elements into a practical system. Gutenberg may have been familiar with printing; it is claimed that he had worked on copper engravings with an artist known as the Master of the Playing Cards. Gutenberg's method for making type is traditionally considered to have included a type metal alloy and a hand mould for casting type.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Leo Tolstoy

Lev Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana, 1908, the first color photo portrait in RussiaCount Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Lyof, Lyoff) (September 9 [O.S. August 28] 1828 – November 20 [O.S. November 7] 1910) (Russian: Лев Никола́евич Толсто́й) commonly referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer – novelist, essayist, dramatist and philosopher – as well as pacifist Christian anarchist and educational reformer. He is perhaps the most influential member of the aristocratic Tolstoy family.

As a fiction writer Tolstoy is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all novelists, particularly noted for his masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina. In their scope, breadth and realistic depiction of 19th-century Russian life, the two books stand at the peak of realist fiction. As a moral philosopher Tolstoy was notable for his ideas on nonviolent resistance through works such as The Kingdom of God is Within You, which in turn influenced such twentieth-century figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Leo was born on his father's estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula guberniya of Central Russia. The Tolstoys are a well-known family of old Russian nobility, the writer's mother was born a Princess Volkonsky, while his grandmothers came from the Troubetzkoy and Gorchakov princely families. Tolstoy was connected to the grandest families of Russian aristocracy; Alexander Pushkin was his fourth cousin. His birth as a member of the highest Russian nobility marks off Tolstoy very distinctly from the other writers of his generation. He always remained a class-conscious nobleman who cherished his impeccable French pronunciation and kept aloof from the intelligentsia.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Twelve Apostles

The Twelve ApostlesThe Twelve Apostles (in Koine Greek "απόστολος" apostolos: "messenger from God, LXX 3 Ki.14.6; esp. of the Apostles, Ev.Matt.10.2, al." (Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott), G652: "a delegate, messenger, one sent forth with orders a) specifically applied to the twelve apostles of Christ) in a broader sense applied to other eminent Christian teachers" (Strong's Concordance) 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 [].

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.


Wednesday, August 26, 2009


Rembrandt’s perception of the moment when Mary turns her head and sees the newly-risen Jesus. He is holding a spade to explain her initial belief that he was a gardener. John 20:10-18Hope (Hebrew: תקוה tiqvah, from the root word "qavah" to wait, look for, hope, expect Greek: ἐλπίς elpis, in the Christian sense: joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation) is one of the three theological virtues in Christian tradition (Faith, Hope and Love or Charity) which are spiritual gifts of God. In this sense, hope is not a physical emotion but a spiritual grace.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
(1 Corinthians 13:13)
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.
remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(1 Thessalonians 1:3)

8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and for a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. 1 (Thessalonians 5:8-10)


Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Yellow badge Star of David called JudensternAnti-Semitism (alternatively spelled antisemitism) is hostility toward or prejudice against Jews as a religious, ethnic, or racial group, which can range from individual hatred to institutionalized, violent persecution. The highly explicit ideology of Adolf Hitler's Nazism (National Socialism, German: Nationalsozialismus) was the most extreme example of this phenomenon, leading to a genocide of the European Jewry.

Anti-Semitism takes different forms:
  • Religious anti-Semitism, or anti-Judaism. Before the 19th century, most anti-Semitism was primarily religious in nature, based on Christian or Islamic (see Islam) interactions with and interpretations of Judaism. Since Judaism was generally the largest minority religion in Christian Europe and much of the Islamic world, Jews were often the primary targets of religiously-motivated violence and persecution from Christian and, to a lesser degree, Islamic rulers. Unlike anti-Semitism in general, this form of prejudice is directed at the religion itself, and so generally does not affect those of Jewish ancestry who have converted to another religion, although the case of Conversos in Spain was a notable exception. Laws banning Jewish religious practices may be rooted in religious anti-Semitism, as were the expulsions of the Jews that happened throughout the Middle Ages.
  • Racial anti-Semitism. With its origins in the early and popularly misunderstood evolutionary ideas of race that started during the Enlightenment, racial anti-Semitism became the dominant form of anti-Semitism from the late 19th century through today. Racial anti-Semitism replaced the hatred of Judaism as a religion with the idea that the Jews themselves were a racially distinct group, regardless of their religious practice, and that they were inferior or worthy of animosity. With the rise of racial anti-Semitism, conspiracy theories about Jewish plots in which Jews were somehow acting in concert to dominate the world became a popular form of anti-Semitic expression.
  • New anti-Semitism. Many analysts and Jewish groups believe there is a distinctly new form of late 20th century anti-Semitism, called the New anti-Semitism, which is associated with the Left, rather than the Right, borrowing language and concepts from anti-Zionism. Some of these analysts identify anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, arguing that anti-Zionism "advocates denial of the right to self-determination of the Jewish people."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Cradle of Humanity

The evangelical Protestants of the 19th century, considered the inventors of the term "Cradle of Humanity," made claims that the term originated in Mesopotamia [] in the 2nd century, and that it was used by early non-Christian Arabs, to refer to a geographic area that falls within a 1,000 mile radius of the spot they believed to be the birthplace of humankind. No documentation of such a historical use has been forthcoming. Nevertheless, the term has been used not only in religious, but also in secular contexts, and may therefore refer to different locations, depending on the views of the user.

Jewish, Christian and Muslim creationists believe that man was created by God in a place called Eden and then placed in a garden located east of Eden. In the Christian Bible, Genesis 2:10-14 indicates the Garden of Eden was supplied by the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Some early Christians (A.D second century) used the term to refer to a geographic area falling within a 1,000 mile radius of that location as the birthplace of mankind.

The consensus among some biologists and paleoanthropologists is that mankind evolved through natural processes, and when journalists and popularizers currently use the term "Cradle of Humanity", it refers to Great Rift Valley sites in Eastern Africa, where the oldest hominid fossils were found in 1974.


Sunday, August 23, 2009

the First Temple

A Dutch engraver’s depiction of Solomon’s Temple. Solomon brought in masons and architects from Tyre to build the temple, which took seven years to complete.Solomon's Temple (Hebrew: בית המקדש, transliterated Beit HaMikdash), also known as the First Temple, was, according to the Bible, the first Jewish Temple in Jerusalem. It functioned as a religious focal point for worship and the sacrifices known as the korbanot (see korban) in ancient Judaism. Completed in the 10th century BCE, it was destroyed by the Babylonians in 586 BCE.

Before his death King David had provided materials in great abundance for the building of the temple on the summit of Mount Moriah (1 Chronicles 22:14; 29:4; 2 Chronicles 3:1), where he had purchased a threshing floor from Araunah the Jebusite (2 Sam. 24:21 et seq.), on which he offered sacrifice.

The Bible states that in the beginning of his reign, King Solomon of the united Kingdom of Israel, set about giving effect to the ideas of his father, and prepared additional materials for the building. From subterranean quarries at Jerusalem he obtained huge blocks of stone for the foundations and walls of the temple. These stones were prepared for their places in the building under the eye of Tyrian master-builders.


Saturday, August 22, 2009


Isaac Blessing Jacob, Artist: Govert Flinck, 1638Jacob or Ya'akov, (יַעֲקֹב "Holder of the heel"), later known as Israel (יִשְׂרָאֵל "Prince of God") is the third Biblical Patriarch. His father was Isaac and his grandfather was Abraham. His story is told in the Book of Genesis.

Jacob was born 20 years after Isaac and Rebekah were married, at which time his father was 60 (Gen. 25:26), and Abraham, 160 years old. He and his twin brother, Esau, were markedly different in appearance and behavior. Esau was a ruddy hunter, while Jacob was a gentle man who "dwelled in tents," interpreted by most biblical scholars as a mark of his studiousness in the "tents" of Torah.

During Rebekah's pregnancy, "the children struggled together within her" (Genesis 25:22).

According to Rashi, whenever Rebekah passed a house of learning, Jacob would struggle to get out; whenever she passed a house of idolatry, Esau would struggle to get out.


Friday, August 21, 2009


“Destruction of Leviathan” 1865 engraving by Gustave Doré. (Isaiah 27:1)Leviathan (Hebrew: לִוְיָתָן, "Twisted; coiled, cetacean, whale, sea monster, dragon, large aquatic animal, perhaps the extinct dinosaur, plesiosaurus") was a Biblical sea monster referred to in the Old Testament (Psalm 74:13-14 Job 41; Isaiah 27:1). The word leviathan has become synonymous with any large sea monster or creature. In the novel Moby-Dick it Job refers to great whales, and in Modern Hebrew, it means simply "whale".

The king over the children of pride is a reference to Satan (the Accuser). Just as he is referred to in the New Testament as a red dragon in Rev.12 having seven heads, so in Psalm 74:14: "Thou didst crush the heads of the Leviathan,..."

The word Leviathan is also mentioned in Rashi's commentary on Genesis 1:21: "God created the great sea monsters - Taninim." Jastrow translates the word "Taninim" as a "sea monsters, crocodiles or large snakes". Rashi comments: "According to legend this refers to the Leviathan and its mate. God created a male and female Leviathan, then killed the female and salted it for the righteous, for if the Leviathans were to procreate the world could not stand before them."


Thursday, August 20, 2009


Photo of Absalom's Tomb near Jerusalem - Popularly believed to have been built by Absalom before his deathAbsalom or Avshalom (Hebrew: אַבְשָׁלוֹם "Father/Leader of/is peace", Standard Hebrew Avšalom), in the Bible, is the third son of David, king of Israel. He was deemed the handsomest man in the kingdom.

Masoretic Text
2 Samuel 3:2-3 וילדו לְדָוִד בָּנִים בְּחֶבְרֹון וַיְהִי בְכֹורֹו אַמְנֹון לַאֲחִינֹעַם הַיִּזְרְעֵאלִֽ

וּמִשְׁנֵהוּ כִלְאָב לאביגל אֵשֶׁת נָבָל הַֽכַּרְמְלִי וְהַשְּׁלִשִׁי אַבְשָׁלֹום בֶּֽן־מַעֲכָה בַּת־תַּלְמַי מֶלֶךְ
His sister Tamar had been raped by David's eldest son, Amnon, who was in love with her. Absalom, after waiting two years, revenged by sending his servants to murder Amnon at a feast to which he had invited all the king's sons


Wednesday, August 19, 2009


After Lake Albert, the Victoria Nile turns into the Albert Nile.The Nile (Arabic: النيل an-nīl), in Africa, is one of the two longest rivers on Earth.

The word "Nile" ('nIl) comes from the word Neilos (Νειλος), a Greek name for the Nile. Another Greek name for the Nile was Aigyptos (Αιγυπτος), which itself is the source of the name "Egypt."
1 Now a man of the house of Levi married a Levite woman, 2 and she became pregnant and gave birth to a son. When she saw that he was a fine child, she hid him for three months. 3 But when she could hide him no longer, she got a papyrus basket for him and coated it with tar and pitch. Then she placed the child in it and put it among the reeds along the bank of the Nile. 4 His sister stood at a distance to see what would happen to him.

5 Then Pharaoh's daughter went down to the Nile to bathe, and her attendants were walking along the river bank. She saw the basket among the reeds and sent her slave girl to get it.
6 She opened it and saw the baby. He was crying, and she felt sorry for him. "This is one of the Hebrew babies," she said.

7 Then his sister asked Pharaoh's daughter, "Shall I go and get one of the Hebrew women to nurse the baby for you?"

8 "Yes, go," she answered. And the girl went and got the baby's mother. 9 Pharaoh's daughter said to her, "Take this baby and nurse him for me, and I will pay you." So the woman took the baby and nursed him. 10 When the child grew older, she took him to Pharaoh's daughter and he became her son. She named him Moses, saying, "I drew him out of the water." -Exodus 2:1-10


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Mount Ararat

Mount Ararat (16,940 feet, 5165 m) is the largest volcano in Turkey.Mount Ararat (Hebrew: אֲרָרָט) is the tallest peak in modern Turkey. This snow-capped, dormant volcanic cone is located in the Ağrı Province, near the northeast corner of Turkey, 16 km west of the Iranian and 32 km south of the Armenian borders.

During the time of Noah, this mountain was completely covered with water (see Hebrew: מבול, flood):
17 The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. 18 The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. 19 And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. 20 The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. (Genesis 7:17-20 ESV)
The name Ağrı in Turkish is said to be derived from Agir in Kurdish meaning fire, referring to Ararat being a volcano. (çiyayê agirî in Kurdish). But this derivation is uncertain, since there is no historical record of when the volcano was last active and which tribes lived in the vicinity at that time.


Monday, August 17, 2009


Temple of Apollo, in CorinthCorinth, or Korinth (Greek: Κόρινθος, Kórinthos; was a Greek city-state, on the Isthmus of Corinth (see Corinth), the narrow stretch of land that joins the Peloponnesus to the mainland of Greece. To the west of the isthmus lies the Gulf of Corinth, to the east lies the Saronic Gulf. Corinth is about 48 miles (78 km) southwest of Athens. The isthmus, which was in ancient times traversed by hauling ships over the rocky ridge on sledges, is now cut by a canal (see also List of traditional Greek place names).

Corinth is now the capital of the prefecture of Corinthia. The city is (clockwise) surrounded by the coastal townlets of Lechaio, Isthmia, Kechries, and the inland townlets of Examilia and the archaeological site.

Corinth was a very important trade city for ancient Greece (Acts 18:1; 19:1; 1 Cor. 1:2, 2 Cor. 1:1, 23; 2 Tim. 4:20). Corinth, as a trade city, connected Rome with the East. It was at Corinth that the Apostle Paul established a thriving church composed of people who had gathered there in troves to have a hand in the gambling, legalized temple prostitution and other worldly activities so ordinary to a naval town in Paul's time


Sunday, August 16, 2009


Jawaharlal Nehru sitting next to Gandhi at the AICC General Session, 1942.Asceticism (Greek: askēsis) refers to the idea that a higher spiritual and moral state is attainable through the practice of self-denial. It is characterized by abstinence from various sorts of carnal or mundane pleasures such as cultivating power, engaging in sexual activity or consumption of alcohol. It is often accompanied with the objective of pursuing religious and spiritual goals.

Some non- Judaeo-Christian religions teach that salvation and liberation involve a process of mind-body transformation that is effected through practicing restraint with respect to actions of body, speech and mind. The founders and earliest practitioners of these religions (e.g. Buddhism, Jainism, the Christian desert fathers) lived extremely austere lifestyles refraining from sensual pleasures and the accumulation of material wealth. This is to be understood not as an eschewal of the enjoyment of life but a recognition that spiritual and religious goals are impeded by such indulgence.


Saturday, August 15, 2009


The oval forum and cardo of Gerasa (Jerash) The Decapolis (Greek: deka, ten; polis, city) was a group of ten cities on the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire in Syria and Judea (renamed Palestine in 135 AD). The ten cities were not an official league or political unit, but they were grouped together because of their language, culture, location, and political status.

The Decapolis cities were centers of Greek and Roman culture in a region that was otherwise Semitic (Jewish, Nabatean, and Aramean).

With the exception of Damascus, the "Region of the Decapolis" was located in modern-day northeastern Israel, northwestern Jordan, and southwestern Syria. Each city had a certain degree of autonomy and self-rule.


Friday, August 14, 2009

Augustinian hypothesis

St Augustine, Artist: van Wassenhove Joos, Date: c. 1474The Augustinian hypothesis is a solution to the synoptic problem, which concerns the origin of the Gospels of the New Testament. The hypothesis holds that Matthew was written first, by Matthew the Evangelist, a disciple of Jesus of Nazareth. Mark the Evangelist, a disciple of the apostle Simon Peter, wrote the Gospel of Mark second, and used Matthew and the preaching of Simon Peter as sources. Luke the Evangelist, a disciple of Paul of Tarsus, wrote the Gospel of Luke, and was aware of the two Gospels that preceded him. Unlike some competing hypotheses, this hypothesis does not rely on, nor does it argue for, the existence of any document that is not explicitly mentioned in historical testimony. Instead, the hypothesis draws primarily upon historical testimony, rather than textual criticism, as the central line of evidence. The foundation of evidence for the hypothesis is the writings of the Early Church Fathers: historical sources dating back to as early as the first half of the 2nd century, which have been held as authoritative by most Christians for nearly 2 millennia. Finally, adherents to the Augustinian hypothesis view it as a simple, coherent solution to the synoptic problem.

The Augustinian hypothesis addresses certain fundamental points of contention surrounding the synoptic problem, such as how reliable the early Christian tradition is, which gospel was written first, whether there were other unknown sources behind the gospels, to what extent, if any, the gospels were redacted, and to what extent the gospels were altered between the time they were originally written and the time the first surviving manuscripts appear. These and other matters are raised and alternate resolutions proposed by proponents of competing hypotheses, such as the Two-source hypothesis, its related Q hypothesis, the Farrer hypothesis, and others.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Dallas Willard

Dallas Willard, Seminar in Portland, Oregon, 2008Dallas Willard (September 4, 1935 - ) is an American philosophy professor and author born in Buffalo, Missouri. His work in philosophy has been primarily in phenomenology, particularly the work of Edmund Husserl. His more popular work has been in the area of Christian spiritual formation, within the various expressions of historic Christian orthodoxy.

Willard attended William Jewell College, and later graduated from Tennessee Temple College in 1956 with a B.A. in Psychology, and from Baylor University in 1956 with a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion. He went to graduate school at Baylor University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison, earning a Ph. D. in Philosophy with a minor in the History of Science in 1964.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009


The Tree of Life an etching by Athanasius Kircher, published in his Œdipus Ægypticus in 1652. This has since become the most common variant of the Tree used in Hermetic Qabalah.Exegesis (from the Greek ἐξηγεῖσθαι 'to lead out') involves an extensive and critical interpretation of a text, especially of a holy scripture, such as of the Old and New Testaments of the Bible, the Talmud, the Midrash, the Qur'an, etc. An exegete is a practitioner of this science, and the adjectival form is exegetic.

The word exegesis means "to draw the meaning out of" a given text. Exegesis may be contrasted with eisegesis, which means to read one's own interpretation into a given text. In general, exegesis presumes an attempt to view the text objectively, while eisegesis implies more subjectivity.

One may encounter the terms exegesis and hermeneutics used interchangeably; however, there remains a distinction. Exegesis is the practical application of hermeneutics, which is the interpretation and understanding of a text on the basis of the text itself.

Traditional exegesis requires the following: analysis of significant words in the text in regard to translation; examination of the general historical and cultural context, confirmation of the limits of the passage, and lastly, examination of the context within the text.

Although the most widely-known exegeses concern themselves with Christian, Jewish and Islamic books, analyses also exist of books of other religions.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Lucifer Liege Luc ViatourIn modern and late Medieval Christian thought, Lucifer (Hebrew: הילל, Lucifer, "light-bearer" shining one, morning star, v. to praise, glorify, laud, commend) is a fallen angel commonly associated with Satan, the embodiment of evil and enemy of God. Lucifer is generally considered, based on the influence of Christian literature and legend, to have been a prominent archangel in heaven (although some contexts say he was a cherub or a seraph), prior to having been motivated by pride to rebel against God. When the rebellion failed, Lucifer was cast out of heaven, along with a third of the heavenly host, and came to reside on the world.

Lucifer was originally a Latin word meaning "light-bearer" (from lux, "light", and ferre, "to bear, bring"), a Roman astrological term for the "Morning Star", the planet Venus.
"I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15 ESV)
The word Lucifer was the direct translation of the Greek eosphorus ("dawn-bearer"; cf. Greek phosphorus, "light-bearer") used by Jerome in the Vulgate. In that passage, Isaiah 14:12, it referred to one of the popular honorific titles of a Babylonian king; however, later interpretations of the text, and the influence of embellishments in works such as Dante's The Divine Comedy and Milton's Paradise Lost, led to the common idea in Christian mythology and folklore that Lucifer was a poetic appellation of Satan.


Monday, August 10, 2009

comparative religion

The Major religious groups of the world.Comparative religion is a field of religious study that analyzes the similarities and differences of themes, myths, rituals and concepts among the world's religions. Religion can be defined as "Human beings' relation to that which they regard as holy, sacred, spiritual, or divine" (see also spiritual formation, divinity).

In the field of comparative religion, the main world religions are generally classified as either Abrahamic, Indian or Taoic. Areas of study also include creation myths and Humanism.

Abrahamic religions
In the study of comparative religion, the category of Abrahamic religions consists of the three monotheistic religions, Christianity, Islam and Judaism, which claim Abraham (Hebrew: אברם 'Abram "exalted father," later to be named Avraham אַבְרָהָם "father of a multitude" or "chief of multitude" by God (אלהים 'elohiym), cf. Genesis 17:5; Arabic Ibrahim ابراهيم ) as a part of their sacred history. Other religions (such as the Bahá’í Faith) that fit this description are sometimes included but also often omitted.

The original belief in the One God of Abraham eventually became present-day Judaism. Christians believe that Christianity is the fulfillment and continuation of the Jewish Old Testament, recognizing Jesus as the Son of God. Islam believes the present Christian and Jewish scriptures have been modified over time and are no longer the original divine revelations as given to Moses and other prophets. For Muslims (see Shiite Muslims, Sunni Muslims) the Qur'an is the final revelation from God, with Muhammad as his messenger for its transmission.


Sunday, August 09, 2009


The Anointing of Jesus, by William Hole, 1906Christ is the English term for the Greek Χριστός (Christos) meaning "anointed", which as a translation of the Hebrew משח (mashach) meaning "to smear," "anoint," "spread a liquid," carries much of its original Jewish meaning of משיח mashiyach (nm. Messiah, anointed by the Lord; Christ) or appointed by God with a unique and special purpose (mission) on Earth.

The anointing of Jesus is an event reported by the Synoptic Gospels and the Gospel of John, in which a woman pours a whole jar of very expensive perfume over the head of Jesus. According to the Gospel of Mark the perfume in question was the purest of Spikenard. Luke adds that the woman had been sinful all her life, and was crying; and when, according to Luke, her tears started landing on the feet of Jesus, she wiped his feet with her hair. Though the Synoptic Gospels do not identify the woman, John 12:1-8 names her Mary, which is commonly interpreted to be Mary, a sister to Lazarus, and the somewhat erotic iconography of the woman's act has traditionally been associated with Mary Magdalene.

In the 3rd- to 1st-centuries BC, the Tanakh (what Christians in later centuries would call the Old Testament) was translated into a Greek version called the Septuagint, in which Khristós was used as a translation of מָשִׁיחַ "Mashiah," "Mashiach," or "Moshiach." Jewish traditional customs associated an appointment to a special purpose with the customary "anointment" of a person with holy anointing oil (Exodus 30:22-30).


Saturday, August 08, 2009

Luke the Evangelist

St Luke the Evangelist (detail). Artist: Domenico Ghirlandaio.Luke the Evangelist (לוקא, Greek: Λουκᾶς Loukas) is said by tradition to be the author of both the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles, the third and fifth books of the New Testament. In Catholicism, he is patron saint of physicians and surgeons, and his feast day is October 18. His earliest notice is in Paul's Epistle to Philemon, verse 24.... He is also mentioned in Colossians 4:14 and 2 Timothy 4:11, two works commonly ascribed to Paul. Our next earliest account of Luke is in the Anti-Marcionite Prologue to the Gospel of Luke, a document once thought to date to the 2nd century AD, but more recently has been dated to the later 4th century. However Helmut Koester claims the following part – the only part preserved in the original Greek – may have been composed in the late 2nd century:
Luke is a Syrian of Antioch, a Syrian by race, a physician by profession. He had become a disciple of the apostles and later followed Paul until his [Paul's] martyrdom. Having served the Lord continuously, unmarried and without children, filled with the Holy Spirit he died at the age of 84 years. (p.335)
Some manuscripts add that Luke died "in Thebes, the capital of Boeotia". All of these facts support the conclusion that Luke was associated with Paul.


Friday, August 07, 2009


Prophet Zephaniah, old Russian Orthodox icon.The most well-known Biblical figure bearing the name Zephaniah (Hebrew: צפניה Tsĕphanyah) "Jehovah has treasured") is the son of Cushi, and great-grandson of Hezekiah, ninth in the literary order of the minor prophets. He prophesied in the days of Josiah, king of Judah (B.C. 641-610), and was contemporary with Jeremiah, with whom he had much in common. The only primary source from which we obtain our scanty knowledge of the personality and the rhetorical and literary qualities of this individual is the short book of the Old Testament (containing only three chapters), which bears his name. The scene of his activity was the city of Jerusalem [] . (Zephaniah 1:4-10; 3:1, 14).

The superscription of the Book of Zephaniah attributes its authorship to “Zephaniah son of Cushi son of Gedaliah son of Amariah son of Hezekiah, in the days of king Josiah son of Amon of Judah” (Zephaniah 1:1).


Thursday, August 06, 2009

The AIDS Crisis

Blessed are the poorAcquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS or Aids) is a collection of symptoms and infections in humans resulting from the specific damage to the immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The late stage of the condition leaves individuals prone to opportunistic infections and tumors. Although treatments for AIDS and HIV exist to slow the virus's progression, there is no known cure.

HIV is transmitted through direct contact of a mucous membrane or the bloodstream with a bodily fluid containing HIV, such as blood, semen, vaginal fluid, preseminal fluid, and breast milk.

This transmission can come in the form of anal, vaginal or oral sex, blood transfusion, contaminated hypodermic needles, exchange between mother and baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding, or other exposure to one of the above bodily fluids.

Most researchers believe that HIV originated in sub-Saharan Africa during the twentieth century; it is now a pandemic, with an estimated 38.6 million people now living with the disease worldwide.


Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Unconditional love

Christ with the crown of thorns, 1623, Oil on canvas, 106 cm x 136 cm, Catharijneconvent, Utrecht Unconditional love is a term that means to love someone regardless of his actions or beliefs. It is a concept comparable to true love, a term which is more frequently used to describe love between lovers. By contrast, unconditional love is frequently used to describe love between family members, comrades in arms and between others in highly committed relationships. It has also been used in a religious context to describe God's love for humankind through the forgiveness of Christ. However, this can be seen as contradictory in some cases where God's "unconditional" love is predicated upon the believer's fulfillment of one or more criteria. But this love is not solely based on those met expectations.

Unconditional love separates the individual from his behaviors. The individual is loved unconditionally as a "perfect" child of the Higher Power. However, the individual may exhibit behaviors that are unacceptable in a particular situation. To begin with a simple example: one acquires a puppy. The puppy is cute, playful, and the owner's heart swells with love for this new family member. Then the puppy urinates on the floor. The owner does not stop loving the puppy, but needs to modify the behavior through training and education.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Antiochus IV Epiphanes

The martyrdom of the seven Maccabean brothers and their mother (under King Antiochus Epiphanes IV), by Franz Joseph Hermann, work period 1770–1791Antiochus IV Epiphanes (Greek: Αντίοχος Επιφανής, "The Shining One") (ca. 215–164 BC) ruled the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire from 175 BC until his death.

He was a son of Antiochus III the Great and brother of Seleucus IV Philopator. He was originally named Mithradates, but renamed Antiochus, either upon his ascension, or after the death of his elder brother Antiochus. Notable events during his reign include the near-conquest of Egypt, which was halted by the threat of Roman intervention, and the beginning of the Jewish revolt of the Maccabees.

Antiochus took power after the death of Seleucus Philopator. He had been hostage in Rome following the Treaty of Apamea in 188 BC, but had recently been exchanged for the son and rightful heir of Seleucus IV, the later Demetrius I Soter. Antiochus took advantage of this situation, and proclaimed himself co-regent with another of Seleucus' sons, the infant Antiochus, whose murder he orchestrated a few years later.

Because the guardians of Ptolemy VI Philometor of Egypt [] were demanding the return of Coele-Syria, Antiochus, in 170 BC, decided on a preemptive strike against Egypt, and invaded, conquering all but Alexandria [] . He then captured Ptolemy, and agreed to let him continue as King, but as his puppet. (This had the advantage of not alarming Rome.) Alexandria thereupon chose Ptolemy's brother Ptolemy Euergetes as King. In Antiochus' absence, the two brothers agreed to rule jointly.

Monday, August 03, 2009


“Adam,” from “Adam and Eve” by Albrecht Dürer (1507) given by Christina of Sweden to King Philip IV in 1654Adam (Hebrew: אדם 'adam, "man," "mankind," "first man") was the first man and Eve (Hebrew: חוה Chavvah, "life" or "living") was the first woman.
At the time God made Earth and Heaven, before any grasses or shrubs had sprouted from the ground—God hadn't yet sent rain on Earth, nor was there anyone around to work the ground (the whole Earth was watered by underground springs)—God formed Man out of dirt from the ground and blew into his nostrils the breath of life. The Man came alive—a living soul! -Genesis 2:5-7 (The Message)
His name, in Hebrew, is אדם (pronounced: ah-dahm) which has a basic meaning of "mankind," a related noun is אדמה (pronounced: ah-dah-mah) which means "earth" or "soil." Adam was father to Cain (Gen. 4:1), Abel (Gen. 4:2), Seth (Gen. 4:25), and other children (Gen. 5:4). He lived to be 930 years old.


Sunday, August 02, 2009

The Prophets

The Major prophets: Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel each originally depicted on the fresco at the Sistine Chapel ceiling.Books of the Old Testament referred to as "The Prophets":

Former ProphetsLatter ProphetsA 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.


Saturday, August 01, 2009


St John on Patmos (Quarate predella) Artist: Paolo Uccello. Date: 1435-40.Patmos (Greek, Πάτμος) is a small Greek island in the Aegean Sea [virtual map of Patmos Island] . It is the northernmost island of the Dodecanese complex, it has a population of roughly 3,000 and an area of 34.6 km² (13 square miles). The highest point is Profitis Ilias, 269 meters above sea level.

Patmos' main communities are Chora and Skala, the only commercial port. Other setllements are Grikou and Kampos. The churches and communities on Patmos are of the Eastern Orthodox tradition.

9 I, John, your brother and partner in the tribulation and the kingdom and the patient endurance that are in Jesus, was on the island called Patmos on account of the word of God and the testimony of Jesus. Revelation 1:9 ESV




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