Thursday, June 28, 2012

David as Cadmus (Part One)




John R. Salverda

I have already identified the Greek mythological character "Cadmus," with the Judean King "David," in an article called "Europa Lost" (See http://westerncivilisationamaic.blogspot.com/2012/02/europe-is-named-after-descendant-of-ios.html ). However the "David" that I used in that article was not the actual, historical, King David of the Scriptures, it was the Messianic, prophesied, David, the "David My servant," the "Branch," or "Root of Jesse," that I used to correspond with Cadmus, the heir to the throne, whose job it was to bring back the lost Europa (therein identified with the lost ten tribes). "… I will take the children of Israel from among the heathen, whither they be gone, and will gather them on every side, and bring them into their own land: … And David my servant shall be king over them; …" (Eze.37:21-24). "And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious. And it shall come to pass in that day, that the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea. And he shall set up an ensign for the nations, and shall assemble the outcasts of Israel, and gather together the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth." (Isaiah 11:10-12). ". . . I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfill all my will. Of this man's seed hath God ‘according to his promise’ raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus. " (Acts 13:22,23). Accordingly, I felt justified in equating this facet of David, with the Greek mythological character Cadmus, the heir to the Phoenician throne, whose mythic role was to bring Europa (whom I suppose to be named after Jeroboam, the first king of the northern ten tribes of Israel,) back into her own land.



I overlooked the historical King David in that article because I knew that he never personally searched out "Europa" (she was not yet lost in David's lifetime). The alphabet that Cadmus brought when he founded Boeotian Thebes, has been dated to about 850 BC. (long after the days of King David). And it seemed to me that the founding of Thebes in Greece belonged to a later age than the time of David. The Phoenicians who founded the Greek Thebes brought the story of David to Greece, (Could the Alphabet have come without a few current stories written in it?) he was something of a culture hero to them, they knew him as "Cadmus." And in the story of how Cadmus founded Thebes, they apparently used the story of how David founded Jerusalem, for in as much as David was the founder and first king of Jerusalem, so too Cadmus was the founder and first King of Thebes. Those who saw "Europa" as lost among the nations as a consequence of adoring God in the form of a bull, were almost certainly Judeans (It is the Jewish Scriptures that proclaim the "sins of Jeroboam" to be the blame for the loss of the Northern Ten Tribes.). Now, as to why the place was called "Thebes" instead of "Jerusalem" I suspect that this is where the identification of King David with the Egyptian Pharaoh Tuthmose I (postulated by Damien Mackey, Dr. Ed Metzler, and a few others) comes into play. Before we get into the triple identification, let us look into some points of coincidence between the Greek myth of Cadmus and the first part of the historic David's story.



Casting the Stone



"Cadmus ... with a straight cast of the stone smashed the top of the dragon’s head; then drawing a whetted knife from his thigh he cut through the monster’s neck. The hood severed from the body lay apart," (Nonnus, Dionysiaca Book 4. 406) David also cast a famous stone that smashed the top of, not a serpent's, but a giant's, head. He also followed up by cutting the head off. "David ... took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, ... Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith." (1st Samuel 17:49,51) How many times, in either history or myth, can you find such a story? An ordinary man engages in single handed combat with a gigantic monster, he tosses a stone, hits it on the head, and knocks it out. Then he runs up on it and cuts it's head off with a sword. These specific circumstances comprise a fairly rare story, and yet David and Cadmus hold it in common. The question arises; Why would the Greek myths recast Goliath, a giant, as a serpent? As a giant, Goliath was called a son of "Repha," one of the Rephaim. To many who have studied comparative religions, these Rephaim were analogous to the Earth-born Giants of Greek mythology. However, the Greeks considered the Earth-born Giants to be serpentine in nature, either having serpent legs or serpent hair or both, (see the frieze upon the altar at Pergamon); "These creatures (the Giants) were unsurpassed in the size of their bodies and unconquerable by virtue of their power. They were frightening in appearance, with long hair that swept down from their heads and chins, and serpent-scales covering their lower limbs." (Pseudo-Apollodorus, Bibliotheca 1. 34) "The serpent-footed Giants ..." (Ovid, Metamorphoses Book 1. 185) "The coiling sons of Gaia . . ." "Giants, the snaky sons of Gaia . . . with huge serpents flowing over their shoulders equally on both sides much bigger than the Inakhian snake." (Nonnus, Dionysiaca 25. 85, 206 ff) It therefore seems plausible at least, for the Greeks to have pictured Goliath, a Giant, as a serpent. (Schickard, Novidius, and other biblical scholars said that the constellation of Perseus, with the head of the serpent haired Medusa, was David with the head of Goliath. Once again the giant is identified with a serpent monster.)



It is worth noting that the Scriptures link the "Giants" with a Serpent as well. The Giants are the offspring of the fallen angels whose leader is supposed to be the ancient Serpent. "And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceives the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him." (Revelations 12:9) In the Scriptures the seed of the Serpent is supposed to die as a result of a crushing blow to the head. It should here be pointed out that, the deed of David killing Goliath, seems obviously to be ascribed to him as a Messianic attribute, therefore the fact that the mythological retelling of this episode resorts to the full poetic symbolism of Cadmus, wounding the head of the serpent, or transfixing it to a tree to stare upon it (as in Ovid's Metamorphoses Book 3. 90-95), is fully appropriate. In fact the Greek mythographers have Cadmus playing much more of a Messianic role than Samuel's David plays (Of course the later prophets clearly portray "My Servant David" in more obvious Messianic terms.). That David was a foreshadowing of the Messiah might have been left to the point that he killed Goliath with a wound to the head, but for the following enigmatic Scriptural statement; "And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem;" (1st Samuel 17:54). Some take this statement to be an apparent anachronism, for Jerusalem was still in the hands of the Jebusites at the time. A more likely supposition, however, is that Golgotha (skull place), just outside the walls of Jerusalem, was the site of the burial of the skull of Goliath. Thus Christ, in his death, figuratively bruised the head of the serpent just where David placed the bruised head of the giant Philistine. "And I will put enmity between thee (the Serpent) and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shall bruise his heel." (Genesis 3:15). David perhaps displayed the head of Goliath upon a wooden stake as an ensign warning the Jebusites of his eventual victory against them as well (thus giving a justification to Ovid for his version of Cadmus' killing of the Serpent, whereby it was transfixed to a tree nearby the site where Cadmus was destined to build Thebes.).



Cadmus, like David, wore no armor protection for this, his defining battle. "Cadmus, ... Clothed in a skin torn from a lion," (Ovid, Metamorphoses 3, 50) David famously claimed to have killed a lion (earlier in that same day, according to the Quranic version of the story). In my view, the fact that Cadmus performed what seems to be an obvious messianic task, (wounding the head of the serpent) dressed as a lion, is steeped in meaningful symbolism. The lion is the totem of the tribe of Judah and especially of it's King David. ". . . behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has prevailed . . ." (Revelations 5:5).



The Spartoi



Cadmus had a sleight group of companions to begin with, but in killing the monster he was able to earn an elite group, not unlike the "mighty men" of King David. By planting the teeth of the serpent, Cadmus was able to grow a fighting force known in the Greek myths as "the Spartoi," these would serve him just as the "Gibborim" (mighty men) of David, as a personal guard, his generals, and as the aristocracy of his newly founded city. The word used to describe David's mighty men, Gibborim, is the same one that is used to define the giants "which were of old men of renown" who were "born to the sons of God" who "came into the daughters of men" in Genesis 6:4. Why were the mighty men of King David linked to the giants of old? I don't know. But I do know that the Spartoi of Cadmus were also linked to the Greek version of the Biblical giants, whom they called the "Earthborn giants." See how Nonnus describes them; "... take the creature’s horrible teeth, sow the ground all about with the snaky corn, reap the viperous harvest of warrior giants, join the battalions of the Earthborn in one common destruction, and leave only five living: let the crop of the Sown sprout up to glorious fruitage for Thebes that shall be.” (Nonnus Book 4.393)



We know what it means, in modern parlance, when we hear something like, "planting the seeds of discord with seditious speech in order that people may rise up in rebellion." However, the ancient mythographers heard something like, "planting the serpent's teeth in order to raise up a crop of armed men," and they, in writing a myth, took it literally, and we, in reading it, are completely misled. It wouldn't be the first time that a myth grew out of a metaphor or an allegory. One can imagine how the story of David may contain the original prosaic version of this same myth, for as David kills Goliath and becomes a rival to King Saul, the "seeds of discord" are being planted. "David therefore departed thence, and escaped to the cave Adullam: and when his brethren and all his father's house heard it, they went down thither to him. And every one that was in distress, and every one that was in debt, and every one that was discontented, gathered themselves unto him; and he became a captain over them: and there were with him about four hundred men." (1st Samuel 22:1,2). Furthermore, we can see that the term "to rise up from the ground" was used by the Hebrews as a metaphor that had the literal meaning of, oppressed people joining in armed rebellion, just as those who joined David at the cave. An example of just such an usage occurred at the Exodus "And he [the pharaoh] said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are much too numerous for us. Let us deal shrewdly with them, so that they may not increase; otherwise in the event of war they may join our enemies in fighting against us and rise from the ground.”(Exodus 1:9-10)



Another source of David's army, a group of volunteers from Gath, called "Gittites" (also called "might men" or "Gibborim." These Gittites are called Gibborim by the Septuagint and by Josephus.) may have served as an "inspirational" model for the Greek myth. David seems to have earned no small measure of respect amongst the Philistines, especially those of Goliath's hometown Gath, this may be due to the giant's, little noted, taunting pledge; "And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, . . . And he stood and cried unto the armies of Israel, and said unto them, . . . choose you a man for you, and let him come down to me. If he be able to fight with me, and to kill me, then will we be your servants: but if I prevail against him, and kill him, then shall ye be our servants, and serve us." (1st Samuel 17:4-9). These, the words of Goliath's own mouth, may indeed have had something to do with the fact that David was able to find refuge among the Philistines at the city of Gath when King Saul had made him his enemy. David stayed with the Philistines for more than a year and was eventually made a commander of a Gittite contingent of the Philistine army. David retained the city of Ziklag and 600 soldiers from Gath who swore allegiance to him and were his faithful men. It is almost as if many of the Philistines from the city of Gath, the home town of Goliath, were honoring the pledge of their champion to serve under David in the event that he should kill Goliath. This is perhaps another way to understand how Cadmus could obtain soldiers from the teeth (his word) of the slain monster (Goliath).



The town of Gath actually, was full of giants. A race of giants called the "Anakim" were flushed out of Hebron by Caleb and found refuge among the Philistines (a kind of Greek mythical verification of this fact is borne out in a report told by the Danaans, or rather the Danite immigrants, who say that the "Inachids" lived among the "Pelasgians") "There was none of the Anakims left in the land of the children of Israel: only in Gaza, in Gath, and in Ashdod, there remained." (Joshua 11:22). Goliath was supposed to have been one of this race, and it would be of no surprise to find the other six hundred Gittites were called Gibborim because they were of the same racial makeup. It would further be no stretch of the imagination to think that a regiment made up of the Anakim fought among the Philistines under the leadership of their champion Goliath. These then, being bound by his pledge, became the "Gibborim" who were loyal to King David. Having a foreign guard who was loyal to the king has often proved itself a strategic advantage especially in the face of a national insurrection such as the Absalom incident.



Five of David's mighty men received special rank and mention, "the three," Jashobeam (otherwise known as Adino the Eznite), Shammah, Eleazar, and two more, Abishai, who was made chief of the three, and Benaiah who was as honorable as the three but had not been named among the three. (2nd Samuel 23). In the Greek myth, the Spartoi (of Cadmus' mighty men) had a famous "civil war" in which they fought each other and only five survived namely, Chthonius, Udaeus, Hyperenor, Pelorus, and Echion.



The Civil War



An internecine battle between factions of what would become King David's army certainly occurred. "And Abner said to Joab, Let the young men now arise, and play before us. And Joab said, Let them arise. Then there arose and went over by number twelve of Benjamin, which pertained to Ishbosheth the son of Saul, and twelve of the servants of David. And they caught every one his fellow by the head, and thrust his sword in his fellow's side; so they fell down together: wherefore that place was called Helkathhazzurim, which is in Gibeon." (2nd Samuel 2:14-16) The Scriptural term "Helkath-hazzurim" is usually interpreted to mean, "the field (or plot) of strong men (or heroes)," sometimes it's "the field of sharp blades." A compromise reading is not really that far from the Greek idea of, "a crop of armed men." See how the Scriptural version of the story uses, three times, the term "arise," and makes note of the youth of the young participants, "Let the young men now arise, and play before us." See how this event was a spectacle, not to be joined in by David, but to be observed (just as Ovid tells us Cadmus was told, "Lay down your arms!" ... "Take no part in civil strife." not to join in the fraternal battle of the Spartoi.) This "civil war" between brothers had a profound effect upon the memories of those "Phoenicians" who brought the story to Greece, and told it as an episode of the "myth" of Cadmus; "He too who dealt him death was dead as soon and of that new-given life breath breathed his last. In the same mould of madness all that host, that sudden brotherhood, in battle joined, with wound for wound fell dead. That prime of youth, whose lot was life so short, lay writhing ..." (Ovid, Metamorphoses 3. 101 ff). "they (the Spartoi) ... went wild with warlike fury and destroyed each other with the steel of their cousin, and found burial in the dust. One fought with another: with ruddy gore the surface of the shield was drenched and spotted and darkened, as a giant died; the crop of that field was shorn by the brother-murdering blade of an earth grown knife." (Nonnus, Dionysiaca 4.455 ff) The Scriptural field itself, memorialized with the name, "Helkathhazzurim," also received a kind of fame at the location to which it was transferred in Greece, as ghosts of the slain warriors were sometimes seen by local farmers to be reenacting the grizzly event of their deaths; "Of vast extent, stretches the plain of Ares, the field that bore its harvest to Cadmus. ... when the black sons of earth arise to phantom combat: with trembling limbs the husband-man flees and leaves the field unfinished, ..." (Statius, Thebaid 4. 410 ff) This combat of the "brothers" took place at the site of a large well, or pool; "And Joab the son of Zeruiah, and the servants of David, went out, and met together by the pool of Gibeon: and they sat down, the one on the one side of the pool, and the other on the other side of the pool." (2nd Samuel 2:13). In the Greek myth the Spartoi of Cadmus fought their civil war, brother against brother, beside "... a beauteous stream of water welled serene." (Ovid Metamorphoses Book 3.26 ff). The fraternal skirmish in each case, Hebrew and Greek, ended as suddenly as it had begun. A leading member of one of the factions of the civil battle loudly remarked upon the futility of brothers killing brothers so they gave up the fight and fought no more. And David's forces waxed stronger from that day, just as the Spartoi pledged allegiance to Cadmus; " Echion, ... called on his brothers to give up the fight, and cast his arms away in pledge of faith." (Ovid Meta. Book 3.115 ff) "Then Abner called to Joab, and said, Shall the sword devour for ever? Don't you know that it will be bitterness in the latter end? how long shall it be then, before you bid the people return from following their brothers? And Joab said, As God lives, unless you had spoken, surely then in the morning the people had gone up every one from following his brother. So Joab blew a trumpet, and all the people stood still, and pursued after Israel no more, neither fought they any more." (2nd Samuel 2:26-28).



The Expedition to Bring Water for the Libation



There is an episode coincidental in both stories, that of David's founding of the City of David, as well as that of Cadmus founding Cadmea, concerning the respective founders sending men to fetch water, not to drink, but to be poured out as a libation. In each case the lives of the men were jeopardized, for the waters were guarded. First let us examine the tale as told by the Greek mythographers; "Cadmus ... sought a rill of spring water, that he might cleanse his ministering hands and pour the pure water over the sacrifice. … Cadmus ... pouring the libation to Ares as the firstling feast of harvest-slaughter, ..." (Nonnus, Dionysiaca 4. 352 - 5. 6). "Then he prepared to make large sacrifice to Jove, and ordered his henchmen to seek the living springs whose waters in libation might be poured. There was an ancient grove ... a beauteous stream of water welled serene." (Ovid, Metamorphoses 3.26). "Wishing to sacrifice the cow to Athena, he sent some of his companions to draw water from the spring of Ares." (Apollodorus 3.4.1). Next we have the Scriptural version of the story; "Now three of the thirty chief men went down to the rock to David, into the cave of Adullam; and the army of the Philistines encamped in the Valley of Rephaim. David was then in the stronghold, and the garrison of the Philistines was then in Bethlehem. And David said with longing, “Oh, that someone would give me a drink of water from the well of Bethlehem, which is by the gate!” So the three broke through the camp of the Philistines, drew water from the well of Bethlehem that was by the gate, and took it and brought it to David. Nevertheless David would not drink it, but poured it out to the Lord. And he said, “Far be it from me, O my God, that I should do this! Shall I drink the blood of these men who have put their lives in jeopardy? For at the risk of their lives they brought it.” Therefore he would not drink it. These things were done by the three mighty men." (1st Chronicles 11:15-19)



The Cave of Adullam and the Seer Gad



In both the Hebrew story of David, and the Greek myth of Cadmus, there is a certain cave where both heroes consult a prophet who advises each of them as to how they should proceed from the cave to the site where they would found the new city. David and his men went to a certain cave, the cave of Adullam Scripturally referred to as "stronghold," and "fortress," (castle?), where he was to consult with "a prophet of the Lord," the seer's name was Gad. Gad advised David to go from the cave into the land of Judah. "And the prophet Gad said unto David, Abide not in the hold ("the hold" is the cave of Adullam) depart, and get thee into the land of Judah. …" (1st Samuel 22:5). In the Greek myth, the cave episode is transferred to a Greek cave called "Castalia" where Cadmus consults with the inspirer of all prophets, Apollo, who sends him on his way to found Thebes. "Cadmus, ... consulted the famed oracles of Phoebus, and enquired of them what land might offer him a refuge and a home. And Phoebus answered him; “When on the plains a heifer, ... and when she lies, to rest herself upon the meadow green, there shall thou stop, as it will be a sign for thee to build upon that plain the walls of a great city: and its name shall be the City of Boeotia.” Cadmus turned; but hardly had descended from the cave, Castalian, ere he saw a heifer …" (Ovid Metamorphoses Book 3.1 ff) Presumably even the Greeks understood that Cadmus was not speaking directly to the god Apollo, but rather to a human prophet, a servant/priest of Apollo, who spoke on behalf of the god. Now, for an association between the prophet Gad and the Greek god of prophecy Apollo; The Greek name "Apollo" is just a slight transliteration of the Hebrew "Baal" and there was a character known in the land of Israel as Baal-Gad (lord of fortune) a northern town was named for him. Furthermore, Gad spoke on behalf of the "Lord" and Baal (Apollo) means lord. "And David went up at the saying of Gad, which he spoke in the name of the LORD." (1st Chronicles 21:19)



Now is the time to point out a bit of confusion about the geography that comes, quite understandably, as the result of transferring this story from the land of Israel, to the area of Thebes in Greece. Of course while David himself had never been in Greece, (he had died about an hundred years before the Phoenicians of Cadmus, as I suppose, had founded the Boeotian Thebes,) anything accomplished by Phoenicians/Israelites could be attributed to, as their culture hero, Cadmus/David. Relocating David's story to the area of Thebes necessitated surprisingly few alterations. The story requires a cave, the place where a city was to be founded, a field, and at least two (the story of David uses 4 or 5 noteworthy pools) wells, pools, or springs. The new setting in Boeotian Greece was well supplied with such of the features needed. Now, the cave where Cadmus consulted Apollo (at Delphi) had a famous spring/well associated with it called "Castalia," thus the cave was called "Castalian" by Ovid, after the spring. The cave, "Adullam" where David consulted his prophet (Gad) had no well mentioned. However, David had sent a contingent of companions from the cave Adullam, to seek out the water of another well at Bethlehem, which he would eventually pour out as a libation. The Greeks, in their rendition of the story, have apparently conflated the several springs of the Scriptural story into one spring/pool just outside the city of Thebes, and make all of the episodes in the story of David to have occurred in this one locale. The spring of Thebes was called, "the spring of Ismenios" (Hyginus, adding to the confusion, himself mistakenly refers to the spring of Ismenios as the Castilian spring.). If you read 1st Chronicles chapter 11 you can see how such a conflation could have happened. The "gutter" (probably the spring of Gihon) was instrumental in David's forces taking Jerusalem. Then the Philistines gathered against him in the valley of the Rephaim, prompting David to go to the cave of Adullam, where he longed for water from the spring at Bethlehem, which was also guarded by the Philistines. Add to this, that the gigantic monster (one of the rephaim) Goliath, was also a Philistine who, David killed and brought his head to Jerusalem. As the stories all merge together it becomes reasonable that the springs at Bethlehem and Jerusalem can get confused, after all both cities were known as the "city if David." A portion of Jerusalem became the "city of David" as David's capital, however, previously Bethlehem may have been known as the "city of David" in the sense that it was his ancestral home, from which he first ruled. Thus the Greek equivalent to the conflated Jerusalem/Bethlehem of David becomes the Thebes of Cadmus in the myth. There are certain similarities between the "City of David" and Cadmea (the City of Cadmus), for both were citadels built upon a hilltop that was within the precinct and associated with a larger city, Jerusalem for the City of David and Thebes for Cadmea, and each was named after it's founder. The spring at Boeotian Thebes had proved convenient to the story of the Spartoi as well for; There was another huge well, pool, or cistern, at Gibeon, where the field of armed young men arose to slaughter each other before the eyes of David, but the Greek mythographers placed this episode as if it had happened in the watch of Cadmus at the spring of Ismenios. Regardless of the minor chronological and geographical discrepancies practically every feature of the "myth" of Cadmus founding Thebes can be shown to have had a Scriptural origin in the story of King David.



The "Cow" and the "Cattle"



Both cities, that of David and of Cadmus, were marked by the location of cattle which were, in each case, sacrificed in thanks for the founding of the spot. In both cases the sacrificed cattle were purchased from their owner, a farmer, by the city founder. From Hyginus we have; "Cadmus in his wanderings came to Delphi. There the oracle told him to buy from farmers an ox which had a moon-shaped mark on its side, and to drive it before him. Where it lay down it was fated that he found a town and rule." (Fabulae 178). From Apollodorus; "Cadmus ... Wishing to sacrifice the cow" (3.4.1) From the Hebrew Scriptures, speaking of David coming to the oxen upon the threshing floor of Araunah, the eventual location for the new city of David; "... behold, here be oxen for burnt sacrifice, and threshing instruments and other instruments of the oxen for wood. David insisted upon buying the cattle from the farmer Araunah (Ornan). "And the king said unto Araunah, Nay; but I will surely buy it of thee at a price: neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the LORD my God of that which doth cost me nothing. So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver." (2nd Samuel 24:22,24) An altar was used in each case; "Cadmus brought the sacred cow beside an altar" (Nonnus, Dionysiaca 4. 352) "And David built there an altar unto the LORD, and offered burnt offerings and peace offerings. …" (2nd Samuel 24:25)



The Period of Servitude



There was a divine grudge held against both Cadmus and David, the reason for which was said to be expressly, because they had engaged in "slaughter," or "hast shed blood." The penalties issued to recompense the slaughtering activities of Cadmus and David were respectively, that Cadmus had to serve a period, eight years, of servitude, while David's penalty was that he would be denied permission to build the Temple in Jerusalem. However David did have to serve a period, seven and a half years (reasonably rounded to eight in the Greek myth), of "minor" kingship, not in Jerusalem over all of Israel, but in Hebron over Judah only. "David was thirty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned forty years. In Hebron he reigned over Judah seven years and six months: and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty and three years over all Israel and Judah." (2nd Samuel 5:4,5) "But God said unto me, Thou shall not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood." (1st Chronicles 28:3) "But Cadmus, to atone for the slaughter, served Ares for an eternal year; and the year was then equivalent to eight years of our reckoning. After his servitude Athena procured for him the kingdom, …" (From Apollodorus Book 3.4.1)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Abraham Revealing the Historical Roots of our Faith



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Taken from: http://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store/title/abraham-revealing-the-historical-roots-of-our-faith


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Searching the Scriptures: The Gospel of John

Searching the Scriptures: The Gospel of John Join biblical expert and Catholic apologist Stephen Ray on a personal pilgrimage through the pages of St. John?s Gospel. Stephen draws from his extensive scholarship and his time spent in the Holy Land filming documentaries to bring forth many of the profound theological truths that lie beneath the surface of this gospel, and bring to light the many levels of revelation contained within. This exciting presentation will ignite your heart and soul with a burning passion for Christ and a deep conviction to zealously defend the Faith which has been handed down to us.

After listening to this talk, you will not only be more in love with John's Gospel, but your ability to share that love and the fullness of the Faith will have increased mightily! Brad - Faribault, MN

Stephen Ray

Why I am Catholic When I Could be Anything Else

Why I am Catholic When I Could be Anything Else Patrick Madrid gives compelling biblical and historical reasons for why he embraces the faith as a lifelong Catholic. He shares valuable insights into the beauty of the Catholic Church and its claim to contain the fullness of the deposit of faith given by Christ.



This CD was awesome - I'll be listening again and again! It gave logical, biblical reasons to be and stay Catholic. Peggy - Finksburg, MD

Patrick Madrid

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist Dr. Brant Pitre uses the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish tradition to frame the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper, and to provide a fresh look at the heart of Catholic practice — the Eucharist. By taking us back to the Jewish roots of our faith, Dr. Pitre gives us a powerful lens through which to see anew the bread of the presence, the manna, the Last Supper, and ultimately the meaning of the Eucharist.



Click Here For Free Study Guide



Amazing teaching on the Eucharist!! Such fullness; so rich in history... The more I learn, the more I love our Faith! Lydia - Windham, NH

Dr. Brant Pitre

The Dead Sea Scrolls

The Dead Sea Scrolls Dr. John Bergsma is an Associate Professor of Theology at Franciscan University of Steubenville, and was a Protestant pastor for four years before converting to the Catholic Church. In this enlightening talk, Dr. Bergsma shows how our respect for the traditional canon of Scripture, as well as our understanding of the Catholic Faith, can be greatly enhanced by the Dead Sea Scrolls- the greatest archaeological discovery of all time.



CLICK HERE FOR A FREE OUTLINE





Absolutely fascinating! Nancy - Warroad, MN

Dr. John Bergsma

Who Do You Say That I am

Who Do You Say That I am Fr. Barron illuminates with conviction that Jesus of Nazareth is the promised Messiah and revelation of God become man. He shows how Jesus fulfills the four tasks of the Messiah according to the Old and New Testaments and how the living legacy of Christ is proclaimed by the Church.



Fr. Barron gives such a deep, rich presentation on Christ, and brings it home to us in our modern day thinking! Rennie - Spokane, WA

Fr. Robert Barron


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Rediscovering Catholicism



Beginning with our common yearning for happiness, Rediscovering Catholicism takes us on an adventure of life-changing proportions by addressing some of the most important questions we face today, both as individuals and as a Church.


....


Taken from: http://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store/title/rediscovering-catholicism



Other Recommended Titles:Why a Protestant Pastor Became Catholic


Why a Protestant Pastor Became Catholic Dr. Scott Hahn explains through his legendary testimony how he was militantly anti-Catholic but self-driven to seek the truth. This ultimately led him into the Catholic Church. He soon became an ardent defender of the Faith and one of its most passionate promoters.



This CD was AMAZING!!! I was having doubts as to what I believed. Thanks to this talk, I finally found hope I thought did not exist. Jeff - New Lenox, IL

Dr. Scott Hahn

How to Bring Fallen Away Catholics Back

How to Bring Fallen Away Catholics Back What is evangelization all about? What role does the Church expect ordinary Catholics to play in spreading the Catholic Faith? Dr. Scott Hahn, author and renowned theologian, challenges ?cradle? Catholics to witness to the Faith through everyday life. He presents proven and effective ways to touch those who have fallen away from the Church, even those with the most hardened of hearts.

This strengthened my belief in the Catholic Church and helped me feel proud and confident about defending our Faith through example. Ariel - Whiting, IN

Dr. Scott Hahn

Seven Reasons to be Catholic

Seven Reasons to be Catholic Dr. Peter Kreeft is a world-renowned philosopher and best-selling author of over 35 books. Drawing from the treasured wisdom of such great spiritual thinkers as St. John of the Cross, Thomas Aquinas, C. S. Lewis, and Cardinal Newman, he helps us to understand why truth trumps everything! Listen as he clearly presents seven undisputable reasons why every person should indeed be Catholic.

This CD has re-started the spark I had lost! I am looking forward to listening to the other CDs I purchased! Bob - Fremont, OH

Dr. Peter Kreeft

Finding the Fullness of Faith

Finding the Fullness of Faith Stephen Ray was raised in a devout, loving, Baptist family. In this presentation, he shares his amazing conversion to Catholicism and explains why he is convinced it is the Church founded by Christ over 2000 years ago.



Fantastic!! This is absolutely the one CD everyone should start with ... it is persuasive, informative, and highly valuable in educating Catholics and non-Catholics about Catholicism! I will order many and give them to family and friends. Susan - Land O Lakes, FL

Stephen Ray

Becoming The-Best-Version-of-Yourself

Becoming The-Best-Version-of-Yourself Matthew Kelly possesses a powerful ability to combine the ageless tool of storytelling with a profound understanding of today's culture and the common yearnings of the human heart. He shows us how to see the challenges in our everyday lives in a new light. He will help elevate and energize you to pursue the highest values of the human spirit and become the best version of yourself.

OUTSTANDING!!! This timely presentation was filled with truth & presented in a way that was easy to identify with and understand. Anne - Youngstown, OH

Matthew Kelly

The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality

The Seven Pillars of Catholic Spirituality Have you ever felt disillusioned about your faith and filled with doubt? Matthew Kelly will take you on the adventure of a lifetime designed to help revitalize your spiritual life. Bold, practical, and inspiring, he will help you rediscover the true meaning of life as expressed in the seven pillars of authentic Catholic spirituality.

This has brought me back to my church!!! I have my faith, but needed to get back to basics. This CD helped me tremendously! Charlotte - Marine City, MI

Matthew Kelly

The Seven Levels of Intimacy

The Seven Levels of Intimacy True intimacy means sharing who we really are with another person. We have to move beyond the clichés in conversation and get beneath the surface which involves taking a risk because in doing this, our weaknesses and imperfections will be made known. Matthew teaches practical ways to share ourselves more deeply with those we love and change the way we approach our relationships forever.

This CD really opened my eyes! As a husband of 53 years and father of 6, I was truly impressed by the incredible content in this presentation. Bob - Syracuse, NY

Matthew Kelly

A Call To Joy

A Call To Joy Matthew Kelly is one of the most sought-after speakers of our time. When he was a young man, a friend helped him to open his heart to God. Since that time, Matthew has helped millions around the world to embrace the Lord's call to live a deeper spiritual life. Listen as he shares both his remarkable personal story and his uniquely inspiring outlook on faith and the adventure of living the Christian life to the fullest.

Awesome! I loved this talk and came away with a fresh inspiration to grow my faith and find joy. This is perfect for all ages. I passed it on to my teenage sons. Cindy - Houston TX

Matthew Kelly

Building Better Families

Building Better Families Have you ever asked yourself, "What does God want for my family?" The family is the cornerstone of society, but raising a family in today's culture is more challenging than ever. Matthew Kelly shows how the questions we ask as parents may be more important than the answers. He offers important suggestions and helpful insights, along with colorful reflections from his own experience as one of eight children.



"Matthew Kelly takes challenges faced by all parents today and provides concrete and sensible solutions." Colleen - Cranberry, PA

Matthew Kelly

Our Lives Change When

Our Lives Change When Matthew Kelly has inspired millions with the message that there is genius in Catholicism, but if the Church is to avoid falling into obscurity, individual Catholics must demonstrate its relevance through a dedication to becoming the best version of themselves. Matthew gives practical guidance in two dynamic talks on ways that we can change our habits to change our lives... and awaken the sleeping giant that is the Church.



Matthew again shares his heart with great words of wisdom, challenging us to be the best we can with what we have and who we are! Julie - Sterling, VA

Matthew Kelly





Monday, June 18, 2012

Reaching Out to Todays Culture




In this highly relevant talk, Fr. Robert Barron shares observations from his dialogue with critics of his You Tube videos. He eloquently illustrates how well equipped our Catholic intellectual tradition is to access and clarify the confusion that is so prevalent in our culture about matters of Christian faith and life.

....


Taken from: http://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store/title/reaching-out-to-todays-culture


Other Recommended Titles:Seven Reasons to be Catholic


Seven Reasons to be Catholic Dr. Peter Kreeft is a world-renowned philosopher and best-selling author of over 35 books. Drawing from the treasured wisdom of such great spiritual thinkers as St. John of the Cross, Thomas Aquinas, C. S. Lewis, and Cardinal Newman, he helps us to understand why truth trumps everything! Listen as he clearly presents seven undisputable reasons why every person should indeed be Catholic.

This CD has re-started the spark I had lost! I am looking forward to listening to the other CDs I purchased! Bob - Fremont, OH

Dr. Peter Kreeft

Becoming The-Best-Version-of-Yourself

Becoming The-Best-Version-of-Yourself Matthew Kelly possesses a powerful ability to combine the ageless tool of storytelling with a profound understanding of today's culture and the common yearnings of the human heart. He shows us how to see the challenges in our everyday lives in a new light. He will help elevate and energize you to pursue the highest values of the human spirit and become the best version of yourself.

OUTSTANDING!!! This timely presentation was filled with truth & presented in a way that was easy to identify with and understand. Anne - Youngstown, OH

Matthew Kelly

Building Better Families

Building Better Families Have you ever asked yourself, "What does God want for my family?" The family is the cornerstone of society, but raising a family in today's culture is more challenging than ever. Matthew Kelly shows how the questions we ask as parents may be more important than the answers. He offers important suggestions and helpful insights, along with colorful reflections from his own experience as one of eight children.



"Matthew Kelly takes challenges faced by all parents today and provides concrete and sensible solutions." Colleen - Cranberry, PA

Matthew Kelly

Seven Deadly Sins - Seven Lively Virtues

Seven Deadly Sins - Seven Lively Virtues Join noted Professor of Theology and author, Fr. Robert Barron, in this revealing presentation as he sheds light on the Seven Deadly Sins - those great spiritual blocks that inhibit our relationship with God and others - and the antidote to them, the Seven Lively Virtues! Fr. Barron uses Dante's DIVINE COMEDY to expose these sinful patterns in our lives and show how they are effectively counteracted by the cultivation of virtue through the development of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This fascinating journey shows the path that God has designed to lead us to health, happiness and holiness.



Absolutely wonderful! I love how Fr. Barron gives practical ways to use the information he’s presenting. Nancy - Warroad, MN

Fr. Robert Barron

Why I am Catholic When I Could be Anything Else

Why I am Catholic When I Could be Anything Else Patrick Madrid gives compelling biblical and historical reasons for why he embraces the faith as a lifelong Catholic. He shares valuable insights into the beauty of the Catholic Church and its claim to contain the fullness of the deposit of faith given by Christ.



This CD was awesome - I'll be listening again and again! It gave logical, biblical reasons to be and stay Catholic. Peggy - Finksburg, MD

Patrick Madrid

I'm Not Being Fed

I'm Not Being Fed Jeff Cavins explores and responds to some of the reasons why so many people have left the Catholic Church for evangelical Christianity. As he presents the story of his return to Catholicism, Cavins also builds a case for why the Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ.



A remarkable teaching… I will share this with many people… so full of answers! Lydia – Windham, NH

Jeff Cavins

Following the Call of Christ Biblical Stories of Conversion

Following the Call of Christ Biblical Stories of Conversion Fr. Robert Barron, one of the great spiritual teachers of our time, presents these biblical stories of true conversion drawing from the riches of scriptural accounts. They were people just like you and me who were called by Christ - Bartimaeus, The Man Born Blind, The Woman at the Well, and Jonah and the Great Fish.





I've heard these stories from scripture my whole life and thought by now I understood them pretty well. But after hearing Fr. Barron, now I feel like I get it Mary - Fort Worth, TX

Fr. Robert Barron

Our Lives Change When

Our Lives Change When Matthew Kelly has inspired millions with the message that there is genius in Catholicism, but if the Church is to avoid falling into obscurity, individual Catholics must demonstrate its relevance through a dedication to becoming the best version of themselves. Matthew gives practical guidance in two dynamic talks on ways that we can change our habits to change our lives... and awaken the sleeping giant that is the Church.



Matthew again shares his heart with great words of wisdom, challenging us to be the best we can with what we have and who we are! Julie - Sterling, VA

Matthew Kelly

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist Dr. Brant Pitre uses the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish tradition to frame the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper, and to provide a fresh look at the heart of Catholic practice — the Eucharist. By taking us back to the Jewish roots of our faith, Dr. Pitre gives us a powerful lens through which to see anew the bread of the presence, the manna, the Last Supper, and ultimately the meaning of the Eucharist.



Click Here For Free Study Guide



Amazing teaching on the Eucharist!! Such fullness; so rich in history... The more I learn, the more I love our Faith! Lydia - Windham, NH

Dr. Brant Pitre

A Walk Through the New Mass Translation

A Walk Through the New Mass Translation Dr. Edward Sri, Professor of Scripture and Theology at the Augustine Institute, provides a fascinating explanation of the new English translation of the Mass which will soon be put into practice. This is truly a great opportunity for Catholics to enter more deeply into the biblical and theological richness found in the liturgy, and to better worship God with our whole heart.



For more information on Dr. Sri's A Guide to the New Translation of The Mass, a low-cost question and answer booklet addressing the changes in the liturgy along with a detachable reference card Click Here





Dr. Edward Sri



Story of Naboth's Vineyard Perceivable in Shakespeare's Macbeth



Taken from: http://home.ptd.net/~msteen/benintende_macbeth.htm

....

Shakespeare�s primary source of inspiration for Macbeth came from Holinshed�s Chronicles; however, he altered history and many aspects of the story fictionalized to gain the interest and favor of King James. Shakespeare�s secondary source, inspiring many details of the tragedy, was the Christian Bible. Adding an interesting human element to Macbeth was the interaction between Macbeth and his wife, Lady Macbeth. Despite, and perhaps because of his genius, Shakespeare did not create his characters and their interactions without drawing from an outside source, notably the Bible. One of the similarities between these works can be traced from Macbeth and his �fiendlike� lady back to Ahab and Jezebel. In the book of Kings, Ahab desires the vineyard of Naboth. At the urging of his wife, Jezebel, the two frame Naboth, having him stoned to death in order to seize his lands. In comparison, Macbeth desires the throne of Scotland. Just as Jezebel urged Ahab, Lady Macbeth schemes and encourages a treasonous plot to allow her husband to assume the power he craves (Burgess 87-88). Following the acquisition of their desired ends, (Ahab�s vineyards of Naboth, and Macbeth�s crown of Scotland), both men are haunted by similar prophetic truths. The Lord told Elijah to warn Ahab that �In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood� The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel�(1 Kings 22:19, 23). Macbeth realizes himself that ��blood will have blood./Stones have been known to speak./Augurs and understood relations have�/Brought forth�The secret�st man of blood� (3.4.125). Both men are doomed to pay for their misdeeds from the time they are committed, and they realize their eventual demise. Ahab is killed and left for �the dogs� as Naboth was, and Macbeth is aware that the murders of Duncan and Banquo will only lead to more bloodshed, ending with his own. In the action following both stories remain true to the foreshadowing. Ahab is betrayed in battle, and Macbeth is murdered by his own Scotsmen. As Jezebel, once a strong female figure, was hurled from her chamber window; Lady Macbeth who also began her story as a strong influence over Macbeth ends her own life by hurling herself from a window (Burgess 90).

....

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Prophet Jonah the Prototype for Jason and the Argonauts




John R. Salverda says: :


The Argonauts were all the heroes from the various places within the Greek sphere of influence, written into a story that puts them all “in the same boat” accomplishing the same task, which was a religious quest. This was done, much like the contemporaneous story of the twelve labors of Heracles, (where the one hero performs all the various versions of the Messianic task) in order to propagate the idea of an amphictyonic league among the many Greek city states.



They all agreed to seek the relic of the sacrificed “lamb” of god who hangs in a tree, in a sacred grove. It was guarded by serpent that they would have to overcome. An obvious Messianic theme, which they shared through their Israelite/Phoenician heritage as descendants of Abraham, whom they called Athamas.



The prototype to the Greek Argonautica was probably the Hebrew story of Jonah (Sept. Jonas = Jason) and his famous sea voyage. Ginzberg’s legends makes all the companions of Jonah out to be representatives of every nation on Earth, each carrying their respective idols which they all forsake in favor of the one God of Jonah, because of the sea serpent episode.



See the famous image of Jason being regurgitated after he was swallowed by the serpent;



February 22, 2011 at 6:14 am(6) ancienthistory says: :



I got rid of the the “a poet.” Thanks for the comment.



February 23, 2011 at 2:55 pm(7) Bill says: :



I liked that comparison of Jason to Jonah, even acknowlegding that the image of Jason in the dragon’s mouth is rare. So John R. Salverda please tell us more about Ginzberg’s legends Thanks



Bill



February 24, 2011 at 2:02 pm(8) John R. Salverda says: :



Thanks Bill, the pertinent quote from Ginzberg’s “legends” runs thus; “On the same vessel were representatives of the seventy nations of the earth, each with his peculiar idols. They all resolved to entreat their gods for succor, and the god from whom help would come should be recognized and worshipped at the only one true God. … Jonah confessed to the captain that he was to blame for the whole misfortune, and he besought him to cast him adrift, and appease the storm. The other passengers refused to consent to so cruel an act. … they first tried to save the vessel by throwing the cargo overboard.”



Elsewhere in Ginzberg we may glean more clues to Jonah’s “Messiahship.” For instance, he had died and was resurrected by Elijah (the forerunner of the Messiah); “God resorted to the expedient of causing him pain through the death of the son of the widow with whom Elijah was abiding, and by whom he had been received with great honor. When her son, who was later to be known as the prophet Jonah, died, … Elijah supplicated God to revive the child.” And that he had achieved a kind of immortality; “God exempted him from death: living he was permitted to enter Paradise.”



There is much more to the story of Jonah than the Scriptures have afforded us. (The Jews often downplayed the role of any “supposed” character of Messianic attributes, such as Jesus or Jonah, making them out to be “merely” a prophet. In the case of Jonah, the Jews referred to him as “the false prophet.”) Jesus, the Christian Messiah, compared his Messianic attributes to that of Jonah; “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Mat 12:40, See also Luke 11:29-32). It seems that the “swallowing and regurgitation” of Jonah was known, in the days of Jesus, to be an allegory to the “death and resurrection” of the Messiah.



....



Taken from: http://ancienthistory.about.com/b/2011/02/14/myth-monday-who-were-the-argonauts.htm



for movie, see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJ2ljAPBIVc&feature=watch-now-button&wide=1


Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist




Dr. Brant Pitre uses the Hebrew Scriptures and Jewish tradition to frame the actions of Jesus at the Last Supper, and to provide a fresh look at the heart of Catholic practice — the Eucharist. By taking us back to the Jewish roots of our faith, Dr. Pitre gives us a powerful lens through which to see anew the bread of the presence, the manna, the Last Supper, and ultimately the meaning of the Eucharist.


Taken from: http://www.lighthousecatholicmedia.org/store/title/jesus-and-the-jewish-roots-of-the-eucharist


Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist


Dr. Brant Pitre

For Bible Studies on CD, go to www.BrantPitre.com 1

The New Exodus

First Exodus New Exodus

1. Deliverer: Moses 1. New Deliverer: Messiah

2. Israel: Released from Egypt 2. Israel and Gentiles: Released from the

Sin, Exile, and Death

3. Journey to Promised Land 3. Journey: New Promised Land (New Eden)

4. Worship of God: Tabernacle/Temple 4. Worship of God: New Temple

5. Ultimate Destination: Jerusalem 5. Ultimate Destination: New Jerusalem

The Old Passover

1. In order to have a New Exodus, you must first have a New Passover

2. Old Testament Passover: (Exodus 12)

a. Father was priest over his family (cf. Exodus 24)

b. Unblemished Male Lamb taken and sacrificed; blood poured into bowl

c. Dip hyssop branch in blood

d. Spread blood on the doorposts of the home

e. Eat the Lamb

Later Jewish Passover

1. Passover Night: Child would ask the Father:

2. “Why is this night different from other nights?”

3. “Why do we eat unleavened bread and roast lamb?”

4. Father’s Answer: “It is because of what the LORD did for me when I

came out of Egypt” (Exodus 13:8)

5. Passover Liturgy: spiritually brought them back to participate in First Passover:

“In every generation a man must so regard himself as if he came forth himself out of Egypt, for it

is written... [Exod 13:8]. Therefore we are bound to give thanks....” (Mishnah Pesahim 10)

The New Passover

1. The Last Supper: What is different? (Mark 14; Matt 24; Luke 22)

a. Lamb is not the focus

b. Jesus speaks of “pouring out” blood; only priests can do this (Lev 4:5-7)

2. No Ordinary Passover:

a. New Priests: Jesus and 12 Apostles (representing 12 Tribes)

b. New Lamb: Jesus replaces Lamb with himself

c. New Sacrifice: Unleavened Bread (Body) and Wine (Blood) offered

3. Why did Jewish Christians believe Eucharist was Jesus’ body and blood?

a. Eucharist, like the Old Passover: is a participation in the New Passover of Jesus

b. You had to eat the Lamb to complete the sacrifice

c. St. Paul: Jesus is the New Lamb

“Christ, our paschal lamb, has been sacrificed. Therefore let us keep the feast!” (1 Cor 5:7-8)

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

Dr. Brant Pitre

For Bible Studies on CD, go to www.BrantPitre.com 2

The Old Manna

1. If Jesus inaugurates a New Exodus, what food is given for the journey?

2. The Manna in the Wilderness (Exodus 16)

a. Israel cries out for food; they want to go back to Egypt

b. The LORD says: “Behold, I will rain down bread from heaven for you”

c. In the Morning: “Bread” from heaven (Manna)

d. In the Evening: “Flesh” from heaven (Quail)

e. Manna: white, tasted “like wafers made with honey”

(A foretaste of the promised land: “milk and honey”)

f. “The Grain of Heaven” and “The Bread of Angels” (Psa 78:21-25)

3. The Manna in the Tabernacle: Placed in a Golden Urn in the Tabernacle (Exod 16:33-34; Heb 9:6)

Later Jewish Tradition

1. The Messiah will Bring Back the Manna from Heaven:

And it will happen that… the Messiah will begin to be revealed... And those who are hungry will enjoy

themselves and they will, moreover, see marvels every day... And it will happen at that time that the

treasury of manna will come down again from on high, and they will eat of it in those years because

these are they who will have arrived at the consummation of time. (2 Baruch 29:3-8)

The New Manna

1. The Lord’s Prayer: “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matt 6:11; Luke 11:3)

a. “Give us this day our epi-ousios bread”

b. Greek: epi (“on, upon, above”)

ousios (“substance, being, nature”)

c. St. Jerome: “Give us this day our supersubstantial bread” (Douay-Rheims)

d. Both daily and supernatural: just like the Manna

“Taken literally, (epiousious – “superessential”)... refers directly to the Bread of Life, the Body of

Christ” (CCC 2837)

2. The Bread of Life Discourse (John 6: 48-64)

Jesus said: “I am the bread of life. Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and they died.

This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that a man might eat of it and not die. I am the living

bread which came down from heaven; if any one eats of this bread, he will live for ever; and the bread

which I shall give for the life of the world is my flesh.” The Jews then disputed among themselves,

saying, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” So Jesus said to them, “Amen, amen, I say to you,

unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my

flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is true

food, and my blood is true drink.... This is the bread which comes down from heaven, not such as the

fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.” Many of his disciples, when they heard it,

said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?” But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples

murmured at it, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man

ascending where he was before?”

3. Why did Jewish Christians believe the Eucharist was Jesus’ body and blood?

a. They knew it is supernatural bread from heaven

b. They knew it is his risen body and blood

Jesus and the Jewish Roots of the Eucharist

Dr. Brant Pitre

For Bible Studies on CD, go to www.BrantPitre.com 3

The “Bread of the Presence”

1. Worship of God in First Exodus: Tabernacle

2. Old Testament “Bread of the Presence” (Commonly mis-translated “Showbread”)

3. God Instructs Moses to Build the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:10-40)

4. Three Key Symbols of God in Tabernacle

a. Ark of the Covenant: Throne of Invisible God

b. Golden Lampstand (Menorah): 7 Tongues of Fire

c. “Bread of the Presence”: Set on Golden Table

5. The Bread of the Presence in the Tabernacle (Leviticus 24:1-9)

a. 12 Cakes of Bread

b. Set out each Sabbath by Priests on behalf of Israel

c. “A Perpetual Due”: to be “continually” “before the LORD” “as a covenant forever”

d. Lampstand Candles must be “kept burning continually” with the Bread of the Presence

e. Veiled when carried out of Tabernacle (Num 4:1-15)

f. “Bread of Presence”: Literally “Bread of the Face” (Heb lehem ha pannim)

g. A Sacrifice of Bread and wine (Exod 25: 29)

Later Jewish Tradition

According to the Rabbis, the Bread of the Presence would be placed on a golden table (such as that

described in Lev 24:6) and elevated for pilgrims to see:

They used to lift it up and exhibit the Bread of the Presence on it to those who came up for the

festivals, saying to them, “Behold, God’s love for you!” (Babylonian Talmud, Menahoth 29a)

The New Bread of the Presence

1. Jesus and the New Temple (Matt 12:1-8)

At that time Jesus went through the grainfields on the Sabbath; his disciples were hungry, and

they began to pluck ears of grain and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, “Look,

your disciples are doing what is not lawful to do on the Sabbath.” He said to them, “Have you not read

what David did, when he was hungry, and those who were with him: how he entered the house of God

and ate the bread of the Presence, which it was not lawful for him to eat nor for those who were with

him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the

Temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? I tell you, something greater than the Temple is here.”

2. Why did the first Jewish Christians believe in the Real Presence?

a. The Eucharist was the New “Bread of the Presence”

b. Jesus has laid claim for himself and his followers, just as David did, to the priesthood

(cf. 2 Samuel 6)

c. Jesus is the New Temple: his disciples will offer the New Bread of the Presence

d. The New Temple: “the temple of his body” (John 2:19-22)



Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Many Will Come From the East and the West"



Matthew 8:11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.



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Psalm 61:5 For you have heard my vows, O God; you have given me the heritage of those who fear your name.



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Psalm 113:3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets, the name of the LORD is to be praised.



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Isaiah 30:27 See, the Name of the LORD comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire.



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Isaiah 30:28 His breath is like a rushing torrent, rising up to the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction; he places in the jaws of the peoples a bit that leads them astray.



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Isaiah 49:12 See, they will come from afar--some from the north, some from the west, some from the region of Aswan."



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Isaiah 66:12 For this is what the LORD says: "I will extend peace to her like a river, and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream; you will nurse and be carried on her arm and dandled on her knees.



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Micah 7:17 They will lick dust like a snake, like creatures that crawl on the ground. They will come trembling out of their dens; they will turn in fear to the LORD our God and will be afraid of you.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Jesus Spoke Hebrew: busting the Aramaic Myth





JESUS SPOKE HEBREW

The powerful Mel Gibson movie, The Passion of the Christ, has once again raised the question of what language Jesus actually spoke. Some say it doesn’t matter, and in one sense they are right. Jesus is still the Saviour of the world, who walked on water, raised the dead, and made atonement for our sins by his blood, whether he spoke Hebrew or Hindustani. Yet in another sense it DOES matter. If your natural language is, say, English, and I go about claiming it to be Dutch, I am clearly misrepresenting you. While there is nothing whatever wrong with Dutch, it is a simple matter of fidelity to the record, and of doing justice to the person. By the same token, if Jesus’ “mother-tongue” was Hebrew, then it is as much a misrepresentation to claim he spoke Aramaic – as is all but universally held – as to say Churchill spoke in Spanish, or Tolstoy wrote in Norwegian. But there is another issue at stake. Aramaic is nowhere mentioned in the New Testament. Yet on numerous occasions it speaks of the “Hebrew” language in first century Judaea – from the title over Jesus’ cross “in Hebrew” (John 19:20), to descriptions of places like Gabbatha and Golgotha “in the Hebrew tongue” (John 5:2; 19:13, 17; Rev. 9:11; 16:16), to Paul gaining the silence of the Jerusalem crowd by addressing them “in the Hebrew tongue” (Acts 21:40; 22:2), to Jesus himself calling out to Paul, on the Damascus road, “in the Hebrew tongue” (Acts 26:14). In each instance, the Greek text reads “Hebrew” (Hebrais, Hebraios or Hebraikos), the natural translation followed by nearly all the English versions, as also by the Latin Vulgate and the German Luther Bible. Do we have the right to insert “Aramaic” for this plain reading – particularly when the Jewish people of the period, as we shall see, were so insistent on distinguishing them? The evidence is compelling that we do not, and that the New Testament expression, “in the Hebrew language”, ought to be taken as read. DEAD SEA SCROLLS The Dead Sea Scrolls, known to date from the same general period, reveal an overwhelming preponderance of Hebrew texts. The figure is generally accepted as around 80%, with Aramaic and Greek taking up most of the balance. In their comprehensive translation of the Qumran literature, Michael Wise and others observe that: “Prior to the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the dominant view of the Semitic languages of Palestine in this period was essentially as follows: Hebrew had died; it was no longer learned at mother’s knee. It was known only by the educated classes through study, just as educated medieval Europeans knew Latin. Rabbinic Hebrew … was considered a sort of scholarly invention – artificial, not the language of life put to the page. The spoken language of the Jews had in fact become Aramaic … The discovery of the scrolls swept these linguistic notions into the trash bin … the vast majority of the scrolls were Hebrew texts. Hebrew was manifestly the principal literary language for the Jews of this period. The new discoveries underlined the still living , breathing, even supple character of that language … prov[ing] that late Second-Temple Jews used various dialects of Hebrew…”[1]. This sheer dominance of Hebrew goes far beyond the Biblical writings, which actually comprise, by Emanuel Tov’s calculations, just 23.5% of the overall Qumran literature.[2] It includes also the famed Copper Scroll (written, as Wolters notes, in “an early form of Mishnaic Hebrew”[3]), the day-to-day letters (where Hebrew, says Milik, is the “sole language of correspondence”[4]), and its general commentaries and literature (where, as Black concedes, “Hebrew certainly vastly predominates over Aramaic”[5]). No wonder the Scrolls are said to “prove that late Second Temple Jews used various dialects of Hebrew”. And not just as an “artificial” language, but a “natural, vibrant idiom”, as the Encyclopedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls declares[6]. How else can such extensive evidence of the Hebrew language be taken – from commentaries to correspondence, from documents to daily rules? Likewise with the sixteen texts found at Herod’s stronghold of Masada, all predating the fortress’ overthrow in 73. No less than fifteen are definitely in Hebrew[7], with some doubt over the final one. Is it conceivable that Hebrew would have been used for ordinary communications (Biblical texts are again in a minority) if it was not the language of daily life? Surely the burden of proof must lie with those who would argue otherwise. MOSES SEGAL Well before the Scrolls and Masada provided their archaeological insights into Hebrew’s place in late second temple language, Moses Segal had come to the same conclusion on purely linguistic grounds. Co-translator of the Talmud and winner of the Israel Prize for Jewish Studies, Segal was a Hebrew lexicographer of the first order. While still believing that Jesus, as a Galilean, probably spoke Aramaic, he was in no doubt that the prevailing Judaean language of the time was Hebrew, as he already wrote in 1927: “In earlier Mishnaic [rabbinic] literature no distinction is drawn between Biblical Hebrew and Mishnaic Hebrew. The two idioms are known as Leshon Hagadesh, the Holy Tongue, as contrasted with other languages … What was the language of ordinary life of educated native Jews in Jerusalem and Judaea in the period from 400BCE to 150CE? The evidence presented by Mishnaic Hebrew and its literature leaves no doubt that that language was Mishnaic Hebrew”.[8] Such is the observation of one of the outstanding Hebrew scholars of the twentieth century, and editor of the Compendious Hebrew-English, English-Hebrew Dictionary. For Segal, as for the Dead Sea scholars, there is no doubt that the “language of ordinary life” in first century Judaea “was Mishnaic Hebrew”. It was the first language acquired by children in the home, and the natural medium of communication in daily speech. As Milik early recognized, “Mishnaic [Hebrew] … was at that time the spoken dialect of the inhabitants of Judaea”.[9] WHAT IS GOING ON? It is astonishing, in light of this, that the Aramaic assumption – at least as it pertains to the language of first century Judaea – still persists. As relatively recently as 1994, Angel Saenz-Badillos could claim, in his major study A History of the Hebrew Language, that “the exile [ie., 586BC] marks the disappearance of the [Hebrew] language from everyday life, and its subsequent use for literary and liturgical purposes only”.[10] What is going on here? On the one hand, the clear archaeological and linguistic evidence for Hebrew’s daily use in late second temple Judaea, yet on the other a protracted scholarly denial of the same! No wonder Oxford’s Edward Ullendorff takes Saenz-Badillos to task: “I cannot accept the author’s novel argument [cited above] … This assumption would curtail the active life of Hebrew by about half a millennium. Of course colloquial Hebrew will have changed somewhat, possibly as a result of external influences, during the post-exilic era, but it no doubt remained the principal vehicle of communication”.[11] Time was, when Saenz-Badillos’ obituary for Hebrew as a living language would have held centre-stage. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church spoke for virtually the entire scholarly world (Segal and Harris Birkeland[12] two notable exceptions), when, in its first edition of 1958, it confidently stated that Hebrew had “ceased to be a spoken language around the fourth century BC”.[13] Yet such was the mounting weight of evidence to the contrary, that by its third edition, in 1997, this had become “Hebrew continued to be used as a spoken and written language … in the New Testament period”.[14] This represents a remarkable about-turn, due, not least, to the extensive publication of the Scrolls in the intervening period. How fitting that from the lowest geographical region on earth – the Dead Sea – where death reigned even in its name, there should break forth from the “dead”, as it were, the vindication of Hebrew’s primary place in the language of first century Judaea, exactly as the New Testament consistently showed! Truly, “this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes” (Psalm 118:23). THE TALMUD A clear distinction was made, among the Jewish people themselves, between Hebrew and Aramaic. Not only was Hebrew the choice of scholarship and literature, but it was also upheld as the normative language of daily life. “In the land of Israel”, said the Mishnah, “why the Aramaic tongue? Either the Holy Tongue (Hebrew, sic) or the Greek tongue”.[15] Aramaic had no “prestige”, and “commanded no loyalty”, as Safrai and Stern observe, whereas Hebrew had both. Even in the later times of the Talmud, it was forbidden to retrieve a burning Aramaic manuscript from a fire on the Sabbath, whereas it was permitted of a comparable Hebrew text.[16] To depart from the synagogue service during a Hebrew Bible reading was forbidden, but not for an Aramaic reading.[17] Even memorising the Scriptures in Aramaic was not enough, whereas just to hear them in Hebrew, without understanding a word, was to “perform [one’s] obligation”![18] To the Jewish people, it was Hebrew that was “the Holy Tongue”, whereas Aramaic was seen as “the language of the Evil Force”.[19] Not that the latter was rejected altogether, but that it was regarded as a second fiddle language to Hebrew – the real “tongue of the fathers” and medium of ordinary speech. Thus the Jerusalem Talmud declares that “Four languages are of value: Greek for song, Latin for war, Aramaic for dirges, and Hebrew for speaking”.[20] That was the place for Aramaic – in “dirges”. But to Hebrew belonged the high ground of daily speech (“for speaking”) and worship. Thus for a Jewish father not to speak to his son “in Hebrew”, from the time he was a toddler, and teach him the Law, was “as if he had buried him”.[21] Concerning Aramaic, by contrast, the rabbis warned: “Whoever makes personal requests [in prayer] in Aramaic, the ministering angels pay no attention, since angels do not understand Aramaic”[22]. This, of course, is not a canonical position, but merely reflects the depth of feeling against Aramaic among the Jewish scholars. Indeed, the Talmud relates an earlier occasion when Gamaliel – the same Gamaliel under whom Paul had studied (Acts 22:3), and whose astute word concerning the Christians is recorded in Acts 5:34-40 – was sitting on the still-unfinished temple steps. Someone showed him a copy of an Aramaic translation of Job, the first and at that time the only “Targum”. So disgusted was he by it, that he told the builder to “bury it under the rubble”.[23] Such was the regard for a pioneering attempt at an Aramaic portion of Scripture, in the Judaea of Jesus’ time! The internal Jewish evidence is thus all one-way traffic for Hebrew. JOSEPHUS As a contemporary, and largely an observer, of the final years of the second temple, Josephus (37-100AD) is an invaluable witness to the period. While not without his faults, they are, as historian Paul Maier notes, heavily outweighed by his credits, particularly for the period during which he and his parents lived, when, as Maier says, he is “at his best”.[24] Like the Mishnah and Talmud, Josephus takes pains to distinguish Hebrew from Aramaic, showing that it was Hebrew that was spoken in the first century Israel of which he was largely a part. When news of the emperor Tiberius’ death is hastily conveyed to Agrippa on his way to the bath, the message is given “in the Hebrew tongue” (glosse te Hebraion, Antiquities xviii, 228). Presumably Hebrew was the most natural and readily understood language in such an emergency situation. Concerning this “Hebrew tongue”, he writes in another passage: “… though their script seemed to be similar to the peculiar Syrian (Aramaic, sic) writing, and their language to sound like the other, it was, as it happened, of a distinct type” (idiotropon, Ant. xii, 2, 1. Thackeray translation). Thus elsewhere he writes: the “Sabbath … in the Hebrew language” (Ant. 1:33); “Adam … in Hebrew signifies …” (Ant. 1:34); “Israel … in the Hebrew tongue” (Ant. 1:333); “written in the Hebrew books” (Ant. ix, 208); “the books of the Hebrews” (Ant. x, 218). It is difficult to see how “the Hebrew language” here can denote anything but Hebrew. Not only do the uniquely Hebrew connotations of “Sabbath”, “Israel”, etc., require it, but so too does the fact that, at the time of Josephus, the only holy “Hebrew books” possessed by the Jews were the actual Hebrew Scriptures – the Aramaic Targums (Job aside) not yet having come into being. So when we come to Josephus’ address to his own countrymen from outside the walls of besieged Jerusalem, there can be no doubt as to what language he speaks. He addresses them, of course, “in their own language” (War 5:9, 2), which he explicitly states, of the same episode, to be “the Hebrew language” (War 6:2, 1). Given the consistent meaning of “Hebrew” as real Hebrew, not Aramaic, elsewhere in Josephus, and the distinction he himself draws between the two languages, how can “Hebrew” here be taken at anything other than face value? That is, Josephus’ address to the Jews of around 69AD, like Paul’s address to the Jews of around a decade or so previously in the same city, were both – as the respective texts of Josephus and Acts state – “in the Hebrew language” (Acts 22:2). Logic would further require that the only reason this was so, was because “the Hebrew language” was the vernacular of Judaean Jews at the time. JOT AND TITTLE But what does this mean, in terms of our enquiry into Jesus’ language? A great deal, actually. Self-evidently there is a nexus between the Jewish vernacular of first century Israel, and the language Jesus spoke. It would fly in the face of common sense if the “Word made flesh” addressed the very countrymen he was first sent to by his Father, in anything other than their normal tongue.[25] As face answers to face in a mirror, so the prevailing language of his people at the time must, by any reasonable standard, have been the language Jesus used. Once that “prevailing language” is established, it requires no great leap to determine what Jesus spoke. The only way around this is to resort to the artificial construct of an “interpreter”, or to the circuitous explanation of Jesus being fluently bi- or tri-lingual during his earthly ministry, which – though by no means inconceivable or, still less, impossible, for the very Son of God – certainly has no actual support from Scripture, and must remain, therefore, a supposition. Consistent with this, we find Jesus speaking of the “jot” and “tittle” of the Law in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:18). By universal consent, this refers to the text of the Hebrew Bible. Let two modern authorities suffice – one Catholic, one Protestant: “‘Jot’ refers to ‘yod’, the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet; ‘tittle’ is a slight serif [or hook] on a Hebrew letter that distinguishes it from another”. (The New Jerome Bible Commentary, emph. added). Likewise John Broadus, in his Commentary on Matthew: “Jot, in the Greek iota, signifies the Hebrew letter iod (pronounced yod) … tittle – in the Greek, horn – denoting a very slight projection at the corner of certain Hebrew letters …” (emph. added). Would Jesus have used such a term, indeed two of them, both referring to the “Hebrew letters” of the “Hebrew alphabet”, if his immediate audience did not understand Hebrew? Would a French speaker, addressing his or her own countrymen today, use the umlaut of the German Bible to illustrate a point! Hardly. The most obvious conclusion is that, as Jesus was referring to the Hebrew alphabet – which no one disputes – his hearers must have understood that same alphabet, otherwise the point would have been lost on them. Logically, therefore, Jesus must have been speaking Hebrew, and his audience must have understood him in Hebrew. Should it be objected that, as the Hebrew and Aramaic alphabets were the same, Jesus could just as well have been referring to the Aramaic alphabet, we would respectfully reply that this is to miss the point. Jesus expressly says “the jot and tittle of the Law”, there being but one “Law” in Israel – the Hebrew Bible. Even the Talmud declares, “the Torah is in Hebrew” (Soferim 35a). “EXAGGERATED” INFLUENCE But what of Jesus’ reference to “mammon” in the same sermon (Matt. 6:24) – quite possibly an Aramaic word? This is no difficulty. Loan words frequently occur between languages, as with Italian words like pizza and pasta today in English. There is no reason why Hebrew should be any exception. Yet we must beware of reading too many “Aramaisms” into the New Testament. In a parallel context, Segal observes that “Aramaic influence on the Mishnaic Hebrew vocabulary has been exaggerated …. It has been the fashion among writers on the subject to brand as an Aramaism any infrequent Hebrew word …. Most of the ‘Aramaisms’ are as native in Hebrew as they are in Aramaic.”[26] Even the very term “Mishnaic Hebrew” can, through overuse, become an historical exaggeration, as though second temple Hebrew were a different species from “normal” Hebrew – an inevitable result of emphasizing small differences rather than recognizing greater commonalities. Just as Elizabethan English and modern English are still, whatever their differences, both English, so Biblical Hebrew and “Mishnaic” Hebrew are likewise both Hebrew. DEMOLISHED In New Testament studies, an over-exuberance for Aramaic at first led C.K. Barrett to attribute a quotation in John (Jn. 12:40) to Aramaic influence, only to change it to Hebrew in his commentary of eight years later.[27] Luke 6:7, too, was once held by scholars like Black, Fitzmyer and Wilcox to be an “Aramaic” construction, found nowhere else in the Greek of the period. Subsequently, J.A.L. Lee demolished this in his study “A non-Aramaism in Luke 6:7”, citing no less than 23 parallel constructions in Greek literature of the period![28] Time and again the Aramaic assumption has turned out to be a lemon, prompting Semitist Kenneth Kitchen to observe that “some ‘Aramaisms’ are actually Hebraisms in Aramaic”.[29] What is more, merely because a word does not appear in the Old Testament Hebrew Bible, does not automatically make it a candidate for the Aramaic club. “Hosanna” and “Gehenna” are words not found in that form in the Hebrew Old Testament. Yet both occur in Mishnaic Hebrew, and are found, in identical form, in the modern Hebrew dictionary. Yet they were once claimed to be “Aramaic”. And even if originally they were, so what! “Restaurant” and “serviette” are good French words, yet today they are well and truly part of standard English. Besides, as Glenda Abramson has noted, there were some 20,000 words in “Mishnaic” Hebrew, as against some 8,000 used in the Old Testament Bible.[30] Thus there is statistically a 2½ times greater likelihood that a Hebrew word will not be found in the Old Testament, yet still be a regular part of the Hebrew language of the New Testamental period. So the days are gone for the reflex assignation of “Aramaic” to any New Testament Semitism not found in the Old Testament. “GHOST WORDS” That this vice – of seeing “Aramaisms” when they are not really there – is still disturbingly with us, can be seen from Michael Sokoloff’s penetrating review of the highly respected Koehler-Baumgartner Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament. He writes: “Unfortunately, as we shall see in the following notes, the author of the Aramaic section … has included in his discussions a large number of ghost words from ‘Jewish Aramaic’, non-existent and unreconstructed vocalizations of Aramaic words, and even Hebrew words which were mistakenly quoted as being Aramaic”, adding, in his footnotes, that the author “quotes Hebrew words as if they were Aramaic”.[31] This is a trenchant criticism. Here we have one of the leading Hebrew-Aramaic lexicons of our time, taken to task for perceived “ghost words from ‘Jewish Aramaic’” (ie., they do not exist), “non-existent and unreconstructed vocalizations of Aramaic words” (ie., they are artificial creations), and “Hebrew words … mistakenly quoted as being Aramaic” (ie., it simply confuses the two languages). How cautious this should make us against an uncritical acceptance of so-called “Aramaisms” in the Bible, and the frequently recycled textbook claims concerning them. While some may indeed be in the text, many more exist only in the eye of the beholder! JESUS AT NAZARETH Jesus’ appearance at the synagogue of Nazareth, where he first read from and then expounded Isaiah 61, is highly instructive. In later times, when the Targums were required in Jewish worship, the following was the laboured format for such readings: “… the Hebrew Pentateuch was read … one verse at a time. It was then translated orally, without reference to the written text … The translation was to be recited in a lower voice than that of the reader. All these precautions were to ensure that the uneducated public would not mistake the Aramaic translation for the original Torah”.[32] None of this with Jesus’ reading on that occasion. First he “stood up to read”, then he sat down and “began to say to them … gracious words” (Luke 4:16, 20 – 22). No rigmarole with lowered voice or translation. Just a straight reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, followed by a plain exposition to an audience that clearly understood both them and him. Their negative reaction was not due to any linguistic change of track, but rather to their taking exception to his claim that the Gospel was poised to pass from Israel to the Gentiles, as represented by the widow of Zarephath and Naaman the Syrian (vv. 25 – 27). What are we to conclude, in light of these “givens” that (a) The Targums were only widely introduced to counter the decline in Hebrew, (b) They were clearly not present on this occasion, and (c) The exclusive language of liturgy and worship in late second temple Israel was Hebrew in any case,[33] but that both Jesus and his Nazareth audience spoke, and were speaking on that occasion, Hebrew. There seems no honest way around this. Indeed, the very notion of a Hebrew-born Messiah, first making his appeal to the Hebrew people (‘the lost sheep of the house of Israel’), supported by the Hebrew Scriptures, in anything other than the Hebrew language would seem a contradiction in terms. What is more, Galilee as a region was well-nigh as Jewish as Judaea. Josephus described its population in his day as predominantly Jewish, while “Hebrew language and literature” still “dominated the region at this time”[34], as Chancey and Meyers note. The Mishnah says that “The men of Galilee wrote in the same manner as the men of Jerusalem”.[35] So Jewish was Galilee, in fact, that in 102BC its cities were considered fair game by an enemy on the Sabbath, knowing the Galilean Jews would not go out to battle on their day of rest.[36] The very synagogue itself took its architectural shape from the “Galilean model”.[37] Tiberias, in Galilee, later became the seat of the Sanhedrin, and it was there that the Mishnah received its final form. To suggest, therefore, that while Hebrew might have been the vernacular of Judaea, Aramaic will have to do for the Jewish population of Galilee, is a discrimination which is historically untenable. SAMARITAN DEALINGS Jesus’ considerable dealings with the Samaritans – his discourse with the woman at the well, his healing of the tenth leper, the welcome on one occasion from “many [who] believed because of his own word”, and their refusal on another to have him stay in their town [38] –further point to his language as having been Hebrew. Reduced today to some 600 people (the last remaining group on earth who still sacrifice the Passover lamb), the Samaritans are proud of what they see as their unbroken custodianship of the Hebrew language from earliest times. The centrepiece of Samaritan life has always been the ancient Hebrew scroll of Moses’ five books, written in early Hebrew script, which every Samaritan child is required to read from the age of four or five. As Encyclopaedia Judaica notes: “The child reads the Pentateuch in the ancient Hebrew script, and in the special Samaritan pronunciation, as transmitted from generation to generation, and also learns writing. Able children complete the reading of the Pentateuch at the age of six, but some take as long as until the age of ten”!![39] So strict is their insistence on Hebrew that, to this day, Miriam’s song of triumph at the Red Sea is read in Hebrew over the bride at every Samaritan wedding, while, following a funeral, the entire Hebrew Pentateuch is read at the home of the grieving family on the following Sabbath. It hardly needs to be said that such a people, so jealous of their Hebrew scroll and so zealous for the preservation of the spoken Hebrew language down to this day, spoke Hebrew at the time of Christ. Indeed several Samaritan writings have been found in the Dead Sea Scrolls – all in Hebrew – prompting some scholars to argue that the Scrolls community was actually Samaritan![40] A futile case, almost certainly, not only because of the geographical location of Qumran in Judaea rather than Samaria, but also because of the numerous Psalms, Prophets, and other historical Old Testament books found at Qumran – none of which the Samaritans accept as part of their Bible. Yet it does highlight the Samaritan commitment to Hebrew, and their unbroken continuity of the Hebrew language from before Ezra (whom they denounce as a “revisionist” of the Hebrew script!), down to modern times. What are we to make of this, in terms of Jesus’ repeated encounters with the Samaritans? Must the stilted explanation be invoked that he “switched languages”? Is it not more natural, and certainly more consistent with the evidence, to accept that as they spoke Hebrew – about which there can be no doubt – so did Jesus.[41] This is confirmed by the fact that the Samaritan woman, in her conversation with Jesus, used the Hebrew term “Messiah” (Jn. 4:25), not the Greek “Christ” – one of only two times this Hebrew expression is used in the Gospels, and showing the language in which their discussion must have taken place. THE GALILEAN ACCENT The key that has been overlooked in the whole question of Jesus’ mother tongue is the distinctive Galilean accent. Whereas Jerusalem Jews spoke a sort of “Oxford” Hebrew, their Galilean brethren spoke a type of “Scottish” Hebrew – that is, a Hebrew whose pronunciation differed from their own. The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia notes this in observing, of the Galileans, that “their pronunciation of Hebrew (sic) was different from that of the Jews of Judaea”.[42] Thus the Talmud declares that “The Judaeans … were exact in their language … but the Galileans … were not exact in their language … A certain Galilean once went about enquiring, ‘Who has amar?’ ‘Foolish Galilean’, they said to him, ‘do you mean an ‘ass’ for riding (hamar), ‘wine’ to drink (hamar), ‘wool’ for clothing (amar), or a ‘lamb’ for killing (amar)?’”[43] In both cases – “the Judaeans” and “the Galileans” – the same Hebrew language is clearly being spoken. Yet the Galileans speak it with a different accent (“their pronunciation of Hebrew was different from that of the Jews of Judaea”). There are historical antecedents for such regional differences. In the celebrated “shibboleth/sibboleth” case of Judges 12:6, both tribes were speaking the same Hebrew. Yet those from Gilead could pronounce “sh”, whereas those from Ephraim could not. Around the period of Jesus’ ministry, the Dead Sea Scrolls similarly reflect these dialect differences. Scrolls specialist Elisha Qimron draws attention to “illusory cases of defective spelling”, which reflect no more than differences in Hebrew dialect: “Ancient Hebrew was divided into dialects … in dealing with Hebrew as a living language, we must recall that we are dealing with … different traditions of pronunciation”.[44] In much the same way, Noah Webster in his early Webster’s Dictionary, distinguished within American English between the New England dialect, the Southern dialect, and the general American dialect – though all, of course, represent English[45]. This is a salutary warning against over-speciation, or reading too much into slightly varying forms. As the repeated “Aramaic” mirages, already noted and dispelled, have highlighted, academy assumptions can be “too-clever-by-half”. It was the Galilean accent which furnished the most striking examples of these “different traditions of pronunciation” in Hebrew. Thus Spolsky and Cooper observe: “The Talmud goes on to discuss in considerable detail the kinds of mistakes the people from Galilee made in their spoken Hebrew (sic), … especially ... the careless pronunciation which led to humorous misunderstandings”.[46] Recalling, of course, that what is held to be a “mistake” in one region, may be perfectly acceptable in another, just as “fulfill” (with “ll” ending) is deemed incorrect spelling in England, but represents correct usage in American English. Shades of Qimron’s “illusory cases of defective spelling”! To be different, is not necessarily to be wrong, particularly with something so supple as language. Merely because the Scots call a lake a “loch”, does not make it “incorrect”! Significantly Matthew draws attention to this Galilean accent, in reference to Peter’s denials during the night of Jesus’ trial: “Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away” (Matthew 26:73b, NIV). Likewise with the Majority Text of the parallel passage in Mark: “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean, and your accent shows it” (Mark 14:70b, NKJV, and margin). Two things are self-evident from this comment. First, that the Jerusalem bystanders understood Peter’s denials, even if they suspected them, so they must have been speaking the same language as he! Yet that they also recognised his Galilean accent (“you are a Galilean, and your accent shows it”, “your accent gives you away”), just as a Londoner would immediately recognise a Scot today. Same language, yet unmistakable pronunciation! No one, of course, recognises a different accent in someone speaking another language. As Isaiah reminds us in his prophecy of Galilee’s future greatness, the region was called “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 9:1). Not because it was not Jewish, for he expressly calls it the “land of Zebulun and Naphtali”, two of the twelve tribes. Rather does his comment bespeak the considerable intermingling of Jews and Gentiles in Galilee (typical of the way the Gospel itself would one day go forth to Jew and Gentile alike from the pre-eminent Galilean, our Lord Jesus Christ; cf. v6.). Logically we would expect, from such an ethnic melting pot, a greater “Gentile” influence upon the Hebrew language in Galilee than in Judaea, which is exactly what we do find. Yet Hebrew it still remains, as we have seen from the Mishnah, the Talmud, the Jewish encyclopaedia, and the New Testament itself, just as Glasgow English is every bit as much part of the English language as its Oxford cousin, minor regional differences notwithstanding. JESUS’ WORDS Not surprisingly, the seven words of Jesus recorded in their original tongue, reflect these two aspects, namely (i) their essential identity with known Hebrew; yet (ii) some slight Galilean regional differences*. Ephphatha – Jesus’ command to the deaf mute to “be opened” (Mark 7:34) – is directly from the Biblical Hebrew phphatha, חתפ, meaning “open”, as found in the standard Hebrew-English Lexicon of the Old Testament,[47]. Thus even Bruce Metzger concedes that “‘ephphatha’ can be explained as either Hebrew or Aramaic”[48]. Isaac Rabinowitz is less ambivalent, declaring emphatically that “there are no valid philological grounds for affirming, and there is every valid reason to deny, that ephphatha can represent an Aramaic … form. The transliteration can, indeed, only represent the Hebrew niphal masculine singular imperative … Ephphatha is certainly Hebrew, not Aramaic”.[49] Likewise, cumi, or cum, in Jesus’ command to the dead daughter of Jairus to “arise” (Mark 5:41). The word comes directly from the Old Testament Hebrew םוק, “cum”, meaning “arise, stand up, stand”, while to this day the modern Hebrew for “get up” is cum.[50] What more appropriate, in the house of a synagogue ruler so familiar with Hebrew, than such a rich Hebrew command: “arise” – not to his Sabbath congregation to rise from their seats, but to his very own daughter to get up from the dead! Eloi, Eloi (“My God, My God”, Mark 15:34) is clearly related to the Hebrew word used at times for “my God” in the Psalms (cf. יחלא, “my God”, Ps. 18:28; 139:19; יחלא, “My God”, Mk. 15:34). Astonishingly – given that Eloi, Eloi has always been cited as proof of the Aramaic source of the words – we find that the Targum of Psalm 22:1(2) does not begin with “Eloi, Eloi” but “Eli, Eli”, as in the Hebrew.[51] In two ways “Eloi, Eloi” is different from the Aramaic – with “oi, oi” instead of “I, I” and the short “E, E” instead of the long “Ay, Ay” (as in “day”).[52] Clearly, we must look elsewhere than to Aramaic for its pronunciation. The obvious explanation lies in the distinctive Galilean accent which we have noted. That is, in Eloi, Eloi we have the Galilean Jesus quoting Psalm 22:1(2) from the Hebrew Bible, carefully recorded with his distinctive pronunciation by Mark. With equal fidelity to what transpired, Matthew dispenses with the accent as such, but still records the same utterance straight from the Hebrew Bible. This alone can account for the seemingly contradictory facts that (a) the bystanders misunderstood the form of address (“he is calling Elijah”); yet (b) they rightly understood the rest of the cry as representing Jesus’ deep desolation (“Let us see if Elijah will come and rescue him”), though obviously yet blind to the fact that here, in the very week of the Passover, the Lamb of God was bearing the sins of the world. Given that the cry was uttered “in a loud voice”, there is no possibility of it having been misunderstood on the grounds of its being inaudible. The only explanation, therefore, that adequately addresses both questions (how could they have misunderstood Jesus, yet perfectly understood the rest of the utterance from the Hebrew Bible?), lies in the fact that they (ie. the Jewish portion of the crowd) and he (ie. Jesus) were speaking the same Hebrew language, but he with a Galilean accent. If the accent is removed, there is no explaining how they could have misunderstood so loud a cry, while if a different language is invoked (they speaking Hebrew, he Aramaic), there is no way they would have understood him at all! Lama, הםל (Mark 14:34), or “lema” in some texts, is the stock Hebrew Old Testament word for “why?”, and is used over 170 times in the Hebrew Bible[53]. The identical word, lama, also means “why?” in modern Hebrew.[54] Sabachthani, ינתקבש, is directly from the Mishnaic Hebrew קבש, sabach, meaning “forsake, abandon”.[55] It is identically reproduced by Matthew, who, as Douglas Moo notes, “betrays no fondness for Aramaic”[56], so its Hebrew identity is further confirmed. To this day, the modern Hebrew for “forsake” – “zab” or “sab” – suggests an abbreviated form of it. Even talitha (“little girl”, Mark 5:41), at first glance the “least” Hebrew of all the seven words, is known to have been used by other Jews of the period, as it occurs in the Targum of Genesis 34:3 for “young woman”[57]. Merely because a word is in the Targum, of course, does not preclude it from being Hebrew, as the Targums contain many words – by one count almost half – either identical, or very similar, to the Hebrew Bible[58]. Talitha too has Hebrew roots, coming from the Hebrew talah, meaning “lamb” – a term hardly out of place on the lips of the Good Shepherd. Merely because it has a “tha” ending does not, of itself, make it “Aramaic”, since Gamaliel – whose strong views concerning Aramaic have already been noted – had a devout Jewish maidservant with the closely related name of Tabitha[59]. This is not, again, to deny a possible Aramaic influence for talitha, just as “lassie” is a regional Scottish term derived from old Norse for a young woman. Though not normally used in wider English, its use in Scotland does not mean the Scots speak “Norse”! Why then, given the clear Hebrew lineage of all these words, and in every case their perpetuation to this day, either directly or in closely related form, in modern Hebrew, is there any need to cast around for an “Aramaic” explanation for Jesus’ speech? It may have done for the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, when the hubris of German critical scholarship led it to downplay the “Jüdischen” at every turn – their history, their heroes, and their holy tongue. But it will not do in the real world of 21st century scholarship, when fresh evidence is being uncovered, new insights are breaking forth, and the idols of the Schoolmen are at last being ground to dust.[60] ______________________________________________________________________________________________ The above is an excerpt from Jesus Spoke Hebrew: Busting the Aramaic Myth by Brenton Minge, published by Shepherd Publications (Brisbane, 2001). For more information or to order the full hard copy of this book ($US6) please write to Shepherd Publications, 30 Lytton Road, Bulimba Q 4171, Australia or email marty@sharesong.org. See also The Great Da Vinci "Con" by Brenton Minge. Also Harry Potter and Tolkien's Rings by DJ Gray. ______________________________________________________________________________________________ -------------------------------------------------------------------------------- [1] Michael Wise, Martin Abegg Jr., and Edmund Cook, The Dead Sea Scrolls: A New Translation (Hodder & Stoughton, 1996), pp. 8, 9, emph. added. [2] Emanuel Tov, “A Qumran Origin for the Masada Non-Biblical Texts?” Dead Sea Discoveries, 7:1 (2000), 63. [3] Al Wolters, The Copper Scroll (Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), p. 11. [4] J.T. Milik, Discoveries in the Judaean Desert (Oxford, 1955ff.), vol. 2, p. 70. [5] Matthew Black, An Aramaic Approach to the Gospels and Acts (3rd edition, 1967), p. 47. [6] Lawrence H. Schiffman and James C. VanderKam, eds., Encyclopaedia of the Dead Sea Scrolls (Oxford University Press, 2000), vol. 1, p. 344, emph. added. [7] Shemaryahu Talmon, “Hebrew written fragments from Masada”, DSD 3:2 (1996), 168. Tov, op. cit., 57. [8] Moses Segal, Mishnaic Hebrew Grammar (Oxford, at the Clarendon Press, 1927), pp. 2, 13; emph. added. Likewise Jacob Neusner (ed.), Dictionary of Judaism in the Biblical Period (Peabody, Mass., Hendrickson, 1999), p. 280, where Qumran Hebrew “is a continuation of Late Biblical Hebrew, and is attested c. 200 BCE – c. 70CE”; emph. added. [9] J.T. Milik, Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judaea (London, SCM Press, 1959), 95; emph. added. [10] Angel Saenz-Badillos, A History of the Hebrew Language (1994), p. 52, emph. added; cited by Edward Ullendorff in his review of the same name, Journal of Jewish Studies, xlvi, 1-2. (Spring/Autumn 1995), 287. [11] Ullendorff, op. cit., 287, 288; emph. added. [12] Harris Birkeland, The Language of Jesus (Oslo, Dybwad, 1954). While Birkeland erred in supposing that, though ordinary Jews spoke Hebrew, the “upper class” spoke Aramaic, he was still closer to the mark with Hebrew than his modern detractors. Cf. John P. Meier’s dismissive comment, “Birkeland’s work is almost an embarrassment to read today”. John P. Meier, A Marginal Jew (New York, Doubleday, 1991), vol. 1, p. 288. Needless to say, Meier’s view is that “Jesus regularly and perhaps exclusively taught in Aramaic”, ibid., p. 268. [13] F.L. Cross, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, first edition (Oxford, 1958), entry “Hebrew”, 614. [14] F.L. Cross and E.A. Livingstone, The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, third edition (Oxford, 1997), entry “Hebrew”, pp. 741, 742; emph. added. [15] Tracate Sotah 49 b, cited in S. Safrai and M. Stern, The Jewish People in the First Century (Philadelphia, Fortress Press, 1976), vol. 2, pp. 1032, 1036. Rabbi Meir (c. mid 2nd century), in a choice piece of “salvation by works”, said that “everyone who is settled in the land of Israel, and speaks the sacred language [ie., Hebrew] … is a son of the age to come”, j. Sheqalim 3, 3; cited in J.A. Emerton, “The problem of vernacular Hebrew in the first century AD”, Journal of Theological Studies, xxiv, 1 (1973), 15; emph. added. [16] E. Levine, The Biography of the Aramaic Bible, in Z.A.T.W., vol. 94, (1982), p. 358. [17] Megillah 4, 4, cited in Levine, ibid., p. 374. [18] D.H. Aaron in The Blackwell Reader in Judaism, ed. J. Neusner and A.J. Avery-Peck (Blackwell, 2001), 204. [19] Zohar, Exodus 129, cited in Levine, op. cit., p. 359. [20] Jerusalem Talmud, Tracate Sotah 7:2, 30a. [21] Sifre, Deut. 46, cited in Safrai and Stern, op. cit., p. 1034; emph. added. [22] b Sota 33a; b Shabbat 12b. [23] b Shabbat 115a, j Shabbat 16:15c. Elsewhere the same Gamaliel is recorded as having conversed “in Hebrew” with the emperor’s daughter; b Sanhedrin 90b-91b. For the question as to whether the fragmentary Qumran Job should even be designated a true Targum, see David Shepherd, “Will the real Targum please stand up?”, Journal of Jewish Studies, LI, 1 (Spring, 2000), 113. [24] Paul L. Maier, The New Complete Works of Josephus (Grand Rapids, Kregel, 1999), p. 13. Idem, Josephus: The Essential Works (Kregel, 1994), p. 11. Per Bilde confirms Josephus’ accuracy re contemporary events: “In fact, the accounts of Philo and, especially, of Josephus correspond with the Dead Sea Scrolls to a very large extent, as has often been demonstrated”; in Frederick H. Cryer and Thomas L. Thompson (eds.), Qumran between the Old and New Testaments (Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), p. 67, emph. added. [25] See Matthew 15:24; John 5:36; 1:11. [26] Segal, op. cit., p. 8; emph. added. Interestingly, “mammon” also occurs in the Mishnah, Aboth 2, 17. [27] Craig A. Evans, “Isaiah 6:9-10 in Mark and John”, Novum Testamentum vol. 24 (1982), 133. [28] J.A.L. Lee, “A Non-Aramaism in Luke 6:7”, Novum Testamentum vol. 33, 1 (1991), 28ff. [29] As per J.D. Douglas and others, New Bible Dictionary (Leicester UK, IVP, 1996), p. 67; emph. added. [30] Glenda Abramson (ed.), The Blackwell Companion to Jewish Culture (Basil Blackwell, 1989), p. 314. [31] Michael Sokoloff, book review, Dead Sea Discoveries 7:1 (2000), 79; emph. added. [32] M. L. Klein, “Palestinian Targum and Synagogue Mosaics”, Immanuel 11 (1980), 37, 38; emph. added. [33] “The first sure references to the reading of the Targum in the Synagogue … actually date only to the period when the sages who had survived the Bar Kokhba revolt [135] and the subsequent persecutions regrouped at Usha in Lower Galilee”; so Zeev Safrai, Immanuel 24/25, (1990), 189. [34] Mark Chancey and Eric M. Meyers, “How Jewish was Sepphoris in Jesus’ time?”, Biblical Archaeology Review, (July – August, 2000), p. 33. [35] Ketuboth 52b., emph. added. [36] Encyclopaedia Judaica (Jerusalem, Keter Publishing House, 1972), entry “Galilee”, vol. 7, p. 266. [37] Lee I. Levine, The Ancient Synagogue (Yale University Press, 2000), p. 198. [38] See John 4:26; Luke 17:11-19; John 4:40-42; Luke 9:52, 53. [39] Encyclopaedia Judaica, vol. 14, p. 743; emph. added. [40] Thord and Maria Thordson, Qumran and the Samaritans, reviewed in Dead Sea Discoveries, vol. 6 (March 1999), 94 – 98. Paul E. Kahle, The Cairo Geniza, 2nd ed. (Oxford, Basil Blackwell, 1959), pp. 153, 154, re ancient Samaritan Hebrew speech. [41] Whether or not Jesus may also on occasion have spoken Greek is a moot point. Certainly there is no evidence for it, though it cannot be ruled out as a possible “second” language in cosmopolitan Galilee. While Paul, as a learned former Pharisee, was fluent in both Hebrew and Greek (Acts 21:37, 40), Jesus never claimed any “academy” learning (cf. John 7:15), but rather that his doctrine was “His who sent Me” (v. 16). As the “Word made flesh”, he was saturated with the Scriptures, and so wise beyond measure that, even at twelve years of age, he amazed the temple scholars with his “understanding and answers” (Luke 2:42, 46-47). Yet, as the same “Word made flesh”, he chose in his Father’s will to be made like us, representatively, in all things, only without sin. This naturally includes having a “mother tongue” – for which Greek, whatever its considerable status in first century Palestine, could never be a serious candidate, particularly in light of his known recorded utterances in their original, like ephphatha, cumi, sabachthani, etc.. Not forgetting, too, the pains that learning Greek caused even Josephus, who confessed that “because I have so long accustomed myself to speak our own tongue [ie., Hebrew], I cannot pronounce Greek with sufficient exactness”. Ant. 20:11, 2. [42] The Universal Jewish Encyclopedia (New York, 1944), vol. 4, pp. 500, 501; emph. added. [43] Erubin 53a and b, Soncino edition, vol. 5. [44] Elisha Qimron, Discoveries in the Judaean Desert: Qumran Cave 4 (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1994), pp. 66, 107; emph. added. Likewise F.I. Andersen, “Orthography in ancient Hebrew inscriptions”, Ancient Near Eastern Studies 36 (1999), 19, sub-heading “Hebrew Dialects”. [45] Paul Johnson, A History of the American People (London, Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1997), p. 801. [46] Bernard Spolsky and Robert L. Cooper, The Languages of Jerusalem (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1991), p. 22; emph. added. Interestingly, The Universal Jewish Encyclopaedia says that “these differences [ie., between ‘the Judaeans’ and ‘the Galileans’ in pronunciation] have survived in the Sephardic and Ashkenazic dialects” down to modern times! Op cit., vol. 4, p. 501. [47] Francis Brown, S.R. Driver and C.A. Briggs, Gesenius’ Hebrew-English Lexicon (Oxford, 1958), p. 834. [48] Bruce Metzger and Michael Coogan (eds.), The Oxford Companion to the Bible (Oxford University Press, 1993), p. 272. [49] Isaac Rabinowitz, “Ephphatha (Mark vii:34): Certainly Hebrew, not Aramaic”, Journal of Semitic Studies, 16 (1971), 155; emph. added. [50] Reuben Grossman and Moses Segal, Compendious Hebrew-English Dictionary (Tel Aviv, Dvir Publishing House, 1952), in. loc.. The Oxford-English Hebrew Dictionary, (Oxford University Press, 1996), p. 366. * No pretence is made of one’s being a Hebrew expert (I barely scraped through my five years of seminary Hebrew). But these are facts basically accessible to anyone prepared to do a little digging. [51] Douglas J. Moo, The Old Testament in the Gospel Narratives (Almond Press, 1983), p. 267. [52] Ibid. [53] Francis Brown and others, op. cit., p. 554. James Barr, “Why? In Biblical Hebrew”, Journal of Theological Studies, vol. 36, (April 1985), 9. Both the Received and Nestle texts have lama. [54] Ernest Klein, A Comprehensive Etymological Dictionary of the Hebrew Language (New York, Macmillan Publishing, 1987), p. 302. Grossman and Segal, op. cit., p. 171. [55] Grossman and Segal, op. cit., p. 371. [56] Douglas J. Moo, op. cit., p. 267. [57] Horst Balz and Gerhard Schneider, Exegetical Dictionary of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1993), vol. 3, p. 332. [58] Based on a specimen comparison from Genesis 48 in Alexander Sperber, The Bible in Aramaic (Leiden, E.J. Brill, 1973), vol. 4(b), p. 411. See also Targumic and Cognate Studies, ed. by Kevin J. Cathcart and Michael Maher (Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), pp. 61, 62, for a comparison between parallel texts of Targum On(k)elos and the Massoretic Hebrew. [59] J. Israelstam and Judah J. Slotki, Midrash Rabbah Leviticus (London, Soncino, 1983), xix, 4. That the still-used Hebrew name “Tabitha” is no longer held to mean “gazelle” (Acts 9:36, mg.) is no problem, as the Jewish New Name Dictionary lists “Davida” as related to it, and it means “fawn” (Jonathan David Publ., 1989, 153). Compare the way the KJV near-equivalent of “hart” has virtually given up the ghost in less than four centuries! [60] It is hardly coincidental that Wellhausen, popularizer of the now-discredited “documentary hypothesis” concerning the Pentateuch (which Jesus expressly ascribed to Moses, John 5:46, 47), was also a leading proponent for an “original Aramaic” behind Mark’s Gospel – a view which likewise turned out to be a “fizzer”. For an up-to-date and extensive expose of the Wellhausen Old Testament theory, see Josh McDowell, The New Evidence that Demands a Verdict (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1999), pp. 392 – 533.

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