Tuesday, September 29, 2015

COG Prophet Says To Pitch A Tent In Your Living Room This Feast



God's most imortant mouthpiece ever to walk this earth is back telling his few African members and some gullible Americans how to keep the Feast this year.  It is particularly pointed towards those that cannot travel.  For those true Christians who could not travel to a holy designated feast site, Bob Thiel presents an alternative...pitch a tent in our living room and spend 8 days in it.  You even have holy dispensation to sleep in  a camper in your driveway!  Woo Hoo!  Best Feast Evvvvvvvvvvvvvvver!

Those who cannot may wish to consider the possibility to not sleep in their houses during the time of the Feast.  If they are physically and financially able, they may wish to try to sleep in some type of temporary dwelling like a hotel, motel, camper, or a tent (including perhaps one in one’s own home).  In ancient Israel, those who did not travel (as well as native Israelites that did) made ‘booths’ of branches on top of their roofs (Leviticus 23:40) and slept in them for the seven days of the Feast (Leviticus 23:42), and some slept for the entire eight days (though th e Bible only mentions seven days).  Staying in ‘temporary dwellings,’ of whatever sort, helps convey that this age is temporal and a new millennial age is coming.



37 comments:

Anonymous said...

Yeah, pitch a tent.. Good God, these people are such @$$holes!!

Anonymous said...

My neighbor gave us a Taylor Swift Halloween costume that is size XXL. Based on Bob's wisdom, my wife and I will make a tent from it(along with a vestibule made from a Casper the Friendly Ghost costume)and dwell in it.
It's a double-dose dwelling!
During this 'Bob-i-Feast', we plan to study ancient Mayan teachings and strange noises as they relate to modern-day crooked bookcases.
This will be THE BEST CROOKED FEAST EVER!

Black Ops Mikey said...

Assignment: Prove (using the New Testament only) that Christians are absolutely commanded by God to keep the Feasts, particularly the Feast of Tabernacles.

Explain away (using Scripture) the necessity of having animal sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem in order to keep the Feasts properly as ordained under Olde Testament Christian Law.

Hint: Remember that for all their Feasts, all sorts of other physical rituals and laws, not a single rank and file Israelite of the Old Testament ever received the Holy Spirit -- and explain how that doing the same things they did some how gets you the Holy Spirit.

Anonymous said...

I think it would be a good idea if Mr. Pack, Mr. Meredith, Mr. Flurry, etc all slept in tents. They could even use a camp fire to boil clean water and their food. Imagine the humility they would learn. No help from other church members, they would have to do the work all by themselves.

Ralph said...

Ahh yes, the Feast
"Lev 23:34 Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles for seven days unto the LORD."

Since long ago terminating my association with the old WWCG I have sometimes wondered how they still turn the last day of a seven day feast " Joh 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast,......", 'the last day' indicating there were six days before it, into an 'eighth day' and call it "The Last Great Day"

Any suggestions (without being crude)

cheers
ralph.f

Ralph said...

on September 29, 2015 at 2:20 PM
Black Ops Mikey said...

"Assignment: Prove (using the New Testament only) that Christians are absolutely commanded by God to keep the Feasts, particularly the Feast of Tabernacles."

I'll try, firstly with this:-
"Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

To me this would indicate that if you are a 'true blue' Christian then you are an Israelite ie. Abraham's seed,(by adoption, never mind what tribe) To follow on then depends on your understanding and/or acceptance of the Hebrew word 'Olam'

Lev 23:41 And ye shall keepH2287 it a feastH2282 unto the LORDH3068 sevenH7651 daysH3117 in the year.H8141 It shall be a statuteH2708 for everH5769 in your generations:H1755 ye shall celebrateH2287 it in the seventhH7637 month.H2320

Strong's H5769: ‛ôlâm ‛ôlâm
o-lawm', o-lawm' From H5956; properly concealed, that is, the vanishing point; generally time out of mind (past or future), that is, (practically) eternity;

Anonymous said...

"In ancient Israel, those who did not travel (as well as native Israelites that did) made ‘booths’ of branches on top of their roofs (Leviticus 23:40) and slept in them for the seven days of the Feast (Leviticus 23:42), and some slept for the entire eight days (though the Bible only mentions seven days). Staying in ‘temporary dwellings, of whatever sort, helps convey that this age is temporal and a new millennial age is coming."

1) There is no evidence that "In ancient Israel" anyone ever traveled for the festival of Sukkot, made a "booth" or slept in it for even one night. In fact there's no evidence that pre-exilic Israelites had ever even heard of Moses or "monotheism," let alone Sukkot, as these "Priestly" parts of the penteteuch were not written until the exile, if not later, and when they were written, they were based upon older pagan harvest festivals to the Canaanite pantheon which the Jews later simplified to form their "monotheism."

2) A utopian pipe-dream age is not coming. Things that are too good to be true usually are, and this is no exception.

3) Armstrongist "christianized" interpretations that keeping these Canaanite-Jewish festivals should be kept, and how, are totally invalid. If we should keep them, why should we do so in a different form than the Jews do? If HWA&Co. trusted the Jews to keep the calendar, why didn't they trust them in how to keep their festivals? Why the inconsistency? Again, assuming christians should keep them, assuming that christianity is a valid misinterpretation of the Jewish "monotheism" (which it isn't).

4) Pitch a tent...lol

Anonymous said...

Nowhere in the bible does it say that staying in temporary booths is symbolic for this life being temporary and the next life being permament. The feast of tabernacles looked back not forward to when the isrealites lived in tents while wandering through the wilderness.

Dennis Diehl said...

I say Pitch a Fit in your livingroom and vote with your feet.....

Ralph said...

on September 29, 2015 at 5:32 PM
Anonymous said...

"1) There is no evidence that "In ancient Israel" anyone ever traveled for the festival of Sukkot, made a "booth" or slept in it for even one night. In fact there's no evidence that pre-exilic Israelites had ever even heard of Moses or "monotheism," let alone Sukkot,"

and I ask: Do you discount Flavius Josephus as a valid historian?
For in his "Antiquities Of The Jews" Book 3 Chap 10 vs 4 can be found:- "4. Upon the fifteenth day of the same month, when the season of the year is changing for winter, the law enjoins us to pitch tabernacles in every one of our houses, so that we preserve ourselves from the cold of that time of the year; as also that when we should arrive at our own country, and come to that city which we should have then for our metropolis, because of the temple therein to be built, and keep a festival for eight days, and offer burnt-offerings, and sacrifice thank-offerings, that we should then carry in our hands a branch of myrtle, and willow, and a bough of the palm-tree, with the addition of the pome citron: That the burnt-offering on the first of those days was to be a sacrifice of thirteen bulls, and fourteen lambs, and fifteen rams, with the addition of a kid of the goats, as an expiation for sins; and on the following days the same number of lambs, and of rams, with the kids of the goats; but abating one of the bulls every day till they amounted to seven only. On the eighth day all work was laid aside, and then, as we said before, they sacrificed to God a bullock, a ram, and seven lambs, with a kid of the goats, for an expiation of sins. And this is the accustomed solemnity of the Hebrews, when they pitch their tabernacles."

What kind of evidence are you looking for, if any?

Anonymous said...

The feast of Tapinshackles. "Tap" the sheeples income, and keep them in "shackles".

Alan said...

"Since long ago terminating my association with the old WWCG I have sometimes wondered how they still turn the last day of a seven day feast ' Joh 7:37 In the last day, that great day of the feast,......', 'the last day' indicating there were six days before it, into an 'eighth day' and call it 'The Last Great Day'

"Any suggestions (without being crude)"

They assumed that, by the time of Jesus, the Jews considered the "eighth day" (Lev 23:36) to be the last day of the Feast of Tabernacles. They (HWA, et. al) acknowledged, however, that the eighth day was actually a separate festival and was "back-to-back" with the seven-day Feast of Tabernacles. Similar to this was the fact that Nisan 14, the day the Passover sacrifice was offered in Jerusalem, had come to be considered the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, though in the OT the first day of UB was the 15th. Between the time of Moses and Jesus, the use of these terms changed somewhat. It was a simple matter of etymology.

Anonymous said...

"What kind of evidence are you looking for, if any?"

Archaeological? Secular historical sources? Textual criticism? Since you ask, don't you know that Josephus is not looked upon as particularly trustworthy historian?

However, perhaps the key word here that you're not focusing on is pre-exilic. In this case, what does Josephus even have to say on this matter?

That law you're using Josephus to refer to (not sure why that's necessary) does not appear to have been written when you think it was. Josephus was writing in the 1st century A.D. and writes about current Pharisaic practices (which are still observed today by the Jews, btw, being the religious descendants of Hillel — note the lulav and etrog as commanded in Leviticus 23:40 — why did we never obey this? It's not too late to start!) Josephus here has nothing to say about pre-exilic practices, so I do not understand why you've quoted him.

I have understated the case. It's not just there's no evidence for, there is evidence against.

When Jerusalem was supposedly the resplendent capital of a regional superpower, archaeology shows it was little more than a rustic village for a local chieftan. Therefore, archaeology suggests that Solomon's "glorious" temple never existed. It was just a story, like Abraham, Joseph, the enslavement, plagues, crossing the Red Sea, the wandering, the conquest, and the exploits of David. It was designed to give the Jews a history and identity.

Archaeology and textual criticism show that very little if any of the bible could have been written prior to the 7th century B.C.E., only 150 years prior to the exile, and the Priestly sources that wrote the "law" in particular could not have done so until the exile. The archaeological evidence of the bible having been written in cuneiform script on clay tablets, which would be the case if it were written when it is claimed is completely absent. Not one single verse of the bible can be securely dated prior to 250 B.C.E.

So, no temple and no law = no Judaism! So where did Judaism come from? From the extant polytheism which the "Jews" (who were "Canaanites" actually) practiced prior to their invention of a "monotheistic" (henotheistic actually) version of it that we now know as Judaism. If there was a small-time chieftan named Solomon, and he did build a temple, it would have been one that you would not be at all happy with! Same goes for whatever pagan version of the fall fertility and harvest festival (pre-Sukkot) that was practiced in pre-exilic times by "Jews" that had yet to invent Judaism. Under any circumstances, Josephus cannot tell us about this because Josephus didn't know anything about it.

Ralph said...

To Anon
of September 30, 2015 at 3:42 AM

Thanks for your response.
I have found another explanation of the eighth day from Judaism 101 Here viz "Shemini Atzeret literally means "the assembly of the eighth (day)." Rabbinic literature explains the holiday this way: our Creator is like a host, who invites us as visitors for a limited time, but when the time comes for us to leave, He has enjoyed himself so much that He asks us to stay another day. Another related explanation: Sukkot is a holiday intended for all of mankind, but when Sukkot is over, the Creator invites the Jewish (ie.all Israelites) people to stay for an extra day, for a more intimate celebration."

cheers
ralph.f

Connie Schmidt said...

Bob should put a plastic bag over his head with a rubber band around his neck. That should work as a very temporary tent for him, perhaps twenty minutes or less!

Anonymous said...

Black Ops Mikey said...
Explain away (using Scripture) the necessity of having animal sacrifices at the temple in Jerusalem in order to keep the Feasts properly as ordained under Olde Testament Christian Law.

LMFAO! You can't!

George Gordon

Anonymous said...

"Bob Thiel presents an alternative...pitch a tent in our living room and spend 8 days in it."

I just can't help but think it's easier to leave the bed where it is and pitch a tent in the bedroom. Although if your tent lasts for more than 4 hours, you should probably see a doctor—but only if you're allowed to, I guess...

Sweetblood777 said...

What they fail to acknowledge is that the 'tent law' was meant only for those living in the holy land. Lev.23:42. Poor reading skills produces lots of nuts.

Anonymous said...

"Poor reading skills produces lots of nuts."

You mean, "poor reading skills" such as reading literally the stories of ancient people that were written symbolically?

DennisCDiehl said...

Sweetblood777 said...
What they fail to acknowledge is that the 'tent law' was meant only for those living in the holy land. Lev.23:42. Poor reading skills produces lots of nuts.

Why just single out "tent law" Maybe the WHOLE "law" was meant only for those living in the holy land?

Sweetblood777 said...

Dennis that would contradict the teaching that Egypt would be punished for not observing the feast. If the law only applied to those in Israel (speaking here of the actual law and not the physical attachments), then punishing Egypt would be wrong.

R.L. said...

I'm at a UCG Feast site, and a speaker declared the "rejoice" part of Lev. 23:40 "commanded" for Feast-keepers.

He glossed right over the first part about palm fronds and "willows of the brook." If the last part is commanded, why not the first part?

Black Ops Mikey said...

Ralph:

Black Ops Mikey said...

"Assignment: Prove (using the New Testament only) that Christians are absolutely commanded by God to keep the Feasts, particularly the Feast of Tabernacles."

I'll try, firstly with this:-
"Gal 3:29 And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."

To me this would indicate that if you are a 'true blue' Christian then you are an Israelite ie. Abraham's seed,(by adoption, never mind what tribe) To follow on then depends on your understanding and/or acceptance of the Hebrew word 'Olam'


Well, no. Just no. If you are Abraham's seed, you are not necessarily an Israelite. And from there it gets ugly. You see, Abraham was of the circumcism -- just look at Genesis 17. Absolute necessity. Could not be overlooked. Now, you have to explain away Acts 15. Where in Acts 15 are the Gentiles commanded to keep the Feast of Tabernacles -- as in, if you keep the Feast of Tabernacles, ye do well? No? Here it is: "Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood." Gee, what a missed opportunity. Christians are commanded by God to keep the Feast. Uh, where exactly? You'd think that the Apostle Paul would have mentioned it.

On the other hand, do we have anything that shows that Abraham kept the Feast of Tabernacles? Anything? Assuredly, if it were that important -- you know, like being elevated to the practice of circumcism and burnt offerings -- there would be record of Abraham doing it. Alas, it was centuries later when it was tacked on for the Israelites after the Ten Commandments.

By the time we get to tents (as temporary booths), we've long ago left the realm of sanity.

You put a tent in your living room to protect yourself from rain during the Feast? I think you may have a bigger problem. But fine. Use it to store your booze.

Ralph said...

September 30, 2015 at 9:53 AM
Anonymous said..

"...Since you ask, don't you know that Josephus is not looked upon as particularly trustworthy historian?"

Yes, I have heard it said and I would suggest that the original distrust was put in place by the religious leaders of his day. They surely would have considered him to be a "traitor" because of what he wrote in his 'Antiquities' Book 18 Vs 3 Ch 3 viz: "3. Now there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man; for he was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews and many of the Gentiles. He was [the] Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the cross, (9) those that loved him at the first did not forsake him; for he appeared to them alive again the third day; (10) as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from him, are not extinct at this day."

See: "Despite his ambivalent role, Josephus was an eyewitness to history, and his writings are considered authoritative." HERE

cheers
ralph.f

Byker Bob said...

Why, of course they do that, R.L.! That is because Armstrongism has always been not so much based on sound thinking or sound theology, but instead on picking and choosing, with the final doctrinal approach based on HWA and his spiritual heirs claiming Matt. 16:17-20 for themselves. They use sleight of hand, and make ridiculous and unauthorized leaps and changes, but then mock the Catholics for doing the same things under the guise of the primacy of Peter. That is why WCG and the splinters are always so careful to use manipulative terms, such as "God's Church", "God's ministers", "God's Apostle", "God's way", etc. Members, in using those exclusionary terms, automatically rule out any others (or even themselves) who might have drawn different conclusions, or might have a different understanding.

We read in Scripture how the Holy Spirit works in transforming the hearts of individuals, and then these "leaders" justify their authority even over that process by inserting themselves based on supposedly having Elisha's "double portion". All of this, as past and present members watch them make egregious error and ridiculous pronouncements, but are forbidden to discern or evaluate that.

Bottom line is that there must be personal accountability. Your ACOG minister is not going to be standing next to you as a quasi-defense attorney on the day that your life is reviewed by Father God and Jesus Christ.

The funny thing is that humans cannot rejoice on command in the first place. They can put on some spiritual street theater, appearing to rejoice, but true rejoicing is a spontaneous emotion, triggered by something deep inside of us all. We can aspire to rejoice for the right reasons, but the majority of transformation occurs after we are in the Kingdom. I dare say that many Armstrongite ministers actually interfere with out ability to rejoice. Can you even imagine Gerald Flurry or David Pack's people having the capacity to rejoice? All those poor folks know are cruel authoritarianism, depressing false prophecy, and ministerial extortion!

BB

Anonymous said...

"Dennis that would contradict the teaching that Egypt would be punished for not observing the feast. If the law only applied to those in Israel (speaking here of the actual law and not the physical attachments), then punishing Egypt would be wrong."

Punishing Egypt for failing to observe the Hebrew version of the Mesopotamian Akitu festival rituals, originally dedicated to Nabu, but repurposed by the Hebrews to YHWH, would be wrong!

In WCG, Herbert spent so much time denouncing the holidays of mainstream christianity for their "pagan" origins in favor of the biblical Hebrew holidays. That left the mistaken impression that the biblical Hebrew holidays did not ALSO have "pagan" origins!

Anonymous said...

Bob Thiel wrote: "...Staying in ‘temporary dwellings,’ of whatever sort, helps convey that this age is temporal and a new millennial age is coming..."

But, Bob T, isn't that "new millennial age" also temporal too?

In fact, isn't Jesus Christ supposed to be at the Father's right hand until all enemies are subdued? Satan is an enemy. Death is an enemy...the last enemy.

Satan is loosed out of the bottomless pit after your temporary "new millennial age" ends to again deceive the entire world again! Where was Jesus Christ? Where will Jesus Christ be?

Wouldn't He still be at the Father's right hand b/c the enemies Satan and death still exist?

John

Ralph said...

on October 3, 2015 at 9:04 AM
Byker Bob said.

"The funny thing is that humans cannot rejoice on command in the first place. They can put on some spiritual street theater, appearing to rejoice, but true rejoicing is a spontaneous emotion, triggered by something deep inside of us all."

Such a true comment. Perhaps there is a deeper meaning to the word 'rejoice'.
But then:-
"G5463 χαίρω
chairō
khah'ee-ro
A primary verb; to be full of “cheer”, that is, calmly happy or well off; impersonal especially as a salutation (on meeting or parting), be well: - farewell, be glad, God speed, greeting, hail, joy (-fully), rejoice."

With some encouragement perhaps the mind could switch from sadness to gladness.
See HERE

Anonymous said...

Ralph said:

"Despite his ambivalent role, Josephus was an eyewitness to history, and his writings are considered authoritative."

First of all, quoting Josephus to date the authorship of the penteteuch is a total non-sequitur! FAIL!

Second, don't you realize that the scholarly consensus of the Testimonium Flavianum is that it's a christian interpolation? FAIL!

Ralph said...

on October 4, 2015 at 2:10 PM
Anonymous said...

"....the scholarly consensus...."

As I've noted before in comments to this blog, we all believe what we want to believe, be it true or false.

cheers
ralph.f

Anonymous said...

I have written to the LCG asking about Holy Day and Sabbath observances commanded of Christians. He referred to Paul going to the synagogue on the Sabbath and wanting to be back in Jerusalem for Pentecost. I suggested that Paul, who remained a Jew until he died, was going to the synagogue on the Sabbath to evangelize them. This was not proof that the early church observed the Sabbath. Paul's desire to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost is not proof that the NT church observed it. Paul could observe it if he chose, but there is no command that the Gentiles do the same. The LCG "letter answerer" could not understand the difference between a description and a prescription. Nine of the ten commandments are repeated in different parts of the NT after Pentecost. He could not show me where the Sabbath was commanded after Pentecost. He likes to say, "Well Jesus kept the Holy Days." Sure, because he was a good Jew. He also wore tassels. Do LCG members wear tassels? The FOT is currently being observed. I wonder if anyone attending will learn anything new this year or will they just keep hearing the same message reinforced. I don't think any of these "scholars" have read much of anything to "grow in grace and knowledge" in the past decades.

Ralph said...

on October 5, 2015 at 5:19 AM
Anonymous said..

"I suggested that Paul, who remained a Jew until he died,......"

My understanding from the 'Book of Acts' was that the beginning of Paul's conversion to the 'Christian' way occurred on the road to Damascus. viz.
"Act 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:
Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
Act 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.
Act 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.
Act 9:8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
Act 9:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.
Act 9:10 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I am here, Lord.
Act 9:11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth,
Act 9:12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.
Act 9:13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
Act 9:14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
Act 9:15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
Act 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
Act 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Act 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
Act 9:19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.
Act 9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

In addition to that:-
"Gal_3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
and
Col_3:11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all."

Anonymous said...

Ralph said:

"'....the scholarly consensus....As I've noted before in comments to this blog, we all believe what we want to believe, be it true or false.'"

"Despite his ambivalent role, Josephus was an eyewitness to history, and his writings are considered authoritative."

Ralph, you've claimed, that Josephus' "writings" are "considered authoritative," by whom you fail to mention, implying that the consensus of scholars considers it authoritative—full stop. Then you quote the Testimonium Flavianum, wrongly, as though it is considered by a consensus of textual critics NOT to be a late christian interpolation, which it is and for a variety of very good reasons. Save yourself the embarrassment and just look these kinds of basic facts up on Wikipedia for Zeus' sake.

When this is pointed out to you, instead of recanting, like any honest person would do, you retreat to hiding behind, "we all believe what we want to believe"?

I'm sorry, Ralph, but this is immoral behavior. To translate it into churchspeak, I think you have some repenting to do. Lying is wrong, even if it is for Jesus.

Ralph said...

on October 5, 2015 at 11:44 AM
Anonymous said...

"{you've claimed, that Josephus' "writings" are "considered authoritative," by whom you fail to mention,...."

on October 4, 2015 at 7:55 AM
I provided a link to my source. Go back and click on HERE.

Anonymous said...

"My understanding from the 'Book of Acts' was that the beginning of Paul's conversion to the 'Christian' way occurred on the road to Damascus."

Oh my. "Acts" is a genre of ancient novel, as are the "epistle," "apocalypse," and "gospel." There are at least 40 other "gospels" and 15 other books of "acts" that aren't in the canon, but could have been. These are not diaries or historical accounts, but ancient novelistic works written to be understandable to a 1st century audience within the literary traditions of the day. The Acts of the Apostles, not unlike the canonical gospels, all use tropes ubiquitous to ancient literature such as Callirhoe, Ephesian Tale, Leukippe and Kleitophon or the surviving examples of Greek plays. Tropes including kidnapping or unjust arrest, shipwrecks, chains falling off and doors opening miraculously, disguise or nonrecognition of a main character, being mistaken for a divine being, conjunction of a key trial and a religious festival, triumphal entries, death-empty tomb-resurrection, and the most famous of all, Deus Ex Machina, all of which appear in either the canonical Gospels and/or in Acts. We have our own set of tropes, such as hitting one's head and then suffering from amnesia, which is undocumented by modern medicine, but appears repeatedly as a plot device, and could be seen as an internal signal that the work is not intended to be interpreted as non-fiction.

In Leukippe and Kleitophon the heroine is locked in a "cave" to test her virginity. If she is a virgin, she will be miraculously released, and if not, a scream is heard after which the victim must remain in the "cave" for three days, at which time the "cave" is found empty. Sound familiar?

In The Bacchantes the god Dyionysus, disguised in human form appears to Pentheus, king of Thebes, to correct him for his "godlessness." A servant attests that Dionysus' chains fell off "of their own accord," and the dungeon doors "flew open without man's hand to help." This trope is repeated twice in Acts, in chapters 12 and 16. So common was this trope in the ancient world that Hero of Alexandria was hired to engineer temple doors to open by themselves. Not coincentally, he was also hired to make statues "turn" water into wine, a "miracle" routinely performed by the priests of Dionysus.

Later when Pentheus threatens to interrupt the Bacchanal celebrations with military force, Dionysus says "I would rather do him sacrifice than in a fury kick against the pricks; thou a mortal, he a god." "Kick against the pricks" appears in other works also, but always in the context of defying the will of a god. Again, twice "Paul" uses this phrase in the "conversion tale" that is part of the trial narratives in Acts chapters 9 and 26. The trial of Paul, as is common in Hellenistic literature, does not reach a formal verdict, instead Paul’s innocence is determined through miraculous deliverance from the storm and the snake-bite, which are integral parts of the trial narrative, serving to fulfill the ancient audience’s expectation that Paul’s innocence would be shown outside the trial's legal proceedings.

The bible's lack of originality is ubiquitous and this is the hallmark of literature, not history. The bible is written symbolically and it follows the conventions and plot devices of literature, not real-life. Why can't we read the bible and appreciate it in the same way we appreciate Callirhoe, Ephesian Tale, and Leukippe and Kleitophon?

Anonymous said...

Ralph said:

"'you've claimed, that Josephus' 'writings' are 'considered authoritative,' by whom you fail to mention,....' I provided a link to my source. Go back and click on HERE."

No, Ralph, all you've done is kick the can down the road. Quoting a computer programmer's off-the-cuff remark, who is no more authoritative than you, does nothing to eradicate any of the concerns historians and textual critics have long had with Josephus. But you're not interested with just Josephus in general. Noooo. You're interested specifically in the Testimonium Flavianum!

Dr. Louis H. Feldman of Yeshiva University is the ranking authority on the life and works of Josephus. If you want to quote one guy, then this would be THE guy. He writes:

"We may remark here on the passage in Josephus which has occasioned by far more comment than any other, the so-called Testimonium Flavianum (Ant. 18.63-4) concerning Jesus. The passage appears in all our manuscripts; but a considerable number of Christian writers - Pseudo-Justin and Theophilus in the second century, Minucius Felix, Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Julius Africanus, Tertullian, Hippolytus and Orgen in the third century, and Methodius and Pseudo-Eustathius in the early fourth century - who knew Josphus and cited from his works do not refer to this passage, though one would imagine that it would be the first passage that a Christian apologist would cite. In particular, Origen (Contra Celsum 1.47 and Commentary on Matthew 10.17), who certainly knew Book 18 of the Antiquities and cites five passages from it, explicitly states that Josephus did not believe in Jesus as Christ. The first to cite the Testimonium is Eusebius (c. 324); and even after him, we may note, there are eleven Christian writers who cite Josephus but not the Testimonium. In fact, it is not until Jerome in the early fifth century that we have another reference to it."

"The principal internal argument against the genuineness of the Testimonium is that it says that Jesus was the Christ, whereas Josephus, as a loyal Pharisaic Jew, could hardly have written this. To be sure, there was several claimants to the status of Messiah in this era, and those who followed them were not read out of the Jewish fold; but in view of the fact that Josephus nowhere else uses the word Christos (except in referring to James, the brother of Jesus, Ant. 20.200) and that he repeatedly suppresses the Messianic aspects of the revolt against Rome because of the association of the Messiah with political revolt and independence, it would seem hard to believe that he would openly call Jesus a Messiah and speak of him in awe. The fact that Jerome (De Viris Illustrious 13) read that ’he was believed to be the Christ (credebatur esse Christus) would suggest that his text differed from ours. Another objection to the authenticity of the passage is that it breaks the continuity of the narrative, which tells of a series of riots. Those, such as Eisler, who regard the passage as interpolated, suggest that the original spoke of the Christian movement as a riot."

Judaism And Hellenism Reconsidered, pp. 328-329.

Anonymous said...

Romans 8:7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.