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Religion & Theology (& should we respect beliefs)

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I have to say - and it's not directly related to religion & theology - but it is sort of a...cousin is, something that REALLY gets on my wick is this garbage industry spawned in this "New Age" to

I did not say anything about women being evil old hags. I called her a dog, which is a nice metaphor; she gets fed and watered. I could take my allusions further but that might be considered nasty. Anyway we're all missing the point.




No, you didn't say anything about women being evil old hags. Re we're all missing the point. Jesus. Tuts, one appears to have forgotten the balance again - you only had one deity come into your life then. What about God? What about Mary? Perhaps instead of looking at the footprints in the sand a look in the mirror to reflect and find yourself might have helped more.

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I did not say anything about women being evil old hags. I called her a dog, which is a nice metaphor; she gets fed and watered. I could take my allusions further but that might be considered nasty. Anyway we're all missing the point.




No, you didn't say anything about women being evil old hags. Re we're all missing the point. Jesus. Tuts, one appears to have forgotten the balance again - you only had one deity come into your life then. What about God? What about Mary? Perhaps instead of looking at the footprints in the sand a look in the mirror to reflect and find yourself might have helped more.


Mary... There's another one who wasn't much use in the sack if I mind right...

Immaculate Conception = Every guy's worst nightmare :S

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It is probably worth mentioning that the Damascus referred to in the Biblical story about Paul's "on the road to" experiences, is unlikely to be the extant city now in Syria. Rather, it appears much more likely to be Qumran. The idea that Paul was going to the northern Damascus never made sense. Since the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the idea that his destination was Qumran has become much clearer.

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Maybe if you searched for the answers at church then maybe you would find Christ. When you find him you will know. When I was going through a tough time, my wife left me for a sleaze bag, she took the kids and the house. And the dog. She was called Susan, the dog not my wife. My wife is a dog but I digress. But when I looked behind me once at the beach there were two sets of footprints. Usually this was the dogs pawprints. But as Susan was being pampered by sleaze mcsleaze she wasn't there. These foot prints were jesus's but when I got tired Jesus carried me up the beach. And as such there was only one set of footprints. I asked Jesus why and... No wait im telling it wrong.


Was the single set of footprints deeper in the sand to reflect the weight of both you and Jesus?

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DP, thought this might interest you...


"e) In GMark, "Nazareth" (1:9) shows in the Greek as 'nazaret' (simplified Beta code, as in next transliterations). "Nazarene" (1:24/10:47--as in the most reliable ancient manuscripts--/14:67/16:6) is 'nazarhne'/'nazarhnos'/'nazarhnou'/'nazarhnon' (vocative/nominative/genitive/accusative).

It seems "Mark" derived 'nazarhn/e/os/ou/on' according to what he wrote for "Gerasenes" (5:1) (inhabitants of Gerasa): 'gerashnwn' ("wn" is the common termination for genitive-plural-neuter nouns. The singular form is "ou"). That would explain the "hn"!

Josephus, in Wars, II, XVIII, 5, called the same inhabitants 'gerashnoi' ("oi" is the common termination for nominative-plural-neuter nouns. Its genitive form is "wn"), corroborating the spelling in GMark, even if he named the city 'gerasa' earlier in section 1 of the same chapter.


Another possible source of inspiration for "Mark": 2Co11:32 has "Damascus" and "Damascenes" in the following Beta transliterations: 'damaskw' ("w" is the dative termination, 'damaskos' for nominative) and 'damaskhnwn' ("wn" stands for the genitive form).

Josephus, in Ant., IX, XII, 3, called the same inhabitants 'damaskhnous'

("ous" is the common termination for accusative-plural-neuter nouns. Its genitive form is "wn"), corroborating the spelling in '2Corinthians'. In the same section, he named the city 'damaskon' ("on" is for accusative-singular-

neuter noun. Its dative form is "w"). "Damascenes" appears also in Wars, I, IV, 8, as 'damaskhnoi' ("oi" stands for the nominative form)."



"Nazareth" is called 'nazara' in Mt4:13 & Lk4:16: would it be spelled that way to fit 'nazarhnos' ("Nazarene", singular nominative)? Not likely, considering Josephus (Wars, IV, VII, 3-5): he named a city 'gadara', and then its

inhabitants 'gadarewn' (plural genitive form; the singular nominative is 'gadareos', NOT 'gadarhnos'). Also, in Josephus' Life, a city is named 'gabara' (25) and its inhabitants 'gabarwn' (singular nominative: 'gabaros', NOT 'gabarhnos') (61)."



"f) Mt2:22b-23 Darby "... he [Joseph] went away into the parts of Galilee, and came and dwelt in a town called Nazareth [Greek 'nazaret', as in Mk1:9] so that that should be fulfilled which was spoken through the prophets, He shall

be called a Nazaraean [Greek 'nazwrios', usually translated as Nazorean]."

'Nazwrios' cannot be a derivation of 'nazaret' (because of the 'w')."


I'll leave you to make sense of it. It's all Greek to me!




YOU call it "a village". Not so in Luke 1:26,27; Luke 2:3,4; Matthew 2:22,23; Luke 2:39,40. In each, it is referred to as "a city". It had a synagogue that Jesus was supposed to have preached in, remember? That makes it a fairly significant settlement, not just a wee village that might be overlooked...


I can make sense of it as far as it goes - that is, I understand the grammatical techie stuff - but it doesn't make any wider sense unless I know what the context is - that is, where it's (or they're) from and what is being argued. On the face of it, these texts seem to contradict each other - are they from different sources?


The middle paragraph - citing Josephus - seems to be saying that the forms containing 'n' are inconsistent with a village name 'Nazareth' because that name does not contain an 'n'. On the other hand, the bit before that seems to be directly contradicting this, giving two examples of other place names - Gadara and Damascus - where the names for the people contain 'n' in spite of 'n' not being in the place name.


The third paragraph argues, plausibly, that a form with 'w' (Omega, or long O) can't be derived from Nazareth. However, it's not easy to say what the significance of this is without knowing where this text - or texts - come(s) from, other than that it's obvious - as I said before - that Matthew is fitting the village name to something that he seems to regard as a prophecy, and therefore there may never have been an etymological connection between the two words whether or not Nazareth ever existed.


Ah - right - I've found the website that these paragraphs come from, and I see that they don't contradict each other at all. (I won't bother taking out what I've said already in case I confuse myself...)




The first one seems to be saying - as I said - that the 'n' form is a natural form for an inhabitant of a place - Magdalene, from Magdala, is another one cited, the point being that 'Nazarene' is a natural form for an inhabitant of Nazareth. The middle paragraph is considering the possibility that the form 'Nazara' is a back-derivation from an original 'Nazarene, invented to provide a place for the adjective, and concludes that this is unlikely, because Josephus used 'a' endings for towns even when he didn't use the 'n' form for their inhabitants - in other words, it's no more likely a back-derivation from 'Nazarene' than 'Nazareth' would be. In the third paragraph, the writer goes on to take the same view as myself: "Therefore it seems "Matthew" tried to "force" 'Nazorean' as the name of an inhabitant of Nazareth. Why? Probably in order to justify, as part of some God's plan formulated long ago, the choice of Nazareth as Jesus' place of origin."


The relationship between 'Nazarene' and 'Nazorios' in the gospels and Acts is odd, and I'm not sure how it ralates to what the writer says above. Mark obviously prefers to use 'Nazarene' and Luke 'Nazorios.' The gospel writers fairly obviously thought of them as equivalent, but whether they both have the same origin is another matter.


I don't think the synagogue point is particularly significant, - the word simply means 'meeting place' and doesn't necessarily imply a big building. Matthew and Luke's description of Nazareth as a 'polis' is certainly peculiar, though. (Mark doesn't describe it as such.) Although the word 'city' doesn't translate into what we think of as a city, there still seems to be a discrepancy between the impression given and the small village or hamlet proposed by the archaeologists (although Luke also describes Arimathea - as in Joseph of Arimathea - as a 'polis,' and nobody now knows where it was.) Perhaps they were 'bigging it up' - it's noticeable that all the occurrences are in passages which have quite an 'elevated' style, and also that the writers seem never to use the alternative 'koma' (village) of anywhere that they give a name to. A couple of commentators/dictionaries seem to think that the terms are interchangeable, but as they don't give examples they could be including the Nazareth references in this assessment, which would make the argument circular.

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I've cut and pasted this post so that I can divide it up more easily.


"By the way, I never said Nazareth never existed. That's twisting my words a tad."


Did I say that you said that it never existed? I can't find it in any of my posts, although my ability to read myself is admittedly suspect.


"I said I believe, based on available evidence and logic, that Jesus (and his cousin John) was a member of the Nasorean sect of Essenes. I do not believe that Nazareth existed as a geographical settlement at the time of his life. I believe that this is a combination of confusion/mistranslation/human error, and a prevalent prejudice and distaste for the Essenic sect of Judaism at the time in question (you read of Pharisees and Sadducees in the NT, but not Essenes? Why is THAT, when we know they existed as a significant branch of the faith?)."


I think I'm aware of what you believe. What I'm trying to do is to get to grips with the available evidence and logic that you refer to. I'm certainly not finding anything that would justify the statement that the non-existence of Narareth can be "proven from actual historical documentation of the time."


One particular problem I'm still having is trying to figure out how the Nasoreans - or Nazarenes, if these are the same - relate to the Essenes. What I can gather doesn't seem to support your original post:


"On the Essenes/Nasoreans/Nazareans/Nazarenes, this is relatively simple and any one who has read anything of the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Essenic community at Qumran should be aware of this. An accredited Christian source in this instance is Epiphianus of Salamis. In the 4th Century, this Christian bishop (later a saint) wrote in a fair amount of detail on the Essenic sect (they were the 3rd sect of Judaism, after the Pharisees and Sadducees), which consisted of two sub-sects, the Ossaeans and the Nasoreans. also sometimes spelled Nazarean and Nazarene. They viewed the Pharisees and Sadducees as "breakers of the Covenant" and, amongst other things, were not allowed to carry out animal sacrifice, as did the other two pre-dominant Judaic sects. They had a three year period of acceptance, where any novitiate would study and adhere strictly to their laws and teachings, after which they were accepted into the sect. They practiced daily baptism or immersion, and had to live a life of pacifism and service to, and love for, all humanity. They had to swear an oath of non-violence and were not even supposed to lose their tempers. They also wore predominantly white, once they were fully initiated into the sect."


The overpowering impression I get is that the Essene question isn't simple at all. Epiphanius is a late, polemical commentator and his material is difficult to interpret - for example, he comes up with Essenes, whom he regards as Samaritan, and Osseans (I've lost the will to spell...) whom he regards as Jewish. About the easiest introduction I've come across is here:




Interestingly, and coincidentally, this book also addresses the question of why the Essenes don't appear in the NT, in a way quite different from yours. And coincidentally also, Epiphanius talks about Nazareth as being once a village: "For he grew up in the city of Nazareth, at that time a village." (Pritz P. 33, q.v.) This is, as I said, from a late commentator, but it may preserve a tradition of the city (by that time) of Nazareth having grown from a small village.


"J.D.Crossan and Bellarmino Bagatti are the sources on the refounding of Jerusalem during the Hasmonean period. Ask and ye shall receive...


Bagatti was the Franciscan that excavated there between '55 and '60."


From an earlier post:


"It's known from archaeological digs in the region that there were settlers in this area as far back as 700 B.C., however the founding of Nazareth as a "modern" settlement is believed by scholars to have taken place late into the 2nd Century, early into the 3rd."


Again I'm having difficulty attributing the view that Nazareth didn't exist at the time of Jesus to these scholars. As far as I can gather from what I can rake up, they seem to consider that Nazareth existed as a small village in the time of Jesus, and then subsequently grew. In other words, the fact that Nazareth received an influx of population later doesn't seem, in their view, to mean that it didn't exist immediately previously - which would mean that the word 'founding' wouldn't express their views.


From here: http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/nazareth.html


'"The tombs, both those discovered by Bagatti and others known from earlier explorations, would have been placed outside the village and serve, in fact, to delimit its circumference for us. Looking at their locations on the plans drawn up by Bagatti (1.28) or Finegan (27), one realizes just how small the village actually was ..."


–J.D. Crossan (The Historical Jesus)


But just how small can we get before giving up on a 'village'? The presence of numerous rock-cut tombs that close to the 'grotto' is evidence that, in the 1st century, in that area, there was no village. The area was not inhabited, even if it was used.'


This seems to suggest that this website - which promotes, rather obviously from the URL, the idea that Jesus never existed - is disagreeing with Crossan and Bagatti on the existence of Nazareth as a small village at the time of Jesus, which would suggest that the attribution of the term 'founding' to Bagatti and Crossan is inappropriate, if they didn't believe the village was empty to begin with.



"You could conjecture that there was something wrong with the name 'Nazarene' that the early Christians didn't want to be associated with Jesus - such as a connection with the Essenes - but speculations are beginning to pile up."


"Well now, let me see. The Nasoreans preached pacifism and service to others. They eschewed the gathering of wealth, or power over others. They were intensely spiritual people, who believed their very belief and piety would succeed over violence."


I take it you mean by this the Nasorean branch of the Essenes as described by Epiphanius? If so, which writer or writers gives this description of their doctrines? (I'm still trying to get a handle on the Nasoreans as a whole.)


"On the other hand, the Roman Church of Paul's, believed in the spread and accumulation of power. They tied themselves to and endorsed the biggest, baddest, most violent bunch around at the time, blessing the killing and pillaging done by the Roman emperors and armies "in Christ's name".


Why WOULD the Roman Church - founded by a man who had never met, heard or seen Jesus - POSSIBLY not want anything to do with a sect of ultra-religious and orthodox pacifists that the man himself likely originated from...? Nope, that's a toughie! You've got me there, DP Rolling Eyes"


When did what you call the 'Roman Church of Paul's' tie themselves to the Roman empire? The penalties for professing Christianity were removed in 313, ten years after the great persecution of Diocletian. Is that early enough to profoundly influence the writing of the Gospels?


"speculation"? Like the speculation of ANY legitimacy or basis in truth of ANY of the Roman Church, and, by dint of their having wiped out all opposing Christian sects - the Christian Church as we know it today, in ALL its many forms?"


I don't really follow this. By 'speculation' here I take it you mean the doctrines of the church? Or do you mean outside speculation as to whether there is any truth in the church?


I can't see that either form of speculation is the same as historical speculation, where I would have thought it was obvious that speculation has to be corroborated by evidence; and still less that the existence of other sorts of speculation - particularly ones you disapprove of, and especially if you think that they too ought to be corroborated by evidence - would alter that.

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^^ How was a (alleged) guy who (allegedly) could walk on water able to leave footprints at all anyway?? :ponders:


As he was Jesus he was wearing those sandals commonly called "desert wellies". :lol:



I'll think you'll find discussing his foot ware does not bring you closer to finding him. It's what he said and taught.


"Nike air Jerusalems" to answer your question.

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Jesus must have come from somewhere, so what would have been wrong with stating where he did come from


Why should he have come from anywhere? To a lot of us he is simply a mythical figure copied from various other religious movements of the time. Unless you present any evidence to the contrary thats the way it will stay for me.


And your arguments are a bit on the straw man principal. You are not addressing the main issues.


Instead of picking away at a the lack of evidence for nazereth your position would be better served providing some of your own evidence that it was a real place at the time this jesus was supposedly born.


The evidence and logic to support a jesus/christian belief system is extremely weak, as it is for all religions. That is why we can arrive at the view that they do not deserve respect. If you can argue the contrary from either position I for one, would be interested in what you had to say.


I thought a 'straw man' was when you set up something un order to shoot it down. As far as I'm aware, I'm addressing issues that Scoots has brought up - or maybe, highlighting the issues in things that Scoots has stated - but I still can't see that I've set up any Straw Man issues.


I don't think there's any difference between questioning an opposing view and presenting your own one. It seems to me that if someone presents a view, and you question the basis of that view, then you're promoting the opposite - or at any rate another - view. And BTW, I'm not picking away at the lack of evidence for Nazareth, I'm picking at the lack of evidence for the lack of Nazareth!


I'm not interested in arguing for a position. The only position I'm interested in putting forward is the right to question unsupported statements.

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Still trying to find the Talmudic list. I can say that since he published his article, first citing this, there have been numerous attacks on Frank Zindler, for one or another aspect of his statements, but none regarding the Talmudic list of Galilean towns or villages (or cities! :wink:).


I'll keep at it...


I wouldn't bother too much about this if it's difficult - I don't doubt that the list exists, I was just curious as to where I could find it.

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"Revelations belongs to a particular literary type known as Apocalyptic and it follows the conventions of that type. While the only two surviving examples I can think of are part of the book of Daniel and - I think - 2 Esdras (Apocrypha) there were probably others floating around at the time."


There's also the Apocalypses of Peter and Baruch, respectively, and the Apocalypse of Paul, which is pretty much a padded out copy of Peter's.


They were big on the ol' imagery, obviously... :shock:


Ah - right.

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I've cut and pasted this post so that I can divide it up more easily.

Maybe you could use the quote function? Making it easier for folk to ascertain who said what.

Did I say that you said that it never existed? I can't find it in any of my posts, although my ability to read myself is admittedly suspect.

You did suggest as much in the paragraph below.


The argument for the non-existence of Nazareth remains an argument of silence - the idea that it is significant seems to me to be anachronistic, ie, to assume that it would be mentioned is an illusion created by the fact that it became famous later. At any rate, there doesn't seem to be nearly enough to justify the statement that the non-existence of Nazareth can be proven historically.
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So then, Lerins? The Coptics? Patrick? Still needing sources?


" not being a church historian I like to see if I can ferret out where the info is from."


Nor am I and never laid claim to be.


"It doesn't seem to have been in order to fake the fulfillment of a prophecy, because the only Gospel writer who ties it to a prophecy (as far as I can think) - Matthew - uses a prophecy that doesn't seem to be Biblical, and that no one to my knowledge can trace - suggesting that he fitted a half-remembered text to the village rather than the other way round."


Which of his references to prophecy are you referring to? By my recollection there's more than one, although I may be wrong. I'm interested to know.


I'm aware of the significance of silence from an historical viewpoint. Like Philo of Alexandria is totally, utterly silent regarding anything at all about Jesus. He doesn't even make the most oblique reference to him, yet he was around at the time following Jesus' death, and is one of the most important sources of information on Jews and the Holy Land, from a Judaic religious viewpoint...


Anyway, believe it or not, I'm perfectly willing to accept that someone existed around this time, giving rise to the story. But I see you like to discuss the finer points rather than the elephant in the room...


The reference to prophecy I'm referring to is where Matthew says 'And he went and dwelt in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled, "He shall be called a Nazarene."

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