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Religious Topics / Re: The Proto-Gospels: Early Christian "fanfic"?
« Last post by augustin717 on Yesterday at 04:42:08 PM »
I know this view has no currency here and I dismissed it myself in ages past, but I think it's a fiction to think there was some original orthodoxy from which the apocryphal gospels departed. Now, looking at their diversity it's more rwsonable to assume that Christianity contained from its beginnings all sorts of tendencies  .  It's just that the Catholic party emerged victorious by the end of the second century.
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Other Topics / Re: What does everyone look like?
« Last post by Dominika on Yesterday at 04:40:26 PM »
How's the beer in Romania?

I tried 6 (if I remember correctly) types - all of them were very good. But I'm not so sphisticated as it goes for beers - I've always prefered wine.

You ve seen more of Romania than I have.
Probably many foreign tourists could say that about Poland and/or Serbia in comparison with ime ;)
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Orthodox-Catholic Discussion / Re: Dis-illusionment and letting go
« Last post by WPM on Yesterday at 04:29:28 PM »
Probably dis-illusioned with the Devil.
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Other Topics / Re: What does everyone look like?
« Last post by augustin717 on Yesterday at 04:28:15 PM »
You ve seen more of Romania than I have.
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Prayer Forum / Re: For MiloŇ° and his sons
« Last post by hecma925 on Yesterday at 04:18:16 PM »
Lord, have mercy.
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Other Topics / Re: What does everyone look like?
« Last post by hecma925 on Yesterday at 04:15:07 PM »
How's the beer in Romania?
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Reviews / Re: What is everyone reading?
« Last post by hecma925 on Yesterday at 04:08:19 PM »
Contemporary Ascetics of Mount Athos
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Other Topics / Re: What does everyone look like?
« Last post by Dominika on Yesterday at 04:01:56 PM »
Ooops, I've forgotten about Churchy picture from Stavropoleos:







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In his Autobiography, Josephus says that the pharisees are like the Stoics. Did he mean that they are similar in being dedicated to philosophy?
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So when I had accomplished my desires, I returned back to the city, being now nineteen years old, and began to conduct myself according to the rules of the sect of the Pharisees, which is of kin to the sect of the Stoics, as the Greeks call them.

In the Autobiography, it's confusing which side Josephus is on until he gets finally captured by the Romans. He starts off saying that he is against the Judean rebellions, which he calls "innovations". It sounds like he belongs to a circle of leading Jerusalemites and pharisees who are against the revolt. They send him to Galilee with orders to destroy Herod's house/palace, which sounds like he is part of the revolt. But then he claims that he is upset at the fate of the palace, which was looted and destroyed:
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I removed, together with them, from the city of Sepphoris, and came to a certain village called Bethmaus, four furlongs distant from Tiberius; and thence I sent messengers to the senate of Tiberius, and desired that the principal men of the city would come to me: and when they were come, Justus himself being also with them, I told them that I was sent to them by the people of Jerusalem as a legate, together with these other priests, in order to persuade them to demolish that house which Herod the tetrarch had built there, and which had the figures of living creatures in it, although our laws have forbidden us to make any such figures; and I desired that they would give us leave so to do immediately. But for a good while Capellus and the principal men belonging to the city would not give us leave, but were at length entirely overcome by us, and were induced to be of our opinion. So Jesus the son of Sapphias, one of those whom we have already mentioned as the leader of a seditious tumult of mariners and poor people, prevented us, and took with him certain Galileans, and set the entire palace on fire, and thought he should get a great deal of money thereby, because he saw some of the roofs gilt with gold. They also plundered a great deal of the furniture, which was done without our approbation; for after we had discoursed with Capellus and the principal men of the city, we departed from Bethmaus, and went into the Upper Galilee. But Jesus and his party slew all the Greeks that were inhabitants of Tiberias, and as many others as were their enemies before the war began.

13. When I understood this state of things, I was greatly provoked, and went down to Tiberias, and took all the care I could of the royal furniture, to recover all that could be recovered from such as had plundered it.

Josephus later became a rebel leader, but there is a curious story of how he surrendered to the Romans: he had the rest of the rebels hiding with him in a cave kill themselves via a non-random lottery game, so that he was able to surrender. And then in his Autobiography and other writings, he takes a stance against the rebels.

Josephus gives the justification that he felt it was better and more peaceful to serve as a plenipotentiary over Galilee and to give the rebels some arms and money in return for them agreeing to not attack Rome:
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14. But when I had dismissed my fellow legates, and sent them back to Jerusalem, I took care to have arms provided, and the cities fortified. And when I had sent for the most hardy among the robbers, I saw that it was not in my power to take their arms from them; but I persuaded the multitude to allow them money as pay, and told them it was better for them to give them a little willingly, rather than to [be forced to] overlook them when they plundered their goods from them. And when I had obliged them to take an oath not to come into that country, unless they were invited to come, or else when they had not their pay given them, I dismissed them, and charged them neither to make an expedition against the Romans, nor against those their neighbors that lay round about them; for my first care was to keep Galilee in peace. So I was willing to have the principal of the Galileans, in all seventy, as hostages for their fidelity, but still under the notion of friendship. Accordingly, I made them my friends and companions as I journeyed, and set them to judge causes; and with their approbation it was that I gave my sentences

Another example of this confusion is when, as a plenipotentiary in Galilee but before becoming a rebel general, he talks about how Sepphoris' Galileans loyal to Rome opposed him:
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begged of them to give me leave to do what I intended, which was to put an end to these troubles without bloodshed; and when I had prevailed with the multitude of the Galileans to let me do so, I came to Sepphoris.

22. But the inhabitants of this city having determined to continue in their allegiance to the Romans, were afraid of my coming to them, and tried, by putting me upon another action, to divert me, that they might be freed from the terror they were in.
If his job were to keep people from rebelling against Rome, it seems strange that the citizens in Sepphoris would be afraid of him coming to them. It sounds more like in practice he was building up forces for a later rebellion.


The Autobiography's story of Josephus making a speech from an elevated place in the city of Tiberias, rebel soldiers coming to kill him there, and him jumping down from it with a guard named "James" reminds me of the story of the apostle James' death where he made a speech from an elevated place and was knocked down and killed:
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But when I was in the open place of the city, having dismissed the guards I had about me, excepting one, and ten armed men that were with him, I attempted to make a speech to the multitude of the people of Tiberias: and, standing on a certain elevated place, I entreated them not to be so hasty in their revolt; for that such a change in their behavior would be to their reproach, and that they would then justly be suspected by those that should be their governors hereafter, as if they were not likely to be faithful to them neither.

18. But before I had spoken all I designed, I heard one of my own domestics bidding me come down, for that it was not a proper time to take care of retaining the good-will of the people of Tiberias, but to provide for my own safety, and escape my enemies there; for John had chosen the most trusty of those armed men that were about him out of those thousand that he had with him, and had given them orders when he sent them, to kill me, having learned that I was alone, excepting some of my domestics. So those that were sent came as they were ordered, and they had executed what they came about, had I not leaped down from the elevation I stood on, and with one of my guards, whose name was James, been carried [out of the crowd] upon the back of one Herod of Tiberias, and guided by him down to the lake, where I seized a ship, and got into it, and escaped my enemies unexpectedly, and came to Tarichese.
For example, does it sound realistic for Josephus to escape by being literally carried together with this "James" on Herod's back? It sounds a bit like a metaphor that Josephus was spiritually carried with James.
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Religious Topics / Re: The Proto-Gospels: Early Christian "fanfic"?
« Last post by Alpha60 on Yesterday at 03:40:28 PM »
Vile, but tame compared to the Proto-evangelion of Thomas.  Perhaps both have a Manichaean origin, after Thomas and Hermes stopped trying to depict Manichaenism as ordinary Christianity and instead opted for shock value.

I have been evaluating the Gospel of Thomas by the way, and on reflection, I think the possibility should be considered it is Manichaean, due to a few specific remarks about the Light contained therein; a Manichaean corruption of a sayings document rendered obsolete by the Diatessaron of Tatian, who himself later set up shop as a Gnostic.

Specifically, if we look at the Decretum Gelasianum, the Book of the Infancy of the Savior could well refer to the Protoevangelium of Thomas; the other item on that list clearly refers to the Protoevangelium of James.

However, there is also mentioned a Gospel of James, which is an alternate name for the Proto-evangelium, so it is possible these two works existed under different titles, and Gelasius was seeking to refer to each one by its known titles, lest anyone inadvertantly use one under a different title.  It would have been better, alas, had he summarized the contents and rationale for banning each one in the same manner that St. Epiphanius summarized the reasons for anathematizing each heresy, before covering that heresy in greater detail.   If we count it that way however, and say both the Gospel of Thomas and the account of the infancy of our Savior refer to the same Manichaean book, which does make sense in light of the depraved behavior of Mani; then we still have an extra Gospel of Thomas, one which is peppered with foul obviously Gnostic statements, but one which also contains a lot of canonical Synoptic content, and which could in some cases offer legitimate alternate readings. 

The Jesus Seminar voted the Gospel of Thomas the most authentic gospel and the Gospel of John the least authentic, using a deeply flawed voting system that gave the Catholic and traditional Protestant participants no real way to veto a saying of our Lord being rejected.  This biased voting system might be turned on its head a bit; it might be interesting to collect every statement attributed to Jesus Christ in every book, from the canonical Gospels to the Manichaean John Book, to the Book of Mormon, as false as the latter is entirely, and then do some studies both with the well-read Orthodox and with people ignorant of the text, and perhaps unaware the statements are attributed to our Lord, to rate the extent to which they feel each sentence was uttered by the same or different authors.  I would suspect such a test would vihdicate the Gospel of John and also provide us with a sort of Philocalia of "safe quotations" from the Gnostic apocrypha, just as the Cappodacians provided us a Philocalia of the heresy-free writings of Origen Adimantius.
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