Author Topic: Babylon = Rome?  (Read 682 times)

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Offline Ioannis Climacus

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Babylon = Rome?
« on: March 20, 2013, 02:33:38 AM »
This is of a similar nature to JamesR's recent thread as to whether or not Peter ever once set foot in Rome : http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,50598.0.html

Ultimately, I think it is better to create a new thread so we can address the problem from a different angle. My question is very straightforward :

I am sure most of us are aware of this interpretation (that is, that Babylon is Rome) concerning the first Petrine epistle (specifically, 5:13). Where does this interpretation come from?
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Offline Nicene

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #1 on: March 20, 2013, 03:37:01 AM »
Its Definetely found in Martin Luther, although I don't know if this was his opinion all throughout his life.

After this, Eccius and Emser, with their fellow-conspirators, began to instruct me concerning the primacy of the Pope. Here too, not to be ungrateful to such learned men, I must confess that their works helped me on greatly; for, while I had denied that the Papacy had any divine right, I still admitted that it had a human right. But after hearing and reading the super-subtle subtleties of those coxcombs, by which they so ingeniously set up their idol—my mind being not entirely unteachable in such matters—I now know and am sure that the Papacy is the kingdom of Babylon, and the power of Nimrod the mighty hunter. Here moreover, that all may go prosperously with my friends, I entreat the booksellers, and entreat my readers, to burn all that I have published on this subject, and to hold to the following proposition:

ON THE BABYLONISH CAPTIVITY OF THE CHURCH
Thank you.

Offline Ioannis Climacus

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #2 on: March 20, 2013, 03:49:55 AM »
Thank you for your response Nicene, but I think we are discussing two different issues. In particular, I am referring to the passage from 1 Peter 5:13 :

"The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, greets you; and so does Mark my son."

I have heard it said, from some, that "Babylon" in this passage is code for Rome (thus tying into the issue of whether or not Peter established the Roman church). I am curious as to where this interpretation originates. In other words, which commentators make this implication and who was the first to do so?
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Offline Nicene

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #3 on: March 20, 2013, 03:52:58 AM »
(Not educated in this subject). It seems like a fair interpretation, talking about the state of Rome, but could they say they are talking about the church which is located in rome? I think a distinction must be made.
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Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #4 on: March 20, 2013, 08:16:56 AM »
Big cities usually have more immorality than villages. Rome was the biggest city.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 08:17:16 AM by Cyrillic »
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Offline Ioannis Climacus

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #5 on: March 20, 2013, 09:32:52 AM »
Well, I understand the reasoning involved in said interpretation's defense (which equates Babylon with decadence), but why would anyone read it as such when Peter could very likely be referring to actual Babylon? Unless of course the interpreters had a vested interest in making of Peter an ecclesiastical Aeneas.

Does anyone know which of the fathers, if any, first established this interpretation?
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Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2013, 09:34:28 AM »
Babylon was abandoned in the first century AD.
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Offline Ioannis Climacus

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2013, 09:49:10 AM »
Are you sure about that date? In any event, it was certainly alive as a culture. There are numerous instances of things Babylonian (such as the Babylonian Talmud) that came and would come from the area. It seems reasonable to suggest that he might be referring to an area and people (that is, the church of the Babylonian people) rather than the city proper.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 09:51:08 AM by Ioannis Climacus »
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Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2013, 09:55:06 AM »
Babylon itself lay in ruins. But it could have referred to Seleucia-Ctesiphon but that's unlikely as well. The Magi wouldn't have tolerated it, travel to the Parthian Empire didn't occur very often, was difficult and on top of that almost nobody spoke Greek or Aramaic around Ctesiphon. Besides, travellers from the Roman Empire were viewed with suspicion in the first century. I've read the travel report of a Greek-speaking Roman citizen who travelled through Persia in the first century and at first he met a lot of suspicion and difficulty.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 09:58:08 AM by Cyrillic »
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Offline vamrat

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2013, 09:58:00 AM »
I have to go with Gebre in that the US is the reincarnation of Babylon.

Failing that, Baghdad is the closest, geographically speaking.  I have had a couple of friends who both won free, all expenses paid trips to Baghdad and the surrounding regions.  They said that it's not so much that Baghdadylon is evil, just that it stinks.  And has frequent power outages.  I heard Fallujah is worse.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline Ioannis Climacus

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2013, 10:10:11 AM »
Babylon itself lay in ruins. But it could have referred to Seleucia-Ctesiphon but that's unlikely as well. The Magi wouldn't have tolerated it, travel to the Parthian Empire didn't occur very often, was difficult and on top of that almost nobody spoke Greek or Aramaic around Ctesiphon. Besides, travellers from the Roman Empire were viewed with suspicion in the first century. I've read the travel report of a Greek-speaking Roman citizen who travelled through Persia in the first century and at first he met a lot of suspicion and difficulty.
Yes, but Thomas travelled to India. Language/culture barriers do not seem to be as difficult in overcoming as one may expect. It seems much more reasonable to read it as a cultural expression.

Who is traditionally regarded as the founder of the church in this area?
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Offline Ansgar

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2013, 10:10:40 AM »
Quote
I have to go with Gebre in that the US is the reincarnation of Babylon.

I have never really understood that interpretation. I mean, why the US? Many european countries have at least as many problems.
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Offline Schultz

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 10:21:16 AM »
Babylon itself lay in ruins. But it could have referred to Seleucia-Ctesiphon but that's unlikely as well. The Magi wouldn't have tolerated it, travel to the Parthian Empire didn't occur very often, was difficult and on top of that almost nobody spoke Greek or Aramaic around Ctesiphon. Besides, travellers from the Roman Empire were viewed with suspicion in the first century. I've read the travel report of a Greek-speaking Roman citizen who travelled through Persia in the first century and at first he met a lot of suspicion and difficulty.
Yes, but Thomas travelled to India. Language/culture barriers do not seem to be as difficult in overcoming as one may expect. It seems much more reasonable to read it as a cultural expression.

Who is traditionally regarded as the founder of the church in this area?

From what I recall, the earlier traditions state that Thomas went to Persia first.  Also, Jude Thaddeus was buried in what is now Iran.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2013, 10:22:45 AM by Schultz »
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Offline Cyrillic

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2013, 10:22:04 AM »

Who is traditionally regarded as the founder of the church in this area?

Mar Addai and Mari, disciples of St. Thomas.
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Offline mike

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #14 on: March 20, 2013, 10:25:42 AM »
They said that it's not so much that Baghdadylon is evil, just that it stinks.  And has frequent power outages.  I heard Fallujah is worse.

Who made it like that?
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Offline TheTrisagion

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #15 on: March 20, 2013, 10:56:09 AM »
Rome = Babylon because Jack Chick told me so.  ;D
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Offline vamrat

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #16 on: March 20, 2013, 11:37:26 AM »
They said that it's not so much that Baghdadylon is evil, just that it stinks.  And has frequent power outages.  I heard Fallujah is worse.

Who made it like that?

The stinkiness is all Iraq's fault.  We might have helped a bit with the power outages and the craptacularity of Fallujah.
Das ist des Jägers Ehrenschild, daß er beschützt und hegt sein Wild, weidmännisch jagt, wie sich’s gehört, den Schöpfer im Geschöpfe ehrt.

Offline JamesR

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #17 on: March 20, 2013, 03:35:52 PM »
I have to go with Gebre in that the US is the reincarnation of Babylon.

Really? The USSR was much worse.
...Or it's just possible he's a mouthy young man on an internet forum.
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Offline Ioannis Climacus

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Re: Babylon = Rome?
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2013, 10:10:36 PM »
Babylon itself lay in ruins. But it could have referred to Seleucia-Ctesiphon but that's unlikely as well. The Magi wouldn't have tolerated it, travel to the Parthian Empire didn't occur very often, was difficult and on top of that almost nobody spoke Greek or Aramaic around Ctesiphon. Besides, travellers from the Roman Empire were viewed with suspicion in the first century. I've read the travel report of a Greek-speaking Roman citizen who travelled through Persia in the first century and at first he met a lot of suspicion and difficulty.
Yes, but Thomas travelled to India. Language/culture barriers do not seem to be as difficult in overcoming as one may expect. It seems much more reasonable to read it as a cultural expression.

Who is traditionally regarded as the founder of the church in this area?

From what I recall, the earlier traditions state that Thomas went to Persia first.  Also, Jude Thaddeus was buried in what is now Iran.


Who is traditionally regarded as the founder of the church in this area?

Mar Addai and Mari, disciples of St. Thomas.

Thank you both.

Also, to add to my original inquiry : Are there any writings (aside from the Apocalypse) in which "Babylon" is ever used to mean Rome? Also, why would Peter use such coded language to begin with?
Note : Many of my posts (especially the ones antedating late 2012) do not reflect charity, tact, or even views I presently hold. Please forgive me for any antagonism I have caused.