Friday, January 23, 2015

The Priesthood in England - Conclusion

This concludes a four-part anthropological study on the priesthood in England. Parts 1-3 are linked at the bottom of this page.  Readers are encouraged to begin with Part 1 which compares and contrasts the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox narratives touching on the early presence of priests in England.

Alice C. Linsley

Anglicans have held to the Roman account of the priesthood as an order originating with Jesus' Apostles. This idea was beautifully developed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict), who wrote:

Of great importance for our question is the fact that Jesus gave His power to the Apostles in such a way that He made their ministry, as it were, a continuation of His own mission. "He who receives you receives me". He Himself says to the Twelve (Mt 10:40; cf. Lk 10:16; Jn 13:10). Many other texts in which Jesus gives His power to the disciples could here be cited: Mt 9:8: 10:1: 21:23; Mk 0:7: 13:34; Lk 4:6: 9:1; 10:19. The continuity between the mission of Jesus and that of the apostles is once again illustrated with great clarity in the Fourth Gospel: "As the Father has sent me. even so I send you" (20:21: cf. 13:20; 17:18).

The weight of this sentence is evident if we recall what we said above concerning the structure of the mission of Jesus. As we saw, Jesus Himself, sent in the totality of His person, is indeed mission and relation from the Father and to the Father. In this light the great importance of the following parallelism appears: "The Son can do nothing of His own accord" (Jn 5:19-30). "Apart from Me you can do nothing" (Jn 15:5).

This "nothing" which the disciples share with Jesus expresses at one and the same time both the power and the infirmity of the apostolic ministry. By themselves, of their own strength, they can do none of those things which apostles must do. How could they of their own accord say, "I forgive you your sins"? How could they say, "This is my body"? How could they perform the imposition of hands and say, "Receive the Holy Spirit"? None of those things which constitute apostolic activity are done by one's own authority. But this expropriation of their very powers constitutes a mode of communion with Jesus, who is wholly from the Father, with Him all things and nothing without Him. Their own "nihil posse", their own inability to do anything, draws them into a community of mission with Jesus. Such a ministry, in which a man does and gives through a divine communication what he could never do and give on his own is called by the tradition of the Church a "sacrament".

If Church usage calls ordination to the ministry of priesthood a "sacrament", the following is meant: This man is in no way performing functions for which he is highly qualified by his own natural ability nor is he doing the things that please him most and that are most profitable. On the contrary, the one who receives the sacrament is sent to give what he cannot give of his own strength; he is sent to act in the person of another, to be his living instrument. For this reason no human being can declare himself a priest; for this reason, too. no community can promote a person to this ministry by its own decree.
(From here.)

Catholics and Anglicans traditionally have traced the origins of the office of bishop to the apostles, who it is believed were endowed with a special charism by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Catholics and Anglicans believe this special charism is transmitted through the unbroken succession of bishops by the laying on of hands (Numbers 27:22-23).

There is a serious historical problem with this view, however. The empowering of his disciples to make other disciples cannot be understood as Jesus ordaining these men to the priesthood, and the charisms of the Holy Spirit are granted to all Christians, not just priests. There is nothing in the account of Pentecost to support the idea that the Apostles were priests. As far as we know, none were priests. This is why there is no scholarly documentation of the chain of succession during the very earliest days of the Church. According to this account, the original bishops were consecrated by one or more of the Apostles. These successor bishops later consecrated more bishops. There is documentation tracing the chain of consecration from the early 2nd century, but before that none. The Vatican acknowledges this fact. The 1973 International Theological Commission on Catholic Teaching on Apostolic Succession states:

The absence of documents makes it difficult to say precisely how these transitions came about. By the end of the first century the situation was that the apostles or their closest helpers or eventually their successors directed the local colleges of episkopoi andpresbyteroi. By the beginning of the second century the figure of a single bishop who is the head of the communities appears very clearly in the letters of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, who further claims that this institution is established "unto the ends of the earth" (Ad Epk. 3, 2).

During the second century and after the Letter of Clement this institution is explicitly acknowledged to carry with it the apostolic succession. Ordination with imposition of hands, already witnessed to in the pastoral Epistles, appears in the process of clarification to be an important step in preserving the apostolic Tradition and guaranteeing succession in the ministry. The documents of the third century (Tradition of Hippolytus) show that this conviction was arrived at peacefully and was considered to be a necessary institution. (From here.)

When the best Church scholars fail to find evidence for something, it is probable that the evidence does not exist. Perhaps it is time to look at this from a different perspective.

The Apostolic Canons of the Eastern Orthodox require that the consecration of a bishop must be accomplished by at least three. The same applies to episcopal consecrations in the Roman Catholic and Anglican churches. There is a precedent for this in history. In the Sanhedrin ordination was conferred by a court of three. There were three ruler-priests among Jesus' disciples and it is through them that the succession of the priesthood continued and has continuity with the priesthood "after the order of Melchizedek." All three of these priests were members of the Sanhedrin, and the law did not require that they all be present to lay on hands.  As long as one was present to lay on hands, the other two could consent by messenger or letter.

Only priests belonging to prominent families were members of the Sanhedrin, the Beth Din HaGadol (The Great Court). A "prominent" family was one whose lineages could be traced back to Horite ruler-priests (what Jews call their Horim). These members of the Sanhedrin served under the presidency of the high priest much as priests today served under the presidency of their bishop. The high priest bore the title nasi (ruler, king, prince) and retained this even after the presidency was transferred to other hands. Similarly, in Anglican orders a bishop remains a bishop even after he has stepped down from serving in that office.

As individuals within the Sanhedrin passed away, or became unfit for service, new members were ordained. These ordinations continued in an unbroken succession from Moses to Yehoshua the priest of the two crowns (Zec. 6:11), to the elders of Israel, to the prophets (including Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi), to the Anshei Knesses HaGedolah or "Men of the Great Assembly" founded by Ezra c. 520 B.C., to the sages of the Sanhedrin of the Second Temple (c. 520 - A.D. 70).

The second in charge was a ruler-priest who was called ab bet din (father of the court). The role of the ab bet din appears to have been a combination of the roles of the bishop's chaplain and the chancellor of the diocese who serves as the chief legal consultant to the Bishop. The polity and ordination procedures of the Anglican Church seem to parallel the Sanhedrin. As the ordination (semicha) was abolished in 358 AD, the succession of Christian priests is now the living testimony to Messiah's appearing.

The third century Rabbi Johanan enumerates the qualifications of the members of the Sanhedrin as follows: they must be tall, of imposing appearance, of advanced age, and scholars. They were also required to be adept in the use of foreign languages. When testimony was give to the Sanhedrin in a foreign language, at least two members who spoke that language were required to examine the witness. There was also a third member who understood the language. These three members constituted a minor court of three, who then reported the testimony to the entire Sanhedrin.

Many members of the Sanhedrin did business in foreign parts and visited the local synagogues. Some High Priests lived in exile among foreign peoples (Hyrcanus among the Parthians, for example.)

The only followers of Jesus that are known to be members of the Sanhedrin were James the Just, Nicodemus, and Joseph Ar-Mathea who was called "bouleutēs" (honorable counselor). Joseph was "waiting for the kingdom of God" according to Mark 15:43. He is designated Ar-Mathea, that is, of the ruling line of Matthew. This means he was a kinsman of Jesus. Mary’s parents were Yoachim and Anna. Yoachim was a shepherd-priest and his wife Anna was a daughter of a priest. Hippolytus of Thebes records that Mary’s mother was one of three daughters of a priest named Matthan or Mathea (Matthias).

Apparently, Joseph had business and probably family connections in Cornwall. The Cornish say that he once visited the Ding Dong mining operation. Eusebius of Caesarea (260–340 A.D.) may have been referring to this in Demonstratio Evangelica when he reports that some of Jesus' earliest disciples "have crossed the Ocean and reached the Isles of Britain." Since one qualification of membership in the Sanhedrin was facility of multiple languages, Joseph would have been able to communicate with the people of Britain.

As a ruler-priest Joseph would have known men who were qualified to serve as Christian priests in Britain and he would have been able to arrange for their ordination. Being of advanced age, he would have been older than Jesus and most of His Apostles. This means that any ordinations he may have arranged in Cornwall could have taken place within a few years of Jesus' death and resurrection.

Priestly and Commercial Records

The hieroglyphs were priestly writings, and the symbolism of each glyph or pictograph pertains to the ancient Egyptian cosmology which changed over time. The oldest of these will be found in the Upper Nile and at the oldest Horite shrine in Nekhen. To understand the Sumerian pictographs we have to look at the earlier roots common to both the Nilotic and Sumerian peoples. Here we will find some very ancient lexemes, like V and W; T/X and the solar symbols O and Y. Many of these lexemes appear in the old Dedanite scripts, and in the Oasis North Arabian alphabets like Thamudic, Dumaitic, and Taymanitic. The urheimat of the Canaanite Y is the Nilo-Saharan cattle herding populations. They are among Abraham's ancestors and Messianic expectation appears to have originated among them.

Other ancient writing forms used by merchants for keeping accounts are found along ancient trade routes; the spice routes, the silk routes, the King's Highway from Egypt through Palestine, the ancient tin route from Spain to Ireland, etc. These involve fewer pictographs and more hatch marks that suggest counting or record keeping. Ogham bears resemblance to these earlier commercial scripts. Some of the elements of the commercial scripts are found in Hebrew and in Ainu, scripts which are clearly related.

A comparison of the Ainu (Kata) and Hebrew scripts reveals a connection that is explained by the fact that the earliest scripts were those used by priests in the service of rulers in many regions, and these priest-scribes kept royal accounts. These ancient rulers are the "mighty men of old" mentioned in Genesis. Among them were the "red" rulers associated with Abraham and the Edomites.

The wide dispersion of the Habiru priests and scribes is evident in the study of ancient texts and through the presence of both priestly and commercial scripts worldwide. This dispersion began at least 10,000 years before Jesus Christ and included movement into Asia Minor, Hungary, Spain, and the British Isles.

There is no reason to doubt the historicity of Joseph Ar-Mathea's connection to Cornwall in spite of the dubious legends from the Middle Ages. He had business in Cornwall as a metal tradesman and a mining expert. From the time of the earliest pharaohs mining and tomb construction were the work of ruler-priests. Joseph was likely engaged in both, even as he was responsible for the tomb where the Lord Jesus was laid to rest. As a high ranking priest of the Sanhedrin, he had authority to ordain priests. As a follower of Jesus Messiah, he is the key to understanding the continuity between the priesthood attached to the promises made to Abraham and his Habiru ancestors and the priesthood of the Church.

Related reading: The Priesthood in England - Part 1; The Priesthood in England - Part 2; The Priesthood in England - Part 3; Why Nekhen is Anthropologically Significant; Luther Was Wrong About the Priesthood; Solving the Ainu MysteryThe Kushite-Kushan Connection; A Kindling of Ancient Memory

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Priesthood in England - Part 3

This is part 3 of a series on the priesthood in England. You are encouraged to read the entire series. Links are provided at the bottom of this page.

Joseph of the Horite ruler line of Matthew (Ar-Mathea) was a trader in metals.
He likely had relatives or business associates living in Cornwall and Devon.

Alice C. Linsley

Oral tradition in Cornwall holds that the ruler-priest Joseph Ar-Mathea came there in connection to mining. In the ancient world, ruler-priests were responsible for metal work, mining operations, and the construction of royal tombs. This is evident in the case of the earliest Nilotic rulers, c. 3200 B.C. About 80,000 years ago, red ochre was being extracted from large mining operations in the Lebombo Mountains and the red powder was used in the burial of nobles almost universally between 45,000 and 2000 B.C.

Mining in Cornwall and Devon in England began as early as 2150 BC. The Ding Dong mine is one of the oldest mines in Cornwall. An old miner told A. K. Hamilton Jenkin in the early 1940's: "Why, they do say there's only one mine in Cornwall older than Dolcoath, and that's Ding Dong, which was worked before the time of Jesus Christ." (Hamilton Jenkin, A. K. Cornwall and its People. London: J. M. Dent; p. 347)

Hawkins, Christopher Hawkins wrote a book titled Observations on the Tin Trade of the Ancients in Cornwall (1811) in which he noted that Cornwall was visited by metal traders from the eastern Mediterranean. One of those metal traders was Joseph of Ar-Mathea.

The legend concerning Joseph of Ar-Mathea's connection to Britain has support from the sciences. Genetic studies have confirmed that the Horite Ainu dispersed widely across the ancient world. Some migrated to Hokkiado and Okinawa. Others came to the British Isles and Scandinavia. From there, some migrated to Greenland, Labrador, and Eastern Canada where they came to be called "Miqmac" by the French. The Ainu have a Nilotic origin and are described as having a red skin tone.

An early population living in the region of Cornwall were Dam-oni which means red people. Dam-oni is likely a reference to the red skin Ainu. They were the builders of the great shrine city of Heliopolis, Biblical On.

A variant spelling is Dumnonii (shown on the map). The Dam-oni may have come from Carnac in Brittany because the stone monoliths in Damnonia are like those in Carnac, though smaller. On the Nile the ancient shrine at Karnak was built with huge stones by skillful craftsmen. Kar-nak means place of rituals. Nak involved the extraction of teeth.

Jews lived in Cornwall from before the Roman Period. They were as tradesmen, artisans, stone masons, metal workers, and miners. Among them were the priests who performed animal sacrifices, circumcision, and the Sun blessing ceremony (Birkat Hachama). Today rabbis perform the ceremony only every 28 years on a Tuesday at sundown, but in the ancient world this ceremony was probably performed by the Habiru at mid-winter, from which point the days would begin to lengthen, and at mid-summer, from which point the days would begin to shorten. The circle at Stonehenge was designed to help the priests know when to perform such ceremonies. The word Samhain is clearly related to the Arabic word for the Sun - shams. Ha-in is probably of Semitic origin also, and may be a variant of ha-on, referring to the sea-faring Ainu/Oni.

The inhabitants of Cornwall were involved in the manufacture of tin ingots. The area has prehistoric tin mines, stone monoliths, and iron age fortresses. This is the region where Joseph of Ar-Mathea is said to have visited, and the presence of Hebrew is evident in place names like Marazion, meaning "sight of Zion" or Menheniot, which is derived from the Hebrew words min oniyot, meaning "from ships." Menheniot was a center of lead mining.

The Hebrews living in the British Isles exhibited great skill in the construction of stone monuments, as did their Kushite-Kushan ancestors who built monuments at Karnak, Heliopolis, Göbekli Tepe in southern Turkey, and Catalhoyuk in Anatolia. Their mining expertise was evident in the construction of excavated pyramid tombs such as those found in Bosnia and the Tarum Valley of China.

Maeshowe in Orkney

Prehistoric stone work of cairns, henges, and brochs is found throughout the British Isles. Chambered cairns have been found in vast areas of Scotland, some dating to 5,000-6,000 B.C. Huge kerbstones are found at the entrance of some cairns. These are shaped to fit a passageway leading to the royal burial chambers. In Orkney the intricate and extraordinary cairn at Maeshowe (shown above) is chambered exactly like that of ancient royal tombs found in Bosnia.

Similar stone entrance have been discovered in New England also. Compare the Maeshowe entrance to the entrance of the Acton Massachusetts chamber shown below.

The many pyramids, stone monuments, temples, shrine cities, and stone tombs of the ancient world show a remarkable similarity in their construction. They reveal accurate astronomical observations, as has been demonstrated through studies of Stonehenge. Fred Hoyle (California Institute of Technology) observes in his book on Stonehenge that men living 5000 years ago were "meticulous observers of the night sky" who "calculated with numbers" and "communicated sophisticated astronomical knowledge among themselves from generation to generation." From the earliest times, this was the work of priests and that has been shown time again by research into ancient sacred sites.

Men-an-Tol stone near Penzance in Cornwall

The motifs that appear on the stone work also connect the craftsmen of tombs, monuments and crosses to the ancient Habiru emblem of the Creator, the Sun. Those motifs include the 6-prong solar wheel such as that found on the ossuaries of the ruling families in Jerusalem and the Celtic cross. One of the oldest is St. Piran's Cross (below) in Cornwall which is clearly a solar symbol.

Saint Piran or Peran was an early 6th-century Cornish abbot and the patron saint of tin-miners.

Related reading: The Priesthood in England - Part 1; The Priesthood in England - Part 2; The Priesthood in England - ConclusionA Kindling of Ancient Memory; Solving the Ainu Mystery; The Kushite-Kushan Connection; The Pyramids of Bosnia; Who Laid the Foundations of Science?; Mining Blood

The Priesthood in England - Part 2

Alice C. Linsley

In Part 1 we considered the Anglican, Roman Catholic, and Eastern Orthodox accounts of the origins of the Church of England. The information provided in Part 1 was taken from official websites of each of these branches of the catholic Faith. There is only point on which all three accounts agree: Augustine was the official representative of Rome and was based in Canterbury. So it is that the Britons were claimed as a Roman franchise. That historical reality has had ramifications beyond Henry VIII and the Reformation. The Roman narrative has dominated the conversation for so long that the deficiencies of the account are rarely questioned.

Rome is in error when it claims to have brought Christianity to the Britons and that there was no priesthood in Britain prior to Augustine. Father Louis R. Tarsitano expressed the truth when he wrote: ... it is a simple error of fact to claim that the Anglican Church “began” in the Reformation, or even with the late 6th century mission of St. Augustine to evangelize the newly arrived Anglo-Saxon pagans. The bishops of a five-centuries-old Christian Church met Augustine on the beach. (Of Forms and the Anglican Way)

The Eastern Orthodox narrative places greater emphasis on the role of Irish monks and priests and their evangelistic efforts in the 5th and 6th centuries. However, it does not explore the evidence of a priest caste in Ireland well before the Roman Period. These priests served as prophets at oak trees, just as was done in Abraham's time (Genesis 12:6). They sacrificed animals. They believed in the eternal soul. They were wise in astronomy, medicine, construction of stone monuments, and metal work. They performed circumcisions, a practice that persisted among the royal families of Anglo-Celtic heritage. They offered sacrifices and prayers at sacred shrines, and the priests were ordained by ruler-priests. The description of the ruler-priests suggests that they were Hebrew priests who came to Ireland, Wales, and England. Evidently, some settled there.

This is not new information. There is much evidence to attest the dispersal of Hebrew priests across the ancient world. The term "Hebrew" is from Ha-biru/Ha-piru which appears in many ancient texts and refers to a caste of ruler-priests who served at the great shrines and sun temples (O-piru) of the ancient world. These were monuments located at water sources and often at high elevations, indicated by the root AR, as in Armagh (high place). The Ar reference is found in the names of many historical places and persons, including Arba, Aroch, Ar-Shem, Arsames, Artix, Araxes, the Edomite ruler Arêtes, and an obscure figure of first century Briton named Arviragus, the King. Then there is the ruler-priest Joseph of Ar-Mathea and a Jebusite ruler called Araunah who sold King David a threshing floor upon which David constructed an altar. Threshing floors were built at high flat elevations so that the wind would carry away the chaff. These high places - the Ar places - were where sacred ceremonies took place.

The Ar are identified with the "sea peoples" whose range extended the length of the Mediterranean and to the Black Sea. The rulers were highly effective warriors and kingdom builders. Dr. Catherine Acholonu explains, "In Nigeria the caste under reference is the Ar/Aro caste of Igbo Eri priest-kings, who were highly militarized in their philosophy." The rulers were served by metal workers who fashioned weapons and symbols of authority. These are called the Nes, Neshi or Nehesi. The Neshi still function as priests in Igboland.  The metal-working Nes of Anatolia are their kin.

Nehesi means "One who serves Hesi." Hesi was another name for Hathor, Horus' mother. Throughout the ancient Afro-Asiatic world shrines were dedicated to both Horus and Hathor. These were mound cities with water sources. Tell-Hesi is an example. Other mound shrines included Hazor and Beersheba. In Anatolia they built Catalhoyuk. The houses excavated in Catalhoyuk are dated between 6800-5700 B.C. At Horoztepe, in northern Anatolia, royal tombs have been discovered dating from 2400–2200 BC. These are richly furnished with finely crafted artifacts in bronze, gold, and silver.

It is thought that the Hittites introduced iron work to Anatolia, but the term "Hittite" is an anachronism. They called themselves Nes, or Nus (Nuzi), and their language was called Nesli. They were known for their skill as metal workers and the root of their original name is NS, a symbol for the serpent.

Scythian belt title made of gold
7th century B.C.

In his study of mythology, Joseph Campbell concluded that Scythians were Hittites who intermingled with Celtic and Japhetic tribes, including the Magyar (Hungarians) who claim descent from Noah through his son Japheth. The Nilo-Saharan origin of the Magyar has been confirmed by genetic testing.

Abraham interacted with the Hittite clans of Het who are listed in Genesis 10. HT is the Hebrew and Arabic root for copper - nahas-het. Nahash means serpent. As an adjective it means shining bright, like burnished copper. The clans of HeT were Bronze Age copper smiths who ranged from Timnah to Anatolia. The serpent image was sacred for them, just as it was for Moses the Horite ruler who fashioned a bronze serpent and set it on the standard (Numbers 21:9).

It is evident that the Ar peoples were highly skilled in the construction of stone tombs and monuments. These were shrine centers attended by priests and were circular with large perimeter stones such as those found at Stonehenge and Göbekli Tepe (shown below).

The Ar who controlled the kingdoms of Tyre and Arvad. The Arvadites and Arkites are mentioned in Genesis 10:15-18. They are the peoples of Sidon and Het/Heth. They spread to the northeast with the Kushite expansion. Their Mesopotamian kin are called "Arameans" in the Bible.

The Habiru/Hebrew priests were in the service of rulers in India, Pakistan, Bactria, and throughout the Caucasus. They served Kushite and Kushan rulers from the Sahara to the Tarum Valley of China. Among the Kushites were the Ainu who dispersed out of the Nile to Northern Japan and Okinawa, and to Scandinavia and the Hudson Bay area of Canada. It seems unlikely that they would have avoided the British Isles.

Some of the Hebrew living in the British Isles would have been living in expectation of the Messiah and would have heard about Jesus' death and resurrection from Jews with whom they did business. Men like Joseph of Ar-Mathea would have been missionary merchants and tradesmen who had opportunities to plant a Christian presence among their fellow priests. As a member of the Sanhedrin, Joseph was qualified to perform ordinations.

This suggests that the priesthood among the Celts and Britons has a longer history than has been generally recognized. It is at least as early as the episcopacy of Evodius of Antioch (53–69 A.D.) and the episcopacy of James of Jerusalem (d. 69 A.D.), and the episcopacy of Linus of Rome (67-79 A.D.). According to Gildas's De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae there were already Christians living in Britain in 46 AD. It is likely that these were Hebrew believers who were metal traders and mining experts. Metal working priests were a caste among the Hebrew. They continued an ancient craft that was older than even Aaron who fabricated a golden Horus calf (Exodus 32) and Moses who fabricated the bronze serpent (Numbers 21).

Related reading: The Priesthood in England - Part 1; Who Laid the Foundations of Science?; The Priesthood in England - Part 3; The Priesthood in England - ConclusionWho is Jesus?

Monday, January 19, 2015

Mummy Mask: Was the Subject a Christ-Follower?

Photo credit: Craig Evans

Here is an interesting article on the use of old papyrus documents to make mummy masks. The death mask in question is a part of the Gospel of Mark and is believed to be about 1900 years old. It may be the oldest known copy of Mark's Gospel.  Because papyrus was expensive people often reused documents.  No one is asking the obvious questions:

Why did this person have a copy of Mark's Gospel?

Was this mummified person a follower of Jesus? Probably!

Mummification was a practice of Abraham's people, the very people who anticipated Messiah's appearing. The Kushite-Kushan connection reveals that the practice was associated with pyramid tombs from the Sahara to the Tarum Valley in China.

The Egyptians believed in the second death which is mentioned in the book of Revelation. Priests officiated at funerals, offering prayers and sacrifices for the dead. They also prepared the bodies of the dead in the hope that they might rise to life. This belief did not originate with the Egyptians, however. They received it from their Kushite ancestors. The Kushites controlled the Nile Valley long before Egypt became a world power and they were the first to unite the Upper and Lower Nile regions.

Saint Augustine wrote "that the Egyptians alone believe in the resurrection, as they carefully preserved their dead bodies." (Jon Davies, "Death, burial, and rebirth in the religions of antiquity", Routledge, 1999, p. 27) However, Augustine was wrong about that. The Kushites and the Kushan also practiced mummification and for the same reason.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Who Laid the Foundations of Science?

A reader has asked this question:

"Sages affirm that all antediluvian sciences originate with the Egyptian Hermes [Tehuti], in Upper Egypt (namely Khmunu (Hermopolis). The Jews call him Enoch and the Muslims call him Idris. He was the first who spoke of the material of the superior world and of planetary movements...Medicine and poetry were his functions... [as well as] the sciences, including alchemy and magic." [Cf. Asin Palacios, Ibn Masarra, p. 13],

Based on this evidence, is there a possibility that the second line of the inscription is referring to Enoch of the Bible?

Alice C. Linsley

Sufficient historical, anthropological and archaeological evidence exists to justify the hypothesis that astronomy, mathematics, medicine and mummification, binary thought and triangulation (pyramids), metal work and mining technologies, cultivation techniques and animal husbandry, the earliest priestly writings, and the earliest known trade records are found among the Proto-Saharans of the Upper Nile. Plato wrote that Nilotic scribes had been keeping astronomical records for 1000 years. He should know since he studied with a Horite priest in Memphis for 13 years.

None of the advancements I listed above can be positively identified with any one ancient figure. Instead they are connected to great rulers and their scribes, priests and metal workers. Enoch is a variant of Anak, and it is a royal title. The Anakim are identified as the "mighty men of old" in Genesis.

Keep in mind that royal names appear with more than one person, so it is difficult to identify which Enoch/Anak is referenced here. There is Enoch, the father-in-law of Kain and Seth; Enoch, the son of Kain (Gen. 4:17-18); and Enoch the father of Methuselah (Gen. 5:21-13). Likewise, there is Lamech the Elder (Gen. 4:18-24) and Lamech the Younger (Gen. 5:26-31); Esau the Elder and Esau the Younger; Joktan/Yaqtan the Elder and Joktan/Yaqtan the Younger, etc. Joktan is linked to the Joktanite clans of Southern Arabia (Mohammed's people).

To further complicate matters, we have seemingly conflicting claims about these great chiefs who built territories in the ancient world. Consider the case of Irad, Kain's grandson (Gen. 4:18). The name has these variants: Jared (Gen. 5::18-20) and Yared of Igbo history. Yared is the best rendering of the ruler's name as it has the distinctive initial Y - a solar cradle - indicating divine appointment by overshadowing. This is how it would have appeared among the Proto-Saharan Nilotic peoples. DNA studies have confirmed that the Igbo's ancestors came from the Upper Nile during the Africa Wet Period when the great water systems interconnected. However, many Igbo say that they have always lived at the confluence of the Niger-Benue rivers and that Yared was the founder of their writing system.

The late Igbo apologist, Dr. Catherine Acholonu, pointed out: "Sumerian texts say that the first city built by the gods on earth was called Eridu. There they placed the members of Adam’s family. Adam’s great grandson was named Yared, meaning ‘He of Eridu’, ‘person from Eridu’. Its Igbo equivalent, with the same meaning, is Oye Eridu. The father of Yared was Enosh/Enu-Esh. His name meant ‘Master of humankind’, for the first people were called Esh, Adam too was called Esh in vernacular Hebrew. In Sumerian this sacred word Esh means ‘Righteous Shepherd’. All Sumerian kings bore the title Esh. Equally in Igbo land Esh/Eshi/Nshi is a sacred word implying divine origins of the first people, who indeed were wielders of supernatural powers." (From here.)

There is a connection between the Sumerians and the Igbo, but that is because the Sumerians and the Igbo both have a common point of origin in the Nile Valley thousands of years before either group emerged as a separate ethnicity.

Note that Dr. Acholonu's etymologies are irregular. The Hebrew generic word for man is ish. Therefore, she cannot make an explicit connection to Adam. Further, Eridu is Ur of the Idu, that is Ur of the red Horites living in Mesopotamia.

There is a site called Eridu in Nigeria also. It is located to the south-west of the Yoruba town of Ijebu-Ode in Ogun state southwest Nigeria (6°47′13″N 3°52′30″E / 6.78700°N 3.87488°E / 6.78700; 3.87488). It has ramparts 72 feet high and the wall runs a distance of 100 miles around the ancient shrine city. The British archaeologist studying the site is Patrick Darling. He has described it in these words: "The vertical sided ditches go around the area for 100 miles and it is more than 1,000 years old. That makes it the earliest proof of an kingdom founded in the African rain forest." (From here.)

The ramparts of Eridu in Nigeria

The Eridu in Nigeria is not nearly as old as the Eridu mentioned in the ancient Sumerian text above. However, it is the work of people connected to the Horites of the Bible. It is associated with the Ijebu who are called "Jebusites" in Genesis. Melchizedek was the Jebusite ruler-priest who attended to Abraham after Abraham incurred blood guilt in battle.

The modern day Jebusites/Ijebu of Nigeria live near and have close association with the modern day Edomites who are called Edo, who live in Benin. In Canaan, the Jebusites had close connections with the Horites of Edom, who the Greeks later referred to as the red people of Idumea.

The Bible identifies Edom as an ancient seat of wisdom in Jeremiah 49:7. Abraham was a Horite ruler in Edom. His territory extended on a north-south axis between Hebron (where Sarah resided) and Beersheba (where his cousin wife Keturah resided) and on an east-west axis between Engedi and Gerar. This means that Abraham controlled most, if not all, of the land of Edom. The rulers of Edom who descend from Seir the Horite are listed in Genesis 36.

The Horite's ancestors represent the oldest known caste of royal priests (ha-biru/Hebrew) and their oldest known shrine was in Nekhen on the Nile. There they offered prayers to Horus, the Creator God's son, as the Sun rose in the east.

The Horites dispersed out of Africa into Mesopotamia, the Indus Valley, Cholcis, Iberia, and as far as Southern China. They were in service of the rulers of all the lands shown on the map. This includes modern Turkey, Georgia, and southwestern Russia. It is believed that it was from this region that the Horite ruler-priests of the Kushan moved into the Balkans, and from there to Ireland and the British Isles.

The red people also spread into parts of the Far East, including Hokkaido and Okinawa where they are called Ainu. Nilotic Ainu/Annu were among Abraham's ancestors.

Related reading: Solving the Ainu Mystery; The Urhemiat of the Canaanite Y; Who Was Melchizedek?; Adam Was a Red Man; The Kushite-Kushan Connection; Why Nekhen is Anthropologically Significant

Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Priesthood in England - Part 1

Alice C. Linsley

Depending on who is telling the story, accounts differ as to when the priesthood came to the British Isles. Anglicans tend to give this account:

Christianity arrived in the British Isles around AD 47 according to Gildas's De Excidio et Conquestu Britanniae. Christians likely entered as metal workers and traders traveling long the tin route between Spain and Ireland.

The earliest historical evidence of Christianity among the native Britons is found in the writings of such early Christian Fathers as Tertullian and Origen in the first years of the 3rd century.

In the 1st or 2nd century, southern Britain became part of the Roman Empire. In 595, Pope Gregory of Rome sent missionaries to the Kingdom of Kent under the direction of the Benedictine prior, Augustine. Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury.

Three Romano-British bishops, including Restitutus, are known to have been present at the Council of Arles in 314. Others attended the Council of Sardica in 347 and that of Ariminum in 360, and a number of references to the church in Roman Britain are found in the writings of 4th century Christian fathers.

The Roman Catholic Church tells this story:

Pope Gregory the Great chose a Benedictine monk named Augustine in 595 to lead a mission to Britain to convert King Æthelberht and his the people of Kent from Anglo-Saxon paganism. Augustine was the prior of a monastery in Rome.

Kent was chosen because Æthelberht had married a Christian princess, Bertha, daughter of Charibert I the King of Paris. It was expected that Bertha would exert some influence over her husband. This initiative of Pope Gregory is known as the Gregorian mission. Before reaching Kent Augustine and the missionaries who accompanied him considered turning back, but Gregory urged them on, and in 597 Augustine landed on the Isle of Thanet and proceeded to Æthelberht's Canterbury.

Augustine became the first Archbishop of Canterbury in 597 and converted many of the king's subjects, including thousands during a mass baptism on Christmas Day in 597. He is considered the "Apostle to the English" and a founder of the English Church.

King Æthelberht converted to Christianity and allowed the missionaries to preach freely, giving them land to found a monastery outside the city walls. Pope Gregory sent more missionaries in 601. Roman bishops were established at London and Rochester in 604, and a school was founded to train Anglo-Saxon priests and missionaries.

The Orthodox have another account:

The early Christian writers Tertullian and Origen mention the existence of a British church in the third century AD and in the fourth century British bishops attended a number of councils, such as the Council of Arles in 314 and the Council of Rimini in 359.

The first member of the British church whom we know by name is St Alban, who was martyred for his faith on the spot where St Albans Abbey now stands.

The British church was a missionary church with figures such as St Illtud, St Ninian and St Patrick evangelizing in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, but the organization of the church suffered from the invasions by the Angles, Saxons and Jutes in the fifth century. The monasteries were often raided by the invaders. In 597 a mission sent by St Gregory the Dialogist and led by St Augustine of Canterbury landed in Kent to begin the work of converting these pagan peoples.

What eventually became known as the "Church of England" was the result of a combination of three traditions, that of Augustine and his successors, the remnants of the old Romano-British traditions and the Celtic tradition coming down from Scotland and associated with people like St Aidan and St Cuthbert.

These three traditions came together as a result of increasing mutual contact and a number of local synods, of which the Synod of Whitby in 664 has traditionally been seen as the most important. The result was an English Church, led by the two Archbishops of Canterbury and York, that was fully assimilated into the mainstream Church. This meant that it was influenced by the wider development of the Christian tradition in matters such as theology, liturgy, church architecture, and the development of monasticism.

There is only point on which all three accounts agree: Augustine was the official representative of Rome and was based in Canterbury. So it is that the Britons were claimed as a Roman franchise. That historical reality has had ramifications beyond Henry VIII and the Reformation. The Roman narrative is largely accepted and the finer details of the other accounts are neglected. The result is a skewed account of the arrival of priests in England. Nevertheless, there are many resources available today that can help in constructing a more accurate picture, and I will draw on these to explore the founding of the priesthood in England. Watch for Part 2.

Related reading:  Priests, Shamans, and Prophets; Who Were the Levites?; Who Were the Habiru?; What is a Priest?; The Priesthood in England - Part 2; The Priesthood in England - Part 3; Who is Jesus?

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Saint Paul's Application of Greek Philosophy

Alice C. Linsley

The Apostle Paul is one of the most fascinating and controversial figures of history and one of the most important leaders of the early Church. He was born about 10 A.D. in the Roman province of Cilicia, in the town of Tarsus. According to Jerome, Paul’s parents came from Galilee. Both were Jewish and of the tribe of Benjamin. Paul received thorough grounding in the Hebrew Scriptures. The elders of the church at Antioch recognized God's call on this man and commissioned him, along with Barnabas, to be an evangelist. In his missionary journeys Paul traveled over 57,000 miles and he endured many hardships and persecutions. St. John Chrysostom speaks of Paul's letter to the Romans as “a spiritual trumpet.”

Paul has been accused of creating a new religion. A Hebrew play on words reveals how many Jews view Paul. They say that Jesus created a sect (kat) within Judaism, but Paul turned it into a religion (dat). Such a view makes it difficult to understand Paul’s writings which are an elucidation of the very old Messianic Tradition that he received from his Horite ancestors (Horim).

The Apostle Paul received his rabbinical training at the feet of the great rabbi Gamaliel the Elder.
Gamaliel was the grandson of another great rabbi, Hillel the Elder (65 B.C. - 20 A.D.). These men believed in the bodily resurrection, a belief of their Horim, but which had been set aside by the ruling party, the Sadducees. This may have been one reason that Gamaliel came to the defense of the Apostles.

When the Apostles appeared before the Sanhedrin they gave testimony to Jesus as the Messiah and when the Sanhedrin “heard this, they were furious and wanted to put them to death. But a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, who was honored by all the people, stood up in the Sanhedrin and ordered that the men be put outside for a little while. Then he addressed the Sanhedrin: “Men of Israel, consider carefully what you intend to do to these men. Some time ago Theudas appeared, claiming to be somebody, and about four hundred men rallied to him. He was killed, all his followers were dispersed, and it all came to nothing. After him, Judas the Galilean appeared in the days of the census and led a band of people in revolt. He too was killed, and all his followers were scattered. Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”(Acts 5:33-39)

Paul's writings assume that Messiah has come in the person of Jesus Christ, and Paul addresses the implications of that for the Church, for the individual believer, and for the whole world. He concerned himself with doctrine because he believed that he was divinely appointed to deliver to the churches what he had received (Received Tradition). He regarded himself not only as a defender of the Received Tradition, but also as one with no authority to change it. Paul takes this charge very seriously to that point that he demands that his letters be read in the churches. He writes, “My orders, in the Lord’s name, are that this letter is to be read to all the brothers” (I Th. 5:27). He gives the same order in Second Corinthians 1:1 and in Colossians 4:16. Paul defended his apostleship and chastised the church at Corinth for tolerating those who “preach a Jesus other than the one we preached” (II Cor. 11:4).

Paul was well versed in Greek philosophy. Gamaliel taught his students Greek philosophy so that his pupils would return to their Greek-speaking provinces prepared to be leaders. In addition, Paul absorbed much philosophy while growing up in Tarsus. In his hometown there was an outstanding philosophical academy. The Greek geographer Strabo considered the Tarsus academy to be better than the academies of Athens and Alexandria. We do not know whether Paul received a formal education in philosophy, but it is almost certain that he would have listened to great discussions and debates in the public houses and in the town square where forums were held.

The Stoic philosopher Athenodorus governed Tarsus. He died before Paul came of age, but his teachings were upheld by his successor Nestor, who Paul would have heard speak. Athenodorus said, "Every man's conscience is his god” and regarded duty to be a matter of the conscience, a concept that Paul develops in his epistles. In Titus 1:15-16, Paul warns against those whose "minds and consciences" have been corrupted so that their actions "deny God." (For other examples, see 1 Cor. 10:28-30 and Hebrews 9-10). The word “conscience” is not found in the Hebrew Bible, but it appears three places in the Septuagint: Job 27:6, Ecclesiasticus 10:20 and Wisdom 17:11.

Christians often overlook Paul's application of Greek philosophy and miss some of the more subtle points of his theology. There is a tendency to dismiss the influence of Greek philosophy on Paul because of his warning to the Corinthians not to seek salvation through philosophy which Paul contrasts to the “Wisdom of God” hidden in Christ. Apparently in the Corinthian church there were people who viewed the human soul as belonging to another realm but fallen into the sense world. In this view philosophy was necessary to purify the soul and thereby return to a disembodied life in which one could enjoy true reality.

Writing to the Galatians, Paul faced a different problem. Here he contrasts Christ, the “Righteousness of God” with attempts to gain righteousness through human efforts, specifically adherence to the Law.  He writes, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us…that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:13-14). It is clear that Paul is not dismissing Greek philosophy, but rather striking contrasts that he wants his readers to heed.

Paul's use of Plato

Plato’s theory of forms is easily incorporated by Paul because it is consistent with the Biblical worldview. In fact, Plato studied for 13 years in Memphis under a Horite priest. (Abraham's people were Horites.) In Egypt Plato became acquainted with the ideas of the eternal soul, the resurrection of the body, and the belief that the patterns of earth reflect the eternal patterns of heaven. This last belief is expressed in the Lord's prayer that God's will be "done on earth as it is in heaven."

Paul's training in Greek philosophy is evident as we examine his approach to Old Testament figures. Consider 1 Corinthians 15 and Romans 5 which demonstrate a Platonic approach to Christology. The first man, Adam, is imperfect but the second Man, Jesus Christ, is the perfect and true Form of humanity. God made humans in God’s image and likeness, but sin marred that image so that the first is imperfect. In Platonism, types are imperfect reflections of the true eternal and immutable Forms. Paul uses Platonic language to explain Jesus Christ to the Corinthians and the Romans who would have been familiar with this language.

In Colossians 2:16-22, Paul uses Platonism to argue against his adversaries. He writes, "Therefore do not let anyone judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. These are a shadow of the things that were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ." These point to what is found in Christ, but they are not the real thing because they all perish (v. 22).

In Hebrews 10:1, he writes, "The Law is only a shadow (Greek skian) of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves. The Apostle expresses his epistemology in Platonic terms in 1 Corinthians 13:12: For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known."

Paul's use of Aristotle

For the Apostle Paul the ontologically significant state is not “saved” but “justified.” Consider Romans 8:29-31:

For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who is against us?…

Paul seems to be saying "once justified always justified." He most certainly is not saying "once saved, always saved" because for Paul salvation is something that is working in us and that we are working out until the day of Christ's appearing. He tells the Philippians: So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. (Phil. 2:12-13)

Likewise, sanctification is a process whereby God brings us to the fulfillment or realization of our potential. Having been created in the divine image, the justified are becoming conformed to the image of His Son. This too continues until the day of Christ appearing. For this Paul gives praise to God, writing "…to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us…be glory." (Eph 3:20-21)

Paul wants the Christians to whom he writes to be confident of God’s power to do all of this. He writes, "For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus." (Phil. 1:6) For Paul, the synergistic working out of the divine energies is such that he can say with confidence: "It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me." (Gal. 2:20)

Paul continues an idea found in both Plato and Aristotle, namely that the human telos is achieving a likeness to God (homoiōsis theōi). Our part is to co-operate. St. Basil referred to the operation of divine power as the "divine energies" (Treatise on the Holy Spirit). St. Basil argued the ontological and teleological synergistic integration of the material and supernatural realms. For St. Basil the world intones the hymns of God; it manifests itself as an expression of the Creator and therefore is a proper tutor for increasing wisdom.

In Paul’s epistles the outworking of divine purpose and power is called energeia, a term first used by Aristotle. For Aristotle, the term had various applications: energy, active, operation or effectiveness, but the earliest application, according to Dr. David Bradshaw, pertains to activity as the exercise of a capacity. Dr. Bradshaw writes, "For example, Paul refers to himself as 'striving according to Christ's working (or energy, energeia), which is being made effective (or actualized, energoumenēn) in me' (Col. 1:29). Here it would seem that the divine energy serves two distinct functions. It is at work within Paul, transforming him, so that from this standpoint he is the object of God's activity; at the same time it finds expression in Paul's own activity, so that he may also be seen as the agent or conduit through whom God is working." (From here.)

In Paul's writings this concept is linked to another Aristotelian concept - that of telos: the realization of an entity's end purpose; the actualization of potential. It is clear that without the divine energy, without the divine power at work in us, that we can accomplish nothing of value. In this, Paul echoes Jesus' own words: "Apart from Me, you can do nothing." (Jn. 15:5)