Editor's Note: Stephen Prothero, a Boston University religion scholar and author of "God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World," is a regular CNN Belief Blog contributor.
By Stephen Prothero, Special to CNN
Being president is stressful. Even the presents you receive can turn your hair gray.
Take the gift Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu bestowed upon President Obama on Monday: a copy of the Book of Esther. This book, which appears both in the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament tells a tale that Jews commemorate on Thursday with the holiday of Purim.
In this tale, set in the Persian Empire in the 5th century BCE, Persians plot to destroy the Jews. The villain of the story is Haman, whom Netanyahu described in his AIPAC speech on Monday as “a Persian anti-Semite [who] tried to annihilate the Jewish people.” The hero is Esther’s cousin Mordecai, who urges Esther, the queen to Persian king Ahasuerus, to prevail upon her husband on behalf of the Jews.
In the end, Ahasuerus, who initially supported the evildoers, flip-flops, allowing the Jews to go to war against their Persian enemies. The Jews are victorious and 75,000 Persians are killed in an orgy of “slaughter and destruction.”
CNN’s Belief Blog: The faith angles behind the biggest stories
It’s not hard to imagine how Netanyahu wants Obama to read this ancient story. Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is Haman, threatening Israel with destruction by a nuclear bomb. Netanyahu is Mordecai. And Obama is King Ahasuerus who needs to decide whose side he is really on.
But this isn’t the only way to read the story.
I was in Jerusalem on the eve of Purim a couple years ago. It's a raucous celebration that commemorates the events of the Book of Esther. I say raucous because it is actually a commandment during this joyous holiday to drink to excess. Jews are supposed to drink until they cannot distinguish between the evil Haman and the virtuous Mordecai.
In a Purim sermon I heard at the Wailing Wall, an Orthodox rabbi spoke of driving into the city every day through an Arab section, and greeting the Muslims he saw there not with fear and anxiety but with love and joy. He then urged his listeners to drink of wine and God until they could not tell the difference enemies and friends, Arabs and Israelis, the cursed Haman and the blessed Mordecai.
So perhaps the Book of Esther is telling Obama to play the king, to give the Jews a green light to destroy their Iranian enemies, and lay waste to 75,000 Iranians in the process.
But perhaps this Bible story is telling the president to see beyond the virtues of the Israelis and the vices of the Iranians to the common humanity in all of us — to drink until he cannot tell the difference between our enemies and our friends.
It is up to the president to decide how to read this story, and how to read the mixture of intelligence and nonsense that is emerging out of Iran and the Middle East in recent days. Will he listen to Republican presidential candidates who are beating the drums of war? To Netanyahu, who seems to be doing the same? To the Israeli public, which is wary of a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities?
In times like these, prior presidents have turned to God in prayer. But one curiosity of the Book of Esther is that it does not mention God. In extreme times, the story seems to be telling us, we cannot wait for God to act. We must act ourselves, or refuse to act. And in either case we and we alone bear the intended (and unintended) consequences.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
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Prayer changes things !
@ian Rodriguez and @finders, the Butler .. first Ian .. yes China is an excellent of the failure of socialism... one failed program after another .. one cultural revolution after another and then .. quietly the began to allow capitalism. Now they are very capitalistic .. producing most of the consumer goods. (and getting rich - not distributing it). And detractors cease to exist (we saw that in Tianaman Square (and no apologies). Now the USSR has the same problem but they did know how to do what China did.. so they simply went broke (like Greece) and Boris Yeltsin took over. They are still broke (they were not teaching anyone to be independent and self reliant). They can't do it. Well that is also the case in Greece .. they have had strong Communist influence since the civil war and they do not know how to do anything productive. Very much the same story in France (for different reasons) and somewhat in Britain. Spain is in major trouble. Cuba is starving. When Castro goes maybe they can look to their relatives in Miami to help them. Chavez's Venezuaela (starving) .. FARC ..in Columbia .. horrible. Panama, Honduras, El Salvador .. nothing works except the canal - and only with outside help. So tell me which socialist economy IS succeeding? I do not see it. So now @Finders .. you can be Pollyanna .. rose colored glasses .. nothing is wrong .. we are still here .. and yeah that may go on for a time. But we intuitively know you cannot go on buying things you cannot pay for .. the credit runs out sooner or later .. and then the Wolf is at the door. You have never experienced that because we gave you a great country and you did not have to work for anything. And now you do not want to.
Israel will be the cause of WW3. The worst mistake that the UN ever made, was to parti-tion Palestine and create the fiasco that the world has endured since 1948. If there are any remaining working brain cells in DC, they will stay out of this coming conflict with Iran. The "gods chosen People", "holy land", and all the other biblical nonsense is meaningless in the 21st Century for anyone in touch with reality. The my god's better than your god scenario is really getting old. Let the cards fall where they may. I'm tired of seeing American soldiers being sent home in flag dr-aped coffins. I'm disgusted with the many, many billions of taxpayer dollars Israel has cost the US taxpayers.
Some one talking some sense here...the whole world and mainly the Middleast has suffered from the UN 1948 decision giving what they do not own to whom does not deserve...
Both parties Iran&Israel have the same technology and both have built it up in fear of their surroundings and in fear from each other as the books of history foretells...so why one should not have it while the other is allowed to have it !? Isn't that hypocrisy now...? Well for me as Arabian I have my fears from both sides and since we are in the Arabian Peninsular in between both sides we will be the basket for what ever they throw on each other...
Actually the U.K. messed it up. The Palestinians were supposed to go to Jordan but at the last minute Jordan refused. That started the civil war and cast the shadow over the whole thing. But if you go back to the formation of Israel you have to see the most dreamy liberal of all (FDR) at the center of it .. and Truman (a Democrat) and now Washington is run by Democrats .. they've had both the House and the Senate since 2006. ... They did not stop wars, they did not create a booming economy, they had an enormous crash .. then won the White House and have ruined the national credit and budget to the point of being unable to pay their interest. They put the U.S in the same position as Greece and Spain and France. China has bailed out the U.S. much like Germany bailed out Greece. You will have to pay for THAT .. and who knows what will happen in the middle east? You are right about Washington NOT being in control in the middle east - Iran will take Iraq .. and possibly other territories (like Syria ) and become as big as India. They will be the new Persian empire. They have tested everyone out and nobody stopped them (and the know .. ) .. nobody in the east and nobody in the west .. so Iran can take over and they are poised to do it.
And again for the benefit of 1.5 billion lost Islamic souls (analogous benefits are available for Jews, Christians, Hindus, Buddhists and Pagans)
And from the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi)
The Five Steps To Deprogram 1400 Years of Islamic Myths:
( –The Steps take less than two minutes to finish- simply amazing, two minutes to bring peace and rationality to over one billion lost souls- Priceless!!!)
Are you ready?
Using "The 77 Branches of Islamic "faith" a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true "faith" (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings." i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs.
The First Five of the 77 Branches:
"1. Belief in Allah"
aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc. should be added to your self-cleansing neurons.
"2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence."
Evolution and the Big Bang or the "Gi-b G-nab" (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the "akas" for Allah should be included if you continue to be a "crea-tionist".
"3. To believe in the existence of angels."
A major item for neuron cleansing. Angels/de-vils are the mythical creations of ancient civilizations, e.g. Hitt-ites, to explain/define natural events, contacts with their gods, big birds, sudden winds, protectors during the dark nights, etc. No "pretty/ug-ly wingy thingies" ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as f–airies and "tin–ker be-lls". Modern de-vils are classified as the de-mons of the de-mented.
"4. To believe that all the heavenly books that were sent to the different prophets are true. However, apart from the Quran, all other books are not valid anymore."
Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans.
Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the un-educated masses in line. Today we call them for-tune tellers.
Prophecies are also invali-dated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.
"5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.
Walk these Five Steps and we guarantee a complete recovery from your Islamic ways!!!!
Unfortunately, there are not many Muslim commentators/readers on this blog so the "two-minute" cure is not getting to those who need it. If you have a Muslim friend, send him a copy and help save the world.
Analogous steps are available at your request for deprogramming the myths of Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism and Paganism..
So you are saying that when Iran takes over the Middle East we the Middle Easterns can all move to US or Europe just as the Palestinians are supposed to be removed to Jordan...?
One thing I have always admired about Netanyahu is that he is clear about where he stands on everything. So I think if he meant some big war indicating thing by giving the book to Obama he would have said so.
And lets not forget, it is Purim for the Jews, so its not like Esther is pulled out of thin air here.
The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Stephen Prothero.
No, it is not up to the president to see how to read this story. The story IS. It was not intended for president Obama to use as a decision-making tool. It does, however, demonstrate whose side you want to be on if your choices are God and not God.
This author, by his comments is also not up on BenN's resolve to take care of business regardless of who is on their side. Must have been trying to make a deadline...
...to be clear, not intended by God to be used by Obama. Netanyahu may have intended that....or maybe not....
He didn't give Obama a Bible. He gave him a copy of the Book of Esther. And who by the way in your analogy is Esther? Esther by the way was the heroine in the story, not Mordecai. But, I agree that Nethanyahu is definently sending a message to Obama. He his basically asking Obama for permission to defend Israel when Iran attacks. It's interesting that the original story took place in Persia. If you are too lazy to read Esther watch the movie One Night with the King. Maybe he should have also given Obama the books of Daniel, Isaiah, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, parts of Matthew and Revelation. And then there is the part in Genesis where it says that God will bless those who bless Israel and curse those who curse Israel. Then there are the parts in Nehemiah and Nahum calling on repentance and turning back to God.
God's providence and protection of his people can be seen throughout history. He is the same God of the past, the present and the future. Our prayers are for the nation of Israel.
Our prayers are for Peace! May God grant us Peace!
@Flinders what you fail to understand is that Jerusalem is the world's most coveted city especially by the two biggest religions in the world the Roman Catholics and the Muslims.
Esther fasts for 3 days and nights as do the rest of the Jews in order to know what to do. Haman also went into the queens chambers and was caught by the King. He was hanged on his own gallows that he had built. I think this story is of Jewish survival which is something that they have struggled with for a very long time. I can't imagine the US siding with Iran, but we are getting to the time where a decision needs to be made. Do we back Isreal or Iran?
You could be right.... Or you could be reading in more than there is because of your area of expertise.... Only time will tell ith 100% certainty
Prayer changes things
~~~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~~...
Please stop with that source which has been debunked. The study was flawed. Even if someone could figure out how to measure the effectiveness of prayer results you could never measure the heart of the those praying or what Gods plan is regarding the outcome of that study. Prayer does not work that way.
Don't bother praying there is no god.
If it is true that you KNOW that there is no God, wouldn't that actually make you God?
Prayer changes things .
~The statistical studies from the nineteenth century and the three CCU studies on prayer are quite consistent with the fact that humanity is wasting a huge amount of time on a procedure that simply doesn’t work. Nonetheless, faith in prayer is so pervasive and deeply rooted, you can be sure believers will continue to devise future studies in a desperate effort to confirm their beliefs!~~...
I hate to say it but Jesus you need to do your homework on what is a valid study of a source that cannot be measured even if it exists.
Too cheap to by the mongrel an ipad?
They can both take turns shoving bibles up each other's anuses.
You must be so lonely and angry.
If you live in Palestine or Israel, please copy the following and post on all the walls:
Putting the kibosh on it all in less than 500 words !! Priceless!!!
• There was no Abraham i.e. the foundations of Judaism, Christianity and Islam are non-existent.
• There was no Moses i.e the pillars of Judaism, Christianity and Islam have no strength of purpose.
• There was no Gabriel i.e. Islam fails as a religion. Christianity partially fails.
• There was no Easter i.e. Christianity completely fails as a religion.
• There was no Moroni i.e. Mormonism is nothing more than a business cult.
• Sacred/revered cows, monkey gods, castes, reincarnations and therefore Hinduism fails as a religion.
• Fat Buddhas here, skinny Buddhas there, reincarnated Buddhas everywhere makes for a no on Buddhism.
Added supporting references are available upon request.
dont let the evidence get in your way there buddy.
Maybe Susie should look at proper sources: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/ancient/archeology-hebrew-bible.html
Only for the those interested in a religious update:
1. origin: http://query.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F20E1EFE35540C7A8CDDAA0894DA404482
“New Torah For Modern Minds
Abraham, the Jewish patriarch, probably never existed. Nor did Moses. The entire Exodus story as recounted in the Bible probably never occurred. The same is true of the tumbling of the walls of Jericho. And David, far from being the fearless king who built Jerusalem into a mighty capital, was more likely a provincial leader whose reputation was later magnified to provide a rallying point for a fledgling nation.
Such startling propositions – the product of findings by archaeologists digging in Israel and its environs over the last 25 years – have gained wide acceptance among non-Orthodox rabbis. But there has been no attempt to disseminate these ideas or to discuss them with the laity – until now.
The United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism, which represents the 1.5 million Conservative Jews in the United States, has just issued a new Torah and commentary, the first for Conservatives in more than 60 years. Called "Etz Hayim" ("Tree of Life" in Hebrew), it offers an interpretation that incorporates the latest findings from archaeology, philology, anthropology and the study of ancient cultures. To the editors who worked on the book, it represents one of the boldest efforts ever to introduce into the religious mainstream a view of the Bible as a human rather than divine docu-ment. “
2. Jesus was an illiterate Jewish peasant/carpenter/simple preacher man who suffered from hallucinations (or “mythicizing” from P, M, M, L and J) and who has been characterized anywhere from the Messiah from Nazareth to a mythical character from mythical Nazareth to a ma-mzer from Nazareth (Professor Bruce Chilton, in his book Rabbi Jesus). An-alyses of Jesus’ life by many contemporary NT scholars (e.g. Professors Ludemann, Crossan, Borg and Fredriksen, ) via the NT and related doc-uments have concluded that only about 30% of Jesus' sayings and ways noted in the NT were authentic. The rest being embellishments (e.g. miracles)/hallucinations made/had by the NT authors to impress various Christian, Jewish and Pagan sects.
The 30% of the NT that is "authentic Jesus" like everything in life was borrowed/plagiarized and/or improved from those who came before. In Jesus' case, it was the ways and sayings of the Babylonians, Greeks, Persians, Egyptians, Hitt-ites, Canaanites, OT, John the Baptizer and possibly the ways and sayings of traveling Greek Cynics.
For added "pizzazz", Catholic theologians divided god the singularity into three persons and invented atonement as an added guilt trip for the "pew people" to go along with this trinity of overseers. By doing so, they made god the padre into god the "filicider".
Current RCC problems:
Pedophiliac priests, an all-male, mostly white hierarchy, atonement theology and original sin!!!!
2 b., Luther, Calvin, Joe Smith, Henry VIII, Wesley, Roger Williams, the Great “Babs” et al, founders of Christian-based religions or combination religions also suffered from the belief in/hallucinations of "pretty wingie thingie" visits and "prophecies" for profits analogous to the myths of Catholicism (resurrections, apparitions, ascensions and immacu-late co-nceptions).
Adulterous preachers, pedophiliac clerics, "propheteering/ profiteering" evangelicals and atonement theology,
From the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi-–and daily reports from CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC News.
Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added "angels" and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers.
This agenda continues as shown by the ma-ssacre in Mumbai, the as-sas-sinations of Bhutto and Theo Van Gogh, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, the Ft. Hood follower of the koran, and the Filipino “koranics”.
And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni "Wannabees" of Saudi Arabia.
The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.
4. Hinduism (from an online Hindu site) – "Hinduism cannot be described as an organized religion. It is not founded by any individual. Hinduism is God centered and therefore one can call Hinduism as founded by God, because the answer to the question ‘Who is behind the eternal principles and who makes them work?’ will have to be ‘Cosmic power, Divine power, God’."
The caste/laborer system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence are problems when saying a fair and rational God founded Hinduism."
The caste system, reincarnation and cow worship/reverence.
5. Buddhism- "Buddhism began in India about 500 years before the birth of Christ. The people living at that time had become disillusioned with certain beliefs of Hinduism including the caste system, which had grown extremely complex. The number of outcasts (those who did not belong to any particular caste) was continuing to grow."
"However, in Buddhism, like so many other religions, fanciful stories arose concerning events in the life of the founder, Siddhartha Gautama (fifth century B.C.):"
Archaeological discoveries have proved, beyond a doubt, his historical character, but apart from the legends we know very little about the circu-mstances of his life. e.g. Buddha by one legend was supposedly talking when he came out of his mother's womb.
Bottom line: There are many good ways of living but be aware of the hallucinations, embellishments, lies, and myths surrounding the founders and foundations of said rules of life.
Then, apply the Five F rule: "First Find the Flaws, then Fix the Foundations". And finally there will be religious peace and religious awareness in the world!!!!!
Of course, Susie provided a religious website as proof. Some objectivity there!
Aguest ... And you provide a secular source with a motivation of funding and ratings, and Reality provided a source 2000 years removed pushing an agenda to get the groups work published.
The question is, what part of the source provide from Crossroad, do you call out as false or inaccurate?
As requested: Please read all of the references before responding-
o 1. Historical Jesus Theories, earlychristianwritings.com/theories.htm – the names of many of the contemporary historical Jesus scholars and the ti-tles of their over 100 books on the subject.
2. Early Christian Writings, earlychristianwritings.com/
– a list of early Christian doc-uments to include the year of publication–
30-60 CE Passion Narrative
40-80 Lost Sayings Gospel Q
50-60 1 Thessalonians
50-60 1 Corinthians
50-60 2 Corinthians
50-90 Signs Gospel
50-95 Book of Hebrews
50-140 Gospel of Thomas
50-140 Oxyrhynchus 1224 Gospel
50-200 Sophia of Jesus Christ
65-80 Gospel of Mark
70-100 Epistle of James
70-120 Egerton Gospel
70-160 Gospel of Peter
70-160 Secret Mark
70-200 Fayyum Fragment
70-200 Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs
73-200 Mara Bar Serapion
80-100 2 Thessalonians
80-100 Gospel of Matthew
80-110 1 Peter
80-120 Epistle of Barnabas
80-130 Gospel of Luke
80-130 Acts of the Apostles
80-140 1 Clement
80-150 Gospel of the Egyptians
80-150 Gospel of the Hebrews
80-250 Christian Sibyllines
90-95 Apocalypse of John
90-120 Gospel of John
90-120 1 John
90-120 2 John
90-120 3 John
90-120 Epistle of Jude
93 Flavius Josephus
100-150 1 Timothy
100-150 2 Timothy
100-150 Apocalypse of Peter
100-150 Secret Book of James
100-150 Preaching of Peter
100-160 Gospel of the Ebionites
100-160 Gospel of the Nazoreans
100-160 Shepherd of Hermas
100-160 2 Peter
3. Historical Jesus Studies, faithfutures.org/HJstudies.html,
– "an extensive and constantly expanding literature on historical research into the person and cultural context of Jesus of Nazareth"
4. Jesus Database, faithfutures.org/JDB/intro.html–"The JESUS DATABASE is an online annotated inventory of the traditions concerning the life and teachings of Jesus that have survived from the first three centuries of the Common Era. It includes both canonical and extra-canonical materials, and is not limited to the traditions found within the Christian New Testament."
5. Josephus on Jesus mtio.com/articles/bissar24.htm
6. The Jesus Seminar, mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/seminar.html#Criteria
7. Writing the New Testament- mystae.com/restricted/reflections/messiah/testament.html
8. Health and Healing in the Land of Israel By Joe Zias
9. Economics in First Century Palestine, K.C. Hanson and D. E. Oakman, Palestine in the Time of Jesus, Fortress Press, 1998.
Continued from above:
10.. The Gnostic Jesus
(Part One in a Two-Part Series on Ancient and Modern Gnosticism)
by Douglas Groothuis: equip.org/free/DG040-1.htm
11. The interpretation of the Bible in the Church, Pontifical Biblical Commission
Presented on March 18, 1994
12. The Jesus Database- newer site:
13. Jesus Database with the example of Supper and Eucharist:
14. Josephus on Jesus by Paul Maier:
15. The Journal of Higher Criticism with links to articles on the Historical Jesus:
Only for those that are human:
1. origin: http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/16/science/house-of-david-inscription-clues-to-a-dark-age.html
PHOTOGRAPHS and transcriptions of a stone fragment bearing the first known reference outside the Bible to the House of David, a ruling dynasty presumably founded by King David in the 10th century B.C., have been published in Israel.
Discovery of the inscription in the ruins of Tel Dan, in northern Israel, was reported last summer by Dr. Avraham Biran, an archaeologist at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Inst.itute of Religion in Jerusalem. Scholars said this could be an important contribution to understanding the ninth century B.C., a dark age in biblical history, and also is strong independent evidence for the existence and influence of the House of David.
But pictures were not released because the discoverers were still analyzing the writing. Dr. Biran and Dr. Joseph Naveh, a specialist in ancient Semitic languages at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, have now provided a full, illustrated report in The Israel Exploration Journal.
They said the complete stone monument, a local basalt, was probably three feet high. The preserved fragment is 12 1/2 inches high, with the words separated by dots. The language is Early Aramaic.
Since each line is missing letters and words, Dr. Biran said in an interview that the reconstruction of the text was tentative. From some of the words and their context it appears that the monument is celebrating a victory in battle, possibly by a king of Aram in Damascus over a king of Israel. The words "my king" in the sixth line seem to indicate that the writer of the inscription was a dependent of the victorious king.
The letters in the ninth line clearly spell out the phrase "House of David," and the "most logical reconstruction," Dr. Biran and Dr. Naveh said, is that the victorious king is claiming he slew troops belonging to the king of the House of David, who was thus a descendant of David ruling Judah in southern Israel.
One initial interpretation was that the king of Israel of the inscription may be Baasha, and the king of the House of David was Asa, an ally of Ben-Hadad, king of Aram. "The nature of the biblical sources on the one hand and the fragmentary state of the Dan inscription on the other, do not allow us to draw definite conclusions," Dr. Biran and Dr. Naveh wrote.
But other interpretations will likely be offered when Dr. Biran describes the results at meetings of the Society of Biblical Literature and the American Schools of Oriental Research this week in Washington.
I emphasized one part because we know that Prof. Crossan loves independent attention
16. The Greek New Testament: laparola.net/greco/
17. Diseases in the Bible:
18. Religion on Line (6000 articles on the history of religion, churches, theologies,
theologians, ethics, etc.
19. The Jesus Seminarians and their search for NT authenticity:
20. The New Testament Gateway – Internet NT ntgateway.com/
21. Writing the New Testament- existing copies, oral tradition etc.
22. The Search for the Historic Jesus by the Jesus Seminarians:
23. Jesus Decoded by Msgr. Francis J. Maniscalco (Da Vinci Code review)jesusdecoded.com/introduction.php
24. JD Crossan's scriptural references for his book the Historical Jesus separated into time periods: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan1.rtf
25. JD Crossan's conclusions about the authencity of most of the NT based on the above plus the conclusions of other NT exegetes in the last 200 years:
"80-110 1 Peter" laughable
the author identifies himself as the apostle Peter (1:1), and the contents and character of the letter support his authorship (see notes on 1:12; 4:13; 5:1–2,5,13). Moreover, the letter reflects the history and terminology of the Gospels and Acts (notably Peter’s speeches). Its themes and concepts reflect Peter’s experiences and his associations in the period of our Lord’s earthly ministry and in the apostolic age. That he was acquainted, e.g., with Paul and his letters is made clear in 2Pe 3:15–16 (see notes there); Gal 1:18; 2:1–21 and elsewhere. Coincidences in thought and expression with Paul’s writings are therefore not surprising.
From the beginning, 1 Peter was recognized as authoritative and as the work of the apostle Peter. The earliest reference to it may be 2Pe 3:1 (see note there), where Peter himself refers to a former letter he had written. 1 Clement (a.d. 95) seems to indicate acquaintance with 1 Peter. Polycarp, a disciple of the apostle John, makes use of 1 Peter in his letter to the Philippians. The author of the Gospel of Truth (140–150) was acquainted with 1 Peter. Eusebius (fourth century) indicated that it was universally received.
The letter was explicitly ascribed to Peter by that group of church fathers whose testimonies appear in the attestation of so many of the genuine NT writings, namely, Irenaeus (a.d. 140–203), Tertullian (150–222), Clement of Alexandria (155–215) and Origen (185–253). It is thus clear that Peter’s authorship of the book has early and strong support.
Nevertheless some claim that the idiomatic Greek of this letter is beyond Peter’s competence. But in his time Aramaic, Hebrew and Greek were used in the Holy Land, and he may well have been acquainted with more than one language. That he was not a professionally trained scribe (Ac 4:13) does not mean that he was unacquainted with Greek; in fact, as a Galilean fisherman he in all likelihood did use it. Even if he had not known it in the earliest days of the church, he may have acquired it as an important aid to his apostolic ministry in the decades that intervened between then and the writing of 1 Peter.
It is true, however, that the Greek of 1 Peter is good literary Greek, and even though Peter could no doubt speak Greek, as so many in the Mediterranean world could, it is unlikely that he would write such polished Greek. But it is at this point that Peter’s remark in 5:12 (see note there) concerning Silas may be significant. Here the apostle claims that he wrote “with the help of” (more lit. “through” or “by means of”) Silas. This phrase cannot refer merely to Silas as a letter carrier. Thus Silas was the intermediate agent in writing. Some have claimed that Silas’s qualifications for recording Peter’s letter in literary Greek are found in Ac 15:22–29. It is known that a secretary in those days often composed doc.uments in good Greek for those who did not have the language facility to do so. Thus in 1 Peter Silas’s Greek may be seen, while in 2 Peter it may be Peter’s rough Greek that appears.
Some also maintain that the book reflects a situation that did not exist until after Peter’s death, suggesting that the persecution referred to in 4:14–16; 5:8–9 is descriptive of Domitian’s reign (a.d. 81–96). However, the situation that was developing in Nero’s time (54–68) is just as adequately described by those verses.
The book can be satisfactorily dated in the early 60s. It cannot be placed earlier than 60 since it shows familiarity with Paul’s Prison Letters (e.g., Colossians and Ephesians, which are to be dated no earlier than 60): Compare 1:1–3 with Eph 1:1–3; 2:18 with Col 3:22; 3:1–6 with Eph 5:22–24. Furthermore, it cannot be dated later than 67/68, since Peter was martyred during Nero’s reign.
26. Common Sayings from Thomas's Gospel and the Q Gospel: faithfutures.org/Jesus/Crossan3.rtf
27. Early Jewish Writings- Josephus and his books by t-itle with the complete translated work in English :earlyjewishwritings.com/josephus.html
28. Luke and Josephus- was there a connection?
29. NT and beyond time line:
30. St. Paul's Time line with discussion of important events:
31. See http://www.amazon.com for a list of JD Crossan's books and those of the other Jesus Seminarians: Reviews of said books are included and selected pages can now be viewed on Amazon. Some books can be found on-line at Google Books.
32. Father Edward Schillebeeckx's words of wisdom as found in his books.
33. The books of the following : Professors Marcus Borg, Paula Fredriksen, Elaine Pagels, Karen Armstrong and Bishop NT Wright.
34. Father Raymond Brown's An Introduction to the New Testament, Doubleday, NY, 1977, 878 pages, with Nihil obstat and Imprimatur.
35. Luke Timothy Johnson's book The Real Jesus
Added references as requested:
-from the studies of Armstrong, Rushdie, Hirsi Ali, Richardson and Bayhaqi–
"5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him)
Mohammed spent thirty days "fasting" (the Ramadan legend) in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a "pretty wingy thingy". Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic vi-olence i.e. turning Mohammed's "fast, hunger-driven" hallu-cinations into horrible reality for unbelievers
They are called the Infamous Angelic Cons:
Joe Smith had his Moroni.
"Latter-day Saints also believe that Michael the Archangel was Adam (the first man) when he was mortal, and Gabriel lived on the earth as Noah."
Jehovah Witnesses have their Jesus /Michael the archangel, the first angelic being created by God;
Mohammed had his Gabriel (this "tin-kerbell" got around).
Jesus and his family had Michael, Gabriel, and Satan, the latter being a modern day dem-on of the de-mented.
The Abraham-Moses myths had their Angel of Death and other "no-namers" to do their dirty work or other assorted duties.
Contemporary biblical and religious scholars have relegated these "pretty wingie thingies" to the myth pile. We should do the same to include deleting all references to them in our religious operating manuals. Doing this will eliminate the prophet/profit/prophecy status of these founders and put them where they belong as simple humans just like the rest of us.
Some added references to "tink-erbells".
"The belief in guardian angels can be traced throughout all antiquity; pagans, like Menander and Plutarch (cf. Euseb., "Praep. Evang.", xii), and Neo-Platonists, like Plotinus, held it. It was also the belief of the Babylonians and As-syrians, as their monuments testify, for a figure of a guardian angel now in the British Museum once decorated an As-syrian palace, and might well serve for a modern representation; while Nabopolassar, father of Nebuchadnezzar the Great, says: "He (Marduk) sent a tutelary deity (cherub) of grace to go at my side; in everything that I did, he made my work to succeed."
Catholic monks and Dark Age theologians also did their share of hallu-cinating:
"TUBUAS-A member of the group of angels who were removed from the ranks of officially recognized celestial hierarchy in 745 by a council in Rome under Pope Zachary. He was joined by Uriel, Adimus, Sabaoth, Simiel, and Raguel."
And tin-ker- bells go way, way back:
"In Zoroastrianism there are different angel like creatures. For example each person has a guardian angel called Fravashi. They patronize human being and other creatures and also manifest god’s energy. Also, the Amesha Spentas have often been regarded as angels, but they don't convey messages, but are rather emanations of Ahura Mazda ("Wise Lord", God); they appear in an abstract fashion in the religious thought of Zarathustra and then later (during the Achaemenid period of Zoroastrianism) became personalized, associated with an aspect of the divine creation (fire, plants, water...)."
"The beginnings of the biblical belief in angels must be sought in very early folklore. The gods of the Hitti-tes and Canaanites had their supernatural messengers, and parallels to the Old Testament stories of angels are found in Near Eastern literature. "
"The 'Magic Papyri' contain many spells to secure just such help and protection of angels. From magic traditions arose the concept of the guardian angel. "
For added information see the review at:
For those interested in more information about 1 Peter:
Father "Raymond Brown writes: "If one thinks the work is pseudonymous and written about 90, the references could be to imperial harassment in Domitian's time . . . A more recent tendency has been to refer I Pet's suffering/trial language not to imperial persecution but to local hostility wherein non-Christians spoke badly of Christians, treating them as evildoers (2:12), defaming their conduct (3:16), vilifying them (4:4), and insulting them because of their belief in Christ (4:14). Christians would have const-ituted a new cult, exclusive and, to outside eyes, secretive and subversive—suspect of immorality or even of atheism because they did not participate in the public cult and thus insulted the gods. On the one hand, 'trial by fire' (4:12) might seem overly hyperbolic for such treatment; on the other hand, this explanation accounts very well for the atmosphere of alienation that pervades the letter. The strong stress on the dignity of Christians and their status would be meant to encourage a group being ostracized by their countrymen, a group that can be addressed as homeless and sojourners (2:11; also 1:1,17). They are like Israel in the exodus on the road to the Promised Land; they should not look back to their former status as did the Israelites (1:14), but press on to their imperishable inheritance (1:4). Although they may have been accepted by their neighbors before, they were then 'no people' in God's eyes and had not received God's mercy (2:10 echoing Hos 1:9, 1:6); now they are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God's own people (I Pet 2:9)." (An Introduction to the New Testament, pp. 713-714)
John H. Elliott writes: "These various factors taken together make it likely that 1 Peter was written from Rome sometime during the years 73 to 92 C.E. Consistent with this period of the Church's situation and theological development are further features of the letter such as the rudimentary mode of organization (4:10-11) and presbyteral leadership (5:1-5); the emergence of the household as ecclesial model (Mark, Luke-Acts, Colossians, Ephesians, Hebrews); a 'servant' christology (Mark, Luke-Acts) which was later abandoned; a christological motivation of moral conduct (contrast later appeals to apostolic authority in Jude, 2 Peter and Pastorals); absence of contention over gnosis and heresy; and a still lively apocalyptic eschatological orientation." (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, art. "First Epistle of Peter")
Thanks for the excerpt which confirms the original point of why not to use that website
Because of the "absence of contention over gnosis and heresy"... so if I don't mention the internet in every sentence I speak it must than occur before the invention of the internet?
OMG he gave Obama a Bible. Don't read too much into it. Like, "he gave Obama a Bible so Obama would kill 75,000 Persians." If you find the Bible that repellent, maybe you should find another profession.
On thing that is pretty much certain .. there are 7 billion people on earth .. going to be 9 billion. FEW OF THEM will live more than 70 years .. very few one into the 80's - they do not have resources - and the do not have a benefactor. So THEIR life spans will be modest. in all of WWII .. and even the traffic accidents and all the wars in history .. there have not been 7 billion deaths. Much less 9 billion. Do the math. Look at the footprint. Look at the struggles ahead. Look at the divisions (those who get and those who do not get). Look at the motivations .. and .. the inferred declines
If you live in the Midwest (United States .. the corn belt).. you have to work in the hot summer sun to bring in a golden harvest of life giving grain. If you live in the "rust belt" it WAS (past tense) good to see the mills making steel, track rails; if you live by the sea it is good to see boats and ships going out to sea and returning. We'd like to have a president who believes in the things we believe in; who shares our hopes and aspirations; who wants those things to be better because he is president. This one promised to make things better but everything he does is contrary to American beliefs; contrary to our values; contrary to our interests in the world; hostile to our soldiers and sailors; to our flag; to our anthem; to our Cons..t..i.t.u.tion.
Time to join the 21st Century. It's a service economy now. I suppose you want Sanctorum, the woman hater to be POTUS.
"T h e . .2 1 s t . .c e n t u r y . .. . . .i t ' s . .n o t . .t h e . .g r e a t e s t . .e v e n . .y e t . . .G o t . .o f f . .t o . .a . .v e r y . .b a d . .s t a r t . . . . .C a n . .y o u . .f i x . .i t ? . . . .I . .w o n d e r . . . . .W h o s e . .c e n t u r y . .i s . .g o i n g . .t o . .b e ? . . . .T h e . .1 6 t h . .c e n t u r y . .( 1 5 0 0 ' s . .w a s . .S p a n i s h ) . ."
". . . .g l o b a l . .d o m i n a n c e . . . . .T h e . .1 7 t h . .c e n t u r y . .( 1 6 0 0 ' s ) . .w a s . .F r e n c h . . . . .T h e . .1 8 t h . .a n d . .1 9 t h . .w e r e . .B r i t i s h . .( i n t o . .t h e . .2 0 t h ) . .. . . .t h e . .2 0 t h . .w a s . .A m e r i c a n . . . . .B u t . .A m e r i c a . .i s . .f a d i n g . .f a s t . .. . . .C h i n a . .a n d . ."
"I n d i a . .a r e . .r i s i n g . . . . .T h e . .J a p a n e s e . .e m p i r e . .w a s . .s h o r t . .l i v e d . .- – . .d i d . .n o t . .d o m i n a t e . .t h e . .g l o b e . . . . .T h e . .R u s s i a n . .e m p i r e . .d i d . .n o t . .d o m i n a t e . .t h e . .w o r l d . .( c o m m u n i s m . .i s . .f a i l u r e ) . . . . .N o w . .s o c i a l i s m . .i s . ."
"f a i l i n g . .a l l . .o v e r . .E u r o p e . . . . . . .T h e . .U . S > . .d o m i n a t e d . .t h e . .g l o b e . .A F T E R . .W W I I . .. . . .p r o d u c t i o n , . .s p a c e . .r a c e , . .m i c r o . .c o m p u t e r s , . .i d e a s . .. . . .c r e a t i v i t y . . . . . . .T h a t ' s . .g o n e . .n o w . . . . .S i l i c o n . .v a l l e y , . ."
"a e r o s p a c e , . .s p a c e . .e x p l o r a t i o n . .- – – . .n o t . .a . .U . S . . .s t r e n g t h . .n o w . . . . .N o . .p o w e r . .n o w . . . .n o . .i d e a s . . . .n o . .c r e a t i v i t y . . . .n o . .p r o d u c t i o n . . . . .L i v i n g . .o n . .c r e d i t ; . .a n d . .n o t . .w i s e l y . . . . .W h o s e . .c e n t u r y . .i s . .t h i s ? . . . . . ."
Well one thing for sure, it's NOT the Century of the pessimists. Change is GOOD ! Cheer up ! The fact is, there is more knowledge now that ever, and it increases by a logrhythmic rate. In 50 years, you will have an implant which downloads every book,and every article ever written, into your brain, and upload the days news and discoveries into your self evolving machine brain. All the old political separations are becoming obsolete, and as soon as the aliens are discovered, the WILL be obsolete. Yes, the US is fading fast, but it's only because we gave up our education system's dominance, and celebrate "jockery", and "celebrity". Our heroes are idiots like the Kardashians, and Tim Tebow. Socialism is NOT failing "all over Europe", and the medical systems in Sweden, and the Northern European countries are BETTER than the US. The US gave up space, because they lost their confidence. So what. The human race will not give it up for long. Your "no nothing" is VERY shortsighted. Ever look at what Apple does ? The credit bubble has popped, and we survived. Maybe there will be another crash, when the US goes bankrupt, so what The world will go on. ALL my relatives live into their LATE 90's, because they get GOOD medical care. Don't be such a sourpuss.
.. it is not pessimism when I say the 21st century got off to a bad start .. Y-2K was a billion dollar boon doggle that naever would have happened .. then 9-11-01 .. in mid-Manhattan (this is not some Hawaiian outpost in 1941 .. it isnt the Ruben James at MOMP .. it is mid-Manhattan. So that was not good. Then Bush's response (2 wars .. sheesh). That's like having a war to catch Bonnie and Clyde (talk about a name sake). OK then every man Jack in the U.S. was levering every penny he had OUT of his house: 107% in some cases (and buying RV's and boats and Beemers - brilliant) .. The Obummer - oh man what a dismal 4 years and he may get a second term. Obummer on top of Bush = 16 mislead years. That is not pessimism .. that's a fact. Ok well hate break this to ya but the U.S. IS bankrupt - bond rating in the tanks (no credit and no cash). Well so are all the major states and all the major cities in the U.S. .. and Greece and Russia .. and Spain and France and UK .. That's not pessimism .. it is real. Socialism has not failed? They can no longer pay for it .. so it can;t happen. Like when you can't pay for you house it is NOT your house. (reckoning time). So we are not living on credit>? Well when you are not producing anything (anything - it all comes in from else where) .. not creating any value added - then you musty be living on credit. Sure enough the bail out is a credit boondoggle .. and HE cannot account for where it went. (no record of where it went). The major states have no cash .. and no credit either B- bond ratings - just like E. St. Louis. Major cities - NYC, Chicago, Detroit, L.A. ... broke and no credit. federal-state-local (connect the dots). Oh yes there are people ARE employed serving other people: medical, bakeries - food, home repair, cars, trains (even planes ) .. they do not create value added. Lawyers = leeches. Those folks have jobs .. so long as the credit lasts. Sooner or later they are going to have to produce something - but as Wynn said in Las Vegas ... not while Obummer is pres
Great. Go hide in your basement and make lists of bad things, and how bad things are. Knock yourself out.
@ RightTurnClyde Socialism is a failure. You state this as fact and I point to China. How is it if Socialism is a failure we're borrowing money from the largest Militaristic Socialistic state in the world? I'm not trying to say China's way of doing things is good nor bad, just asking the question... As far as the 20th Century goes, we got off to a bad start there too: Presidential Assassination, parties split over big business and the the lack of a growing middle class, Imperialism all over the world, rebels in American Territories, Jim Crow laws, and America's nearly 60 years of warfare. The 21st Century is starting off much like the last.
Anyone that has read Esther knows it's all about one thing:
" For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to your royal position for such a time as this?”" – Esther 4
I would say that is exactly why Netanyahu gave it to Obama, the message couldnt have been plainer.
I am continuously astonished at how little familiarity so called "religious scholars" actually have with the Bible.
I like your comment, very well said. :)
I posted a response but I think I have been disabled for today.. My razor sharp reasoning troubles them.
@RightTurnClyde Be careful not to hurt yourself with that "razor sharp reasoning". I especially liked your concept of one group, on a 2 trillion math error, classifying the US as having a AA+ rating qualifies as a "bond rating in the tanks (sic)". Most of the rest of your rant is similiarly flawed. But, I guess if it makes you happy......
In order to understand the Bible one needs the Holy Spirit, other wise it makes little sense.
Read the const.itution and thetTreaty of tripoli to learn about us. We Muslims read this quite often and have understood this you should also do the same
President Obama should learn to respect and love Israel - and this is one of the ways. By the way, does Mr. Prothero's "BCE" stand for 'Before Christian Era' or 'Before Current Era'?
Why should he love Israel ? Why can't I send MY prophet up to the top of the mountain in Del Mar, and decide Rancho Santa Fe is MY "promised land" ? What a crock. They ran the Canaanites out of their homes, and now the act like it's their land. Bullsh1t.
Are you afraid to say BULLSHIT?
BCE is the politically correct verson of BC (before Christ) BCE stands for before the common era.
Of course not, fuckhead.
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