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Joanna and Junia

Published July 30, 2018 by amaic
Image result for joanna of luke's gospel'

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

 “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my fellow Jews who have been in prison with me.

They are outstanding among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was”.

Romans 16:7

 

 

Some have suggested that the otherwise unknown “Junia” referred to in this verse could only have been a female, and may have been the “Joanna” of Luke’s Gospel.

For example, Marg has written: https://margmowczko.com/junia-jewish-woman-imprisoned/

 

Junia: The Jewish Woman who was Imprisoned with Paul

….

A Female Missionary

 

Junia, mentioned by the apostle Paul in his letter to the Romans, is a woman whose identity and whose ministry has been much discussed in the past few decades. It was first debated whether she was a woman or a man. But the overwhelming evidence from inscriptions and other ancient sources indicates that “Junia” was a common name for a woman, whereas the masculine equivalent, “Junias”, is non-existent. Practically all early Christian writers took Junia to be a woman, and the consensus among present scholars is the same: Junia was a woman. So this debate has been resolved.

 

The debate then shifted as to whether Junia was an apostle or not. The word “apostle” is translated from the Greek word apostolos and refers to a person sent on a mission.

….

The debate about whether Junia was “outstanding among the apostles” or, as some argue, that she was “well-known to the apostles” and not an apostle herself, has not been resolved…. But either way, Junia was a prominent figure in the apostolic church. …. Junia and her partner Andronicus were not part of the Twelve, but they were, most likely, well-known and respected Christian missionaries.

 

Mackey’s comment: According to an interesting hypothesis, Andronicus could have been the apostle Andrew, under the Greek form of his name. Thus we read at: https://www.theologyofwork.org/key-topics/women-workers-in-the-new-testament/the-jewish-palace-insider-and-benefactor-junia-romans-166

 

The Jewish palace insider and benefactor Junia (Romans 16:6)

 

Biblical scholars have puzzled over the years about Paul’s reference in Romans 16:6: “Greet Andronicus and Junia, my relatives who were in prison with me; they are prominent among the apostles, and they were in Christ before I was.” Who were these folks? Paul was clear that they were related to him, that they had shared prison time with him, they were prominent apostles, and they had become believers before he had. Who could fill that bill?

 

That points to someone who was Jewish, had known Jesus in his earthly ministry (the requirement for the title apostle), and had signed on as a Jesus-follower before Paul himself. Now they were in Rome.

 

In his book Gospel Women, noted biblical scholar Richard Bauckham untangles the knots in this mystery for us, starting with one of the women healed by Jesus, mentioned in Luke 8:3. She was Joanna, the wife of Chuza, the business manager for king Herod Antipas. It turns out that the name Joanna is the Hebrew equivalent of the Roman name Junia. Could Joanna in the gospels be the same person as the apostle Junia? Look at some of the possible clues leading to that conclusion.

 

The name Chuza is not a Jewish name, and he is thought to have been Nabatean (King Herod Antipas had other connections to the Nabatean royal family). But as the king’s finance minister living in the new Roman-style palace in the royal city of Tiberias, he needed a Jewish wife connected to a wealthy Jewish family. Enter young Joanna (probably just entering puberty when she was married to the much older, mature man, Chuza). While king Herod Antipas had some Jewish blood, his kingship depended on Rome, so palace life in Tiberias followed Roman practices. Joanna would likely have been given a Roman name (Junia) and would have been formed in Roman ways of acting and thinking.

 

We first meet Joanna in the Bible, however, not as part of the royal household, but as a woman in need of healing. Luke tells us that after Jesus healed her, she became part of his traveling band of women caring for the physical needs of the Savior. In short, she became one of his benefactors, providing funds for the support of his group.

 

What the Bible does not tell us is whether or not Chuza had died and Joanna was widowed, but scholars surmise this likely was the case (given the probable disparity in their ages). Nor does the Bible tell us that in traveling with Jesus’ band, she might eventually have remarried, becoming the wife of Andrew, one of Jesus’s disciples. If, however, this was the case, it would answer to all of the clues given in Paul’s greeting to this couple in Romans 16:6. We know that Peter first carried the Gospel to Rome, and to bring along his brother and fellow disciple, Andrew, is logical. So as Paul’s letter to the Romans was read to the assembled Christians, he addressed this apostolic pair by their Roman names – Andronicus and Junia.

 

Paul doesn’t tell us that back in Palestine they had been Andrew and Joanna, but all of his clues fit that possibility.

 

Mackey’s comment: Back to Marg, she, too, will arrive at the conclusion that Junia was Joanna

 

A Jewess and Jesus’ Follower

 

What hasn’t been discussed as much is Paul’s description of Andronicus and Junia as suggeneis.[3] This Greek word can mean “relative/relation” or “compatriot” and it is translated with either meaning in various English translations of Roman 16:7. But which meaning is correct?

 

The couple were among the first people to become Jesus followers, and all the first Christians were Jewish. So it is safe to assume that Andronicus and Junia were Jews, as Paul was. If they were family relations of Paul (and we don’t know if they were) this would also make them Jewish. All in all, “fellow Jews”, or “compatriots”, is the safest rendering of suggeneis in Romans 16:7.

 

Paul states that Andronicus and Junia were “in Christ” before him, and Paul was converted sometime during the years 33-36 AD. I wonder if the couple had travelled to Jerusalem for the feast of Pentecost that is the setting of Acts 2. Did they hear Peter preach at that time? Did they accept Jesus as Messiah, and then return to Rome?[4] Or did Junia become a follower of Jesus even earlier?

 

Are Junia and Joanna the same person?

 

Some scholars, notably Richard Bauckham and Ben Witherington III, argue that Junia may be one and the same as Joanna, a female disciple of Jesus who is mentioned in Luke 8:3 and Luke 24:10.[5] Luke tells us that Joanna was the wife of Chuza, the steward of Herod Antipas.

 

As part of Herod’s court, Joanna would have known Latin and been familiar with Roman customs, making her a suitable missionary, or founding apostle, of the church at Rome. And she may have changed her Hebrew/Aramaic name to the Latin “Junia” to suit her new surroundings in Rome.

 

Another part of this Joanna/Junia scenario is the understanding that her husband Chuza died at some point, and that Andronicus became her new husband and ministry partner.

….

 

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Israel and Sparta

Published June 8, 2018 by amaic
Image result for spartans

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

 

“King Arius [Areus] of Sparta to Onias the High Priest, greetings. We have found a document about the Spartans and the Jews indicating that we are related and that both of our nations are descended from Abraham”.

 I Maccabees 12:20-21

 

 

 

According to this famous letter sent by king Arius of the Spartans to the Jewish High Priest, Onias, as recorded in the First Book of Maccabees, the Spartans, likewise, were of the stock of the great Hebrew patriarch Abraham.

This information has caused scholars to search avidly for a connection between the two nations.

 

Amongst the conclusions at which scholars arrive, the Spartans arose from Abraham’s wife Keturah, or they were from the sea-faring tribe of Dan, or from the warrior tribe of Gad.

Or, according to Steve Collins (and others), the Spartans were of the fierce tribe of Simeon (“The Missing Simeonites”): https://stevenmcollins.com/articles/the-missing-simeonites/

 

The Spartans themselves declared that they were a fellow tribe of the Jews and corresponded with an ancient Jewish High Priest about their relationship. The book of I Maccabees14:16-23 records this correspondence, which includes this statement:

 

“And this is the copy of the letter which the Spartans sent: The Chief magistrates and the city of the Spartans send greeting to Simon, the chief priest, and to the elders and the priests and the rest of the Jewish people, our kinsmen.” (Emphasis added.)

 

Notice the Spartans called the Jews “our kinsmen.” The Spartans did not proclaim themselves to be Jews, but rather that they were “kinsmen” to the Jews (i.e. members of one of the other tribes of Israel). That the Spartans acknowledged a common ancestry with the Jews of the tribe of Judah gives powerful weight to the assertion that they were Israelites who migrated to Greece instead of the Promised Land. The Spartan culture is most like that of the tribe of Simeon, most of which apparently left the Israelite encampment in the Wilderness after a Simeon prince was executed by a Levite.

 

There is a third group of wanderers in ancient history which manifested a Simeonite/ Israelite ancestry, but this column is now long enough. The story of another band of Simeonites who struck out on their own in the world will be told in a future column. ….

 

[End of quote]

Coin depicting King Areus I of Sparta

 

 

Collins will also tell of these interesting points by Professor Jones:

 

…. The Book, Sparta, by A.H.M. Jones, a Professor of Ancient History at Cambridge University, noted several things about Sparta. He states the Spartans worshipped a “great law-giver” who had given them their laws in the “dim past” (page 5 of his book). This law-giver may have been Moses.

 

Professor Jones also noted the Spartans celebrated “the new moons” and the “seventh day” of the month” (page 13). Observing new moons was an Israelite calendar custom, and their observance of “a seventh day” could originate with the Sabbath celebration. Prof. Jones also notes, as do other authorities, that the Spartans were known for being “ruthless” in war and times of crisis. This sounds exactly like the Simeonite nature, which was given to impulsive cruelty, as the Bible confirms.

 

Interestingly, Prof. Jones writes that the Spartans were themselves divided into several “tribes” which constituted distinct military formations within the Spartan army (pages 31-32).

 

At the Jewish site: https://www.mayimachronim.com/when-jews-and-greeks-were-brothers-the-untold-story-of-chanukah/ which gives the article, “When Jews and Greeks Were Brothers: The Untold Story of Chanukah”, the question is asked: “Incredibly, the Spartan king suggests that the Spartans are descendants of Abraham, too! Where does this bizarre belief come from?” It proceeds from there to consider various possibilities, noting Hebrew and Spartan similarities:

 

Greek Sons of Abraham

 

Sometime in the 2nd century BCE lived a Greek historian and sage named Cleodemus, sometimes referred to as Cleodemus the Prophet. He also went by the name Malchus which, because of its Semitic origins, makes some scholars believe he could have been Jewish. Cleodemus wrote an entire history of the Jewish people in Greek. While this text appears to have been lost, it is cited by others, including Josephus (Antiquities, i. 15).

 

Cleodemus commented on Abraham’s marriage to Keturah (typically identified with Hagar), and their children. This is recorded in Genesis 25, which begins:

 

And Abraham took another wife, and her name was Keturah. And she bore him Zimran, and Yokshan, and Medan, and Midian, and Ishbak, and Shuach. And Yokshan begot Sheva and Dedan. And the sons of Dedan were Ashurim, and Letushim, and Leumim. And the sons of Midian were Ephah, and Epher, and Chanokh, and Avidah, and Elda’ah. All these were the children of Keturah. And Abraham gave all that he had to Isaac, while to the sons of the concubines that Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and he sent them away from Isaac, while he was still alive, to the east country.

 

Abraham had six children with Keturah, from which came at least seven grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren which the Torah names explicitly. The Torah then makes it clear that Abraham gave everything that he had to Isaac—including the Covenant with God and the land of Israel—while the others received gifts and were sent away from the Holy Land.

 

Cleodemus suggests that Epher (or another child named Yaphran), the great-grandson of Abraham, migrated to Africa—which is where the term “Africa” comes from! (This is particularly interesting because Epher was the son of Midian, and Tziporah the wife of Moses was a Midianite, and is described as a Cushite, or African/Ethiopian.) Cleodemus states that Epher, Yaphran, and Ashurim assisted the Greek hero Hercules in one of his battles. Following this, Hercules married one of their daughters—a great granddaughter of Abraham—and had a son with her. This son was Diodorus, one of the legendary founders of Sparta!

 

It appears that the Spartan king Areus was aware of this possible historical connection, and accepted it as fact. This connection may explain why the Spartans were so similar to ancient Israelites. (Others have suggested that because the Israelite tribe of Shimon—known for being fierce warriors—did not receive a set portion in the Holy Land, many of them moved elsewhere and ended up in Sparta, or ended up in Sparta after being expelled from Israel by the Assyrians alongside the other lost tribes.) In his book Sparta, renowned historian Hugo Jones writes that the Spartans held in the highest regard a certain ancient law-giver, much like Moses the law-giver of Israel.

 

Mackey’s comment: For more on this “certain ancient law-giver [Lycurgus], much like Moses the law-giver of Israel”, see my article:

 

Moses and Lycurgus

 

https://www.academia.edu/27900244/Moses_and_Lycurgus

 

The article continues:

 

The Spartans celebrated new moons (Rosh Chodesh), and unlike their Greek counterparts, even a seventh day of rest! Of course, the Spartans themselves were very different from other Greeks, particularly those in Athens, whom Sparta often battled. The Spartan form of government was different, too, not an Athenian-style democracy but a monarchy that governed alongside a “council of elders”, much like Israel’s king and Sanhedrin.

 

Perhaps most similarly, the Spartans were known for their “stoic” way of life. The later Greek school of stoicism was modeled on the ancient way of the Spartans. This meant living simply and modestly, being happy with what one has, and most importantly, putting mind above body, and logic above emotion. This almost sounds like something out of Pirkei Avot, and is a teaching echoed across Jewish texts both ancient and modern. In fact, when Josephus tried to explain who the rabbis were to his Roman audience, he said that they were Jewish stoic philosophers!

 

Bust of Zeno of Citium (c. 334-262 BCE), founder of the Athenian school of Stoicism. Zeno taught that God permeates the whole universe, and knowledge of God requires goodness, fortitude, logic, and living a life of Virtue.

 

Gideon and Leonidas

 

Undoubtedly, the most famous story of the Spartans is the Battle of Thermopylae.

 

Mackey’s comment: For my Jewish version of the real “Thermopylae”, the Battle that changed the world, see my series:

 

Thermopylae changed nothing. Part One: Introductory

 

https://www.academia.edu/34746412/Thermopylae_changed_nothing._Part_One_Introductory

 

https://www.academia.edu/34746837/Thermopylae_changed_nothing._Part_Two_Unsatisfactory_Foundations

 

https://www.academia.edu/34747621/Thermopylae_changed_nothing._Part_Three_Based_on_the_Book_of_Judith_Drama

 

The article continues, adding the further biblical elements of Gideon and his 300, Mordecai from the Book of Esther, and the Maccabees:

 

Around 480 BCE, the Persian emperor Xerxes invaded Greece with a massive force. Xerxes first sent messengers to the Greek city-states to offer peaceful surrender. According to the historian Herodotus, Sparta’s king Leonidas told the messenger: “A slave’s life is all you understand, you know nothing of freedom. For if you did, you would have encouraged us to fight on, not only with our spear, but with everything we have.” Spoken like a true Maccabee.

The messenger then told Leonidas and his men to bow down, to which Leonidas, like his historical contemporary Mordechai, said: “We bow down before no man.” Later, when the Persian boasted that his empire was the wealthiest in the world, with gold reserves the likes of which Leonidas could only dream of, Leonidas replied: “Ares is lord. Greece has no fear of gold.”

 

This statement almost makes Leonidas seem like a monotheist. Indeed, the Spartans worshiped Ares—the god of war—above all others. Interestingly, the Torah commonly describes Hashem in similar military terms, like a great warrior riding a merkavah or chariot, as a “God of Legions” (Hashem Tzva’ot), and even as a “Man of War” (Ish Milchamah, see Exodus 15:3). Of course, the Spartans had their abominable statues and idols, which is perhaps the greatest distinction (and a critical one) between them and ancient Israel.

 

‘Gideon choosing his men’ by Gustav Doré. God told Gideon to choose worthy soldiers based on the way they drank from a spring. Those that went on their knees and bent over to drink were disqualified. Those three hundred who modestly took cupfuls to their mouth were selected. (Judges 7:5-7)

 

King Leonidas went on to assemble just three hundred brave men to face off against the massive Persian invasion. Although they ultimately lost, the Spartans fought valiantly, inspired their fellow Greeks, and did enough damage to hamper Persian victory. This story of three hundred, too, has a Biblical parallel. The Book of Judges records a nearly-identical narrative, with the judge Gideon assembling three hundred brave men and miraculously defeating a massive foreign invasion.

 

Which came first? The earliest complete Greek mythological texts date back only to the 3rd century BCE. By then, the Tanakh had long been completed, and in that same century was first translated into the Greek Septuagint. It isn’t hard to imagine Greek scholars and historians of the 3rd century getting their hands on the first Greek copies of Tanakh and incorporating those narratives into their own. In fact, the Greek-Jewish philosopher Aristobulus of Alexandria (181-124 BCE) admitted that all of Greek wisdom comes from earlier Jewish sources. The later Greek philosopher Numenius of Apamea said it best: “What is Plato but Moses speaking Greek?”

 

Mackey’s comment: Hooray! At last a right perspective – the pagan Greek story influenced by the Jewish one, and not the other way around as is usually suggested.

The article continues:

 

Yafet and Iapetus

 

The similarities between Greek myth and more ancient Jewish texts are uncanny. Hercules was a mighty warrior whose first task (of twelve) was to slay a lion, like the mighty Shimshon who first slays a lion in Judges. Deucalion survives a great flood that engulfs the whole world as punishment from an angry Zeus. Like Noah before him, Deucalion has a wife and three sons, and like Noah, Deucalion is associated with wine-making (the root of his name, deukos). Pandora’s curiosity brings about evil just like Eve’s, while Asclepius carries a healing serpent-staff like Moses. Aristophanes even taught that Zeus first made man as male and female in one body, and later split them in half, just as the Torah and Talmud do.

 

Roman mosaic of Hercules and the Nemean Lion, and a Roman fresco of Samson and the lion, from the same time period.

 

In Jewish tradition, the Greeks come from the Biblical Yavan, son of Yafet (or Yefet or Japheth), son of Noah (Genesis 10:2). Yavan is the same as the Greek Ion (or Iawones), one of the Greek gods, and Ionia, referring to one of its most important regions, and the dialect of the great Greek poets Homer and Hesiod, as well as the scholars Herodotus and Hippocrates. Meanwhile, the Greeks worshipped Iapetus (same as Yafet) as a major god. Iapetus was the father of Prometheus, the god who supposedly fashioned man from the mud of the earth. So, not surprisingly, the Biblical Yavan and Yafet are firmly in the Greek tradition as well.

 

….

 

On Chanukah, we celebrate the Jewish victory over the Seleucids. Not of the Greeks as a whole, but of a relatively small faction of Syrian Greeks, far from the Greek heartland which always enjoyed a good relationship with Israel, starting with Alexander the Great and through to the Spartans and Maccabees.

 

 

Hannah widow-martyr, St. Sophia and Hadrian

Published June 5, 2018 by amaic
Saint Sophia and daughters: Faith, Hope and Love by GalleryZograf

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

“An official named Antiochus denounced them to the emperor Hadrian … who ordered that they be brought to Rome. Realizing that they would be taken before the emperor, the holy virgins prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking that He give them the strength not to fear torture and death. When the holy virgins and their mother came before the emperor, everyone present was amazed at their composure. They looked as though they had been brought to some happy festival, rather than to torture”.

This story bears remarkable parallels to that of the widow-martyr, Hannah, in 2 Maccabees, especially in my revised context according to which Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ was Hadrian:

Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’ and Emperor Hadrian. Part One: “… a mirror image”

 

https://www.academia.edu/32734925/Antiochus_Epiphanes_and_Emperor_Hadrian._Part_One_a_mirror_image_

 

and:

 

Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’ and Emperor Hadrian. Part Two: “Hadrian … a second Antiochus”

 

https://www.academia.edu/35538588/Antiochus_Epiphanes_and_Emperor_Hadrian._Part_Two_Hadrian_a_second_Antiochus_

 

For one, an “Antiochus” denounces the mother and her daughters to the emperor Hadrian.

In 2 Maccabees 7 it is Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’ who tortures the victims, but who is named in Jewish legends, “Hadrian”.

 

In the Christian tale the mother has only daughters.

In the Maccabean account the mother has only sons.

 

St. Sophia is, as Hannah is (according to Jewish tradition), a widow.

 

In both tales the children remain composed even whilst being tortured.

 

In both tales the pious mother, who encourages her children, outlives them all, but soon dies (St. Sophia 3 days later).

 

Here is my account of the Jewish widow-martyr, according to my revised history, with the Herodian and Maccabean ages now contemporary, and Hannah tentatively suggested as the New Testament widow, Anna the prophetess:

 

A New Timetable for the Nativity of Jesus Christ

 

https://www.academia.edu/36672214/A_New_Timetable_for_the_Nativity_of_Jesus_Christ

 

Anna was a widow – and, appropriately, the woman-martyr in Maccabees has no husband with her but only sons. Soon we shall read that she was, according to rabbinic tradition, “a widow”.

And she was indeed very wise and prophetic, as would befit an Anna the prophetess.

Moreover, Anna had had the inestimable privilege of witnessing the future hope of Israel and she accordingly “gave thanks to God and spoke about the Child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem” (Luke 2:38).

If Anna were also the woman of Maccabees, then her experience of meeting the Holy Family would have greatly fortified her in her worthy task of urging her seven sons not to apostatise. Her hope had become their hope.

And so the youngest of the sons can hopefully proclaim to the king (2 Maccabees 7:32-35):

 

‘It is true that our living Lord is angry with us and is making us suffer because of our sins, in order to correct and discipline us. But this will last only a short while, for we are still his servants, and he will forgive us. But you are the cruelest and most disgusting thing that ever lived. So don’t fool yourself with illusions of greatness while you punish God’s people. There is no way for you to escape punishment at the hands of the almighty and all-seeing God’.

 

The wise mother also manages to ‘shatter the theory of evolution’ with her ex nihilo remark (7:28): ‘God did not make them out of existing things’: http://www.usccb.org/bible/2mc/7 “that is, all things were made solely by God’s omnipotent will and creative word; cf. Heb 11:3. This statement has often been taken as a basis for “creation out of nothing” (Latin creatio ex nihilo)”.

 

Hannah’s (Anna’s) martyrdom, along with her seven sons, we estimate to have occurred very soon after the Presentation. The Holy Family was now safe from “the king”, in Egypt.

Now, a traditional Jewish interpretation of this dramatic account of martyrdom may have great import for our revised Maccabean-Herodian history and for the ‘shaving off’ of Romans.

Very early in this article we followed up our question about the relationship of Antiochus to Herod with: And who is Caesar Augustus?

… whilst Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’ was the king present during the martyrdom of the woman and her seven sons, there are accounts in the Jewish Talmud and Midrash according to which the king in the story was “Caesar” (e.g. Talmud, Gittin 57b and Midrash Eicha Rabba 1:50). Even more shockingly (in standard historical terms) the cruel king overseeing the martyrdom is sometimes named “Hadrian”. Stephen D. Moore, in The Bible in Theory: Critical and Postcritical Essays, p. 196, when discussing the famous incident in the Maccabees of the mother and her seven martyred sons, adds this intriguing footnote (51) according to which Antiochus was replaced in rabbinic tradition by Hadrian:

 

Nameless in 4 Maccabees, the mother is dubbed … Hannah … in the rabbinic tradition …. The tyrant in the rabbinic versions, however, is not Antiochus Epiphanes but Hadrian: “Hadrian came and seized upon a widow …” (S. Eliyahu Rab. 30); “In the days of the shemad [the Hadrianic persecutions]…” (Pesiq. R. 43). ….

 

As said, this is ‘shocking’ in a conventional context which would have Antiochus (c. 170 BC) separated in time from the reign of the emperor Hadrian (c. 117-138 AD) by some three centuries. But it accords perfectly with the descriptions of Hadrian as “a second Antiochus” and “a mirror-image of Antiochus”.

[End of quote]

 

Now, here is the story of the Christian saint and her daughters – all so marvellously named:

https://oca.org/saints/lives/2012/09/17/102641-martyr-love-with-her-mother-and-sisters-at-rome

 

Martyr Love with her mother and sisters at Rome

 

The Holy Martyrs Saint Sophia and her Daughters Faith, Hope and Love were born in Italy. Their mother was a pious Christian widow who named her daughters for the three Christian virtues. Faith was twelve, Hope was ten, and Love was nine. Saint Sophia raised them in the love of the Lord Jesus Christ. Saint Sophia and her daughters did not hide their faith in Christ, but openly confessed it before everyone.

An official named Antiochus denounced them to the emperor Hadrian … who ordered that they be brought to Rome. Realizing that they would be taken before the emperor, the holy virgins prayed fervently to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking that He give them the strength not to fear torture and death. When the holy virgins and their mother came before the emperor, everyone present was amazed at their composure. They looked as though they had been brought to some happy festival, rather than to torture. Summoning each of the sisters in turn, Hadrian urged them to offer sacrifice to the goddess Artemis. The young girls remained unyielding.

Then the emperor ordered them to be tortured. They burned the holy virgins over an iron grating, then threw them into a red-hot oven, and finally into a cauldron with boiling tar, but the Lord preserved them.

The youngest child, Love, was tied to a wheel and they beat her with rods until her body was covered all over with bloody welts. After undergoing unspeakable torments, the holy virgins glorified their Heavenly Bridegroom and remained steadfast in the Faith.

They subjected Saint Sophia to another grievous torture: the mother was forced to watch the suffering of her daughters. She displayed adamant courage, and urged her daughters to endure their torments for the sake of the Heavenly Bridegroom. All three maidens were beheaded, and joyfully bent their necks beneath the sword.

In order to intensify Saint Sophia’s inner suffering, the emperor permitted her to take the bodies of her daughters. She placed their remains in coffins and loaded them on a wagon. She drove beyond the city limits and reverently buried them on a high hill. Saint Sophia sat there by the graves of her daughters for three days, and finally she gave up her soul to the Lord. Even though she did not suffer for Christ in the flesh, she was not deprived of a martyr’s crown. Instead, she suffered in her heart. Believers buried her body there beside her daughters.

The relics of the holy martyrs have rested at El’zasa, in the church of Esho since the year 777.

 

Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’ and Emperor Hadrian “… a mirror image”

Published May 1, 2017 by amaic

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

“Hadrian, revisits the actions of [the] predecessor Antiochus IV Epiphanes and

sets up a Temple of Jupiter on the Temple mount, ordering circumcision to cease …”.

 

 

Hadrian “a mirror image”

of Antiochus Epiphanes

 

That, at least, is how Anthony R. Birley has described the emperor Hadrian in his book, Hadrian, The Restless Emperor (p. 228):

https://books.google.com.au/books?id=InbF_FY4PtAC&pg=PA228&lpg=PA228&dq=hadria

 

The influence on Hadrian’s thinking of the first and most famous bearer of that name, Antiochus IV Epiphanes of Syria, had already been seen at Athens. It had, after all, been that king who had revived and gone a long way to completing the construction of the Olympieion. He too, like Hadrian, had promoted the cult of Zeus Olympios. There are various other aspects of the character and policies of the eccentric monarch which find an echo in Hadrian, of whom he seems to be almost a mirror image. In his long years as a hostage the Seleucid prince had acquired a fervent admiration for Roman ways. His behaviour at Antioch, mingling with the common people like a would-be civilis princeps, recalls Hadrian the plebis iactantissimus amator. Antiochus was also, at least in his latter years — and notwithstanding his promotion of Zeus Olympios — a devotee of [Epicureanism]. ….

[End of quote]

 

On shared Epicureanism still, we also read at: http://newepicurean.com/happy-hanukkah-to-the-sadducees/

 

The transformation of Epicureanism into a competitive sect celebrating Epicurus as “savior” increased the already existing opposition to it. Rhetorical literature falsely accused Epicurus of materialistic hedonism. Complaints of Epicurean dogmatism, “beguiling speech” (Col. 2:4), and compelling argumentation (of Avot 2:14 “…[know] what to answer the Epicurean”) are frequently heard. Rabbinic condemnation reflects knowledge of Greco-Roman rhetoric, experiences with individuals and centers (Gadara, Gaza, Caesarea), and, possibly, the favoritism shown to Epicureanism by *Antiochus Epiphanes and *Hadrian. “Epicurean” became thus a byword for “deviance” – ranging from disrespect to atheism – in Philo, Josephus, and rabbinism alike (see *Apikoros).

 

[End of quote]

 

Stephen D. Moore, in The Bible in Theory: Critical and Postcritical Essays, p. 196, when discussing the famous incident in the Maccabees of the mother and her seven martyred sons, adds this intriguing footnote (51) according to which Antiochus was replaced in rabbinic tradition by Hadrian:

 

Nameless in 4 Maccabees, the mother is dubbed Miriam bat Tanhum, or Hannah, in the rabbinic tradition, Solomone in the Greek Christian tradition, and Mart Simouni in the Syriac tradition (see further Darling Young 1991, 67). The tyrant in the rabbinic versions, however, is not Antiochus Epiphanes but Hadrian: Hadrian came and seized upon a widow …” (S. Eliyahu Rab. 30); “In the days of the shemad [the Hadrianic persecutions]…” (Pesiq. R. 43). ….

[End of quote]

 

Whilst Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-164 BC, conventional dating), a Macedonian Greek, had, as we read above, “acquired a fervent admiration for Roman ways”, Hadrian (117-138 AD, conventional dating), supposedly a Roman emperor, was “strongly Philhellene [Greek loving]”

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_Olympian_Zeus,_Athens).

 

According to the article, “The Temple in Jerusalem over the threshing floor which is presently under the Al Kas fountain”, “Hadrian [a Hitler type] … revisits … Antiochus IV Epiphanes” (http://www.bible.ca/archeology/bible-archeology-jerusalem-temple-mount-threshing-floor.htm):

 

After Titus destroyed the Temple in 70 AD, Hadrian became Caesar in 117 – 138 AD [sic]. Hadrian, revisits the actions of [the] predecessor Antiochus IV Epiphanes and sets up a Temple of Jupiter on the Temple mount, ordering circumcision to cease and expelling the Jews from Jerusalem altogether. He not only made himself the object of worship in this temple, but made Jerusalem the capital city of the Roman world for the worship of Jupiter. He also built [a] temple to Jupiter in Baalbek, Lebanon that is still standing today. Just as Hitler deceived British Prime Minister Chamberlain in 1938 AD that there would be “peace in our time”, so too Hadrian deceived the Jews to believe that he was peacefully rebuilding the Jewish Temple, when in fact he was constructing the world headquarters “Temple of Jupiter”. As construction began, the Jews probably even helped in thankfulness and praise to Hadrian. But when the Jews finally learned of Hadrian’s true intent, as did England learn of Hitler’s, they rebelled and a huge war broke out in 132 AD [sic] where 85 major Jewish towns were destroyed and 580,000 Jewish men were killed. The false promises of peace of Hadrian and Hitler both resulted in major holocausts against the Jews. Israel came to the promised land with about 600,000 men and they were finally expelled from the land by having about 600,000 men killed by Hadrian. The Temple of Jupiter was completed on the temple mount in 135 AD [sic] and was the most important (Jupiter Capitolinus) “Temple to Jupiter” in the world. While the Jews of Hadrian’s time may have been looking for the story of 2 Maccabees conclude with a similar victory for the Jews, Hadrian was likely reminded of the same 2 Macc. text to make sure the ending was different. ….

 

And again:

 

Dan 9:27; 11:31; Matt 24:15; Luke 21:20 are specific prophecies that the “abomination of desolation that will make sacrifice cease” in the Jewish temple which was fully fulfilled in the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD. But there were two other shadow or anti-typical fulfillments of these same prophecies. One was in 167 BC with Antiochus IV Epiphanes and the other was in 117 AD with the rise of Hadrian to power. Whereas Antiochus merely offered sacrifices to Jupiter in the Jewish Temple, Hadrian built the largest temples of Jupiter in the world in place of the Jewish temple. ….

[End of quote]

 

 

 

 

 

Simon Magus was a “Son of Perdition”

Published April 29, 2017 by amaic

Image result for simon magus

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, ‘This man is rightly called the Great Power of God’. They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery”.

Acts 8:911

 

According to some, Simon the Magician was, all at once, Book of Revelation’s Beast and 666; the Antichrist; “the man of sin” and “the son of perdition”.

Jack Walton introduces Simon Magus as “… the most important person in history you never heard of” (https://www.henrymakow.com/simon_magus.html):

 

Simon Magus — The lluminati’s Jesus?

 

January 3, 2011

 

The full life of Simon Magus is mostly unknown ….

….

He was the towering figure of his time, along with his wife, Helen, the Jezebel and whore of Babylon from Revelation.

 

According to Bible Scholars Barbara Thiering and Hans Jonas, Simon Magus was the founder of the Gnostic church and was the direct competitor with Christianity for the hearts and minds of the Greco Roman world.

 

Simon is the Beast, the original Antichrist, and the true identity of the number 666. He was so powerful in fact, that he is known by many different names in the Bible.  Once all his “names” are learned, a very different picture of the Gospel emerges, one in which Jesus and Simon were creating two very different religions, for the reformation of Judaism, and the conversion of the Greco Roman/Pagan world to the Judaic god.

 

The circles that Magus worked in were the Illuminati of his time. At the time this consisted of what we would consider both “white” and “black” magicians, including the apostles of Jesus [sic] and the sects they led, (the “good” guys) as well as the Herod family, and the higher echelons of Rome, and the gnostic magicians (the Saturnalian or “black” magicians).

 

Thus, the “good guys” and the “bad guys had their start together at this time and later split up.   Simon Magus was a Samaritan Jew, whose particular version of Judaism incorporated the sexual licentiousness of the ancient Babylonian religions.

 

According to Clement, the early church father, Magus could, levitate items on command, speak with spirits, summon demons and place them into statues making the statues walk and talk, fly, and even raise the dead.

 

These were all deceptions designed to indoctrinate his followers into believing he was a god.  His religion, the Gnostic religion, was the sect that preceded Christianity in the Diaspora.  The current Illuminati religion (freemasonry) is based on Gnosticism and the ancient Babylonian mysticism (Satanism?) that he incorporated into his version of Judaism that he was selling (quite literally) to the masses of the Greco-Roman world.

 

He is the inspiration for Faust, and modern televangelist deceivers continue his tradition whether they realize it or not (i.e., religion based on deception.)  Anytime there is a reference to someone selling their soul to the devil, it is a reference to Faust, who was inspired by Simon Magus.

 

The medieval Rosicrucians who compiled the story of Faust understood all this (are they not Illuminati?)  One of the great untold stories of Christianity is how Peter and Paul came behind Simon and converted his many followers to Christianity.

 

In the beginning, Magus had been a follower of John the Baptist, and because of his genius and ability, was accepted by … the other Apostles. Simon’s early role in Judaism before his diaspora career, would be seen today as like an intelligence operative. He was of course, cast out of their ranks when they learned who he was.

 

One of the major things he did was attempt to organize a mass revolt against Pilate and the son of Herod, which was put down brutally. ….

….
Because of his stature, and the complexity of his life … Simon’s  accomplishments were divided by the Christians, and attributed to multiple people, under multiple pseudonyms.  In other words, he was so dangerous, that he was practically wiped from history, except for those “in the know.”

 

A great animosity existed between Simon and Peter.  Simon’s religion was based on deception, (Simon represented himself as a god), allowed for sexual licentiousness (the origins of “sex-magic”, which included orgies and homosexuality by his followers.

 

Peter taught abstinence in marriage, except for procreation, and this drew a lot of women to his flock. ….

[End of quote]

 

According to David L. Eastman, in “Simon the Anti-Christ? The Magos as Christos in Early Christian Literature”, Simon Magus was, for the early Christians, a “wicked, deceitful anti-Christ, the very embodiment of evil”

(http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/2222582X.2016.1218953):

 

None of the early Christian sources denies that Simon had power to do things that others could not do. He is consistently remembered and presented as a figure who could perform amazing deeds to astound the crowds, even if he did so through the despicable arts of sorcery. In his various, reimagined guises, Simon was formidable because he was powerful, even if that power came from demons, as Peter asserts in his prayers to strike down Simon. In the earliest Christian centuries, when there existed a perceived threat of alternative Christologies, Simon is presented as the champion of ‘heresies’ such as Modalism and Docetism.

…. The authors of the later apocryphal texts, writing in a different cultural and ecclesiastical context, amend the earlier traditions and present a potent Simon in order to highlight the even greater power of the apostles. Peter and Paul confront and conquer this wicked, deceitful anti-Christ, the very embodiment of evil. ….

[End of quote]

 

 

The following description of “the man of sin”, “the son of perdition”, in Wayne Jackson’s article “Who Is Paul’s ‘Man of Sin’?”, seems to me to be perfectly applicable to Simon Magus (though this is by no means the conclusion that Wayne Jackson himself will reach): https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/677-who-is-pauls-man-of-sin)

 

Traits of the Man of Sin

 

Once a student has thoroughly read 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12, we believe that it is possible to isolate certain tell-tale qualities of this diabolical force, and work toward a solution as to the identity of the “man of sin.”

 

Consider the following factors.

The Man of Sin and The Apostasy

 

The Man of Sin is the ultimate result of the falling away from the faith (v. 3).

 

The expression “falling away” translates the Greek term apostasia. Our English word “apostasy” is an anglicized form of this original term.

 

In the Bible, the word is used of a defection from the religion ordained by God. As a noun, it is employed of departure from the Mosaic system (Acts 21:21), and, in this present passage, of defection from Christianity. The verbal form of the term is similarly used in 1 Timothy 4:1 (cf. Heb. 3:12).

 

Note also that the noun is qualified by a definite article (the apostasia). A definite movement is in the apostle’s prophetic vision — not merely a principle of defection.

The Man of Sin Was Yet to Be Revealed

 

This sinister force, from a first-century vantage point, was yet to be revealed (v. 3).

 

This appears to suggest that the movement had not evolved to the point where it could be identified definitely by the primitive saints. It awaited future development.

The Man of Sin and Son of Perdition

 

This persecuting power was designated as the man of sin (v. 3), because sin was its “predominating quality” (Ellicott, p. 118). This character, referred to in both neuter and masculine genders (vv. 6-7), is the son of perdition (v. 3), because its end is to be perdition, i.e., destruction, by the Lord himself (v. 8).

The Lawless One

 

This opponent of God is called the lawless one (v. 8). This power has no regard for the law of God. One cannot but be reminded of that infamous “little horn” in Daniel’s vision: “[H]e shall think to change the times and the law” (7:25).

Man of Sin: Opposes God, Exalts Himself, and Sits in the Temple of God

 

The Man of Sin opposes God and exalts himself against all that is genuinely sacred (v. 4). He feigns religiosity, but his true character reveals that he is diabolic. His activity actually is according to the working of Satan (v. 9).

 

In some sense, the Man of Sin will sit in the temple of God (v. 4). The “temple” is not a reference to the Jewish house of worship. The Greek word is naos, used by Paul eight times. Never does he employ this term of the Jewish temple.

 

In fact, after the death of Christ, the Jewish temple is never again called the temple of God (Newton, p. 441). Rather it is used of the Christian’s body (1 Cor. 6:19) or of the church as God’s spiritual house (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; Eph. 2:21).

 

The implication of Paul’s warning is this. This unholy being is viewed as being a “church” character.

 

The expression “sitteth” may hint of unparalleled arrogance (Ellicott, pp. 119-120). Mason notes that the language describes the Man of Sin as attempting to exact “divine homage” from people (p. 169).

 

Moreover, this Son of Perdition sets himself forth as God. The present participle (“sets forth continually”) reveals that this presumptive posture is characteristic of the Man of Sin.

 

This person represents himself as God, either:

 

  • by making claims that belong only to deity;
  • by receiving adoration reserved exclusively for God; or,
  • by usurping prerogatives which only God can accomplish.

Clearly, the Man of Sin is an ecclesiastical character. Recall the description of John’s lamb-like beast in Revelation 13:11ff.

The Man of Sin Deceives with Lying Miracles

 

He deceives those who love not the truth, by virtue of the lying wonders he effects (vv. 9-10).

Bloomfield calls these “pretended miracles” (p. 345). These “wonders” are not in the category of Christ’s miracles. Lenski has well commented:

 

“So many are ready to attribute real miracles to Satan and to his agents; the Scriptures never do” (p. 426).

 

….

Man of Sin Already at Work in Paul’s Day

 

The early stages of this ecclesiastical apostasy were already at work in the early church (v. 7). The Greek term (energeitai, a present tense, middle voice form) suggests that this movement currently was working itself towards a greater goal.

The child, later to become a Man, was growing in Paul’s day. The error was “already operative” (Lenski, p. 417), but not yet “revealed” (v. 6). This is a crucial point.

Restrained During Paul’s Day

 

In Paul’s day there was some influence that restrained the budding Man of Sin. This was some sort of abstract force, as evidenced by the neuter form of katechon, “the restraining thing” (v. 6).

And yet, this force was strongly associated with a person/persons as suggested by the masculine, “he who restrains” (v. 7). Likely the significance is that of a broad power, operating under individual rulers.

 

Unlike the Man of Sin, whose identity was later to be revealed, the early saints knew personally of this restraining force. “You know (oidate — “to know from observation” — Vine, p. 444).

 

This indicates that the restraining power was an entity contemporary with Paul, not a modern one.

Restraining Force To Be Removed

 

The restraining force eventually would *be taken out of the way”, or, more correctly, “be gone.” And so, the Man of Sin, in “his own season,” would be revealed openly (vv. 6, 7).

 

Ellicott says that it is a season “appointed and ordained by God” (p. 121). One recalls that the “little horn” of Daniel’s fourth beast only rose to prominence after three horns were plucked up to make room for it.

 

Too, the earth-beast of John’s vision came into full power after the sea-beast had received a death-stroke, but was healed. And so here, the restraining power will give way to the horrible revelation of the Man of Sin. ….

[End of quotes]

 

Movement of apostasy, lawlessness, against all that is genuinely sacred, feignedly religious, diabolical, working according to power of Satan, a pseudo-Christian pretender, setting himself forth as a God, and so on. It reads just like the blasphemous profile of Simon Magus.

Judith the Jewess and “Helen” the Hellene

Published April 15, 2016 by amaic

Елена в Трое

by

Damien F. Mackey

The Greeks may have inadvertently replaced the most beautiful Jewish heroine, Judith of Bethulia, with their own legendary Helen, whose ‘face launched a thousand ships’, given, for instance, these striking similarities (Judith and The Iliad):

The beautiful woman praised by the elders at the city gates:

“When [the elders of Bethulia] saw [Judith] transformed in appearance and dressed differently, they were very greatly astounded at her beauty” (Judith 10:7).

“Now the elders of the people were sitting by the Skaian gates…. When they saw Helen coming … they spoke softly to each other with winged words: ‘No shame that the Trojans and the well-greaved Achaians should suffer agonies for long years over a woman like this – she is fearfully like the immortal goddesses to look at’” [The Iliad., pp. 44-45].

This theme of incredible beauty – plus the related view that “no shame” should be attached to the enemy on account of it – is picked up again a few verses later in the Book of Judith (v.19) when the Assyrian soldiers who accompany Judith and her maid to Holofernes “marvelled at [Judith’s] beauty and admired the Israelites, judging them by her … ‘Who can despise these people, who have women like this among them?’”

Nevertheless:

‘It is not wise to leave one of their men alive, for if we let them go they will be able to beguile the whole world!’ (Judith 10:19).

‘But even so, for all her beauty, let her go back in the ships, and not be left here a curse to us and our children’.

* * * * *

The prophet Isaiah’s exclamation in 52:7: “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of the messenger who brings good news, the good news of peace and salvation, the news that the God of Israel reigns!”, would be well applicable to Judith when emerging from her victory over the Assyrian commander-in-chief.

Concerning this Isaian text, pope John Paul II wrote of the Virgin Mary:

VISITATION IS PRELUDE TO JESUS’ MISSION Pope John Paul II

Like Elizabeth, the Church rejoices that Mary is the Mother of the Lord who brought her Son into the world and constantly co-operates in his saving mission. At the General Audience of Wednesday, 2 October, the Holy Father returned to his series of reflections on the Blessed Virgin Mary. Speaking of the Visitation, the Pope said: “Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, in fact, is a prelude to Jesus’ mission and, in co-operating from the beginning of her motherhood in the Son’s redeeming work, she becomes the model for those in the Church who set out to bring Christ’s light and joy to the people of every time and place”. Here is a translation of his catechesis, which was the 34th in the series on the Blessed Virgin and was given in Italian.1. In the Visitation episode, St Luke shows how the grace of the Incarnation, after filling Mary, brings salvation and joy to Elizabeth’s house. The Saviour of men, carried in his Mother’s womb, pours out the Holy Spirit, revealing himself from the very start of his coming into the world. In describing Mary’s departure for Judea, the Evangelist uses the verb “anístemi”, which means “to arise”, “to start moving”. Considering that this verb is used in the Gospels to indicate Jesus’ Resurrection (Mk 8:31; 9:9,31; Lk 24:7, 46) or physical actions that imply a spiritual effort (Lk 5:27-28; 15:18,20), we can suppose that Luke wishes to stress with this expression the vigorous zeal which led Mary, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to give the world its Saviour. Meeting with Elizabeth is a joyous saving event2. The Gospel text also reports that Mary made the journey “with haste” (Lk 1:39). Even the note “into the hill country” (Lk 1:39), in the Lucan context, appears to be much more than a simple topographical indication, since it calls to mind the messenger of good news described in the Book of Isaiah: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good tidings, who publishes peace, who brings good tidings of good, who publishes salvation, who says to Zion: ‘Your God reigns’” (Is 52:7).

Like St Paul, who recognizes the fulfilment of this prophetic text in the preaching of the Gospel (Rom 10:15), St Luke also seems to invite us to see Mary as the first “evangelist”, who spreads the “good news”, initiating the missionary journeys of her divine Son.

Lastly, the direction of the Blessed Virgin’s journey is particularly significant: it will be from Galilee to Judea, like Jesus’ missionary journey (cf. 9:51).

Mary’s visit to Elizabeth, in fact, is a prelude to Jesus’ mission and, in cooperating from the beginning of her motherhood in the Son’s redeeming work, she becomes the model for those in the Church who set out to bring Christ’s light and joy to the people of every time and place.

  1. The meeting with Elizabeth has the character of a joyous saving event that goes beyond the spontaneous feelings of family sentiment. Where the embarrassment of disbelief seems to be expressed in Zechariah’s muteness, Mary bursts out with the joy of her quick and ready faith: “She entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth” (Lk 1:40).

St Luke relates that “when Elizabeth heard the greeting of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb” (Lk 1:41). Mary’s greeting caused Elizabeth’s son to leap for joy: Jesus’ entrance into Elizabeth’s house, at Mary’s doing, brought the unborn prophet that gladness which the Old Testament foretells as a sign of the Messiah’s presence.

At Mary’s greeting, messianic joy comes over Elizabeth too and “filled with the Holy Spirit … she exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!’” (Lk 1:41-42).

By a higher light, she understands Mary’s greatness: more than Jael and Judith, who prefigured her in the Old Testament, she is blessed among women because of the fruit of her womb, Jesus, the Messiah.

  1. Elizabeth’s exclamation, made “with a loud cry”, shows a true religious enthusiasm, which continues to be echoed on the lips of believers in the prayer “Hail Mary”, as the Church’s song of praise for the great works accomplished by the Most High in the Mother of his Son.

In proclaiming her “blessed among women”, Elizabeth points to Mary’s faith as the reason for her blessedness: “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her from the Lord” (Lk 1:45). Mary’s greatness and joy arise from the fact the she is the one who believes.

In view of Mary’s excellence, Elizabeth also understands what an honour her visit is for her: “And why is this granted me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” (Lk 1:43). With the expression “my Lord”, Elizabeth recognizes the royal, indeed messianic, dignity of Mary’s Son. In the Old Testament this expression was in fact used to address the king (cf. I Kgs 1:13,20,21 etc.) and to speak of the Messiah King (Ps I 10: 1). The angel had said of Jesus: “The Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David” (Lk 1:32). “Filled with the Holy Spirit”, Elizabeth has the same insight. Later, the paschal glorification of Christ will reveal the sense in which this title is to be understood, that is, a transcendent sense (cf. Jn 20:28; Acts 2:34-36).

Mary is present in whole work of divine salvation

With her admiring exclamation, Elizabeth invites us to appreciate all that the Virgin’s presence brings as a gift to the life of every believer.

In the Visitation, the Virgin brings Christ to the Baptist’s mother, the Christ who pours out the Holy Spirit. This role of mediatrix is brought out by Elizabeth’s very words: “For behold, when the voice of your greeting came to my cars, the babe in my womb leaped for joy” (Lk 1:44). By the gift of the Holy Spirit, Mary’s presence serves as a prelude to Pentecost, confirming a co-operation which, having begun with the Incarnation, is destined to be expressed in the whole work of divine salvation.

Taken from: L’Osservatore Romano Weekly Edition in English9 October 1996, page 11L’Osservatore Romano is the newspaper of the Holy See.

The Weekly Edition in English is published for the US by:

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Catholics have long recognised Judith as an ancient type of the Virgin Mary.

Judith the Simeonite and “Judith the Semienite”

Published April 15, 2016 by amaic

by

Damien F. Mackey

The history books tell of various strong female characters – whether real or not – the accounts of whom seem to have picked up traces of the great Jewish heroine, Judith of Simeon.

One of these, Queen Judith of Semien (NW Abyssinia), reads somewhat like the biblical Judith, now transported in time (AD) and space (Ethiopia).

 

 

 

Judith Types Emerging Throughout ‘History’?

 

Donald Spoto has named a few of these “types” – {but many more names could be added here} – in his book, Joan. The Mysterious Life of the Heretic Who Became a Saint (Harper, 2007). Spoto, likening Joan of Arc to an Old Testament woman, has a chapter five in which he calls her “The New Deborah”.

Saint Joan has also been described as a “second Judith”. See my:

 

Judith of Bethulia and Joan of Arc

 

https://www.academia.edu/8815175/Judith_of_Bethulia_and_Joan_of_Arc

 

Both Deborah and Judith were celebrated Old Testament women who had provided military assistance to Israel.

Let us read of what Spoto has to say on the subject, starting with comparisons with some ancient pagan women (pp. 73-74):

 

Joan was not the only woman in history to inspire and to give direction to soldiers. The Greek poet Telesilla was famous for saving the city of Argos from attack by Spartan troops in the fifth century B.C. In first-century Britain, Queen Boudicca [Boadicea] led an uprising against the occupying Roman forces. In the third century Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra (latter-day Syria), declared her independence of the Roman Empire and seized Egypt and much of Asia Minor. Africa had its rebel queen Gwedit, or Yodit, in the tenth century. In the seventh appeared Sikelgaita, a Lombard princess who frequently accompanied her husband, Robert, on his Byzantine military campaigns, in which she fought in full armor, rallying Robert’s troops when they were initially repulsed by the Byzantine army. In the twelfth century Eleanor of Aquitaine took part in the Second Crusade, and in the fourteenth century Joanna, Countess of Montfort, took up arms after her husband died in order to protect the rights of her son, the Duke of Brittany. She organized resistance and dressed in full armor, led a raid of knights that successfully destroyed one of the enemy’s rear camps.

Joan [of Arc] was not a queen, a princess, a noblewoman or a respected poet with public support. She went to her task at enormous physical risk of both her virginity and her life, and at considerable risk of a loss of both reputation and influence. The English, for example, constantly referred to her as the prostitute: to them, she must have been; otherwise, why would she travel with an army of men?

Yet Joan was undeterred by peril or slander, precisely because of her confidence that God was their captain and leader. She often said that if she had been unsure of that, she would not have risked such obvious danger but would have kept to her simple, rural life in Domrémy.

[End of quote]

 

Some of these above-mentioned heroines, or amazons, can probably be identified with the ancient Judith herself – she gradually being transformed from an heroic Old Testament woman into an armour-bearing warrior on horseback, sometimes even suffering capture, torture and death. Judith’s celebrated beauty and/or siege victory I have argued on other occasions was picked up in non-Hebrew ‘history’, or mythologies: e.g. the legendary Helen of Troy is probably based on Judith, at least in part, in relation to her beauty and to a famous siege, rather than to any military noüs on Helen’s part. And, in the “Lindian Chronicle” of the Greco-Persian wars, in a siege of the island of Hellas by admiral Darius, also involving a crucial five-day period, as in the Book of Judith, the goddess Athene takes the place of Judith in the rôle of the heroine, to oversee a successful lifting of the siege.

In the name Iodit (Gwedit) above, the name Judith can, I think, be clearly recognised.

The latter is the same as Queen Judith of Semien (960 AD). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gudit

 

Gudit (Ge’ez: ጉዲት, Judith) is a semi-legendary, non-Christian, Beta Israel queen (flourished c. 960) who laid waste to Axum and its countryside, destroyed churches and monuments, and attempted to exterminate the members of the ruling Axumite dynasty[citation needed]. Her deeds are recorded in the oral tradition and mentioned incidentally in various historical accounts.

Information about Gudit is contradictory and incomplete. Paul B. Henze wrote, “She is said to have killed the emperor, ascended the throne herself, and reigned for 40 years. Accounts of her violent misdeeds are still related among peasants in the north Ethiopian countryside.”[1]

[End of quote]

 

Interesting that Judith the Simeonite has a “Gideon” (or Gedeon) in her ancestry (Judith 8:1): “[Judith] was the daughter of Merari, the granddaughter of Ox and the great-granddaughter of Joseph. Joseph’s ancestors were Oziel, Elkiah, Ananias, Gideon, Raphaim, Ahitub, Elijah, Hilkiah, Eliab, Nathanael, Salamiel, Sarasadai, and Israel” … and the Queen of Semien, Judith, was the daughter of a King Gideon.

That the latter is virtually a complete fable, however, is suspected by Bernard Lewis

http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=314380:

 

Bernard Lewis (1): The Jews of the Dark continent, 1980

The early history of the Jews of the Habashan highlands remains obscure, with their origins remaining more mythical than historical. In this they areas in other respects, they are the mirror image of their supposed Kin across the Red sea. For while copious external records of Byzantine, Persian, old Axumite and Arab sources exist of the large-scale conversion of Yemen to Judaism, and the survival of a large Jewish community at least until the 11th century, no such external records exist for the Jews of Habash, presently by far the numerically and politically dominant branch of this ancient people.

Their own legends insist that Judaism had reached the shores of Ethiopia at the time of the First temple. They further insist that Ethiopia had always been Jewish. In spite of the claims of Habashan nationalists, Byzantine, Persian and Arab sources all clearly indicate that the politically dominant religion of Axum was, for a period of at least six centuries Christianity and that the Tigray cryptochristian minority, far from turning apostate following contact with Portugese Jesuits in the 15th century is in fact the remmanent [sic] of a period of Christian domination which lasted at least until the 10th century.

For the historian, when records fail, speculation must perforce fill the gap. Given our knowledge of the existence of both Jewish and Christian sects in the deserts of Western Arabia and Yemen it is not difficult to speculate that both may have reached the shores of Axum concurrently prior to the council of Nicaea and the de-judaization of hetrodox sects. Possibly, they coexisted side by side for centuries without the baleful conflict which was the lot of both faiths in the Meditaranian [sic]. Indeed, it is possible that they were not even distinct faiths. We must recall that early Christians saw themselves as Jews and practiced all aspects of Jewish law and ritual for the first century of their existence. Neither did Judaism utterly disavow the Christians, rather viewing them much as later communities would view the Sabateans and other messianic movement. The advent While Paul of Tarsus changed the course of Christian evolution but failed to formally de-Judaize all streams of Christianity, with many surviving even after the council of Nicaea.

Might not Habash have offered a different model of coexistence, even after its purpoted conversion to Christianity in the 4th century? If it had, then what occurred? Did Christianity, cut off from contact with Constantinopole following the rise of Islam, wither on the vine enabling a more grassroots based religion to assume dominance? While such a view is tempting, archaeological evidence pointing to the continued centrality of a Christian Axum as an administrative and economic center for several centuries following the purpoted relocation of the capital of the kingdom to Gonder indicates a darker possibility.

The most likely scenario, in my opinion, turns on our knowledge of the Yemenite- Axum-Byzantine conflict of the 6th century. This conflict was clearly seen as a religious, and indeed divinely sanctioned one by Emperor Kaleb, with certain of his inscriptures clearly indicating the a version of “replacement theology” had taken root in his court, forcing individuals and sects straddling both sides of the Christian-Jewish continuom [sic] to pick sides. Is it overly speculative to assume that those cleaving to Judaism within Axum would be subject to suspicion and persecution? It seems to me likely that the formation of an alternative capital by the shores of lake Tana, far from being an organized relocation of the imperial seat, was, in fact, an act of secession and flight by a numerically inferior and marginalized minority (2).

Read in this light, the fabled Saga of King Gideon and Queen Judith recapturing Axum from Muslim invaders and restoring the Zadokan dynasty in the 10th century must be viewed skeptically as an attempt to superimpose on the distant past a more contemporary enemy as part of the process of national myth making. What truly occurred during this time of isolation can only be the guessed at but I would hazard an opinion that the Axum these legendary rulers “liberated” was held by Christians rather than Muslims. ….

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What I am finding is that the kingdom of “Axum” (or Aksum) – in legends that seem to transpose BC history into AD time – can play the part of the ancient kingdom of Assyria.