posted on Jun, 16 2004 @ 06:49 PM
Couple of things for people on this thread to digest.......so chew hard.
First, the 4 gospels that were eventually settled upon at the councils ("there are 4 because there are 4 winds and 4 corners of the world, and thus 4
directions to which the gospel message must be spread"...) are not history or biography in the modern sense, but thorough Jewish Haggadic MIDRASHIC
creations carefully designed "in order that you may believe the Jesus is the Messiah and by believing, you might have life in his name..." (which
Gospel of John explicitly relates). Shelby Spong points this out in his book Rescuing the Gospels from Fundamentalism in the mid 1990s.
Second, Post Exilic Judaism from which Christianity emerged was thorougholy saturated with Persian Zorastrian ideas and theological concepts: the
naming of the Magoi in Matthew's gospel may not be so strange after all....
Now for some background:
"Jesus" (R. Yehoshua bar Yosef the Galilean) was born in a post-Exilic environment after PERSIA had ruled Israel for more than 200 years, having
introduced "foreign" Zoroastrian Persian Religious tendencies into Palestinian Judaeism (such as the concept of the Resurrection of the Dead, The
Last Judgment, Angels & Devils, a Good God and a Bad Satan, Light and Dark and other Dualism) and thus the stories of the MAGI (Persian Priests)
connected to the birth of a Messiah figure are not necessarily entirely foreign to POST EXILIC (after 480BC) Israel, or necessarily made up out of
Persia was after all the homeland of Zorloaster (cf: the German: Thus spake "Zarathustra").
The Jews (Judaeans) were conquered by Babylon (Iraq) in 587 BC who brutally took out (i.e. EXILED) all the "political" people in Palestine who
could read and write (i.e. influence public opinion) and work in metals (i.e. who could have fostered a Rebellion against them).
This meant the SCRIBAL CLASSES (sofrim) and the PRIESTS (cohenim) of YHWH in Jerusalem were the first to be taken out of Palestine and reolcated into
present day Iraq. That is why the prophet Hezekiel writes "by the waters of Babylon.."
The land of "Israel" was immediately re-populated with IMPORTED Babylonians and Assyrians (i.e. people who were regarded as more friendly to the new
Not surprisingly, many foreign (non Canaanite) ideas were suddenly introduced into Palestine between 587 and the 163 BC when the Maccabees finally
seized control of the Temple in Jerusalem away from the Syrian Greeks (331-163BC) who had succeeded the Persians in Israel.
But backing up a bit: Babylon had been in turn conquered by Persia (Iran) in around 531 BC and (read Isaiah chapter 45:1), Cyrus the Persian sent the
Jews home to Palestine (out of the 24 priestly families that were EXILED into Babylon, only 4 came back however).
And Cyrus was called "My Christ Cyrus" and he was not even a Daviddic Jew ! (Isaiah 45:1) .
But Persia did not just sent the Judaens back home: they physically accompanied the Levites and the metalworkers on their way back home nearly 60
years later and occupied Palestine: Israel was governed foir 200 years by Persian forces (despite the odd counter revolutionary attempts by
descendants of King David, such as Zerubbabel around 420 BC, who mysteriously disappears from the story in Nehemiah!) i.e. from BC 531 to 331 BC when
Greece conquered Persia, and therefore any holdings of Persia, including Palestine).
Since Palestine-Israel was OCCUPIED by PERSIAN ZOROASTRIANS for 200 years, there was PLENTY of time for the older religion of Israel to ABSORB the
foreign occupyers Persian -Zoroastrian ideas (even the word Phar-i-see is releated to PARAS: Persian) such as ANGELS, RESURRECTION, FINAL JUDGEMENT
AND ALL THE DUALISM we read in post Exilic Writings.(i.e. incorporating a kind of Theory of Opposites: dark/light, life/death, sin/righteousness,
Righteous/Wicked, Wise/Foolish, Good God/Bad Devil, Flesh/Spirit, War/Peace etc.)
It was these same Zoroastrian Persians that gave the Jews the idea of a "good God "verses a "bad Satan" which they adapted from their own Persian
Devil named Ahriman who fought against their god of light Ahura-Mazda (Ohrmazd) : The word "Satanas", is the Greek for the Hebrew word "Shaitan"
meaning "Enemy" or "Adversary", formerly attributed to Israel's political enemies, like the Philistines who were called "shaitanim".)
The Garden of Eden story in Genesis was even written with Persian & Babylonian loan words like "Qeden" (eden) which derives from a Sumerian word
which means "valley" or "steppe".
Before 400 BC it was YAHWEH the clan god of Israel who created BOTH good AND evil (see Isaiah : It is I YHWH who create the good; it is I YHWH who
create the evil: and see also Amos: Does Evil Befall a City and YHWH has not done it?)
After the Exile, we see the figure of Satan appearing in the heavenly court (modelled after a Persian court) filled with Angels, another Persian
The Book of Job is written by two hands: chapters 1 and 2 (written in Late Hebrew) and the final paragraph of the book is written in PROSE with Satan
as a character on the stage of the Heavenly Court with YHWH. But the rest of the book is written in OLDER ELAMITE HEBREW in POETRY where the god's
name is NOT YAHWEH but a curious Female Deity (in the singular) known as ELOAH (translated GOD in the King James version) written with a masculine
form of the verb.
Thus the later sections (prose chapters 1-2 which forms the fake introduction to the story) were influenced by the POST EXILIC Persian Idea of Satan
causing "temptation and evil things to happen."
If you read the POEM itself of JOB beginning with chapter 3, you will notice that Eloah causes Job to suffer because that is HIS WILL, with no need to
introduce any kind of later Persian Satan figure...or angels in a Persian Court for that matter.
With respect to the "Gospel tradition" of the birth of the Messiah in "Matthew's" gospel, don't forget the fact that the socalled Gospel of
"Matthew" circulated for 200 years without a title, (in other words, anonymously!) and according to "Luke" there was not even a disciple called
Matthew (Luke has a Levi in his place) until Judas committed suicide and he was "replaced" after the death of "iesous" with a replacment named
Matthew who was chosen "by lots".
Also: all four gospels originally circulated for 200 years without titles, and the earliest was "Mark" which can be dated around 75 AD, long after
the execution of R. Yehoshua bar Yosef the Galilean ("Jeeezzuzzz") for Armed Sedition against Rome (breach of LEX MAIESTATIS was punishable by
Crucifixion for non Citizens). Matthew and Luke each borrow long stretches of Mark's gospel upon which to base their narratives, and add their own
peculiar material (Matthew's own unique material is called M by scholars and Luke's is called L; what Matthew and Luke share, but what is missing
from Mark is called Q for Quelle, German word for Source).
John's gospel is the odd man out, with hardly any overlap with the others until the crucifixion narratives (he mentions a Temple Riot and a Baptism
but little else in common with the first three "synoptic" gospels) .
The Birth of R. Yehoshua bar Yosef (Greek: Iesous) is only described in TWO gospels, Matthew and Luke, and both are Midrashic expansions of a few OT
verses (i.e. not history) BUT BOTH are however, MUTUALLY CONTRADICTORY ACCOUNTS.
Even the Genealogies of Matthew and Luke don't match (Matthew wants the magic Daviddic number 14 to occur in three sets of descendants, leaving out
some 12 generations of Judaean kings in his list of Ancestors in chapter one, i.e. from about 680 to about 615 BC---all missing so he can have nice
neat groups of 14 which is the magic number for the name DVD or "David" the line of the Messiah(gematria = D =4 + V = 6 + D = 4 = 14 for the name
David without vowels). See the fact that Joseph's father's name is different in both accounts (Yakkov or Heli? which one is it?)
Notice in Matthew there is no cattle trough (manger) or angels or shepherds and in Luke's account there is no house, or wise men (or Kings) or gifts,
or star to guide anyone.
The Christian church in their iconography often mixes up these two traditions in order to allow people to make pretty Christmas Cards with Shepherds
AND Kings, Angels AND Magi, Mangers AND Frankincense!
But the stories are MIDRASH (i.e. Haggaddic expansions of Old Testament verses pertaining to the Messiah, such as "And the Gentiles shall come to thy
LIGHT and KINGS to the BRIGHTNESS of thy RISING" (Is 60:3); accounts for the switch of the MAGI into KINGS in the common rendition of the story in
the churches (but not in the text of the gospels!).
The Greek word translated "wise men" is "Magoi."
It has several possible meanings. One is "deceiver." They were magoi because they deceived Herod by returning to their homes by a different route
rather than betraying the location of the Messiah to him. Another meaning for Magoi is magicians or sorcerers or priests of Zoroaster (the three terms
Magoi" can also refer to those who interpret dreams and offer wise council and in Matthew's gospel, "Joseph" has a Dream not to divorce Miryam
("Mary") because of her awkward condition. (Oddly, perhaps, Matthew lists only 5 women in his Genealogy-----all of which had illicit sexual
MISCONDUCT in their past, e.g. Rachel the Harlot, or Bath-Shebiti (BathSheba), or Ruth the grandmother of David etc. the last of which is Mary !)
Throughout Matthew's birth Narrative we see Haggadic Midrash at work, not History. Certain verses were "guiding" the story along (sometimes with
contradictory results later in his gospel, like "Iesous" mounting two animals to fulfil his bad translation of Zechariah 9:9 !)
"The kings of Tarshish and of the isles will bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba will offer gifts" (Ps 72:10) is another obvious Midrashic
expansion point which Matthew tries to illustrate in his birth narrative.
See Isaiah 49:7 KINGS shall See and Arise: Princes shall bow down and worship.
The so-called oracle of Balaam was thought (in the Dead Sea Scrolls) to have had Messianic overtones: "a Star shall come out of Jacob; a Scepter
shall rise out of Israel..." (Num 24:17).
Remember, MIDRASH not HISTORY is guding the hands of the writers, who were NOT EYEWITNESSES, but was the next generation of believers who were, shall
we say, a little more educated than Galilean fishermen....
The same kind of Midrashic Guiding principles formed the Crucifixion narratives out of Isaiah 53 and Psalm 22, where we see details added to the story
that could not have been known (no eyewitnesses if all the disciples "left him and fled" as it said pertaining to the Arrest on the Hill after the
Slave of the High Priest's ear somehow got cut off with a sword...(see Luke chapter 22:18-20) but that's another subject altogether.....