Friday, August 19, 2016

Why evil is not the opposite of good (as per Zarathustra)


It doesn't happen often but on occasion I get mildly peeved by the ease with which even reasonably well-informed folks violate the most basic tenets of Biblical theology. One of these is the issue of polarity, or in simpler terms: of good and evil.

The root of good & evil


Much of the Old Testament was compiled and redacted from very old sources and traditions during the Babylonian exile. That means that the Old Testament is as much a respectful commentary on the reigning theology of Babylon as the gospels are of the dominant Greco-Roman schools of thought (the New Testament authors reviewed Greek Homerian and Stoic notions with reserved favor but treated the Romans like bananas).

The Old Testament emerged from a basin of Zarathustrianism (or Zoroastrianism), and Zarathustra (or Zoroaster) is the celebrated inventor of monotheism.

That is to say: Zarathustra overthrew indigenous pantheism in favor of a system that involved one sole supreme deity who was still aided and thwarted by a lot of forces, spirits and demons. One very important idea of Zarathustra, which has managed to pervade popular understanding of reality, is that the cosmos is the stage upon which forces of good battle forces of evil in an eternal struggle. To Zarathustra, these forces were polar opposites and approximately of equal strength.

Zarathustra promoted the still hugely popular bi-polar reality model of good versus evil

Zarathustra's idea's were certainly brilliant, but his idea of the eternal battle between good and evil was one hundred percent at odds with the Hebrew idea of how things worked. Zarathustra thought he lived in a bi-polar reality, but the Hebrews were pretty sure that reality was mono-polar. Particularly the prophet Isaiah had very little patience with the bi-polar reality model of his northern neighbors, as he roared:

I AM YAHWEH! And there is no other! Besides Me there is no god! I will equip you, even though you don't know Me, so that folks may know from dawn to dusk that there is no one beside Me. 
I am Yahweh, and there is no other. The One forming light and creating darkness; causing good (Hebr: tob) and creating evil (Hebr: ra'). I am Yahweh, who does all these things (Isaiah 45:5-6).

Satan (and here we go) is a created creature who lives within the same created universe as we do, and he has to obey the same natural laws of God, whether he likes to or not. And he can only get to people who fail to align themselves with the laws of nature, who are like the weak and ailing of a herd upon which predators focus.

Satan has no grip on 'healthy' people who follow God's law to the last minute detail (if that were possible). Satan can only try people the way an engineer test-runs an engine, and can only apply negative effects when the people fail in their designed function.

Darkness and light relate relate in a journey, not a battle


We are on a journey. We came from somewhere and we're going somewhere. The Creator made creation with a specific end-result in mind, and when folks dart off into literally a dead end, God issues a correction. This correction is understandably experienced as a negative to the correctee, but the unforeseen alternative is infinitely worse.

When the Lord's angel stood in front of Balaam, He became satan to him (in the sense that God was performing satan's function of opposing, not in the sense that the two are the same one - Numbers 22:22) and when Saul needed a swift kick in the head, God sent him an evil spirit (1 Samuel 16:14).

Similarly, the Mosaic Law was not issued as a code of conduct that had to be followed, but rather an explanation of why the doodoo was hitting the fan. Contrary to popular belief, the Law was not something that had to be kept, but rather something that had to be transcended.

The Law is like a blue print that builders need to finish their building. When the building is finished, the blueprint has become obsolete because it's now manifested in the building. Likewise when the Law states "you will not kill" it states that at some point in the future (a) we won't be doing any killing, and (b) this rule has become obsolete by fulfillment.

The purpose of the Law was to point out failure (Romans 7:7), which was also the job of satan (namely that of public accuser or prosecutor). Jesus obviously fulfilled the Law (Matthew 5:17), and with that He put both satan and the Law out of a job.

painting by Les Bryant

Just read Creation!


But even to people who lack the Scriptural versatility of a six year old, simply looking at creation will tell the observer that we're living in a mono-polar reality and not a bi-polar one.

Darkness is not the opposite of light but the absence of it, and the difference is not subtle. 

Darkness is the absence of light, not the presence of something else. When we switch on the light in a dark room, nothing leaves and nothing is replaced.

Light is substantial and consists of energy. Darkness is not substantial, and it doesn't consists of anything. Darkness is emptiness. It can not be made to go away; it can only be filled and only by light. Light can fill darkness but darkness can not fill light.

Light has a source. Darkness has no source. Light can carry information. Darkness can't. Light travels and can go into a certain direction. Darkness doesn't consist of anything and can not travel. Light consists of colors. Darkness has no shades.

Light is part of the electromagnetic spectrum. It consists of unpolarized energy and as such is the source of all matter in the universe. Hence it existed before all things and since electromagnetism holds electrons to atomic nuclei and atoms together in molecules, it literally holds all things together (John 8:12, Colossians 1:16-17).

Light is the engine behind all chemical and most physical processes, including life. At light speed, time freezes and all distances become zero, which means that the speed of light is not a speed (there are no seconds or meters at light speed) but rather the edge of the universe!

Darkness is the absence of light, not the opposite of it, just like ignorance is the absence of wisdom, and not the presence of something else. To build something, one needs knowledge. To tear something down, one needs no knowledge. To love someone, one needs to know someone. It takes no knowledge to hate someone.

Evil is ONLY the absence of good, and good is the ultimate objective of the universe and the ultimate destination of everything in it: a finished building, a completed knowledge, and a perfected love.

Be excellent in what is good, have no idea about evil (Romans 16:19).



Friday, August 5, 2016

The pyramids, the Ark and the case for cold fusion

Perhaps I've been an engineer too long, or perhaps not long enough, but when I look at the description of the Temple of YHWH built by Solomon and the Phoenicians, I see a device of some sort (and read our article on the Menorah for a look at the Menorah as machine).

It is of course miraculously daft to forward the idea that the ancient Hebrews had high technology, if it weren't for guys like Christopher Dunn who proposed the same about the pyramids of Giza. More specifically, Dunn proposes that the pyramids are simple too accurately built to have served solely as burial tombs.



Accuracy such as employed at Giza is only required when volatile processes need to be contained and controlled. The pyramids would have looked indistinguishably similar if they had been built with far less precision, and hence during far less man hours of labor and planning, and hence for a fraction of the cost.

Had the pyramids been tombs or even any other kind of monument, they would have been riddled with texts and recognizable imagery. But now that they are sterile and barren, it seems warranted to conclude that they were not monuments at all:



Dunn proposes that the pyramids were meant to be power plants, but stops there. As an engineer, he feels that he should only take measurements and discuss possible applications, but refrain from guessing how the pyramids would fit into Egypt's society at large, and how they would have served this society. Here at Abarim Publications we're engineers too, but in stead of looking at the pyramids, we look at the Bible, and as such have a lot more to go on.

Engineering the Bible

A defining characteristic of the Bible that is often swept under the rug of formal religion is that the Bible speaks of one God for everybody, which can not be represented by anything stationary, and which desires to be known by men. The God of Israel is not to be approached via esoteric rituals and stubborn entreaty but via respectful curiosity and inquisition; not through blind obedience but through learning. The Lord is to be worshiped in truth, and His works and therefore His character can be learned about by studying nature (Romans 1:20). In other words: Yahwism is much more like science in the modern sense of the word than like religion.

The burning of the library at Alexandria in 391 AD
Most people agree that thanks largely to the Romans, the culminated knowledge of the ancient world was destroyed, but when people think of ancient knowledge, they mostly think of flowery philosophies and artsy fartsy stuff. But no, over the last few decades, archeology has unearthed enough evidence to support the hypothesis that the ancients had developped technologies that we simply can't imagine.

We obviously should diligently guard our natural tendency to couple our enthusiasm with our own ability to imagine things, and come up with far-fetched fiction that the ancients might have been able to make reality: time-travel, interstellar travel, you name it, or rather: please don't. That same approach has damaged the field of theology at large almost beyond reasonable repair, and it serves no purpose other than to distort and destroy.

Humanity has lost knowledge; Graham Hancock even calls us a species with amnesia, but perhaps our amnesia is not total. Throughout time there has been a tradition of believing that somehow certain elements could be turned into other elements. That process (or technology) was called Alchemy, and had to do with a device known as the Philosopher's Stone. The wisest people of modern times up until Isaac Newton have been searching for it. Where did we get that belief? Did we really make it up, or do we somehow collectively "remember" that it's bloody well doable; we've just forgotten how!

Alchemy and Fusion

Good news: modern scientists have figured out how to do it, and now it's called Fusion (in stead of Alchemy). You witness fusion every day because sunlight is a result of fusion. In the core of the sun, every four hydrogen atoms are mushed together to make one helium atom, and this is how:

A hydrogen atom consists of (1) one proton (that's the atom's nucleus), (2) one electron zipping around the nucleus, and (3) a force field that holds the electron tied to the nucleus.

The Alchemist, in Search of the Philosopher's Stone
Joseph Wright
During fusion, of two hydrogen atoms, the electron gets hammered into the proton, to produce two neutrons, which then get hammered together with the other two hydrogen atoms.

The result is one helium atom which consists of (1) two protons and two neutrons, forming the atom's core, (2) two free electrons zipping around the nucleus, and (3) two force fields to hold the two electrons tied to the nucleus.

The difference between four hydrogen atoms and one helium atom is two force fields. You needed four force fields to keep four hydrogen atoms together, but you only need two for one helium atom.

The two force fields that are no longer needed, wiggle their way out of the sun and become the sunlight that we see.

The bad news: this kind of fusion goes against the laws of thermodynamics, and it takes colossal amounts of energy to get it going in the first place. Hydrogen atoms don't want to get mushed together to form neutrons, and they certainly don't want to huddle up with two more to form one helium atom. In order to perform atomic fusion, you need a monstrous amount of energy and no scruples against doing something to atoms that they themselves don't want to do.

Once you got four hydrogen atoms hammered together, they won't be able to break loose again, unless they somehow acquire energy equal to two little force fields they lost. You can even continue hammering atoms together to form heavier atoms (1 hydrogen atom + one helium atom = one lithium atom + 1 free force field) and distract more and more energy. When you reach iron (26 protons, neutrons, electrons and force fields), the game is up because in order to make heavier elements (like copper, which is number 27) you would have to insert energy in stead of getting it out of the deal.

Elements heavier than iron are produced in events called super novae, and if you can manage to break these heavier elements apart into lighter elements, you would win energy. That process is called Fission, and it's the operating principle of atomic bombs and nuclear power plants.

In other words: alchemy is perfectly possible, but the way we have it today it requires an initial investment of energy that makes the whole thing expensive, cumbersome and dangerous. The Philosopher's Stone we managed to build is too large to be of any use. There's barely enough food in the world to feed the beast.

Stone cold fusion

The original Philosopher's Stone was the size of a poodle. It's working principle was a mysterious process that in our day and age is colloquially known as Cold Fusion, which is a process which the scientific world generally deems impossible. But is it?

In 1989, Fleischmann and Pons famously reported excess energy emanating from an installation that involved so-called "heavy water". Their findings caused an enormous riot, not because it might have worked but because if it had worked it would have engaged a hitherto unknown natural principle. And much worse: this principle promised unlimited and freely available energy for all.

Fleischmann and Pons' nifty Cold Fusion wasn't disproved (beyond the observation that our presently know laws of physics don't support it), it was yelled off the table by hysteric, and may we add: heavily funded, Hot Fusion researchers and their oily backers.

Here at Abarim Publications we are neither physicists nor heavily funded, so our scope grows misty in that direction. But in the direction we are skilled to look (namely Biblical Scriptures), things look suspiciously bright for the cold fusion camp.

On the font-page of our main website, we've already suggested that under specific circumstances, atoms can be persuaded to cluster together to form molecules the size and complexity of DNA. Now we'd like to postulate that cold fusion is possible when atoms are somehow "persuaded" to huddle together into heavier elements and voluntarily release their energy. We don't have complicated mathematics to back all this up, but we do have compelling textual evidence.



The pyramids of Giza are mysterious for more than one reason, and one of these is that no mention exists anywhere in the substantial Egyptian records about them being built. It appears therefore that the pyramids outdate Egypt's recorded history (several other hypothesis point at the same conclusions, but these escape the scope of this article).

If we deem the obsession of our own recent ancestors with alchemy, a mere interest in something that would be nice if it worked is simply not potent enough to explain it. Something similar could be said about the obsession of the ancient Egyptians with the sun. What was it about the sun that was so compelling that it outshone all other elements and tributaries of life and being alive, and became the prime object of national obsession? The usual explanations of religious fervor simply don't cut it (and never have, if you ask me), and I'm sure that both the obsession with the sun and that with transmutation of elements came from the same source: the lost knowledge of cold fusion.

Water, water everywhere

One of the reasons why some researchers believe that at least the sphinx of Giza is a lot older than is generally supposed comes from the patterns of erosion on the statue itself and the basin it sits in.

Robert M. Schock, a geologist at Boston University concluded that these patterns came from centuries of accumulative water damage. Rainfall substantial enough to have caused this did not occur in Egypt after about 4000 BC, and we know that from archaeological and geological examinations of the environment there.

 But what is the water that damaged the sphinx and made the dessert bloom wasn't caused by rainfall in the conventional sense?

These days it's common knowledge that the designs and functions of the tabernacle, which Moses built from heavenly patterns that he was shown on the mountain (Exodus 25:9, 25:40, Numbers 8:4, Hebrews 8:5), and the Ark of the Covenant were to some extend also known in Egypt.

The function of the Ark was (1) to be a receptacle for the Law, and (2) to be a seat for the Lord and a place where man could meet Him. What strikes about the Ark is that it somehow was associated with a pillar of smoke and fire, known as the Shekinah. Perhaps I've been an engineer too long, or not long enough, but when I hear of fire and smoke I automatically think in terms of energy and fuel.

I don't want to sound disrespectful or un-spiritual, but if the Lord forms a column of smoke and fire, He essentially brings things together that produce the effect. Better yet: if the Lord wants us to observe creation in order to know Him better, He would stay very far away from so-called super-natural events, that is: events brought about by reasons other than natural laws, known or not.

In still other words: if the Lord wants to be known by the things He's made, He wants us to think about the Shekinah in terms of physics and chemistry, and not stay away from investigating it because it would be too holy. The pillar was observable, so the principles that brought it about are observable too.

An artist's rendering of the Shekinah


The pillar of smoke and fire represented the presence of the Lord, and showed up directly after Israel's departure from Egypt (Exodus 13). This happened before the Law was received (Exodus 19), which happened before the Ark was constructed (Exodus 25). The Ark was deposited in the tabernacle and the tabernacle became the temple. When the Ark was placed into the temple's Holy of Holies, the glory of the Lord returned and the place was filled with so much smoke that the priests had to get out of the building (2 Chronicles 5:13-14). To me that looks like someone pushed the on-button.

A natural process always consists of things going in, things being done, and things coming out. We know that the "things going in" consisted of enormous amounts of animals and vegetation, but it's not clear if these were actual organisms or rather another way of saying "food for humans" (1 Kings 8:63-64). What the "things being done" were precisely isn't clear, but it had to do with fire coming from heaven (2 Chronicles 7:1). What the "things coming out" were is even more obscure. Apart from it being a great blessing, we have no idea what the temple did apart from being spectacular.

Another instance of fire coming down from heaven and consuming a bull, happened when the prophet Elijah taunted the priests of Baal (1 Kings 18). Now note that the Giza complex was a lot larger than Solomon's temple complex, and that Elijah's altar was a lot smaller than the temple. It is as if these accounts also indicate that whatever it was, we were already forgetting about it. Another key to what was going on, however, is that Elijah battled the Baal priests in the middle of a period of drought (1 Kings 17:1). Immediately after Elijah's victory over the Baal priests, which consisted of the Lord sending fire from heaven, the rains came (1 Kings 18:41-46).

Streams of Living Water

The temple was destroyed by the Babylonians but several visionaries saw a time in which it would be built again, and in a way that would exceed its former glory. The prophet Ezekiel saw a vision of the new temple, and noted among other things that water flowed from it (Ezekiel 47:8).


Likewise the prophet Zechariah foresaw a time at which "living" water would flow from Jerusalem (Zechariah 14:8). John the Revelator even went so far as to speak of the River of Life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and of the Lamb, with the Tree of Life on its either shore, yielding fruits of every kind and leaves to heal the nations (Revelation 22:1-2).

But in John's world there are no temples in the conventional sense (Revelation 21:22). The River of Life comes from a Living Temple, namely from a collective of people that are united into one mind and without being coerced (John 7:38, 1 Peter 2:5; the "things going in" being the blood and body of the Lamb).

Throughout the ages, political leaders have tried to pummel their realms into shape by force, and the sun has spectacularly persisted as preferred emblem to those endeavors. The Romans worshiped Sol Invictus, the invisible sun, and modern Christianity is unfortunately much more based on the Solar cult than on the Bible (read for more details our article on the name Nazarene).

Obedience to God is perpendicularly opposite to obedience to formal doctrine and clerical structures. Obedience to God equals freedom of the individual (of course within certain restrictions such as don't kill, don't steel, et cetera), and freedom of the individual is a nightmare to any totalitarian leader. Josephus wrote that during any of the three week-long Judaic feasts, three million people would converge onto Jerusalem. Then realize that the entire Roman empire contained 300 million people -- meaning that three times a year, one percent of the population would abandon positions of servitude and production to go party in the homeland -- and you can figure out why Rome's battle with the Jews was about more than religious bickering.

The final conclusion of all this (and where's my drum roll?) is that totalitarian coercion is the social equivalent of Hot Fusion -- and don't delude yourself into believing that we're presently living in a democracy, because we're not. The social equivalent of Cold Fusion is, well, whatever it is that makes the Body of Christ tick -- and don't delude yourself again; most churches today are wholly similar to the congregations devoted to Baal in Elijah's days. Enthusiasm, fervor and even certainty and faith are no signs of being right, see 1 Kings 18:28-29. Instead, no effect is a sure sign of being wrong.

The Body of Christ consists of people that are measurably different from the majority of humans, and can certainly be found not only within Christianity. From what we can learn from nuclear physics, these people are typically not focused on personal gain of any kind. That means that most of them are neither rich nor famous, and probably not very popular either. They are not organized in any formal way, there are no symbols or emblems nor mailing lists or membership cards and there are no leaders and bosses. They probably don't have many friends, but they are connected to humanity in a way that defies further explanation. You'll know it when you are one, and you won't ever be able to comprehend it when you are not.

But, don't be dismayed. In stead watch this riveting little documentary on cold fusion:




Or this one, which is more up to date but slightly more technical and a bit more angry:



Friday, July 22, 2016

Hanging out at the Abarim Publications campus


Our friends love to hang out at the Abarim Publications campus

The other day my evening was pleasantly graced by the arrival of two friends, who had separately found their way to the Abarim Publications headquarters, unbetwixt of the other's being there. My two friends know each other but they don't like each other all that wholeheartedly.

Friend A is preciously sweet but not too clever, whereas Friend B is not the dullest knife in the drawer but also not very friendly at times. We ended up sitting side by side on the porch, with me in the middle.


"Why do spiders do that?" said Friend A, pointing at a spider's web (I'm honestly not making this up).
"To catch flies with," I said, while to the left of me Friend B hardly suppressed a derogatory guffaw.
"It's beautiful, though, isn't it?" I said to Friend A, who was slowly developing an expression of full-spectral disappointment. "You should see it in the early morning when the dew still sticks to it. We all have to eat, but spiders break out the good china, so to speak."

Friend A took a sip from her tea, then let her eyes wander up to the stars. Soon she had forgotten about the spiders and remarked how beautiful the stars looked.


"They are the biggest things you have ever seen," I said. "Each of them is bigger than the whole earth."
  "Really?" said Friend A but in a tone that suggested I hadn't convinced her at all. To the left of me Friend B took a deep breath but before she could say something I turned to her and said: "Many people don't realize that a star is really only the visible part of a much larger entity. The other part is...?"

Friend B gave no reply.

"And many people believe that the universe is a large sphere, which is precisely the same as thinking that the earth is flat. Because the shape of the universe resembles most a...?"

Friend B again gave no reply and turned her gaze towards the indistinct darkness ahead of us, and I quietly hoped I had been able to illustrate that no matter how smart one is, there are always people smarter, while there is no supersession in the niceness department.

After a few minutes of quiet contemplation, Friend A wanted to know if I had seen clips of an anti-West demonstration that had erupted in some place somewhere earlier that day, and augmented her inquiry by saying, "Why do they hate us so much?"


Apparently, Friend B wasn't yet ready to form a response, so I said, "It's awful to be hated, isn't it?"
"But why?" said Friend A.

And I said, "Maybe they think we took something from them. And gave them crap in return. Or maybe bad people are stirring up folks who aren't mature enough to make up their own mind, and claim their own rightful piece of the pie."

Before Friend A could say something or I could add something, Friend B jumped up and screamed, "Spiders make webs because Jesus told them so! And stars are big because they sing Jesus' praises! And evildoers hate us because THEY DON'T KNOW JESUS!!!" And off she ran, leaving me with Friend A in a world to be inherited by children.

After a while of silence, Friend A said slowly, "Sometimes it's easier to love your enemies than to love your friends."

And I said "Amen", even though that's not my custom.


Friday, July 15, 2016

The top 10 of Hebrew words for love


Love, as all poets will attest, is a tricky thing.

Particularly since we moderns mostly consider love a feeling, and feelings tend to go all over the place, from eternally hot to stone cold the very next moment.

The matter of the nature of love is important to theophiles because since God is love (1 John 4:8), the very nature of the Creator is under scrutiny when love is considered.

Is God a feeling? Does God give you butterflies? Does God make you say YUMMMMMMM when your wet tongue slithers across the frozen swirls of a vanilla cone? Here at Abarim Publications, we think not.

The Hebrews figured that the "heart is the most deceitful thing" (Jeremiah 17:9) and appear to have viewed love as an action irrespective of emotions. That's not to say that the Hebrews didn't have the same feelings we do when we "love", "fall in love" or "make love", it just means that whenever you see the word "love" in the Bible, you're probably looking at the wrong word.

It's overly reported that Greek has several words for love, but Hebrew, as usual, has Greek beat by a landslide. Here are our roughly ten top picks for Hebrew words having to do with love (and follow the links to our online Hebrew dictionary for a closer look at these words):

אהב

The verb אהב ('aheb) is usually translated with to love, but it rather means to be attracted to or to be attached to, and that in a rather mechanical way (like a magnet to a nail).


It's used to describe a parent's attachment to a child, but not the other way around (as kids tend to dart off). This kind of magnetic attraction may obviously exist between a man and a woman, but this verb can also used to describe what impels someone to rape someone else (Genesis 34:3, 2 Samuel 13:1).

The obvious antithesis of this verb is שנא (sane'), which means to hate and which is identical to the verb that means to sleep. Sleeping in the Bible is often used in the sense of being inattentive or aloof (Matthew 26:40), which suggests that our verb אהב ('aheb) primarily has to do with being attentive and intimate.

חסד

The verb חסד (hasad) is the reason why we see curious words like "loving kindness" or "faithful love" in the Bible.

It appears to have originated as a word that expressed a kind of economic and emotional loyalty among relatives or friends or neighbors, but it appears to have moved into legal jargon as the verb that describes a formal contract or covenant.

But where in our world the word contract brings to mind a being bound by a law that when broken will land you in jail, the Hebrew word חסד (hasad)  has primarily to do with human decency and allegiance.

רחם


The verb רחם (raham) expresses a kind of devotional love that usually goes one way: from a caregiver to the receiver of this care.

It's often used to describe a parent's devotion to a child, and subsequently also God's devotion to mankind.



ידע
The verb ידע (yada') means to know, but it's also used to mean to make love ("and Adam knew his wife and she conceived..." Genesis 4:1).

Bernini's Ecstasy of Saint Teresa
This is commonly explained by suggesting that men don't know what a woman looks like until the wedding night, but that's most certainly prudish nonsense. Isaac and Rebekah were "having fun" (the verb is צחק, shahaq) to such an extend that Abimelech could deduce from afar that they were husband and wife (Genesis 26:8-9).

In a gregarian society, where animals freely mate and sexual "revolutions" haven't happened yet, the sexual side of life is openly acknowledged by everybody. In stead, the ancients appear to have understood that worship and sexual ecstasy are dealt with by the very same regions of our brains.

In other words: to the brain it makes no difference whether we make love to our spouse of to the Lord.

Via the act of copulation, life is passed on to the next generation and many commentators have noted that copulation is an utterly holy act.

It's part of a indivisible package that also contains a lifelong commitment to spouse and offspring, and it's no literary mystery why in the Bible the relationship of God and man is so often metaphorized as a marriage.

Since a marriage is consummated when the husband inserts his member into the woman's facilities, the appearing of the "כבד (kabed) of the Lord" into the tabernacle is laden with sexual phraseology.

דוד
The derivatives of the verb דוד (dawadhence the name David) are commonly translated with 'beloved'. But most fundamentally these words probably have to do with a slow, caressing movement or else the act of containing something precious.

Our verb seems etymologically akin the verb ידד (yadad), which also means to love, and which in turn appears to be kindred to the word דד (dad), meaning nipple or breast.

This latter word clearly expresses the whole spectrum of the verb  דוד (dawad) as one's ample breasts can be both a target to a calid husband, and the body part that contains nutrients for a baby.

יד
Here at Abarim Publications we roguishly surmise that the verb ידד (yadad) may just as much have reminded a Hebrew audience of the word דד (dad), meaning nipple as of the word יד (yad), meaning hand.


Obviously, the hand would be instrumental to the male contribution to afore insinuated fondling, is expected to move with tenderness and is evenly amply equipped to contain something.

It should be noted that where in English similarities like this have no real value, in Hebrew they are among the most fundamental principles of ancient information technology.



ידה
The best part of all this is that the verb that describes the act of throwing hands in the air out of a celebration of joy is ידה (yada), which is commonly translated with to praise.

This verb in turn lies at the base of the name Judah, and thus the ethnonym Jew.

Ergo: the Jews are not only the Praisers, they are also the Ecstatic Lovers, as well as the Breast with which God fed humanity in its infancy (Genesis 12:3, Hebrews 5:12-15, 1 Peter 2:2).



Friday, July 8, 2016

How historical are the gospels, really?

This is not what things looked like in Jesus' time
Contrary to popular belief, imperial Christianity or "Christianity-as-we-know-it", didn't start with Jesus, or with Paul, but with Roman emperor Constantine in the fourth century. For its first three centuries, the original Jesus movement was a Jewish sect that lowered the bar to join so drastically (by for instance no longer demanding circumcision) that pagans could join with relative ease. And thus they did and did so in droves, because even though the Jesus movement was illegal, it was also irresistibly attractive.

Here at Abarim Publications we like to believe that the original movement indeed began in a certain historical Jewish individual, but the literary genre that would feature Him sought mostly to provide commentary on the times via His highly allegorical biography. The earlier writers (Mark, Paul and doubtlessly many we've never heard of) couldn't simply state that the Romans sucked and why, because they would have swiftly executed them. In stead, they disguised their more controversial ideas in The Adventures of Jesus. Take the story of the demoniac called Legion, for instance; that's pretty blatant.

This is what things looked like in Jesus' time

By the time these authors wrote, the Romans would have considered their works silly laments over some dude who got himself killed decades earlier, as one of tens of thousands of insignificant natives who had been terminated in order to preserve the hallowed peace. To their intended audiences, however, these stories were about a whole lot more. A Roman censor might have snickered over the absurd but harmless report that long ago a Roman governor had publicly released a known terrorist called Barabbas, but the gospel's target audience understood this story's subtle details. Likewise Paul's plea to have a runaway slave named Onesimus forgiven would have been considered absurd but relatively harmless to any Roman snoop, but to the real Philemon the real Onesimus meant quite something else.

Jesus was a Jew, but His movement was not simply a continuation of Jewish thought. After the time of the latest Jewish prophets, Judaism began to be permeated by Greek thought to such a degree that the Galilee of Jesus was no longer Jewish but rather Greco-Jewish. When the Romans conquered Judea, they disposed the Jewish king as well as the incumbent high priest and installed a political elite which was more to their liking. That made Galilee a Greek-Hebrew hybrid in the cultural sense and a Roman-Jewish hybrid in the political sense. All this gave understandable rise to a movement that demanded the utter purification of Hebrew religion, which included the return of a rightful Jewish king, a.k.a. messiah or christus in Greek.

The Siege of Masada meant
the end of the Sicarii
Jesus appears to have largely sought to avoid these people (John 6:15) and their movement quickly fractured into a spectrum of vastly differing sentiments. So-called Zealots were militant brutes, who managed to spawn an even worse offshoot called the Sicarii. These guys were sly assassins who killed anonymously and did nothing but evoke Roman wrath and bloody retaliation upon innocents. Our friends the authors appear to have represented these two groups in Jesus' disciples Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot.

Then there were Essenes, who solved the problem by completely separating themselves from main society and teaching righteousness to whatever audience would come to them in the desert -- the character of John the Baptist obviously resembles these. As told, this movement was beheaded by the Roman-Jewish government (Mark 6:17) but respectfully surpassed in virtue and effect by the Jesus movement (Matthew 11:11).

Meanwhile the Romans suffered their own share of attacks, both from without and within. Around the same time that Jesus was born in Judea (give or take a few years), a federation of Germanian tribes tore three whole Roman legions to shreds at the Battle of Teutoburg Forest.

The Battle of Teutoburg Forest meant
the end of Roman legions XVII, XVIII and XIX
At that same time, the Illyrians (in present Bosnia) staged their revolt and kept the Roman army busy for three excruciating years.

The Germanians got away with it but the Illyrians were wholly destroyed. At that same time Judea was made a Roman province, and while some insisted on an Illyrian-like armed revolt, most realized that a respectful dialogue with the oppressor would be much more fruitful.

 "Knock and the door will open," said Jesus, and with that He almost certainly referred to the great doors of the temple of Janus Quirinus in Rome. At peace time these doors were shut with great imperial fanfare. At war time, they would open, and horror upon horror would flood the land.

But the most vicious attacks on Rome came from within. When Julius Caesar had pronounced himself dictator for life (half a century before Jesus' birth), dozens of disgruntled senators clubbed up under the epithet The Liberators (namely Rome from tyranny).

And one late winter day, these Liberators proceeded to assassinate old Julius, hoping that this would bring the Republic back. Unfortunately, all it did was infuriate Ocativan, who chased and killed the last of the Liberators at the Battle of Philippi and pronounced in rapid succession (1) himself as the adopted son of Julius (well, it said so in Julius' will), (2) the Republic dead, (3) but resurrected as divine Empire, (4) of which he would be the first Emperor, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, (5) which meant that he was also the Savior of the World, (6) which meant that Julius had to be divine, and (7) which meant that Octavian was the Son of God.
The doors of the Temple of Quirinus
Matthew 7:6-8

All that he glazed by giving himself the name Augustus, from the Latin verb augeo meaning to increase, enlarge or magnify, and the derived noun augustus, meaning majestic or magnificent one.

The Liberators had bitten the military dust precisely like the Illyrians would three decades later, and became the thinking man's example of how not to do it. But the internal Roman liberation movement kept going strong. One native Italian people in particular felt they had a bone to pick with their domineering Latin neighbors, whose wretched village of Rome had now so gloriously taken over the world. These people were called the Samnites and although they had resisted Roman rule longer than anybody else on the peninsula, they too had grudgingly yielded.

One particular Samnite family was that of the Pontii. In the 4th century BC, commander Gaius Pontius had beaten the Romans silly at the Battle of the Caudine Forks. Early in the last century BC, the defender of the plebs (lower class) and military commander Pontius Telesinus had fought Roman general Sulla, whose tyrannical actions set the collapse of the Republic in motion. Some decades later, Lucius Pontius Aquila, a tribune likewise of the plebs, so managed to vex Julius Caesar that the latter famously began using the former's name as cuss word. But Pontius Aquila did more than vex Julius, as he soon joined the Liberators and became one of Caesar's assassins. By the time of Jesus, the name Pontius had the same regicidal ring to it as the names Booth and Oswald do in ours.

The Liberator denarius showing a pileus, a "freedom hat", which was the symbol of a freed slave. Such a freed slave was known as a pilleatus, which is often assumed to be the root of the name Pilate. 

When Jesus was in His mid-twenties, a perky Pontius Pilate stepped from the Samninte Liberator stage of Rome onto Judean soil, and stayed on for an unusually long ten years. We have two main sources of information on this man: Roman and Judaic. Even decades after he was deposed, Roman historians bore Pontius Pilate a measure of ill will that barely fits a man of his modest stature, and easily makes an unbiased reader suspect that he did something entirely disagreeable. The gospel writers, on the other hand, spoke remarkably well of Pilate.

The Judea in which Jesus was born, and in which He preached, was tried, executed and commemorated was not a country sparsely populated with complacent peasants but rather a land where the most intimate of human considerations were expressed in the most potent of people movements. There were no two clearly established fronts, no obvious good-guys and bad-guys, but two fractured mirrors facing. Tensions raged like bundled snakes and shared anger yielded brittle alliances between the most unlikely of candidates.

And at the very heart of that, a Samnite Liberator who was clipped of his balls met a courageous genius with no will to fight. Pilate pronounced Jesus innocent, because the Samnite liberator understood perfectly the position of the Judaic liberator: to render upon Caesar what belonged to Caesar, and to thus set captives free (Luke 4:18).
Vespasian, a.k.a. the Muleteer:
"The emperor comes out of Galilee"

Three decades later, the revolt broke out. Emperor Nero, who until then had entertained Paul, sent general Vespasian and his son Titus to sort things out.

Quickly after Nero's death, Vespasian returned to Rome as the new emperor, tickled pink by the legend that the new emperor of the world would come from Galilee.

Meanwhile Titus attacked Jerusalem and destroyed it and its temple. And as his father's nickname had been Mulio, was Titus not the Colt, needed of the Lord?

Thousands upon thousands of Jews were crucified and the rest was deported. What was left of the city was declared off limits. Judaism was robbed of its central temple and its sacred city, and without its heart it spiraled into an unprecedented crisis and onto its near-certain demise.

What saved Judaism and the unsurpassed wisdom it had collected over the centuries, was expressed in the gospel of Jesus Christ, which told of a resurrected Temple and a heavenly kingdom.

So how historical are the gospels, really? During the last few decades, archaeology and Scripture Theory have unearthed vast amounts of data in which a certain grave's cover stone slowly dissolves. The ever so vague outline of what lies beneath points at a literary effort vastly surpassing the traditional interpretations of the New Testament.

Here and there the hopeful few think they can actually peek through pin holes and peer into the howling hollow of history but the honest answer to our question is a rather sheepish look and the calm confession: "we got no clue how deep this goes, but hey, stay tuned for more".

Don't know yet, but stay tuned


Friday, July 1, 2016

Certainty is a futile virtue

Possibly the most disastrous event in Biblical history was the destruction of the Temple of YHWH in 70 AD. The Temple had been sacked, looted or destroyed many times before, but everybody knew that from the destruction of 70 AD there was no turning back. It's even quite justifiable to state that early Christianity was in fact classical Judaism trying to deal with the loss of the Temple.

Relief from the Arch of Titus in Rome, which commemorates the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD

Perhaps up to the third century AD, Christianity was not separate from the many forms of Judaism but one of them, namely a Judaism that saw the destruction of the Temple as part of the greater pattern of redemption and something that needed to be incorporated into proper theology.

Jesus of Nazareth died and rose again four decades before the Temple was destroyed, and Paul had been a formidable religious and political force long before Titus marched upon Jerusalem. Paul was so important, even, that he was tried by at least one Jewish king, two Roman governors, and was finally transported to Rome to be dealt with by Caesar himself, which demonstrates that Paul was no small figure in any sense.

But the gospel as literary genre most likely originated just prior to the destruction, and the four gospels that we have in our Bibles clearly stem from right after, and use that tremendously traumatic event as centerpiece of their message.

The other day a dear friend of mine dropped by and told me that he and his wife had bought a house somewhere far away. They'll retire sometime next year. We sat on the porch and looked out over the world, and in the distance we could see a small gathering of young men, some playing soccer and some others engaged in a heated discussion that involved a lot of shouting and gesturing.

"Isn't it wonderful to be old?" said my friend, and I could only agree (even though technically I'm about half-old). I remembered being twenty and making it out of adolescence wildly confused about myself and angry with the world, until I found one single certainty (I don't even remember what it was, but perhaps something like: I think therefore I am).

I clung to that certainty as if it were a small island in an ocean of trouble, and all I set my mind to was to find another one. I fought everybody who disagreed with my certainty and shoved it down the throat of whoever came my way and who was still in the throes of ignorance.

I found my second certainty, and placed it on top the first. Then I found a third, and a fourth, and I built myself the tower of what would become my temple of certainty. It was grand, golden and indestructible. I was envied, admired and quoted galore. And it came to ruin.

One particular Saturday night a good few years back, I was standing outside in the garden, looking at the stars, basking in the glow of my convictions,when  a "voice" came to me.

The voice asked me one single question (and no, I won't divulge that question), but I couldn't answer it. I wasn't that I couldn't come up with the factual answer to a complicated inquiry, or even the result of some too difficult mathematical problem. Not at all. In fact, I saw the answer to the question very clearly in my minds eye. The answer was: 50-50.

With a mind-blowing shock, I realized that my entire temple was set on a foundation that could not support it. I learned that Saturday night that all certainty is an illusion, and that my temple had been a temple for me, not to God, and subsequently it came crashing down.

I entered into a psychotic episode that completely incapacitated me for weeks and lingered for years after. It's really quite a miracle that I didn't utterly lose my mind or kill myself during that period. My brain went into a reboot phase and was reformatted and decertainized.

I expected madness and death on the other end but much to my surprise something completely different started to happen. I'm not going to bother the reader with approximations and metaphors, because if the reader hasn't survived the destruction of his or her own temple, the reader is incapable of getting it. And if the reader has, then he or she needs no further explanation.

My friend has those weird eyes that don't move when they look at you and make you nervous if you have something to hide. They are (how shall I put it?) "entirely open". It's the most wonderful feeling to be able to look into eyes like that and feel no shame at all.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Hebrew story telling (III): Let there be Contact


The Hebrew technique of story-telling allows vast amounts of information (perhaps indeed the whole universe) to be summarized by a relatively small amount of text. And, as endearingly portrayed by Carl Sagan in his novel Contact, once a reader understands the principle -- the basic structure from which all other structures are derived, see Ephesians 3:14-15 and compare to Genesis 12:3 -- plus the relationships between the iterations, the "primer", the entire universe can be constructed.



In the Bible that primary principle is called Dabar YHWH, or Word of God (a.k.a. Logos), which on the complexity scale obviously sits prior to its consequences. Hence John the Evangelist could write that in the beginning was the Word, which was with God and which was God, and that through the Word everything came into being (John 1:1-3). And Paul wrote that the Word is the image of the invisible God, and that He is before all things and that in Him all things hold together (Colossians 1:15-17).

Contrary to the creation myths of adjacent cultures, the Hebrew account proclaimed that creation hinged on language: God spoke and there was. The periodic table revealed that indeed the material world consist of a language, using a two-letter alphabet of protons and neutrons, from which all the "words" that comprise the world are constructed (Matthew 4:4).

The languages in which the universe is expressed
When DNA was discovered it too appeared to consist of language, using the four-letter alphabet of the nucleotides, and like the Hebrew Torah scrolls, it too appeared as a double helix, in a nucleus, in the heart of a living cell, which is obviously (and deliberately?) similarly to the Ark in the tabernacle in the heart of Israel. Note how the Ten Commandments that defined Israel were organized: on two corresponding tablets, one containing rules pertaining to the father (God) and the other pertaining to the mother (humanity).



The story of Jesus -- His stirring message, His three-day death, His resurrection and His transformation into a human collective "in the world but not of the world" -- precisely follows the story of a conceiving human female: her hormonal (im)balance, her ovulation, which expels and thus kills the ovum (which, like Jesus, only has maternal genes), and her conception, which revives the ovum and brings it back into the maternal economy, but not as just another cell but rather as a mini-human, in every way like herself; in her but not of her.



The event generally referred to as the "Second Coming" corresponds with the birth of this new form of humanity, which will then exist separate from the maternal society and can finally be recognized by her as something wholly new and wonderful (Revelation 21:24).

All these stories were never meant to make people religious. These stories don't tell us how to behave in church (or temple or mosque); they convey the natural processes by which the world operates. They certainly don't predict the superiority or victory of any particular world view, but placidly review natural events which are inevitable by sheer merit of natural law.

The Body of Christ prior to the so-called Second Coming lives within the world the way an unborn baby lives within her mother.



Friday, June 17, 2016

Hebrew story telling (II): Once upon a level of complexity

We moderns tend to align our stories with calendars and clocks, even though our memories typically don't work that way (something experienced a year ago may be reckoned nearer by our mind's eye than something that occurred yesterday).

In our modern stories, events are married to specific points in time, and since time comprises countless points, our histories consist of countless events. This is not very efficient and, due to perceived connections between events, will cause a library to grow faster than the events it discusses. Hebrew story telling works precisely the other way around.

Hebrew story telling marries events to levels of complexity rather than points in time. When a moderner tells of a mountaineer on his journey to the top, he'll describe every step forward and every step back when they occur.

A Hebrew story teller would describe the levels of the mountain, and discuss events where they occur. A moderner must tell a whole different story for each additional climber, but a Hebrew's story covers anyone who would ever attempt the climb.

"She/He Who Climbs To The Top" may be one single character in a Hebrew story,
but it would describe everybody who ever played that part.

Simply put: if the "mountain" we are climbing is the human condition, then the Biblical genealogies from Adam down convey the human condition from general to specific. Adam would thus describe the level of complexity which all living things share. Eve, after all, was the "mother of all life," what we today call the biosphere; Genesis 3:20, and the famous "fall of man" covered the whole of creation: Romans 8:22.

At the level of complexity described in Noah, humans can be distinguished from animals (see Matthew 24:39: "they knew not until the flood"; also see 2 Peter 2:12 and Jude 1:10), which means that Noah's three sons -- Ham, Japheth and Shem -- represent the most fundamental distinctions of human mentalities.

A second major advantage of Hebrew story telling is its lavish use of fractals and broken symmetries. That means that a certain narrative principle can be evoked at any point in the story, like a snippet of autonomous computer code that can be called upon from anywhere in the master code.

The Mandelbrot Set is a fractal that shows the same general form at different levels of complexity.
The Hebrew Bible works the same way.
An example of this is the principle story of the Father with the Three Sons, which is told with the father being Adam (and his sons Cain, Abel and Seth) and told again in Noah (and sons Shem, Ham and Japheth), and again in Terah (and sons Abraham, Nahor and Haran) and again probably in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:15).

There's advanced knowledge of light and relativity theory captured in the inner structure of the Hebrew language (see our article on the words nur nahar), and the Story of the Father and the Three Sons is probably also applicable to light ("father" White and "sons" Blue, Red and Yellow).

Two stories that are somewhat the same convey additional information in the matter in which they differ, and the more instances of the same principle story there are, the more additional information can be conveyed: in the differences between the differences (put mathematically: 3 versions lead to dAB, dBC, dAC but also d[dAB-dBC] and so on).

But this system also predicts that when the similarities of obviously differing stories are understood under the umbrella of an overarching principle, all stories should eventually marry into one, utterly primary principle. Science has dubbed this utterly primary principle the Grand Unified Theory. The Bible calls it, or rather Him, the Word of God, or Logos.



Friday, June 10, 2016

Hebrew story telling: the miracle of the Bible

Vilna Gaon  1720 - 1797
The Bible, though pure and simple in its basic tenets, is vastly complex -- so complex even that Hebrew sages are known to have sighed that the Torah contains the whole universe (Vilna Gaon), and the Ten Commandments the laws that describe it (Shneur Zalman).

Shneur Zalman 1745 - 1812
Later commentators have often scooted these sayings to the realm of zealous hyperbole, apparently forgetting that the Hebrew culture was organized in such a way that surplus of wealth and energy was habitually invested in literary art.


Or in the words of the mathematician and modern (secular Jewish) sage David Berlinski (in the 42nd minute of the first Hoover Institute interview):

"The Old Testament is the greatest repository of human knowledge and wisdom in the history of civilization, any culture, any time, any place. And that really should be the first point of discussion. Because every attitude today -- from Richard Dawkins to me to Christopher Hitchens to lonely pastors in the Bible belt on Sunday morning ranting from a particular text -- is discussed in the Bible. There's a character in the Bible who expresses that point of view, and there's sympathy expressed  for that point of view, and reservations expressed by that sympathy. It's an enormously rich, dramatic piece of work."

Hebrew authors were super authors; arguably the most skilled text-masters the world has ever seen, arguably as bright and well-equipped as the smartest professors today, or Leonardo da Vinci five centuries ago, or the very best masons of Egypt.

Christopher Dunn
The masons of Egypt expressed Egypt's wisdom in stone, but some of Egypt's statues were created with far greater accuracy than traditional tools could ever verify, let alone produce (see the studies of master-machinist Christopher Dunn), so it's a baffling mystery how they did it, or why.

Any observer with any sense at all can only stare awestruck at these buildings realizing that in scope and function these buildings far exceed anything we build today, and obviously came to pass via knowledge we're oblivious of.

In Egypt, wisdoms were expressed in publicly viewable stone when an initiated few made myriads of slaves do want they wanted. In Israel, wisdoms were expressed in publicly viewable texts when myriads of initiated poured over and discussed previously published works.
Ramesses II 1303 - 1213 BC

The wisdom of People Of The Book evolves much faster than that of People Of Stone and the Hebrew authors were far better writers than Egypt's best masons were masons. In other words: the Bible is a far more mysterious thing than the Giza plateau or the extremely precise and symmetrical statues of Ramesses II.

We moderns like to congratulate ourselves with our hard drives and operating systems but information technology didn't start with IBM. All writing is information technology, and was designed to store data, but some technology is more sophisticated than others.

The texts of the ancient Hebrews go so far beyond any other text on earth that the word "text" do them justice as much as the word "animal" does a human justice. The Hebrew Bible achieves data compression by using natural principles, which indeed allows a finite book to contain the whole world (John 21:25).

These texts use techniques that are quite plainly beyond the grasp of the common moderner, and besides tell stories, they "operate" on code the way DNA "operates" on code, using the principles of nature: fractals, broken symmetries and even a built-in copying process that inevitably led to nature's signature variety and diversity.

To the Hebrews, text was life and as sacred as life.

De next two weeks we'll have a look at the complexity of the Bible.

Friday, June 3, 2016

How to tell a Hebrew from a Jew

Semites, Hebrews, Israelites, Jews... we moderns just love our labels. In the Hebrew Bible, however, he various categories don't just occur side by side but often within each other, like a Babushka doll.


Most ethnonyms that are associated with Biblical heroes are subsets of other ethnonyms, much rather than indicative of some group within an ocean of equivalent but competing groups.

The following list of more or less familiar ethnonyms do not denote certain parallel sections of the general population, but rather categories that become more and more narrow. The list starts with the most general category of them all, into which all corporeal creatures fit. All categories that follow are subsets of the previous one(s).

It should further be noted that according to the following model, Biblical time is not the same as real time. In the following model, time is like the four years of high school, which in actuality take six years to complete. It's a journey down a complexity scale and not a temporal one. The following list is not based on the ticking of a clock, but rather of a huge birthday calendar that hangs fully formed on the wall and covers the entire living past:

Adam

In the Biblical sense, Adamites are descendants of Adam, and while Adam is commonly celebrated as being the first human male, at the Biblical level of Adam the symmetry in the world of the living is total. That is to say: at the complexity level of Adam, all living things have a body. Eve, after all, was the "mother of all living" (Genesis 3:20) and not only humans. The phrase 'all living' or kal hay occurs six more times in the Bible and always denotes, well, all living things or the whole biosphere (Genesis 8:21, Job 12:10, 28:21, 30:23, Psalm 143:2, 145:16).


With this we are NOT saying that Adam was a paramecium (please hold your emails), we are saying that whatever goes for Adam goes for every corporeal living thing.

This is the reason why the original sin passes over into the entire biosphere (Romans 8:20-22).

Noah

The second major breach in symmetry occurs in Noah, or rather the flood of Noah, at which point in complexity the human mind becomes distinguishable from animal intelligence - where the 'Sapiens' part of Homo Sapiens becomes distinct from other living beings.

Obvious to all but a few, Noah and the animals in the ark again represent the whole biosphere, but now humans are clearly set separate.

Note that Noah's family consists of seven, like the clean animals (Genesis 7:2), which sets Noah, as solitary head of his family in a literary parallel with God.

Again, with this we are not saying that Noah was an Australopithecus, we're only saying that prior to the complexity level of Noah, humans operate on the same mental software that runs the animal world.

On several occasions the Bible demonstrates a full human-animal symmetry (Ecclesiastes 3:18, Jude 1:10) and Jesus even states quite blatantly: "...and they knew not until the flood came" (Matthew 24:39).

Semites

The Shemites - or in the modern spelling: Semites - are the descendants of Shem, one of the three sons of Noah, who coincide with the most basic structure in all human minds (not wholly on a par with Freud's id and ego and what not, but close).

Traditional models regarded the three sons of Noah as patriarchs of geographically dispersed people groups (after Genesis 10), and had the Shemites people the middle east. Here at Abarim Publications, however, we're pretty sure that the authors of the Bible were not so interested in the physical descent of nations but rather the theological descent of their schools of thought. After all Abraham, arguably the father of all arch-fathers, was not a father in the biological sense but rather the "father of all believers" (Romans 4:16). Likewise the brothers Jabal and Jubal (Genesis 4:20-21) were the "fathers" of flute players and tent dwellers, while their physical lineages were terminated by the flood.

Here at Abarim Publications we hold that all of the genealogies of the Bible are solely about the evolution of wisdom; how different interests and different schools of thought descended from ancestral common ones (and with wisdom we mostly mean practical skills, technology and the science needed to grow crops and defend one's realms and such).

Traditionally Shem's brother Japheth was thought to have peopled Eurasia, with Shem's famous grandson Javan peopling Greece. Here at Abarim Publications we surmise that Javan rather sums up Greek's famous wisdom schools (math, literature, but also the statesmanship that resulted in the invention of democracy, and so on). Ham and his Hamites peopled Africa, which corresponds to mankind's oldest scientific systems, which were considered the 'smallest' rather than the 'youngest' by the authors (Genesis 9:24).

Also note that all three sons of Noah were born before the flood (Genesis 5:32, 11:10). In this particular model this insinuates that the basic structure of the human mind is still wholly pre-human and should be recognized in intelligent animals.

Hebrews

One of the more famous ethnonyms of this list is also one of the most misapplied: in the Biblical sense the Hebrews are the Eberites or "sons of Eber" as mentioned in Genesis 10:21 and 10:25. Who precisely these Eberites are is not clear from the text, but the context within this particular model suggests that the Eberites distinguish from other humans by some ability having to do with language. It might be speech, it might be writing, and it might even be narrative story telling, which marked the beginning of modern information technology.

The Semitic alphabet was invented by the Phoenicians and perfected by the Bible writers (whoever they were) through their brilliant contribution of vowel notation (note that the name of the Lord, YHWH, consists solely out of these vowels; this is no accident). The alphabet lifted writing out of the realm of the esoteric and made it available to the common man (hence a nation of priests ; Exodus 19:6, 1 Peter 2:9). This allowed for a huge influx of mental energy in the academic arena, which in turn resulted in superior wisdom traditions and hence stronger nations.

On the complexity scale, the invention of the alphabet appears to coincide with Israel's exodus from Egypt. In this sense Egypt is not the nation by that name but rather its wisdom tradition that refused to adapt to the alphabetic notation.

In Eber also arises a perspective beyond one's immediate frame of reference. Eber had two sons, namely Peleg and Joktan. In the days of Peleg "the earth was divided" (Genesis 10:25), which, beside all else, marks a global consciousness. The descendants of Joktan culminate in the tower of Babel (10:26-11:1). In other words: The two sons of Eber embody the fundamental competition between empire (Joktan, from Babel to Rome) and autonomous individual (Peleg, from Abraham to Christ).

Abraham

In modern times, the adjective Abrahamic usually refers to the Abrahamic religions of Judiasm, Christianity and Islam, but on the Biblical stage Abraham is firstly a son of Peleg (anti-empire), and secondly the embodiment of an international exchange of good and ideas; precisely the opposite of a hoarding, centralized empire. Read our article on the name Abraham for a long look at this particular point on the complexity scale.

Isaac

The name Isaac means laughter and his story is permeated with precisely that: comedy. It's often overlooked that comedy is one of the central and most dominant genres within Biblical Scriptures, but the power of comedy has been recognized and utilized long before Aristotle and Chevy Chase came along.


It may not agree with our modern sense of refined jest, but a centenarian who knocks up his only slightly younger wife (Genesis 17), a son who tries to trick his blind father with a visual disguise (Genesis 27, see Hebrews 11:20), the absurd assassination of fat Eglon (Judges 3:24), Manoah's silly antics, the whole Saul-versus-David roadrunner cycle (on from 1 Samuel 13), even up to Jesus' discussion with Nicodemus (John 3), the latter's whopping 100 liters of myrrh (John 19:39), and even the Pharisees' clownesque ignorance about the birth place of the prophet Jonah (John 7:52, see 2 Kings 14:25 and Matthew 12:40) are all undisguised instances of literary slapstick.

The "great joy" of which Jude so famously speaks (Jude 1:24) is often explained to be some austere and reserved sense of inner glee but no, it's swinging-from-the-rafters and thigh-slapping merriment.

The crucial element of all this is that laughter is a response to something unexpected (because nothing funny is ever seen coming). The original, or animal function of this same mental process is of course fear. That's why laughing and crying are so alike: physically they are exactly the same thing.

The single most repeated command in the Bible is to be not afraid, and although that may sound like the command to suppress a very useful sensation, it's obviously a command to secure your safety.

Laughter comes when one's sense of safety is so strong that strangeness is no longer seen as something potentially harmful, but rather as something potentially beneficial. The Athenian altar dedicated to the "unknown God" (Acts 17:21-23) stood doubtlessly in a comedy club.

Jacob => Israelites


In Isaac the range of human mentality hits an obvious ceiling (and this on a complexity scale; we're still not looking at evolution over time). Isaac marks the level of ultimate personal joy, and there's no bettering that. His son Jacob, subsequently makes no improvement in the vertical sense but rather in the horizontal one. Up to Jacob the covenant of God with humanity was always carried by one man, but in Jacob the earthly partner of the divine covenant becomes a people: Israel (Genesis 32:28).

The transition between masculine individual and feminine collective is most fundamental in the arsenal of Biblical principles. It's initially (of archetypally) expounded in the creation week, in which the one light of day one becomes the many lights of day four, and also lies at the heart of the relation between Jesus (male) and the church (female).

Judah => Jews

Israel expresses safety and joy on a national scale, and there appear to be twelve main sub-functions to that, corresponding with the twelve tribes of Israel. Which traits the twelve tribes specifically represent is not wholly clear at this remove, except for one, namely Joseph, who obviously represents oneirocritics or dream-interpretation.

What this skill is supposed to be on a national scale is not clear, but the story seems to suggest that there is a measurable social equivalent of the memory of a dream that a person might wake up with. Perhaps the ministry of Joseph denotes the systematic analysis of a society's informal or sub-culture. Ancient China had ministers who traveled the lands and viewed people's arts and listened to their music to learn which sentiments played among the people. Perhaps Joseph's ministry was something like that.

Joseph's skill appears to have originated somewhere in Canaan where it was not appreciated (Genesis 37:19). Then it was picked up by Midian in Arabia, who delivered it to Egypt. There too it was first underestimated but then recognized and ultimately firmly incorporated into the nations primary wisdom tradition (Genesis 41:45).

Today the most famous of the twelve tribes is Judah and if the name is anything to go on, these guys where the Praisers. What that precisely means isn't clear, but it probably wasn't anything like what we call praising today. Judah's mother Leah explained the name Judah by saying "this time I will praise the Lord" (Genesis 29:35), which isn't so much about praising as to the object of the praising.

Prior to Judah's birth, Leah was trying to bank the appreciations of Jacob, and Judah's birth marks a shift of focus toward YHWH. That still doesn't make praising a religious endeavor because the name YHWH probably means something like "The Way Things Are/ The Way It Is", and the "praise of YHWH" probably has to do with the pleasure of studying the laws of nature in which the Creator so clearly expresses Himself (Romans 1:20).

While the other Israeli tribes found themselves shanghaied by Assyria (from a word probably also meaning joy or happiness) the Judahites stuck to their turfs slightly longer, until they too were deported but to Babylon.

But the folks living in Judah were not merely the descendants of Judah, since Judah the tribe also contained the descendants of the brothers Levi and Simeon (Genesis 49:5-6). What Levi and Simeon represent isn't clear, except that from Levi came the priestly caste of the Levites, and since back then there was no separation of state and religion, a priest then was of course a wholly different thing than a priest now.

Levi, Jacob Levi
Judging from their names, Simeon (from the verb to hear, a name similar to that of older brother Reuben, from a verb meaning to see) may represent national intelligence.

Levi, from a verb that means to join or couple -- or even to bond -- may have originally represented a kind of diplomatic office (that pieced intel together).

This mixture of Judahites, Simeonites and Levites became collectively known as Jews, and while the other tribes were assimilated by Asshur, the Jews famously thrived in Babylon and later Persia. The exile ended in the so-called return, but the people who returned were a minority compared to those who stayed. The Jews of Babylon/Persia became politically enormously influential, and their wisdom schools enjoyed such enormous respect that emperor Cyrus himself decreed, designed and funded the restored Temple of Jerusalem (Ezra 6). The Jewish centers in Persia kept going strong for centuries. Even long after the age of Christ, the "Babylonian" Talmud vastly outshone the volume and scope of the Jerusalem Talmud.

The prominence of the Jewish elite in Persia became celebrated in the story of Esther, and even when the long awaited Messiah was born, the brethren from Persia seem to have been the first in the know. The Magi who famously showed up in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:1) where clearly well-versed in matters of Judaism, and while the Magi were an actual Levite-like tribe of Babylon, the Magi mentioned by Matthew may in fact have been Jews from the Magi region.

It's been long thought that Luke with his "shepherds abiding in the field keeping watch over their flocks" tells a wholly different story (Luke 2:8), but here at Abarim Publications we suspect that these shepherds too are the Jewish leaders of Persia, and Luke and Matthew tell of precisely the same events: the liberation movement of Jesus originated in Roman Judea but was first discovered and subsequently heavily financed by the Jews of Babylon/Persia.



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