Friday, April 29, 2016

What do Fight Club and the Gospel of Jesus Christ have in common?

Fight Club - brutal but surprisingly Biblical

New words are invented every day, because when people think of new things to say, they need new words to do so. That conversely means that certain ideas that have been around since time immemorial are known by words that are very old. And we know when words are very old when they are used over vast language areas. The general rule is: the older, the wider its spread, and the wider its spread, the older it is.

Take the word "you" for instance. People have addressed other people for a while now, so the earliest word for "you" has remnants in all Eurasian languages. It obviously exists in the north European languages since English is one of those (together with German, Dutch and a few others), but also in the Latin rooted south (the French tu), and the Slavic east (the Serbian ti). It even occurs in Vedic Sanskrit (as yuyam), which demonstrates it's really fantastically old.

Slightly less intuitively is the prevalence of the word "soap".

We've been told that our ancestors were unrelenting barbarians until roughly the invention of the DVD, and shouldn't be expected to have ever washed, let alone have a word for such a commodity as refined as soap. Turns out that tradition is wrong, and the ancients talked about soap pretty much as long as they talked about someone in his face.

To quote our exhilarating article on the mysterious Hebrew word 'ezob:

"Our English word "soap" probably comes from an old Germanic stem, with a root so old that it also existed in Latin (as sebum) and lives on today in most European languages (Basque: xaboi; Bosnian: sabo; Danish: saebe; Dutch: zeep; German: Seife; Estonian: seep; Spanish: jabon; French: savon; Finnish: saippua; Icelandic: sapa; Kurdish: sabun).  
Its prevalence across such a wide language base makes linguists suspect that our word existed in pre-Indo-European (probably sounding like seib), and that would make it not only contemporary with our word 'ezob; it may very well be its cognate, and thus that of the Greek noun hussopos (hyssop).

The link between soap and hyssop (a plant) lies probably in the fabrication of the earliest sponge or shrub, namely from a bundle of fine twigs or a grass-like wad.

It turns out that the ancients were obsessed with cleanliness. Texts from the very dawn of recorded history speak of soap and the importance of keeping things clean. This was obviously long before the advent of proper germ theory (of which the first proposals were made in the 16th century, but proof came only a century later) and the observable effects of cleanliness were deemed miraculous.

Dirtiness of body and dirtiness of conscience became expressed in similar imagery, which led to the familiar but controversial "washing away" of moral sins with physical water and soap (Psalm 51:7). Still, the amazing properties of soap were rightly so tied to the divine. Soap demonstrably warded off disease, stench and even death; it purified and strengthened, just like the very Word of God.

And the best part was that it came natural, as element of creation. Natural soap can be found around the organs of mammals, where it is often produced as the result of some bodily injury (hence Tyler Durden's interest in producing soap, get it?).

In the translated Bible there is an additional theme of washing items such as pots and pan and even white garments in blood (Numbers 19, Revelation 7:14), which is obviously rather curious. But since blood, like soap, is a natural bodily fluid, the solution to this conundrum comes when we allow the word for blood (dam) to cover all fluids, including soap.

But He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him, And by His scourging we are healed.
Isaiah 53:5 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Game of Thrones, the Bible and JUDGED

There is quite a bit of brouhaha going on in Christian circles about Game of Thrones being too violent, and, worse, too nude! But what a nonsense. The only thing Game of Thrones has and the Bible doesn't is an imp (not counting Paul and Zaccheus).

"The imp" Tyrion Lannister, in the foreground directly below the M of Game

In fact, I think we should start lobbying for a a brand new Bible TV series that for once isn't peopled by piously smiling Caucasian Colgate models but actually by the characters that appear in the Bible. We could call it JUDGED, and make it the bloodiest and nudest series ever to air on prime time! I bet we could get a Emmy for the Paradise episode alone.

Think of all the blood and boobs we could show in the antediluvian episode - move over Darren Aronofsky!

David with the head of Goliath
M. Caravaggio
The one on the Book of Judges would be a two-parter, of course, with weeks of teasers that warn folks to put their kids to bed before it airs. It would have extra emphasis on the destruction of the cities of the plain and the atrocities committed at Gibeah.

Ah, just imagine watching Abimelech deal with Shechem, or Jephthah with his daughter. And need we mention the virgin heist at Shiloh? We think not...

For the much anticipated incest special, we could casually mention that Sarah was Abraham's half-sister, before moving on to Lot who impregnated his daughters and Judah who impregnated his daughter in law. David's son Amnon raped his half-sister Tamar, and speaking of rape, we would have to squeeze Shechem's rape of Dinah in there too somewhere, followed by Levi and Simeon's excellently bloody revenge.

Bathsheba's toilet
C.C. van Haarlem
We could do a snazzy Lydia Bixby crossover thing when we execute the five sons of Merab. The stories of Isaac and Rebekah and of David and Bathsheba would cater to the voyeuristic minority among our projected audience, and if we do it tasteful, we could certainly move the boundaries of allowable porn when we have a go at the Song of Solomon.

The New Testament episode(s) would have to center on the Roman occupation, although we could turn the Lazarus cycle and the resurrected thousands upon Jesus' death into a zombie apocalypse kind of thing.

Gibson set the standard for torture-porn crucifixion-fiction and lest we look like a rip off, perhaps we could go into the theological ramifications of Jesus' death. That could give JUDGED the disturbing psychotic edge that Games hardly has.

Matthew 27:52-54
And just imagine the horror, the bottomless horror we could whip up for the show's grand finale: JUDGED - JUDGEMENT DAY.

I'd warn the producers to stay away from the silly medieval image of little red fire devils poking naked people with pitchforks. That image went out with the flat earth and our target audience is obviously beyond that.

In stead we could follow some John Doe as he notices his every day world becoming bleaker and bleaker until one day he finds himself (screaming, of course) adrift in an unbound darkness with no features whatsoever and no one around and even void of the hope to ever meet someone or something.

There won't be anything to catch his bearings on. His memories will be indistinguishable from his imaginations. He will slowly loose faith in reality, and no longer be sure that the world has ever existed. He might be a creature produced by some random process, that began to imagine things and so ended up on a make-believe planet with make-believe friends and family. He might have made it all up. He might not be human, but there's no light to check the shape of his body. And he could be making up his sense of touch too.

And as the camera zooms out, we hear poor John Doe screaming hysterical screams, as he gets smaller and smaller in a silent blackness that won't even provide him with the assurance that he himself exists.

Wow. There won't be a globe golden enough...

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Google and Jubilee

One of the key stipulations of the Torah, namely the Sabbath Year and Year of Jubilee, are no longer observed in our modern world, or are they? A closer look at the most successful company in human history might surprise you.

Google in Hebrew letters
Everybody knows about Sabbath, the seventh day of the week upon which people were not to do any work, but rest. This day of Sabbath is still with us, and was even expanded from one day to two days of rest, what we call the weekend.

But what our modern world doesn't observe is the Sabbath year, which was a period of one year every seven years during which arable lands were given rest (Exodus 23:10-11; Leviticus 25:1-7), slaves were emancipated (Exodus 21:2-4) and debts were remitted (Deuteronomy 15:1).

The seventh Sabbath Year was known as the Year of Jubilee, during which additionally all property rights regarding fields reverted (Leviticus 25:8-55 and 27:16-33).

The key feature of Sabbath and Jubilee is quickly overlooked but it's nothing other than the suspension of obligation. That's sounds wonderfully anarchistic but it comes down to a huge liberation of human endeavor from the demands of commerce and sustenance.

Most people are creative in some way or other, and periods of time, from a day to a whole year, not having to do what someone else or some situation dictates (basically living off the fat of the land), automatically produces an enormous quantity of unrestrained human interaction: stronger family bonds and doubtlessly baby booms in the year after the Sabbath year, but also new ideas, new technology and science, and new literature and music. In fact, our word school comes from the Greek word skhoie, meaning leisure.

Hard work and doing what you're told may have given us our wealth, but occasional freedom and time to pursue the inclinations of the heart is what has given our world its flavor. And guess what, the Hebrew word Jubilee has nothing to do with being jubilant (which derives from the Latin iubilo, meaning to shout for joy); it comes from the Hebrew verb yabal, which to flow forth or produce. Neither Sabbath nor Jubilee has anything to do with laziness and inertia; both designate periods of increased production of what people naturally seek to bring forth.

Sabbath & Jubilee

In the wake of the industrial revolution, leaders began to turn the human work force into a machine, which ultimately led to the world wars and the great depression in between. After the second world war came the various liberation movements (of blacks, women and youth and as general protest against the human machine, which basically meant that the West became liberated, and the East was conquered and turned into the machine) but the reinvention of the Jubilee principle did not occur until Google turned the business world upside down.

Life at the Google campus
In stead of chaining their employees to their desks and making them do whatever bosses told them to do, Googlists were gently nudged in a desired direction but also instructed to devote twenty percent of their time to not boss-regulated projects.

The main Google campus in California has more than a dozen restaurants where employees can eat whatever they want, without having to pay for it. There are game rooms, massage parlors and parks to stroll in.

Religious leaders often want their followers to believe that obedience to God is the same as obedience to what they say God wants. But the opposite is true. Within the confines of certain ground rules (don't steal, don't murder; all that) being obedient to God equals being free to follow the desires of your heart. Religious leaders will then want you to believe that if people could just follow their hearts, the whole world would spiral into a lawless killing zone, but again the opposite is true.

Watch this flick
As researchers such as Harvard's psychologist Steven Pinker have discovered, there is a clear correlation between a reduction of rulery (specifically religious governance, I'm sort of half-happy to say) and an increase in morality.

In the last forty years, the rate of rape has declined by 80% in the US (while reportings have gone up!). The rate of domestic abuse and child abuse has gone down, as have mistreatments of minority groups and animals. Wars and deaths by wars have plummeted over the last few decades world wide.

The traffic light on the busy intersection near the Abarim Publications campus went bust the other day. It's always a death defying experience to run across the street in the 2.5 second the lights give you to make the transition, because whoever is given a green light will take it by force, and no matter what cripple or distracted Scripture Theorist in is their way, they will tear down the street with ridiculous speeds.

But now that the lights were out, people carefully waited their fair turn, and equally carefully rolled on when they were given a chance by the others. I was able to cross the street in a perfectly normal and relaxed pace, without anyone trying to kill me or even honk at me. That was a good day, until someone turned the lights back on and the blood thirst recommenced.

Apparently, we've collectively reached such a level of responsibility that a relaxation of rules leads to better behavior in stead of worse. Our world is still so highly competitive because we're all scared of falling behind and being left out, but all the signs indicate that if we would just relax the laws of commerce (making goods and services more readily available at reduced costs or even gratis), people would still continue to produce the necessities of life and in addition produce much more of the stuff that makes life worth living in the first place.

Google on, y'all!

The Google corporate slogan

Saturday, April 9, 2016

The mysterious case of the giants and the Levites

You wouldn't think it, but after thousands of years the Bible is still chuck-full of unsolved mysteries.

Some of these unsolved mysteries are unsolved simply because they are so complex (like: what happened to the Ark?) but others aren't solved because nobody knows they're there.

One of my favorite ones (which appears to be an original Abarim Publications find) is the mysterious broken symmetry between the four gargantuan sons of Anak at the time of the conquest (Numbers 13:22, Judges 1:10), and four Levite gatekeepers at the time of the return from Babylon (1 Chronicles 9:17).

Note that both the names Hebron and Levite come from verbs that mean to join:

Four giant Hebronites: Anak Ahiman Sheshai Talmai
Four Levite gatekeepers: Akkub Ahiman Shallum Talmon

Feel free to leave a comment if you have an idea (or even when you don't)! :)

Saturday, April 2, 2016

How power works

Obviously, any person who attains any governmental or military position, automatically believes in human authority and the justice of one guy ruling over the next one. People like that generally fall into two categories:

The Materialists

The Materialists, in the Bible portrayed as the Saducees, deny that anything exists outside the observable, and thus exclude the existence of angels, spirits, God and obviously any form of resurrection. Materialists see the belief in the non-material world as poison to society and will try to eradicate it.

Our good friend Richard Dawkins
Examples of this form of government are Marxism (Mao, Stalin), the European Union, and science-based models (to which we hastily add that science is a wonderful tool as long as it does not overrule or illegitimate other considerations, such as art-based leanings; here at Abarim Publications we love science).

The Vicarians

The Vicarians, in the Bible portrayed as the Pharisees, deny that the belief of most people in anything is detrimental. The Vicarians will try to harness whatever beliefs of whichever people into elaborate religions and associated power structures, of which the top ruler represents the object of people's belief on earth.

Our good friend Pope Francis
Examples of this kind of government are of course Roman Imperialism (which explains the functioning of people like Annas and Ananias) and its greatest admirer: Fascism, as well as most forms of formal Christianity and Islam (and subsets such as the USA and various Arabic nations).

We  hastily add that these are nevertheless all wonderful endeavors with friendly accommodating people. Here at Abarim Publications we aim to be Good Neighbors to all these regimes.

The main objective of these factions is the same: to rule humanity and to hammer it into an efficient, well-oiled machine. Their most dominant symbol is either the sun or the moon, and their most lethal enemy, what they hate and fear most, is anyone who is contrary, non-compliant, or trouble-making: disturbers of their manufactured peace, so to speak.

To them, disturbers are all the same, but to the actual trouble-makers there is a great difference, namely between:


Or people who seek to destroy whatever exists, and that for non-constructive reasons. Among these are people with rare mental disorders, vandals and very rare forms of satanism (because most "satanism" today is of the second order, and designed to counter modern forms of Pharisaism).


Our good friend William Wallace
Bravehearts are folks who want to achieve a world in which the individual is free from any restriction, free to do whatever he/she wants, including beating up someone who's in their way.

This non-government is based on survival of the fittest, and among these we may count anarchists and nationalists (those who apply anarchy to the individual that is their nation).

The Celts and Germanians appear to have had developed cultures of a very high degree of sophistication across enormous realms based on these ideas, which existed until Rome sacked them.

Israel originally attempted this form of existence, but they wouldn't stop fighting among themselves, and the nation elected to switch to centralized, Pharisaic rule (although the term was obviously invented much later than the time of 1 Samuel 8).


Hodosites (from the Greek word hodos, meaning way, road or path) are people who insist that humans are natural creatures, who function best collectively according to same natural laws that run them individually. Without central rule and with only personal autonomy, bees and ants build huge societies. Imagine what humans might accomplish if we'd just stop telling others what to do.

Our good friends the bees

The society these Hodosites envision is based entirely on an individual's adherence to the only code all individuals can agree on, namely those aforementioned natural laws (Matthew 23:10, 1 Corinthians 15:24).

These folks see humanity as a self-correcting system, in which the whole will always reflect the ultimate. Any insurrection comes from suppression, and should be corrected on both ends (which is also the key to the cure of cancer, by the way).

In a human individual, this code is DNA. In the human collective, this code is the Scriptures, which is a collection of writings that have stood the test of time not because powerful people wanted it so, but because the turning of the human world made these particular writings float to the top.

An individual whose cells don't properly form or interpret DNA will develop cancer, in the same way that that a society whose individuals think they know better than the Scriptures will develop any of the above and will inevitably disintegrate.

The only way to figure out how the Scriptures work is to cross reference them against the scientific record (Romans 1:20), and we're far from getting there.

Today we don't even understand the Bible, let alone see any possible seamless connection between the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas and other Scriptures mankind has been endowed with (John 21:25). But it's either that, or extinction. Either humanity will fall in sync with creation or else creation will annihilate humanity like the plague we are. And when we get there, it will be the beginning of a whole new and quite spectacular thing.

Among the proponents of this view we can count Jesus the Nazarene and people like Nicodemus and Paul, who started out as Pharisees but who later became devoted to the Way, as it's called (John 14:6, Acts 9:2, 22:4).

Much alike these two famous figures, there are a great many people among all above categories who are in fact devoted to the Way and don't know it because they've never heard of it, thanks to the efforts of Pharisaism and Sadduceeism to cloud and oppress it. But now you know better.

Our best friend: DNA (Deuteronomy 30:11-14, Jeremiah 31:33, Luke 17:21, Romans 2:15, Hebrews 10:16)

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