History of the Devil
By Paul Carus, 
THE IDEA OF SALVATION IN GREECE AND ITALY.
ἀλλὰ ῥῦσαι ἡμᾶς ἀπὸ τοῦ ποηροῦ.
Matt. vi. 14.
THE first century of [this] era is a time in which the fear of evil leads to the organisation of religious institutions having in view the atonement of sin and the redemption of the soul from the terrors of hell.
The ideas evil, sin, hell, salvation, and immortal life were familiar to the Greek mind even before the days of Plato, but were still mixed up with the traditional mythology. When philosophers began to wage war against the gross idolatry of Greek polytheism, a fermentation set in which prepared the Greek nation for the reception of Christianity. We say “prepared,” but we might just as well say that it resulted in the formation of the Christian Church as an institution to deliver mankind from evil.
The fear of punishment in the life to come led in the days of savagery to human sacrifices as a vicarious atonement. This barbarous practice was abandoned in the progress of civilisation by a substitution of animal victims. But the idea lingered in the minds of the people and was retained in Christianity, where, Continue reading
Rahab and the Spies
1 Joshua the son of Nun secretly sent two men out of Shittim as spies, saying, “Go, view the land, including Jericho.” They went and came into the house of a prostitute whose name was Rahab, and slept there.
2 The king of Jericho was told, “Behold,* men of the children of Israel came in here tonight to spy out the land.”
3 Jericho’s king sent to Rahab, saying, “Bring out the men who have come to you, who have entered into your house; for they have come to spy out all the land.”
4 The woman took the two men and hid them. Then she said, “Yes, the men came to me, but I didn’t know where they came from. 5 About the time of the shutting of the gate, when it was dark, the men went out. Where the men went, I don’t know. Pursue them quickly. You may catch up with them.” 6 But she had brought them up to the roof, and hidden them under the stalks of flax which she had laid in order on the roof. 7 The men pursued them along the way to the fords of the Jordan River. As soon as Continue reading
Who Was the Teacher of Righteousness in the Dead Sea Scrolls?
By Kerry A. Shirts, 1992 [Excerpted]
The Dead Sea Scrolls are documents (thousands of fragments) found in caves in the deserts of Palestine around Jerusalem, during the 1940’s-50’s, written by Jewish sectaries who fled to the wilderness in opposition to the prevailing powers at Jerusalem, and specifically the Temple, approximately 200 B.C. Samuel Sandmal, notes that it is clear the community of Qumran arose because of the dissatisfaction of how the priests were running the Temple. It had divine sanction, they did not.1
The scrolls contain instructions on how to live in order to be the receivers of a new covenant the sect felt was coming. In other words the documents seem to have an apocalyptic orientation. Every book of the Bible is represented except the Book of Esther, as well as many apocryphal books, commentaries on these books with their particular application to the sect (arguably the Essenes), sectarian materials on how to join the sect, etc. Continue reading
The Teacher of Righteousness
in the Qumran Texts
By F. F. BRUCE, 1957
I. THE TEACHER AND THE TEXTS
‘The Teacher of Righteousness’ is the name given in a number of the lately discovered Qumran documents to a man who was held in high veneration by the religious community on whose beliefs and practices these documents have thrown so much light. If he was not actually the founder of the community, it was certainly he who impressed upon it those features which distinguished it from other pious groups which flourished among the Jews during the last two or three centuries of the Second Commonwealth. So far as we can gather from our present sources of information, he is never referred to by his personal name in the Qumran texts.1
The title bestowed on him by his followers, ‘The Teacher of Righteousness’ (Heb. moreh sedeq or moreh hassedeq), may echo Hosea x. 12, where the prophet calls to his people: ‘break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the LORD, till he come and rain righteousness (Heb. yoreh sedeq) upon you.’ The RV margin gives ‘teach you righteousness’ as an alternative translation to ‘rain righteousness Continue reading
King James Bible
1. Habakkuk’s Complaint
1 The burden which Habakkuk the prophet did see. 2 O LORD, how long shall I cry, and thou wilt not hear! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! 3 Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance? for spoiling and violence are before me: and there are that raise up strife and contention. 4 Therefore the law is slacked, and judgment doth never go forth: for the wicked doth compass about the righteous; therefore wrong judgment proceedeth.
The Lord’s Answer
5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. 6 For, lo, I raise up the Chaldeans, that bitter and hasty nation, which shall march through the breadth of the land, to possess the dwellingplaces that are not theirs. 7 They are terrible and dreadful: their judgment and their dignity shall proceed of themselves. 8 Their horses also are swifter than the leopards, and are more fierce than the evening wolves: and their horsemen shall spread themselves, and their horsemen shall come from far; they shall fly as the eagle that hasteth to eat. 9 They shall come all for violence: Continue reading
JONAH AND THE “GOURD” AT NINEVEH: CONSEQUENCES OF A CLASSIC MISTRANSLATION
By Jules Janick and Harry S. Paris, CUCURBITACEAE, 2006, pp. 349-357.
ABSTRACT. The fast-growing plant referred to in the biblical Book of Jonah is most often translated into English as “gourd.” However, this is a mistranslation that dates to the appended Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, in which the Hebrew word qiqayon (castor, Ricinus communis, Euphorbiaceae) was transformed into the somewhat similar-sounding Greek word kolokynthi (colocynth, Citrullus colocynthis). In translation of the Greek into Latin, kolokynthi became the similar-sounding cucurbita (gourd). This is reflected in early iconography, the plant most often depicted being a long-fruited Lagenaria siceraria (bottle or calabash gourd), a fast-growing climber.
Cucurbits are frequent subjects of art, literature, and myth. Since ancient times, people the world over have been fascinated by the fast growth of cucurbits, from seed to a rampant vine bearing prominent, attractive fruits within two or three months. Metaphorically, the cucurbits are associated with warmth, Continue reading