Ancient miracle in ancient text

Ancient Scroll. Photo Credit: worldoftruth.tv
Ancient Scroll. Photo Credit: worldoftruth.tv

An Italian expert studying a first century document written by the Roman historian Marcus Velleius Paterculus that was recently discovered in the archives of the Vatican, found what is presumed to be the first eyewitness account ever recorded of a miracle of Jesus Christ. The author describes a scene that he allegedly witnessed, in which a prophet and teacher that he names Iēsous de Nazarenus, resuscitated a stillborn boy and handed him back to his mother.

Historian and archivist Ignazio Perrucci, was hired by the Vatican authorities in 2012, to sort, analyze and classify some 6,000 ancient documents that had been uncovered in the gigantic archive vaults. He was already very excited when he noticed that the author of the text was the famous Roman historian Velleius, but he was completely stunned when he realized the nature of the content.

Professor Perrucci found the text in the archives of the Vatican, while searching amongst a bundle of personal letters and other trivial documents dating from the Roman era.

The text as a whole is a narrative of the author’s return journey from Parthia to Rome that occurred in 31 AD, recorded in a highly rhetorical style of four sheets of parchment. He describes many different episodes taking place during his trip, like a a violent sandstorm in Mesopotamia and visit to a temple in Melitta (modern day Mdina, in Malta).

The part of the text that really caught M. Perrucci’s attention is an episode taking place in the city of Sebaste (near modern day Nablus, in the West Bank). The author first describes the arrival of a great leader in the town with a group of disciples and followers, causing many of the lower class people from neighboring villages to gather around them. According to Velleius, that great man’s name was Iēsous de Nazarenus, a Greco-Latin translation of Jesus’ Hebrew name, Yeshua haNotzri.

Upon entering town, Jesus would have visited the house of a woman named Elisheba, who had just given birth to a stillborn child. Jesus picked up the dead child and uttered a prayer in Aramaic to the heavens, which unfortunately the author describes as “immensus”, meaning incomprehensible. To the crowd’s surprise and amazement, the baby came back to life almost immediately, crying and squirming like a healthy newborn.

Marcus Velleius Paterculus, being a Roman officer of Campanian origins, seems to perceive Jesus Christ as a great doctor and miracle man, without associating him in any way to the Jewish concept of Messiah.

Many tests and analysis have been realized over the last weeks to determine the authenticity of the manuscript. The composition of the parchment and ink, the literary style and handwriting have all been carefully scrutinized and were considered to be entirely legitimate. The dating analysis also revealed that the sheepskin parchment on which the text is written, does indeed date from the 1st century of this era, more precisely from between 20-45 AD.

This new text from an author known for his reliability, brings a brand new perspective on the life of the historical character that is Jesus of Nazareth. It comes to confirm the Gospels on the facts that he was known for accomplishing miracles and that his sheer presence in a town was enough to attract crowds of people.

A complete and official translation of the document should be made available online in many different languages over the next few weeks, but the impact of the discovery is already felt in the scientific community. Many scholars have already saluted the finding as one of the greatest breakthrough ever realized in the study of the historical life of Jesus, while others have expressed doubts about the conclusions of Professor Perrucci and demand for more tests to be performed by other scientific institutions before drawing any conclusions.

Source: worldnewsdailyreport.com

The Gospel of Thomas

The Gospel of Thomas

Translated by Stephen Patterson and Marvin Meyer

The Gospel of Thomas. photo courtesy: probe.org
The Gospel of Thomas. photo courtesy: probe.org

These are the secret sayings that the living Jesus spoke and Didymos Judas Thomas recorded.

  1. And he said, “Whoever discovers the interpretation of these sayings will not taste death.”
  2. Jesus said, “Those who seek should not stop seeking until they find. When they find, they will be disturbed. When they are disturbed, they will marvel, and will reign over all. [And after they have reigned they will rest.]”
  3. Jesus said, “If your leaders say to you, ‘Look, the (Father’s) kingdom is in the sky,’ then the birds of the sky will precede you. If they say to you, ‘It is in the sea,’ then the fish will precede you. Rather, the (Father’s) kingdom is within you and it is outside you.

When you know yourselves, then you will be known, and you will understand that you are children of the living Father. But if you do not know yourselves, then you live in poverty, and you are the poverty.”

  1. Jesus said, “The person old in days won’t hesitate to ask a little child seven days old about the place of life, and that person will live.

For many of the first will be last, and will become a single one.”

  1. Jesus said, “Know what is in front of your face, and what is hidden from you will be disclosed to you.

For there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed. [And there is nothing buried that will not be raised.]”

  1. His disciples asked him and said to him, “Do you want us to fast? How should we pray? Should we give to charity? What diet should we observe?”

Jesus said, “Don’t lie, and don’t do what you hate, because all things are disclosed before heaven. After all, there is nothing hidden that will not be revealed, and there is nothing covered up that will remain undisclosed.”

  1. Jesus said, “Lucky is the lion that the human will eat, so that the lion becomes human. And foul is the human that the lion will eat, and the lion still will become human.”
  2. And he said, “The person is like a wise fisherman who cast his net into the sea and drew it up from the sea full of little fish. Among them the wise fisherman discovered a fine large fish. He threw all the little fish back into the sea, and easily chose the large fish. Anyone here with two good ears had better listen!”
  3. Jesus said, “Look, the sower went out, took a handful (of seeds), and scattered (them). Some fell on the road, and the birds came and gathered them. Others fell on rock, and they didn’t take root in the soil and didn’t produce heads of grain. Others fell on thorns, and they choked the seeds and worms ate them. And others fell on good soil, and it produced a good crop: it yielded sixty per measure and one hundred twenty per measure.”
  4. Jesus said, “I have cast fire upon the world, and look, I’m guarding it until it blazes.”
  5. Jesus said, “This heaven will pass away, and the one above it will pass away.

The dead are not alive, and the living will not die. During the days when you ate what is dead, you made it come alive. When you are in the light, what will you do? On the day when you were one, you became two. But when you become two, what will you do?”

12. The disciples said to Jesus, “We know that you are going to leave us. Who will be our leader?”

Jesus said to them, “No matter where you are you are to go to James the Just, for whose sake heaven and earth came into being.”

  1. Jesus said to his disciples, “Compare me to something and tell me what I am like.”

Simon Peter said to him, “You are like a just messenger.”

Matthew said to him, “You are like a wise philosopher.”

Thomas said to him, “Teacher, my mouth is utterly unable to say what you are like.”

Jesus said, “I am not your teacher. Because you have drunk, you have become intoxicated from the bubbling spring that I have tended.”

And he took him, and withdrew, and spoke three sayings to him. When Thomas came back to his friends they asked him, “What did Jesus say to you?”

Thomas said to them, “If I tell you one of the sayings he spoke to me, you will pick up rocks and stone me, and fire will come from the rocks and devour you.”

  1. Jesus said to them, “If you fast, you will bring sin upon yourselves, and if you pray, you will be condemned, and if you give to charity, you will harm your spirits.

When you go into any region and walk about in the countryside, when people take you in, eat what they serve you and heal the sick among them.

After all, what goes into your mouth will not defile you; rather, it’s what comes out of your mouth that will defile you.”

  1. Jesus said, “When you see one who was not born of woman, fall on your faces and worship. That one is your Father.”

The Gospel of Thomas by Robert J. Miller – Annotated Scholars Version (Polebridge Press – 1992, 1994) – The Nag Hammadi Library

Reference:

http://gnosis.org/naghamm/gosthom.html

 

 

Cain & Abel

Cain and Abel in the Bible

Elie Wiesel • 06/01/2015

Brothers. Photo Courtesy: realbiblestories.com
Brothers. Photo Courtesy: realbiblestories.com

Below is an essay by Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel, as it appears originally in Bible Review, February 1998.

Cain and Abel: The first two brothers of the first family in history. The only brothers in the world. The saddest, the most tragic. Why do they hold such an important place in our collective memory, which the Bible represents for so many of us? Mean, ugly, immoral, oppressive—their story disturbs and frightens. It haunted mankind then and still does, working its way into our nightmares.

At first we become attached to Cain. He shares with his younger brother, Abel, the generous idea of offering gifts to the Lord. But for this, Abel might never have felt the need to do the same. For reasons the text does not bother to explain, however, God accepts the gift from Abel after refusing the gift from Cain.

An unjust Creator of the World? Already? How can we understand this favoritism? What did Abel do so great, beautiful or praiseworthy as to merit the divine sympathy denied to his brother? Cain, innocent victim of unprecedented heavenly discrimination—how can we not wonder about his fate?

As always, the midrasha comes to the rescue in our attempt to fill the gaps left by the biblical text. There we learn that God would have preferred Abel’s gifts—they were of choicer quality.

Until then brothers united, surely devoted one to the other, the two would never be close again. A fight erupted. And Cain killed Abel.

For the first time in history, death occurs. And the first death in history, it is worth underlining, was a murder. Of course we are angry at Cain. Nevertheless, it is not difficult to understand his resentment, even his rage. But he should have restrained himself. One does not kill an innocent person, and certainly not one’s brother. If Cain wished to reproach someone, he should have addressed God, and not his younger brother. Abel succeeded in winning God’s favor? Cain, the older brother, should have been pleased for Abel! Was Cain unable to control his anger? Well, that is understandable. But to throw himself on his more fortunate brother and kill him! Too much!

In the midrashic literature, the antagonism between the two brothers is not limited to the story about their offerings to the Lord. In the midrash, they inherited their dispute from their parents: Cain took the land for himself, and Abel received everything else. Another midrashic suggestion: Cherchez la femme—so let us look for the woman. According to this explanation, the two brothers were both in love with their mother; in another version, with their sister. A third theory: Each wanted to have the Temple of Jerusalem built in his domain. In short, the first fight in human history was also the first religious war.

These three hypotheses suggest an interesting viewpoint—that Cain is not the sole guilty party. God’s role in this quarrel is no longer the main issue. We can now consider each of the participants as an accomplice.

As a matter of fact, at a still higher level, the Talmud does not hesitate to insinuate precisely this. It asks, “Since there is no death without sin, why did Abel merit death?” There is a marvelous answer. It relies on the text, which says, “Cain spoke to his brother Abel. And when they were in the field, Cain set upon his brother and killed him.” But the text makes no mention of what Cain told Abel before killing him, nor what Abel answered. Is it possible that Abel did not pay attention to what his brother said? That Abel’s mind was elsewhere? Was that his sin? His brother, rebuffed, rejected, needed to tell someone of his grief—and he, Abel, was not even listening! This insensitivity is what makes him guilty.

Some of our sources go very far in pleading Cain’s case. When God accused him of murder, he could have made a convincing argument: “How was I to know that by hitting Abel he would die, since no one had lost his life before him?” Or, “Since You did not want me to kill my brother, why didn’t You stop me from going all the way? If a thief penetrates into a forbidden garden, is it not the guard’s fault?”

Cain nevertheless remains the archetypal murderer. His flash of anger is not enough to make it a crime of passion worthy of extenuating circumstances. If he was justified in holding a grudge, it should have been against God; he was wrong to lay the blame on his brother. Had he cried out to the heavens to express his pain, even to vent his rage, all would have been forgiven. Powerless against God, Cain took vengeance on the only being near him. That was his fault. And his crime.

Is this the lesson, profoundly human and humanistic, we should draw from this somber story? Perhaps. But there is a second lesson: Two men may be brothers and still become the victim or the killer of the other. And a third: He who kills, kills his brother.

Translated by Alissa Martin.

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Notes:

  1. Midrash (plural, midrashim) is a genre of rabbinic literature that includes nonliteral elaborations of biblical texts, often for homiletic purposes.

——————————————————————————–

Elie Wiesel

The author of more than 30 novels, plays and profiles of Biblical figures, Elie Wiesel received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. This online publication is adapted from Wiesel’s article “Supporting Roles: Cain & Abel,” which was published in Bible Review in February 1998.

Is This the Oldest Draft of King James Bible?

Oldest Draft of King James Bible Discovered, Historian Says

By Megan Gannon, Live Science Contributor   |   October 15, 2015 01:18pm ET

Photo Credit: Cambridge University, Maria Ana Rogers
Photo Credit: Cambridge University, Maria Ana Rogers

The King James Bible, the most widely read book in the English language — from which phrases like “a man after his own heart” emerged — is as storied as it is elusive. Now, a historian claims to have found the oldest known draft of the Christian text, written in messy script, in an obscure archive at the University of Cambridge.

The manuscript was hidden among the papers of Samuel Ward, one of the men commissioned by King James I to translate a new version of the Christian text into English in the early 17th century.

Jeffrey Miller, an assistant professor of English at Montclair State University in New Jersey, chanced upon the 400-year-old notebook while doing research on Ward for an essay he’s writing. The Eureka moment came when Miller realized that the notebook contained text from the very book that Ward had been commissioned to help translate. Miller recalled thinking, “Oh my gosh, he’s talking about a book that he had been asked to help translate,” he said. “Then I realized rather he was creating the King James Bible in that moment.” [Proof of Jesus Christ? 7 Pieces of Evidence Debated]

Describing his discovery in the Times Literary Supplement, Miller said the notebook is not just the earliest draft ever found, but it is also the only surviving draft written in the hand of one of the original translators.

“Ward’s draft alone bears all the signs of having been a first draft, just as it alone can be definitively said to be in the hand of one of the King James translators themselves,” Miller wrote.

Samuel Ward took running notes as he translated two Apocryphal books from the King James Bible.

Photo Credit: Cambridge University, Maria Ana Rogers
Photo Credit: Cambridge University, Maria Ana Rogers

That hand was a messy one, it seems. “Ward’s handwriting is notoriously bad,” Miller told Live Science. “At least this is from earlier in his life,” he added. Ward began his translation when he was just 32 years old, making him the youngest of the 54 or so men commissioned to translate the King James Bible; his handwriting only got worse with age, Miller noted. Luckily, Miller was familiar with Ward’s handwriting from his intense study of the translator’s texts.

Translating the Bible

The King James Bible, first published in 1611, is one of the most influential and popular books in English literature. It spawned a long list of common phrases and figures of speech, such as “out of the mouths of babes,” “at their wit’s end” and “eat, drink and be merry.” Even so, few documents survive from its translation.

“I think it is a fascinating discovery, and wholly credible,” Jason BeDuhn, a professor of comparative study of religions at Northern Arizona University, told Live Science. “The more we can learn about the process by which the King James Bible was produced, the more realistic our assessment of its merits becomes.”

King James tasked teams of translators in London, Cambridge and Oxford to write an English version of the Bible that would better reflect the principles of the Church of England. Ward was part of one those teams in Cambridge. He later became master of Sidney Sussex, one of the colleges within the University of Cambridge, and his scholarly papers ended up in the school’s archives. In the 1980s, the notebook in question, catalogued as MS Ward B, had been labeled as a “verse-by-verse biblical commentary” with “Greek word studies, and some Hebrew notes.” But when Miller revisited the text, he discovered that it actually contained notes and translations of parts of the Apocrypha, a disputed section of the Bible that is excluded from many versions today.

“This discovery helps us recapture the human side of the translation process,” BeDuhn said. “I especially like Prof. Miller’s description of Ward trying out phrasing, crossing it out and trying something else. This is the real work of translation caught in the act.”

According to Miller, Ward’s notes show that he indeed grappled with the language of certain verses in the Apocrypha, for example, 1 Esdras 6:32. In the 16th-century Bishops’ Bible, the previous version to be authorized by the English Church, 1 Esdras 6:32 describes a declaration of King Darius, which states that anyone found disobeying his decrees “of his own goods should a tree be taken, and he thereon be hanged.”

“Proposing a revision to the front half of the passage, Ward at first began, ‘A tre,’ but then crossed it out,” Miller explained. “No, ‘out of h,’ he started writing on second thought, but then crossed that out, too. At last, he reverted back to the more straightforward construction with which he had abortively begun, which also more closely mirrors the Greek of the passage: ‘a tree should be taken out of his possession.'”

It seems Ward’s suggestions were disregarded. The King James translation would ultimately read “out of his own house should a tree be taken, and he thereon be hanged.”

Window into the past

The newly discovered notebook is not only the earliest known draft of any part of the King James Bible, but it’s also the only known surviving draft of any part of the Apocrypha. Even so, Miller sees its legacy on a broader scale: “It points the way to a fuller, more complex understanding than ever before of the process by which the [King James Bible], the most widely read work in English of all time, came to be,” he wrote.

Truth Behind Gospel of Judas Revealed in Ancient Inks

Truth Behind Gospel of Judas Revealed in Ancient Inks

by: by Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor

The Gospel of Judas, a text dated to about A.D. 280, tells the story of Judas as a collaborator with Jesus instead of a betrayer. Photo Credit: Joseph Barabe, McCrone Associates, Inc
The Gospel of Judas, a text dated to about A.D. 280, tells the story of Judas as a collaborator with Jesus instead of a betrayer.
Photo Credit: Joseph Barabe, McCrone Associates, Inc

A long-lost gospel that casts Judas as a co-conspirator of Jesus, rather than a betrayer, was ruled most likely authentic in 2006. Now, scientists reveal they couldn’t have made the call without a series of far more mundane documents, including Ancient Egyptian marriage licenses and property contracts.

The Gospel of Judas is a fragmented Coptic (Egyptian)-language text that portrays Judas in a far more sympathetic light than did the gospels that made it into the Bible. In this version of the story, Judas turns Jesus over to the authorities for execution upon Jesus’ request, as part of a plan to release his spirit from his body. In the accepted biblical version of the tale, Judas betrays Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

As part of a 2006 National Geographic Society (the Society) investigation of the document, microscopist Joseph Barabe of McCrone Associates in Illinois and a team of researchers analyzed the ink on the tattered gospel to find out if it was real or forged. Some of the chemicals in the ink raised red flags — until Barabe and his colleagues found, at the Louvre Museum, a study of Egyptian documents from the third century A.D., the same time period of the Gospal of Judas.

“What the French study told us is that ink technology was undergoing a transition,” Barabe told LiveScience. The Gospel of Judas’ odd ink suddenly fit into place.

CSI: Ancient Egypt

Barabe and his colleagues specialize in thorough investigations of old — or supposedly old — documents and artwork. The chemical composition of inks used can reveal the difference between something authentically ancient and a forgery. In 2009, Barabe helped expose a gospel called the “Archaic Mark,” which some claimed was a 14th-century manuscript, as a modern forgery. He’s also worked with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to detect forged paintings.

A call from National Geographic, however, was a “big deal,” Barabe said. “It was both thrilling and an honor,” he added. The Society wanted to find out if the Gospel of Judas, discovered in the 1970s, really dated back to early days of Christianity or whether it was, like Archaic Mark, a fake. Barabe brought together a team of scientists with a variety of specialties, and they ran the Gospel through an intensive analysis of microscopy and spectroscopy.

At first, their findings offered little hope that the Gospel of Judas was real. The document was written in two inks — black and brown — mixed together. The black was an ink called “lamp black,” which was consistent with the inks used in Egyptian writings from ancient times and into the third century, Barabe said.

But the brown ink was more mysterious. It was an iron-rich ink called iron gall, but it lacked the sulfur usually found in inks of this sort. The pressure was on to explain the difference.

“One thing that made this a little bit more dramatic than we would have liked is, we did the sampling in the third week of January of 2006, and the press conference was already scheduled for the third week in April of that same year,” Barabe said. “So we had three months to turn this critter around with a conclusion, and it really put an enormous amount of pressure on us, because we were faced with what was essentially a three-month rush project.”

Authenticating the gospel

Some facets of the document did suggest authenticity. The most promising of these characteristics, Barabe said, was that the ink wasn’t piled up in the warped papyrus, suggesting the document was written before the warping happened. Had someone tried to write on a pre-warped papyrus, the ink would have gathered in crevices and dips — a sure sign someone had intentionally tried to make new papyrus look old. Instead, the Gospel seems to have been written on flat papyrus and aged naturally. National Geographic also commissioned other analyses of the Gospel, including radiocarbon dating, script analysis and linguistic style.

Barabe hit the books, looking for other studies on early Egyptian inks. The study of Egyptian marriage certificates and land documents from the Louvre proved to be the clincher. That study found that contracts in Egypt in the mid-third century were written in lamp black ink, in the traditional Egyptian style. But they were officially registered in the traditional Greek style, using brown iron gall ink.

The Louvre study findings suggested to the teamthat the presence of both inks was consistent with an early date for the Gospel of Judas, Barabe said. What’s more, the Louvre study found that the metal-based inks from this time period contained little sulfur, just like the ink on the Gospel of Judas.

The discovery gave the researchers the confidence to declare the document consistent with a date of approximately A.D. 280. (Barabe and his colleagues caution that this finding doesn’t prove beyond doubt that the document is authentic, but rather that there are no red flags proving it’s a forgery.)

“There was definitely a point where, all of the sudden, I just kind of relaxed and said, ‘This is probably just fine,'” Barabe said.

Barabe presented the behind-the-scenes story of the Gospel of Judas investigation on April 8, 2015 at the annual meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans. After the National Geographic investigation of the Gospel of Judas, the document was returned to to the Coptic Museum in Cairo.

The Book of the Secrets of Enoch – chapters 16 to 18

photo credit: flickr.com
photo credit: flickr.com

Chapter XVI

They took Enoch and again placed him in the east at the course of the moon.

1 THOSE men showed me the other course, that of the moon, twelve great gates, crowned from west to east, by which the moon goes in and out of the customary times.

2 It goes in at the first gate to the western places of the sun, by the first gates with thirty-one days exactly, by the second gates with thirty-one days exactly, by the third with thirty days exactly, by the fourth with thirty days exactly, by the fifth with thirty-one days exactly, by the sixth with thirty-one days exactly, by the seventh with thirty days exactly, by the eighth with thirty-one days perfectly, by the ninth with thirty-one days exactly, by the tenth with thirty days perfectly, by the eleventh with thirty-one days exactly, by the twelfth with twenty-eight days exactly.

3 And it goes through the western gates in the order and number of the eastern, and accomplishes the three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter days of the solar year, while the lunar year has three hundred and fifty-four, and there are wanting to it twelve days of the solar circle, which are the lunar epacts of the whole year.

4 [Thus, too, the great circle contains five hundred and thirty-two years.]

5 The quarter of a day is omitted for three years, the fourth fulfils it exactly.

6 Therefore they are taken outside of heaven for three years and are not added to the number of days, because they change the time of the years to two new months towards completion, to two others towards diminution.

7 And when the western gates are finished, it returns and goes to the eastern to the lights, and goes thus day and night about the heavenly circles, lower than all circles, swifter than the heavenly winds, and spirits and elements and angels flying; each angel has six wings.

8 It has a sevenfold course in nineteen years.

Chapter XVII

Of the singings of the angels, which it is impossible to describe.

1 IN the midst of the heavens I saw armed soldiers, serving the Lord, with tympana and organs, with incessant voice, with sweet voice, with sweet and incessant voice and various singing, which it is impossible to describe, and which astonishes every mind, so wonderful and marvellous is the singing of those angels, and I was delighted listening to it.

Chapter XVIII

Of the taking of Enoch on to the fifth heaven.

1 THE men took me on to the fifth heaven and placed me, and there I saw many and countless soldiers, called Grigori, of human appearance, and their size was greater than that of great giants and their faces withered, and the silence of their mouths perpetual, and there was no service on the fifth heaven, and I said to the men who were with me:

2 Wherefore are these very withered and their faces melancholy, and their mouths silent, and wherefore is there no service on this heaven?

3 And they said to me: These are the Grigori, who with their prince Satanail rejected the Lord of light, and after them are those who are held in great darkness on the second heaven, and three of them went down on to earth from the Lord’s throne, to the place Ermon, and broke through their vows on the shoulder of the hill Ermon 1 and saw the daughters of men how good they are, and took to themselves wives, and befouled the earth with their deeds, who in all times of their age made lawlessness and mixing, and giants are born and marvellous big men and great enmity.

4 And therefore God judged them with great judgement, and they weep for their brethren and they will be punished on the Lord’s great day.

5 And I said to the Grigori: ‘I saw your brethren and their works, and their great torments, and I prayed for them, but the Lord has condemned them to be under earth till heaven and earth shall end for ever.’

6 And I said: ‘Wherefore do you wait, brethren, and do not serve before the Lord’s face, and have not put your services before the Lord’s face, lest you anger your Lord utterly?’

7 And they listened to my admonition, and spoke to the four ranks in heaven, and lo! as I stood with those two men four trumpets trumpeted together with great voice, and the Grigori broke into song with one voice, and their voice went up before the Lord pitifully and affectingly.

by: Rutherford H. Platt Jr.

Book of the Secrets of Enoch – chapter 11 to 15

Book of the Secrets of Enoch 

photo credit: flickr.com
photo credit: flickr.com

Chapter XI

Here they took Enoch up on to the fourth heaven where is the course of sun and moon.

1 THOSE men took me, and led me up on to the fourth heaven, and showed me all the successive goings, and all the rays of the light of sun and moon.  2 And I measured their goings and compared their light, and saw that the sun’s light is greater than the moon’s.  3 Its circle and the wheels on which it goes always, like a wind going past with very marvelous speed, and day and night it has no rest.  4 Its passage and return are accompanied by four great stars, and each star has under it a thousand stars, to the right of the sun’s wheel, and by four to the left, each having under it a thousand stars, altogether eight thousand, issuing with the sun continually.  5 And by day fifteen myriads of angels attend it, and by night a thousand.  6 And six-winged ones issue with the angels before the sun’s wheel into the fiery flames, and a hundred angels kindle the sun and set it alight.

Chapter XII

Of the very marvellous elements of the sun.

1 AND I looked and saw other flying elements of the sun, whose names are Phoenixes and Chalkydri, marvellous and wonderful, with feet and tails in the form of a lion, and a crocodile’s head, their appearance is empurpled, like the rainbow; their size is nine hundred measures, their wings are like those of angels, each has twelve, and they attend and accompany the sun, bearing heat and dew, as it is ordered them from God.  2 Thus the sun revolves and goes, and rises under the heaven, and its course goes under the earth with the light of its rays incessantly.

Chapter XIII

The angels took Enoch and placed him in the east at the sun’s gates.

1 THOSE men bore me away to the east, and placed me at the sun’s gates, where the sun goes forth according to the regulation of the seasons and the circuit of the months of the whole year, and the number of the hours day and night,  2 And I saw six gates open, each gate having sixty-one stadia and a quarter of one stadium, and I measured them truly, and understood their size to be so much, through which the sun goes forth, and goes to the west, and is made even, and rises throughout all the months, and turns back again from the six gates according to the succession of the seasons; thus the period of the whole year is finished after the returns of the four seasons,

Chapter XIV

They took Enoch to the West.

1 AND again those men led me away to the western parts, and showed me six great gates open corresponding to the Eastern gates, opposite to where the sun sets, according to the number of the days three hundred and sixty-five and a quarter.

2 Thus again it goes down to the western gates, and draws away its light, the greatness of its brightness, under the earth; for since the crown of its shining is in heaven with the Lord, and guarded [by four hundred angels, while the sun goes round on wheel under the earth, and stands seven great hours in night, and spends half its course under the earth, when it comes to the eastern approach in the eighth hour of the night, it brings its lights, and the crown of shining, and the sun flames forth more than fire.

Chapter XV

The elements of the sun, the Phoenixes and Chalkydri broke into song.

1 THEN the elements of the sun, called Phoenixes and Chalkydri break into song, therefore every bird flutters with its wings, rejoicing at the giver of light, and they broke into song at the command of the Lord.  2 The giver of light comes to give brightness to the whole world, and the morning guard takes shape, which is the rays of the sun, and the sun of the earth goes out, and receives its brightness to light up the whole face of the earth, and they showed me this calculation of the sun’s going.    3 And the gates which it enters, these are the great gates of the computation of the hours of the year; for this reason the sun is a great creation, whose circuit lasts twenty-eight years, and begins again from the beginning.

Rutherford H. Platt Jr.

The Book of the Secrets of Enoch – chapters 8 to 10

Fall Foliage. photo credit: bigstock.com
Fall Foliage. photo credit: bigstock.com

The Book of the Secrets of Enoch – chapters 8 to 10

Chapter 8

Of the assumption of Enoch to the third heaven.

1 And those men took me thence, and led me up on to the third heaven, and placed me there; and I looked downwards, and san the produce of these places, such as has never been known for goodness.

2 And I saw all the sweet-flowering trees and beheld their fruits, which were sweet-smelling, and all the foods borne by them bubbling with fragrant exhalation.

3 And in the midst of the trees that of life, in that place whereon the Lord rests, when he goes up into paradise; and this tree is of ineffable goodness and fragrance, and adorned more than every existing thing; and on all sides it is in form gold-looking and vermilion and fire-like and covers all, and it has produce from all fruits. 4 Its root is in the garden at the earth’s end.

5 And paradise is between corruptibility and incorruptibility. 6 And two springs come out which send forth honey and milk, and their springs send forth oil and wine, and they separate into four parts, and go round with quiet course, and go down into the PARADISE OF EDEN, between corruptibility and in corruptibility. 7 And thence they go forth along the earth, and have a revolution to their circle even as other elements.

8 And here there is no unfruitful tree, and every place is blessed. 9 And there are three hundred angels very bright, who keep the garden, and with incessant sweet singing and never-silent voices serve the Lord throughout all days and hours.   10 And I said: ‘How very sweet is this place,’ and those men said to me:

Chapter 9

The showing to Enoch of the place of the righteous and compassionate.

1 THIS place, O Enoch, is prepared for the righteous, who endure all manner of offence from those that exasperate their souls, who avert their eyes from iniquity, and make righteous judgement, and give bread to the hungering, and cover the naked with clothing, and raise up the fallen, and help injured orphans, and who walk without fault before the face of the Lord, and serve him alone, and for them is prepared this place for eternal inheritance.

Chapter 10

Here they showed Enoch the terrible place and various tortures.

1 AND those two men led me upon to the Northern side, and showed me there a very terrible place, and there were all manner of tortures in that place: cruel darkness and unillumined gloom, and there is no light there, but murky fire constantly flameth aloft, and there is a fiery river coming forth, and that whole place is everywhere fire, and everywhere there is frost and ice, thirst and shivering, while the bonds are very cruel, and the angels fearful and merciless, bearing angry weapons, merciless torture, and I said:

2 ‘Woe, woe, how very terrible is this place.’

3 And those men said to me: This place, O Enoch, is prepared for those who dishonour God, who on earth practise sin against nature, which is child-corruption after the sodomitic fashion, magic-making, enchantments and devilish witchcrafts, and who boast of their wicked deeds, stealing, lies, calumnies, envy, rancour, fornication, murder, and who, accursed, steal the souls of men, who, seeing the poor take away their goods and themselves wax rich, injuring them for other men’s goods; who being able to satisfy the empty, made the hungering to die; being able to clothe, stripped the naked; and who knew not their creator, and bowed down to soulless (sc. lifeless) Gods, who cannot see nor hear, vain gods, who also built hewn images and bow down to unclean handiwork, for all these is prepared this place amongst these, for eternal inheritance.

-Rutherford H. Platt, Jr. 1926

The Book of the Secrets of Enoch – chapters 2 to 7

THE BOOK OF THE SECRETS OF ENOCH

Chapter 2

The Instruction. How Enoch instructed his sons.

1 LISTEN to me, my children, I know not whither I go, or what will befall me; now therefore, my children, I tell you: turn not from God before the face of the vain, who made not Heaven and earth, for these shall perish and those who worship them, and may the Lord make confident your hearts in the fear of him. And now, my children, let no one think to seek me, until the Lord return me to you.

ancient book1

Chapter 3

Of Enoch’s assumption; how the angels took him into the first heaven.

1 It came to pass, when Enoch had told his sons, that the angels took him on to their wings and bore him up on to the first heaven and placed him on the clouds. And there I looked, and again I looked higher, and saw the ether, and they placed me on the first heaven and showed me a very great Sea, greater than the earthly sea.

Chapter 4

Of the Angels ruling the stars.

1 They brought before my face the elders and rulers of the stellar orders, and showed me two hundred angels, who rule the stars and their services to the heavens, and fly with their wings and come round all those who sail.

Chapter 5

Of how the Angels keep the store-houses of the snow.

1 And here I looked down and saw the treasure-houses of the snow, and the angels who keep their terrible store-houses, and the clouds whence they come out and into which they go.

Chapter 6

Of the dew and of the olive-oil, and various flowers.

THEY showed me the treasure-house of the dew, like oil of the olive, and the appearance of its form, as of all the flowers of the earth; further many angels guarding the treasure-houses of these things, and how they are made to shut and open.

Chapter 7

Of how Enoch was taken on to the second heaven.

1 AND those men took me and led me up on to the second heaven, and showed me darkness, greater than earthly darkness, and there I saw prisoners hanging, watched, awaiting the great and boundless judgement, and these angels were dark-looking, more than earthly darkness, and incessantly making weeping through all hours.

2 And I said to the men who were with me: ‘Wherefore are these incessantly tortured?’ they answered me: ‘These are God’s apostates, who obeyed not God’s commands, but took counsel with their own will, and turned away with their prince, who also is fastened on the fifth heaven.’

3 And I felt great pity for them, and they saluted me, and said to me: ‘Man of God, pray for us to the Lord’; and I answered to them: ‘Who am I, a mortal man, that I should pray for angels? who knoweth whither I go, or what will befall me? or who will pray for me?’

– by: Rutherford H. Platt Jr., 1926

The Book of the Secrets of Enoch

Introduction

THIS new fragment of early literature came to light through certain manuscripts which were recently found in Russia and Servia and so far as is yet known has been preserved only in Slavonic. Little is known of its origin except that in its present form it was written somewhere about the beginning of the Christian era. Its final editor was a Greek and the place of its composition Egypt. Its value lies in the unquestioned influence which it has exerted on the writers of the New Testament. Some of the dark passages of the latter being all but inexplicable without its aid.

ancient book

Although the very knowledge that such a book ever existed was lost for probably 1200 years, it nevertheless was much used by both Christian and heretic in the early centuries and forms a most valuable document in any study of the forms of early Christianity.

The writing appeals to the reader who thrills to lend wings to his thoughts and fly to mystical realms. Here is a strange dramatization of eternity–with views on Creation, Anthropology, and Ethics. As the world was made in six days, so its history would be accomplished in 6,000 years (or 6,000,000 years), and this would be followed by 1,000 years of rest (possibly when the balance of conflicting moral forces has been struck and human life has reached the ideal state). At its close would begin the 8th Eternal Day, when time should be no more.

Chapter 1

An account of the mechanism of the world showing the machinery of the sun and moon in operation. Astronomy and an interesting ancient calendar. See Chapter 15-17 also 21. What the world was like before Creation, see Chapter 24. Chapter 26 is especially picturesque. A unique account of how Satan was created (Chapter 29.)

1 There was a wise man, a great artificer, and the Lord conceived love for him and received him, that he should behold the uppermost dwellings and be an eye-witness of the wise and great and inconceivable and immutable realm of God Almighty, of the very wonderful and glorious and bright and many-eyed station of the Lord’s servants, and of the inaccessible throne of the Lord, and of the degrees and manifestations of the incorporeal hosts, and of the ineffable ministration of the multitude of the elements, and of the various apparition and inexpressible singing of the host of Cherubim, and of the boundless light.

2 At that time, he said, when my 165th year was completed, I begat my son Mathusal. 3 After this too I lived two hundred years and completed of all the years of my life three hundred and sixty-five years. 4 On the first day of the first month I was in my house alone and was resting on my couch and slept. 5 And when I was asleep, great distress came up into my heart, and I was weeping with my eyes in sleep, and I could not understand what this distress was, or what would happen to me. 6 And there appeared to me two men, exceeding big, so that I never saw such on earth; their faces were shining like the sun, their eyes too were like a burning light, and from their lips was fire coming forth with clothing and singing of various kinds in appearance purple, their wings were brighter than gold, their hands whiter than snow.

7 They were standing at the head of my couch and began to call me by my name. 8 And I arose from my sleep and saw clearly those two men standing in front of me. 9 And I saluted them and was seized with fear and the appearance of my face was changed from terror, and those men said to me: 10 ‘Have courage, Enoch, do not fear; the eternal God sent us to thee, and lo! thou shalt to-day ascend with us into heaven, and thou shalt tell thy sons and all thy household all that they shall do without thee on earth in thy house, and let no one seek thee till the Lord return thee to them. 11 And I made haste to obey them and went out from my house, and made to the doors, as it was ordered me, and summoned my sons Mathusal and Regim and Gaidad and made known to them all the marvels those men had told me.

– by: Rutherford H. Platt Jr., 1926