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PostPosted: Thu Feb 23, 2012 1:31 pm 
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In an interesting and lively discussion at the Jesus Mysteries yahoo group, I have been arguing that the astrotheological framework of precession of the equinox provides a coherent scientific basis to explain the early Christian doctrine of the 7000 year history of the world from creation to redemption.

Others have argued that the 'in this generation' line from Mark 13 etc is decisive grounds to ignore all discuss of a longer timeframe for the imagined return of Christ. I will add to this thread with some of the discussion. One poster, GR Gaudreau, has become extremely agitated over this debate, in a way readers may find an interesting psychological case study.

Here is my first post

The trouble in analyzing Biblical eschatology is that the politics of the early church provides an overlay that conceals the original cosmic conceptual framework. Premillennialism was the dominant theory of pre-Nicene Christianity, as explained by Irenaeus: ""For in as many days as this world was made, in so many thousand years shall it be concluded. ... God brought to a conclusion upon the sixth day the works that He had made; and God rested upon the seventh day from all His works.' ... the day of the Lord is as a thousand years; and in six days created things were completed: it is evident, therefore, that they will come to an end at the sixth thousand year." Against Heresies 5.28.3."

This line from Irenaeus matches exactly to the idea that the eschaton is the shift from the Age of Pisces to the Age of Aquarius, an image indicated by the mysterious reference to the man with the water jug in the passion story. Explicit discussion of the Age of Pisces would have been removed from New Testament texts because of the political agenda of hostility to paganism. So, we must expect that any extant cosmic references in orthodox texts will be concealed in code. Applying this heuristic, we find abundant fish imagery that sets Jesus Christ as the avatar of the Age of Pisces, and correlates directly to the astronomical observation that the beginning of the Jewish Year at Passover had shifted from the sign of the ram to the sign of the fishes, just as Moses and Abraham symbolise the age of the ram triumphing over the former Taurean age of the golden calf.

Most explicitly, the twelve jewels of the holy city in Revelation 21:19-20 are regarded by old tradition as the twelve signs of the zodiac in reverse, beginning with Pisces, as attested in numerous orthodox commentaries. This makes no sense except as an accurate scientific cosmology of precession of the equinox, setting the new heaven and new earth in terms of the slow drift of the stars observed by astronomy. Precession further appears with the dragon giving his power and seat and authority to the bear-lion-leopard in Revelation 13, an image that exactly describes the precession of the north pole. We also see stellar code with the tree of life signifying the zodiac and the river of life signifying the galaxy. The strange miracle of the feeding of the multitude appears six times in the gospels, and contains direct cosmic references that only make sense against a precessional reading, with the loaves and fishes signifying the constellations of Virgo and Pisces as the new Easter cosmic axis of Mary and Jesus.

As well as Christ as the fisher of men, Christ as the alpha and omega matches precisely to the natural vision of the time when the seasons matched the stars at the time of Christ as a moment of cosmic harmony. Before and after Christ, the stars and seasons were not aligned. At the time of Christ the seasons and stars were momentarily in perfect attunement, enabling a perceived connection between heaven and earth. This is a simple observational fact known to ancient cosmic seers explaining why Christ had to appear when he did to incarnate the eternal truth. But this appearance was a failure in terms of inaugurating the kingdom of God on earth, because it occurred at the depth of the fall, so it prepared the ground for a future repeat when the kingdom could be inaugurated at a time when history would be ready for it, the dawn of the Age of Aquarius. The man with the water jug at Mark 14:13 and Luke 22:10 symbolises the Age of Aquarius as the time when Jesus will reign, recognising that the Age of Pisces is a time of preparation.

The ancient premillenial view, considering Adam as born in 4004 BC, puts the beginning of the millennium 2000 years after Christ. There is much in the Gospel to support this eschatology. The day-millennium scheme appears in Peter and Psalms, indicating a reading of Genesis as signifying 7000 years, with the final day as the sabbath of peace and restoration as a period of 1000 years in which the destruction of the earth will be repaired. This is why Revelation 11 says the wrath of God is against those who destroy the earth. In the Olivet Discourse in Matthew 24, Jesus says the end of the age will not occur until the gospel of the kingdom has been preached to the end of the earth. This had not happened in ancient times, but has happened now.

Leonardo da Vinci certainly subscribed to the idea of Christ as avatar of the Age of Pisces, as he used the stars of Pisces as his template for his paintings of Christ in The Last Supper and The Baptism of Christ. Precession as the basis of cosmology is a hermetic gnostic truth that has been suppressed by orthodoxy but provides the real origin and meaning and goal of Christianity.

Robert Tulip

From http://groups.yahoo.com/group/JesusMysteries/


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:12 pm 
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The first response to my comments was to call them "wild", with no engagement with content. I gave the following in response to this and some subsequent questions.

There is nothing wild about my ideas. They are purely scientific. You asked for evidence about precession in the New Testament and I gave it to you. If you choose to ignore it you can stay in your limited vision. I am describing a paradigm shift that requires some astronomical understanding. What we have here is a systemic prejudice against simple natural explanations of religious ideas.

There is no need to assume any astrological magic in assessing how the 'as above so below' cosmology is presented in the Bible. It is a simple matter to see that Jesus Christ symbolised the movement of the neavens into the new age of Pisces. It makes complete sense as a hidden backstory that aligns with empirical observation. Yet, traditionalists have such a visceral emotional repugnance for astrology that any mention of the zodiac is enough to give them conniptions, despite the abundant use of zodiacal imagery in early Christianity. When I explain to people with a passing understanding of the zodiac how the alpha omega point matches to the precession, they often understand it as a simple matter.

People who have been raised in religious frameworks often have strange psychological blockages that prevent them from understanding natural scientific analysis. It is rather like the irrational hold that creationism has, or how people are unable to engage in serious discussion on the historical existence of Jesus Christ, because their prejudices intrude to prevent them from taking research seriously.

A respondent wrote "your comments below seem to indicate these texts contain realized predictions of world events".

No, it is not about specific events, but about a large scale vision of the structure of time. How I see the production of the new testament is that the original writers were looking at the long term situation of humanity against what they perceived to be a fallen world, a world of empire in which spiritual truth was ignored in favour of what Paul described as an evil age. They also looked at the structure of time against the main observed long term physical marker, the slow shift of the stars against the seasons.

What this produced was a vision of what would happen if a perfect man arrived in the world. The story of Jesus Christ is the result. Their vision of the fall meant that the cosmic seers could see that messianic values would be met with crucifixion. It would take a long time before humanity would be ready to understand the truth.

The result was that the vision of the perfect man was framed against the physical observation of the heavens. Starting from the assumption that the time of Christ somehow represented a low point in the fall from grace, we can see Jesus as representing the golden age in the midst of the iron age, as it were. As Jesus explains in the key story of the loaves and fishes, the world is not able to understand his message. He must present the message of truth in order that it can later be understood. This is the basis of the stories about the end of the age such as the last judgment and the olivet discourse.

The idea of an age or aeon was entirely cosmic in the worldview of antiquity, based on observation of the stars. So for example we see the pagan god Aion as a lion-man-eagle wrapped in six coils of a snake, each coil representing about two thousand years, or one age of the zodiac between the ages of Leo the Lion and Aquarius the Man. Jesus is avatar of the age of Pisces, arriving at the BC/AD cusp, simply because the equinox physically moved into Pisces in 21 AD. This readily observed stellar movement is almost certainly why other writers such as Virgil spoke in his Fourth Eclogue of that time as a shift of ages.

There is in fact a physical correlate to this spiritual vision of fall and redemption. Earth's climate cycle of glaciation is driven primarily by the precession of the equinox, as discovered by Milankovitch and accepted as the foundation of mainstream climate science. The low point of this 21,600 year cycle, when the northern winter was at the orbital position closest to the sun, was in 1296 AD. So in physical climate terms there is a real sense in which the Age of Pisces, the 2000 year period when the spring equinox has occurred in the constellation of Pisces, is a low point from which we are now emerging.

The upshot is that the Bible does not predict specific events, but rather says in general terms that messianic consciousness would have a phased interaction with history. A first encounter through the vision of Christ would only be understood through a glass darkly. A second engagement with messianic vision would need to await a new age, seen against the actual movement of the stars as the Age of Aquarius. The two ages of Pisces and Aquarius relate as preparation and delivery, the rule of love as spirit and reality. This vision is based on projecting the annual cycle of the months on to the long cycle of history, as a way of interpreting the eschatology that most plausibly informed the writing of the Bible. This reading also matches precisely to the conventional premillennial eschatology, while explaining it in terms of natural science.

As I mentioned, a key text for seeing how precession of the equinox is central to the cosmology of the New Testament is Revelation 21, the description of the Holy City New Jerusalem.

The Apocalypse of John is widely ignored because it is so mysterious. However, if we read it against the heuristic assumption that it encodes actual description of natural cycles, describing our real temporal planetary context as known to the ancients, then much of the seemingly bizarre imagery starts to make sense. The Apocalyse should be approached as allegorical and symbolic language for a coherent cosmology, using concealed images in response to the repressive political context that made explicit discussion of this material impossible.

The Bible does not mention a 21,600 year cycle. True. That period is the actual time it takes for the solstices to move around the orbit from perihelion to perihelion, understanding that the perihelion itself is also shifting. This period is the actual long term cycle of light and dark for our planet, as understood by modern astronomy and observable in climate records. It matches well to the Indian Vedic cycle of the Yuga, understood as the planetary cycle of light and dark. While conventionally the Yuga is extended to billions of years, there is also a tradition that understands it as 24,000 years, well within the ballpark. The Vedic tradition also makes use of the period of 4320 million years as a Day of Brahma. Here we see the embedding of the conventional estimate of the Zodiacal Age of 2160 years, as analyzed by Joseph Campbell, who also argues this actual planetary timeframe is embedded in the Old Testament . Science now understands that the actual period of a Zodiac Age is 2148 years. There are many orbital factors in play, combining to enable the ancients to envision the slow sweep of the heavens. It is worth noting that this framework of time goes back to Plato, with his Chi Rho cross in the Timaeus conventionally understood as marking the relation between the zodiac and the celestial equator, the variables of precession.

Further to observation of the absence of the explicit timing, we could also note that the Bible does not mention a year as being 365.242 days in length. But that does not at all invalidate the numerous mentions of the year in the Bible. It is entirely conceivable that the authors understood that a slow encompassing temporal process existed, seen in the drift of the stars against the seasons, even if they did not have precise scientific information about its scope and cause. There are also numerous mentions of the Age in the Bible. Even if they lacked scientific precision, the roughly two thousand year estimate stands as the most plausible meaning for Biblical references to the Age.

The Holy City has long been understood as having the twelve signs of the zodiac as its foundations in the same order as given by precession. We also find that the Holy City is described as 12,000 units from side to side. Surprisingly, this matches to the conventional 12,000 years from one side of the Great Year of precession to the other. A range of further symbols match to observable natural meaning, with precession serving as the hidden unifying theme for the cosmology of the New Testament.


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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2012 4:50 pm 
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Well done, as per usual, Robert. We must follow the evidence wherever it leads us and let the evidence speak for itself. Keep up the great work.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2012 8:15 pm 
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An exchange with Rod Green

Rod Green wrote: "The importance of the number 12 long preceded the zodiac. It is the zodiac that is derivative, not the number 12 symbology ... use of the number 12 culturally predates any zodiacal formulation "

RT: Rod, thanks for all these comments, which I will answer in detail. I think there is a chicken and egg issue regarding which came first between the zodiac and the twelve. We really do not know how far back the use of twelve months goes, and what is the provenance of its folk links to the zodiac. So we cannot simply agree the zodiac is derivative. Watching the stars is at the core of much ancient myth, so it is bold to assert that watching the stars had nothing to do with the origin of the monthly cycle.

RG: ."Your reference to Revelation 21 is a great example of jumping onto a faddish wave instead of researching the texts, and understanding their historical origins. You have taken Revelation 21, a text that has a strong Jewish core, and assigned the twelve-jewel foundations of the New Jerusalem (as clearly stated in 21:10, while speaking of this new heavenly "sanctuary") to the zodiac???"

RT: It is not me that is doing this assigning. Josephus and Philo started it, and I found it first by reading very conventional Biblical commentaries by Caird and Barclay. The description of the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21: 19-20 contains the following:
“The foundations of the city's wall were adorned with all kinds of precious stones. The first foundation was jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, chalcedony; the fourth, emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius; the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, topaz; the tenth, chrysoprasus; the eleventh, jacinth; and the twelfth, amethyst.”

William Barclay, the famous Biblical scholar, makes the following comment on this passage in his book ‘The Revelation of John Volume 2 (Daily Study Bible Series): “In the east there was the idea of the city of the gods in the skies … Connected with the city of the gods there are of course the signs of the Zodiac, the signs of the parts of the heaven through which the sun passes. And the curious thing is that the signs of the Zodiac have as their corresponding symbolic precious stones exactly these twelve stones. … But there is one very curious point. If that be so, it must be seen that John gives the signs of the Zodiac, if they do correspond to his precious stones, in precisely the reverse order! What the symbolism of that would be it is impossible to tell, unless this is John’s way of saying that the city of the gods is made new in the real city of God.”
I am surprised to hear you describe this material as faddish, as all my efforts to discuss it fall on deaf ears. In fact there is nothing faddish here, it is just sound scholarship.

RG: Did it ever occur to you that this passage is directly reflecting the passages in Exodus 28:15-30 which describe the 12 jewels in the breastplate of the first High Priest of the Sanctuary, Aaron, which also lists the 12 jewels, and which was remade several times over history? This is direct Scriptural correlation between the Old Sanctuary and the New Sanctuary, between the earthly Temple and the Heavenly Temple. In fact, most scholars believe that the idea of "birthstones" originated with Aaron's breastplate.

RT: Yes Rod, it did occur to me. Here is what Philo and Josephus have to say: Josephus says (Antiquities, 3.8 ): "And for the twelve stones, whether we understand by them the months or whether we understand the like number of the signs of that circle which the Greeks call the zodiac, we shall not be mistaken in their meaning." (Josephus, 75.) Philo ("On the Life of Moses," 12) had made the same comments regarding Moses: "Then the twelve stones on the breast, which are not like one another in colour, and which are divided
into four rows of three stones in each, what else can they be emblems of, except of the circle of the zodiac?" (Philo, 99.)

RG: Genesis 28 where Jacob is on his way to be married. He stops to sleep and rests his head on 12 stones ... If you want to argue that the Book of Genesis, most of which must predate Josiah in the 7th century BCE, was based upon the Babylonian zodiac, take your shot, but let's first concede that the immediate mediator of these texts is Hebrew Scriptures.

RT: I think it is authoritative regarding the strong influence of the zodiac that Josephus and Philo say the ephod of the high priest symbolises the twelve signs. As to the relation between Judaism and astrology before the captivity, I do not know. What we see though from Josephus and Philo, not to mention Gnostic sources who said the twelve apostles are just symbols of the zodiac, is that interpretation of these scriptures in the gospel era was thoroughly cosmic.

RG: it is just possible that the man with the water pitcher is just that, a man with a water pitcher

RT: My view is that this story is not as clear as other precessional references, but that it still makes sense against a premillennial vision. Considering the abundant use of allegory in the Gospels, we are justified in looking for some sensible reason for inclusion of this otherwise cryptic reference.

RG: I am comfortable with the occasional astrological allusion during this period, so long as it is not obviously from Hebrew Scriptures or another clear source.

RT: But why would a source in the Hebrew Scriptures be mutually exclusive from a zodiac reference, especially given the intimate connection attested by Philo and Josephus?

RG: However, these astrological correlations (if and when they might exist) are of human origin and imagination, not cosmic truths.

RT: That remains to be established. Since the Great Year actually is a cycle of terrestrial light and dark, as it manifestly is given the orbital data from ice core records, we do find a form of "cosmic truth" in the mapping of this very long cycle onto the day and year. We could say that a thousand years is as an hour, in that the cycle of light and dark over one great year can be mapped to the cycle of light and dark over one day. Summer insolation (entry of sunlight), the main driver of glaciation, steadily fell over the ten thousand years before Christ. While it is most unlikely that the ancients were explicitly aware of this fact, it is still conceivable that the steady imperceptible decline in light found its way into cultural imagination through unconscious processes, just as all life follows the natural cycles of the day and the year.

RG: the Mayan calendar year 2012 and its perceived eschatological import.

RT: Yes, this is something I have studied. In fact, the ecliptic never crosses the galactic center, and the winter solstice already passed the closest point to galactic center in 1998. So 2012 has more than a dash of mythology. But still, the broad picture matches to an interesting mythic interpretation in the eschatology of fall and redemption, the idea that the cosmic day of the great year is when the equinox point is north of the Milky Way, while the cosmic night of the Great Year is when the equinox point is south of the Milky Way. This matches to the idea that the fall from grace matched to the movement of the equinox across the milky way 6000 years and that the two cherubim with flaming swords guarding the path back to paradise are actually the constellation of Gemini, astride the point where the zodiac crosses the galaxy. The current crossing of the solstice across the galaxy is another "midnight" point, following the event 700 years ago when the solstice passed perihelion.

Thanks again for your interesting and challenging comments.

Robert Tulip


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PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2012 9:24 am 
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Next...

A basic problem with the claim that early Christianity predicted that Christ would return soon is that it did not happen. This is convenient for those who wish to paint a picture of generalised idiocy among early Christians, that they accepted a swathe of incorrect claims. I prefer to argue they were highly intelligent, but were in a very hostile political context, and their true ideas were distorted and obscured by ignorant populisers.

There is a prominent line among pre-Nicene Fathers of a 7000 year history of the world, an idea that clearly suggests the credal vision along these lines, grounded in the Apocalypse vision of the devil in chains for a thousand years, goes back a long way.

In the early third century,
Hippolytus of Rome wrote:
6,000 years must needs be accomplished, in order that the Sabbath may come, the rest, the holy day "on which God rested from all His works." For the Sabbath is the type and emblem of the future kingdom of the saints, when they "shall reign with Christ," when He comes from heaven, as John says in his Apocalypse: for "a day with the Lord is as a thousand years." Since, then, in six days God made all things, it follows that 6,000 years must be fulfilled (On the HexaËmeron, Or Six Days' Work. From Fragments from Commentaries on Various Books of Scripture).

Millennialism is sometimes regarded with the same level of incandescent hostility as astrology. It is as bad as bygone attitudes to heresy and blasphemy. But what if the logical discovery that Jesus Christ was invented presents a rational way to understand millennial ideas? And anyway, what is wrong with the idea of a Sabbath of peace and recovery? It would be a very good thing, and just what our planet needs, separating the sheep and the goats on the lines that Christ suggested in terms of works of mercy.


And a conversation with Jim Farrell

Jim Farrell wrote "Hi Robert ... given the context of the period, understanding these ideas are vital to understanding what was going on.

RT: Thanks Jim. That largely indicates my attitude. I hold to the modern scientific paradigm, and insist that any claims should be supported by evidence. Much astrology, like much religion, is unsupported by evidence. However, the fact remains that astrology was a major feature of the intellectual life of the ancient common era, including of the mystery schools who were involved in creating Christianity. Seeing how astrology informed the Bible requires that we free our minds from centuries of Christian supernaturalist propaganda. It does not mean that we accept astrological claims that lack evidence, but rather that we seek to see how the ancients probably used this material, and what implications it has for the morality and cosmology of the Bible then and today.

JF: I wonder how you came to your views of what the NT texts are based on? Were you someone who was exploring these ideas anyway, and decided to see if they applied to the NT texts? Or did you come across some connected ideas (or ideas that you saw as connected) and work from there? In other words, are you seeking to apply an already worked-out paradigm to the NT, or are you following up what you've found in the NT?

RT: I came to these ideas in writing my BA Honours thesis in Philosophy at Macquarie University in 1985. Starting from the scientific observation that precession provides the structure of time, my thesis looked at how this could apply to the Bible, including looking at current events as marking a cusp between the Age of Pisces and the Age of Aquarius. Sadly my markers totally refused to discuss my thesis with me, and gave me my degree only on sufferance because my other writing was seen as good. Since then I have read avidly in a wide range of related fields in order to deepen and clarify this proposed paradigm shift in Biblical studies. I have still not found anyone willing to discuss it, except to some extent the astrotheological community at freethoughtnation.

JF: I wonder how much of the ideas in the NT texts themselves are included because the writers were fully aware of them, or how much your approach reflects the ideas of later individuals who did have such ideas, even if the original authors didn't.

RT: My view is that the story of Jesus Christ originated as a secret oral tradition in mystery societies, as an expression of the hermetic vision in the Lord's Prayer 'thy will be done on earth as in heaven'. The secret ideas were not suitable for mass use, and were corrupted into the fiction of the Gospels. So it is more a matter of seeing the cosmic vision as original rather than derivative. It relates closely to the debate over whether Gnosticism arose in response to Christianity or if Christianity was the bastard offspring of an original high Gnostic vision. We only have fragments to reconstruct this history so it requires forensic speculation.

JF: An example, perhaps: Josephus and Philo both d talk about the High Priest's breastplate in astrological terms. All well and good; the Jews, at least under Assyrian influences, were said to worship "the host of heaven", so clearly there would have been astrological significance in their worship and rituals.

RT: David Ulansey wrote an excellent and informative article on these themes: THE HEAVENLY VEIL TORN: MARK'S COSMIC "INCLUSIO" Originally published in Journal of Biblical Literature 110:1 (Spring 1991) pp. 123-25], available at http://www.well.com/~davidu/veil.html By the way, the two wheels in heaven in the medieval drawing at the top of this article symbolize precession, as an understanding of Ezekiel and Plato. Ulansey says "The evidence to which I refer consists of a passage in Josephus's Jewish War in which he describes the outer veil of the Jerusalem temple as it had appeared since the time of Herod. According to Josephus, this outer veil was a gigantic curtain 80 feet high. It was, he says, a Babylonian tapestry, with embroidery of blue and fine linen, of scarlet also and purple, wrought with marvelous skill. Nor was this mixture of materials without its mystic meaning: it typified the universe.... Then Josephus tells us what was pictured on this curtain: Portrayed on this tapestry was a panorama of the entire heavens.... In other words, the outer veil of the Jerusalem temple was actually one huge image of the starry sky!"

This is a telling example of how cosmic consciousness has been suppressed. Something central to ancient Judaism, the temple curtain as a panorama of the stars, has been airbrushed from history. Because Roman Christianity came to be so resolutely alienated from nature, all evidence of the grounding of worship in natural vision had to be obliterated. This is the sick legacy of bad faith that we deal with today.

JF: However, when the breastplate was first written about (or even made), was this significance in the minds of those writing or making, or were they thinking about something else? For example, the idea of there being 12 Tribes of Israel may well have originally depended on the idea that the Sun God had 12 Attendants, but was that directly influencing the later writers and makers? Or was it an indirect influence that they weren't actually aware of? Are the descriptions of Josephus and Philo dependent on "secret knowledge" that they had, or were they merely seeking to describe these issues in terms that they thought that "Hellenes" would understand?

RT: Jim, these are matters for speculation. My view is that there is abundant evidence of traditions of oral transmission of religious ideas which have been lost in their fully articulated expression. So reconstructing the source is complex. We should assume that the night sky was the television of the ancient world, that natural cycles formed the warp and weft of religious ritual, and that there were deeply held ancient traditions of allegory that provide the archetype for our religious myths. Everyone saw the same zodiac, in as much as the Mediterranean world had only one sky. To put the direction of ideation as 'west to east' in the manner of the dominant racist tradition of Classics appears to me to be an inversion of the probable truth.

JF: These are the kinds of question that you would need to answer to get me more engaged with your ideas at this stage. However, I am well aware that there is a deal of reference to "magical" and "astrological" terms and practices within the NT texts, and it is an issue that we have to engage with eventually. I do not think, however, that it is in anyway "proven" that these types of thinking directly influenced large parts of the texts, and sometimes it might be your way of asserting your ideas in just such terms that might put people off. Best Jim F

RT: Thanks Jim, I appreciate your comments. Maybe I am irritated that things that to me are major and simple are invisible to others. Sorry if I make too many assumptions about what others know. I consider the idea of an astrological framework for the Bible as a scientific hypothesis, something that is open to falsification through textual analysis. For example the cosmic themes in Revelation appear to me to be compelling, once we have the key to unlock the symbols. My way of building up the hypothesis is to start with the strongest evidence, such as the imagery of the holy city, and then look at the rest of the Bible to see how it is compatible with this reading. My finding by and large is that the cosmology is coherent, except where other limited traditions appear to have intruded on the high celestial vision of the cosmic seers.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 6:58 am 
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There was a lot in this discussion, and I will continue to set out my comments here to have it in one readily accessible place. I find all this material really interesting regarding the astrotheological views of the founders of Christianity, which I think are far more coherent and deep than usually credited. Those who wish to see others' comments in more detail can find it at the yahoo discussion board linked at the OP.

20 Feb

Rod Green wrote: "Josephus ... equates almost everything he can to Hellenistic thought (the zodiac being only one of the endless correlations), to make it appear as if the Jews are not inferior in their ideas."

RT: That may well be. The point at issue here is the symbolic meaning of the twelve jewels in the Holy City described at Revelation 21, and the basis for its association with the zodiac in reverse. This is a text written at roughly the same time as Josephus, and its authors are informed by a similar Hellenistic mileau.

RG: Philo is not stating that the twelve stones of the breastplate derive from the zodiac, but that the zodiac derives from the breastplate! Both Philo and Josephus are engaged in "forced harmonizations" between the two cultures, and this is widely recognized by scholars of both writers.

RT: I suspect there was a much more widespread acceptance of zodiac symbolism in Judaism than you imply, but even so, the issue here is whether a hidden high mystery tradition made use of zodiac symbols to develop Christian eschatology.
RG: Do you really believe that the author of Revelation did not know the story of Aaron's breastplate?
RT: Of course the twelve jewels are explicitly a symbol of the twelve tribes. But in line with old tradition, and the attestation of Philo and Josephus, they are also a symbol of the twelve signs in reverse starting from Pisces, which is the framework of precession.
RG: you inexplicably invoked the eclectic theologian William Barclay

RT: No, I did not 'invoke' Barclay. You misread my comment. I simply noted that Barclay, like other widely read Christian commentators on Revelation such as Caird, states there is an old tradition whereby the twelve jewels are the twelve signs in reverse. They did not make it up, they got it from old sources. In fact I do not know what those old sources are, as I have not found a scholarly account of the provenance of the idea, which is simply cited by many writers. Speaking of eclectic authors, an even worse case is John Michel, who is the only author I have found who has seen the link between the jewels in reverse and precession. If anyone here could help me find where the association between the twelve jewels and the zodiac was first mentioned it would be a great help.
Thanks again
Robert Tulip

22 Feb

GR Gaudreau said "you're trying to fit early Christian eschatology into the Procrustean bed of your astrology"

I'm glad you said this because it illustrates how far you are from understanding what I have been discussing. The precession of the equinox is not a "Procrustean Bed". It is simply the observed actual slow movement of the visible stars against the seasons. Actual, not imagined, I repeat for those who find this hard to grasp.

The only possible "Procrustean" factor here is that traditional eschatology estimates the period from creation to redemption as 7000 years, whereas if we consider it as 3.5 Ages it is more like 7500 years. But really I have not been suggesting any such exact reading, I have only observed that the ancients could see the sky, they could see it was slowly moving, and they used this observable fact as a marker for their speculation about the structure of time and salvation. And for those who find my explanation of the twelve jewels hard to grasp, I repeat this appears to be a coherent reconstruction of ancient speculation, not something I am just inventing. The problem is that it has been so comprehensively buried by the aggressive emotional reactions such as we still see today. That is probably why the writers of the Bible hid the references to the stars in code. My point is that the code matches to astronomical observation.

The so-called Procrustean bed of precession of the equinox is just scientific astronomy, and involves no astrology. Calling it astrology is just the startled response of those who are conditioned to react with a reflex dismissal to any mention of the zodiac.

Robert Tulip

23 Feb

GR Gaudreau wrote "there's a predictive element to it (As above, so below) that is *not* science

RT: Let's focus on this question. This idea, that the microcosm reflects the macrocosm, that events on earth reflect patterns seen in the sky, has both a scientific and an unscientific side. I am just interested in the science.

Scientifically, biology uses this principle in understanding ecology. Organisms are seen to reflect their niche. The gene lines continually adapt through evolutionary natural selection to reflect the context that caused their existence. Prominent scientists support this concept, for example Stephen Jay Gould wrote that microcosms reflect macrocosms. It is a theme that has been extensively explored in the complexity theory of fractal geometry, for example how the structure of the vein of a leaf reflects the branch structure of the whole tree, or how the timing of events in all life reflects the timing of the orbit of the earth in its daily and annual spin.

Perhaps this obvious reflection between life and its structural context also has a bigger slower dimension? The earth's orbit has been stable for nearly four billion years, since the late heavy bombardment. In that time, the axis, spinning like a wobbling top, has wobbled some two hundred thousand times, with constant stability. All life has evolved in this context.

Another analogy here is that a river flows between its banks. The whorls and eddies followed by every drop of water in the current of a river are shaped by the actual geomorphology of the banks and bed. The similar principle is that all events on earth are shaped by the bigger context of the orbit, such as the glaciation cycle driven by precession, seen as the river of time. These orbital factors are mostly too weak to be statistically detectable, but that does not mean they do not exist; in fact they are necessary physical causal realities.

The "as above so below" line was used by Sir Isaac Newton in his translation of the Emerald Tablets of Thoth, the celebrated hermetic poem. This geometric concept was central to Newton's celestial mechanics, but became a central theme in the cultural war between the enlightenment and the renaissance. Newton also said he had stood on the shoulders of giants, but the arrogance of his enlightenment followers falsely held that science had sprung fully formed, rather like Athena from the brow of Zeus.

The Hermetic view is central to the Bible, as I have noted with its inclusion in the Lord's Prayer, where (according to Crossan) the Greek original "as in heaven so on earth" has been turned around. The intent of the mistranslation "on earth as in heaven" appears to be to conceal and deny the hermetic meaning.

GR: "people like you ... completely miss the plain meaning written on those pages.

RT: The question is the status of the texts that say Jesus will return in the first century to rule the earth, as against the dominant orthodox interpretation that the Second Coming will occur at an unknown time.
1. Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.
2. Matthew 24:42 Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come.
3. Mark 13:32 But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.
4. Luke 12:39 And this know, that if the goodman of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through.
My view here is that the claims by Paul and the Gospels about Jesus coming back in the first century that contradict this main statement of unknown timing had an obvious political attractiveness for church growth, much as claims like Harold Camping and the SDAs of the nineteenth century to know the date of the Second Coming are able to attract followers and money. At what point these imminentist lines were added is hard to say.

The issue is the deep conceptual framework for the New Testament, which includes its cosmology. My argument is that the cosmology is central and original to the framework of Christ, based on actual observation of the stars. What they saw was that the vernal point was moving from its previous position in Aries into Pisces, and would later move into Aquarius. So, there is a simple framework here: Adam and Eve = Age of Taurus; Abraham and Moses = Age of Aries; Jesus Christ = Age of Pisces; Second Coming = Age of Aquarius. There is nothing forced about this framework, it is a simple matter of following the widespread classical practice of seeing their mythic figures as shown in the patterns of stars in the sky. The power of this framework is that it reflects the actual long term path of the sun, and so has a dominant place against other myths such as those of Perseus or Orion or Hercules.

GR: You twist the clear meaning of eschatological passage

RT: No, I do not. The twelve jewels are the zodiac signs in reverse, starting from Pisces. There is no twisting at all to read this as an intentional reference by the authors to precession of the equinox as the structure of time. The real twisting here is the efforts of those who find this fact unacceptable to ignore and deny it.

GR: secret numbering codes and secret messages ... all turn out to be humbug

RT: That is a dismal argument. You say people in the past have been wrong, therefore I must also be wrong and in principle cannot gain any insight whatsoever. It is a very pessimistic theory about potential for scientific progress. I grant you that gematria and other fanciful methods like those of the Adventists and other fundamentalists have poisoned the well for this field. However, I am taking a simple consistent scientific empirical approach that has a high level of explanatory power for how the Bible was written and is entirely compatible with all available evidence.

GR: Just because you couch it in astronomical terms doesn't mean it's not astrology.

RT: Respectfully, that is more prejudice from you GR. I have never claimed that any magical astrological speculation should be accepted without scientific evidence. I have in fact researched the scientific basis of astrology carefully, and come to the conclusion that any possible influences of cosmic cycles are far weaker than astrologers claim because they are not statistically detectable. But that is irrelevant to how the ancients thought. They lived in a milieu where observation of the sky was widely understood. They had a theory of time based on a 7000 year history from creation to redemption. This theory of time maps exactly to precession of the equinox, and can readily be understood with precession as its organising framework. Furthermore, the millennial idea from 2 Peter 3:8 is a framework already present in the Old Testament, with the day-millennium principle derivable from reading of Psalm 90:4 against the Genesis Creation account
of seven days, and the 'wheels within wheels' of Ezekiel a clear reference to precession.

GR: it is not just scientific astronomy, it also involves predictive elements

RT: Astronomy is entirely about prediction. It predicts the orbits of the planets with great accuracy, and now focuses on the most likely evolution of the universe. The writers of the Bible could readily use scientific astronomy available to them to predict that the vernal point would move through Pisces and into Aquarius. That is correct science.

Thanks again GR for these challenging questions. I think the answers are simple and easy, but would be happy to explain any points that readers find unclear.

Robert Tulip


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23 Feb

GR: "Your assumptions force you to ignore clear texts where Jesus is said to have predicted his return with the lifetime of some of his disciples. I have no such assumptions, therefore the gospel's eschatological texts are clear to me. .. -- GR Gaudreau"

I'm not ignoring anything. The Gospels are flatly contradictory on this topic. Jesus says no one know the day or time. That contradicts the early return dogma from Mark 13 etc, which in any case was already known to be incorrect when Mark wrote, since everyone who supposedly heard it was already dead by the time of the Jewish War.

Jesus says in Matt 24 the gospel of the kingdom will be preached to the whole inhabited earth before the end will come. This has only actually occurred at the end of the second Christian millennium. You have presented a convoluted reading of the whole earth based on the temptation on the high mountain. But that text with Jesus and Satan is a retelling of the very old Egyptian battle between Horus and Set, and is far from a simplistic literal claim. The idea that the Gospel writers held to a flat earth theory and a sudden miraculous planetary transformation in their lifetimes is just another disrespectful way of demeaning their intelligence. As well, Judeo-Greek knowledge of the 'whole earth' in those days certainly included northern Europe and India, and I doubt anyone thought the gospel would have been preached to all within their lifetimes.

Rather than seeing the Gospel authors as flat earth fundamentalists, I prefer to assume they were highly intelligent, and that mysterious texts should be read as allegory, pointing to a real hidden meaning. Their message was very difficult to get out into the public realm, so we only have the distorted reflection of it in the extant texts. By comparing the sources against the physical reality (the observable cosmic structure of time) we can reconstruct a coherent narrative that makes good sense as a way of explaining the real intent of the authors of the Gospels and Revelation.

Robert Tulip

24 Feb

Rod, I well appreciate that readers will find these ideas unusual to say the least. The suggestion that Revelation provides an accurate prediction of our planetary fate is difficult material that I have pondered for a long time. It goes somewhat outside the scope of early church matters, except regarding the central question of what the ancients could realistically have predicted. I may not wish to defend all the detailed commentary in my Student World article, but nor do I accept that it should be dismissed a priori as incapable of having any real meaning.

Why should anyone take it seriously? I do not think there are any mystical Nostradamus type secrets going on. What I am simply interested in is to what extent a physical understanding of astronomy and geography could have led to this type of long term accurate historical vision and its placement in the Bible.

Our planet is in the midst of the biggest extinction event since the end of the dinosaur age 65 million years ago. We are injecting CO2 into the atmosphere at a rate that will cause catastrophic global turmoil in our lifetimes. With the projection that there will be nine billion people on our planet by 2050 we face a very real prospect that the four horsemen of the apocalypse, death, war, famine and plague, will unleash suffering and destruction on a scale hitherto unknown. To blithely assert that the apocalypse has no meaning for our day closes off useful lines of enquiry with potential to forestall these risks.

...

Let us try to put ourselves in the place of seers of Egypt living at the dawn of the Roman Empire, trying to make sense of the massive political upheaval going on around them, using the framework of their ancient wisdom. These were people who were the custodians of the biggest stellar temples ever built, such as Karnak. They were under aggressive assault from Rome, with its degraded and debauched barbarian racist militarism that would successfully obliterate knowledge of Egyptian writing within a few centuries. Against this fall from grace inflicted by Rome, the Egyptian seers had few resources. One, which I suggest was central to their long term success, was knowledge of the real skeletal cosmic framework for history provided by precession, which marks the slow shift of the stars against the seasons. This is a simple and central scientific claim. Let us accept it as a working hypothesis that the authors of the myth of Christ used
precession as their framework to predict the future.

The next step involves postulating that these ancient seers sought to interpret history against precession, and used the symbolic structure provided by astrology. The Egyptians certainly had access to this Ptolemaic framework. Ptolemy himself lived all his life in Egypt, and had access to much older secret teachings, as did Euclid before him. We are right to scoff at some of these ideas, but nonetheless it is reasonable to explore how the ancients may have used them, so we can explore the intent that informed their baffling ideas.

Now, if the ancients themselves speculated that the Age of Pisces would be characterised by the symbolism of Pisces, and that the Age of Aquarius would be characterised by the symbolism of Aquarius, how could this have led them to the models in Revelation?

The thematic symbolism of Pisces is summarised in the western astrological tradition as 'mystical compassionate belief', while the theme of Aquarius is summarised as 'innovative humanitarian knowledge'. This leads directly to a model that sees the shift of Ages from Pisces to Aquarius as a shift from belief to knowledge, or, from error to truth, seeing this historic shift as the time of redemption from the fall.

But what evidence is there that they thought this way? For a start, the 'first beast' described in Revelation 13 has a highly intriguing direct match to precession. The movement of the North Celestial Pole from Draco the Dragon to Ursa Minor the Bear, adjacent to Leo the Lion, precisely matches the handing on of the 'power, seat and authority' as described in verse 2. This is a simple scientific claim. If accepted, it shows that this material is about the slow stellar patterns that form terrestrial time.

But what of the 666? If the model of time used to develop these images is premillennial, that is, that the apocalypse is dated by the 7000 year framework of time to the end of the sixth millennium, ie to our current era, then the events of the apocalypse, symbolically described as the beast who runs the earth followed by the appearance of the lamb on Mount Zion, really should be examined to see if they have any lessons for our contemporary situation.

I do not think that anyone in ancient times could have predicted for example that the United States Dollar would dominate the world as something without which "all people.. could not buy or sell", (Rev 13:16-17). And yet, in these apocalyptic times, it is an intriguing speculation that ancient visionaries could have seen that Rome was but a precursor to an even larger Empire that would come to dominate our planet at the end of the Age of Pisces, and that they could have imagined this new Rome would embody the delusional views of absurd belief that ignores knowledge, enforcing the dominance of error over truth. Just as the seers saw Rome as the apotheosis of the Age of Aries, they could imagine another global power as the apotheosis of the Age of Pisces. The similarities between the US and Rome are strong, including the blindness arising from imperial dominance, and the memetic inheritance through Latin as the father language of western
imperialism. The scary fact is that the current delusional US trajectory of accelerating CO2 emissions and spending trillions of dollars on weapons is putting our species on a direct path towards extinction. We need a global paradigm shift rather urgently.

We do not know to what extent the ancients were aware of the scale of the earth. The pyramids of Egypt are entirely mysterious, in their design, purpose, accuracy and construction method, with highly plausible speculation that they were based on accurate global knowledge. There is an immense amount that we do not know about the ancient world. I am simply following the thought experiment of exploring how and if the Bible could embed a scientifically accurate prediction of the structure of time and the real fate in store for our planet. At the end of the day, to the extent the Bible is accurate it is a useful resource.

Robert Tulip

25 Feb

The facts are we are in the midst of the biggest planetary extinction event in 65 million years, we are warming the planet in a way that will end civilization in our lifetimes, and these processes are driven by the United States of America and its monetary system, as the biggest single agent of planetary destruction. You may not like these observations, but they are basically shared by the scientific process of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change. The main political criticism of the IPCC is driven by US corporate interests. When we also consider the half trillion dollars spent each year by the USA on weapons in a futile and mad scramble for security, we have grounds to be deeply fearful of our planetary future.

The Bible claims to be about human salvation, to offer the narrow path to heaven rather than the broad path to hell. It is therefore in my view an entirely legitimate reading to assume that the Bible in some deep way has an accurate story to tell about our planetary destiny, how we might be saved rather than damned. Such a reading should start from the facts of our contemporary dire situation, and not gloss over it with fantasy. When theology discusses the fall from grace into corruption, and the total depravity of the human condition, these are not simply magical constructs, but reflect an accurate perception of the hold that evil destructive ways have on our species. The spell of destruction appears most vividly in the fact that we stand on the brink of extinction and yet are in a state of global denial and paralysis.

Methodologically, we should start from our current totally depraved situation, and ask if there is anything in the Bible that speaks to explain how we got here, and if we have any hope of salvation. By salvation I mean the continuation of human life on earth, not escape to heaven. The Bible endorses this worldly attitude, with John 3:17 saying Jesus came to save the world, not to condemn it, and Revelation 11 saying the wrath of God is against those who destroy the earth.

If we take the hypothesis that the Bible had a deeply visionary understanding of the real human condition, based on a theory of how the evolution of history would follow a deeply embedded natural planetary pulse, then we can see the idea of the apocalypse as a looming global catastrophe fits entirely with the ethical vision of the Gospels. The accuracy of this fit between actual history and theological prediction means that we should explore the theology to determine its method and validity. Here we see that the idea of the terrestrial microcosm reflecting its celestial macrocosm provides an entirely accurate physical basis to explain the underlying method and vision of the New Testament.

May I say, I do not consider myself anti-American, or anti-capitalist. I simply hold that America, and capitalism, need greater self awareness and conscience in order to gain their redemption and atone for their misdeeds. There is scope to consider all of Matthew 25, not just the message of the parable of the talents that God helps those who help themselves, but also the message of the sheep and goats that works of mercy are the basis of salvation.

The Gospels tell of how Jesus Christ was crucified for calling Rome an evil empire. Our contemporary situation is that the successor of Rome, the USA, is the evil empire ruling our planet. I believe that our human situation has matured to the extent that I will not be crucified for holding this opinion.

Robert Tulip

25 Feb

Modern scientific thinking finds eschatology profoundly unsettling. My point here is that 'End Times' thinking is actually a big part of scientific assessments of our global situation. Just because most eschatology is contrary to evidence does not mean that all apocalyptic thinking is inherently irrational. There is a purely scientific 'end times' view based on climate science. Objective measurement suggests that our planet faces apocalyptic risks. We could even say the creation is groaning in travail, as Paul put it in Romans 8.

These are the issues that I have been wrestling with. Could the Bible be based on an accurate vision of historical trends? I simply wish to explore the possibility that the New Testament had a deeply accurate perception of history. Far better to establish that the Bible is an ally for scientific efforts to save the world than an opponent.

It is an objective scientific observation that precession of the equinox forms the cosmic structure of terrestrial time and could have been understood as such by authors of the New Testament. To associate our era with the Biblical vision of the temporal structure of precession presents a coherent although complex ethical and scientific position. It is not in any way fundamentalist, and I stand ready to respond to any claim that my views are incompatible with observation. It is difficult for many to see that some traditional ideas about how the world stands under judgment deserve more respect than they are often given.

Robert Tulip


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2012 7:55 am 
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25 Feb

Vic asked "Where, in the Gospels, does it say that the Gospels tell of how Jesus Christ was crucified for calling Rome an evil empire?"

Why else do you think Jesus was allegedly crucified? Opposition to Rome is the main implicit message of the Gospels, although the message is moderated to deflect persecution following the destruction of Jerusalem. The Gospels say Christ was crucified for setting himself up as King of the Jews. This was unacceptable to the Roman Empire because it held suzerainty. The entire message of the Gospels and Epistles is that the proposed kingship of Jesus Christ was good, while the existing rule of the world was evil. The existing rule was by Rome.

My view on the battle between good and evil is based on liberation theology from South America and Korea. Many theologians from these traditions see the Biblical discussion of Rome as a type for the behaviour of the USA. It is widely assumed that Roman Emperor Nero was viewed as the beast of the apocalypse.

26 Feb

it is actually perfectly reasonable to see the message of Jesus as primarily oriented against Rome, and his conflict with Judaism as part of this bigger picture.

Following the resurrection of Lazarus, the Sanhedrin say at John 11:48 "if we let him go on like this, everyone will believe in him, and then the Romans will come and take away both our temple and our nation." The context of Jewish fear of Jesus is therefore said to be their assessment of what is politically likely to occur if they do not do the work of the empire and suppress his message. The Jews are Quislings to the Roman Hitler. Putting primary blame on the Jews is like saying the Norwegian puppet was worse than the German master.

We similarly see in Romans 1 that the hostility of Christianity towards pagan culture is directed against evil practices that are widely acccepted in the Roman Empire. The mentions in Galatians and Ephesians of this evil age and its rulers similarly indicate that the real opponent of the Christian message was the pagan empire. This is why Christianity developed such hostility towards pagan religion. Jesus comments in the Sermon on the Mount that "if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?" in suggesting that Christianity calls for a higher morality involving love of enemies. (link)


The Bible claims to present an encompassing theory of reality, understood as a war between good and evil. On the one hand, there is the good heritage of Israel, through the prophets, which Jesus sees as not reflected in Jewish practices of his day. On the other side, the Bible suggests that Rome licences horrendous tyranny, such as Herod's massacre of the innocents and beheading of John the Baptist, and all the evil practices condemned by Saint Paul and Saint Peter.

The big vision is that the pagan world is lost in ignorance of God. In terms of eschatology, the perception is that this worldly separation from divine truth will only worsen until it reaches a crisis at the end of the age. I do not accept the Christian attack on paganism, because it posits a false supernatural God in place of ancient natural diversity. And yet, the underlying message that ethics should be based on a big picture has a lot going for it.

Robert Tulip

27 Feb

Judgment is another of those traditional words that carry a lot of supernatural baggage. I interpret it in terms of nature.

To get at what the ancients really meant I think we need to strip the word judgment of its supernatural associations and read it as a purely natural prognosis. How I read the Biblical use of judgment, especially in texts such as the Last Judgment in Matthew 25, is that the authors saw the world as corrupt and deluded, and predicted an eventual crunch point where delusion would become unsustainable. They saw their focus on works of mercy (feed the hungry, visit prisoners, etc) to be a way to escape from the harsh judgment predicted for those who are corrupt and deluded. This theme also comes through in the story of the wheat and tares.

Natural judgment can be understood by analogy to ecological population crash, analysed scientifically in terms of carrying capacity. Background is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carrying_capacity A population can steadily increase its rate of use of resources, and then reach a point where available resources are used up, leading to a sudden fall in numbers. It is a sudden intrusion of real limits into a situation that was unsustainable all along, producing a boom and bust crisis, and revealing the previous hopes and practices as deluded. This theme is discussed by Jared Diamond in his book Collapse. Unless a community works out how to sustain its life, it will stop.

Again, there is so much fantastic imagery and folk tradition surrounding this simple accurate vision that it has become rather difficult to strip away the accretions and get back to a real meaning that could have inspired the original stories.

Robert Tulip

27 Feb

Article by William W. Reader, The Twelve Jewels of Revelation 21:19-20: Tradition History and Modern Interpretations, Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 100, No. 3 (Sep., 1981), pp. 433-457 available at http://www.jstor.org/pss/3265963

William Reader's JBL article is a fine scholarly investigation of the twelve jewels. He sees the Holy City as the culmination of the vision of the Revelation. Since the twelve foundation jewels are a main image of the Holy City, Reader suggests that explaining them should help to explain the mysterious intent of the last book of the Bible.

Reader provides a literature survey that is very illuminating, with many leads to follow up. Perhaps most intriguing is Kircher's Oedipus Aegyptiacus, the main source for the 'zodiac in reverse' theory, apparently attributed to lost ancient Arabic manuscripts. Link is at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oedipus_Aegyptiacus Unfortunately it seems that Kircher's book is only available in Latin, but at least it is on line. I have not found a translation of his discussion of the twelve jewels.

I found Reader too cautious in his conclusions, as he shows a normal mainstream tendency to discount hidden traditions. This is to be expected in a conservative publication such as the Journal of Biblical Literature, since traditions like kaballah and astrology have no academic status, and their writings are generally ignored as speculative and unfounded. Reader ignores John Michel, which is hardly surprising. In several cases, Reader mentions that writers have seen the twelve jewels as an expression of astral myth, but leaves this as a tantalizing clue.

Wisdom 18:24 - http://www.catholic.org/bible/book.php?id=27 - is cited as a key source for the zodiac theory: "For in the long garment was the whole world, and in the four rows of the stones was the glory of the fathers graven." The Jerusalem Bible provides a footnote to explain this, saying "on the long robe of the high priest in the author's day the entire universe was represented in symbolic designs." This provides some Biblical support for the zodiac theory attested by Josephus and Philo, seeing the holy vestments of Israel as symbolically uniting earth and heaven.

Overall, Reader's article is a superb contribution to efforts to understand Revelation as a cosmic vision. As the culmination of the Revelation, the Holy City appears to be intended as an allegory for reality. The twelve jewels, with their links to the high priest's breastplate and also to the ark of the covenant, appear to continue an ancient Jewish tradition whereby the visible path of the sun was represented in the most holy place on earth.

The actual scientific fact is that the slow structure of terrestrial time follows the path of the zodiac in reverse. This was well known at the time the Bible was written, and makes good sense as an organizing principle for eschatology, as a coherent explanation for the imagery of the Holy City. The extraordinary thing here is that such a deeply accurate explanatory basis for the Biblical vision could have been so comprehensively forgotten and ignored.

Robert Tulip

Gleadow's chapter at
http://books.google.com.au/books?id=qGJ ... &q&f=false
omits the key pages 132ff.
An article I wrote on the twelve jewels in 2004 is at http://www.ascm.org.au/files/jg_2004_winter.pdf with a followup discussion in the letters section at http://www.ascm.org.au/files/jg_2004_spring.pdf

I discussed the topic further at http://rtulip.net/yahoo_site_admin/asse ... 004545.htm
In this essay I mentioned that Barclay says that the symbolism of the order of the twelve jewels as the signs in reverse is impossible to tell, while Caird speculates that perhaps the reverse order indicates John’s total disavowal of astrology. This line is clearly nothing more than bigoted evangelical ignorance on Caird's part.
The references for Barclay and Caird are
The Rev. William Barclay,
D.D., The Revelation of John (Volume Two), The Saint Andrew Press,
Edinburgh, 1959 (The Daily Study Bible);
George Bradford Caird, Black’s New
Testament Commentaries, The Revelation of St John the Divine, Adam &
Charles Black, London, 1966

Robert Tulip


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I was perusing your lengthy commentaries and exchanges here, Robert. As usual, you have provided real depth, as opposed to the shallow objections, while mainly reveal that the objector is not a profound thinker and has not considered the extent of astronomical knowledge of the ancient peoples.

The fact remains that one of the most enduring fascinations and fields of study in the entire human experience, dating back many thousands of years, is the sky, both night and day. Until recently, a tiny percentage of humanity's existence on this planet, there was no television, no video games, no electric lights for reading or assorted other distractions, and man would often sit under the stars in wonderment and scrutiny.

Humans were not so confined to the indoors - they didn't have much of a choice, as they were largely devoid of technology that could allow them to travel nearly completely inside. They traveled outside, by day and night, under the sun or stars, and they were assuredly keen observers of the celestial landmarks, much more so than today as a whole.

Those who argue against this body of knowledge entwined within mythology have not had these experiences, apparently, and are incapable of empathizing with the past humanity that most certainly did. I myself have spent plenty of time outside in wonderment of our planet, solar system, galaxy and cosmos, so I can relate easily to the fact that the ancients did likewise. In this regard, then, the complaints come once again from a state of ignorance, particularly that of how the ancients lived and learned, as well as how they passed along that knowledge, which is all we are saying with our astrotheological analysis of these various myths.

This inability to comprehend the encapsulation of astronomical or other knowledge within ancient religion and mythology - absurdly denying that cultures of antiquity engaged in "astral religion," a different name for "astrotheology" - reflects the ignorance and lack of understanding on the part of the critic, not that the ancients truly did not engage in it. Again, mythological symbolism acts as a mnemonic device to pass along important scientific information. We simply are trying to discern what that information/knowledge was, an exercise that was not difficult for ancient peoples and should not be so by modern peoples, unless they have devolved since then.

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Because Roman Christianity came to be so resolutely alienated from nature...


Or simply from hostility to magicians, fortune-tellers, wandering prophets, and other sources of "new revelation". Astrologers claim to be able to predict the future (i.e. make prophecies), and you don't want any more prophets. Therefore, you "build a wall around the Torah" by suppressing astrological/astronomical knowledge generally.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:24 pm 
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Gnarlyathotep wrote:
Quote:
Because Roman Christianity came to be so resolutely alienated from nature...
Or simply from hostility to magicians, fortune-tellers, wandering prophets, and other sources of "new revelation". Astrologers claim to be able to predict the future (i.e. make prophecies), and you don't want any more prophets. Therefore, you "build a wall around the Torah" by suppressing astrological/astronomical knowledge generally.

Hi Gnarlyathotep, thanks, welcome.

It is interesting, building on your comment here, to look at why conventional patriarchal monotheism seeks to alienate spirit from nature by suppressing cosmic knowledge. If I can make a comparison, in ancient Babylon there was a mythopolitical conflict between Marduk, representing the Heavenly Control of the King, and Tiamat, representing the Oceanic Kaos of the Mother, as an archetype we could compare to Maxwell Smart versus Siegfried, or Rocky versus Natasha. The social consensus in ancient patriarchal times was that Marduk was Good Spirit and Tiamat was Evil Nature. Their battle represented the struggle for cultural progress, a battle which found its way into the Bible, informing ideas as various as dominion and fall, sweat of the brow, and the war in heaven between Michael and Satan.

The goal of dominion reflected in Genesis was to exercise control over nature. However, this simplistic consensus around dominion, which has been the basis of the patriarchal psychology of social control, fails to see how creativity emerges from the edge of chaos, through an openness to the mystery. By condemning chaos as evil, the attitude of control became rigid, narrow and misogynist, holding to a dogmatic exclusion of everything it did not understand.

So the wall built up around conventional faith throws out the astronomical baby with the astrological bathwater. This means that since ancient times scientific observation of the cosmos and how we connect to it has been condemned whenever a feared association with magical speculation has been seen. This is really important to explain the shuddering irrational hostility that greets astrotheology. People only want to recognise what they can control. Astral symbolism recognises the uncontrollable divine in nature, whereas conventional theology kicks God upstairs into an imaginary heaven as some sort of supernatural fat controller.

The idea that Tiamat was a matrifocal Goddess whose worship was replaced by the patriarchal Marduk is rejected by modern academic consensus. While this rejection is itself highly culturally interesting as showing prevailing misogynist bias, I find this suggestion of Tiamat as an earlier object of veneration plausible as a model for an older peaceful society in harmony with nature, replaced by the warlike imperial spirit of control. This is what Robert Graves discusses in The White Goddess.

So, with the question of Catholic alienation from nature, we see a patriarchal vision in which the power of the king, the Marduk archetype, is justified by hierarchy and dogma, whose social power is seen as more important than the Tiamat archetype of natural truth.

While I consider the Gospels to be purely fictional, I consider that the Jesus story provides our deepest understanding of the actual social conflict between good and evil, and can be reclaimed from the controllers. I see the gospel Jesus as harking back to an older vision of equality between the sexes. The cross and resurrection motif of the passion indicate how Jesus held to an integral vision respecting ancient chaotic understanding of peace and love, symbolised as Tiamat. The imperial society of his day, based on Marduk-style assumptions, rejected this natural vision of equality and its ultimate power. The resurrection is therefore a symbol of the return of Tiamat - that the eternal chaotic cosmic power of the oceanic feminine will overwhelm the alienated historic masculine efforts to exclude and control nature.

THis mythic conflict between Marduk and Tiamat is at the root of the observation that we are living in the anthropocene, a new geological epoch where human attempts to control nature are decisive for planetary ecology. The essential mutation, flowing from the earlier emergence of language, was the growth of technology, especially industrial agriculture. Language makes humans different in kind rather than in degree from dumb animals. The coordinating function of language means the Biblical concept of human dominion over nature is inevitable, because words enable humans to achieve unrivalled power through technology. Human control of nature has grown exponentially since the 'fall from grace' got underway around 4000 BC. And yet, the Bible also contains a message of redemption and atonement, through the comment at Rev 11:18 that the wrath of God is against those who destroy the earth.

God is Gaia, purely natural. Mother Earth is storing up wrath against the alienated human fantasy that dominion means spirit is in control, that humans are separate from and superior to nature. If we imagine we are aliens from mother earth she will kill us. That is why supernaturalism is evil. But the anthropocene can shift gear from the harsh Biblical hostility to nature expressed in the fall dictum of ‘sweat of the brow’. Dominion should mean stewardship, not control. Dominion can change to a humble stewardship of nature, respecting nature as encompassing culture. We have the brains to deliberately mutate into a global civilization of universal abundance and peace and ecological harmony.

As we move into a new paradigm of respectful dominion, we need new values that enable human productivity in harmony with nature. My view is that the core problems can be seen at various levels, both religious and political. The religious problem is about reconstructing myths to understand how we can atone for our sins against mother earth. The political problem can be approached through the lens of climate change, and the hostility of the alienated towards research and development into new energy technology.

My personal view on climate change is that the leading candidate for a new technology to achieve climate stability is large scale ocean based algae production to replace fossil fuels and provide abundant food, fertilizer and fabric. The technological key in my view is use of bags of floating fresh water to innovate new industrial oceanic processes, using energy from tide, wind, wave, sun and current to churn the oceans and build floating cities and factories. By moving to the ocean, using technology to achieve this shift on a vastly accelerated scale compared to whales, humans can achieve a sustainable global population many times our current level while giving back ecosystems to the wild animals. While this may read as science fiction, I remain interested to conduct laboratory tests to explore feasibility of these ideas.

We do not need sacrificial hair shirts or Jeremiads to transform the global economy. But we do need to recognise that the current apocalyptic problems facing our planet are prefigured in the Bible, for example in the war in heaven between Michael and Satan, which can be reconfigured and flipped on its traditional head to see the evil power of Satan as the prevailing patriarchal paradigm of alienated control, and the archangel Michael as representing the good forces symbolised by Gaia and Tiamat.

I turn 50 today.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 16, 2013 5:30 pm 
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An extended discussion of precession in the Bible begins at http://www.freeratio.org/showthread.php ... ost7548962 Here is my first comment which provoked strong debate.

It is not that miracles and fables actually happened, but that the stories about them have important ethical and ontological lessons. The content sits in the status of myth as cultural phenomena, evolving memes whose intent is often largely subconscious or lost or hidden.

There obviously are objectively real events which gave rise to the texts as we have them, but the Bible explicitly and repeatedly instructs the reader to consider all the surface stories about Jesus as parables. The capacity of true believers to ignore this instruction (Mark 4:34; Matthew 13:34; Luke 8:10; John 16:25) is boundless.

The texts have to be deconstructed against a scientific heuristic to uncover a possible real meaning. [It is like how] Castaneda is saying that we should have more respect for indigenous wisdom, including the sense of nature as sacred presented in animist views. The New Testament is saying there is a lost high wisdom concealed in cosmic code within its symbols, and that the eschaton will involve the cracking of the scientific code of the Bible.

Quote:
How does 'real phenomenological content' differ from shit made up, and how can you tell?
Phenomenology means taking what appears as it appears, and trying to explain it logically. Real content of appearance is assessed by scientific standards, looking at how interpretation sits against a coherent predictive theory.

My view is that the most coherent way to read the Bible is to assume that it was written largely in order to conceal ideas in plain view which were central to ancient mystery religion, but were subject to heavy suppression by the politics of the Roman Empire, and were in fact almost completely obliterated from view. This is a hypothesis that can be explored against the extant evidence.

Some implications include that a natural mystic flowing through the ancient culture was seen as inconvenient for Roman priestcraft, and that this natural religion included a much stronger and more explicit sense of connection to the natural cosmos than we see in the surviving literature. This sense of connection includes a sense of awe and reverence for the sacred mystery of life inspired by the perplexing question of why there is something rather than nothing.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:28 pm 
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Hi Robert,

I've been reading your post and reading something that I found at a web site called 'sevenstarhand.com' where there is, what I believe, an interesting read that applies to some of what we're talking about here.

I don't know the author's name but here is a link to a rather large PDF file that may take a bit of time to open
I would ask that you go right to page 87 and read at least 3 or 4 pages to see if you are interested.

Just to fill you in (but don't take my word for it), since you're jumping past the start, the author says the ancient sages didn't trust religion, that they therefore hid many things in ancient texts, including the bible, and that the ancient Egyptians had a better understanding of Astrology than we do today. Early in the document he enlightens the reader in regards to how the 'Spirit of Good' and the 'Spirit of Evil' with their seven characteristics, make up part of the 11 dimensions of the ? Universe and that the other 4 are the (3D - X, Y, Z planes + 1 time/space). Furthermore that these four are the four elements of Astrology, and now see pages 51-55.

I hope I'm not asking to much and will completely understand if you are not at a time and place where you can do this.

I'm tempted to say that you have probably already read this because of the similarities between you and the read.

Here is the link now:
http://www.sevenstarhand.org/Vatican_Li ... ies_r3.pdf



Thanks, Zekeman


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 04, 2013 9:08 am 
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From sevenstarhand.com mentioned in my previous post (with URL), the writer makes it clear that Aquarius is in fact a water sign, not air. We also see that Scorpio is not something that crawls in the sand, an Arachnid, but a bird, or as the Egyptians knew, an Eagle. Until astrologers, and those that study ancient wisdom, know that a crossing took place, according to the author, we can only see the inconsistencies found in the bible.

Also notice that there is not a spider mentioned in this bible verse, that Scorpio should be called 'Eagle' and should be an AIR sign, not a water sign. And for those not familiar with Astrology: Leo - Lion - Fire, Taurus - Calf - Earth, Aquarius - Man - Water, Scorpio/Eagle - Bird - Air

Once these signs were crossed, ancient wisdom was crossed.
-------------------------------
Revelation 4:6-7

6 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind.

7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.

---------------------------------

My thanks to the writer of the "Finishing the Mysteries of Gods and Symbols". What an amazing study he has done, and for freely sharing that Wisdom!


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 06, 2013 7:24 pm 
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Hi Zekeman. I looked at the link to the ebook. It is by Lawrence W. Page II.

A frequent problem with this sort of material is that sound analysis is mixed with unsound analysis, making it difficult for readers to tell what is reliable. It is quite a challenge to restrict comments to statements that provide a logically ordered explanation that the general reader can follow and understand, and which do not exaggerate valid claims through sloppy language or mixing with dubious occult material. I know that in my own comments I sometimes jump too quickly for people who are not familiar with the material under discussion, although I claim that I can justify and explain all my arguments and am always happy to clarify points of detail.

The section you asked me to read contains much that I agree with, notably that the 'wheels within wheels' concept of Ezekiel describes the precessional structure of time, and that the 24 elders of Revelation encode the hours of the day. My premise is that the primary source of many such symbols in the Bible is an original secret mystery tradition that had an accurate understanding of cosmic cycles within the limits of naked eye technology. Precession is at the basis of our terrestrial structure of time, with six hours having ten times the number of seconds (21600) as the traditional zodiac age estimate has years (2160), and three days having ten times the number of seconds (259,200) as the estimate of years in a Great Year (25,920).

I agree with the assertion in the e-book that "ancient prophets and sages ... encoded proof ... for a far future generation with the ability to decode an advanced scientific and philosophical technology .... The ancient sages clearly thought and planned in very long time frames, which they expressed using various symbolic measurements of cyclic time."

In another thread I have argued that old Indian traditions provide evidence of Vedic knowledge of precession, so this 'very long time frame' is the millennial structure of history rather than the imaginative use of billions of years. This basic physical knowledge of precession as the star clock of the world is even today only understood by a very few people, even though the science is fairly simple. The ancient religious texts present knowledge of precession in hidden or distorted form, such as the Laws of Manu which describe the 24,000 year cycle of precession, but then lightly conceal this as a 24 million year period. My view is that this Vedic knowledge of precession is at the root of the Biblical symbol of the holy city, which is described as 12,000 units in diameter. Some time ago Tat Tvam Asi and I had useful discussions here on Biblical use of precession. I think Mr Page's suggestion is correct that the writers could see their coded explanation would not be understood for a very long time, since we still find intense neurosis blocking people from sensible discussion of this material.
zekeman wrote:
Hi Robert,

I've been reading your post and reading something that I found at a web site called 'sevenstarhand.com' where there is, what I believe, an interesting read that applies to some of what we're talking about here.

I don't know the author's name but here is a link to a rather large PDF file that may take a bit of time to open
I would ask that you go right to page 87 and read at least 3 or 4 pages to see if you are interested.

Just to fill you in (but don't take my word for it), since you're jumping past the start, the author says the ancient sages didn't trust religion, that they therefore hid many things in ancient texts, including the bible, and that the ancient Egyptians had a better understanding of Astrology than we do today. Early in the document he enlightens the reader in regards to how the 'Spirit of Good' and the 'Spirit of Evil' with their seven characteristics, make up part of the 11 dimensions of the ? Universe and that the other 4 are the (3D - X, Y, Z planes + 1 time/space). Furthermore that these four are the four elements of Astrology, and now see pages 51-55.

I hope I'm not asking to much and will completely understand if you are not at a time and place where you can do this.

I'm tempted to say that you have probably already read this because of the similarities between you and the read.

Here is the link now:
http://www.sevenstarhand.org/Vatican_Li ... ies_r3.pdf



Thanks, Zekeman


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