Thursday, June 27, 2013

Revlation of Xoroaster : Astrology in Christianity

When I began reviewing my prior work on the Marcionite Galatians Interlinear and it has become apparent that it is going to take me a bit longer to go through it and bring it up to publishing condition. It was supposed to be a simple adjustment with my findings from reconstructions to 1 & 2 Corinthians and Romans to the Gold Standard version of Galatians which Dr. Detering has published (Detering's Greek Galatians in Marcionite and Catholic Form) and his copious notes (Notes in English) explaining his decisions. This should have been simple enough, the content is mostly clear and almost identical. My plan is merely to comment on differences I have with Dr. Detering, and add a few additional sources (e.g., Galatians 1:9 from Hegemonius Acta Archelai Book XL), and some general observations. But there are some details of disagreement that require a more rigorous examination to resolve (verses 1:6-9,17, 4:10, 26 and Ephesians 1:21) which will take a few days to work out.

So to entertain you guys for a couple days, I thought I'd share with you a fantastic and wonderful youtube series by Michael Xoroaster on the Bible and other religious things. I was pigging out on his videos over the weekend as if it were the Netflix House of Cards, pure fresh popcorn. Xoroaster makes a very compelling case for the use of astrology
in Revelation, specifically to the eclipses of 59 CE and 71 CE, and how they relate to the content of chapters 6 and 12 . Inside this preview video you can clink on his links to view each chapter he evaluates the astrological signs; the links show up at 24 seconds in and last until 36 seconds. 

Xoroaster approaches the development of Christianity from what he calls a zero sum approach, in which he throws out all scholarship and simply looks to see where the text leads him from the outside in. He looks at the influences for the theologies and metaphors to determine their sequence and likely placement in history. His insight is uncanny, and his perspective unique and valuable. His works and steady logic show the tool kit a true Liberal Arts education (his is Russian History from Oklahoma State) can provide Biblical Studies.  - IMHO it demonstrates my father's belief that Divinity should only be a Graduate Degree with highly selective admission; the late Rev. Richard Neil Waugh had his masters from SFTS.

This is a completely different approach than mine, which is building up from internal textual evidence, but also compared to historical events. But the date ranges he comes up with are so remarkably close to what the text tells me, that its striking, given we use hardly a stitch of similar evidence. For example I find Romans, and thus all of Marcionite Paul to have been written for certain after Hadrian bans circumcision in 127 CE (Romans 2:25ff), and for other reasons even post-Bar Kochba. Others are even later as Laodicean, 1 &2 Corinthians, and Galatians were written after Romans based on content dependencies. The redactor, due to structural changes he writes about in the church organization that indicate a much larger and more mature church, which certainly took far longer than even a single generation to come into place. Thus my current range for Marcion's Paul is 135-150 CE, adding 30-40 years for the redactor, so 165-190 CE. Xoroaster in his dating was surprisingly close without using any of the same method for analysis. His gospel order is also similar, but I think he is way off on John, though otherwise close to the mark with mechanical evidence.


His entire series on Revelation is brilliant. He starts with a solid identification of the beast as Rome and its seven heads as the seven hills of Rome (17:9 Ὧδε ὁ νοῦς ὁ ἔχων σοφίαν. αἱ ἑπτὰ κεφαλαὶ ἑπτὰ ὄρη εἰσίν, ὅπου ἡ γυνὴ κάθηται ἐπ' αὐτῶν.) and the first six Emperors, and even who the mysterious 8th Emperor is (oh I want to spoil it but I wont).

[I picked the map for Rome below because it shows the terminus of processions at Capitoline Hill]

What is most interesting to me in the series was the use of NASA data to show the night sky on the night of the two eclipses, and the positions of the stars and planets. I must admit it completely changed my view of what is meant in the New Testament by the very word revelation. It really makes me wonder, especially considering the parallels of the 71 CE Eclipse (note Athens is on the direct path) explained in Chapter 12 with the Temptation Story in Mark, expanded in Matthew, and the comment in Luke 10:18  'I beheld Satan as lightning fallen from heaven' (Ἐθεώρουν τὸν Σατανᾶν ὡς ἀστραπὴν ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ πεσόντα) with respect to Revelations 12:9. It also makes me think again what exactly Marcion's Paul means when he says δι' ἀποκαλύψεως Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ. Was Paul's revelation an astrological one?

I hope you guys enjoy this interlude. I will be working hard to get Galatians out this weekend. My commentary will be much briefer, as I will accept Dr. Detering's work almost verbatim, so will limit to justifying my adjustments.

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