Herod and the slaughter of babies-- messianism too!!

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Re: Herod and the slaughter of babies-- messianism too!!

Post by Ulan » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:22 am

Now, I would say everyone has preconceptions, some of them dear to one's heart, which are hard to let go. It's a constant battle for objectivity.

I must say the psychologically most interesting aspect of Steven Avery's answer is that, in the case of Augustus, he basically works like most modern NT scholars work with the NT texts. The stories dealing with the overtly supernatural, like the impregnation of Augustus' mother by Apollo's snake, are automatically discarded as inventions, whereas everything that doesn't overtly conflict with the way how this world works presumably deals with history. It's how these "life of Jesus" reconstructions are made. Of course, Steven would be the first to dismiss this kind of reasoning regarding anything connected to the gospels.

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Secret Alias
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Re: Herod and the slaughter of babies-- messianism too!!

Post by Secret Alias » Sun Nov 19, 2017 8:27 am

Now, I would say everyone has preconceptions

Yes of course everyone is cursed with lack objectivity - it's been biologically conditioned into us (if animals had an 'objectivity gene' it would predispose that species for extinction). Imagine a certain kind of rabbit that was predisposed to seeing things from the fox's perspective. I think it comes down to admitting that you were wrong. There are certain people at the forum - I won't name names - who ARE NEVER WRONG. They 'know' this or that. They create websites and blogs which lay out 'things I know to be true' essentially which amount to personal beliefs. It's fascinating that when a rabid mythicist meets a rabid believer both walk away quite happy I think. I think Nietzsche said somewhere that we can't forgive people for 'letting us down' because it offends our sense of certainty. It's certainty that's always the problem.
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
― Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote

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Re: Herod and the slaughter of babies-- messianism too!!

Post by Stuart » Mon Nov 20, 2017 12:25 am

It is a false claim in the gossipy and generally unreliable Historia Augusta that Hadrian forbade circumcision. The actual ruling, Hadrian's ban on castration, per 48.8.4 Ulpianus libro septimo de officio proconsulis is preserved verbatim, and is as follows:
The Divine Hadrian also stated the following in a Rescript: "It is forbidden by the Imperial Constitutions that eunuchs should be made, and they provide that persons who are convicted of this crime are liable to the penalty of the Cornelian Law, and that their property shall with good reason be confiscated by the Treasury. But with reference to slaves who have made eunuchs, they should be punished capitally, and those who are liable to this public crime and do not appear, shall, even when absent, be sentenced under the Cornelian Law. It is clear that if persons who have suffered this injury demand justice, the Governor of the province should hear those who have lost their virility; for no one has a right to castrate a freeman or a slave, either against his consent or with it, and no one can voluntarily offer himself to be castrated. If anyone should violate my Edict, the physician who performed the operation shall be punished with death, as well as anyone who willingly offered himself for emasculation." [translation S.P. Scott]

Idem divus Hadrianus rescripsit: "Constitutum quidem est, ne spadones fierent, eos autem, qui hoc crimine arguerentur, Corneliae legis poena teneri eorumque bona merito fisco meo vindicari debere, sed et in servos, qui spadones fecerint, ultimo supplicio animadvertendum esse: et qui hoc crimine tenentur, si non adfuerint, de absentibus quoque, tamquam lege Cornelia teneantur, pronuntiandum esse. Plane si ipsi, qui hanc iniuriam passi sunt, proclamaverint, audire eos praeses provinciae debet, qui virilitatem amiserunt: nemo enim liberum servumve invitum sinentemve castrare debet, neve quis se sponte castrandum praebere debet. At si quis adversus edictum meum fecerit, medico quidem, qui exciderit, capitale erit, item ipsi qui se sponte excidendum praebuit".
The word used is castrare, which in no way is interpreted in Roman Law as circumcision.

Antoninus Pius made a ruling allowing circumcision for Jewish parents of their children:
11. Modestinus, Rules, Book VI.
By a Rescript of the Divine Pius, Jews are permitted to circumcise only their own children, and anyone who performs this operation upon persons of a different religion will incur the penalty for castration.

48.8.11 Modestinus libro sexto regularum
pr. Circumcidere iudaeis filios suos tantum rescripto divi Pii permittitur: in non eiusdem religionis qui hoc fecerit, castrantis poena irrogatur.
The word circumcidere is used for circumcision, and the word castrantis for castration. There is no confusion here.

What is worth noting is that Antoninus' ruling ONLY allows Jewish Children to be circumcised, very similar to the existing Laws allowing Egyptian circumcision -which were on the books during Hadrian's reign-, but pointedly do not extend to other members of the household. Why is that important? Because this is a rejection of the Torah Law from Genesis 17:12
And every male among you who is eight days old shall be circumcised throughout your generations, a servant who is born in the house or who is bought with money from any foreigner, who is not of your descendants
Something happened to Torah Law to cause it to lose force, and lead the Jews to petition Pius for the legal right to circumcise their children.

IMO Hadrian was the reason, but not from some ruling (which Historia Augusta misreads Pius' ruling as Hadrian equating castration and circumcision), rather the results of the Bar Kokhba revolt. After the defeat of the rebels, Hadrian dissolved the province of Judea, and rolled it under the Greek province of Syria as Syria-Palestine. This meant that there was no longer a Jewish province, and consequently Torah Law was no longer practiced (as legal code) in a province, and so no longer recognized as having force in the Roman system. (Roman legal code had different sections applying to different people depending upon your status in the empire. You could appeal to the code which you felt applied to your status, including provincial law, as we see Paul do in Acts, invoking his status of citizenship).

So Jews could no longer appeal to the Judea code, Torah Law. hence the appeal to Pius to make an exception like the Egyptians enjoyed. Now how long passed between the dissolving of Judea in 136 AD and when Pius made his ruling is anybody's guess, anywhere from 3 to 15 years passed. Certainly the practice didn't stop, but it seems some lawsuits were brought by household members against their owners (if slaves) or employers (if free men) that led to the specific ruling. Ruling's by emperors are something like appellate rulings, people seeking clarification or final arbitration, which leads to the legal decision. (I am pretty sure the Emperor took advice from a panel of judicial officials who sat with him, and made a call rather from their opinions rather than being the "source" of the opinion per se.) And these decisions read like that.

There is an amazing library online of Roman legal decisions I recommend anyone making claims about Hadrian or any other Emperor read to find the actual rulings https://droitromain.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/.

Note, a good background paper on the subject from UCLA's Associate Professor Ra‘anan Boustan, Negotiating the Differences: Genital Mutilation in Roman Slave Law and the History of the Bar Kokhba Revolt: http://www.history.ucla.edu/sites/defau ... kokhba.pdf
Last edited by Stuart on Mon Nov 20, 2017 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
“’That was excellently observed’, say I, when I read a passage in an author, where his opinion agrees with mine. When we differ, there I pronounce him to be mistaken.” - Jonathan Swift

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Re: Herod and the slaughter of babies-- messianism too!!

Post by Ulan » Mon Nov 20, 2017 10:44 am

Secret Alias wrote:
Sun Nov 19, 2017 7:30 am
I don't know if you noticed my comment about Steve Avery being the guy who started the OP about the Shroud (he has since denied it but interestingly the posts have stopped too). In my research I noticed that Steve Avery is associated with a 'scientific' attempt to identify Jesus as having both 'DNA' from the Holy Spirit and Mary which somehow pertains to anomalies or things he can't explain about the shroud. My point is simply that anomalous opinions associated with Steve Avery are turning up in new threads in this forum - now at least openly in his own name.
I found it kind of funny that the main results when I searched for this seemed to involve some murder case with a Steven Avery, a prosecutor named Marty Shroud, and of course DNA evidence :D .

Anyway, I also found at least some messages connected to what you wrote about here. It's weird that people put faith into Ron Wyatt's idea of a Jesus with 24 chromosomes.

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Re: Herod and the slaughter of babies-- messianism too!!

Post by Steven Avery » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:18 pm

Lots of fantasy here, which is ironic. Steven Avery is the only name I have used here. Years back on IIDB or FRDB I posted as Praxeus and signed Steven Avery. No sock-puppets, no sock-puppies.

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