Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
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Re: Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Post by andrewcriddle » Tue Oct 13, 2020 4:10 am

StephenGoranson wrote:
Mon Oct 12, 2020 12:49 am

Nazareth is mentioned in an inscription from Caesarea (full disclosure: someone suggested that was fake, but I don’t recall any good reason given), in Epiphanius as Ben (and my 1990 dissertation) mentioned, and in the poems of Kallir, on priestly courses (not all of which are named in Josephus, undercutting arguments from silence). Semitic speakers and writers likely knew better than Greek-only ones the names of the settlement and of the Notsrim (and similar).
Ben referenced the Caesarea inscription (and my very old comments thereon) at viewtopic.php?f=3&t=7261&p=113299#p113299

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Re: Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Oct 13, 2020 2:40 pm

Interesting paragraph:

François de Blois, “Naṣrānī (Ναζωραȋος) and ḥanīf (ἐθνικός),” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, volume 65, number 1 (2002), page 4: 4 In Mandaic writings we find the singular n’ṣwr’y’, the plural n’ṣwr’yy’ and the abstract noun variously spelt n’ṣ’rwt’ and n’ṣyrwt’, forms which reflect the same fluctuating realization of the šwa as in Ναζαρηνός versus Ναζωραȋος. In most passages ‘Nazoraean’ is a self-designation of the Mandaeans, in effect a synonym of m’nd’y’, this despite the fact that Mandaeans are not Christians, and certainly not ‘Jewish Christians’, but followers of a religion that distances itself emphatically both from Judaism and from Christianity. On the other hand, in Ginzа̄ (right) 55 the demon Jesus Christ calls himself a ‘Nazoraean’ and one who has come from the town of Nazareth (nyṣ’rt), and elsewhere, in a passage of bitter anti-Christian polemic, the souls of the departed Christians declare to Christ that they have given alms ‘in the name of Jesus Christ, in the name of the holy spirit, in the name of the god of the Nazoraeans (’l’ḥ’ḏ-n’ṣwr’yy’)’. But Christ is forced to prostrate himself before the Mandaean deity Mandа̄ δ-ḥayyē, and when the deceased Christians ask their lord who this is to whom he has humbled himself, Christ admits that it is one who has ‘not mentioned the name of the holy spirit, not mentioned the name of Christ, not mentioned the name of the god of the Nazoraeans’. The ‘god of the Nazoraeans’ is mentioned, again in a polemical context, also in Ginzа̄ (left) 33. It is clear from this that the name Nazoraean is not only one by which the Mandaeans refer to themselves, but also one which their scriptures attach to certain Christians. The only plausible explanation for this is that the surviving community of Mandaeans (alias Nazoraeans) are in fact the descendants of an ancient Jewish Christian community who, presumably in the aftermath of some catastrophe, lost most of their own religious writings and subsequently adopted those of a rival community, indeed writings that contained polemics against their former beliefs. But, despite taking over these alien scriptures, the community retains its old self-designation as ‘Nazoraeans’ and evidently also some quite substantial remnants of its original beliefs and cultic practices (in particular the typically Jewish-Christian emphasis on baptism, the designation of the baptismal water as ‘Jordan’, the incorporation of several Old Testament patriarchs, and of John the Baptist, into the Mandaean pantheon, etc.). In this sense, the surviving Mandaeo-Nazoraeans represent a synthesis of two different religious traditions: that of Nazoraean Jewish Christianity and that of the non-Christian, non-Jewish, Babylonian, semi-Iranized and quasi-gnostic complex of authentic Mandaeism.

Another one, a summary:

François de Blois, “Naṣrānī (Ναζωραȋος) and ḥanīf (ἐθνικός),” Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, volume 65, number 1 (2002), page 11: 11 The usage in languages other than Arabic (and those which borrowed their word for ‘Christian’ from Arabic) can thus be summarized as follows: Nazoraean (or Nazarene) is, first of all, the epithet of Jesus, the man of Nazareth. In the plural, Nazoraeans is a contemptuous name for Christians, put into the mouths of their enemies in Acts 24:5, and then, in imitation of the biblical passage, in some Syriac accounts (and one Armenian account) of the anti-Christian activities of Zoroastrians and others. But it is apparently also the name actually used by Jews in the first two or three centuries to designate the followers of Jesus, and specifically the Christians in the synagogue, and thus also by at least some of these Jewish Christians themselves. And it is in this sense, as a designation for certain Jewish Christians, that the name is applied by catholic Christian polemicists, by the Zoroastrian high priest Kirdīr, and finally in Mandaean writings, where it occurs both in polemics against the Nazoraeans and as a self-designation of the Nazoraean converts to Mandaeism.

Ben.
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Re: Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Post by MrMacSon » Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:59 pm

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Wed Oct 07, 2020 3:07 pm

It seems to me that the triconsonantal clusters NSR, NCR, and/or NZR may simply be overloaded roots in Semitic languages ... All of the following came up at one point or another in my research:
  1. Nasar, a Byzantine military leader of century IX.
  2. Nasar, a city in Iran.
  3. Nasiriyah, a city in Iraq named after Nasir al-Sadoon Pasha in century XIX.
  4. Nasr, an element of many Arabic place names.
  5. Nasr, the name of an idol in the Quran.
  6. Naz̧ār, an element of many Iranian place names.
  7. Nazarchus, a king in the Alexander Romance (Νάζαρχος).
  8. Nazartae, a nation listed in recension ε of the Alexander Romance (Ναζάρται).
  9. Nécéres, a people in Turkey referred to by the academic pilgrim Henry Maundrell.
  10. Nuşayr, relevant name of Abū Shuʿayb Muḥammad ibn Nuṣayr al-Numayri, considered the eponym of the Nuṣairi.
  11. Nuṣayrīyah/Anṣarīya, with "Jabal," a coastal mountain range in Syria.
  12. -neṣṣar, an element of Nəḇūḵaḏneṣṣar (= Nebuchadnezzar), employed in a pun linking his daughter to the Mandaean Noṣerim.
  13. -neser, an element of Shalmaneser, the name of a line of Assyrian kings.
Just because some of these items might be related to one another does not mean that they all are. Also, I started keeping track of the superfluous ones a bit late in the game, so I am probably missing a few.

It does occur to me that the existence in Syria of a people group known as the Nazerini might have contributed to the use, in Greek, of the name Nazarene for the Semitic name Naṣoraean or the like. However, I am not sure that we need such a group to influence the spelling in this manner, because the Nazirite vow might well explain it all by itself.

Refer also to Getzel M. Cohen, Hellenistic Settlements in Syria, the Red Sea Basin, and North Africa, pages 172-178.

This might be [is] a very tenuous proposition / link in the Nazaret / Nazarite / Nasoraeans, etc., investigation, but I came across this

.
Soon after Simon Ben Kosiba had come to power (the summer of 132 CE is assumed), he took on the role of a leader and called himself nasir or 'prince' of the Jews. Even without crediting him with the title of Messiah, as done by an unknown Jewish author of the second century (only later potentially identified with Rabbi Aqiva) and by Christian sources, Jewish texts attribute to him the verse from Num. 24: 17 (‘ A star shall step forth from Jacob’). And even if we remain sceptical about this attribution, we can follow Peter Schäfer’s well-informed view that the label ‘Messianic’ can be attached to Bar Kokhba and his rebellion, because one cannot ‘distinguish neatly between merely a “down-to-earth” military leader/ warrior on the one hand and a utopian figure with “divine and supernatural qualities” on the other’. Schäfer rightly cautions us that such ‘distinction between the “religious” and the “political” is here misguided and possibly even inspired by the (later) Christian reinterpretation of the originally Jewish Jesus movement’, and he adds: ‘Jewish Messianism was always fluctuating between “utopia” and “reality” as two extreme poles of a broad spectrum, at different times and in different contexts emphasizing different aspects of what may be loosely collected under the common denominator “Messianism”.’ [Schäfer 2003: 17-18]

Looking at the background of Simon Ben Kosiba’s self-designation of nasir it quickly becomes evident that he was certainly more than just a warrior to rid Judea of the Romans. We know of a series of evidence from Second Temple Judaism that provides us with an apocalyptic messianism that combined utopian peace and righteousness with a foregoing fierce battle and war against the unrighteous.

Examples are the so-called Animal Apocalypse from 1Enoch 85– 90, which dispenses with a single messianic figure but where all are asked to participate in the final battle and victory. The Apocalypse starts with the vision of a single star falling from heaven and four white men, of which the first binds the first star and casts it into a narrow, deep, stupendous, and gloomy valley. Then follows the history of Israel in this earthly valley, until in 1Enoch 90 we reach the outlook for the future:

6 For I know, that oppression will exist and prevail on earth; that on earth great punishment shall in the end take place; and that there shall be a consummation of all iniquity, which shall be cut off from its root, and every fabric raised by it shall pass away. Iniquity, however, shall again be renewed, and consummated on earth. Every act of crime, and every act of oppression and impiety, shall be a second time embraced. 7 When therefore iniquity, sin, blasphemy, tyranny, and every evil work, shall increase, and when transgression, impiety, and uncleanness also shall increase, then upon them all shall great punishment be inflicted from heaven. 8 The holy Lord shall go forth in wrath, and upon them all shall great punishment from heaven be inflicted. 9 The holy Lord shall go forth in wrath, and with punishment, that he may execute judgment upon earth. 10 In those days oppression shall be cut off from its roots, and iniquity with fraud shall be eradicated, perishing from under heaven. 11 Every place of strength shall be surrendered with its inhabitants; with fire shall it be burnt. They shall be brought from every part of the earth, and be cast into a judgment of fire. They shall perish in wrath, and by a judgment overpowering them for ever. 12 Righteousness shall be raised up from slumber; and wisdom shall be raised up, and conferred upon them. 13 Then shall the roots of iniquity be cut off; sinners perish by the sword; and blasphemers be annihilated everywhere. 14 Those who meditate oppression, and those who blaspheme, by the sword shall perish. 15 And now, my children, I will describe and point out to you the path of righteousness and the path of oppression. 16 I will again point them out to you, that you may know what is to come. 17 Hear now, my children, and walk in the path of righteousness, but shun that of oppression; for all who walk in the path of iniquity shall perish for ever. [Trans. from Ethiopic by (Laurence 1883)]

After 1Enoch, we find the Davidic Messiah ‘envisaged in the Psalms of Solomon, placed at a most concrete point in history (the capture of Jerusalem and the Temple by Pompey in the year 63 BCE). He is described in terms very similar to those used to denote the Qumranic Nasi, which resonate with the program that Bar Kokhba tries to carry out’:

21 See Lord, and raise up for them their king, the son of David, to rule over your servant Israel in the time known to you, O God. 22 Undergird him with the strength to destroy the unrighteous rulers, to purge Jerusalem from gentiles who trample her to destruction. … 26 He will gather a holy people whom he will lead in righteousness; … 30 And he will have gentile nations serving him under his yoke … And he will purge Jerusalem (and make it) holy as it was even from the beginning, 31 (for) nations to come from the ends of the earth to see his glory … 32 … There will be no unrighteousness among them in his days, for all shall be holy, and their king shall be the Lord Messiah. [Psalms of Solomon 17: 21– 32, trans. (Wright 1985: 667)]

As with Bar Kokhba we read about a messianic kingdom here on earth, very similar also to what we read in 4Ezra, which distinguishes between ‘this earthly world’ and a ‘world to come’, but where the messianic regime is ‘a limited Messianic age as an intermediate period’.[Schäfer 2003: 18]

The tradition of the nasi(r) leading the people together with a powerful priest is well attested ‘from the prophet priest Ezekiel, through Qumran and the Zealots to Bar Kokhba’ [see David Goodblatt according to (Schäfer 2003: 19)].

Vinzent, Markus, Writing the History of Early Christianity: From Reception to Retrospection, pp. 217-219; Cambridge University Press, 2019.
.

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Re: Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:53 pm

MrMacSon wrote:
Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:59 pm
This might be [is] a very tenuous proposition / link in the Nazaret / Nazarite / Nasoraeans, etc., investigation, but I came across this

.
Soon after Simon Ben Kosiba had come to power (the summer of 132 CE is assumed), he took on the role of a leader and called himself nasir or 'prince' of the Jews. Even without crediting him with the title of Messiah, as done by an unknown Jewish author of the second century (only later potentially identified with Rabbi Aqiva) and by Christian sources, Jewish texts attribute to him the verse from Num. 24: 17 (‘ A star shall step forth from Jacob’). And even if we remain sceptical about this attribution, we can follow Peter Schäfer’s well-informed view that the label ‘Messianic’ can be attached to Bar Kokhba and his rebellion, because one cannot ‘distinguish neatly between merely a “down-to-earth” military leader/ warrior on the one hand and a utopian figure with “divine and supernatural qualities” on the other’. Schäfer rightly cautions us that such ‘distinction between the “religious” and the “political” is here misguided and possibly even inspired by the (later) Christian reinterpretation of the originally Jewish Jesus movement’, and he adds: ‘Jewish Messianism was always fluctuating between “utopia” and “reality” as two extreme poles of a broad spectrum, at different times and in different contexts emphasizing different aspects of what may be loosely collected under the common denominator “Messianism”.’ [Schäfer 2003: 17-18]

Looking at the background of Simon Ben Kosiba’s self-designation of nasir it quickly becomes evident that he was certainly more than just a warrior to rid Judea of the Romans. We know of a series of evidence from Second Temple Judaism that provides us with an apocalyptic messianism that combined utopian peace and righteousness with a foregoing fierce battle and war against the unrighteous.

Examples are the so-called Animal Apocalypse from 1Enoch 85– 90, which dispenses with a single messianic figure but where all are asked to participate in the final battle and victory. The Apocalypse starts with the vision of a single star falling from heaven and four white men, of which the first binds the first star and casts it into a narrow, deep, stupendous, and gloomy valley. Then follows the history of Israel in this earthly valley, until in 1Enoch 90 we reach the outlook for the future:

6 For I know, that oppression will exist and prevail on earth; that on earth great punishment shall in the end take place; and that there shall be a consummation of all iniquity, which shall be cut off from its root, and every fabric raised by it shall pass away. Iniquity, however, shall again be renewed, and consummated on earth. Every act of crime, and every act of oppression and impiety, shall be a second time embraced. 7 When therefore iniquity, sin, blasphemy, tyranny, and every evil work, shall increase, and when transgression, impiety, and uncleanness also shall increase, then upon them all shall great punishment be inflicted from heaven. 8 The holy Lord shall go forth in wrath, and upon them all shall great punishment from heaven be inflicted. 9 The holy Lord shall go forth in wrath, and with punishment, that he may execute judgment upon earth. 10 In those days oppression shall be cut off from its roots, and iniquity with fraud shall be eradicated, perishing from under heaven. 11 Every place of strength shall be surrendered with its inhabitants; with fire shall it be burnt. They shall be brought from every part of the earth, and be cast into a judgment of fire. They shall perish in wrath, and by a judgment overpowering them for ever. 12 Righteousness shall be raised up from slumber; and wisdom shall be raised up, and conferred upon them. 13 Then shall the roots of iniquity be cut off; sinners perish by the sword; and blasphemers be annihilated everywhere. 14 Those who meditate oppression, and those who blaspheme, by the sword shall perish. 15 And now, my children, I will describe and point out to you the path of righteousness and the path of oppression. 16 I will again point them out to you, that you may know what is to come. 17 Hear now, my children, and walk in the path of righteousness, but shun that of oppression; for all who walk in the path of iniquity shall perish for ever. [Trans. from Ethiopic by (Laurence 1883)]

After 1Enoch, we find the Davidic Messiah ‘envisaged in the Psalms of Solomon, placed at a most concrete point in history (the capture of Jerusalem and the Temple by Pompey in the year 63 BCE). He is described in terms very similar to those used to denote the Qumranic Nasi, which resonate with the program that Bar Kokhba tries to carry out’:

21 See Lord, and raise up for them their king, the son of David, to rule over your servant Israel in the time known to you, O God. 22 Undergird him with the strength to destroy the unrighteous rulers, to purge Jerusalem from gentiles who trample her to destruction. … 26 He will gather a holy people whom he will lead in righteousness; … 30 And he will have gentile nations serving him under his yoke … And he will purge Jerusalem (and make it) holy as it was even from the beginning, 31 (for) nations to come from the ends of the earth to see his glory … 32 … There will be no unrighteousness among them in his days, for all shall be holy, and their king shall be the Lord Messiah. [Psalms of Solomon 17: 21– 32, trans. (Wright 1985: 667)]

As with Bar Kokhba we read about a messianic kingdom here on earth, very similar also to what we read in 4Ezra, which distinguishes between ‘this earthly world’ and a ‘world to come’, but where the messianic regime is ‘a limited Messianic age as an intermediate period’.[Schäfer 2003: 18]

The tradition of the nasi(r) leading the people together with a powerful priest is well attested ‘from the prophet priest Ezekiel, through Qumran and the Zealots to Bar Kokhba’ [see David Goodblatt according to (Schäfer 2003: 19)].

Vinzent, Markus. Writing the History of Early Christianity (pp. 217-219). Cambridge University Press.
.



Does somebody know which word Vinzent intends by nasir? Of course nasi (נָשִׂיא) = prince; sar (שַׂר) = prince; nazir (נְזִ֥יר) = prince sometimes; and there are others in the same semantic range which do not resemble these. Is nasir one which I am missing? Is it a variant of nasi?

Incidentally, I have been enjoying reading through Writing the History of Early Christianity. Vinzent may have me convinced on the Abercius inscription and on Aristides; and he at least stands a chance on the Ignatiana and Hippolytus, as well.

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Re: Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Post by StephenGoranson » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:34 am

Taking this from Michael Owen Wise, Language and Literacy in Roman Judaea: A Study of the Bar Kochba Documents (U. Minn. PhD, 2012) page 218, he-nun-samekh-yod, the nasi, from P. Yadin 54.
This, I suggest, is not related to the Nazirites and Notsrim etc. questions on Matthew 2:23 and elsewhere.
Maybe note that Mark used Nazarenoi only and Matthew used Nazoraioi only, maybe more Hellenic and more Semitic influenced, respectively.

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Re: Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Post by StephenGoranson » Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:37 am

That is, image 218, page 210.

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Re: Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:14 am

StephenGoranson wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 2:34 am
Taking this from Michael Owen Wise, Language and Literacy in Roman Judaea: A Study of the Bar Kochba Documents (U. Minn. PhD, 2012) page 218, he-nun-samekh-yod, the nasi, from P. Yadin 54.
This, I suggest, is not related to the Nazirites and Notsrim etc. questions on Matthew 2:23 and elsewhere.
I agree. But where did the "r" come from? He spelled it as nasir.

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Re: Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Post by Secret Alias » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:49 am

For my money the root is šrr = to be firm, true
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Re: Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Post by MrMacSon » Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:54 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:14 am
where did the "r" come from? He spelled it as nasir.
Does your post on NSR - viewtopic.php?p=113298#p113298 - provide any clues??

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Re: Of Nazirites & Naṣoraeans.

Post by Ben C. Smith » Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:15 am

MrMacSon wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:54 am
Ben C. Smith wrote:
Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:14 am
where did the "r" come from? He spelled it as nasir.
Does your post on NSR - viewtopic.php?p=113298#p113298 - provide any clues??
No, not yet, because there are two different words, spelled differently. The one I was exploring is spelled with a ṣade; the one (I think) Vinzent is pointing to is spelled with a samekh.

If the word spelled with a samekh (nasi, which means "prince") can also bear a resh at the end (to become nasir), then that is a word that I could have easily added to the list which you cited from me. (Adding it to the list would not mean it is relevant to the discussion about NṢR and NZR, the whole point of the list being, after all, that there are lots of unrelated words which look a bit similar in Semitic languages when boiled down to their consonantal roots. But, without that final resh, it would not really even qualify for the list.)

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