Sleeper awake!

Discussion about the New Testament, apocrypha, gnostics, church fathers, Christian origins, historical Jesus or otherwise, etc.
rgprice
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Sleeper awake!

Post by rgprice » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:32 am

An interesting passage in Ephesians:
Ephesians 5:
12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
This doesn't come from the Jewish scriptures. Any ideas? Looks like kabbalic necromancy.

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Ben C. Smith
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Re: Sleeper awake!

Post by Ben C. Smith » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:35 am

rgprice wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:32 am
An interesting passage in Ephesians:
Ephesians 5:
12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
This doesn't come from the Jewish scriptures. Any ideas? Looks like kabbalic necromancy.
Not sure about a kabbalic or necromantic connection, but this verse is not alone: there are a few passages for which the original text is difficult to locate.

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JoeWallack
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Re: Sleeper awake!

Post by JoeWallack » Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:36 am

rgprice wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:32 am
An interesting passage in Ephesians:
Ephesians 5:
12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
This doesn't come from the Jewish scriptures. Any ideas? Looks like kabbalic necromancy.
Dune

gryan
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Re: Sleeper awake!

Post by gryan » Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:43 am

Ben C. Smith wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:35 am
rgprice wrote:
Tue Mar 02, 2021 9:32 am
An interesting passage in Ephesians:
Ephesians 5:
12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says,

“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
This doesn't come from the Jewish scriptures...

...this verse is not alone: there are a few passages for which the original text is difficult to locate.
I do not know to what extent this comparison is relevant to understanding the saying in Ephesians, but the command "Awake" ("Rise up!" Ἀνάστα) is also found in Acts Chapter 12 (in verse 7):

James Killed, Peter Imprisoned

1About that time, King Herod reached out to harm some who belonged to the church. 2He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword.

3And seeing that this pleased the Jews, Herod proceeded to seize Peter during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4He arrested him and put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out to the people after the Passover.

The Rescue of Peter

5So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was fervently praying to God for him.

6On the night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, with sentries standing guard at the entrance to the prison. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He tapped Peter on the side and woke him up, saying, “Get up quickly ("Rise up!"--Ἀνάστα).” And the chains fell off his wrists. 8“Get dressed and put on your sandals,” said the angel. Peter did so, and the angel told him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.”

9So Peter followed him out, but he was unaware that what the angel was doing was real. He thought he was only seeing a vision. 10They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city, which opened for them by itself. When they had gone outside and walked the length of one block, the angel suddenly left him.

11Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent His angel and rescued me from Herod’s grasp and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating.”

12And when he had realized this, he went to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark, where many people had gathered together and were praying. 13He knocked at the outer gate, and a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer it. 14When she recognized Peter’s voice, she was so overjoyed that she forgot to open the gate, but ran inside and announced, “Peter is standing at the gate!”

15“You are out of your mind,” they told her. But when she kept insisting it was so, they said, “It must be his angel.”

16But Peter kept on knocking, and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astounded. 17Peter motioned with his hand for silence, and he described how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. “Send word to James and to the brothers,” he said, and he left for another place.

18At daybreak there was no small commotion among the soldiers as to what had become of Peter. 19After Herod had searched for him unsuccessfully, he examined the guards and ordered that they be executed. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent some time there.

The Death of Herod

20Now Herod was in a furious disputed with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they convened before him. Having secured the support of Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their region depended on the king’s country for food. 21On the appointed day, Herod donned his royal robes, sat on his throne, and addressed the people. 22And they began to shout, “This is the voice of a god, not a man!”

23Immediately, because Herod did not give glory to God, an angel of the Lord struck him down, and he was eaten by worms and died.

24But the word of God continued to spread and multiply.

25When Barnabas and Saul had fulfilled their mission to Jerusalem, they returned, bringing with them John, also called Mark.

rgprice
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Re: Sleeper awake!

Post by rgprice » Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:40 am

I'm not sure if that's relevant either, but Acts does seem to record the use of the name of Jesus in magical incantations.
Acts 16:
18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so annoyed that he turned around and said to the spirit, “In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!” At that moment the spirit left her.
Acts 19:
5 On hearing this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 6 When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.
Acts 19:
13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”
Compare:
“Sleeper, awake!
Rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”
Think about this. Saying the Lord's name was not allowed. So you couldn't say YAHWEH, but you could say Yehoshu'a, which means "YAHWEH is salvation."

Now, if you are trying to use a magical incantation and you want to call on the name of your God, but you are forbidden from using you God's name, then what is the next best thing? Granted, the incantation from Ephesians doesn't say Jesus, it just says Christ, but it nevertheless could represent a family of incantations that developed around the use of the name Yeshu'a because it was a permissible means of calling upon the name of God in a ritual in which the performer is calling upon YAHWEH for salvation. Not only that, but the Yeshu'a of the Jewish scriptures was certainly a man of immense magical power.

Just a thought...

BTW, does anyone have more info on this: viewtopic.php?f=3&t=3076#p68538
Last edited by rgprice on Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

gryan
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Re: Sleeper awake!

Post by gryan » Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:51 am

Re: Shameful secrets according to Eph. 5:12-13 ("12 For it is shameful even to mention what such people do secretly; 13 but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for everything that becomes visible is light").

There is this story of secrets exposed, and it happens during Paul's time in Ephesus, according to Acts Chapter 18:

11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.

13 Some Jews who went around driving out evil spirits tried to invoke the name of the Lord Jesus over those who were demon-possessed. They would say, “In the name of the Jesus whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. 15 One day the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I know about, but who are you?” 16 Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them and overpowered them all. He gave them such a beating that they ran out of the house naked and bleeding.

17 When this became known to the Jews and Greeks living in Ephesus, they were all seized with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was held in high honor. 18 Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. 19 A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. 20 In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

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

On a personal note, I defended a MATS (Master of Arts in Theological Studies) thesis on the portrait of Paul as a wonder-worker in Acts. In that study, I looked at modern discussions of miracles vs magic. I took a less apologetic view than my professors, pointing out that the discernment of good miracles vs bad magic has something to do with "us" verses "them" thinking. I got a mere B+ and decided a PhD was not in my future.
Last edited by gryan on Wed Mar 03, 2021 4:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

rgprice
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Re: Sleeper awake!

Post by rgprice » Wed Mar 03, 2021 4:07 am

Indeed, and then we have the whole bit about Simon Magus.

gryan
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Re: Sleeper awake!

Post by gryan » Wed Mar 03, 2021 4:17 am

And then also in Acts 13, there is this honor/shame contest that Paul wins (Note that Paul, who had himself been struck blind temporarily, curses an opponent with temporary blindness):

6They traveled through the whole island as far as Paphos, where they found a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, a man of intelligence, summoned Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.

9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked directly at Elymas 10and said, “O child of the devil and enemy of all righteousness, you are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery! Will you never stop perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11Now look, the hand of the Lord is against you, and for a time you will be blind and unable to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand.

rgprice
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Re: Sleeper awake!

Post by rgprice » Wed Mar 03, 2021 4:31 am

gryan wrote:
Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:51 am
On a personal note, I defended a MATS (Master of Arts in Theological Studies) thesis on the portrait of Paul as a wonder-worker in Acts. In that study, I looked at modern discussions of miracles vs magic. I took a less apologetic view than my professors, pointing out that the discernment of good miracles vs bad magic has something to do with "us" verses "them" thinking. I got a mere B+ and decided a PhD was not in my future.
Interesting. Hopefully it all worked out of the best :D

But, I'm very interested in magic and the use of magical performance in ancient cultures, particularly Greece and Rome. In fact, like the first 1/3 of the book I'm working on addresses the practice of ancient prophecy as a form of fraud that used the techniques of performance magic. In fact, what we consider entertainment magic today evolved from religious fraud. I'm a big fan of James Randi and Houdini, etc. and have an interest in their debunking campaigns, etc.

I definitely think that ancient schools of prophecy and divination employed the use of "magic tricks" to deceive people. A lot of the techniques used by mentalists and slight-of-hand artists today can be detected in the accounts of ancient prophets and diviners. There was a connection between live divination and written prophecy as well. Both involved deceptive tricks. Indeed, I consider ancient written prophecy a form of magic trick. It's a magic trick where the writer fools the reader into thinking that the text they are reading was written much earlier than it really was, so that the writer can predict things that they already know. Lots of techniques were developed to make writings appears to have been written earlier than they really were, and some of those are employed in Christian writings. I delve into this in my book.

I see an association between the use of performance magic to fool people in live performances and the use of literary magic. Both tools reinforced a belief in prophecy. Diviners using live performances and writers using literary tricks reinforced the perception that prophecy was real and actually worked. One of the tricks I discuss is the hiding of organs during animal sacrifices, where the divers would sacrifice an animal and then claim that it was missing a heart or liver or some organ that was generally considered vital or important. They then had meanings assigned to different missing organs, which they were obviously palming.

There was also some interesting stuff going on with lot oracles, which they would rig to look like they were answering people's questions. Lot oracles became kind of like prophecy vending machines and were a very profitable form of prophecy in ancient Greece and Rome.

It's interesting because there was basically a big fight over the direction of magic in the 19th & early 20th century. Would it continue to be a tool for religious and spiritual deception, or would it become a legitimate form of entertainment? The latter generally won out, thanks to the concerted efforts of a number of figures who worked to legitimize the art and wrestle it from the grip of charlatans.

gryan
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Re: Sleeper awake!

Post by gryan » Wed Mar 03, 2021 4:54 am


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