The Infant Church

Blog Manuscript Draft Version 1.7

This blog manuscript is continually updated and expanded as time allows. So keep watching for new material.

This thesis of the infant church and origins of the first Gospel were first conceived and developed in 1990. This manuscript is my "Status Quaestionis,"  i.e., my current state of research regarding the origins of the Church and St. Luke's Gospel and Acts.
During the 1970's I studied in the Immaculate Conception Seminary, Archdiocese of Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A., and was taught to be a staunch advocate of Markan Priority. After years of historical, archaeological, linguistic,  and cultural research and study I began to see the evidence opened a new path of consideration which led to this current manuscript.

THE INFANT CHURCH

John N. Lupia, III

Copyright 2019 

Intended to be published in print by
Regina Caeli Press at some future date.
Comments to john@reginacaelipress.com

          INTRODUCTION   

          

              The infant Church or Apostolic A is generally defined as that period during the life and times of Jesus of Nazareth during his public ministry until the inception of the second century, i.e., A.D. 100, covering a span of ninety-four years. However, the period up to the edict of Milan, or Council of Nicaea is frequently described as the infant church. Here we shall speak of the Infant Church up to A. D. 100, and the following years as the Early Church. 


                Forty years before the birth of Jesus (7/6 B.C.) Galilee had been the hotbed of insurrectional movements against Roman rule. First, Hezekiah, then decades later his son Judas, and finally Theudas were three Galilean false Messiahs who advocated insurrection and the belief that God would free Judaism from captivity by Gentile rulers by using military force following the example of the Maccabees who freed Judea from the Seleucids. When Philip the Apostle told Nathaniel we have found the Messiah, Jesus of Nazareth, Nathaniel responded "Can any good come from Nazareth?" (John 1:45-46) since it was from Galilee that all previous pseudo-Messiahs had come bring ruin with them. 

            




1. The Church During the Time of Jesus


A. The Infant Church Era A.D. 6-A.D. 100 

I. Jesus Begins Teaching : The School of Jesus

            The public ministry of Jesus is generally defined beginning on August 28, A.D. 28 based on common consensus of the interpretation of the historical clues provided by St. Luke's Gospel regarding the beginning of the preaching of St. John the Baptist. However, St. Luke actually tells us something  very different. St. Luke's conclusion to the infancy narrative of Jesus tells us the story of when Jesus began his public ministry early at the age of twelve teaching in the Temple at Jerusalem in Socratic dialectic since he was asking questions and everyone was amazed at his answers.  The observation that this begins Jesus' ministry was also made by Fr. Andrew Apostle  CFR, in his book Answering the Questions of Jesus (EWTN,  2016). As Fr. Apostle has pointed out St. Luke records the very first words spoken in the Gospels in this narrative when his reply to his mother Mary was a series of questions he posed to her : "Why were you looking for me?" "Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?" The first question is the fundamental underlying question in the Gospel that ran through Jesus mind during his public ministry. "Why were the Jews looking for him, the Messiah?" Was it merely the pious attitude based on the various prophecies  of a Messiah to come or was it more their agenda driven interpretation of what he should be? However, when Jesus was in the Temple at age twelve St. Luke tells us that before Mary and Joseph arrived in their search for him, Jesus had already been asking Joazar ben Simeon, the High Priest, and Hillel, the president of the Sanhedrin, and  Shammai, the vice president of the Sanhedrin, and the other rabbi's present a series of questions. This Socratic dialectic points to Jesus as the new Socrates, the greatest Sage of Hellenistic world. Like Socrates, Jesus forces you to think.
 
             We do not hear more until he gathered a circle of first disciples who followed him as a teacher and guide and, who came to believe him to be the awaited Messiah. For as St. Paul has taught us well that faith comes from hearing, and what is heard comes through the words of Christ (Romans 10:17). The infant Church comprised these first disciples in the earliest κήρυγμα (Luke 4:18-19; Mt 3:1; Roman 10:14). This is the period commonly looked at as the beginning of Jesus' public ministry. However, we must follow Divine Revelation that instructs us otherwise, i.e., that Jesus taught since the age of twelve.  At this later period, circa A.D. 28, his teaching style still retained Socratic dialectic but the reactions to his answers became mixed with many amazed yet others outraged. At this period Jesus is about 34 or 35 years old. Its been 22 or 23 years after the narrative of when he was twelve, and we have no reason to assume Jesus did not continue to teach as he did that Passover circa A.D. 6. That period from A.D. 6 to A.D. 28 is filled with the routine of a Jewish man born into the noble class in the Davidic line. Males were treated with great care since the awaited Messiah would be a male of the House of David.  He was given a good education and received training in a profession. We know his legal father, Joseph worked as a builder. Construction at this period demanded builders to be master stone masons and workers in stone, brick, mortar, iron, brass, and bronze metal. Carpentry skills were also considered basic for any builder, as well as ease and command of mathematics and geometry. At some earlier period Jesus began to attract those with whom he spoke in spiritual friendship groups which in Aramaic were called chavrusa. It is from this chavrusa that Jesus gently speaks to his apostles and disciples calling them friends. From these small Torah study groups Jesus was a recognized master and gently taught by word and example.  Over time the disciples began to spread the word about him stirring interest in him as a teacher. Through these early years Jesus began to become the leader of a small school which he designed having twelve apostles who were selected out of the community of disciples. Over time this small yeshiva or school, this little college would grow into the Catholic Church as we know it in our day. 

Second Temple Period (516 B.C. - A. D. 70) 

        The Zugot were syzygies, i.e., "pairs" providing two Temple leaders in the roles of vice-president and president of the Sanhedrin. These offices empowered their incumbents wielding spiritual, legal or Halachic,  and administrative authoritative power. The Zugot reigned for five generations from 120 B.C. - 40 B.C. 

I.a. Jewish Schools During the Time of Jesus : 5th Generation Zugot



            During this period AD. 6 to A.D. 28, there were other rabbinical schools in Palestine that rivaled the School of Jesus, namely the Pharisaic schools or Beit of Hillel and Shammai. The rabbinic and student exponents of these two schools are cited in the New Testament challenging Jesus during his public ministry with their questions and are either amazed at his answers or else their hatred and rivalry only fomented into plots and schemes to have Jesus killed. Hillel and Shammai were elders of the Temple of Jerusalem when Jesus sat and taught at age twelve mentioned by St. Luke. They were amazed with him yet over the next two decades the political and social changes were so tumultuous that their school's views changed with it and their opinion of Jesus as well.

5th Generation Zugot was Hillel and Shammai.

           Temple authority was divided between the Temple hierarchy, namely, the High Priest and the incumbent Zugot, and to some degree by the King. Herod the Great occasionally exerted his authority, for example, when he placed a golden Roman Imperial ensign, the Eagle, to be mounted above the Temple's main entry (Josephus, War, 1.32.6-8). His son Archelaus threatened to cancel Passover, and sent the Roman army into the Temple and massacred 3,000 devout Jews, on the eve before Caesar confirmed him as King. St. Luke 19:11-28, the "Parable of the Talents" describes the King in the story much the same as the account we just saw about Archelaus slaughtering the 3,000 who would not serve him as King.

               Hillel (110 B.C. - A.D. 10), died when Jesus was 16 or 17 years old, at the age of 120, in A.D. 10. He was a close friend of Simeon ben Boethus, and his sons : Joazar and Eleazar. The Sage School or Chazal founded by Hillel remained leaders of the Jewish community until the Fall of the Roman Empire, before the Late Antique period for which the Tannaim of the Mishna and Talmud are identified. Hillel came to Palestine from his native Babylon circa 70 B.C. (circa 63 years before the birth of Jesus). In Babylon he left the school of sages there  [1] and went to Palestine to study the Torah applying to the two schools headed by two male direct descendants of King Sennacherib, who were born from a line of Jewish converts living in Alexandria; Shmaya and Abtalion. They represent the Jerusalem connection with the Alexandrian Jewish sage school. Consequently, Hillel represents the amalgamation of the Babylonian sage school with that of the Pharisaic school at Alexandria. When Hillel arrived Shmaya was Nasi (prince) [2] or president of the Sanhedrin.

            Shammai (50 B. C. - A. D. 30), took office of the Av Belt Din, or vice-president of the Sanhedrin after Menahem the Essene left that office to serve in the court of King Herod, and remained until A.D. 10. On the death of Hillel, Shammai took his place as head of the Sanhedrin with no vice-president to fill his vacancy. Shammai and his interpretations dominated the Temple of Jerusalem and the religious, political, and social culture of Palestine. He enacted 18 rules "ordinances" dealing with : (i) ritual purity (ii) terumah, or the food offerings given to the Temple, which only the priests were allowed to consume, (iii) demand for an intensive separation from Gentiles and everything unclean. Some of these ordinances were ideas contrary to those taught and held by Hillel setting off tension, strife, and conflict within Judaism. By the time Jesus was twenty years old this strife and conflict was in full force and remained throughout his life. Instances of these conflicts are duly recorded in the Gospels when they challenged Jesus regarding them. Jesus' parable about the washing of the outside of the cup is one clear example.


            Menahem the Essene (fl. 50 B.C. - , served as vice-president of the Sanhedrin while Hillel served as president. He left his office in the Sanhedrin in order to serve at the court of King Herod and Shammai took his place. Menahem was one of the Jewish leaders whom Herod consulted regarding the birthplace of the Messiah when the Magi visited his court looking for the Messianic king whose star they had followed into Judea. Menahem's influence at court provided freedom to study the Torah, develop sage and rabbinic schools and gave special honors to the Essenes.


I.b. Jewish Schools Before the Time of Jesus : 3rd & 4th Generation Zugot.

            There were two schools of the interpretation of the Torah : The Pharisees and the Sadducees. The sect of the Pharisees is the name given to the ancient remnant of pure religious beliefs of Judaism and the Maccabees were the embodiment and its leaders during the Seleucid rule. The Pharisees held their interpretations go back to Moses and the burning bush. The sect of the Sadducees emerged after the Maccabean Revolt (167 B.C. -160 B.C.), during the Hasmonean dynasty (140 B.C.- 116 B.C.) when the Second Temple became rededicated. The Sadducees rejected several of the beliefs held by the Pharisees attributing them not to Moses and the burning bush, but rather, as accretions of Hellenistic corruptions of true Judaism. They considered themselves the revival of authentic Judaism.



4th Generation Zugot

            Shmaya an Alexandrian Jew and disciple of Simeon ben Shetach, and also of Pollion the Pharisee, also known as Abtalion. He was the leader of the Pharisees and held the presidents seat at the Sanhedrin in 30 B.C., when Herod became King of Judea. Shmaya opposed King Herod's condemnation and execution of  Hezekiah the Galilean, who might be considered the first false Messianic leader and like the others who came after him organized an army to oppose Roman rule. Hezekiah and the national party of Zealots believed in a military Messiah king. Shmaya, a Zealot sympathizer supported the view of the Messiah being a military king and ruler who would champion freedom for Judaism.

            Abtalion (c. 100 B.C. - c. 35 B.C. terminus ante quem 30 B. C) a Pharisees and Vice President of the Sanhedrin. Josephus, Ant. XV, 1.1, refers to him as Pollion. He was a student of Judah ben Tabbai, and Simeon ben Shetach. He seems to have been counted among the Pharisees who were banished by Alexander Jannaeus. When Simeon ben Shetach gained control of the Temple he recalled all the refugees and Abtalion was among them. He became a student of Simeon ben Shetach

3rd Generation Zugot

          Judah ben Tabbai, Pharisee who returned to Jerusalem after exile in Alexandria during the reign of Alexander Jannaeus. During his reign with Simeon ben Shetach the Sanhedrin was reorganized  becoming the Supreme Court, and the first Jewish schools were founded.  

         Simeon ben Shetach (120-40 B.C.), pharisaic leader who out maneuvered the Sadducees gaining control of the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem. The Sadducees control the Temple of Jerusalem by royal decree when the Pharisees criticized Alexander Jannaeus of coming from an impure line since it was held that his mother had been captured at Modiin and was violated. [3] His two greatest students were Shmaya and Abtalion. 


II. Jesus Begins Public Ministry

         After two decades as a teacher Jesus emerges in A.D. 28 with a sizable enough school of disciples and begins to extend this teaching into the public forum in the synagogues and in various public settings. This is the period described in narrative form of periodic episodes of the life of Jesus during this public ministry in the Gospels, Acts, and some occasional notices in the Letters of St. Paul, and within the Catholic Epistles. For as the Apostles handed on what they had received from Christ (see I Cor 15:3 along with 11:23) and entrusted it for safekeeping to their successors (see I Tm 6:20; II Tm 1:14). The "Gospels reliably hand on what Jesus, the Son of God, really said and did for the eternal salvation of men (see Acts 1:1) while he lived among men. For, although the Gospels do not always agree (nor need they) with the methods of historical composition now used by scholars, still the words and deeds written in them by the Spirit's inspiration were put into writing for this purpose, that we might know the truth about those matters about which we have been instructed, drawn from the testimony and tradition of those "who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word" (Lk 1:2-4)." Schema Constitutionis Dogmaticae de Fontibus Revelationis,  (1962, English trans 2012, Joseph A. Komonchak) : No. 20; "The sacred authors wrote the four Gospels, selecting some things from the many which had been handed on by word of mouth or in writing, reducing some of them to a synthesis, explaining some things in view of the situation of their churches and preserving the form of proclamation but always in such fashion that they told us the honest truth about Jesus.(4) For their intention in writing was that either from their own memory and recollections, or from the witness of those who "themselves from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the Word" we might know "the truth" concerning those matters about which we have been instructed (see Luke 1:2-4).' Dei Verbum, V, 19 (cf. instruction "Holy Mother Church" edited by Pontifical Consilium for Promotion of Bible Studies; A.A.S. 56 (1964) : 715.). 

III. Jesus Institutes the Church, its Sacraments, Structure, and Mission

        As Jesus went from city to city and village to village bringing the Gospel in his public ministry, so too he sent "the twelve"  handpicked disciples from his college of followers and students, whom he called to be his apostles, he gave them the mission to join him sending them to preach door to door (cf. Luke 10:11; Mt 10:13; Mk 6:11; Acts 13:51). It is clear that Jesus had instituted the Church giving it the hallmarks of a hierarchic structure, a Credo, and the kerygmatic mission to spread the Gospel, and pray for those whom they encountered that they receive the gift of the Holy Spirit, faith. These first apostles chosen by Jesus Christ were those whom he saw worthy of his intimacy. Men he would groom into the the pillars of his Church.
        

1. The Temple of Jerusalem and the New Sadducaic Ideology

Historical Context 


A.D. 6 - A.D. 28

         During this period Ananus ben Seth was appointed Hight Priest and reigned Ad.6 to A.D. 15/18, appointed by the Roman legate Quirinius on the occasion of the newly formed Roman Province of Judea. Quirinius deposed Archelaus, Ethnarch of Judea dissolving the Ethnarchy thereby converting Judea into a Roman Province. Shammai was the head of the Sanhedrin during Ananus' fourth year of reign as High Priest in A.D. 10, following the death of Hillel.

            Ananus and the Sect of Sadducees

              Quirinius wanted a Roman puppet as High Priest, someone who associated with the wealthy class, and administrators, and sharing similar viewpoints on order. Ananus was Epicurean in his materialistic thinking denying God's intervention in human affairs including miracles, as well as the existence of angels, spirit, and consequently the resurrection of the dead. This was the sentiment among the majority of the ruling class of Jews who comprised the seventy in the Temple at Jerusalem. Carpe diem was their theme and the greatest good was the pursuit of pleasure. Yet, there was some minority, at least among them were Nicodemus and Joseph of Arimathea, the two cited in the New Testament.

A.D. 28 -A.D. 33


            During this period Caiaphas is the ruling High Priest in the Temple of Jerusalem. He was appointed ten years earlier in A. D. 18  by the Roman Procurator Valerius Gratus, who served under Tiberias from 15 - 26 A. D. Gratus deposed Ananus as High Priest, and his three replacements : Ishmael, Eleazar, and Simon. He finally found what he was looking for and appointed Caiaphas, who remained in office until A.D. 36, when he was removed by Vitellius, the Roman Legate of Syria. Shammai was the head of the Sanhedrin during Caiaphas   reign as High Priest until A.D. 30.

            Caiaphas and the Sect of Sadducees

            Caiaphas was a Materialistic Skeptic and became an Epicurean in his thinking asserting and exerteing these views influencing the sect of Sadducees until they became synonymous. This is what Gratus was looking for, an Epicurean sympathizer and associate who would produce a counterculture for a Messianic Awaiting Judea. However, a small tract in the Talmud, Sif. Num. 131, attributes the three depositions after that of Ananus as the result of bribery, where each paid a fee for the position of High Priest for one year. This claim in the Talmud, written several centuries later, lacks immediate credibility since it cannot explain Caiaphas holding the position for eighteen consecutive years, unless, of course, we suppose he paid his fee annually. If the latter be true then the Talmud correctly cited the corruption with the office of High Priest as belonging to the man with the deepest pockets. This same thing happened 160 years earlier during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes with Jason and then Menelaus buying their offices
            But an annual bribe was not merely what Gratus was looking for, but rather, an ally, sympathizer, someone inside Judaism who would be a team player for Rome. Caiaphas' affiliation with Rome, i.e., a "Puppet of Rome," caused factions to emerge in Israel, among the already existing sects of the Pharisees, Zealots, Sicari, and Essenes. Granted not all were merely opposed to Caiaphas, but also his and his father-in-law's influence corrupting the entire sect of Sadducees and Temple rule. The Pharisees objected to the Sadducees' rejection of their former belief in the spirit, angels, and in the resurrection from the dead. For these basic tenets were obviously held by Simeon ben Boethus, a Sadducee, who is mentioned in St. Luke serving as the High Priest receiving the child Jesus during the presentation in the Temple. Simeon demonstrates a profound understanding of the Messiah and his destiny as well as that of his mother and all the children of Abraham. Simeon's eyes were opened to Jesus as the Messiah since he served as the mohel and performed the brit milah or circumcision ceremony, which required metzitzah b'peh (Hebrew: מְצִיצָה בְּפֶה‎), or oral suction on the wound  according to the Talmud, Tractate Shabbos, 133b. [4]  Consequently, Simeon was the first person to partake in the Eucharist tasting the blood of Christ and eating his flesh. Simeon obviously believed in spirit, angels, and the resurrection from the dead. Herod deposed him because of family plots to seize his throne which Simeon failed to warn him about. He died about 8/5 B.C. Simeon is also reported by St. Luke to reveal to us conflicts arising during his own reign as High Priest with clashing of opinions resulting in his comment to Mary, the mother of the Lord, that Jesus would be a sign of contradiction and that her own soul a sword would pierce. The rulers of Judea and Galilee were Roman appointees, who were Epicurean in thinking and sympathizers with Roman rule and government. These wealthy class Jewish nobility included many Sadducees. So before Simeon was deposed the sect of Sadducees was already undergoing pagan Epicurean influence . There were five High Priests after Simeon who reigned as High Priest before Ananus; two were his own sons : Joazar and Eleazar. 

            Roman Rule and the Jewish Messianic Age

            Pseudo-Messiahs began to emerge with the end of the Hasmonean dynasty, when Rome commenced its work of crushing the independence of Judea. The situation lent itself to a super sensitivity of expectancy in God's Anointed One. When Jesus Christ was still an infant no older than three at the death of Herod the Great, a new era of Messianic Expectation reached electrifying heights. This persisted throughout the Public Ministry of Jesus as we see the warning in Mt 24:24 to be on your watch for "false Christs and false prophets". Sometime following the death of Simeon ben Boethus first century the entire sect of Sadducees became Epicurean in their materialism and Weltanschauung. The most glaring date surrounds Judas the Galilean, who along with Zadok the Pharisee, founded the "fourth sect" and the first revolt against Rome in defiance of the Census proclaimed by Quirinius in A.D. 6 (cf. Mt 10:3; Lk 6:16). Joazar ben Boethus was High Priest when Jesus was made "Son of the Torah" at age twelve and remained in the Temple of Jerusalem after the celebration of Passover in A.D. 5 or 6. The Temple leaders, at that time, were receptive to Jesus which marks the end of that era. 
            Rome feared unrest in Judea as it saw its first fomenting after the death of King Herod, with his former slave Simon of Perea, who destroyed the Palace at Jericho  and declared himself King of Israel (cf Jewish Wars, 2:57-9). Gamaliel mentions the false Messiah named Theudas, who had four-hundred followers, someone obviously entirely different than the later one cited by Josephus, who tells us that he was executed by Cuspus Fadus in A.D. 44 (cf. Acts 5:36). Beginning with the new High Priest, Ananus ben Seth, Rome wanted to quell any future uprisings by infiltrating Jewish philosophy, i.e., its ethos or socio-cultural thinking or mindset by diverting notions of an expected Messiah and bring about the status quo in Jewish minds accepting the depressing situation that things are the way things are and God does not intervene in our affairs. Apparently, Ananus epitomized this in his own Epicurean thinking. His three successors, i.e., those who held this office before the appointment of Caiaphas, may have been High Priest by bribe to the procurator as the Talmud reports, but nevertheless, they must have been "puppets of Rome" as well, and sympathizers to the Roman Epicurean philosophy. Sadducees adhered to the Epicurean belief that "Pleasure is the highest good." They also held the Epicurean view that God does not interfere in time and space. They also held their own canon of sacred scripture, that only the Pentateuch are Sacred Texts and only these held authority. Hence, Sadducaic Judaism became known as the Karaites.

A. The Followers of Jesus

Jesus calls the twelve

The ministry of the women 

B. Jewish Believers in Jesus 

     The documented examples are in the New Testament.

    Disciples of John the Baptist

    Signs Given by the Holy Spirit

    Mark 9:38-40 John said to Jesus, "Teacher, we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to prevent him because he does not follow us." Jesus replied, "Do not prevent him.
There is no one who performs a mighty deed in my name who can at the same time speak ill of me. For whoever is not against us is for us."


C. Gentile Believers in Jesus

Roman Centurions

Syrophoenician Woman


2. The Post Crucifixion Church

Historical Context A.D. 33 -A.D. 100

                The exact date of the crucifixion has not yet been satisfactorily derived. However, based on archaeoastronomy it may have been April 3, 33 A.D. Working in this timeframe we will study how the Infant Church grew over the next sixty-seven years.


Caiaphas participates in the trial of SS. Peter and John before the Sanhedrin. Gamaliel, the teacher of St. Paul, intervenes and persuades them to let them go.





The Composition of the Gospels

St. Luke, the first evangelist.

                Luke composed his Gospel as a commission from the Apostles. He composed a detailed narrative of the life of Jesus from the Annunciation of his birth to his mother, Mary, to his ascension into heaven. It was composed as evidence and proof of Jesus being the awaited Messiah and the salvation he brought, the establishment of his church, and its sacraments. He wrote his Gospel to the Jewish High Priest, Theophilus sometime A.D. 37-41, a Sadducee. For this reason Luke is silent about Caiaphas, the brother-in-law of Theophilus

Prologue

 

 . . . that many have taken into hand to write an account . . .

 

How can Luke say many if only Mark, or Matthew or both preceded him? Matthew and Markan Priorists twist the meaning of this phrase to do just that. "Many" never means one or two, it necessarily imputes the meaning :  three or four, or  more. Luke is not even referring to any canonical gospel, but to apocrypha used as propaganda against Christianity by Jewish opponents; Sadducees, Pharisee, and other sects. Luke makes this point clear in "many have taken into hand" in a Greek phrase that has a very strong negative connotation as unauthorized persons who ruthlessly took into their own hands to fabricate distorted accounts in order to dissuade others and or to point ridicule, or both. It was in response to these the Church Fathers saw the need to produce an authorized account that would refute these apocryphal accounts to the leaders of the Jews who could make more intelligent judgement about Christ and the infant church with an official gospel. Consequently Luke was commissioned to produce this composition to refute the apocrypha and present clear meaning of Jesus Christ, the Messiah and Savior from what the church held to be their belief. It is the Church's "Credo" in a narrative form that presents the history of the Messiah from his annunciation to his mother Mary until his ascension into heaven as Lord. The primary audience is the High Priest to whom St. Luke is writing, Theophilus, AD 37-41.  He is presenting his account as the church's official statement.


Since Theophilus is a Sadducee, Luke knows he must demonstrate the existence of the angels so he opens with the Angel Gabriel announcing the birth of the Herald of the Messiah to Zaccharias  and the birth of the Messiah to the mother of Jesus, Mary.



Since Theophilus is a Sadducee, Luke knows he must demonstrate the existence of the spirit and simultaneously the resurrection from the dead which he does masterfully in the account of the raising of the Widow's son (Luke 7:11-17)



Pre-Diocletian Diocesan System of Ecclesiastical Jurisdictions


"Following the rule laid down for us, we hope to preach the gospel even beyond your borders without having to boast of work already done by another in his allotted territory." 2 Corinthians 10:1-11:6



Notes :


[1] It seems only logical that the sage school in Babylon is the source of the Magi recorded in Matthew's nativity narrative.

[2] Nasi is Hebrew for "Prince". This term was that used by Matthew in his Gospel 2:22-23 "He shall be called "the" Nazarene." Matthew seems aware of the relationship between the Hebrew נָשִׂיא and נָצְרַת the town which derived its name from the Hebrew word for prince. Matthew clearly means to teach us that Jesus is "the" crowned prince, Messiah, expressed in what appears to be a neologism "Nazarene".

[3] This same accusation was lodged against Jesus which is preserved in the Talmud's, Toledot Yeshu, which claims Mary was violated by the Roman Joseph Pantera, and that Jesus, consequently is a mamzer. When the Jewish leaders observed, examined, and interrogated Jesus throughout his career the question of his origin was difficult to overcome by their closed minds. Influenced by Epicurean materialistic thinking they could never accept the Spirit of God overshadowing a virgin to produced the Incarnation of the Second Person of the Most Holy Trinity. In their minds there is no such thing physically possible as a pregnant virgin. Consequently, the father of Jesus had to be a human being. Since the claim that Joseph of Bethlehem was not the biological father of Jesus then they cruelly fabricated the myth of Joseph Pantera as an attack against Jesus' credentials as the Messiah, and rightful High Priest. Of course, the one who felt the greatest threat was Joseph Caiaphas, the ruling High Priest who would never yield to Jesus and hand him the role of High Priest as he would rightly be entitled to as the actual Messiah. Moreover, if Jesus is the true Messiah then Mary becomes gebirah, i. e., "Queen Mother"  second in authority to her son, the King.

[4]  Maimonides in his "book of laws" Laws of Milah, 2, 2 ". . . and afterwards he sucks the circumcision until blood comes out from far places, in order not to come to danger, and anyone who does not suck, we remove him from practice." This ancient practice was not Jewish in origin but also found in other cultures. "The earliest medical men applied their lips to the surface wound and sucked the blood."John S. Haller, American Medicine in Transition, 1840-1910. (Chicago : University of Illinois Press, 1981) : 44

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