People of the Book – part 3

History of the Bible

Now concerning the authorized version which is the Vaticanus codex, each language has its own translation obviously, and their own versions. In English, the King James’ has been chosen as the good one.
John Wycliffe undertook the project to complete the first English translation of the Scripture in the 14th century. The Wycliffe Bible pre-dated the printing press was circulated very widely in manuscript form.
In 1525, William Tyndale, undertook a translation of the New Testament. Which was the first printed Bible in English. Over the next ten years, Tyndale revised his New Testament in the light of rapidly advancing biblical scholarship, and started translating the Old Testament. With these translations lightly edited and adapted by Myles Coverdale, in 1539, Tyndale’s work became the first “authorized version” issued by the Church of England during the reign of King Henry VIII.
In May 1601, King James VI of Scotland attended the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in Burntisland at which proposals were put forward for a new translation of the Bible into English. Two years later, he ascended to the throne of England as King James I.
The newly crowned King James convened the Hampton Court Conference in 1604. That gathering proposed a new English version in response to the perceived issues of earlier translations.
Instructions were given to the translators that were intended to limit the Puritan influence and designed to guarantee that the new version would conform to the ecclesiology of the Church of England. Certain Greek and Hebrew words were to be translated in a manner that reflected the traditional usage of the church. Such as the word “church” were to be retained and not to be translated as “congregation”. The new translation would reflect the episcopal structure of the Church of England.
James’ instructions included several requirements that kept the new translation familiar to its listeners and readers.

People of the book – part 2

History of the Bible

Old Testament

Genesis
The biblical scholars believe that the Torah was given its present after the Exode.

Exodus
The Genesis is cut into two major elements, the priestly and the non priestly material. The only thing agreed is that the Priestly source is post exilic

Leviticus
It is collected from all periods of Israel’s history. It is entirely from Priestly material that dates from the exilic/post exilic period.

Numbers
It is from an early Persian period (5th century BC)

Deuteronomy
Its date has been extended to the early part of the 6th century

New Testament

Gospel of Mathew
There are three strands of evidence that shows that it is from around 80-90 CE:
1/ The setting of Mathew reflects the separation of the Church and Synagogue about 85 CE
2/ It reflects the capture of Rome and destruction of the temple by the Romans in 70 CE
3/ It referred to Mark, usually dated around 70 CE, as a source

Gospel of Mark

As there is reference to persecution and to war in Judea, suggesting that it referred either to
Nero’s persecution of the Christians in Rome or the Jewish revolt it is estimated to be circa
60-70 CE

Gospel of Luke
There is evidence that it was still being substantially revised near the end of the 2nd century.

Gospel of John
The evidences show that the upper and lower part of the Gospel was known in the early 2nd
century on an internal reference to the expulsion of Christians from the synagogues. The overall
is circa 90-100 CE


The Aleppo Codex (c. 920 CE) and Leningrad Codex (c. 1008 CE) were the oldest Hebrew language manuscripts of the Tanakh before the discovery, in 1947 of the Dead Sea scrolls at Qumran. The earliest manuscripts of the Old Testament were in Greek such as Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.
There are over 5,800 complete or fragmented Greek manuscripts, 10,000 Latin and 9,300 in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic and Armenian. Parts of the New Testament manuscripts range from c. 125 the 15th century. The vast majority of these manuscripts date after the 10th century.

Every year, several New Testament manuscripts handwritten in the original Greek format are discovered.
The task of copying manuscripts was generally done by scribes. In the 6th century, a special room devoted to the practice of manuscript writing and illumination came into use, typically inside medieval European monasteries. Sometimes a group of scribes would make copies at the same time from the text..

The New Testament books seems to have been completed in the 1st century. The original manuscripts of the books have not survived, they were lost or destroyed a long before. These copies were made centuries after from other copies rather than from the originals.

The earliest manuscript has the size of a business card from the Gospel of John which dates to the first half of the 2nd century. The earliest complete copy of the New Testament, the Codex Sinaiticus dates to the 4th century.


There are a few differences between the manuscripts of the Sinaiticus and the Vaticanus:

It is not mentioned the story of the stoning of the adulterous woman “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone”.
Nor the words of Christ about his executioners from the cross: “Father forgive them for they know not what they do”.

And its Gospel of Mark ends abruptly omitting the 12 final verses.
Gospel of Matthew 12:47, 16:2b-3, 17:21, 18:11, 23:14, 24:35
Gospel of Mark 7:16, 9:44, 9:46, 11:26, 15:28, 16:9–20
Gospel of Luke 17:36
Gospel of John 5:4, (7:53–8:11), 16:15, 20:5b-6, 21:25
Acts of the Apostles 8:37; 15:34; 24:7; 28:29;
Epistle to the Romans 16:24
Some omitted phrases
Matthew 5:44 bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you
Matthew 6:13 For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.
Matthew 10:39a Ηe who finds his life will lose it,
Matthew 15:6 or (his) mother
Matthew 20:23 and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with
Mark 1:1 “the Son of God” omitted.

A large number of these differences are due to different variants in transcribing Hebrew names. These two manuscripts were not written in the same century.
So what if important verses concerning the end of times have been omitted?

People of the Book – part 1

“I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, she must be silent.”

“Wives, submit to you husbands as to the Lord”

“In the same way also the men, giving up natural intercourse with women, were consumed with passion for one another. Men committed shameless acts with men and received in their own persons the due penalty for their error.”

“Happy is he who repays you for what you have done to us / He who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks.”

“Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the cruel.”

“This is what the Lord Almighty says … ‘Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.’ ”

Yeah, I know exactly what you’re thinking…. Cruel! But I’m not done yet and YOU don’t know where I’m going with this.

So the man took his concubine and sent her outside to them, and they raped her and abused her throughout the night, and at dawn they let her go. At daybreak the woman went back to the house where her master was staying, fell down at the door and lay there until daylight. When her master got up in the morning and opened the door of the house and stepped out to continue on his way, there lay his concubine, fallen in the doorway of the house, with her hands on the threshold. He said to her, ‘Get up; let’s go.’ But there was no answer. Then the man put her on his donkey and set out for home. And when he was come into his house, he took a knife, and laid hold on his concubine, and divided her, together with her bones, into twelve pieces, and sent her into all the coasts of Israel”

And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord, and said, ‘If you will give the Ammonites into my hand, then whoever comes out of the doors of my house to meet me, when I return victorious from the Ammonites, shall be the Lord’s, to be offered up by me as a burnt-offering.’ Then Jephthah came to his home at Mizpah; and there was his daughter coming out to meet him with timbrels and with dancing. She was his only child; he had no son or daughter except her. When he saw her, he tore his clothes, and said, ‘Alas, my daughter! You have brought me very low; you have become the cause of great trouble to me. For I have opened my mouth to the Lord, and I cannot take back my vow.’”

Have you read this before? Well let me tell ya where I’ve found these weird, unwomenly, cruel, unbelievable, doubtful verses.

Samuel 15:3

Psalm 137:9

Timothy1 2:12

Romans 1:27

Ephesians 5:22

Peter 1 2:18

Judges 19:25-29

Judges 11:30-1, 34-5

The Hebrew Bible and the New Testament contain many passages outlining approaches to, and descriptions of, violent activities, centering on the ancient nation of Israel and their involvement with Gentile nations.
The history of interpretation within the Abrahamic religions and Western culture includes justification for acts of violence as well as structural violence, and have also been used in opposition to violence (such as describing, commanding, or condemning violent actions by God, individuals, groups, and governments.) These actions include war, human and animal sacrifice, murder, rape, stoning, sexism, slavery, criminal punishment, and violent language.

Are we going to blame God for being violent, sexist and commanding slavery? We won’t if we knew the History of the Bible which is in the next post. Take some time to read.

Lourdes

The current municipal area of Lourdes was inhabited since the prehistoric times. The oppidum hill where today stands the fortress, as it is testified by the numerous finds came to light in the second half of the nineteenth century, remains of walls, fragments of citadel stood a pagan temple dedicated to the gods of water, whose buildings have come partially to light soon after the demolition of the parish of Saint Pierre. In the fifth century the temple was replaced by an early Christian church destroyed later because of a fire.

Little is known of Lourdes in the period from the barbarian invasions to the Carolingian period, when the town was part of the County of Bigorre. The fortress was at times the seat of counts and, during the Albigensian Crusade, it was the subject of disputes between various local lords. Ultimately it came under domination of the Counts of Champagne. In the fourteenth century Lourdes was first occupied by Philip the Fair, then, during the Hundred Years’ War, the English, who controlled it for nearly half a century, from 1360 to 1407, through some local feudal lords to their faithful, as Pierre Arnaud de Béarn and, later, his brother Jean de Béarn. The English were able to take advantage of the excellent strategic situation and the prosperity of a market that was born in the eleventh century, had been increasingly consolidated thanks to its proximity and good communications with Toulouse and Spain.

For 46 years, up until 778, Lourdes was possessed by Muslims of Al-Andalus. However, during the 8th century, Lourdes and its fortress became the focus of skirmishes between Mirat, the Muslim local leader, and Charlemagne, King of the Franks. Charlemagne had been laying siege to Mirat in the fortress for some time, but he had so far refused to surrender.
According to legend, an eagle unexpectedly appeared and dropped an enormous trout at the feet of Mirat. It was seen as such a bad omen that Mirat was persuaded to surrender to the Queen of the sky by the local bishop. He visited the Black Virgin of Puy to offer gifts, so he could make sure this was the best course of action and, astounded by its exceptional beauty, he decided to surrender the fort and converted to Christianity. On the day of his baptism, Mirat took on the name of Lorus, which was given to the town, now known as Lourdes.

During the late 16th century, France was ravaged by the Wars of Religion between the Roman Catholics and the Huguenots. In 1569, Count Gabriel de Montgomery attacked the nearby town of Tarbes when Queen Jeanne d’Albret of Navarre established Protestantism there. The town was overrun, in 1592, by forces of the Catholic League and the Catholic faith was re-established in the area. In 1607, Lourdes finally became part of the Kingdom of France.

The castle became a jail under Louis XV but, in 1789, the General Estates Assembly ordered the liberation of prisoners. Following the rise of Napoleon in 1803, he again made the Castle an Estate jail. Towards the end of the Peninsular War between France, Spain, Portugal, and Britain in 1814, British and Allied forces, under the Duke of Wellington, entered France and took control of the region and followed Marshall Soult’s army, defeating the French near the adjoining town of Tarbes before the final battle took place outside Toulouse on 10 April 1814 brought the war to an end.

Up until 1858, Lourdes was a quiet, modest, county town with a population of only some 4,000 inhabitants. The castle was occupied by an infantry garrison. The town was a place people passed through on their way to the waters at Barèges, Cauterets, Luz-Saint-Sauveur and Bagnères-de-Bigorre, and for the first mountaineers on their way to Gavarnie, when the events which were to change its history took place.

On 11 February 1858, a 14-year-old local girl, Bernadette Soubirous, claimed a beautiful lady appeared to her in the remote Grotto of Massabielle. This lady later identified herself as “the Immaculate Conception” and the faithful believe her to be the Blessed Virgin Mary. The lady appeared 18 times, and by 1859 thousands of pilgrims were visiting Lourdes. A statue of Our Lady of Lourdes was erected at the site in 1864.

Since the apparitions, Lourdes has become one of the world’s leading Catholic Marian shrines and the number of visitors grows each year. It has such an important place within the Roman Catholic church, that Pope John Paul II visited the shrine twice: on 15 August 1983, and 14–15 August 2004. In 2007, Pope Benedict XVI authorized special indulgences to mark the 150th anniversary of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Today Lourdes has a population of around 15,000, but it is able to take in some 5,000,000 pilgrims and tourists every season. With about 270 hotels, Lourdes has the second greatest number of hotels per square kilometre in France after Paris.

Yearly from March to October the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is a place of mass pilgrimage from Europe and other parts of the world. The spring water from the grotto is believed by some to possess healing properties.

An estimated 200 million people have visited the shrine since 1860, and the Roman Catholic Church has officially recognized 69 healings considered miraculous. Cures are examined using Church criteria for authenticity and authentic miracle healing with no physical or psychological basis other than the healing power of the water.

Tours from all over the world are organized to visit the Sanctuary. Connected with this pilgrimage is often the consumption of or bathing in the Lourdes water which wells out of the Grotto.

At the time of the apparitions the grotto was on common land which was used by the villagers variously for pasturing animals, collecting firewood and as a garbage dump, and it possessed a reputation for being an unpleasant place.


I’ve been here many times before (not for religious purposes) but I’ve never seen the town this empty of tourists, sick and disabled people. Usually all the religious shops are open, now it seems to be…desolated. Didn’t have time to make lots of pics so here is a video a little longer than usual 7mn.

Grasse

The town is considered the world’s capital of perfume. It is 350 m (1,148.29 ft) above sea level and 20 km (12 mi) from the Côte d’Azur

Three perfume factories offer daily tours and demonstrations, which draw in many of the region’s visitors. In addition to the perfumeries, Grasse’s other main attraction is the Cathedral, dedicated to Notre Dame du Puy and founded in the 11th century.

Grasse has had a prospering perfume industry since the end of the 18th century and it is the centre of the French perfume industry. It produces over two-thirds of France’s natural aromas (for perfume and for food flavourings). Its particular microclimate encouraged the flower farming industry. It is warm and sufficiently inland to be sheltered from the sea air. There is an abundance of water, thanks to its situation in the hills and the 1860 construction of the Siagne canal for irrigation purposes. Jasmine, a key ingredient of many perfumes, was brought to southern France by the Arabs of North Africa in the 16th century. Twenty-seven tonnes of jasmine are now harvested in Grasse annually. There are numerous old ‘parfumeries’ , such as Galimard, Molinard and Fragonard, each with tours and a museum.

The countryside around the city began to grow fields of flowers, offering new scents from the city. In the middle of the eighteenth century, the perfumery was experiencing a very important development. Leading companies dating from this period includes oldest French perfumerie and third oldest parfumerie in Europe Galimard established in 1747.

In the Middle Ages, Grasse specialized in leather tanning. Once tanned, the hides were often exported to Genoa or Pisa, cities that shared a commercial alliance with Grasse. Several centuries of this intense activity witnessed many technological advances within tanning industries. The hides of the town acquired a reputation for high quality. But the leather smelled badly, something that did not please the glove wearing nobility. This is when Galimard, a tanner came up with the idea of scented leather gloves. He offered a pair of scented gloves to Catherine de Medici who was seduced by the gift. Thereafter, the product spread through the Royal Court and high society, and this made a worldwide reputation for Grasse. The seventeenth century became the heyday of “Glovers Perfumers’. The rare scents from this town’s (lavender, myrtle, jasmine, rose, orange blossom and wild mimosa) did win the title for the Grasse as the perfume capital of the world.

A network of sixty companies employs 3,500 people in the city and surrounding area. Additionally about 10,000 residents are indirectly employed by the perfume industry. The main activity of perfumery is in the production of natural raw materials (essential oils, concretes, absolutes, resinoids and molecular distillation) and the production of concentrate, also called the juice. A concentrate is the main product that when diluted in at least 80% alcohol provides a perfume. Also food flavorings, which developed since the 1970s, account for over half of production output today.

The Fragonard Perfumery was established in 1926 in one of the oldest factories in the city. Its museum Fragonard Musée du Parfum displays rare objects that explain the history of perfumery, covering 5,000 years.
International Perfume Museum. Opened in 1989, the museum traces the evolution of techniques during the 5,000 year history of perfumery and the large contribution of the Grasse area to perfume making.

These are some pics I took of the old town. And there is a 5mn long video through the old streets.

Inspiring #106

What if there were horses instead of cars
What if there were candles instead of light bulbs
What if there needles instead of sewing machines
What if there were wood sticks instead of guns
What if there were mails intstead of emails
What if there were huts instead of houses
What if there were dungeons instead of prisons
What if there were torture instead of trails
What if there were slaves instead of free men
What if there were ambushes instead of safety
What if there were tyranny instead of democracy
We would be living in a dark age
Why are we complaining much about our lives?

What about #63

The history of the alphabetic writing is an interesting topic which takes a lot of research to find the right answers. Most of these sentences have been taken from Wikipedia.

Most or nearly all alphabetic scripts used throughout the world today go back to the Semitic proto-alphabet. Its first origins can be traced back to a Proto-Sinaitic script developed in Ancient Egypt around 1700 BC to represent the language of Semitic-speaking workers in Egypt. Based on letter appearances and names, it is believed to be based on Egyptian hieroglyphs.

This script eventually developed into the Proto-Canaanite alphabet, which in turn was refined into the Phoenician alphabet. These early vowelless alphabets are called abjads, and still exist in scripts such as Arabic, Hebrew and Syriac.

Phoenician was the first major phonemic script. In contrast to two other widely used writing systems at the time, Cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphs, it contained only about two dozen distinct letters, making it a script simple enough for common traders to learn.

The Canaanite languages were spoken by the ancient Semitic people of the Canaan and Levant regions, (an area encompassing what are today Israel, Jordan, Sinai, Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian territories, and also some fringe areas of southern Turkey and the northern Arabian peninsula). The Canaanite languages had ceased to be everyday spoken languages by the 1st millennium AD, but Hebrew remained in continuous use by many Jews since that period into medieval times as a liturgical language, as a literary language, and for commerce, until it was revived as an everyday spoken language in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and became the main language of the Jews of Palestine and later the State of Israel. Hebrew is the only living Canaanite language today.

The semitic alphabet came to existence mainly through Phoenician and Aramaic, two closely related members of the Semitic family of scripts that were in use during the early first millennium BCE, the Semitic alphabet became the ancestor of multiple writing systems across the Middle East, Europe, northern Africa and South Asia.

On the first side :

The Greek alphabet has been used since the late 9 BC or early 8 BC. It was derived from the earlier Phoenician alphabet, and was the first alphabetic script to have distinct letters for vowels as well as consonants. It is the ancestor of the Latin and Cyrillic scripts.

The Latin script is the most widely used alphabetic writing system in the world. It is a true alphabet which originated in the 7th century BC in Italy and has changed continually over the last 2500 years.

On the Second side :

Historically, there have been two separate Hebrew abjad scripts to write Hebrew:

The original, old Hebrew script, is known as the paleo-Hebrew alphabet. Like the Phoenician alphabet, the Paleo-Hebrew alphabet contains 22 letters, all of which are consonants, and is described as an abjad. It has been largely preserved, in a variant form, in the Samaritan alphabet.

The present “Jewish script” or “square script” to write Hebrew, on the contrary, is a stylized form of the Aramaic alphabet and was known by Jewish sages as the Ashuri alphabet since its origins were alleged to be from Assyria.

Arabic is a Central Semitic language, closely related to Aramaic, Hebrew, Ugaritic and Phoenician. Modern Standard Arabic is a distinct form and more conservative than all of its current spoken varieties and is the only official Arabic language. For decades, non-linguists thought Arabic and Hebrew were nearly the same. Especially Arabic speakers, who pronounce Hebrew as (Ebry) and Arabic as (Araby).

Arabic and Hebrew are very similar. An Arabic speaker, will easily notice the strong similarities between both languages if he listens to a Hebrew conversation. He will also start connecting pronunciation and the sounds to figure out how similar they are.

Another similarity is the shared vocabulary structure. Which dictates how verbs are conjugated.
These are some examples from the two languages to show how they are connected.

English:
Boy , girl,Sun, peace, Day

Hebrew Pronunciation:
Yeled, Bat,shems,Shallom, Yom

Arabic Pronunciation:
Walad, bent,shams, Salam, Yom

This is just an example , there are much more !

It is not awkward that God chose to send the Holy Scriptures to the Semitic people. They have similar languages and way of life.