Tuesday, 18 December 2012

travellers, or MINARET LIGHTS. Considering ancient circumstances makes of course clear that light from towers (Minarets) of cities indeed much steered the travel of travellers; and light from lighthouses or Minarets of coastal line also importantly guided seafarers. We should now remember that Jewish faith and Islam strictly emphasise that God is One (In Quran e.g. so emphasised in Sura Tauhid, SURA 112), writing that God is AHAD. This oneness of God notices His oneness numerically and qualitatively, His absolute oneness. Moreover, in the current discussion it is also important to regard that verb HUDA notices steering and guiding travellers and movements. STAR OF BETHLEHEM- SIGNAL LIGHT IN TOWER OF THAT TRAVELLERS’ INN New Testament Readers remember the famous episode of birth of Jesus of Nazareth and the visit of the magicians coming to greet this newborn, told in the Matthew 2. This episode of Matthew 2 is notorious in numerous details; and for the current discussion now is notable mention that the “star of Bethlehem” guided the travel of magicians in their coming to greet newborn Jesus. Really numerous speculations have been presented in scholarly discussions for this Star of Bethlehem. Numerous studies have been discussing special heavenly events, proposed having formed the specially bright star in heavens; even many academically learned scholars have been calculating of times of such special heavenly event. In the current discussion we recognise that he Star of Bethlehem apparently was the signal fire that was burning in upper echelons of that house or in tower of that place where Jesus was born. The famous episode of Gospel of Luke 2 so famously describes that Jesus was born in midst of times of large travelling, and Jesus was born in the hut beside a house or inn made for travellers. It is understandable that such special house or inn for travellers also burned some really visible signal fire to guide travellers- this is understandable regarding ancient Near Eastern travelling practises and arrangements. There may have been even a some edifice that properly may be called a tower for such signal fire adjacent to that travellers’ inn. Such larger signal fire could then be called even a “star”, the word in Matthew 2 written. Thus is clearly comprehensible the notorious statement of Matthew 2:9 that KAI IDOU O ASTER ON EIDON EN TE ANATOLE (dat) PROEEGEN AUTOUS EOOS ELTHOON ESTATHE EPANO (dat) OU EEN TO PAIDION This Greek text of Gospel of Matthew is easily understandable with considering such ancient arrangements of guiding travellers. This Star was leading (PRO-AGO) the travel of these magicians; it is truly notable that the word PRO-AGO here is written. Comprehending that such travellers’ inn was keeping such guiding fire either on upper echelons or in tower style edifice, it is then appropriate to say that this Big Star indeed and very really stopped upon the place where Jesus was born. Description of Gospel of Matthew 2 of the Star of Bethlehem thus is understandable with considering ancient system of guiding travellers with signal fires towards cities and special edifices of travellers’ inns. SIGNAL LIGHTS of MENORAH LAMPSTANDS and MINARET LIGHTHOUSES Quran Sura SABA writes some descriptions that are of special importance for the current study of ancient travelling arrangements and ancient methods of navigating. Well known, ancient times seafare was often much safer and more practicable than travelling along landroutes. We comprehend easily that the development of ancient transportation along landroutes was often and usually limited because of condition of landroutes. Current historiography always praises Roman engineers and their administration for developing the road network in Roman areas; the Roman road network enabled actually movements of large military units and thus was of strategic importance for constructing and existence of realm of Roman rule. Current historiography usually praises such achievements of Roman rule and engineering, although obviously being too silent of advanced developments of engineering and construction methods in Near Eastern high cultures. At the same time we shall remember that ancient Near Eastern high cultures were very developed and their engineering skills also were of high quality, also developments of transportation networks in landroutes and across seas. The ancient flourishing empire of SABA was famous and in many methods communicating with Judah and Israel, also noticed in Old Testament. It is specially worth noticing that Old Testament word for magnets and compasses is the SAB, actually quite similar to the name of empire of SABA. Quranic SURA SABA 34:18 writes specially interesting description of ancient travelling WAJALNA BAJNAHUMA WABAJNA ALQURA ALLATI BARAKNAHA FIHA QURA ZAHIRA WAQADARNA FIHA ALSARA This is interpreted into English “and we placed, between them and the towns which we had blessed, towns easy to be seen, and we made the stages between them easy (M.M. Khan-Muhammad al-Hilali). Now we notice the written QURA ZAHIRA that is rendered “town easy to be seen” by these interpreters. We now notice this description of Sura SABA specially relevant and important for the current study of ancient navigating and travelling along landroutes. Understandably, travellers could find their route to town that could be found. Usual travellers could have more rememberance and knowledge of special local geographic signs and formations that were helpful for leading travellers towards direction of town; and usual travellers also better knew how to find many of then important routes. Generally it was specially helpful for travellers that a town could be seen, also from some distance. In this ancient Quranic description of land travel we now notice mention of placing along land routes some towns easy to be seen. This much reminds us of knowledge of ancient methods of travelling along caravan routes. Thus we especially now notice that Arabic statement of QURA ZAHIRA notices towns that are easy to be seen; especially the ZAHIRA word now deserves consideration. Generally the ZAHARA (682, with za letter, thus written in Sura SABA) notices many meanings to be or become visible, manifest, clear, apparent. But the ZAHARA importantly also notices many meanings of becoming manifest and visible in light and by means of light, being enlightened and coming to light. The ZUHR notices midday and Muslim Midday prayers- and the time of midday is in Near East especially full of light and splendour. Moreover, ZAHARA (446, with zay letter) indeed notices to shine, give light, be radiant. Interestingly, MAZHARIYA notices vessels such as vases and flowerpots- we should especially remember that ancient glass bowls often were glass lamps, mostly filled with water for cooling purpose, with some oil floating for nourishing the light flame; and at other times such vases and bowls of course could be used for more general purposes. And the planet Venus is called AZ-ZUHARA. We notice thus in the Sura 34:18 reference how such towns easy to be seen could be thus easy especially because of light. In the dark evenings of Near East, the lights of town show such town already quite in far distances and thus direct travellers towards the town. This QURA ZAHIRA thus may refer especially descriptively how the lights of towns make towns visible in far distances- and enlightened Minaret towers especially could be seen in quite far distances. Even in current Arabic parlance the Minaret noun also designates lighthouses, whose light is visible in far distances and so direct travellers. This history in Sura SABA 34 thus interestingly describes ancient arrangements of travelling- and we also remember that the ancient kingdom of SABA was of considerable power and importance and thus also promoted ancient travelling. Readers of New Testament Gospels remember straightforward the sayings of Jesus concerning Lamp, encouragement that the Lamp should not be placed under MODION but be placed upon a lampstand where it gives light. This saying of Jesus is notably in Gospel of Matthew 5 written with noticing that a city high upon mountains cannot be hidden, thus connecting with arrangements of ancient cities. Also notable is that this saying of Lamp placed visibly on lampstand in the Gospel of Luke 11 is connected with description how the Queen of South travelled from far distances to hear the wisdom of Solomon, indeed thus is noticed the Old Testament tradition of 1 Kings 10 telling how the QUEEN of SHEBA came to visit Solomon and hear his wisdom: The Queen of SHEBA heard of Solomon’s fame, through the name of the Lord, and she came to test him with hard questions. She arrived in Jerusalem with very large retinue, with camels bearing spices, a great quantity of gold and precious stones. When she came to Solomon, she asked him all that she had in mind (Tanakh translation of 1 Kings 10:1-2) Thus is noticed Old Testament traditions of Queen of SHEBA; and importantly, this description is one important Old Testament description of travelling of large entourage carrying much precious items. Old Testament thus identifies this travelling of Queen of SHEBA; and this detail now makes it apparently importantly relevant with Quranic writings of SURA SABA. Importantly main MSS of Greek Septuagint translation clearly identify her as QUEEN of SHEBA, BASILISSA SABA. here we find important detail in Greek New Testament, as Luke 11:29ff and Matthew 12:42 write of Queen of South, in Greek BASILISSA NOTOU, thus unanimously supported in the Greek Gospel MSS- importantly, this Gospel episode in their times has less considered that the main Septuagint tradition writes of Queen of SHEBA, the Gospels less specifically writing of Queen of South (NOTOS), but both Luke and Matthew more specifically noticing in this episode the Nineve in writing here also of Jonah. This mention of BASILISSA NOTOU for “Queen of South” in this Gospel tradition of the so called Q material, the Sprachquelle material, that is written only in Matthew and Luke but not in the Gospel of Mark is also more notable (stated simplified concisely, current Gospel research considers priority of Gospel of Mark; and that later Matthew and Luke wrote their Gospels knowing and much following Mark, inserting their own traditions such as the Q material, attested by both Matthew and Luke; this is really own genre of Gospel research with numerous important advanced studies). We now notice merely that both Luke and Matthew thus write of the BASILISSA NOTOU and this is well supported in their Gospel Manuscripts. This statement of BASILISSA NOTOU thus is apparently one interesting detail of the Sprachquelle or Q writings in Gospels and contains also important indications concerning the social and cultural specific background of that group where Q writings were composed and that special tradition circulating; especially notable is also that much of the writings of Q are very closely paralleled in the Egyptic Gospel of Thomas, very important Coptic document. We thus find interesting the statement of Lamp placed high on Lampstand in New Testament Gospel traditions. This statement is in Luke 11:33 written, especially preceded by the 11:29-32 describing travels, of Jonah and Queen of South, or the Queen of SHEBA, to hear wisdom of Solomon. Gospel of Luke 8:16-17 another time writes this saying of Lamp placed well visibly upon lampstand, and here the 8:17 notices generally things well visible and things hidden, in apparent parallel to construction in Matthew 5:14-15, but here in 8:17 Luke quite generally writes of things well visible and thing hidden but does NOT mention at all a city hidden or manifest, the special theme of writing in Matthew 5:14-15. We now notice the very important parallel in Quran Sura SABA 34:18 that notices ancient arrangements of travelling, placing well visible towns in reasonable distances along travel routes, such cities noticed QURA ZAHIRA that notices visible and manifest city, visible and manifest also with help of lights. Notably, Luke emphasises in his version that the Lamp thus shall enlighten those who are entering or coming in (INA OI EISPOREUOMENOI BLEPOOSIN TO FOOS) thus writing in Luke 8:16 and 11:33, this interestingly noticing that light to people who are coming in; but Matthew 5:14-15 more emphasises that by those arrangements those who are in the house may then see the light (LAMPEI PASIN TOIS EN TEE OIKIA (dat)). Luke thus emphasises that those who are coming may see the light; this is apparently quite relevant for Sura SABA noticing the journeys of travellers and those cities visible and manifest to travellers. Also importantly, these Gospel traditions notice that this lamp shall be placed upon lampstand LUKHNIA; the well known Hebrew Old Testament word is the MENORAH. But thus we recognise that still modern Arabic designates LIGHTHOUSES with MINARET word that is formed of the NUR light, same Semitic root as the famous Hebrew Menorah. Thus we recognise that ancient travel arrangements of the ancient huge Sheba empire are well reflected in these ancient traditions, especially the Quranic tradition clearly continuing mention of SABA. Towns are visible to travellers also by the LIGHTHOUSES or MINARETS well lightened- this helped ancient travellers to direct their journeys. The current Author Pasi K Pohjala has already earlier in my earlier book SIMILARITIES OF REDACTION OF THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW, WITH TEXTS OF PHILO ALEXANDRINUS (2006) written comprehensive study of this Gospel text of Lamp on the Lampstand in the Chapter 3.3. LIGHT AND LAMP. This Chapter much compared these texts of Lamp on Lampstand in Matthew, Luke and Mark and many traditions. Of course, themes of Lamp and Light are quite usual in many religious texts of those times and also in New Testament; and main tenets of such mentions in other New Testament texts were discussed. This Gospel text writes specifically of Lamp on Lampstand, LUKHNOS EPI LUKHNIA; and it is important to notice that THIS specific connection of writing of LUKHNOS EPI LUKHNIA is in the whole New Testament unique to this Gospel text. Notable in the Manuscript traditions is also that in this Gospel text these LUHNOS EPI LUKHNIA are well preserved by Matthew, Mark and Luke, and in their Manuscript traditions, even if they do write some details of this Gospel text with their particular redactional modifications. Important comparison was found in Philo of Alexandria’s writing Special Laws 1:296-298 where Philo writes of the commandment of keeping the holy lamps burning PALIN AP HESPERAS EOOS PROOIAS PROSTATTEI KAIESTHAI LUKHNOUS EPI TES HIERAS LUKHNIAS EISO TOU KATAPETASMATOS, POLLOON KHARIN (1:296) Here occur three words common with the synoptic tradition: LUKHNOS, EPI and LUKHNIA. Philo here writes exegesis of the OT commandments in Exod 27:21 and Lev 24:3-4; the passages in Exod 27:20-21 and Lev 24:1-4 legislate about treatment of the LUKHNOS on the Menorah of the Temple. Central commandment is that the lamp shall burn continuously (P. Pohjala 2006, 68). Philo of Alexandria’s Biblical interpretations are hugely important in the history of Greek speaking Judaism and thus we notice this interpretation with much interest. In the current discussion of SIGNAL LIGHT SYSTEMS GUIDING TRAVELLERS we now make many important observations concerning this text. Indeed, Philo writes almost immediately after this discussion of Lamps on Lampstand in 1:296-298 important description of ancient travelling “Which of these is painful or laborious? You have not to cross great waters where no ship has sailed and in the heart of winter to brave the deep, tossed up and down by the surging of the waves and the violence of opposing winds, or to foot it over rough and untrodden wilds where no road is, in perpetual dread of assault from robbers or wild beasts, or to pass the night unsheltered as a sentry on the walls, threatened with the gravest perils from the enemy ever watchful for their chance” (Philo of Alexandria Special Laws 1:301, English translation of Colson in LCL). Philo of Alexandria here in Spec 1:301 writes certainly really realistic description of woes of ancient travellers both in land and seas almost immediately after writing in 1:296-298 of the commandments concerning Lamp on the Lampstand. Before and after Roman occupation of Egypt, the Alexandria was the enormous commercial hub of Eastern Mediterranean with notably much knowledge of travelling along searoutes and land. This much specifies understanding of that peculiar lamp and Lampstand and also is highly relevant for our current discussing concerning the Visible Cities. IMPORTANTLY, IN THE SPECIAL LAWS 1:296-298 PHILO OF ALEXANDRIA IN DETAIL WRITES OF LAMPS ON THE HOLY LAMPSTAND, BUT PHILO IN THIS TEXT DOES NOT SPECIFY THIS DESCRIPTION FOR ONLY ONE TEMPLE (supposedly Temple of Jerusalem); BUT THESE DESCRIPTIONS OF LAMPS ON HOLY LAMPSTAND IN SPEC 1: 296-298 CAN APPLY TO MANY TEMPLES THAT FOLLOW THE LEGISLATION. Question of Many Temples in Judaism is one of the BIG questions. The currently prevailing discussion comprehends situation so that the religious cult was centered in the Temple of Jerusalem; when this was in Hurvan destroyed, the institutions of Synagogues developed around in numerous places and continued the Jewish religiosity. Currently studies of Levine of ancient developments of institutions of Synagogue are very important and prominent. But among scholars there are some although somewhat rare discussions of other Jewish Temples, such as Onias’ Temple; this is, apparently, one of the BIG discussions of history of Jewish religion. We shall especially notice that Levine’s modern studies of history of Synagogues consider very detailed archaeological evidence of ancient synagogues and discuss this evidence in much detail and thoroughly. Thus are archaeologically attested indeed many very ancient Jewish Synagogues. Importantly, in history of religion is also well attested that very usually, religious sites and venues of certain religion remain the same but are during times developed- the sites may be developed and refurnished to better reflect current socio-economic situation of that religious community, so that during times some costly developments and refurbishings are realised in those religious places and in those religious venues. For example, more affluent communities often in history have redecorated their religious venues with more and more costly religious decorations or have extended the site of religious venue to be even more comprehensive and ostentatious of that more wealth of that community; and in such developments the main religious functions and main religious parts of that venue may remain the same even if developed more costly. BUT it is also specifically well known that older religious venues often are developed in accordance of religious rituals motivated by religious reforms or some developments of religious practise and rituals of that religious community. In Jewish religion, change from religious practises and rituals of religiosity of Temple Judaism towards Rabbinical Judaism where Synagogue venues are the special religious venues with distinctively different religious rituals (orientated especially for Torah and Torah reading and teaching). In the academic study we normally consider that the venues attested archaeologically as “Synagogues” were par excellence Synagogue buildings. However, also these venues as religious buildings did undergo development and some refurbishing, according to affluence of there worshipping Jewish community AND also to reflect some quite purely religiously motivated changes. Stated simply, we really have to consider that some or most of now known “Ancient Synagogues” EARLIER were Jewish Temples, properly equipped and furnished for such religious Jewish Temple rituals- even in Temple of geographical site Jerusalem was larger and more famous. There were apparently MANY TEMPLES IN ANCIENT TEMPLE JUDAISM. Also history of many ancient Christian Churches is in archaeological excavations much in detail studied and scholarly scrupulously

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