The Patristic Period

I read something inaccurate today: The patristic period (AD 95–750) is the time of the fathers of the church, when the exegesis of Scripture texts was in its primitive formation. This period spans from Clement of Rome to John of Damascus, embracing seven centuries of biblical interpretation, from the end of the New Testament to the mid-eighth century, including the Venerable Bede. This reminded me of a similar timeframe given for the Church Fathers in the Introduction to the edition of St. John of Damascus’ The Fount of Knowledge in the Catholic University of America Press’ The Fathers of the Church series (volume 37). In there we are told “The Fount of Knowledge is one of the most important single works produced in the Greek patristic period, of which it marks the end . . . And it is the last work of any theological importance to appear in the East.”

For Roman Catholics, this position, of course, must be held to counter the Orthodox theology of St. Gregory Palamas, who is, of course, a Church Father. So, in the Orthodox Church, the patristic period at the very least is AD 95-1359. But then what about Elder Joseph the Hesychast? Ok, so then AD 95-1959. But then what about St. John of Shanghai? Ok, so then AD 95-1966. But what about Elder Ephraim, who is still alive and whose spiritual father is Elder Joseph? Ok, so the AD 95-2019. I think the point is clear: the patristic period has never ended for Orthodox Christians. Orthodox Christianity isn’t a “museum Faith,” it is vibrant with the uncreated energies of God.

How Has Orthodoxy Been Perverted?

Recently a good Orthodox friend of mine and I got into a discussion via text about various things not related to our original topic (you don’t say?). And as we proceeded down our mobile oblivion of fruitless conversation, he stated, “orthodoxy has been perverted too. those in the orthobox choose not to see.”

I asked how Orthodoxy had been perverted but never got an answer, and we left it there, but it got me thinking. The other night, another friend of mine who is an atheist posted some straw man attack on Christianity on Instagram, and that got me thinking too…

I find it difficult living in 2019, people ask me something, I respond, and they’re upset or offended or both. It’s weird to me; I try to be Stoic, contemplative, and open to the possibility that I could be wrong. Especially over words, I believe in freedom of speech, so words, whether written or spoken, never offend me no matter what they convey. It interests me when people criticize the Church but offer no proof for their criticism; who will they call in their hour of need? Who will pray for them at the separation of the soul from the body? Who will bury them? A Rabbi? An Imam? An atheist will die alone like Donnie Darko informed us years ago. But Orthodox Christians—whether nominal, lapsed, lazy, or angry—like Israel in the Old Testament, will call upon the Lord after they see the rotten fruit their works have brought forth—they will call their Orthodox priest. They always do. Why is that?

Because those who criticize the Church (anti-Christian atheists included) for whatever petty reasons still believe what I believe: the Church is where Christ is, and Christ Himself said that the gates of hades will not prevail against Her. Those who criticize without being able to give a reason don’t need to be convinced: they already know. I don’t know much, but I know that there is no salvation outside the Church, and so I’ll stay in that so-called “orthobox.” One can know a tree by the fruit that it bears, and the fruit that Orthodoxy has given me speaks volumes for the mercy Christ has to offer those who accept it and in humility say “your will, Lord, and not mine.” Powerful words in a world that has accepted the Satanic dogma of self-will. If the Orthodox Church has been perverted, I’d love to know where, when, how, and by who, because I am more than willing to see it. Diagnosing a problem is the first step in healing the problem. I’d bet though this is more a pot calling the kettle black type of situation: it always is. But then again we know that hence the Eden story.

Hermann Freiherr von Soden’s Greek New Testament

On page ix in The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Textform 2005, we read thus “The primary source for establishing the readings of the Byzantine Textform remains the massive apparatus of Hermann Freiherr von Soden…” and are given the following footnote: “Hermann Freiherr von Soden, Die Schriften Des Neuen Testament in Ihrer Ältesten Erreichbaren Textgestalt, 2 vols. in 4 parts (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck und Ruprecht, 1911).”

There are three places I found this text. Two places on the internet and the third in Logos (pre-pub?). They can be found below, and if anyone knows where I can obtain a physical copy please contact me.

Internet Archive:
Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments in ihrer ältesten erreichbaren Textgestalt hergestellt auf Grund ihrer Textgeschichte (Vol. 1, Pt. 1)

Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments in ihrer ältesten erreichbaren Textgestalt hergestellt auf Grund ihrer Textgeschichte (Vol. 1, Pt. 2)

Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments in ihrer ältesten erreichbaren Textgestalt hergestellt auf Grund ihrer Textgeschichte (Vol. 1, Pt. 3)

Die Schriften des Neuen Testaments in ihrer ältesten erreichbaren Textgestalt hergestellt auf Grund ihrer Textgeschichte (Vol. 2)

CSNTM:
Die Schriften des neuen Testaments, vol. 1

Die Schriften des neuen Testaments, vol. 2

Die Schriften des neuen Testaments, vol. 3

Die Schriften des neuen Testaments, vol. 4

Logos:
Von Soden Greek New Testament (4 vols.)

The Magicians of the Gods

In the last couple of months the TV show Ancient Aliens has been brought up to me in conversation, and as (someone who has been reading about the Ancient Alien hypothesis since before the year AD 2000) it is always difficult to discuss a topic with peole who have only watched the horrible show.

With that being said, I’d like to share some thoughts from a 2015 episode of Coast to Coast AM.

[From: http://www.coasttocoastam.com/show/2015/11/10]

George: Now back to the ancient civilisation: might they have been ET related in terms of technology and help?

Graham: Well, um. Let me make clear that I’m—I am not an advocate of the Ancient Alien Astronaut Theory.

George: Ok.

Graham: Um, and that’s for a number of reasons. Firstly I need to be absolutely clear that I have nothing against the idea of ancient astronauts or of alien intervention in human affairs. Um, we won’t talk about this at length tonight but I have had experience of contact with intelligences, with non-human intelligences, but those experiences have been achieved by altering my state of consciousness…

George: Right

Graham: …using the South American visionary brew called ayahuasca, and I have had classic ET contact experiences in that state and I think that one of the things that we need to do to investigate this mystery further, just as we investigate the physical aspects of the alien abduction phenomenon we should also be deeply investigating it’s implications for consciousness, ah and the possibility that by changing our state of consciousness we may contact ah and communicate with non-human intelligence. I think that’s worthy of real, deep research. That being said, having spent quarter of a century travelling the most intriguing, the most beautiful, exciting and mysterious ancient archaeological sites in the world, really walking the walk, investigating and exploring these sites—not just reading about them—but being there with my feet on the ground, sometimes for months, the conclusion I’ve come to is that I have not seen anything in any of these mysterious ancient sites that I could only explain with a culture that had the technology to cross into stellar space. What I see is evidence of incredible advancement, way beyond the period of time—at a time when human beings are supposed to have just been hunter-gatherers—we see evidence of huge advancement and great technical skill and knowledge, but I am of the opinion—I’m not going to completely rule the alien aspect out—but I am of the opinion that what we are dealing with is a lost advanced human civilisation, and that it much more brilliantly explains the anomalies that are raised by the ancient astronaut lobby ah than the notion of ancient astronauts themselves—in other words, I think that these ancient and mysterious sites around the world are very poor evidence for the ancient astronaut hypothesis, I don’t think they serve it well, when you really investigate those sites the notion that aliens were involved in building them doesn’t make sense—for example, the great pyramid is an incredibly precise and accurate monument, six million tonnes, 13 acre footprint, and its just 3/60th of a single degree of true north—but hey, if you can cross interstellar space and navigate all the way to this pale blue dot, and you’re involved in some way in building the pyramid, you are gonna get it dead on…

George: Hahaha.

Graham: …not 3/60th of a degree off. So that looks like human error to me, but it looks like the human error of a very advanced culture.

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The key part that I’d like to emphasise to my readers is near the beginning, “I have had experience of contact with intelligences, with non-human intelligences, but those experiences have been achieved by altering my state of consciousness using the South American visionary brew called ayahuasca, and I have had classic ET contact experiences in that state and I think that one of the things that we need to do to investigate this mystery further, just as we investigate the physical aspects of the alien abduction phenomenon we should also be deeply investigating it’s implications for consciousness, ah and the possibility that by changing our state of consciousness we may contact ah and communicate with non-human intelligence. I think that’s worthy of real, deep research.”

Why is this of interest, excluding the obvious interest such a statement intrinsically breeds? If the reader follows the theological perspective that this blog puts forward—which is, that aliens are demons—then it follows that, at least in part, some times some of what we encounter in the psychedelic realm is demonic as well.

“The “astral plane” can also be contacted (but not necessarily in an “out-of-body” state) through the use of certain drugs. Recent experiments in administering LSD to dying persons has produced very convincing “near-death” experiences, together with a “condensed replay” of one’s entire life, a vision of blinding light, encounters with the “dead” and was non-human “spiritual beings,” and the communication of spiritual messages concerning the truths of “cosmic religion,” reincarnation, and the like….
     It is well known that the shamans of primitive tribes enter into contact with the aerial world of fallen spirits in “out-of-body” states, and once “initiated” into this experience are able to visit the “world of spirits” and communicate with its beings.
     The same experience was common among the initiates of the “mysteries” of the ancient pagan world. In the Life of Saint Cyprian and Justina (Oct. 2) we have the first-hand testimony of a former sorcerer concerning his experiences in this realm. . . .”
-Fr. Seraphim Rose,
The Soul After Death

“In my opinion, the primary nexus point of the spread of these Teachings [Yoga in the West and the occult revival of the late nineteenth- and twentieth-century magical orders] in modern culture was the phenomena of the 1960s and more specifically the use of LSD by many of my generation. Raised on Lassie and The Lone Ranger, we were catapulted into the fourth dimension by a liquid spot on a piece of paper or cube of sugar. With no preparation, a number of people experienced advanced—if thoroughly chaotic—states of mind, to which many experienced adepts, who had done the work unaided by the miracle of modern chemistry, felt were not entitled. Introduction to such psychic realms had been reserved for millennia to patient chelas of demanding gurus who had rules of behavior for those who sought after such mysteries.
     There were immediate consequences. The stoned-out hippies of Woodstock were replaced by pool-cue-wielding Hell’s Angels at Altamont. Baba Ram Dass was preaching love and meditating in India while Charles Manson’s “Family” was committing horrors I am loathe to describe. As Brian Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and Jim Morrison died in rapid succession and at roughly the same age, we knew something was wrong. The explosive deaths of three members of the Weathermen revealed a communist bomb factory in a wealthy Greenwich Village townhouse. The sociopath Eldridge Cleaver imprisoned Timothy Leary, himself widely accused of being a government agent. Then John Lennon was shot; Abbie Hoffman committed suicide. . . .
     […]The point is that a sea change occurred in the West. Aleister Crowley predicted it in a letter to Grady McMurtry, later Caliph Hymenaeus Alpha of Ordo Templi Orientis. Crowley wrote in 1945 that some twenty years hence he expected a radical transformation in consciousness to occur. Crowley’s particular influence in creating it (by, among other things, introducing Aldous Huxley to mescaline) was significant.”
-James Wasserman, “Introduction,” in Nancy Wasserman’s Yoga for Magick  

Learning Koine Greek With Exegetical Tools

A. Greek Primer

B. Basic Greek Videos – (Greek 1 &2) – these videos do not cover everything in the Primer, and some videos aren’t listed here either, such as the one for the Aorist Passive Indicative

C. Basic Greek for the Week E-Mail

D. 5 Free Advanced Greek Lessons

E. Greek Reading Videos (Greek 3 & 4) – Advanced

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Learning Greek Vocab: learn every Greek word that occurs 10x or more in the NT by studying for 20 minutes a day for about half a year.

July 20, 2015 – Keep Your Greek: Choose the Right Bible

August 5, 2015 – Keep Your Greek: Don’t Lose Your Vocabulary

August 16, 2015 – Keep Your Greek: Taking Greek Electives

October 8, 2015 – Keep Your Greek: Reading Greek Devotionally

January 15, 2017 – Keep Your Greek: Get the Best Resources

Textual Criticism: Byzantine Text Proponents

I started this list off of searching a bunch of last names that Dr. Robinson wrote in a response to a blog post. The point is people who “paved the way” for the Byzantine Text, as opposed to the Textus Receptus. Any help in expanding and clarifying this list is greatly appreciated.

1794-1852 – Johann Martin Augustin Scholz

1813-1891 – Frederick Henry Ambrose Scrivener

1886 – Edward Miller – A Guide to the Textual Criticism of the New Testament

1893 – Rev. S. W. Whitney – The Revisers’ Greek Text Volume 1 & Volume 2

2005-2018 – Dr. Maurice Robinson