Mangling of History by Islamic Scholar, Osman

 

Part One:

The Chosen People

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

Ahmed Osman, an Islamic author from Cairo, has proposed some astounding identifications in his book, Out of Egypt (a reference to Matthew 2:15), in his attempt to show that the roots of Christianity are to be found, not in Israel, but in Egypt.

 

 

Part I: The Chosen People

 

Introduction

 

It is heartening to find scholars more and more appreciating the importance of the east – Egypt being especially relevant here – in influencing ancient and modern civilisations. M. Bernal (The Black Athena, 1987) took a big step in this direction. Before him, Professor A. Yahuda (The Language of the Pentateuch in its Relation to Egyptian, 1933), perhaps setting the ball rolling, had shown in minute detail – against ‘pan Babylonianism’ – that the entire Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Bible) is saturated with Egyptian influence: e.g. the distinct parallel between Egyptian mythology and the patriarchal narratives of the Bible. Along these lines, Bernal has referred to M. Astour’s view that the Greek story of Io-Zeus-Hera closely resembles the Semitic one of Hagar-Abraham-Sarah (op. cit., p. 91).

Now Ahmed Osman, an Islamic author from Cairo, has brought a twist to this recognition of the east by proposing some astounding identifications in his book, Out of Egypt (a reference to Matthew 2:15), in his attempt to show that the roots of Christianity are to be found, not in Israel, but in Egypt. Osman states the aim of his book when making reference to the destruction of the great library of Alexandria by Christians in AD 391 (p. xii):

 

“As a result of this barbaric killing of Alexandrian scholars and destruction of its library, which contained texts in Greek of all aspects of ancient wisdom and knowledge, the true Egyptian roots of Christianity and of Western civilization have been obscured for nearly 16 centuries. The aim of this book is to rediscover these roots, with the help of new historical and archaeological evidence”.

 

He goes on to write (next page): “The time has come for Egypt’s voice to be heard again”. And he believes that he is the man for the job: “Because of my Islamic background, I feel confident that I am qualified to offer a balanced picture, which does not exclude any source from examination”. Osman’s main sources are the Dead Sea Scrolls from Qumran (Dead Sea) and the Gnostic literature of Nag Hammadi (Upper Egypt).

Perusing Osman’s book as a revisionist historian, I find it fascinating that he has located David and Solomon precisely where Immanuel Velikovsky did, to the early 18th dynasty of Egypt. No doubt Velikovsky’s 18th dynasty revision (Ages in Chaos, I and II) was his main achievement, that will stand in pyramid-like strength after much else of his historical revision has collapsed under the weight of scientific criticism.

The 18th dynasty is also Osman’s entire showcase, encompassing all of his major characters. However, nowhere in his book do I find reference to Velikovsky or to any other of the well-known revisionist historians. Osman either has not been influenced by Velikovsky at all, or perhaps does not bother to mention him because Osman retains the conventional dating of the early-mid 18th dynasty, instead of lowering it by the 500-600 years that Velikovsky had maintained was necessary.

More radical still – and even the most intrepid revisionists would baulk at this one – is Osman’s lumping together of Abraham, Joseph and Moses, into the same 18th dynasty scenario, with, not only David and Solomon (his Part I: “The Chosen People”), but even with Jesus (his Part II: “Christ the King”); thereby totally ignoring customary chronological spacings. According to Osman, the 18th dynasty characters: Thutmose III, Amenhotep III, Yuya, Akhnaton and Tutankhamun, are to be identified as, respectively: David, Solomon, Joseph, Moses and Jesus Christ. Thus, once traditional heroes of Israel – even a great father-figure like King David – are now transmogrified into Egyptian (or, in Yuya’s case, a Syrian). Osman’s excuse for so radical a bouleversement seems to be that he is the one best suited to rediscover “the true Egyptian roots of Christianity and of Western civilization”.

Well, I believe that he has gone about it all in a most biased fashion. I cannot see how Osman – himself a follower of both Sothic dating and Higher Critical view – can possibly escape the label of anti-semitism (here meaning anti-Israel) as described in my earlier TGN article (“Velikovsky and Academic Anti-Semitism”). Osman is guilty of historical piracy, ‘hijacking’ famous Israelites into an Egyptian environment and ‘forcing’ Egyptianhood upon them. But that is an old trick – the Greeks had done it (in favour of Greece) long before him. Whilst admittedly the revision that has grown out of Velikovsky’s efforts can be at times radical, its protagonists are generally careful not to up-end established sequences. Much of the revision revolves around the more plausibly allowable, like deleting ‘Dark Ages’, or shortening artificially over-stretched eras (such as Egypt’s “Third Intermediate Period”). Velikovsky in fact lost many supporters when he, flying in the face of hard archaeological evidence, had indulged in such a radical up-ending by separating the 18th from the 19th dynasty (sequentially) and inserting in between foreign dynasties of 150 years duration (his Ramses II and His Time, and Peoples of the Sea).

Though Osman certainly becomes most interesting when he departs from the conventional norm, this is only the case when he does so with some sort of coherence. He correctly maintains that his country, Egypt, exerted an influence upon biblical and Christian thinking. However, as I intend to show, he does not appear to have properly understood what he has rightly sensed. He tries to force his examples – thereby missing Egyptian influences that really are there, whilst creating ones that are not.

The Sothic chronology lets him down badly, exacerbating his mishmash.

Osman proposes David as an Egyptian pharaoh of the C15th BC, who impregnates Sarai. And, taking his cue from the Babylonian Talmud (Osman, p. 12), he recklessly makes David the father of Isaac. Despite his avowed aims, Osman lets himself down by his failure to appreciate the relevance of Egypt’s Old Kingdom; his lack of perspective regarding the 18th dynasty; but, most of all, by his anti-Israel bias. He locates the era of the Exodus to the 19th dynasty (New Kingdom), Late Bronze Age.

Professor Emmanuel Anati, a genuine archaeologist, has argued authoritatively (in The Mountain of God, p. 287) that the entire socio-political setting of the Moses story and Joshua’s Conquest pertains to the Old Kingdom/Early Bronze Age.

That is centuries earlier than even the 18th dynasty.

Osman adopts the view that the books of Genesis and Exodus were very late compilations (cf. pp. 1, 12 and 66), having been long handed down by oral tradition before being committed to writing during the Babylonian Exile (C6th BC).

Here I should like to suggest, following P.J. Wiseman (Ancient Records and the Structure of Genesis), that the eleven toledôt divisions throughout Genesis: “These are the generations of …” – as well as the regular occurrence of catch-lines – attest Genesis as being a compilation of family histories written on series of tablets, each history signed off by its owner, or writer. The toledôt is the classic colophon of ancient Near Eastern writings, but unfortunately read by most as a heading instead of an ending. The Book of Genesis claims to be a combination of histories for the great patriarchs, from Adam to Joseph. Moses is traditionally its compiler or editor, hence the Egyptian flavour of the entire book.

Osman does not give to the biblical date the same credence as he applies to his other sources: Qumran and Nag Hammadi.

Osman, in fact, really butchers the biblical chronology, showing scant respect for genealogical data and ensuing time spans.

He makes AD 391 a crucial, cutting-off point, his point de depart.

He completely ignores what could be a vital fact, that the library of Alexandria may have been totally destroyed by the Romans at the time of Cleopatra, centuries before AD 391. Julius Cæsar is supposed to have started that fire, to cripple the royal fleet (Dio Cassius 42. 38. 2).

Osman writes that the storehouse of old wisdom in Alexandria’s Serapeum (p. xiii):

 

“…proved irresistible for Diodorus Siculus … when he set out in the time of Julius Cæsar, to research his ambitious Bibliotheca Historica – the ‘bookshelf of history’. Diodorus, who was an enthusiast of the teachings of Hermes Trismegistus (which have survived until today in the teachings of Islamic Sufis, Jewish Qabbalah, Rosicrucians and Freemasons), became convinced of Egypt’s importance as a source of knowledge”.

 

The Serapeum, Osman writes on the next page, “later became also a center for Gnostic communities, both Hermetic … and Christian”.

As I argued in a previous TGN (“Rediscovering the Egyptianised Moses”, No. 4:6, 1998), Hermes was the Greek version of the Egyptianised Moses. Also, Freemasonry is, like ancient Baalism, a syncretism of Yahweh and Baal.

In Pt. II of this article, “Christ the King”, I shall comment further on Hermeticism and Gnosticism.

No doubt revisionists reading Out of Egypt would be thinking that they could propose identifications far more appropriate for the biblical characters with whom Osman deals, especially Joseph (see #4 below); identifications, too, that leave intact detailed genealogies.

 

  1. David = Thutmose III

 

Osman ‘becomes a revisionist’ when proposing that pharaoh Thutmose III’s march via the narrow “Aruna” road was actually an assault upon Jerusalem itself. This is an instance (about the only one) of where he really grabbed my attention; not only because he, too, has suspected that the Davidic era was synchronous with the early 18th dynasty, but because his interpretation of Aruna had already been proposed and strongly defended by Velikovskian modifier, Dr. Eva Danelius (“Did Thutmose III Despoil the Temple in Jerusalem?”, SIS, Vol. II, 1978, pp. 64-79), after Velikovsky had laid the groundwork by identifying Thutmose III as the biblical pharaoh “Shishak” who sacked the Jerusalem Temple in the 5th year of king Rehoboam of Jerusalem (I Kings 14:25) (Ages in Chaos, I, ch. iv).

No need here for Israelites to be turned into Egyptians.

Whilst Velikovsky’s “Shishak” argument was ingenious, in part, he rather spoiled his own argument, I think, by holding to the conventional view that the My-k-ty of the Egyptian Annals was Megiddo in northern Israel. Dr. Danelius really saved this whole package by identifying My-k-ty as pertaining to Jerusalem itself. She plausibly identified all three roads debated as to their appropriateness by Thutmose’s staff as roads in southern Palestine. The Aruna road that Thutmose eventually elected to take – the road most dreaded by his officers – was in fact the narrow and precipitous camel-road from Jaffa up the Beth-horon ascent approaching Jerusalem from the north.

Osman has come to the same conclusion, that Aruna refers to the Beth-horon pass. But, with his unfortunate identification of Thutmose III with David, instead of the far more plausible “Shishak”, he has introduced an unwieldy ‘baggage-train’ onto that narrow route.

 

  1. Solomon = Amenhotep III

Another crucial peg in Velikovsky’s reconstruction was his identification of the biblical “Queen of Sheba” as Queen Hatshepsut, co-ruler with Thutmose III. Osman passes over this fabulous queen in a couple of pages (pp. 20-21), having far more to say about the influential Queen Tiye – whom Velikovsky argued to have been the prototype of the tragic Queen Jocasta of the Greeks (in Oedipus and Akhnaton). Osman identified Tiye all at once as – if I am still following him – Joseph’s daughter, Solomon’s “Great Royal Wife”, and Moses’ mother.

According to standard biblical chronology, Queen Tiye would have to have lived in excess of 800 years to have met all of these criteria.

Meanwhile Velikovsky’s reconstruction of the Solomonic age had its own hiccups. He had ventured to identify Hatshepsut’s 9th year expedition to Punt with the visit to Jerusalem by Queen Sheba, but revisionist Dr. J. Bimson (in “Hatshepsut and the Queen of Sheba”, SIS, Vol. VIII, 12-26) eventually destroyed this argument; so effectively in fact that many ‘Velikovskians’ who had already been badly shaken by Velikovsky’s proposed separation of the 19th from the 18th dynasty, now even abandoned Velikovsky’s 18th dynasty matrix and began to explore new chronologies.

I re-addressed the whole issue for C and CH Review (“Solomon and Sheba”, 1997:1) and may have salvaged Velikovsky here due to the fortuitous discovery (as I see it) of King Solomon himself in the Egyptian records, in the person of the mighty and seemingly royal Senenmut; a dominant figure during the co-reign of Hatshepsut and Thutmose III. Senenmut had recorded of himself (P. Dorman, The Monuments of Senenmut, 1988, p. 175): “I was in this land under [Hatshepsut’s] command since the death of [her] predecessor …”. That, combined with Senenmut’s information that his name “is not to be found amongst the annals of the ancestors” (J. Baikie, A History of Egypt, Vol. II, p. 80), suggested that he was originally not from Egypt. A further possible hint that Senenmut was non-Egyptian were his “idiosyncracies in regard to the Egyptian language: the uncommon substitution of certain hieroglyphs” and his penchant for creating cryptograms, e.g., in relation to Hatshepsut’s throne name, Makera (Dorman, pp. 138, 165).

Velikovsky did not miss the point that the Queen of Sheba was known as Makeda in Ethiopian legend; a name almost identical to Hatshepsut’s throne name, Makera (Maat-ka-re).

The visit of Sheba/Hatshepsut to Solomon was essentially connected, I think, with her marriage to king Solomon, occurring while Hatshepsut was yet queen. She would soon become Pharaoh. Senenmut, who had unique prerogatives and who was favoured with many titles, came to dominate Egypt at this time, despite the presence there of formidable personalities like Hatshepsut and Thutmose. Most historians would agree with Baikie’s view (op. cit., p. 81) that Senenmut “was by far the most powerful and important figure of [Hatshepsut’s] reign”, and R. Hari’s, that few non-royal [sic] personages in pharaonic Egypt “have caused as much ink to flow as has Senenmut” (“La vingt-cinquième statue de Senmout” JEA 70, p. 141). The fact that his statues and inscriptions are still so abundant in Egypt is all the more remarkable considering the campaign of destruction that was waged against his monuments after his death.

But historians are not able to outdo the self-praise in which Senenmut himself (or his scribe) indulges in his statues. “I was the greatest of the great in the land …”, he announces on one (Baikie, op. cit., pp. 80-81). Due to Solomon’s profound influence on Sheba/Hatshepsut, the harsh administration of Israel (cf. 1 Kings 5:13f.) spilled over into Egypt. Her country, we are told, “was made to labour with bowed head for her …” (Breasted, A History of Egypt, p. 271). And, not surprisingly, Senenmut was the one whom she appointed in charge, “I was a foreman of foremen”, he tells us, “… overseer of all the works of the house of silver [treasury?] …. I was one to whom the affairs of [Egypt] were reported; that which South and North contributed was on my seal, the [forced] labour of all countries was under my charge”. As Solomon, Senenmut’s labour gangs spread into Egypt and other countries. Given Senenmut’s tutelage over the young Thutmose, I am not surprised – but rather grateful – to read where Osman has picked up marked similarities between Solomon’s taxation system and that of Thutmose III (op. cit., pp. 57-58).

Israel’s wisdom literature – much of which is attributed to David and Solomon – began to be reflected in Hatshepsut’s Egypt. I compared some of Hatshepsut’s inscriptions with Psalms, Song of Songs, and other Scriptures; and I followed Baikie (op. cit., p. 89) in noting that Hatshepsut had reproduced one of David’s Psalms (131 Vulgate; 132 Jerusalem Bible) almost word for word in places, though substituting “Karnak” for “Jerusalem”. Stratigraphically, the prosperous and internationalized Late Bronze I-II seems to reflect the opulence of this time. Thus there is no problem whatever with Osman’s correct assertion, in favour of his own reconstruction (op. cit., p. 18): “Indeed, no such empire [as David’s] can be said to have been created between the reign of Tuthmosis [Thutmose] III in the 15th century BC [sic] and the second half of the 6th century BC, when Cyrus of Persia conquered both Mesopotamia and Egypt”.

The unexpected discovery of Solomon in the Egyptian records seems to have further cemented Velikovsky’s 18th dynasty scenario. The revision is now able to cope with the formidable trio of Hatshepsut, Thutmose III and Senenmut, all in a biblical context.

 

Solon

 

A spin-off from this identification is that the exceedingly wise Solon of Greek folklore who went travelling by ship for a decade, notably to Egypt, for mercantile purposes, is most likely a Greek appropriation of the wise Solomon in the latter part of his reign, when he involved himself in foreign affairs and his fleet. There are strange anomalies with Solon as a C6th BC Athenian. Archaeology does not seem to favour so advanced a civilisation that early at Athens (see e.g. P. James, Centuries of Darkness, pp. 96-98). E. Yamauchi (“Two Reformers Compared: Solon of Athens and Nehemiah of Jerusalem”, The Bible World, pp. 262-292) found it doubtful if money was yet coined there, as Solon is supposed to have done; and he also, following Cyrus Gordon (another great pioneer defender of the east), has identified Solon’s reforms as Jewish, paralleling Nehemiah’s.

All of this strongly suggests that Solon was not Greek at all.

The phenomenon that was Senenmut is perhaps explained only by the revision. Akhnaton likewise is a phenomenon, and Osman goes to great lengths to explain him.

 

  1. Moses = Akhnaton

 

Akhnaton stands out as a singular individual throughout the history of Egypt, and it is not surprising therefore that scholars are intrigued by him. Osman is no different, he being prepared to turn chronology upside down to equate Akhnaton with Moses. Osman is not the first to have noted a likeness between Akhnaton’s Hymn and Psalm 104, indicating a close contemporaneity between Akhnaton and David – but this can better be met by Velikovsky’s scheme according to which el-Amarna (Akhnaton’s era) is to be re-located to the C9th BC.

And I think that Velikovsky’s equation of Akhnaton with the legendary Oedipus, if correct, more than adequately accounts for the Pharaoh’s personal idiosyncracies.

As for Moses, there is no need to repeat here all that I wrote about him recently in my:

 

Moses – May be Staring Revisionists Right in the Face

 

https://www.academia.edu/11915103/Moses_-_May_be_Staring_Revisionists_Right_in_the_Face

 

identifying him as, among others, Sinuhe of the so-called Middle Kingdom of Egypt. What I could mention here, perhaps, is Sir Flinders Petrie’s comment about Sinuhe (Egyptian Tales, p. 129): “The titles given to [Sinuhe] … are of a very high rank, and imply that he was the son either of the king or of a great noble. And his position in the queen’s household shows him to have been of importance … quite familiar [with the royal family]”.

The Talmud, Osman says, holds that Moses was a king (op. cit., p. 68). But a high official of pharaohs would be more accurate.

 

El-Amarna [EA]

 

Perhaps Velikovsky’s finest reconstruction was his detailed comparison between the EA letters of Amenhotep III and Akhnaton and the mid-C9th BC. Describing himself as if a Time Lord, with “the searching rod … of time measurement” in his hand, Velikovsky declared (Ages in Chaos, I, p. 224): “I reduce by six centuries the age of Thebes and el-Amarna, and I find King Jehoshaphat in Jerusalem, Ahab in Samaria, Ben-Hadad in Damascus. If my rod of time measurement does not mislead me, they are the kings who reigned in Jerusalem, Samaria and Damascus in the el-Amarna period”.

Chronologically, Velikovsky was not far off the mark here. The ruler of Jerusalem (Urusalim) during the el-Amarna period, Abdi-hiba, identifies far better as Jehoram, rather than his father, Jehoshaphat, according to revisionist, Peter James. I summarised this view in:

 

King Abdi-Hiba of Jerusalem Locked in as a ‘Pillar’ of Revised History

 

https://www.academia.edu/7772239/King_Abdi-Hiba_of_Jerusalem_Locked_in_as_a_Pillar_of_Revised_History

 

I have also accepted the conclusion of Velikovskian modifiers, notably in this case M. Sieff, that el-Amarna’s prolific correspondent, Rib-Addi, could not have been king Ahab of Israel as Velikovsky had thought. On this, see my:

 

Is El Amarna’s Rib-Addi Biblically Identifiable?

 

https://www.academia.edu/19259562/Is_El_Amarna_s_Rib-Addi_Biblically_Identifiable

 

Peter James and his colleagues were far more able to accept Velikovsky’s identifications of el-Amarna’s successive kings of Amurru, Abdi-Ashirta and Aziru, with the biblical succession of Ben-Hadad I and Hazael of Syria (“The Dating of the El-Amarna Letters”, SIS, Vol. 2:3, 1977/78, p. 80):

 

“With [these] two identifications [Velikovsky] seems to be on the firmest ground, in that we have a succession of two rulers, both of who are characterised in the letters and the Scriptures as powerful rulers who made frequent armed excursions – and conquests – in the territories to the south of their own kingdom …”.

 

And Dr. John Bimson clinched this by adding a third Syrian king, Ben-Hadad II, the Du-Teššub of the Hittite records. (“Dating the Wars of Seti I”, SIS, Vol. 5:1, 1980/81, pp. 21-22).

I think that we may be able to salvage Velikovsky even further by finding his cherished Ahab, not in his choice of Rib-Addi (clearly a Phoenician king), but in EA’s Lab’ayu. On this tentative theory, see my:

 

Is El Amarna’s Lab’ayu Biblically Identifiable?

 

https://www.academia.edu/19259562/Is_El_Amarna_s_Rib-Addi_Biblically_Identifiable

 

“In most scholarly works Labayu is referred to as the king or ruler of Shechem”, wrote D. Rohl and B. Newgrosh, adding “and this, we feel, has been misleading” (“The El-Amarna Letters and the New Chronology”, C and C Review, p. 18, 1988, pp. 23-42).

Since Shechem is only a few miles from Samaria, I suggest that Lab’ayu ruled from there.

Was Lab’ayu a Hebrew speaker? El-Amarna Letter 252, written by him, has been described by W. Albright as “no less than 40% pure Canaanite” (“An Archaic Hebrew Proverb in an Amarna Letter from Central Palestine”, JNES, 89, 1943, pp. 29-32); a comment that has evoked this response from Rohl and Newgrosh: “It is a pity that Albright was unable to take his reasoning process just one step further because, in almost every instance where he detected the use of what he called ‘Canaanite’ one could legitimately substitute the term ‘Hebrew’.”

Albright indentified the word nam-lu in line 16 as the Hebrew word for ‘ant’ (nemalah). Lab’ayu wrote: “If ants are smitten, the do not accept (the smiting) quietly, but they bite the hand of the man who smites them”. Albright recognised here a parallel with the two biblical proverbs (6:6 and 30:25). King Ahab likewise was inclined to use a proverbial saying as an aggressive counterpoint to a potentate (cf. 1 Kings 20:10, 11).

Lab’ayu’s son, too, Mut-Baal, also displayed in one of his letters (# 256) some so-called ‘Canaanite’ and mixed origin words. Albright noted of line 13: “As already recognized by the interpreters, this idiom is pure Hebrew”.

 

“Son of Zuchru”

 

Velikovsky also identified king Jehoshaphat’s captain, “son of Zichri”, with el-Amarna’s “son of Zuchru” (Ages in Chaos, I, pp. 228-230). Who could argue with that!

 

Queen Jezebel

 

Velikovsky had ingeniously identified the only female in the el-Amarna correspondence, Baalat-neše, with the biblical “great woman of Shunem”, whose son Elisha restored to life (2 Kings 4:8-37) (ibid., p. 220). But I think that, given Baalet-neše’s undoubted rank, a likelier candidate for her would be Ahab’s wife, Jezebel (i.e. Neše-bel-[at]?). On this, see my:

 

Is El Amarna’s “Baalat Neše” Biblically Identifiable?

 

https://www.academia.edu/26077125/Is_El_Amarna_s_Baalat_Ne%C5%A1e_Biblically_Identifiable

 

Kingdom of Mitanni

 

Many historians – though not Osman, who passes it over in one page (p. 56) – have puzzled long and hard over the so-called ‘Kingdom of Mitanni’ that figures in the el-Amarna correspondence.

What were its origins? Where was it located?

Its language – as with the name of its best-known king, Tushratta or Dushratta, who wrote to the el-Amarna pharaohs – is thought to be Indo-Iranian. But once again the revision may provide the key to unlock the enigma. DUSHRATTA would simply be a variant of the name, Abdi-Ashirta (i.e. AbDU-aSHRATTA). He is Ben-Hadad, Ahab’s contemporary. See my:

 

Ben-Hadad I as El Amarna’s Abdi-ashirta = Tushratta

 

https://www.academia.edu/8713376/Ben-Hadad_I_as_El_Amarna_s_Abdi-ashirta_Tushratta

 

The name therefore is probably not Indo-Iranian at all, but West Semitic; the last element being the name of the Canaanite goddess Ashtarte. The name DU-TEŠŠUB is a similar construction, substituting for Ashtarte the storm-god Teshub. The mysterious ‘Kingdom of Mitanni’ turns out to be simply the extensive Syrian kingdom of Ben-Hadad I and Hazael, a buffer state between Assyria and the Hittites.

 

  1. Joseph = Yuya

 

Osman maintains that Joseph was the highly credentialled Yuya, Syrian relative of Akhnaton. Yuya, like Joseph, he states, was the only official in Egypt ever to be called “Father of Pharaoh”. And he optimistically claims that the details of Joseph’s life after his interpreting Pharaoh’s dreams “are matched by only one person in Egyptian history – Yuya, the minister of Amenhotep III (p. 39). But again Osman’s apparent ignorance of pre-18th dynasty Egyptian history lets him down. Professor A. Yahuda (op. cit., pp. 23-24) had already found the equivalent title, “Father of Pharaoh” in Old Kingdom Egypt; the Genesis expression, ab, ‘father’, a title borne (centuries before Yuya) by the Vizier, Ptah-hotep, who was itf ntr mryy-ntr, ‘father of god, the beloved of god’; god here indicating Pharaoh.

Now, since Ptah-hotep was also a wise sage, whose writings resemble the Hebrew Proverbs, and since he – like Joseph – lived for 110 years, then it is worthwhile considering – as some scholars already have – that Ptah-hotep was Joseph in his guise as scribe and sage.

Osman’s identification of Joseph is a classic example, I think, of where revisionists would think that they could easily trump him. T. Chetwynd, for instance (in “A Seven Year Famine in the Reign of King Djoser with Other Parallels between Imhotep and Joseph”…” C and AH, 1987, pp. 49-56), has found numerous parallels between Joseph and the celebrated Vizier, Imhotep, of the 3rd dynasty (Old Kingdom), who supposedly saved Egypt from a 7-year Famine.

Imhotep, who according to J. Hurry (Imhotep, p. 90) was “one of the few men of genius in the history of ancient Egypt … one of the fixed stars of the Egyptian firmament”, is portrayed as a kind of ‘Leonardo da Vinci’ of Egypt: mathematician, scientist, engineer, architect. He was more besides. Carved on the base of a statue of Zoser in the Cairo Museum is a short inscription describing Imhotep as: “The seal-bearer of the King of Lower Egypt … the high priest of Heliopolis … the chief of the sculptors, of the masons …”. Imhotep has also come down through history as a thaumaturgist, healer and Egyptian patron saint of medicine.

Joseph also, according to Yahuda (op. cit., p. 24), would have been “of the high priestly caste” of Heliopolis – like Imhotep. Chronologically, 3rd dynasty Imhotep is perfectly situated in relationship to my 4th dynasty Moses connection. (Refer back to my Moses article).

 

Concluding Remark

 

Really, the presence of Israelites in positions of great power even in Old Kingdom Egypt is my answer to Osman’s belief in the Egyptian roots of the Chosen People. It was in fact a Hebrew influence that permeated Egypt and then came back to Israel. Would not Jacob have carried all of the treasured toledôt scriptures of his forefathers into Egypt, where they would have been handed on to the influential Joseph? He, as priest of Heliopolis and Vizier of Egypt, would have preached them to the Egyptian people. The theology of Heliopolis became pre-eminent in the land. Imhotep-Joseph was one of the real geniuses of Egyptian history.

Now we are beginning to understand why the early Old Testament reflects such an Egyptian influence. Some of its writers, Joseph, Moses and Solomon, were also key figures in Egypt’s destiny. Strictly speaking, the influence was from the side of Israel. Thus, Osman might have found rather more fertile subject matter had he chosen to write about Israel’s influence, rather than Egypt’s, upon ancient to modern culture. But his prejudices weighing against that may be too strong.

 

 

Part Two:

Christ The King

 

 

 

Part II: Christ the King

 

Predictably, now, Osman tries to ‘pour’ the Holy Family also into an 18th dynasty matrix; with Jesus as Tutankhamun; Mary as Nefertiti; and Joseph as the Vizier, Aye. Here again one encounters the emergence of various questionable patterns of argument that clearly and strikingly parallel those in Part I. Osman again:

 

– places a blind trust in the conventional chronology and archaeology.

 

Whilst the historical era of the four Gospels, once revised, might – and only might – turn out to be relatively more clear cut by comparison with events in early Egyptian dynastic history, one should nevertheless expect the chronological earthquake caused by Velikovsky to be still transmitting aftershocks right down the line, so as to plunge late BC events into an AD time frame. Moreover if Solon really is Solomon, as I maintain, and the ‘Ionian’ philosophers actually have their origin with Old Testament Joseph, and Athenian archaeology is not properly established before the late C5th BC, then Classical history – Greek, and Roman, too – must stand in need of a significant revision.

Of course I would not expect Osman to be able to produce a new model just like that. My problem with him is that he so uncritically embraces conventional late BC dates (e.g. for Herod and Pilate) as “the established historical facts” (Out of Egypt, p. 110). Chronologically, Osman seems to work hand in glove with Hershel Shanks, editor of the influential Washington-based magazines Biblical Archaeological Review and Bible Review, of whose conclusions I was so critical in The Glozel Newsletter (No 4:2, 1998).

 

– he treats with contempt the four Gospels.

 

Osman’s refusal to consider the Gospels as being significant eyewitness records is to my mind another classic example of what I noted in Pt. I, that not a shred of credibility ought to be conceded to the writings of Israel. He seems unaware of the papyrus discoveries from Egypt and Qumran that, according to German papyrologist, C. Thiede (Eyewitness to Jesus, Doubleday), call for an earlier dating of all four Gospels. {According to the article “Thiede’s Witness”, in The Wanderer (June 12, 1997), this book is now very hard to find. Is there being applied by the academic world a “Conspiracy of Silence” – to use the title of Osman’s ch. 17 – in the case of Thiede? And of Carmignac? (see below)}.

Shanks’ reaction to the new scholarship is the typically off-handed sort to which entrenched academics must resort whenever they cannot cope with the facts (Wanderer, ibid.): “Highly regarded scholars are often reluctant to spend the time it takes to debunk these far-out claims”. Well, it is not “the time” that they lack, but the answers.

 

An ironical note: I doubt if the Egyptian-oriented Osman would be over-impressed by the fact that: “… Hershel Shanks puts Thiede in the same category as those cranks who claim that Jesus was not Jewish but Egyptian”.

 

Thiede’s conclusions may not be mainstream, but they accord nicely with those of expert linguist, J. Carmignac (The Birth of the Synpotic Gospels, Franciscan Herald Press, 1984), who discovered many links with the New Testament whilst translating the Qumran texts. Carmignac was in fact “absolutely dumbfounded to discover [how] extremely easy” it was for him to translate back into Qumranic Hebrew the Greek texts of Matthew and Mark (ibid., p. 1). This led him to the inescapable conclusion that Matthew and Mark were originally written in Hebrew (or possibly its sister-language, Aramaïc), thus according with “numerous Fathers of the Church” that there was “a Hebrew Matthew”. Carmignac felt compelled thus to revise the dating for the synoptic Gospels (ibid., pp. 6, 60):

 

.… The latest dates that can be admitted for Mark (and the Collection of Discourses) is 50, and around 55 for the Completed Mark; around 55-60 for Matthew; between 58 and 60 for Luke. But the earliest dates are clearly more probable: Mark around 42; Completed Mark around 45; (Hebrew) Matthew around 50; (Greek) Luke a little after 50.

 

In support of this revision, Carmignac provided a most striking example from Luke 1:68-79 of the Evangelist’s dependence upon what he entitled Semitisms of Composition (pp. 27-29): “Is it by chance”, he asked, “that the second strophe of this poem begins by a triple allusion to the names of the three protagonists: John [the Baptist], Zachary, Elizabeth? But this allusion only exists in Hebrew; the Greek or English translation does not preserve it”.

Dr. Eva Danelius, whom we met in Pt. I in “Did Thutmose III Despoil the Temple in Jerusalem?”, SIS, Vol. II (1978), claimed for instance that the Book of Revelation (conventionally dated to c. 95 AD) ought really to be viewed from a pre-70 AD standpoint:

 

For the attentive reader it is obvious that a part of John’s visions – the 24 elders, the importance of clean white garments, the punishment of those who neglect their duty as watchmen – reflect details of the duties of priests and Levites in the Beth Moked, the northenmost building of the Temple compound, where the keys to the Temple mound were guarded under measures of the strictest security (p. 70, with reference to the Babylonian Talmud, Ch. 1. Midoth).

 

– he is quite biased in his methodology.

 

Osman employs a convenient modus operandi throughout especially the latter part of his book, sweeping aside as “fiction”, or “forgeries”, whatever documents oppose his viewpoint. Thus the entire Book of Joshua becomes “a work of fiction” (p. 168) because – according to Osman’s extraordinary thesis – Joshua should no longer by then have been alive. And whatever early AD documents do refer to the physical Jesus – contrary to Osman’s argument that there was no physical Jesus that late – must be dismissed out of hand by him as “forgeries”, without any backing up of his claims with solid evidence or footnotes.

 

Just as the mainstream archaeologists, basing themselves upon a faulty chronology, end up finding no Old Testament biblical traces (e.g. of the Exodus; the Conquest; David/Solomon), and need to dig deeper, so often, too, with the New Testament, which critics accuse of being ‘un-historical’, with ‘later additions’. Until one digs deeper. Here is a classic case in point (https://opentheword.org/2014/09/02/controversial-bethesda-pool-discovered-exactly-where-john-said-it-was/):

 

Controversial Bethesda pool discovered exactly where John said it was

written by Dean Smith

….

The remains of the Bethesda Pool found exactly where the Apostle John said it was located.

There is a story in the Gospel of John that proved problematic for liberals who don’t believe the Bible.

I am talking about Jesus healing of the lame man at the pool of Bethesda (John 5:1-15). In the account, Jesus came across a lame man lying by the pool. According to tradition, when an angel stirred the waters, the first sick person to enter the pool was healed.

When Jesus asked the man, who had been lame for 38 years, how he was doing, the man said because he did not have anyone to help him, when the waters stirred someone always stepped in before him. Jesus said to him, “Get up, pick up your pallet and walk” (v 8) and the man was instantly healed.

In the account, the apostle John provides some detail about the pool. First he said it was near the “sheep’s gate” and secondly it had “five porticoes” (verse 2). A portico, similar to a porch, is a covered entrance way. It was a five-sided pool.

However, because the healing by this pool is only mentioned in John’s Gospel, the liberals quickly concluded it was a later addition by someone not familiar with Jerusalem. That theory prevailed until the late 19th century when archaeologists discovered the pool exactly where John said it was — by the Sheep’s gate now located in the Muslim-controlled sector of Jerusalem.

Not only that, the pool had five porticoes, just as John said it did. It was five sided because the rectangular pool had two large basins that were separated by a wall/portico. This made five in total for the pool. The northern pool collected water which replenished the southern side.

Because of the broad steps located beneath a portico leading down to the southern basin, it is believed this pool is also served as a mikveh or ritual bath for the Jews.

In addition, they even found evidence of the healing tradition associated with the pool as they discovered shrines dedicated to a Greek god of healing — Asclepius (a god of medicine/healing). It was part of a Roman medicinal bath built on the site between 200AD and 400AD.

Obviously, pagans recognized the healing attributes of the pool and transferred them to their pagan gods. A similar thing happened in Acts 14:9-18 when villagers in town of Lystra mistakenly believed Zeus and Hermes had performed a miraculous healing after Paul and Barnabas healed a lame man from the city.

So John was right.

 

Osman’s ‘Jesus’

 

(i) As Tutankhamun

 

Osman has to make much of Tutankhamun, whose tomb inscriptions rather than the four Gospels, he seems to think, hold the true account of Jesus’ fate. He calls the young Pharaoh “the charismatic Tutankhamun”, adding (p. 135): “It is, I believe an unconscious recognition of the truth about his identity that impels millions to visit his tomb … each year in what might be described as a form of pilgrimage, and more millions to queue for hours to view … the treasures recovered from the tomb by Howard Carter …”.

Or, one might wonder, may not such fascination be due to the fact that people just love to view magnificent treasures of gold and lapis lazuli?

The truth is, as P. Fox wrote: “… curiously enough, for all the splendour of his burial, Tutankhamun was a ruler of little importance” (Tutankhamun’s Treasure, OUP, 1951, p. 20). And H. Carter, the discoverer of Tutankhamun’s tomb, wrote similarly (The Tomb of Tut-ankh-Amen, I, 45):

 

In the present state of our knowledge we might say with truth that the one outstanding feature of [Tutankhamun’s] life was the fact that he died and was buried. Of the man himself – if indeed he ever arrived at the dignity of manhood – and of his personal character we know nothing.

 

Dr. Velikovsky had used the supplementary (as he saw it) information of the Oedipus drama to help him account for anomalies of this period, such as why so insignificant a king as Tut (Velikovsky’s Eteocles) was glorified with so magnificent a tomb by Aye (his Creon) (Oedipus and Akhnaton, Abacus, 1969, Ch. “Crowned with Every Rite”, pp. 131-141).

 

Not at all convincing either is Osman’s forcing of Egyptian texts and the Bible to support his theory that ‘Jesus’/Tutankhamun was killed by an 18th dynasty priest, Panehesy, so as to tie in with his interpretation of the Talmud, according to which a priest, “Pinhas … killed [Jesus]” (b. Sanh, 106b, as cited by Osman, p. 132). Osman reaches the new conclusion – without offering any primary evidence in support – that Tutankhamun was killed by Panehesy; who, as Akhnaton’s “chancellor and Chief Servitor of the Aten”, may indeed have been a priest. He then really complicates matters by identifying Panehesy, firstly with the Israelite priest Phinehas (Numbers 25:6-15), before going on to equate both priests with the Talmudic Pinhas. But nowhere does he bother to show where the Talmud identifies this Pinhas as a priest.

The names Panehesy and Phinehas are indeed strikingly similar [the name Phinehas is clearly of Egyptian origin], but their circumstances are not. The zealous Phinehas had intervened when an Israelite had, in flagrant breach of the Law, brought a Moabite woman into his family “under the very eyes of Moses and the whole community of the sons of Israel as they wept at the door of the Tent of Meeting”. Phinehas arose, “seized a lance, followed the Israelite into the alcove, and there ran them both through, the Israelite and the woman, right through the groin” (vv. 6-8). This incident is said to have occurred in Transjordania, not “at the foot of Mount Sinai” where Osman would have ‘Jesus’/Tutankhamun meet his violent death. To get around this inconvenient snag, Osman – taking his cue from documentary theorist, E. Sellin (Osman, p. 144) – argues that the biblical account of Phinehas has been “subjected to some priestly sleight-of-hand in the editing in order to cover up what actually happened”.

This neat piece of subterfuge sets Osman free then to pursue his own far-fetched Whodunnit.

 

(ii) As Joshua

 

Osman also equates Jesus (Hebrew Ye-shua) with Old Testament Joshua (Ye-ho-shua), enabling him to synthesise the episodes of Moses and Joshua on Mount Sinai (Old Testament) with the Transfiguration (New Testament), with Moses and Jesus together on the same mountain (for him also Mount Sinai). But here Osman quite undoes himself:

 

firstly, by adhering to the traditional view that Mount Sinai was Jebel Musa in the Sinai Peninsula (he calls it Gebel Musa, p. 101). [Egyptians may understandably be reluctant to let go of the centuries long tradition of having a ‘Mount Sinai’ in their own (or neighbouring) territory]. Professor Emmanuel Anati (The Mountain of God: Har Karkom, Rizzoli, 1986) had proved Jebel Musa to be quite lacking in Late Bronze Age archaeology (relevant to the 18th dynasty). Osman will later have St. Paul trekking off to Jebel Musa, thus enabling him to develop further his pro-Egyptian thesis, with the Apostle supposedly being influenced by Alexandrian Hermetic and Gnostic thinking. But his case for Paul’s dependence upon Alexandrian lore cannot be sustained given that Mount Sinai could not have been anywhere near Egypt. St. Paul says that Mount Sinai was “in Arabia” (Galatians 4:25).

 

secondly, as if that weren’t bad enough, his reconstruction leads him into the absurd situation whereby his ‘Jesus’/Joshua, who had already been slain, later resurfaces in the Book of Deuteronomy; not to mention – after that – in what Osman calls “an entire book devoted to his exploits” (Book of Joshua) (p. 168).

 

Joshua/Jericho

 

Archaeology’s original impulse was to recognize the Early Bronze Age walls at Jericho as the famous fallen walls of the Book of Joshua. But that notion was abandoned once the Sothic scheme of chronology was applied to the site, re-dating those particular walls to about half a millennium earlier than Joshua. Osman naturally swallows this line of reasoning, calling the entire Book of Joshua “a work of fiction” (p. 169). The fact is that the book has in support of its narrative a complete stratigraphy.

 

Jesus

 

Osman claims that the physical Jesus is not referred to in contemporary records, either Roman or Jewish. I say physical Jesus because a key distinction in Osman’s thesis is that Jesus had both (a) a physical persona, as Joshua/Tutankhamun; and (b) a spiritual persona, as known by the Apostles (p. 109). Osman is even bold enough to claim that, in this very convenient (for him) split theory – which has something of a Docetist ring about it [the Docetists denied that Christ ever had a real body or a narrowly ‘historical’ existence] – he is supported by the Church Fathers. But from my reading of the Fathers, I think that Osman has badly misunderstood their use of allegory, according to which all the holy men of the Old Testament were to be regarded as forerunners – in one way or another – of Christ; but not as the actual Christ; just as they regarded the holy women (e.g. Sarah, Ruth, Judith and Esther) as types of Mary.

In the minds of the Church Fathers (e.g. Sts. Irenaeus, Adv. haer., III, 22, 4; Epiphanius, Haer., 78, 18; Jerome, Epist., 22, 21), Jesus Christ and Mary were the ‘New Adam’ and the ‘New Eve’, and they believed the Old Testament to be replete with symbolical prefigurations of the two. Osman, referring to the physical Jesus, writes (p. 109):

 

Two thousand years ago, at the time Jesus is said to have lived, Palestine was part of the Roman Empire. Yet no contemporary Roman record exists that can bear witness … to the physical appearance of Jesus. Even more surprising is the absence of any reference to Jesus in the writings of Jewish authors living at that time in Jerusalem or Alexandria ….

 

I think that there is a bit of legerdemain involved here as well. It is all too easy for Osman to say “no contemporary … record exists”, when he is going to, one by one, dismiss as “forgeries” any contenders, and brush aside the Gospels as contradicting each other (p. 110). Contemporary Jewish historian Flavius Josephus wrote, not only about the Essenes – and about Pontius Pilate, John the Baptist, and James – but he also wrote directly about Jesus Christ (Antiquities of the Jews, Bk. 18, ch. iv):

 

Now, there was about this time Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call him a man, for he was a doer of wonderful works – a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to him both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was (the) Christ; and when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men amongst us, had condemned him to the Cross, those that loved him at the first did not forsake him, for he appeared to them alive again the third day, as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning him ….

 

Osman claims that this passage, “greatly valued during the Middle Ages as the only external testimony from the C1st AD pointing to Jesus having lived at that time” has since “become an embarrassment, having been exposed in the 16th century as a forgery” (op. cit., ibid.). He offers not a single name or footnote to verify this, only an argumentum ab silentio, that the prolific Origen never referred to this passage.

Re the supposed contradictions amongst the four Gospels, Osman [who believes that the earliest versions were written only “several decades after the events they describe”] writes (pp. 109-110):

 

… when we attempt to match the four gospels … against the facts of history we cannot escape the implication that with the gospels themselves we are dealing with a false dawn. We find no agreement about when Jesus was born or when he was put to death.

… Only two of the four gospel authors, Matthew and Luke, refer to the birth of Jesus, but their accounts do not agree. … Matthew places his birth firmly in the time of Herod … Luke … relates the birth of Jesus to that of John the Baptist, who was also born ‘in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea’ (Luke 1:5).

…. Luke goes on to tell the familiar story of the birth of Jesus in a Bethlehem stable … and contradicts both Matthew and his own earlier account by placing these events a decade after the death of Herod the Great: ‘And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius (Quirinius) was governor of Syria). … We know from Roman sources that this event could not have taken pace before AD 6, the year in which Quirinius was appointed governor of Syria and Judaea became a Roman province.

 

Of course the Roman people themselves did not date in terms of BC or AD.

Scholars and historians would be reluctant today to assert that the date for Jesus’ birth has been fixed with chronological precision. John Paul II, for instance, writing his first encyclical “Redemptor Hominis” (1978), referred to the date of the Jubilee Year 2000 “without prejudice to all the corrections imposed by chronological exactitude …” (#1). I am very much impressed with the work of Daryn Graham on this controversial subject area. See e.g. his:

 

Ancient History, Archaeology and the Birth of Jesus Christ

 

http://thebirthofjesuschrist.blogspot.com.au/2009/09/ancient-history-archaeology-and-birth.html

 

Osman, after conveniently sweeping aside all opposing data, will direct our attention towards what he calls “the established historical facts”. But while such an authoritative sounding phrase might be enough to coerce many into an immediate passive conformity, it probably does not have that sort of hypnotic effect upon hardened revisionists, who might straightaway ask: “What “facts”? How “established”?

As with the Old Testament, so with the New, it is easy to point out anomalies with the conventional history; but then to go on and say that the writings of Israel contradict real history, or one another, because they do not fit the Procrustean bed of textbook chronology, is to say too much – until that bed has been properly made and set on solid foundations. There is enough evidence in the case of Jericho (Tell es-Sultan), for example, to indicate that establishment figures such as Hershel Shanks are not reliable guides as to archaeological interpretation.

And certainly Ahmed Osman does not inspire much confidence in this regard.

 

Pope Francis meets top Sunni cleric after five-year freeze

Sheikh al-Tayeb and Pope Francis standing side by side, in conversationImage copyright AFPImage caption Relations between Roman Catholicism and Sunni Islam have improved since Pope Francis took office in 2013

Pope Francis has met the grand imam of Cairo’s al-Azhar mosque after a five-year pause in dialogue between the Roman Catholic Church and the mosque, the highest authority of Sunni Islam.

Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb visited the Vatican en route to a Paris conference involving Muslims and Catholics.

Al-Azhar froze meetings in 2011 after taking offence at some comments made by the previous pope.

It said Pope Benedict made “repetitive and negative statements” about Muslims.

At the start of the half-hour meeting on Monday, the Pope said that the fact it was taking place at all was significant.

“The meeting is the message,” he said.

Relations between Al-Azhar and the Vatican soured in 2006 after Pope Benedict quoted a 14th Century Byzantine emperor in remarks taken by some Muslims to imply that Islam was a violent religion.

Pope Benedict repeatedly said the words did not reflect his personal views, but he stopped short of issuing a clear apology to Muslims.

On Monday, a Vatican spokesperson told AFP news agency that the meeting between Sheikh Tayeb and Pope Francis had been “very cordial”.

The leaders exchanged gifts, embraces and discussed conflicts and tensions between Christians and Muslims in the Middle East.

….

Taken from: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-36364478

Pope Francis criticises West for trying to export own brand of democracy to Iraq, Libya

Pope Francis meets young refugees from Syria and Iraq (Photo: CNS)

Pope’s Easter message calls for ‘weapons of love’

Pope Francis urged the world in his Easter message on Sunday to use the “weapons of love” to combat the evil of “blind and brutal violence” following terrorist attacks.

PT1M7S 620 349

Rome: Pope Francis criticised Western powers for trying to export their own brand of democracy to countries such as Iraq and Libya without respecting indigenous political cultures, according to an interview published on Monday.

Speaking to France’s Roman Catholic newspaper, La Croix, Francis also said Europe should better integrate migrants and praised the election of the new Muslim mayor of London as an example of where this had been successful.

The pope praised the election of Sadiq Khan as the first Muslim mayor of London. 

“Faced with current Islamist terrorism, we should question the way a model of democracy that was too Western was exported to countries where there was a strong power, as in Iraq, or Libya, where there was a tribal structure,” he said.

“As a Libyan said recently, ‘We used to have one Gaddafi, now we have fifty”, Francis said in reference to former Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi who was deposed and killed in 2011.

Francis has frequently attacked what he calls “cultural colonialism”, in which Western countries seek to impose their values on developing ones in return for financial aid.

Pope Francis has criticised Western powers. Pope Francis has criticised Western powers. Photo: Petros Giannakouris/AP

The pope said that “ghettoising” migrants was not only wrong but was also misguided in the fight against terrorism.

He cited the militant attacks in Brussels in March when three suicide bombers killed 32 people, in which “the terrorists were Belgians, children of migrants, but they came from a ghetto”.

By contrast, the pope praised this month’s election of Sadiq Khan as the first Muslim mayor of London.

“In London, the new mayor was sworn in in a cathedral and will probably be received by the queen. This shows the importance for Europe to regain its ability to integrate,” Francis said.

Ten days ago, the pope lambasted Europe over what he sees as its inadequate response to the influx of migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle-East and Africa.

….

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/pope-francis-criticises-west-for-trying-to-export-own-brand-of-democracy-to-iraq-libya-20160516-gowmpu.html#ixzz48rWNttJd

After Brussels attacks, Pope asks Virgin Mary to help ‘convert the hearts of fundamentalists’

The Pope said: “I renew an appeal to all people of good will to unite in the unanimous condemnation of these cruel abominations that have only caused death, terror and horror.”

He prayed in silence “for the dead, the wounded, the families and for all the Belgian people”.

Meanwhile, the Belgian bishops have asked for mourning bells to be rung in churches around Belgium following yesterday’s terrorist attacks. It will follow the minute’s silence at noon (11am GMT), announced last night by the authorities.

In a statement yesterday, the bishops asked for prayers for the victims.

The death toll from the bombings, which ISIS has claimed responsibility for, has risen to 34 overnight. At least 20 were killed by the bombings at Maelbeek metro station and at least 11 at Brussels airport. Hundreds were also injured in the attacks.

The US Conference of Catholic Bishops has joined Pope Francis and the Bishops’ Commission of the European Community (COMECE) in deploring the attacks.

Archbishop Joseph Kurtz, the president of the US bishops’ conference, wrote in a letter to Archbishop Joseph De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussel: “Please be assured of my prayers and unwavering fraternal support. The Church throughout the United States feels this senseless act of violence as a tragedy in our own family.”

“Of course, the terror of the Crucifixion is overcome by the hope of the Resurrection. Through unity, courage and comforting of the victims, the people of Belgium remind me of the Apostles comforted by the Risen Lord. In the face of unspeakable violence, they refused to allow fear to be their final witness.”

Archbishop Kurtz added: “Jesus overcame death to offer us salvation. So too let us respond to hate with love and reject the extremists who would see us abandon our most vulnerable brothers and sisters”.

….

Taken from: http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/03/23/after-brussels-attacks-pope-asks-virgin-mary-to-convert-the-hearts-of-fundamentalists/

“ISIS is engaged in Islamic Jihad, nothing more, nothing less. What we insist on calling ‘terror’, they call war.”

islam

Christmas and the passion for purity


By Karl Schmude   December 25, 2015   


The feast of Christmas readily evokes images of innocence and purity, centred on the Christ-child in the manger at Bethlehem. Karl Schmude ponders the deep roots of the desire for purity, and its ramifications in history as well as in the current environment of terrorism.

As terrorist attacks command the increasing attention of world leaders, there is an insistent need to probe the underlying causes of this new surge of violence.

Many of the oft-cited reasons for terrorism focus on issues such as political instability and economic deprivation, chiefly in the Middle East but now also in Europe. These are no doubt significant, but they do not go deep enough to explain the brand of destructive idealism now in evidence.

Political leaders tend to have shown a reluctance to link recent terrorist acts with Islam, believing that this would only serve to fan religious hatreds and marginalise the Muslim community; but in practice, it tends to reinforce the terrorist cause by ignoring the source and context of movements such as ISIS, which not only directly invoke the name of Islam but also conceive of their devotion in unmistakably religious terms.

In a recent commentary, the American priest-scholar, Fr James Schall SJ, focused on this fundamental misunderstanding:

“The ‘terrorists’ do not call themselves ‘terrorists’. Not accurately naming the problem enables one not to do too much about it. Indeed, no such thing as a ‘terrorist’ organisation exists except in the ideological minds of the West. ISIS is engaged in Islamic Jihad, nothing more, nothing less. What we insist on calling ‘terror’, they call war.” (MercatorNet: An ‘Act of War’, November 17, 2015)

Increasingly we realise how difficult it is for the contemporary West to take religion seriously as an intellectual and social force.

We can flirt with it as a phenomenon of exotic interest, like the strange practices of a fringe sect or the ornamental jewellery of performing pop stars, but recognising the significance of religious faith as a force of transcendental authority and the vitalising root of an entire way of life tends to exceed our comprehension.

Our cultural habit is to look at the material and social causes of movements and events, and to ignore the spiritual and intellectual impulses underlying them.

We struggle, for example, to give weight to the longings for deliverance and ultimate salvation that represent an essential part of human nature, and therefore of human culture, throughout the ages – and especially our own Judaeo-Christian tradition.

The most salient mark of a revolutionary movement like ISIS is actually a profound idealism, expressed in a passion for purity.

It is an intense yearning for a way of life untainted by corruption or weakness of any kind, and it is this which gives a spiritual power and psychological appeal to ISIS, and inspires so many young recruits.

The very term ‘suicide bomber’ is a misnomer, in that those who sacrifice themselves in this way do not see it as committing suicide (which is an abandonment and despair of life), but rather as engaging in act of martyrdom (dying for a higher cause that gives meaning to their lives and commands their unquestioning obedience).

As Fr Schall has further noted: “Young men persuaded by this faith only blow themselves up if they think they are accomplishing something noble and good. It is not an act of arbitrariness. Without a ‘cause’, they would not inflict it upon themselves. They would be shocked to think that they are killing ‘innocent people’. They reject any notion that they are killing just for the sake of killing. No, they are carrying out a ‘mission’ assigned by Allah to all of Islam, backed, in their minds, by Qur’anic passages and an historical tradition of conquest.”

Thus the description of a ‘cult of death’ does not sufficiently capture what is at the heart of our current dilemma. We face a ‘cult of purity’ prior to a ‘cult of death’; a spiritual passion that serves as a spur to political ambition and military aggression.

Robyn Creswell and Bernard Haykel, two American scholars of Middle Eastern culture, have recently emphasised the ‘obsession with purity’ shown by ISIS, and the ways in which the culture of jihadism finds its clearest expression, not in politics but in poetry.

It is poetry, they argue, that reveals the heart of the movement, making clear the mainspring of ISIS – and its fundamental fantasy.

For the jihadist, poetry is an inspiring way of giving witness to what they see as the truths of Islam – often in defiance of the seeming half-heartedness of parents and elders.

‘Surrounded by sceptics, the jihadi poet fashions himself as a knight of the word, which is to say, a martyr in the making.’ (New Yorker, June 8 & 15, 2015)

Until the West recognises the degree of idealism, however perverted and misguided, that animates ISIS, it will continue to misread the purpose and character of the movement – and, in a political and military sense, its plans and strategies.

The feast of Christmas has always given us the most beautiful images of innocence and purity, centred on the Christ-child and the Virgin Birth.

It also brings to mind the Massacre of the Innocents, celebrated as a Feast Day on 28 December, when we vividly recall how the powers of this world concentrated on the purity of the young – and strove to destroy the Child-Saviour.

Christmas is an opportunity for reflecting upon the spiritual and intellectual power and appeal of the idea of purity, and understanding its cultural expressions in the past as well as at the present time.

Christ’s statement in the Beatitudes, ‘Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God’, is a timely reminder of the central Christian insight that purity, in company with the other virtues, is based on an interior disposition rather than simply exterior behaviour.

The difference is implied in a statement of the ‘whisky priest’ in Graham Greene’s novel, The Power and the Glory, when he queried whether washing himself was a waste of time, as he realised that the culture he now inhabited “had invented the proverb that cleanliness was next to godliness – cleanliness, not purity”.

The passion for purity has great spiritual significance. It has inspired innumerable individuals and movements in history, such as monasticism and the tradition of priestly celibacy, as well as specific organisations like the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart to combat alcoholism.

It forms an indispensable part of the Church’s liturgical cycle – the season of Advent purifying and preparing us for Christ’s birth at Christmas, just as Lent serves a similar purpose for His resurrection at Easter.

Yet we know that the desire for purification has not always found expression in good causes. It has historically had catastrophic as well as creative effects.

The French Revolution offers an instructive example, notably in the person of the Jacobin leader, Robespierre.

His puritanical pursuit of virtue was integral to his vision of the Revolution, which he saw as an event, not merely (or even mainly) political, but moral and religious in character. It involved the creation of a new moral order that embraced terror as a way of cleansing humanity of its corruption and remaking it in perfection.

In some ways, the Reign of Terror in France in the late 18th century might appear as an historical prefigurement of the practice – as well as the philosophy – of ISIS in the early 21st century.

A more modern illustration of the passion for purity was Nazism.

The Holocaust was caused by Hitler’s hatred of the Jews which drove him to impose the purity of the Aryan race by expelling every form of ‘racial infection’. It was so unappeasable that even the inevitable drift of Germany towards defeat in the final months of the war did nothing to stop the transport of Jewish and other citizens to the Nazi death camps.

Much has recently been made of the need to rally in defence of Western values, such as social tolerance and religious liberty, while working to ‘deradicalise’ young people perverted by Islamist ideology.

Unfortunately, this implies that the West itself lacks any radical strength in its own tradition, any comparable source of serious inspiration (which it has historically drawn from its Judaeo-Christian roots), that would enable it to counter and finally overcome Islamist extremism – or secularist sluggishness.

We may wonder whether the challenge we face is not radicalism as such – and the need to ‘deradicalise’ – but rather the oppressive and violent form it has now assumed.

The Christian tradition, after all, is intrinsically ‘radical’ – in the original sense of penetrating to the roots of one’s God-given creation and cherishing them; not ignoring them as though they are dispensable, or pulling them up so as to pervert and destroy them.

It is ‘radical’ in beginning with the conversion of the human heart.

This has historically led to vital advances and foundational reforms in society – arising from core beliefs such as the dignity of all human beings, which resulted in the abolition of slavery, and the assumption of natural order, which lay behind the pursuit of scientific discovery. All were infuenced by the moral and intellectual heritage of Christianity.

Finally, it is likely to require a Christian radicalism, in the most creative sense as a spiritual movement exerting a personal and cultural impact, to defeat a destructive radicalism.

….

Taken from: https://www.catholicweekly.com.au/christmas-and-the-passion-for-purity/

Is truth about Islam being whitewashed in Australia?

Islamic Conquests 1

Islamisation will wash away the west

November 19, 2015 12:00am

PARISIANS endured their first curfews since the German Occupation. The death toll from the latest multiple ­attacks stands at 132, most slaughtered during a concert at the Bataclan theatre, a delightful bit of 19th-century chinoi-serie on the Boulevard Voltaire. The last time I was there was to see Julie Pietri.

I’m so bloody sick of these savages shooting and bombing and killing and blowing up everything I like, whether it’s the small Quebec town where my little girl’s favourite fondue restaurant is, or my favourite hotel in Amman, or the brave freespeecher who hosted me in Copenhagen … or a music hall where I liked to go to get away from the cares of the world for a couple of hours.

But look at the photos of Paris, there’s nowhere to get away from it: the barbarians who yell “Allahu Akbar!” are there waiting for you … when you go to a soccer match, you go to a concert, you go for a drink on a Friday night.


People light candles for victims who were killed in Friday’s attacks in Paris.

They’re there on the train, at the magazine office, in the kosher supermarket, at the museum in Brussels, outside the barracks in Woolwich.When the Allahu Akbar boys opened fire, Paris was talking about the climate-change conference due to start later this month, when the world’s leaders will fly in to “solve” a “problem” that doesn’t exist rather than to address the one that does.

But don’t worry: we ­already have a hashtag (#PrayForParis) and doubtless there’ll be many candle-light vigils of weepy tilty-headed tossers.

Because as long as we all advertise how sad and sorrowful we are, who needs to do anything?

With his usual killer ­comedy timing, just before the ­attacks Barack Obama told George Stephanopoulos on Good Morning, America that he’d “contained” IS and that they’re not “gaining strength”. A few hours later, a cell whose members claim to have been recruited by IS slaughtered 132 people in the heart of Paris and succeeded in getting two suicide bombers and a third bomb frighteningly close to French President Francois Hollande.

Visiting the Bataclan theatre after the horror, he declared “nous allons mener le combat, il sera impitoyable”: We are going to wage a war that will be pitiless.


Canadian commentator Mark Steyn.

Does he mean it? Or is he just killing time until Obama and David Cameron and ­Angela Merkel and Justin Trudeau and Malcolm Turnbull fly in and they can all get back to talking about sea ­levels in the Maldives in the 22nd century? By which time France and Germany and Belgium and Austria and the Netherlands will have been long washed away.Among his other coy evasions, Obama described the Paris attacks as “an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share”.

But that’s not true, is it?

He’s right in saying that it is an ­attack not just on Paris or France.

What it is is an attack on the West, on the civilisation that built the modern world — an attack on one portion of “humanity” by those who claim to speak for another portion of “humanity”.

And these are not “universal values” but values that spring from a relatively narrow segment of humanity.

They were kinda sorta “universal” when the great powers were willing to enforce them around the world and the various colonial subjects were at least obliged to pay lip service to them.

But the European empires retreated from the world and those “universal values” are utterly alien to large parts of the map today.

And then Europe decided to invite millions of Muslims to settle in their countries. Most of those people don’t want to participate actively in bringing about the death of diners and concertgoers and soccer fans, but at a certain level many of them either wish or are indifferent to the death of the societies in which they live — modern, pluralist, Western societies and those “universal values” of which Obama bleats.


People gather to remember the victims of the Paris attacks.

So, if you are either an ­active ISIS recruit or just a guy who’s been fired up by social media, you have a very large comfort zone in which to swim and which the authorities find almost impossible to penetrate.And all Chancellor Merkel and the EU want to do is make that large comfort zone even bigger by letting millions more “Syrian refugees” walk into the continent and settle wherever they want.

As I wrote after the ­Copenhagen attacks in February: I would like to ask Mr Cameron and (Danish PM) Miss Thorning-Schmidt what’s their happy ending here? What’s their road map for fewer “acts of violence” in the years ahead?

Or are they riding on a wing and a prayer that they can manage the situation and hold it down to what cynical British civil servants used to call during the so-called Irish “Troubles” “an acceptable level of ­violence”?

In Nigeria and Pakistan, the citizenry are expected to live with the reality that every so often Boko Haram will kick open the door of the schoolhouse and kidnap your daughters for sex-slavery, or the Taliban will gun down your kids and behead their teacher in front of the class.

And it’s all entirely “random”, as President Obama would say, so you just have to put up with it once in a while, and it’s tough if it’s your kid, but that’s just the way it is.

If we’re being honest here, isn’t that all Mr Cameron and Helle Thorning-Schmidt are offering their citizens?

Spasms of violence as a routine feature of life, but don’t worry, we’ll do our best to contain it — and you can help mitigate it by not going to “controversial” art events, or synagogues, or gay bars, or … or soccer matches, or concerts, or restaurants.


People gather to remember the victims of the Paris attacks.

I’m Islamed out. I’m tired of Islam 24/7, at Colorado colleges, Marseilles synagogues, Sydney coffee shops, day after day after day.The West cannot win this thing with a schizophrenic strategy of targeting things and people, but not targeting the ideology, of intervening ineffectually overseas and not intervening at all when it comes to the remorseless ­Islamisation and self-segregation of large segments of their own countries.

So I say again: what’s the happy ending here? Because if Francois Hollande isn’t prepared to end mass Muslim immigration to Europe, then his “pitiless war” isn’t serious.

And, if they’re still willing to tolerate Merkel’s mad plan to reverse Germany’s demographic death spiral through fast-track Islamisation, then Europeans aren’t serious.

In the end, the decadence of Merkel, Hollande, Cameron and the rest of the fin de civilisation Western leadership will cost you your world and everything you love. So screw the candle-light vigil.

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