Archive for February, 2012

The Name of Metatron

Sunday, February 26th, 2012

It is said that Enoch ‘walked with God, and then was no more; for God took him’ (Gen. v, 24.) At some stage it became accepted that after his assumption Enoch was transformed into an angel called Metatron. And this angel was also the result of several other amalgamations and ...

The Names and Order of the Seven Heavens

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The theory of Seven Heavens is derived from astrological speculation on the 7 visible regularly moving celestial objects. In the 2nd C BCE the Greeks developed the “Chaldean” order for these objects: Moon, Mercury, Venus, Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, which generally replaced the older Babylonian and Egyptian orderings. These ...

Is Confucianism a Religion?

Monday, February 20th, 2012

Peter Berger in The American Interest (February 15, 2012) asks: ‘Is Confucianism a Religion?’ It’s an old question and Berger himself goes through some of the issues involved – though he does not much consider the many ways that ‘Confucianism’ (ru jia) changed over time, some of which seemed to ...

Accidental Features of Apocalypse

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

Lists of early apocalyptic writings may be found in DS Russell (1964) Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic, London: SCM, pp 37f; C Rowland (1982) The Open Heaven, London: SPCK, p 15. Examples of the genre may be found in J. Charlesworth (ed.) (1983) OTP:1, 2. Of the works ...

The Necessary Elements of the Ascension Story

Monday, February 13th, 2012

We can discover the necessary elements of the Ascension story. By comparison of the various particular texts in which the Ascension plotline occurs. Take the following to be the primary documents[1]: Dante, Commedia Divina: Paradiso; Ibn Ishaq, Sirat rasul Allah; (ibn ...

A Puzzle about Spirit Opposition in Later Ascension Plotlines

Sunday, February 12th, 2012

In the ascension stories of the developed religions we very often find that the progress of the protagonist and his guide is impeded at each heaven by spirits determined to test his worthiness. For example, in Bistami’s mi’raj at the First Heaven: [H]e continued to show me dominion that would wear ...

Ethical Consequences of the Gnostic Union

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

There’s always the assumption that mystical gnosis will result in an elevated ethical state on the part of the gnostic. Given that there’s plenty of controversy over the ethical stance of someone who is concerned above all with their own salvation, I find this lazy acceptance a little puzzling. It’s ...

Remnants of the Great Bear Cult in Punxsutawney

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

I’ve just read a brief article about Punxsutawney Phil by Stephanie Pappas at the LiveScience site. She mentions that: relying on rodents as forecasters may date back to the early days of Christianity in Europe, when clear skies on Candlemas Day (Feb. 2) were said to herald cold weather ahead. ...

Does Mars have Value?

Saturday, February 4th, 2012

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