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Biblical criticism = the study & investigation of biblical writings in order to make discerning & discriminating judgments about them. The term ‘criticism’ is derived from the Greek word krino, which means ‘to judge,’ ‘to discern,’ or to be discriminating in making an evaluation or forming a judgment. It has come to refer to a form of inquiry whose purpose is to make discriminating judgments about literary and artistic productions. Thus, we speak of literary criticism, art criticism, music criticism, or film criticism as disciplines or fields of inquiry whose purpose is to review productions in their respective areas in order to discuss and appraise their significant features and judge their lasting worth.
Generally speaking, the questions asked in biblical criticism have to do with the preservation & transmission of the biblical text: in what manuscripts the text has been preserved, their date, setting, and relationship to each other, and what the most reliable form of the text is; the origin and composition of the text, including when and where it originated, how, why, by whom, for whom, and in what circumstances it was produced, what influences were at work in its production, and what sources were used in its composition; and the message of the text as expressed in its language, including the meaning of the words as well as the way in which they are arranged in meaningful forms of expression.
There are 2 forms of biblical criticism:
Johann Gottfried Eichhorn (1752-1827) was a German theologian, professor at Göttingen University (1788-1827) of oriental languages and professor of exegesis of OT and NT. The term higher criticism” was first employed by the German Biblical scholar Johann Gottfried Eichhorn, 1787
Higher criticism: It is not, as supposed by some, an arrogant denomination, assuming superior wisdom, but it has come into use because this sort of criticism deals with the larger aspects of Bible study which studies the source of the text and who (authorship) said it and when (date), where (composition) and why (purpose) it was written.
Lower criticism: deals with the text and attempts to study and determine what the original text (context) said. It is ‘lower’ not because it is less important but because it is foundational to other forms of inquiry, it deals with textual details or textual criticism.
Textual Criticism: The aim of this field of biblical criticism is to establish the original wording or form of the biblical text insofar as this is possible. Even with modern printing technology, what an author sends to the printer and what is actually printed may differ. When we recognize a typographical error on a printed page, or note an obvious omission or transposition of a word or phrase, realize that this could not have been the author’s intention, and mentally correct the text, we are engaging in textual criticism.
In dealing with ancient texts, it is more difficult to determine what an author actually wrote for several reasons. First, ancient texts were written and copied by hand, and this increased the likelihood that changes in the text could occur. As ancient scribes copied these manuscripts, either by transcribing a written text or by copying a text as it was read aloud by a reader, they sometimes copied the same word or phrase twice, omitted words or phrases, misspelled words, heard one thing and wrote another, heard incorrectly what was read, or made changes they thought would improve the text in some way. As a result, the various copies of surviving texts differ in their actual wording.
Second, whereas with modern texts it is usually possible to check the printed copy against the author’s manuscript, this is not possible with ancient biblical texts. In no case has the author’s original text, the autograph copy, been preserved. What have survived are copies of the original (or, more accurately, copies of copies), translations of the original into other languages, and quotations of the original by later authors. Quite often, these were written many years, even centuries, later. During this intervening period, numerous changes occurred, not only in the wording but also in the form of the text. In some cases, entire sections of the original have been lost, and thus what remains is incomplete. Or, in other cases, perhaps only portions of the original text have been preserved, often because only certain passages have been quoted by other authors.
It is the task of textual criticism to collect and study these various writings in which a text has been preserved, determine the changes that have occurred in the wording and arrangement of the text, assess the significance of such changes, and restore, if possible, the original wording or form of the text. If this is not possible, one must decide on the best or most reliable wording and try to account for the historical process through which the text has been changed. In every case, textual criticism seeks to establish a reliable text that can serve as the basis for serious study and reflection.
 
Aedile (Latin Aedilis, from aedes, aedis “temple,” “building”) was an office of the Roman Republic. Based in Rome, the aediles were responsible for maintenance of public buildings and regulation of public festivals. They also had powers to enforce public order. They assisted the senior  magistrates.
The office was generally held by young men intending to follow the path/cursus honorum to high political office. However it was not a legal part of the cursus, merely an advantageous starting point which demonstrated the aspiring politician's commitment to public service.
 
Isthmian Games
Origin
The Games were reputed to have originated as funeral games for Melicertes (also known as Palaemon). Melicertes, in Greek mythology, was the son of the Boeotian prince Athamas and Ino, daughter of Cadmus.
Ino, pursued by her husband, who had been driven mad by Hera because Ino had brought up the infant Dionysus, threw herself and Melicertes into the sea from a high rock between Megara and Corinth. Both were changed into marine deities: Ino as Leucothea, Melicertes as Palaemon. The body of the latter was carried by a dolphin to the Isthmus of Corinth and deposited under a pine tree. Here it was found by his uncle Sisyphus, who had it removed to Corinth, and by command of the gods instituted the Isthmian Games and sacrifices in his honour. Sisyphus was the legendary founder and king of Corinth, who discovered the dead body and buried it subsequently on the Isthmus. In Roman times, Melicertes was worshipped in the region of Corinth.
Theseus, legendary king of Athens, expanded Melicertes’ funeral games from a closed nightly rite into fully-fledged athletic-games event which was dedicated to Poseidon (In Greek mythology, Poseidon (Greek: Ποσειδν; Latin: Neptūnus was the god of the sea, as well as of horses and, as “Earth-Shaker,” of earthquakes) and was open to all Greeks, and was at a suitable level of advancement and popularity to rival those in Olympia, which were founded by Herakles. If we are to accept the traditional date of the first Olympic Games (776 BC), we can say that the first Isthmian Games would have been held in 582 BC.
At least until the 5th century BC the winners of the Isthmian games received a wreath of celery[2]; later, the wreath was altered such that it consisted of pine leaves. Victors could also be honored with a statue or an ode. Besides these prizes of honor, the city of Athens awarded victorious Athenians with an extra 100 drachmas.
History
From 228 BC or 229 BC onwards the Romans were allowed to take part in the games.
Since the games’ inception, Corinth had always been in control of them. When Corinth was destroyed by the Romans in 146 BC, the Isthmian games continued, but were now administered by Sicyon (Sicyon was an ancient Greek city situated in the northern Peloponnesus between Corinth and Achaea). Corinth was rebuilt by Julius Caesar in 44 BC. Corinth recovered ownership of the Games at some point between 7 BC and AD 3. The Isthmian Games thereafter flourished until Theodosius I suppressed them as a pagan ritual.
Contests
Comparable to the Olympic games. Among other competitions were:
Isthmian truce
Before the games began, a truce was declared by Corinth to grant athletes safe passage through Greece. In 412 BC, even though Athens and Corinth were at war, the Athenians were invited to the games as usual.
 
Odeon or odeum is a building used for musical performance in Sparta, built in the 7th or 6th century BC. Hence, any such building in ancient Greece or ancient Rome was called an odeon.
Apollo
In Greek and Roman mythology, Apollo (in Greek, πόλλωνApóllōn or πέλλωνApellōn), is one of the most important Olympian deities. Apollo has been variously recognized as a god of light and the sun; truth and prophecy; archery; medicine and healing; music, poetry, and the arts; and more. In Roman mythology he is known as Apollo.
As the patron of Delphi (Pythian Apollo), Apollo was an oracular god - the prophetic deity of the Delphic Oracle. Medicine and healing were associated with Apollo, whether through the god himself or mediated through his son Asclepius. Apollo was also seen as a god who could bring ill-health and deadly plague as well as one who had the ability to cure. Amongst the god’s custodial charges, Apollo became associated with dominion over colonists, and as the patron defender of herds and flocks. As the leader of the Muses (Apollon Musagetes) and director of their choir, Apollo functioned as the patron god of music and poetry. Hermes created the lyre for him, and the instrument became a common attribute of Apollo. Hymns sung to Apollo were called paeans.
 
Poseidon (In Greek mythology, Poseidon (Greek: Ποσειδν; Latin: Neptūnus was the god of the sea, as well as of horses and, as “Earth-Shaker,” of earthquakes).
 
 
In Greek mythology, Athena(θην, Athēnâ, or θήνη, Ath; Latin: Minerva) is the shrewd companion of heroes and the Goddess of heroic endeavour.
She was known as the goddess of wisdom as philosophy became applied to cult in the later fifth century. She was the patroness of weaving especially, and other crafts and the more disciplined side of war, the metalwork associated with the creation of weapons fell under her patronage.
She is often accompanied by the goddess of victory, Nike. In her role as a protector of the city, Athena was worshiped throughout the Greek world as Athena Polias (“Athena of the city”). She had a special relationship with Athens, as is shown by the etymological connection of the names of the goddess and the city.
 
Asclepius (Greek σκληπιός, transliterated Asklēpiós; Latin Aesculapius) is the demigod of medicine and healing in ancient Greek mythology. Asclepius represents the healing aspect of the medical arts, while his daughters Hygieia, Meditrina, Iaso, Aceso, Aglæa/Ægle and Panacea (literally, “all-healing”) symbolize the forces of cleanliness, medicine and healing, respectively.
Asclepius learnt the art of surgery, and became the well-respected doctor of his day. He also learnt the use of drugs, incantations and love potions, and was capable of bringing the dead back to life. According to some, Asclepius fought alongside the Achaeans in the Trojan War.
Isis
Isis is a goddess in Egyptian mythology. She is the wife and sister of Osiris and mother of Horus, and was worshipped as the archetypal wife and mother.
Her name literally means “(female) of throne”, that is, “Queen of the throne”, which was portrayed by the emblem worn on her head, that of a throne.
Queen Isis was married to her brother Osiris who was ruler of the throne. They were the children of Nut and Geb, and had an additional sister named Nephthys and brother Set. Isis was supposed to marry Set, not Osiris. When a jealous Set slew the beloved Osiris and dropped his body into the Nile, Isis did not simply mourn her lost love, but moved all forces of nature and rescued the body of her husband from where it had come to rest in Byblos.
Isis, with her sister Nephthys were preparing for the ceremonial burial of Osiris when his murderer Set stole the body and hacked it into fourteen pieces. Isis searched the length and breadth of Egypt, gathering together his pieces and, with the god Anubis, bound him together to make him whole, save for his phallus. In one version of the myth Isis formed a new phallus and attached it to her deceased husband’s body. For this and her unfathomable skills of re-creation, she is called Isis, ‘great of magic.’
She made magic wings for herself and became a desert kite, circling the sky, wailing and lamenting over the deceased Osiris. The wings and the wind they created wafted the breath of life into the dead Osiris. The devoted wife mounted her husband and with their union, conceived a son, Horus. Fearful that the jealous Set would seek out and injure her son, she bid her husband farewell. Osiris descended into the underworld to rule over the Netherworld. Isis went out into the wilderness, gave birth to Horus and hid him in the papyrus marshes, guarding him from Set and the natural forces and dangers, such as snakes and predators, until he came of age.
Ever after, kings were the incarnation of Horus and the kings sought the protection of the goddess. The ancient regents saw the goddess with a throne upon her head and reached out to the divine essence of royalty. As wife of Osiris associated with kingship and the deceased kings of Egypt, and as mother of Horus, the falcon god, always associated with the living Pharaoh, Isis with her powers of love and magic became the epitome of the rights of kings.
Isis is often seen with a sistrum, a ceremonial musical rattle tambourine-like instrument. Her priestesses carried the sistrum and tied their robes with the Knot of Isis, a sash around the waist tied in an ankh-like knot with two loops.
Her origins are uncertain but are believed to have come from the Nile Delta; however, unlike other Egyptian deities, she did not have a centralized cult at any point throughout her worship. The cult of Isis from Egypt eventually spread outside Egypt throughout the Middle East and the Roman Empire, with temples dedicated to her built as far away as the British Isles. Pockets of her worship remained in Christian Europe as late as the 6th century.
 
Serapis
Serapis (or Sarapis) was a syncretic Hellenistic-Egyptian god. Under Ptolemy Soter, efforts were made to integrate Egyptian religion with that of their Greek = hellenic rulers. Ptolemy’s policy was to find a deity that should win the reverence alike of both groups, Greeks & Egyptians. Alexander the Great had attempted to use Amun (= Amun became depicted in human form, seated on a throne, wearing on his head a plain deep circlet from which rise two straight parallel plumes, possibly symbolic of the tail feathers of a bird, a reference to his earlier status as a wind god) for this purpose, but he was more prominent in Upper Egypt, but was not so popular with those in Lower Egypt, where the Greeks had stronger influence. The Greeks had little respect for animal-headed figures, and so a Greek-style anthropomorphic statue was chosen as the idol, and proclaimed as the deity.
Paul’s Second Missionary Journey
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Significant Events in Paul's Journey*
50 A.D.
·         Paul and Barnabas attend the "Council of Jerusalem" (see Acts 15)
51 A.D.
·         Second missionary journey begins. Paul and Barnabas travel to Antioch.
·         At Antioch John Mark (who left them at Perga on their first missionary journey) wishes to rejoin Paul/Barnabas. A disagreement ensues between Paul and Barnabas about whether to allow Mark to come with them. The argument is so heated that Paul finally decides to take Silas with him to Tarsus, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium and Antioch in Pisidia. Barnabas takes John Mark and travels to the island of Cypress (Cyprus).
·         At Lystra Paul meets Timothy, who accompanies him on the rest of his journey.
52 A.D.
·         Paul/Silas/Timothy travel to Troas, Philippi, Thessalonica and Beroea (Berea).
·         Jews from Thessalonica come to Beroea and stir up the people against Paul. He is sent by sea to Athens. Silas and Timothy stay in Beroea for a time. It is possible Timothy later travels to Athens, meets Paul, and is sent to revisit Thessalonica.
·         Paul travels to Corinth and writes 1 Thessalonians. Timothy and Silas are with him. Paul meets Aquila and Priscilla.
·         Claudius expels the Jews from Rome (see Acts 18:2)
53 A.D.
·         Paul stays in Corinth and writes 2 Thessalonians.
·         The tetrarchy of Trachonitis given to Agrippa II.
·         Felix made procurator of Judaea
54 A.D.
·         Paul, Aquila and Priscilla leave Corinth in the Spring and arrive at Ephesus. Aquila and Priscilla stay in Ephesus as Paul travels on to Jerusalem. Paul arrives in the city in the Summer (Pentecost). He then goes to Antioch.
·         Death of Claudius and accession of Nero.
 
 
 
 
Graeco-Roman Class structure
Roman society was strictly hierarchical:
free-born citizens (cives)
-          the patricians, who could trace their ancestry to one of the 100 Patriarchs at the founding of the city, and the plebeians, who could not (as some plebeian families became wealthy and entered politics, and some patrician families fell on hard times)
-          nobles, senators
-          the equestrians (equites, sometimes translated “knights”), originally those who could afford a warhorse, who formed a powerful mercantile class
freedmen (liberti) = full Roman citizenship was extended to all free-born men in the Empire
slaves (servi) at the bottom
 
Celibacy refers either to being unmarried or to sexual abstinence. Celibacy is sometimes used as a synonym for "abstinence" or "chastity." A vow of celibacy is a promise, freely made, not to enter into marriage or engage in sexual intercourse.
 
 
 
 
Reflections on 1 Corinthians 1 : 18-25 Christ, True Power, True Wisdom
 
(This may also be used for proclaiming/explaining the meaning of « the folly of the Cross » to other Catholics/Christians as well as to men/women of other faiths)
 
 
These reflections were published as an article for « the Evangelization/Proclamation Cell » headed by Bishop Agnelo Gracias, and was printed in various languages and distributed at St. Michael’s Church, Mahim, during the Wednesday Novenas
 
Love to the End – Calvary
 
The cross was an ancient instrument of execution to which the living body of a condemned person was fixed to await death. This form of execution was a common practice among Greeks and Romans used against rebellious slaves and traitors of the state. A placard proclaiming the crime was hung around the neck and the condemned prisoner carried the crossbar, not the whole cross, to the place of execution. There the offender was stripped and flogged and finally was crucified on the cross in a public place. The crucifixion always took place in a public place which served as a warning to others. Death came slowly, often only after several days as a result of thirst, hunger, exposure and the traumatic effects of the scouraging.
 
Jesus too was crucified by the Roman authorities who alone had the authority to impose this death sentence. Jesus was condemned for the political crime of treason when He proclaimed Himself to be the messiah, which the Romans considered a threat to their ruler, Ceasar’s authority and power. The one whom christians hailed as Messiah (the « anointed one » sent by God to save His people) and worshipped as Lord was condemned to die on the cross. One may ask how could such a high status be given to one who was crucified like a criminal ?  
 
In the early church Jesus’ death on the cross was seen as a supreme act of love – though innocent He freely died that others may have new life. The cross which was a cruel instrument of torture and death was transformed by His body and blood into an instrument of human salvation. 
 
The « Good News » that Jesus practiced and preached during His lifetime was brought to fulfilment on the cross, when He preached love and forgiveness and non-violence. He was a victim of misunderstanding and injustice, falsely accused both, by the Jewish and Roman authorities. Jesus responded with perfect love, forgiveness and non-violence, thus transforming the whole situation and redeeming the whole world.
Jesus confronted the evils of suffering, injustice, violence and death (cross), by entering them, and He conquers suffering, injustice, violence and death by undergoing Himself suffering, injustice, violence and death with perfect love and forgiveness.
The example of Jesus teaches us not how to hate, how to hurt one another, or how to kill, but how to live, how to love, how to pray, how to serve, how to forgive and how to die.
The cross teaches us:
-          not to inflict suffering on others, but to be willing to undergo suffering for the sake of others without the desire to retaliate;
-          not to put others on the cross but to be willing to undergo the cross for the sake of others;
-          not to kill people but to be willing to be killed, to be martyred, for the sake of humanity, for love, justice and peace, like all the saints and martyrs.
As followers of Jesus, as people of the cross, we are people:
-          who give our lives for others
-          who build God’s kingdom of love and peace
-          who work for suffering humanity and for the crucified peoples of the world.
-          We share in his nonviolent, redemptive, suffering love.
 
 
Today I invite you to be with Jesus as he carries his cross, to stand with Mary at the foot of the cross, to let Jesus offer us his forgiveness and love, to go to the tomb, to share his suffering love, and to stand with the crucified peoples of the world, so that we can truly be Good Friday people, attentive to the crucified Christ in the world.
 
Fr. Fitzgerald Fernandes
Archdiocesan Seminary,
Goregaon, Mumbai 400 063
March 29, 2007


[1]The original Olympic Games (Greek: Ολυμπιακοί Αγώνες; Olympiakoi Agones) began in 776 BC in Olympia, Greece, and was celebrated until AD 393.
[2] The whole plant is gently stimulating, nourishing, and restorative; it can be liquidized and the juice taken for joint and urinary tract inflammations, such as rheumatoid arthritis, cystitis or urethritis, for weak conditions and nervous exhaustion.
 
[3]Pankration is an ancient sport and a martial art introduced in the Greek Olympic games in 648 BC. Many historians believe that although pankration was not one of the first Olympic sports, it was likely one of the most popular. Some also argue it to be the first all-encompassing fighting system in human history.
Etymology:The term comes from the Greek words “pan” (meaning “all”) and “kratos” (meaning “strength” or “power”). The term is also used to describe the sport’s modern variations. It is pronounced pan-kra-tee-on.
Origins: In Greek mythology it was said that the heroes Herakles and Theseus invented the pankration as a result of using both wrestling and boxing. They are credited as the two “inventors” of panmachia, “total combat”, from παν-, pan-, all- or total, and μάχη, mache, combat. The older term “panmachia” would later become disused in favour of the sport term pankration.

 

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

Bible Map: Apostle Paul's Second Missionary Journey

 

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