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Monday, July 25, 2016

Where Did the Bible Happen

Egypt knew no Pharaohs nor IsraelitesEgypt knew no Pharaohs nor Israelites by Ashraf Ezzat
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Biblical archaeology has always been in a conundrum. The archaeology does not support the narrative of the Old Testament. No proof of the patriarchs, no strong proof of the First Temple. Egyptian records scarcely mention the Israelites who had been slave there for over four hundred years. No left overs of the Israelite exodus in the Sinai desert and nothing remains from King David and Solomon. This has lead many in Israel and abroad to speculate that the bible is naught but a collection of Faery tales.

Other historians, most notably in the Arab world, feel that the Biblical stories are true. After all they are repeated in the Koran. They supposedly happened elsewhere, in Southern Arabia and North Yemen. Historically Egypt had never been called Misr or Mizraim. It was always called gobt or copt. Kemerovo was an orientalist name attached to the country. So this author contends. I have my doubts in this. Egypt has kings and queens not pharoahs. Pharoahs actually meant house in ancient Egyptian. This I know to be true. The descriptions of land scape do not match what is described in Egypt rather a walled fortress in Arabia. In the Asir region of Arabia there is a town or village called Misra and it was lead by a titular office of Faroan. Plutarch and Herodotus went rough Egypt and there was no mention of Israelites. Had the story take place there, along with the ten plagues the Egyptians would have definitely remembered. Nor was there any mention of Jews or Israelites mentioned in the land of Canaan. More over when the Israelites supposedly escaped the Holy Land was under Egyptian control. It has been noted that during the tenth century BC there is no evidence that Jerusalem was capital of the kingdom many of the place names correspond to p,aces in Arabia as do the tribal names corresponding to tribes in Arabia. The author contends that the Baby.onian and Assyrian invasions were meant to control the spice trade routes which never crossed into what we call Canaan. What started this so called fraud why the Septuagint written by 70 Rabbis.

The author is not the only one subscribing to this theory. Back in the 1980's the theory was advanced by professor Kamal Salibi, who noticed e similarity of biblical place names in Arabia. I found him much more level headed in his presentation. This author is highly opinioted often times criticizing Zionism and calling their information and beliefs propaganda. Such talk has no place in a book of this nature. Stick to facts. For sources I would say that sadly half of them were from Wikipedia and the other half legitimate. Too bad because it looks like it could be a hypothesis worth investigating if the Saudis would allow archaeological digs to take place there. There was once a Jewish Himyarites kingdom there and Jews do have extensive history there. I do believe Mount Sinai is located in Arabia and that part of their wandering so took place there.

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Saturday, July 23, 2016

Jewish Tales of the Supernatural

Lilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the SupernaturalLilith's Cave: Jewish Tales of the Supernatural by Howard Schwartz
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Asmodeus and Lilith are the crown regent of the sitra achra or the other side. They rule over all the demon. Both King an Queen are spoken of quite frequently in Jewish literature. Asmodeus threw King Solomon out of his palace and too, his place for a number of years. Lilith rebelled against Adams superiority trip and fled the Garden of Eden. She gives birth to demons. I legend she seduces men and kills children unless they are protected with a certain amulet.

This book is a collection of 50 stories regarding the supernatural, collected from the Jews in Europe and from Jewish communes in the Middle East . In these stories Rabbis serve as powerful magicians doing battle against demons, supernatural creatures and other sorcerers . These Rabbis cast circle on the ground , see into the future, raise the dead and caste spell. A good number of stories include Asmodeus and Lilith. In one story a gold smith is about to die in the forest and in order to survive he makes a deal with Asmodeus. He marries his daughter and she lives in the cellar of the goldsmiths shop. He frequent her there and they even have kids. After The affair is discovered. The demon goddess lives there with the offspring until generations later rabbis compel then to leave. In another story Lilith or Queen Sheba seduces a man and lives in siniliar circumstance .

I enjoyed reading this collection and finished it in two days. Th stories pull motifs from Jewish sources like the bible, Talmud and Kabbalah . Yet they also draw from Faery lore. You have women marrying demons and then living with them at the bottom of the ocean. Lots of Faery kings have seduced many a human in so a fashion. In one story two friend are reunited after one dies. They study Torah for a few hours, but the passes quickly and 150 years go by. In the Faery world time moves in such a fashion.


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Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Treasury of Jewish Folktales

Gabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical TalesGabriel's Palace: Jewish Mystical Tales by Howard Schwartz
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Jewish religion contains a treasure trove of fairy tales and legends. Spanning all the way from biblical times all the way to present times. The midrash contains stories of the patriarchs, the Mishna ( Oral Torah) contains legends of rabbi Akiva and the Rashbi. The Talmud was redacted during the second temple period. Later on in Jewish history the author covers tales of the kabbalistc mystic like the Arizal. Next he jumps into chassidic tales and hen goes into some tales told in modern times.

All the stories contain miracle performed by rabbis or tzaddkim. By using different permutations of gods name they are able to summon angels and drive away demon, sometimes the rabbis can travel to heaven and back. The rabbis are much like medieval Magicians who could wield magic to curse or cure. The tales are filled with variety of mystical creatures much like a Grimm's fairy tale.

The book is filled with stories from each time period in Jewish History. The introduction gives a long and detailed explanation of these time periods along instruction on different mystical concepts. The end part contains detailed foot notes and explanations . I , myself learned several new things while reading this book. I did not know that Sandalphon was the Angels whom takes our prayer and weaves a crown for God . Tzadkiel takes the soul after death and prepares it for the world to come. Ash modal and Lilith are the regents of the demons realm. An ibbur is a heavenly soul that mixed with a person in order to tach them Torah

If stories are your thing or if furthering your knowledge of Judaism is what you are after then I strongly recommend you read this book.

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Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul

Sacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the SoulSacred Pain: Hurting the Body for the Sake of the Soul by Ariel Glucklich
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Pain is something we often shy away from at every opportunity. It is something to be driven away with pills and medication. We are afraid of pain. But this has not always been the attitude toward pain. In many religious circles ranging from Native American all the way through Christianity pain is embraced . Monks in monasteries will flog themselves , aboriginal tribes will pierce their chest muscles and be suspended by rope, Jews, Muslims and African Tribesmen will perform circumcision rights at various times during a mans life. While true the medical establish tries to evade pain, but this was not always the case. In earlier times pain was seen as something healing.

There are reason why people inflict religious pain on themselves. One reason is to atone for a sin. Better to punished now than in the afterlife. It could also be used to build empathy in a community members to their leader. Some will inflict pain in order to fight the body and egotistical desires. Sometimes pain will bring one closer to divinity and drive evil away. Pain as mentioned earlier is used in initiating ritual.
Pain has an integrating effect and a disintegration affect . Pain is used at times to allow the follower to be possessed by an entity.

The book has some strong points. I the first chapter that gave a thorough and understandable treatment of pain in the various religion. Chapter 4 related it well to possession and all the different aspect of personality thT come about or our through religious pain. The last chapter spoke of pain and psychology. Other than that I found this work to be very dry and uninteresting. I had to stay interested in. Too academic.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Sworn to Secrecy: From Templar Knightd to Freemason

Sworn in Secret: Freemasonry and the Knights TemplarsSworn in Secret: Freemasonry and the Knights Templars by Sanford Holst
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Freemasons, where did they originate? Was it the guilds of stonecutter and worker In medieval Europe who became or evolved into the Freemasons? Or did their practices come from the Templar Knights after they were forcefully disbanded in 1308.? Author Sanford Holst contends that the organization of Freemasons comes from the Templars. Holst has written previous works on the Phoenicians. He includes some of tier history as well as he he seems think there is a link.

Starting off with a battle during Aamerica's war for Independence, George Washington helps an injured brother in need. This was one of the big concepts for both Templars and Freemasons. The Knights Templar were big on this concept as well as secrecy. Starting out during the Crusades with a mission to protect Christian pilgrims in the Holy Land. Hugh De Payens and 8 other Knights set out to the temple of Solomon with the popes permission . Later their ranks word grow as more junior noblemen sought to join this order as opposed to joining a religious order of monks. Most noted for being horse mounted warrior standing against Saracen Infidels, there were also other functions in the organization. The Warriors wore white tunics with a Red Cross . Yet they also had a band of clerics who were well educated, could read , write and balance the books. They wore green with a Red Cross. These are the guys that manage Templar owned estates, managed the money and just about kept the whole thing running.

A perfect fit for the clerical position were the Lebanese Christians who were proficient in languages, master negotiators, and knew how to keep a secret. They learned this from their Phoenician forebears. So it is they were absorbed into the Templar organization. When the Templars were forced to disband thanks to King Philip of France , the Catholic inquisition only caught a small fraction of the Templars. King philip wanted their money, but he did not get a lot of it. The money and the Templars vanished into a secret Underground Railroad .

At first it was thoughts that the surviving Templars morphed into the Masonic Stonecutter guilds and then to Freemason. Holst examines history, looks at group characteristic and explains the various connections between the groups as well as historical trends. He builds a strong case that the Freemason is an organization descended from the Knights Templar .

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Baba-Sali

Baba-Sali
Holy Morroccan Sage engaged in Prayer

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One blond hair blue eyed Calfornian who totally digs the Middle East.
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