Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#171
SteveM wrote:What about the pseudo-clementine I quoted above, do you agree with the similarity?
Thanks, that you asked, you're right. It might have been part of the SY, as it stands. At least a similar object. Generally this part might have been a relative common object. Something like an early recognition of 3d-math.

Having said that, counting mine I only have 31 (16 lower, 15 upper). There again mine are imperfect, whereas the thirty-two of the bride are perfect.
... :-) It's quite common. There are rare cases with more than 32, I guess, that these persons have more problems. In internet there was a poor guy in India, who had much more (hundreds) in miniature size.

****************

Kaplan spoke about Belimah, page 25. But likely you know this.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#172
ps: re Teeth.

Luria connects the 32 teeth of the divine provinence with the 32 paths of wisdom:

"According to the opinion that the "destroyer" is the tooth, which is sometimes revealed and sometimes concealed, it manifests the 32 Paths reflected in the 32 teeth of the supernal mouth. These obstruct the tongue, which manifests the higher tiferet. Corresponding to this below, in the realm of evil, is G-d's statement: "I shall destroy the house of Jeroboam, as one completely sweeps away dung."

ps2: re Belimah - Gabirol (whose poem Keter Malkuth I referred to in previous post) also wrote a poem based on the SY (and the verse is still used in the Liturgy of Sephardic Jews) - his verse shows familiarity with the commentary of Saadya and Saadya text of SY, and too reads 'belimah' as 'restraint'.

ps3: Re: earliest cubic reference - the cubic model was used by Saadya, using Talmudic model of the universe as cubic, however he also states that Rabbi Eliezer says the shape is 'qub', which means an inside shape that is wider at the bottom and goes narrower at the top - of itself it is ill-defined in as much it may refer to a dome, or an arch, or a pyramid. Hoever, R. Elizer is more specific - he says qup (a shape wider the bottom narrowing to the top) - like a tent'... as it is said, " And he spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in."

The Ari in his extent teachings on the ToL used a concentric sphere model, and terms such as above or below meant outer or inner spheres, and right and left to phases, not physical directions of space.

re: Kaplan Belimah -- I thought it did, but as I said earlier I am house/dog sitting at the moment for a friend who is visiting England, so I am unable to check. I think pseudo-Clemetine mentions something about vessels restraining nothingness, if so that might be another point of similarity with the SY.

I also think, but am unable to check at the moment, that the authority for the Gra/Zohar planet to sephiroth attributions are probably based on the Tikunei Zohar (which has post-Lurianic interpolations), and/or Chaim Vital's commentary on the same (and obviously, also post-Lurianic). I base this on that if my recollection is right, the Gra associated the Moon with Chesed, and the only authority for that (as far as I am aware) is in the Tikunei.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#173
SteveM wrote:ps: re Teeth.

Luria connects the 32 teeth of the divine provinence with the 32 paths of wisdom:

"According to the opinion that the "destroyer" is the tooth, which is sometimes revealed and sometimes concealed, it manifests the 32 Paths reflected in the 32 teeth of the supernal mouth. These obstruct the tongue, which manifests the higher tiferet. Corresponding to this below, in the realm of evil, is G-d's statement: "I shall destroy the house of Jeroboam, as one completely sweeps away dung."
And also:

"The "tooth" corresponds to gevura itself, this being the mystery of the 32 times the name Elohim is mentioned in the account of Creation. This is the principle of gevura, corresponding to the 32 teeth."

From the teachings of Rabbi Yitzchak Luria; translated and edited by Moshe Yaakov Wisnefsky

Of the number 32 there are also the 32 rules of Talmudical hermeneutics:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baraita_on ... -two_Rules
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#174
SteveM wrote:ps: re Teeth.

Luria connects the 32 teeth of the divine provinence with the 32 paths of wisdom:

"According to the opinion that the "destroyer" is the tooth, which is sometimes revealed and sometimes concealed, it manifests the 32 Paths reflected in the 32 teeth of the supernal mouth. These obstruct the tongue, which manifests the higher tiferet. Corresponding to this below, in the realm of evil, is G-d's statement: "I shall destroy the house of Jeroboam, as one completely sweeps away dung."
Well, "32" is interesting before SY, after SY had become famous it's logical, that then relations were drawn, where it was possible.
The "32" didn't get it's fame from the teeth, but from the binary code 2^6. That's very clear, in the world of natural math the 32 pairs are very attractive.
Generally I think, that the math scheme with the binary code had been attractive long before, maybe 2500-500 BC. Then the societies changed and the decadic counting became more interesting. A lot of things were forgotten.
The binary system had an advantage in times with oral traditions, but oral tradition lost its function, when writing culture was used for memory.

That sort of math culture, what appeared in SY and made it finally great in Kabbala tradition was greater and better in an earlier culture.
Jews had a better chance to qualify with "memories to the past", because there earlier writing system (alphabet) still was used, other models of writing partly completely vanished and with it connected memories. So it's somehow logical, that the Jewish culture got a strong side in preserving earlier facts.

....
I also think, but am unable to check at the moment, that the authority for the Gra/Zohar planet to sephiroth attributions are probably based on the Tikunei Zohar (which has post-Lurianic interpolations), and/or Chaim Vital's commentary on the same (and obviously, also post-Lurianic). I base this on that if my recollection is right, the Gra associated the Moon with Chesed, and the only authority for that (as far as I am aware) is in the Tikunei.
I don't know about a moon in Chesed. Well, I don't know too much about the later times of Kabbala.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#176
Huck wrote
Jews had a better chance to qualify with "memories to the past", because there earlier writing system (alphabet) still was used, other models of writing partly completely vanished and with it connected memories. So it's somehow logical, that the Jewish culture got a strong side in preserving earlier facts.
Huck, the Greeks (as well as the Jews) also used the alphabet for numbers, all through the Roman Empire Likewise the Phonicians. Probably much of the Eastern Mediterranean. The Romans used a combination of letters and finger-like I's, or whatever unit they wanted to express. (So did the Egyptians, from what I can find on the Internet.) In the alphabetic number writing, the 10s were the continuation of the alphabet from the units, and so on, wherever the alphabet left off. When they ran out of alphabet, they went through it again, using little marks to distinguish it from the first.

I see you referring to the Pistis Sophia. It is at http://www.gnosis.org/library/psoph.htm.

The Valentinian system of Ptolemaeus is in Irenaeus's Against Heresies (http://www.gnosis.org/library/psoph.htm. There are 30 Aeons to start with. (According to Irenaeus this "30" was chosen because of how old Jesus was when he began preaching; or by adding other significant numbers in the life of Jesus (e.g. 12 disciples plus 18 months between the resurrection and the ascension).) After Sophia begets her Desire, Limit (Horos) is begotten from the Father to separate her from her Desire, which apparently is in two parts, her Desire and her passion. Monogenes (Only-begotten) emits Christ and the Holy Spirit. These "completed the number of the Aeons" (not counting Limit), which therefore stops at 32, in this version of Valentinianism.

I don't doubt that there is a close connection between Jewish pre-Kabbalah and the Valentinans--just as there might be between the Cathars and the Kabbalists. Which came first is anybody's guess. The Valentinians, like some of the Cathars, were "moderate dualists", meaning the kind of dualism in which both sides of the opposition good/evil are created by one transcendent principle. Often the existence of evil is explained as the result of the free will of one of the creatures (i.e. Sophia, in Valentinianism). In the Kaballah of Alemanno he thinks dualism is refuted by saying that God created both good and evil. Of course many dualists would not disagree.

"Radical dualism" (some of the Cathars) proposes that the good principle did not pre-exist the evil principle, because otherwise God, in his foreknowledge, would knowingly have created a world that would have evil in it.

Some Kabbalah is of that nature; it seems that the Bahir says that the Chaos pre-existed the Creation and may or may not have been created by God. Section 2 says:
It is written (Genesis 1:2, "The earth was Chaos (Tohu) and Desolation (Bohu).
What is the meaning of the word "was" in this verse? This indicates that the Chaos existed previously and already was]
What is Chaos (Tohu)? Something that confounds (Taha) people.
What is Desolation (Bohu)? It is something that has substance. This is the reason that it is called Bohu. That, is BoHu--"it is in it."
Such a denial of creation ex nihilo is "radical dualist" heresy. No wonder they kept the Bahir secret.

Idel has an essay exploring the relationship between the Cathars and the Kabbalists of Languedoc, but I haven't read it.

On binary thinking: To be sure, both it and the decadic go way back. According to Kaplan when the Bahir speaks of the 64 "Forms", the reference is to Ezekiel (Kaplan The Bahir, p. 158):
The six-four Forms mentioned here are those seen by Ezekiel. Each of the four legs of the Throne has four angels, and each of these angels has four "faces," making a total of sixty-four "faces" or Forms (see Pirkey Rabbi Elieazer 4).
When I look at Ch. 1 of the Book of Ezekiel, all I find is four creatures with four faces, not four creatures, with four faces each, for each of four wheels. Well, 16 is as binary as 64.

The 64 then divide into 32 twice. Kaplan says:
The Heart ultimately contains the sixty-four. These are the Thirty-two Paths with "motivation from below," and these same paths with "motivation from above."
I don't know how much this helps. What is meant by "motivation from below" and "motivation from above"? Also, what the Bahir says is:
How do we know that 32 must be added to 32? Because it is written (Ecclesiastes 5:7), "for one above another watches, and there are higher ones above them."
The verse in Ecclesiastes is 5:8:
If you see the poor oppressed in a district, and justice and rights denied, do not be surprised at such things; for one official is eyed by a higher one, and over them both are others higher still.
So we have three levels of officials, in a Kafkaesque hierarchy. That probably has to do with the three groups of "officials" on the sides of the Tree. The officials in Hod are overseen by those in Gevurah, and above them are those in Binah. On the other side, the officials in Netzach are responsible to those in Chesed, who are responsible to Hochmah. And of course the two sides try to undo each other's rulings, and those in the middle try to mediate where mediation is not desired.

I doubt if any of this is about what is in the sefirotic realm as opposed to the visible universe.

I have been working a little on the question of which of the various versions of the SY came before others. Kaplan says (p. 83 of SY book) that the Short Version's system for distributing the combinations of Y, H, and V is that which most of the commentaries use. Since he means old commentaries, before the printed version of Mantua 1526, that seems to imply that most of the commentators thought that the authentic version was the Short. Also, the Mantua 1526 takes the Short Version as primary and relegates the Long version to an appendix.

Kaplan says that Saadia's system for correlating permutations of YHV with the six directions and the Short Version's system seem related: they are the same, except that Saadia interchanges east and west (p. 83). Both associate a different letter with each of the three axes. In contrast, the Long Version's order is similar to the Gra's, except in the up down direction, and was probably originally the same as the Gra's, Kaplan says, because the Long Version repeats YVH twice (p. 84). In these two, the letter V is in a different position (first, second, or third) for each axis. These are two quite different systems.

The Zohar has another system, which Luria also uses, except for interchanging east and west (Kaplan SY p. 85).

Given that the Bahir's sequence of 12 directions is like the Short Version's rather than the Long's, the Short Version, the Bahir, and Saadia seem to have a common source, probably one of them.

The Bahir makes its appearance in 11th century Languedoc, and Saadia in 10th century Palestine or Egypt. The earliest extant Short Version isn't very old, 13th century, as opposed to the Long Version, 10th or 11th (Kaplan SY p. 324). But the first extant commentary on the Short Version is dated 955, in Tunisia (p. 327), based on lectures by the compiler's master.

So far it seems that most early Kabbalists relied on the Short Version rather than the Long Version. It is possible that they both existed near to the same time and that it is impossible to say which came first; but people didn't pay much attention to the Long version.

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#177
mikeh wrote: According to Kaplan when the Bahir speaks of the 64 "Forms", the reference is to Ezekiel (Kaplan The Bahir, p. 158):
The six-four Forms mentioned here are those seen by Ezekiel. Each of the four legs of the Throne has four angels, and each of these angels has four "faces," making a total of sixty-four "faces" or Forms (see Pirkey Rabbi Elieazer 4).
When I look at Ch. 1 of the Book of Ezekiel, all I find is four creatures with four faces, not four creatures, with four faces each, for each of four wheels. Well, 16 is as binary as 64.

There is no mention of either 32 or 64 of anything in R. Eliezer's chapters. In chapter 4 (on the second day of creation) is described the Throne with four legs, with each leg the holy creature with four faces and four wings (= 16 faces, 16 wings).

In reference to Ezekiel's chariot, there are four creatures above each wheel, each creature has four faces and four wings. So again, 16 faces & 16 wings.

So I don't think the reference or authority is found in R. Eliezer's Chapters.

However, according to the Targum:

"each had four faces, and there were four faces to everyone "of them", and every creature had sixteen faces; the number of the faces of the four creatures was sixty and four;''

and of the wings:

"each had four wings, and there were four wings for everyone of them, sixteen wings to every face, and sixty four to every creature; and the number of the wings of the four living creatures were two hundred and fifty six.''

So a more likely source is the Targum, or later Hekhalot literature. For example in the Hekhalot Zutarti it says:

Each one has four faces; faces to a corner; four faces for each corner; sixty-four faces for each holy creature. Each one has four wings; four wings to a wing; four wings for each wing; sixty-four wings for each holy creature.... When the holy creatures fly, they fly with thirty-two wings, and cover their bodies with the other thirty-two.

And:

R. Akiba says: .... Each one has four faces, four faces to a face; four faces for each face; sixteen faces for each face; sixty-four faces for each creature. The total number of faces of the four creatures is two hundred and fifty-six. {repeat of same with wings}

see: The Faces of the Chariot by David Halperin for these and the pre-kabbalistic mystical traditions of the Chariot, and connection re: targum, the chapters of R. Eliezer and hekhalot literature.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#178
Good work on where the 64 comes from, Steve.

I want to comment on what you and Huck have said about planets. Huck wrote, about the Valentinian system of Ptolemaeus:
Assuming, that this might be a forerunner or a relationship to the 32 ways of wisdom, I would interpret:

8 ... these are the 8 trigrams (which, as I earlier demonstrated, can be also interpreted as a 10)

10 ... this might be the mix of 3 mothers and 7 planets

12 ... the zodiac.

10 (=8) + 10 + 12 = 32
The 8 come from the Egyptian Ogdoad. Valentinus was a Greco-Egyptian who moved to Rome. Wikipedia seems accurate about theEgyptian Ogdoad, which despite its name is authentically Egyptian ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogdoad:
The eight deities were arranged in four male-female pairs: Nu and Naunet, Amun and Amaunet, Kuk and Kauket, Huh and Hauhet. The males were associated with frogs and females were associated with snakes.[1] Apart from their gender, there was little to distinguish the male gods and female goddesses; indeed, the names of the females are merely derivative female forms of the male name. Essentially, each pair represents the male and female aspect of one of four concepts, namely the primordial waters (Nu and Naunet), air or invisibility (Amun and Amaunet), darkness (Kuk and Kauket), and eternity or infinity (Huh and Hauhet).
So essentially two pairs of two pairs of opposites. Not trigrams, but clearly binary thinking.

The 10 are 5 pairs. taking the Egyptians' concept into the realm of the Judeo-Christian. The concept of "pair" is essential to this system of aeons, male and famale pairs no less. They are called "syzygies" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aeon_%28Gnosticism%29). There can be no breakdown into 3 plus 7. The Planets in Gnosticism are represented by the Archons; see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogdoad, further down.

The 12 are related to the 12 disciples according to Irenaeus in the same account. Before that are the 12 tribes of Israel. Whether the zodiac is before or after that I don't know. The pre-Persian conquest Egyptians had decans; but that doesn't mean they had a 12 sign zodiac. At the time of the alleged Moses, Egypt may have been dominated by the Hittites. I don't know if they had a 12 sign zodiac.

This division into 12 and 8 likely predates Valentinus. The Acts of John, not an especially Valentinian document, contains a section that was deleted in all but two copies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acts_of_John), which corresponds to excerpts quoted in letter 237 of Augustine and excerpts in the minutes of the Council of Nicea (not the first, but a later one) in which all copies of this passage are ordered burned (I get this from the translator's notes in the most recent edition, not online). In it there is a hymn allegedly taught by Jesus, along with a dance, to the disciples in the evening when Judas has gone out. Jesus says (in an old online translation), "The number Eight (lit. one ogdoad) singeth praise with us. Amen./ The number Twelve danceth on high. Amen" (http://www.gnosis.org/library/actjohn.htm). This is very Kabbalist in feeling, in that it presupposes a connection between the upper beings and the lower ones, such that the state of the upper is affected by that of the lower. Another online translation is by Meade, with his notes, at http://gnosis.org/library/grs-mead/grsm_hymnofjesus.htm.

It is possible that the 8 in this hymn refer to the 7 planets and their leader in the 8th sphere. Max Pulver thought so, in an essay on the hymn (repreinted in Joseph Campbell, ed., The Mysteries. Likewise the 12 could be the zodiac, who indeed are "on high", unlike the 12 disciples or the tribes of Israel. Or not. But if they referred to the Valentinian groupings, you would think they would have included the 10.

Since the names of the Valentinians' 8, 10, and 12 bear no relation to the disciples, it would be of interest to know on what principle they were chosen. The 8 seem to bear some relationship to the Egyptian Ogdoad.

SteveM wrote, when I asked about planetary assignments in the Zohar:
It's in Kaplan somewhere - dog/housesitting at the moment so can't give exact reference, but it will be in the double's section, if memory serves me right it will be somewhere between p.180-190. However I believe there are variations in the Zohar, and none of them make any particular sense from an astrological point of view and are based more on linguistic puns and colours. For example if I recall right the moon is variously attributed to chesed, yesod, malkuth based upon considerations such the root of the word for moon is the same as that for stone (malkuth) or white (chesed).
Kaplan has a list of 10 sources for Planetary attributions, the Zohar not among them, and they are all to letters, not sefirot. All are the same except the Gra: they go in order from Saturn to the Moon, Beth to Tau. If letters are intepreted as conectors between sefiroth, as they look in the diagram, then Saturn would connect Keter to Tiferet, Jupiter would connect Hochma to Chesed; Mars would connect Binah to Gevurah; the Sun would connect Tiferet to Yesod; Venus would connect Chesed to Netzach; Mercury would connect Gevurah to Hod; and the Moon would connect Yesod to Malkhut. This makes perfect sense to me.

The Gra, exceptionally, goes: Moon, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter. I have no idea where that comes from. On p. 283 Kaplan does list correspondences to sefirot, this time the Gra only: Moon to Chesed, Mars to Gevurah, Sun to Tiferet, Venus to Netzach, Mercury to Hod, Saturn to Yesod, and Jupiter to Malkhut. This seems to come directly from his letter assignments, going from Chesed to Malkhut, the lower sefira of the pairs connected by the letters.

SteveM gave a quote he said was from the Zohar:
69....This continues until a planet called Saturn is reached in the second firmanent of the world of Asiyah. All seven planets are located in the world of Asiyah, and they are called Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, Venus, Mercury and Moon. Through these planets, every change comes to the world. The first planet, Saturn, feeds from the lowest of the seven chambers of the world of Briyah, and the rest of the planets from the other chambers...
What translation are you using? I am very suspicious of it. The terms "world of Asiyah" and "world of Briyah" are not in the Zohar that I know of. There is a similar passage in Tishby's translation (Tishby, Wisdom of the Zohar, p. 599;. on the previous page he has mentioned "the first hall", out of seven :
Below this hall the spirits spread out to all parts of the firmaments beneath, until they reach the planet Saturn. They all look upon this hall from which they are nourished, [and] all those in the hall look upon this spirit, as it is written, "wherever the spirit was to go they went; they did not turn as they went" (Ezekiel 1:12). This is the hall called "the sapphire pavement" (livnat ha-sapir).
This is in the "chariot" section, Zohar I, 41a-45b in Tishby's edition. No association with a particular sefira is stated on this page. A paragraph later a "second hall" is mentioned. Somewhat later Jupiter is mentioned (p. 602) from which "many are given jurisdiction over the world", meaning by "many" certain "hosts and camps". I can't tell what sefira Jupiter is assigned to, except that it is something close to the one with Saturn. Then the third hall is mentioned (p. 602), that of nogah, brightness, with "no color to be seen it". Then Mars is mentioned (p. 604), and messengers of judgment and punishment. Then the fourth hall is mentioned, that of a spirit called zekhut, merit (p. 605). a hall of judgment. The sun is mentioned (p. 607); Tishby doesn't capitalize the word. Then the fifth hall (p. 607); Venus and love are mentioned (p. 609). Then the sixth hall is mentioned (p. 610), and more about love. So maybe the halls are assigned to the planets that came afterwards rather than before.

Then (Tishby p. 611) we learn that Abraham is to take the hall assigned to love. So apparently Abraham gets Venus. Jacob is also mentioned. Isaac, on the left, gets that of judgment, but I don't know what planet that would be. "The other prophets" get the "two below"; I guess that would be Moses and Aaron, but I don't know what planets; it is either Mars and Jupiter or Jupiter and Saturn.. Then "sapphire pavement" is assigned to Joseph, i.e. Yesod. Maybe that means that it is also assigned to Saturn, but I am not sure whether "saphire pavement" is assigned to Yesod or Hod.

So you see that much is obscure. Mercury isn't mentioned. The Moon may be mentioned at the beginning, as a pun on "levenah", pavement, vs. "levanah", moon and white. The Sun might be either Gevurah or Tiferet. All we can say for sure is that there is a planetary progression upwards in these "halls" from Saturn to Venus, and from at least Yesod to at least Chesed. The seventh hall seems to be related to the top three sefirot, but no planet is assigned that I can find. By "assigned" I mean "connected", because the planets are a long ways down from the sefirot.

I don't know about elsewhere in the Zohar.

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#179
mikeh wrote:
The Gra, exceptionally, goes: Moon, Mars, Sun, Venus, Mercury, Saturn, Jupiter. I have no idea where that comes from. On p. 283 Kaplan does list correspondences to sefirot, this time the Gra only: Moon to Chesed, Mars to Gevurah, Sun to Tiferet, Venus to Netzach, Mercury to Hod, Saturn to Yesod, and Jupiter to Malkhut. This seems to come directly from his letter assignments, going from Chesed to Malkhut, the lower sefira of the pairs connected by the letters.

That's a lot further on in the book than I thought / suggested - so much for my recall. But I think that must be it -- but I was pretty sure Kaplan says that they are based on attributions in the Zohar -- if so, as I said previously, based on the Moon - Chesed I am pretty sure it must be the Tikunei Zohar, as that is the only place I know that makes such a connection (I quoted it in previous post).

Well, back at home tomorrow night, so I can check myself.
Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different.
T. S. Eliot

Re: Jewish-Christian interactions in Italy before 1500

#180
.... :-) ... you're good both, nice.

Well, I've not much time ...
Huck, the Greeks (as well as the Jews) also used the alphabet for numbers, all through the Roman Empire Likewise the Phonicians. Probably much of the Eastern Mediterranean. The Romans used a combination of letters and finger-like I's, or whatever unit they wanted to express. (So did the Egyptians, from what I can find on the Internet.) In the alphabetic number writing, the 10s were the continuation of the alphabet from the units, and so on, wherever the alphabet left off. When they ran out of alphabet, they went through it again, using little marks to distinguish it from the first.
Of course, but the Jews likely got the alphabet earlier than the Greek.

It's a legend ...
King Ptolemy once gathered 72 Elders. He placed them in 72 chambers, each of them in a separate one, without revealing to them why they were summoned. He entered each one's room and said: "Write for me the Torah of Moshe, your teacher". God put it in the heart of each one to translate identically as all the others did.[13]

Philo of Alexandria, who relied extensively on the Septuagint,[14] says that the number of scholars was chosen by selecting six scholars from each of the twelve tribes of Israel.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint
During Ptolemy's reign (Ptolemy II Philadelphus, lived 309–246 BCE), the material and literary splendour of the Alexandrian court was at its height. He promoted the Museum and Library of Alexandria, and he erected a commemorative stele, the Great Mendes Stela.)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ptolemy_II_Philadelphus

Though it's only a legend, it makes sense, that a king interested in a library started to save old memories, especially in the case of Greek kings, who reigned in foreign territories and didn't know too much about the people at their location.
Well, we have the fact, that a lot of the big old kingdoms died in collective memory (at least in European memory), but the story of a very small and unimportant kingdom (David and Salomo etc.) survived and was reproduced endlessly in the long story of literary publications. How did it happen?

The Greek had only Homer as the "first".

Image


The Seleukid Empire had only 2 1/2 centuries. The fall started early in the East.
The success of Parthia tells the story.

Image


German Wiki tells ...
Unter dem erfolgreichen Partherkönig Mithridates II. (124/123–88/87 v. Chr.) wurde 115 v. Chr. die Seidenstraße „eröffnet“: Eine Delegation des chinesischen Kaisers Han Wudi machte ihre Aufwartung.
"With the successful king of Parthia Mithridatis II (124/123–88/87 v. Chr.) the silk road was opened in the year 115 BC. A delegation of the Chinese king Han Wudi visited the court."

Han Wudi (141–87 BC)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Wu_of_Han
Mithridatis II (reigned c, 123 bis 88)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mithridates_II_of_Parthia

Story of the Xiongnu, which possibly were the Huns, which later appeared in Europe.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xiongnu
While Han China was making preparations for a military confrontation from the reign of Emperor Wen, the break did not come until 133 BC, following an abortive trap to ambush the chanyu at Mayi. By that point the empire was consolidated politically, militarily and economically, and was led by an adventurous pro-war faction at court. In that year, Emperor Wu reversed the decision he had made the year before to renew the peace treaty.

Full-scale war broke out in autumn 129 BC, when 40,000 Chinese cavalry made a surprise attack on the Xiongnu at the border markets. In 127 BC, the Han general Wei Qing retook the Ordos. In 121 BC, the Xiongnu suffered another setback when Huo Qubing led a force of light cavalry westward out of Longxi and within six days fought his way through five Xiongnu kingdoms. The Xiongnu Hunye king was forced to surrender with 40,000 men. In 119 BC both Huo and Wei, each leading 50,000 cavalrymen and 100,000 footsoldiers (in order to keep up with the mobility of the Xiongnu, many of the non-cavalry Han soldiers were mobile infantrymen who traveled on horseback but fought on foot), and advancing along different routes, forced the chanyu and his court to flee north of the Gobi Desert.[36][page needed] Major logistical difficulties limited the duration and long-term continuation of these campaigns. According to the analysis of Yan You (嚴尤), the difficulties were twofold. Firstly there was the problem of supplying food across long distances. Secondly, the weather in the northern Xiongnu lands was difficult for Han soldiers, who could never carry enough fuel.[a] According to official reports, the Xiongnu lost 80,000 to 90,000 men, and out of the 140,000 horses the Han forces had brought into the desert, fewer than 30,000 returned to China.

As a result of these battles, the Chinese controlled the strategic region from the Ordos and Gansu corridor to Lop Nor. They succeeded in separating the Xiongnu from the Qiang peoples to the south, and also gained direct access to the Western Regions. Because of strong Chinese control over the Xiongnu, the Xiongnu became unstable and were no longer a threat to the Han Chinese.


This victory, that the way to the West became free for trade.

Well, there was some deeper impact of China and Chinese culture close to Europe and likely this was closer than anything, which happened before. Also in this period happened, that Buddhism arrived in China, likely based on the same military developments.

Image

big map:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Wu ... B9%81).png

Mikeh:
The 8 come from the Egyptian Ogdoad. Valentinus was a Greco-Egyptian who moved to Rome. Wikipedia seems accurate about theEgyptian Ogdoad, which despite its name is authentically Egyptian ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ogdoad:
The eight deities were arranged in four male-female pairs: Nu and Naunet, Amun and Amaunet, Kuk and Kauket, Huh and Hauhet. The males were associated with frogs and females were associated with snakes.[1] Apart from their gender, there was little to distinguish the male gods and female goddesses; indeed, the names of the females are merely derivative female forms of the male name. Essentially, each pair represents the male and female aspect of one of four concepts, namely the primordial waters (Nu and Naunet), air or invisibility (Amun and Amaunet), darkness (Kuk and Kauket), and eternity or infinity (Huh and Hauhet).
So essentially two pairs of two pairs of opposites. Not trigrams, but clearly binary thinking.
111 - 000
100 - 011
010 - 101
001 - 110

111 - 000 ... 100 - 011
010 - 101 ... 001 - 001

These could be and likely has been the 8 trigrams. Old Egypt had the binary scheme and some use for it.

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There were earlier contacts between Egypt and China, likely not much, but something had been.

When a far culture reappeared to the general mind in the West, it naturally might mean, that these older context were remembered, and that some persons returned to dualistic contexts (which were strong in China). Perhaps these gnostic movements with dualism elements depended on this revival.
Huck
http://trionfi.com

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