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Founding of Christendom > Founding of Christendom Chapters Seven & Eight

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message 1: by Mike (new)

Mike Here we encounter some interesting reading along with some very difficult sections.

Dr. Carroll recounts how the Lord used Cyrus of Persia as a tool to humble the Jewish nation, he conquered but was benevolent. The author points to the importance of the book of the Book of Tobit and mentions that the book of Tobit had been excluded from the later Jewish canon of scripture because only a Greek translation survived; at the time Jewish scholars wished to purify their scriptures and deleted everything that they could not locate in either Hebrew or Aramaic. The book does point to the establishment of Jewish colonies in the Northern Kingdom.

Another small item but worth noting was Dr. Carroll’s mention of the Persian priesthood of the Magi. I found this interesting because somehow they knew or where informed about the birth of Christ; I wonder what source they had.

I loved his observation regarding prophecy “A prophecy too detailed would amount to a denial of free will; one too vague would amount to a denial of Divine foreknowledge”.

While the second temple was completed in 515 B.C. there was a good deal complaining about its size and grandeur. Many were trying to compare it to the first temple built by Solomon, they forgot that Solomon had the richest kingdom – Judah no longer had those limitless funds.

I found his observation that the Jewish culture and the Greek culture were the two main hopes for the eventual formation of western civilization.

It is worth noting Dr. Carroll’s Mention of the Spartans, they were a dedicated and fearsome bunch. Boys at the age of six began their training for battle; this training continued all day, every day until a male reached his mid-sixties. This is why opposing troops wondered about what had they encountered.


message 2: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments A few thoughts. First, can you start the thread for the next two chapters earlier? I've been sitting here all week thinking about these things and now that it's finally posted I'm struggling to remember my points or questions. :-)

Back to the book. I love The Book of Tobit and enjoyed hearing how controversial it is and was. LOL.

When I read these chapters, what struck me over and over was how much those times were like today. The methods of fighting, the trickery, etc. I felt a little angry that the Greek fighters were later accused of treason and killed. I honestly think someone put some negative media spin on them (Persian infiltrator). I just cannot believe that two people so dedicated to their nation's success would do such a thing. It seems entirely possible to me that it made a lot of sense to portray such worthy opponents poorly and have them dishonorably killed letting the Greeks take out the greatest threat to the Persians. Keep in mind the wacky things Darius did to gain power. He wasn't the current ruler, but he was not far away. Those were highly unethical times.

I agree Mike that I wish we were given more about the Magi. Dr. Carroll left a number of loose ends in this section. I liked the prophecy explanation too. Makes sense.

I felt a bit lost, to put it mildly, in the Persian and Greek battle scenes. I guess I've watched Games of Thrones so much I wish someone had a nice moving, animated map for me. (Opening scenes of GOT).

I know why we emphasize Jesus, of course, but I wish the church talked more about the story line involving the division of the Israelite kingdoms, their downfall and why, and the diaspora. Dr. Carroll really helped me to understand those events much better than I've ever gotten in mass. But, I honestly get much more from any of the readings sitting quietly home reading anyway. Perhaps the criticism is unfair.


The Spartans were tough!!!!

I read the history of Buddhism, Confucius, etc. with great interest as this is a weak spot for me, but I don't think I came away much more informed. I have a book at home called The Illustrated World's Religions by Huston Smith and it helped a smidgen more. LOL. Maybe it's because I've been raised in this culture that the thought process just doesn't make sense to me.


message 3: by Mike (new)

Mike Leslie wrote: "A few thoughts. First, can you start the thread for the next two chapters earlier? I've been sitting here all week thinking about these things and now that it's finally posted I'm struggling to r..."

I definitely can do that.


message 4: by Mike (new)

Mike Regarding the quest for additional knowledge about the Jewish people and religion; one book I can point to is "Jewish Literacy" by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. ISBN # 0-688-08506-7.

In one of the cover comments this book is referred to as a must for every Jewish home, don't let that comment slow you down the book does not go that deeply into the religion. It is written as an introduction. Rabbi Telushkin does recommend it for young Jewish people to learn about their faith; but remember young Jewish people know about as little as young Christians about their faith.

I have found that this book provides some useful background information for reading the old testament.


message 5: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments Sounds like a great starting point. Thanks for the recommendation Mike...and the thread. I'm doing a read-a-thon with the History group and want to finish this book. :-)


message 6: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 444 comments A number of years ago there was an exhibit of paintings of Caravaggio at the Metropolitan Museum (NYC) and the one piece that struck me the most was “Judith and Holofernes”. Judith was only a Biblical name to me then and I never heard of the general. The story in Chapter 7 though brief gives a new meaning not easy to forget having the painting in mind.

Mr. Carroll takes curious forays into the vast areas to the East, India and China. I have never come across such neat nutshell compacting of the two vast cultures as Mr. Carroll’s. I am almost willing to accept the way Mr. Carroll handles Buddhism and Jainism equally briefly: “Incredible as it must seem to any reasoning mind, the ultimate teaching of Buddhism is that ‘nothing really exists—not even nirvana, not even Buddha himself”. (pp. 162-63) He sees Janis teaching as blasphemy and satanic from a Christian perspective. I suspect however that such compact précis is much simplified. The Chinese history is a challenge and a bewildering labyrinth with its huge size in people and land and 4000 years of history. I glimpsed it a few tears ago in “China: Its History and Culture” by W. Scott Morton.


message 7: by Mike (new)

Mike Galicius wrote: "A number of years ago there was an exhibit of paintings of Caravaggio at the Metropolitan Museum (NYC) and the one piece that struck me the most was “Judith and Holofernes”. Judith was only a Bibl..."

A Benedictine monk, who is also a dear friend, offers a weekend retreat using the art of Caravaggio as a back drop and focus for discussion. I have not taken the retreat but you have planted an interest.


message 8: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments I went online to look at this painting. I can see why you didn't forget it!! LOL.


message 9: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments Mike wrote: "Regarding the quest for additional knowledge about the Jewish people and religion; one book I can point to is "Jewish Literacy" by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin. ISBN # 0-688-08506-7.

In one of the cover..."


I got the book and already really enjoy it.


message 10: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 444 comments I like Carroll’s remark about democracy “Almost any reasonable system of government will work if conducted by men of generally good character in a society valuing such character (p. 178). Athenians voted death to an entire population of a city of Mytilene for revolting, they condemned Socrates, and Carroll points out other terrible but democratic decisions by Athenians that to us now appear strange and unjust. The condemnation of Socrates is much more complicated though than it appears and that came down in popular history. There are historical perspectives that matter in understanding the trial. The quarrel with the citizens of Athens is political and Socrates jury at his trial was not impartial. (I went into some of the details in my review of Plato’s “Apology”.)


message 11: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments I have a question. Since the Ark of the Covenant disappeared during the Babylonian exile when the Temple was destroyed in 587 BCE (chapter 6), and the temple was rebuilt after the Return (chapter 7), I was wondering what would be inside the chamber called the Holy of Holies? I realize that at first only an altar was rebuilt on the site, but later different rooms, courts, and chambers were built.


message 12: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments Susan Margaret wrote: "I have a question. Since the Ark of the Covenant disappeared during the Babylonian exile when the Temple was destroyed in 587 BCE (chapter 6), and the temple was rebuilt after the Return (chapter 7..."

Still the ten commandments.


message 13: by Susan Margaret (last edited Aug 27, 2015 07:25PM) (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments The stone tablets with the Ten Commandments also disappeared (chapter 6, page 137).


message 14: by Susan Margaret (new)

Susan Margaret (susanmargaretg) | 538 comments Galicius wrote: "I like Carroll’s remark about democracy “Almost any reasonable system of government will work if conducted by men of generally good character in a society valuing such character (p. 178). Athenian..."

Galicius, I looked for your review of Plato's Apology but could not find it. Do you have a link that you could post here to help me find it? Thanks!


message 15: by Leslie (new)

Leslie | 359 comments The first time it was rebuilt they returned the Ark. Later, I believe it just contained the Holy Scriptures. I can't seem to find it in the book. I remember in Babylon they had been preserving the writings and brought them back. The ten commandments were in the Ark so should be with it in it's new hidden location.


message 16: by Galicius (new)

Galicius | 444 comments Susan Margaret wrote: "Galicius wrote: "I like Carroll’s remark about democracy “Almost any reasonable system of government will work if conducted by men of generally good character in a society valuing such character (p..."

Susan Margaret, these were after a second reading and after a listened to a lecture:
https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


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